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Sunday, 16 September 2018

Continued Community Outreach

It always catches me off guard when other educational professionals tell me that our learning resources centre is the model for other schools in El Salvador.  It seems a bit over the top and makes me a little uncomfortable for various reasons. This isn't because I doubt the impact that our centre has on our community nor do I doubt the cutting edge education practices that take place there every day. I have experienced what visionary thinking based on sound educational research and practice can do, when the right balance of technologies and resources are brought together with motivated practitioners and sufficient financial and academic support. This discomfort is likely a direct result of this question-Why aren't there more LRCs around? Yes funding is one of the main drivers in building a massive initiative, but there is plenty of scope in other institutions to  rearrange and redesign based current beliefs about learning spaces and practices. These don't  cost and arm and a leg, but rather in time and dedication of professional teams of innovative risk takers.

Over the years, it has become commonplace to see hosted groups of administrators, teachers and librarians as well as students of these disciplines touring the facilities. Using technology we have been able to further expand these tours and engage in discussions and shared practices as far away as Malaysia and up and down the Americas.  These are always meaningful reciprocal learning experiences for everyone involved. We look forward to them and always come away with that greater sense of community and the satisfaction that accompanies the sharing of ideas and practices by like minded educators.

Last Thursday we were awarded the enormous privileges of hosting a class of student librarians at the Universidad de Costa Rica.  We hosted the class via Google Hangouts, using our various cell phones and one laptop. This technique worked really well as we were all able to not only converse with the group but also tour them around the facilities and in doing so pop in and out of the conversation as it developed.  We spent an hour and a half with this class,  during this time we shared ideas for the development of learning resources centres, special projects, and purchasing ideas for equipment and resource. We shared the way we organised our print library as well as the virtual library and its functions finishing up with a complete tour of the facilities as well. The beauty of this type of meetup is natural flow of conversation punctuated by concrete examples and poignant Q and A.

The professor  in charge wrote to us the following day to thank us for coming into her classroom the evening before and working with her students. We in turn were thankful for the opportunity to do so. There is so much scope for work like this. It costs next to nothing to beam a group in via the internet and collaborate. We do it with our students in lessons, why shouldn't we collaborate through web conferences with other institutions as well. All it takes is a few people who are not afraid of taking a risk and are willing to use the technology most of us carry around as if it were an additional appendage.

We would be thrilled to hold more of these virtual meetups in future. We'll keep the updates coming.

Jen and the Librarians

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Guest Post: 6th Grade Induction

By one of our wonderful librarians, Hilda Gomez

English  Version

This year,  once again the librarians held a special 6th grade induction activity as we welcomed our new arrivals in the senor school. During the session we shared the many resources and services that the LRC offers as we do our best to to provide enriching learning experiences for our users, both in  and outside of lessons. One of the innovations we were excited to share this school year was our new collection of ebooks, online magazines and audiobooks.

After the presentation the students took part in an exciting game of Kahoot! Kahoot is an online platform for creating learning games which the kids really love. Using Kahoot, students and teachers can  participate in and run games using computer or mobile devices. In this case we used iPads. We ran this game, the purpose of which was to motivate the students to make use of the great variety of resources available to them through the LRC, as a tribal (house or homeroom) competition.  They showed great interest enjoyment of their first LRC experience, which we believe prepared them for further exciting experiences in the LRC with their English classes.

 Spanish Version
Este año, nuevamente, realizamos la inducción de 6th grado, dándoles la más cordial bienvenida de parte del equipo del LRC. Durante la sesión se mostraron todo los recursos y servicios con los que cuenta el Centro de Recursos para el Aprendizaje para así brindar un servicio integral a los usuarios y enriquecer sus experiencias de aprendizaje, dentro y fuera de clases, como alumnos. Una de las innovaciones de este año escolar es la gran variedad de nuevos ebooks, revistas en línea y audiolibros disponibles. 

Luego de esta presentación los alumnos disfrutaron de un juego dinámico de Kahoot, el cual es una plataforma de juegos interactivos, personalizado en línea. El juego consiste en responder en equipos preguntas relacionadas a la presentación que se dio, utilizando dispositivos móviles, en este caso iPads. Fue una competencia que los motivó a hacer uso de la gran variedad de recursos y visitar el LRC. Demostraron un gran interés y participación, y se prepararon en anticipación para las las siguientes sesiones que tomarán lugar en las próximas semanas.