Librarian Rhonda Eberst wanted to create a space, along with the help of her students at Summit Elementary, that would engage, fascinate, and inspire her students. So, she enlisted in their help and transformed it into a “Living Library”. Using history as the setting, they created stations within the space that allowed students to experience, question, and explore the ways in which technology has shaped 21st century learning.
If you’re thinking about designing your own media space, consider replicating these ideas:
- Exploration Stations – Creative play inspires intellectual, emotional, social, and physical benefits. Eberst wanted to design an area that stimulated literacy skills as well, so she created tables full of items for students to touch and explore. She chose items that would give a variety of experiences and that would open up a new world of creative play. They included: old cameras, a manual typewriter, and a video camera for imaginative play. Explorative play feeds curiosity and inquiry, and can be done simply on a table in a library.
- Innovation Gallery – This hallway space next to the library is devoted to STEM. Students create and display engineering, robotics, and Lego Club creations.
- Principal’s Gallery – Eberst created a team of students who met with the principal to design this space. Exemplar student work is showcased here.
- Kitchen Gallery – A team of students designed a Kitchen Gallery outside the entrance to the kitchen. Vintage kitchen tools are on display for students to examine and explore.
- Staff Gallery – Curators created an exhibit to promote the staff. By way of a survey, students were able to obtain teacher information and will write brief biographies and photograph the staff.
- STEM Gallery – A museum devoted to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Items like Lincoln Logs, old blocks, and vintage tinker toys are here.
While some of these exhibits will continue to evolve, traditional pieces, such as a vintage telephone book, a hand-cranked projector, a record player, and a switchboard will remain. Students will video their collection to document their pieces and host an Open House for seniors to be interviewed about these memories of the past. The videos will then be displayed so patrons can hear first-hand experiences.
The new media space reaches far beyond the library and influences other ares of learning. Classrooms are jumping on board, displaying their own gallery of student learning, and other schools are learning via online partnerships.
Bring your media space vision to life and let your students be their own curators. Ignite their curiosity, creativity, and confidence, building skill that they will take far beyond the classroom.
When a visiting high school student came to see the library, Eberst said he stood in the library, held up his cell phone and realized, “Everything you have in here, I can do on my phone.” Her response? “This is what came before, this is how life has changed. Now, how can you change the future?”
It only takes imagination.
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