How fine is the line between socialization and social learning

Dough Johnson and Ann Krembs are here at ISB this week consulting with our school and the Library Review Committee on creating/restructuring our library learning space. Doug wrote a great post titled: The essential question I would highly recommend reading it and all of the comments. The Ed Tech team and the Librarians (total 8 people) met with Doug and Ann on Thursday to get our take on the new space. At one point Doug brought up the thought about having a space for socialization versus social learning. Just how fine is the line between socialization and social learning? When we talk about spaces and what students’ needs are and what a school’s needs are can we blur the line between being social and social learning? I started thinking of my experience at the local Barnes & Nobles in my home town of Spokane, Washington and just how many times I end up there in the summer time. Sometimes I stop for a coffee at the Starbucks located inside and end up browsing books. Other times I meet friends there and just socialize, and yet other times I go there looking for books and end up drinking a coffee. B&N and Starbucks have blurred the lines between books, work, and social hour. You throw in a little WiFi connection and you’re set for the day. Could we create spaces in our schools that were both used for socializing and at the same time a library and a place were kids go to work and get work done? In other words…can we create the modern school? Could a modern school library be the hangout? Do we want students to be social in a place were social learning should/could take place? Personally I think we need to not only blur the line but start erasing it. B&N and Starbucks do a really good job of being open in one large area but using features such as a change from tile to carpet and a little railing between the Starbucks portion and the B&N portion of the store to let people know when you have moved from one to the other. Physically they share space, but as you enter the store you can easily see where Starbucks ends and the bookstore begins. What if we could replicate this in our libraries? What if we could create spaces that allowed students to work...

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I don't like Learning Alone!

I’m back from the ETC (EARCOS Teacher’s Conference) in Kota Kinabalua, Malaysia. Where I did four presentations as well as watched Kim Cofino pack them in for her Connecting Across Continents presentation. It’s the first conference that I’ve gone to where I truly did not “do” the conference. Other than my own four presentations I only went to two others….one if you don’t count Kim’s. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around why I didn’t feel motivated to go to more sessions. I like learning so what was my problem? Then it hit me…..I don’t like learning alone! The Internet was horrible…when it did work at the conference, and I found myself disconnected from my friends colleagues and my network of learners. Learning for me needs to be social. I need to be able to live blog a session, to Ustream a session or have a back channel chat going with others in the room. Without that….a presentation is rather boring. So boring in fact, that I couldn’t motivate myself to even go to a session. Learning for me happens in these social spaces. It happens when I’m able to listen, reflect, and connect with others near and far in the moment. I’m so use to this anymore that regular old sit and get learning just isn’t the same. And then I started thinking about our students. Our students who spend there day not just in front of screens but connecting with people, learning in the moment and creating content. I thought that maybe it was just me…but then this new study from the Nielsen Company was just released this week showing amoung other things that adults are spending 8+ hours a day in front of screens (via nytimes): Among other surprises, the research found that young people aren’t theonly ones dividing their attention among multiple screens and machines;people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and early 50s essentially multitask forthe same amount of time. People over 55 are markedly less likely to bemultitasking. “That’s where the generation gap, if there is one, mayexist,” Mr. Bloxham said. So it’s not just me (thank goodness!). You mean I’m just like the rest of the multitaskers out there? Multitaskers who expect to be able to connect with people, content and ideas in a moments notice and who find such value in connections that without it learning becomes boring? Not that you...

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