Keeping the Home Fires Burning Research

Is There Any Research for K12 Libraries as VLC?

Originally Posted October 26, 2014

Is it me or is there absolutely been no pertinent research conducted on the impact and/or implementation of Virtual Learning Commons in K12 libraries?  Especially in lower K12 (elementary & middle schools).   I’m not sure if I should be baffled or irritated. I’m feeling both.  All professional articles are narratives on how to carry out the transformation but nothing measures the impact on learning or its lack of implementation in school library websites that are specifically identified as a VLC.

My rant is based on and growing in the broadly accepted use of BYOD in buildings.  The emerging tech usage in curriculum and  classroom strategies  cries out for a centralized learning commons, but from my position at the bottom of the well, no one seems to hear me, remember what I’ve been trying to say over the past 4 years (since I’ve had autonomy over website domain), or sees relevance.  This basically shows my failure as a librarian whose main curriculum goal is to teach and support research throughout the contents across the levels…or is it that I had not done enough reading myself to help me develop the language needed to clearly get this message across to my staff of teachers…OR better yet…do the faculty and staff not have enough time to address access in the lower levels when they are pushed to keep up with a pacing calendar?  I say ALL of the above…with particular emphasis on pacing calendar pressures and a test-centered focus.

Sounding a little preachy here, but keeping up with a pacing calendar and high score test efficiency is not to be raved about.  It has succeeded in the removal of innovative thinking; devalued motivational development for skill of questioning and revision, and is literally not making room for students to learn how to go to a centralized hub to help with access of information..because the teacher does not have enough time.  Education today is not preparing students for a job market that needs employees that can think out of the box.  Lower secondary education, on the whole, is not preparing students for upper secondary research.  Upper secondary is not preparing students for first year expository writing and research. I have not completed empirical research to back up this statement.   I’m only using my experience with the monster revision sessions that occurred between me, my daughter, her college roommate, and at one point her entire dorm floor during freshman year.  Would that count as action research? The need for this is past due.

There’s plenty of research in higher ed for library as place and usage of library as a common learning hub but where do we start in the K12 libraries? The need used to be for just high school, but now I see a strong need for this throughout all of K12. The huge question that has emerged for me is to look back historically to the origins of using the Internet for academic research through a centralized website and chart it’s growth from medical libraries > academic libraries > K12 libraries and investigate the sluggish implementation of VLC in the K12 (K8 in particular) world that seems to be oblivious to this vacuum.  I am curious to find out:

1.  How many k8 libraries use their website as a commons for access and expression?

2.  How many k8 librarians have had to establish a link independent of the school’s webpage and not authorized by the school as an official site?

3.  Is it possible for K8 to totally go into a traditional learning commons mod?

4.  Why are librarians not advocating the implementation of VLC in K8?

5.  What are the in-house/in-district factors that support / impede the development of a VRC?

6.  What are the collaborative connections needed between the library and the technology department?

7.  What are the blocks between the library and tech department?

8.  Why have broadband for BYOD and still have filters?

9.  What is the fear factor?  Is there a fear factor?

10. How can a district or school brag about their technology when the building’s culture does not even function w/i the realms of PLNs?

11. Is there anyone out there thinking logically?



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