Here at Johnston Heights Secondary, we are happy to share our journey as we transform from a traditional library to a Learning Commons. Over the summer months, much moving, boxing, organizing and restructuring has taken place, and you can watch the photo documentation of our transformation via our Flickr photostream. The new carpeting has just arrived, and over the next month the physical space will be reorganized, and new furniture will be delivered.
Our Learning Commons will be zoned with spacious, comfortable, and flexible areas; these areas will be purposefully zoned to encourage participatory learning and student exploration. The zones will comprise of a reading lounge and a hands-on “petting zoo” (where students can play or experiment with technology), a global learning studio (where students can access Skype, connect with ePals, or create a Podcast), a multimedia presentation area, an independent study area, an instruction area, and a film/video studio. The Learning Commons will be a flexible space with adjustable and portable furniture, and the areas have been designed to encourage collaborations. We hope this new learning environment will invite curiosity, risk taking, and creativity.
In our Learning Commons, the learning will take place beyond the walls of our school, as our students will have access to current technology and digital resources. Our goal is to provide a more enriching virtual learning experience, and we are excited to work with our students as they become a generation of digitally knowledgeable and responsible citizens, and creative communicators and presenters.
That said, the Learning Commons at Johnston Heights will be user centered, not technology centered. Technology is only a part of our learning environment and not the focus or driving force. Our new physical space will soon become the heart or hub of our school, bringing students and staff together, and creating a participatory and collaborative culture and sense of community. As always, our main focus at Johnston Heights is student learning; however, building relationships is always a priority in our teaching practice. Nothing is more important than relationships with our students, and they need to know they are valued, accepted, and important to us.
Throughout the year on my blog, I will be sharing and celebrating our students’ learning with you. Mrs. Hall