As teachers all over the world consider the future of education, we in libraries need to keep up. Maybe one way to do that is to adopt some of the terminology being bandied around by our educational colleagues, and apply it to our own practice and spaces. Not as a cure-all, but as a first step towards moving outside our ‘known’ worlds, and trying out a new set of boundaries.
The concept of a flipped classroom changes the teacher’s role from one of sage on the stage to that of “facilitator […] in that the teacher becomes a source to students in how to better use the resources, process information and how to apply the core concepts to real life situations.” Thus, less time spent lecturing and giving information to be stored and regurgitated, more time spent applying the skills of thinking, problem solving, critical thinking – skills that can then be transferred to real life contexts. The actual practice can be seen in this infographic.
The teacher might prepare the ‘chalk and talk’ part of the lesson in a digital format, to be watched at home as ‘homework’. Time in class can then be utilised to effect hands-on interventions with individuals and small groups, and with time to reach out and grasp more of those teachable moments.
How might libraries work in support of this idea? Would we need to do some of our ‘teaching’ in the same way, in digital format, to be accessed anywhere, anytime? If students are working on research projects in class time rather than as homework, does this affect our patterns of use? Might we book out our ‘expertise’ rather than our space – to contribute in classrooms, computer labs, wherever we are needed? Could we set up digital connections to classrooms, so that we can be virtually available everywhere? What happens if the library as book storage place becomes less the central idea than the librarian as expert resource, who travels to where he or she is needed? Would she bring physical resources, digital skills, or a combination of both? And are these questions to be pondered by school librarians in a silo, or is this a wider issue, applicable to all library sectors?
I don’t claim to have the answers, but I do think we need to be asking the questions and trying to find a way forward. If we don’t, articles such as Education 2.0 isn’t coming. It’s Here. And the Way You’re Educated Will Be Changed Forever become more promise than threat. Try reading the article, and substituting the word library for every reference to education. The two are indelibly entwined, and so, I believe, are our likely outcomes.
What do you think? What would a flipped library practice look like? And how might it benefit teaching and learning? One thing is sure. If we don’t have these conversations and begin to act, the way children access information will be changed forever – without our input.
Quoted definition from Mike King’s Digital Sandbox on flipped classrooms.