MES Media Center: Three Year Plan

Media & Technology Learning Commons

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PARTNERSHIP on the 4C's:

A partnership of media, literacy and technology will transform the traditional media roles into a lively Learning Commons; bringing to life a learning space that incorporates the 4C's and emphasizes both literacy & 21st Century Technology Skills. A flexible learning space will bring the vision of a learning commons to life. The Learning Commons will provide multiple learning areas for literacy centers, technology lessons, book talks and much more; transforming the idea of a traditional media center into a new visionary learning center where creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking are brought to life on a daily basis. A blending of the roles between the Media Specialist and the Technology Resource Teacher allows for more support in all areas of implementation. No longer working in isolation but in concert to ensure students are working to master the skills needed to be successful learners in the 21st Century!

What is a Learning Commons?

"The learning commons, sometimes called an 'information commons,' has evolved from a combination library and computer lab into a full-service learning, research, and project space." -Educause

A learning commons is a "place of teaching and learning, group work, collaboration, creativity, change, inquiry, communication, and community." -ASLC

The learning commons model places a greater view on students, accessibility, cultivating community, project-based learning, flexibility, knowledge seeking, and exploration.

Key Action Steps to Create a Successful Learning Commons & Support 4C's:

  • Increase student-to-book ratio
  • Fill Lexile gap in shelf inventory for all reading levels
  • Provide book sets to support literacy curriculum
  • Increase media center technology to provide flexible learning spaces
  • Provide age-appropriate technology such as i-Pads
  • Develop STEM resources to provide STEM & MakerSpace learning opportunities for students
  • Supply equipment to MES News staff to support communication & collaboration

Where Vision Meets Action

Literacy in Our Learning Commons

McAllister has unique needs compared to the other schools in Bryan County. Students will spend 6 years exploring our Media Center. We serve a wider range of students than any other school in our county which translates to a need for a wider range of materials.

Studies show that a student's literacy growth is based on their exposure to books that are in their reading range. The chart to the right shows the ratio of books per student in each Lexile range using our winter MAP score.

When viewing the over all data our media center appear to be in pretty good shape with an almost 13:1 ratio of books per student. However, when you look at the ratio in the context of the MAP Lexile scores you can see that the lower and the upper ranges are lacking resources.

For example, we have 167 students in the "beginning reader" (BR) range with only 179 "good fit" books for them. Which translates to roughly a 1:1 ratio. The same is true for the upper ranges too. We have have a total of 177 students who's reading ranges 800+ with only 52 books in their ranges which is less than one book per student.

In order to achieve our long term goals for the learning commons students need to have a chance to explore literacy. Just the act of choosing a book is an exercise in their critical thinking skills. Students must be given a chance to explore literacy in all reading ranges.

Literacy in the Curriculm

MES teachers have done an amazing job of individualizing their lessons to the needs of each student. However, they have expressed a need for small group literacy materials. Small group reading instruction provides meaningful literacy experiences. It begins where learners are, by addressing individual needs. Small group reading instruction includes rich tasks which promote deep understanding; and allows us to teach reading before and during the reading process, (not only after the reading process); and allows us to adjust our teaching to meet the needs of all learners. Teachers need small group sets of leveled reading so they are able to provide the "in the moment" reading instruction at the level the student needs. Purchasing leveled sets would allow the teachers to create lessons that will encourage student's comprehension, collaboration, and creativity.

Technology at MES

Technology continues to grow at MES. Teachers and students have embraced technology at MES and there are opportunities to see technology integration on a daily basis. In classrooms, in the labs and in the Media Center, our students and teachers are using technology to enrich lessons and demonstrate understanding in new and exciting ways. Our students are producing projects using the latest Google apps and extensions as well as web tools to "show what they know." We are actively working to incorporate 21st Century Technology Skills into learning for all grade levels.

In order to make this possible for all students, MES must be able to offer a diverse inventory of technology to meet the needs of learners from pre-k through fifth grade. Our goal is to expand our inventory to include desktops, chromebooks, iPads and grow into a rich program that offers STEM to all students. This would allow MES to meet the needs of ALL of our learners while also keeping the MES inventory in-line with that of other Bryan County elementary schools.

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Technology & STEM In Our Learning Commons

STEM and Navigating the 4C's

  • Little Bits Cloudbig Starter Kit-Circuit Kits ($499.00)
  • Arduino Starter Kit - Basic Computer Programming Kits ($499.00)
  • Creativity-Starter kits are the building blocks for multiple activities and the perfect enhancement to the first C-CREATIVITY. Students working with MS and TRT will be able to explore creating with circuits & basic computer programming. As kits are expanded, students will be able to expand projects and create more elaborate projects. The goal is to foster a space that allows students to think outside of the box and explore to learn.
  • Communication-As the STEM Learning commons grows, the opportunities to support the second C-COMMUNICATION- will grow as well. Students will be able to blog about their creations, create videos as they build, communicate with experts in the field through Google Hangouts. STEM provides an opportunity not only to allow students to be creative, enhance math & science skills but also to increase community connections.
  • Collaboration-STEM lessons allow students to problem solve and work together to build and create. STEM naturally provides opportunities for the third C - COLLABORATION. Students will collaborate in partner pairs and small groups to build with circuitry kits & Arduino units. As inventory in the STEM room is expanded, more opportunities will be provided to students to work together to solve real-world problems and present solutions to those problems. This interaction can also apply to problems that exist within their community and tie back into the second C. Expansion of the STEM program at MES opens the door for community involvement as we call on community experts and look to our students to be problem solvers within their home community.
  • Critical Thinking - As students work to create and solve problems, they will be challenged to think critically. Students will be presented with problems that require them to use higher order thinking skills, logic and reasoning. Students will be required to gather data, record and manipulate data. As the STEM program grows, activities will support all areas of the 4C's as well as many of the requirements of the 21st Century Literacy Standards. Students will not be able to simply follow directions but will be challenged to think critically as they create something new and exciting. A growing STEM program will encourage the fourth C - CRITICAL THINKING,

Technology Resources and the 4C's:

  • Dell Optiplex 5040's - Replace outdated Optiplex 380's in Specials Lab C ($22,130.70)
  • Computers will be re-purposed in STEM lab for coding (5), as research stations in Learning Commons (8) and as student workstations (18)
  • iPad Cart (30-iPad Airs with Cases) to serve whole school with an emphasis on primary grades ($20,720.45)
  • Creativity - Students will be able to expand creativity through apps and increase opportunities for video production. The expansion of the MES technology inventory to include iPads will allow for an increase in opportunities for primary students to create technology products in an environment that is developmentally appropriate. Students will utilize apps to create comics, puppet videos, full movies, books, and more. The expansion of the tech inventory to include iPads will allow all grade bands to create within multiple platforms. This fully supports the first C - CREATIVITY.
  • Communication - Increasing the technology offerings at MES will create opportunities for COMMUNICATION. Increasing the technology offerings at MES will create opportunities for students to communicate with peers, community and global audiences while also teaching students to do safely. With new machines and iPads, students will be able to create video presentations to be shared, infographics to promote topics researched in class, participate in hangouts with experts, blog on topics being studied in class, author their own books, and more. By providing additional platforms, activities that are already being explored by the upper grades become more easily accessible to our younger students.
  • Collaboration - Increasing the types of platforms offered to students at MES will foster collaboration within the classroom in both face to face settings & small groups as well as across the community with peers. All grade levels will be able to participate in activities such as Skype or Google Hangouts on devices that are appropriate for their grade level. Primary students will be able to participate in Kahoots and compete against other classes. Students will be able to participate in collaborative projects using web 2.0 tools and apps. All students will be introduced to the power of COLLABORATION in creation.
  • Critical Thinking - Critical thinking will be emphasized in the application of all literacy and technology activities (e.g. logic, recognizing, manipulation, evaluating sources, impact of events). Students will be encouraged to utilize higher order thinking skills, evaluate & manipulate data using age-appropriate apps, evaluate multiple sources, and gather evidence. Students will be taught to select the best tool to accomplish their task and create their project. By providing a wider range of resources, students will be able to make more appropriate selections for the task. All areas of CRITICAL THINKING will be emphasized throughout all technology tasks.

Plans for Future Growth

  • Continue expansion of STEM Room
  • Purchase additional Little Bits
  • Purchase Makey-Makey Kits
  • Purchase Robotics Kits (Vex & Maker Bots)
  • Purchase additional Arduino Kits
  • Purchase Spheros
  • Purchase materials for MakerSpace (rockets, bridge kits, kites, etc.)
  • Grow MES by one iPad cart per year (Goal of three by year three)
  • Grow MES by one additional mobile Chrome cart per year (Goal of three additional by year three)

Growing a Learning Commons Into the Future

Learning Commons Three Year Plan

Teacher Outreach

  • Provide a flowchart of skills to incorporate at each grade level
  • Lesson database demonstrating tech & literacy skills incoporated into curriculum units
  • Grade Level Based Lab Curriculum
  • MES Media & Tech Blog to promote Media & Technology Resources
  • Continue classroom support for literacy and technology
  • Coordinate support for 4C's (Ex: Training, Hangouts with authors, etc.)

Student Programs

  • Book Talks
  • STEM & Makerspace
  • Tech Club
  • Student Work Exhibits
  • Book Trailer Award Nights
  • Poetry Displays and Presentations
  • EdCamps & Maker Faires
  • Coding Nights
  • Gaming Nights
  • Book Groups
  • Social Media 101
  • Book Review Videos
  • Book Posters

Community Outreach for Parents and Students

  • Lunch and Learn Sessions on Lexile & Technology Resources
  • Evening Sessions
  • Parent Academy Section on Website with Video Resources
  • Author Visits & Book Debuts