How We Collaborate

As I finish up the semester I have been thinking about my student’s reflections on collaboration. One of the things that really stood out for me was the focus on how we now collaborate. I think now more than ever, technology and the tools it provides for online collaboration are reshaping collaboration for school librarians. I model using these tools in my courses for students in the hopes they will then see the value and how they can then utilize them in their own practice.

The challenges that most of us experience such as teachers saying they don’t have time to collaborate or that on a fixed schedule there is no way. Online collaboration tools allow for everyone to contribute on their own schedule and when they do have the time. Also these tools mean that more people can be involved in collaboration without the worry of coordinating everyone’s schedule. Finally, geography is not a limitation. It is possible to collaborate with professionals all over the world, even if that person may just be down the hallway.

Online collaboration tools also have also changed the way that we work with and teach students,as well as the way that students work with each other. Students have increased opportunities to collaborate, in an engaging way, and learn valuable technical skills as well. This was just noted in an article I read a couple of weeks ago – What’s Changing in education? For this Tech Tool Expert. It’s Collaboration.

As stated in the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner (2007) Common Beliefs: “Learning has a social context. Learning is enhanced by opportunities to share and learn with others. Students need to develop skills in sharing knowledge and learning with others, both in face-to-face situations and through technology.”  I ask my students all the time to look back on these Common Beliefs and think – how am I reflecting these in my school library program? How are you using technology to encourage sharing and facilitate collaboration in your library program?

American Association of School Librarians (AASL). (2007). Standards for the 21st-century learner. Chicago: American Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/aaslproftools/learningstandards/standards.cfm

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