2020 Vision: shaping the future through dialogue

I am convinced that we need to make radical changes in the way we design and integrate school libraries into our learning communities. We explored just a little of the Web 2.0 reasons for this recently at the State Library Seminars, but only began the dialogue about solutions to this new imperative.

Why did I choose 2020? This date is gaining some prominence amongst strategists – which makes me think that we should adopt this date for our planning deadlines for schools too (it does have a certain symmetry don’t you think?)

The world in the year 2020: Technology will no doubt play a huge part. However, will it contribute to the betterment of society through global, low-cost networks, unimagined efficiency and organizational transparency, or will we inhabit a scene from a dystopian film, filled with terrorist Luddites, virtual-reality addicts and a loss of control over our own innovations?

These are the hypotheses explored by Janna Quitney Anderson, assistant professor of communications and director of Internet projects at Elon University, Elon, N.C., in partnership with Lee Rainie, founding director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The two released “The Future of the Internet II”, the second installment in their series of landmark studies, two years after the first study. Surveying 746 of the most engaged Internet stakeholders, including bloggers, activists, researchers and CEOs, the two hoped to shed light on what the world of technology will be like in 2020.

The findings make interesting reading, and certainly validate the imperative for change in our schools. The study’s findings include quotations from answers to open-ended questions, detailing highly engaged Internet stakeholders’ predictions of technology’s impact on the world in 2020. Companion Web site “Imagining the Internet: A History and Forecast,” provides additional resources on the topic. The site includes video and audio interviews showcasing experts’ predictions about the next 20 to 50 years, a children’s section, tips for teachers, a searchable database of early 1990s predictions and a “Voices of the People” section for readers to post their own predictions.

It was in this context that I explored the Learning Commons (physical and virtual) construct that has become so popular in the tertiary environment. I believe it has much to offer us in schools as we shape our own futures, but we do not have a pool of ideas yet to draw on.

I moved to the idea of Knowledge Commons, as our role in schools as teachers and teacher librarians is somewhat different to the role of library staff in other sectors. Our focus is the learning environment and teaching strategies within that environment, and it is this that must drive our creative efforts for innovative change.

I wonder if such a Knowledge Commons, shaped by Creativity NOT Productivity would need to encompass the following:

  • Reading materials for pleasure and study
  • Information retrieval and critical analysis support
  • Learning activities & Social activities
  • Academic writing guidance
  • Special education learning support for all ranges
  • Information technology support – technical and design support
  • Multimedia design and production facilities
  • ‘Traditional’ bibliographic services
  • 24/7 Learning support

Rethinking Libraries of Today:
If you could redesign your school library, what would it look like?

I was particulary pleased to listen to this recent podcast.Based on a recent meeting with a librarian and an architect, Alan discusses the changing role of librarians, along with what the ideal school library might look like given the anticipated impact technology will have on teaching and learning. Listen to it carefully and imagine the outcomes in the context of our ongoing discussions.

And if you are new to the idea of Learning Communities, here are some links to explore:

Forget MySpace: Try a Little VLC
Virtual Learning Commons allows students to identify areas or subjects of interest…and then connect with others who have similar interests. It’s a great way to enhance social dialogue around learning activities.
Academic Library 2013. It should not be assumed that the academic library of 2013 will be a natural progressions from the library of today, but will be surprising and unexpected.

(The presentation.mov file is available for download on my Resources page.)

2 thoughts on “2020 Vision: shaping the future through dialogue

  1. Pingback: lauren’s library blog » links for 2007-02-28

  2. Great post! We in Idaho are doing something to merge emergent technologies and library services. Our concept is also called 2020 Vision and part of our strategy is to blog about trends, Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and encouraging libraries and staff to grow and utilize these technological tools to enhance library services: http://splat.lili.org/

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