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Monday, June 6, 2016

Divergent Thinking with a Paper Clip

I had never heard of the paper clip test before, "How many ways can you use a paperclip?".

This is an animation of a well known Sir Ken Robinson talk. It emphasises how we beat the curiosity out of our students as they move through school.

While chatting over the dinner table, my hubby recounted a similar joke/myth about an interview question at Microsoft dealing with a giraffe and a refrigerator.

It is all about thinking outside the box.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thoughts on Self Check out in Learning Commons

Discussions have surfaced yet again about self checkouts in school library or learning commons environments. Being a technology nut, I love the idea of using technology such as this and giving students autonomy in their interactions and learning. However, over the last few years my views have changed.

In our school we do not have self checkout or check in. Students need to approach the circulation desk if they wish to borrow and we have the traditional returns chutes, although many like to hand books back to us and talk about whether they liked or disliked them.

When a student checks a book out of our collection we can:
  • Affirm their choices "This is a great book", "Once you finish this one, read that one"
  • Converse with them about books they have read "What did you think of this book?"
  • If they return their books to the circulation desk we can ask them what they thought of it and if they liked it or would recommend another book.
There is so much perceived anonymity in what our students do online, is it in their best interests to allow them to be anonymous when borrowing from a school collection?

Public Libraries love self check out because at the end of the day, they are not investing in the learning of their clients. But as a Learning Commons, our goal is to encourage recreational reading and make it a positive and fulfilling experience.

I recently read an article which supports my views about encouraging student reading. Willingham (2015) talks about the importance of engagement in the reading process and the role of the teacher in this skill development.


Willingham, Daniel T. "For the Love of Reading Engaging Students in a Lifelong Pursuit." American Educator 6.2015 (2015): 7.