P16 Information Literacy: The ‘Roundtable’ idea
A task force from the GLMA Summer Institute has generated an exciting idea for encouraging K16 teachers to incorporate info literacy into their class projects: The “Project Upcycling Roundtable”. Don’t yawn! The idea is better than this temporary name, honest. The ‘Roundtable’ is modeled on the ‘Faculty Learning Communities’ that are active in universities today. An FLC is a group of 8-12 cross-disciplinary faculty members who meet regularly for one year to study a specific teaching issue in an active, collaborative fashion. At UGA I was part of a wonderful FLC organized by librarians called “Academic Upcycling” (Upcycling = reusing with added value, like turning an empty coffee can into a planter.) At each session, one faculty member brought a class assignment they wanted to improve and the group brainstormed ways to ‘upcycle’ it to increase active learning and information literacy content. It was an energizing experience, and every member came away with an improved project and renewed enthusiasm for teaching.
The task force envisions the ‘ P16 Roundtables’ as a one-time, 90 minute session composed of four teachers from across the P16 spectrum (ideally one each from P-5, 6-8, 9-12 and college) and four librarians from the same grade levels. The group would collegially brainstorm ways to upcycle each of their projects without making them longer. The result will be an enhanced project that increases student retention of lesson content, covers more GPS content, boosts active-learning and challenges students to be critical thinkers, problem-solvers and independent learners.
The key to the Roundtable experience is that it is a collaborative effort among peers from different schools, rather than an evaluation or instruction given by ‘experts’. Participants develop new ideas out of their collective knowledge and experience. Working with colleagues across grade levels is a great cross-pollinating experience that allows teachers and librarians to see each assignment as part of a larger P16 learning continuum.
Bringing the Roundtable idea to life will be a challenge! To get buy-in, we’ll have to offer PLU credit, and find a school district willing to try one Roundtable as a pilot project. Also, time and energy will be required on our part to flesh out in detail exactly how the Roundtable will work in practice. It is an idea that can start small, with just 8 people, but eventually expand to include multiple simultaneous Roundtables. The seed has been sown! Contact me if you’d like more info or if you think teachers and administrators at your school district would be interested – firstname.lastname@example.org
Nadine Cohen – UGA Instruction and Reference Librarian