Sunday, March 30, 2008

RICE 2008, 10 & 11 March (part 6, or "Ideas for School & Public Library community-based learning partnerships")

[From PART 5]

I'd intended my previous post to be the last of my RICE 2008 series. Somehow it felt something was missing.

Then Siva hit the nail on the head when he emailed me that the post lacked concrete ideas for school and public library community-based programmes.

He felt I'd written a long post with only one line hinted at possible ideas (indeed, I'd mentioned in that post how I was still thinking about possible ideas).

But I took his point that the vagueness of possible school-public library projects was a symptom of why teachers have not consider working with a library. It wasn't clear what could be done.

He suggested that I start with a clear idea, and let it be modified or even completely changed after discussions.


So here five ideas listed (not necessarily in order). They may or may not work but that's not the point. The point, as Siva rightly pointed out, is to start with concrete ideas as the basis for discussions:

IDEA #1: Student-initiated Reading Survey & Campaign for their own school
  • WHO: School and public library

  • WHAT: Students to conduct a study of reading habits and trends for their peers in their own school. Follow-up by implementing a reading promotion campaign in their school. Measure its effects.

  • HOW: The study can be limited to a class, or a cohort (depending on complexity and scale). Librarians will guide students in designing the study (the students might already know how to do this via their Interdisciplinary Project Work). Librarians will advise students how to implement reading promotions and campaigns (online and/ or off-line) in their schools, as well as provide a modest budget if required.

  • OUTPUT: A pre and post programme report on the findings, outcomes and learning points of the student-initiated reading campaign. School also gains insights to the reading habits of its students.

  • LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students will be able to apply research methods to actual practice, as well as promotion and marketing techniques. They will learn about target setting from implementing the reading campaign. They will personally experience the issues in implementing reading campaigns. The librarians may likely learn, from the students, of innovative ways to promote reading in schools.

  • HOW LONG: Between five to eight months, thereabouts.

IDEA #2: Adopt-A-Book Programme [this idea is an off-shoot of a discussion with my colleague, Li Sa]
  • WHO: School and public library

  • WHAT: Students to adopt a book, get it circulated as many times as possible in a given period. Also to obtain as many comments which would be posted to the library book blog (one permalink for each book). This could culminate in a competition to see which book gets circulated the most and attract the most comments.

  • HOW: Students can work in groups, or an inter-class activity. They will "adopt" one to three books and be able to explain why they chose those books (e.g. research in to author/ subject/ current reading trends). They will track the individual book(s) on a regular basis. They are encouraged to develop creative ways -- using physical means or social media -- to "push" the book and obtain comments. The library will host the blog posts and manage comments. Librarians will advise students how to track the books, and implement online/ off-line reading activities.

  • OUTPUT: Post-activity report by students. The report includes their reasons for choosing the book; their comments on Expected Vs. Actual results; learning points of promotional activities and results; reflections of issues and considerations in promoting reading using online/ off-line means.

  • LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students will exercise teamwork and creativity in the project. They will also be able to learn (with guidance from the librarians) on effective or not-so-effective ways to promote books. The librarians may also learn, from the students, of innovative ways to promote reading in schools.

  • HOW LONG: Between five to eight months, thereabouts.

IDEA #3: "Person-in-the-Street" Oral Histories
  • WHO: A three-way partnership with a school, the public library, and Yesterday.SG

  • WHAT: Students to interview their parents, grandparents, or strangers (who will be vetted by the library/ Yesterday.SG). Do this via video/ audio/ photos/ text. Interviews based on thematic questions like "What was school like for you?", "How did you celebrate the holidays when you were a child", "What was life like when you were 10 years old?".

  • HOW: The library/ Yesterday.SG to facilitate with information/ media literacy skills, including searching for related documents to supplement the content and research process.

  • OUTPUT: Blog posts/ Audio recordings/ Videos posted to YouTube. Content to be featured in the library Youth blog and Yesterday.SG

  • LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students to apply writing skills, as well as creative & digital skills in planning, editing and producing the content.

  • HOW LONG: Four to Six months (including training in information/ media literacy skills; student-interviewee meet-up sessions)

  • RELATED IDEAS: Kelly, Lissle, [would anyone like to interview my dad? :)]

IDEA#4 - Student-designed Library programme
  • WHO: School and the public library

  • WHAT: Students to design a library programme (including detailed plans for implementation) that imparts information literacy and/ or media literacy skills, with their peers as the target audience. The programme should not exceed 30-minutes, and would be held in the public library. At least one session is to be carried out (by the librarians, if not the students themselves).

  • HOW: Students to work with librarians in designing the programme.

  • OUTPUT: At least one session, to be conducted in the public library. The students may not necessarily be involved in the conducting of the session, but they will observe and report on the outcomes and effectiveness (e.g. participant's satisfaction survey)

  • LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students to apply creative skills in planning and producing the content. They may exercise presentation skills if they are asked to carry out/ assist in the actual programme.

  • HOW LONG: Between four to Six months to plan, implement, and report.

  • RELATED IDEAS: Read this earlier post

IDEA #5 - Students Post-Secrets Project
  • WHO: Schools, Public Libraries, International Partners

  • WHAT/ HOW/ OUTPUT: This has been elaborated at this earlier post.

  • LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students to apply their planning and organisational skills for a project that involves global participants. They will experience what it is like to work with adults and young people from different nationalities.

  • HOW LONG: Between eight to 10 months

As mentioned near the start of this post, these ideas can be totally changed in scope. The intent is to give educators an idea what can be done.

If any educator in Singapore keen to discuss, I'd be happy to arrange a meeting with your school and my colleagues.

OK, this is probably the last of my RICE 2008 series.

But the start of schools-public libraries partnership in community-based learning projects, I hope :)

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