Learning Environments

Primary school landscapes have seen dramatic changes over the past 10 years, commonly offering one-to-one laptop programs and BYOD schemes as part of the everyday routine of a students’ life. This increased exposure to technology has seen the development of children’s digital literacies on a daily basis, as students are expected to navigate their devices to find online educational tools, research reliable and relevant information, as well as create and produce assessment items in multimodal forms. Based on the growing body of research in this field, it is clear that children’s text production is evolving alongside these new technologies, while accompanying the social activities they are involving themselves in (Dowdall, 2009). Within this field, concepts of literacy, text and communication are joining together so that the act of text production can be viewed as a by-product of social networking (Dowdall, 2006). It is this act of text creation that is developing a social and technological skillset while the students’ ability to be digitally literate grows.

Importantly, when being able to succeed as text producers in academic institutions and online contexts indicate, children who develop their digital literacies are learning the rules of producing texts in different contexts (Dowdall, 2009). From a schooling perspective, students need their learning environments to offer current and relevant experiences to build upon their skillset and prepare them for the future, and having technology immersed in their learning allows for this. In saying that, we also need to consider that learning environments are not just in the classroom under the watchful eye of the teacher. Library spaces are changing alongside of today’s technological changes and demands, as they provide learning spaces to extend our knowledge in a magnitude of genres. No longer is the function of a library to provide written text and reference materials with low levels of noise. Libraries are reforming and reclaiming their status as social hubs for their learning communities, as they start to focus on serving as a ‘one stop shop’ for all things text related, including both paper and digital versions. Today’s libraries definitely need to practise a “USERS ADAPT” strategy, to remain relevant and current for its learning community.


Image Source: Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhhh!


In my experience, the libraries I work in are certainly reclaiming their position as the social hubs of the schooling community, and in particular with the introduction of new features such as Makerspace. After several years of hearing about how great it is, I have begun the project of setting up an area, collecting the materials and tools (Makedo), and advertising it to attract a team of students. The most exciting part of this adventure is the fact that technology can join the party, as our school has a strong base of Apple technology available to play and learn with. I am envisaging ‘how-to’ movies being created on mini iPads to share the physical process of designing, creating and producing items made from paper, card, plastic and foam. Such movies could then be shown as a loop on a TV or projector in the library, to encourage new members to join the Makerspace team. Below is a short promotional video about Makedo. What’s not to love about this part of adapting in the digital world.


Makedo: Ideal for collaborative creative spaces such as classrooms, libraries and maker spaces.