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College Library Enters New Era

August 14, 2013 at 2:56 PM

A visionary concept in academic learning spaces opened in June this year, breathing new life into the library and former administration block at the College. The new Learning Commons is a technology-rich environment with a variety of study spaces that can be adapted to suit teaching and learning across all subjects and year levels.

‘The key driver was to make it innovative, accessible, flexible, and multi-purpose which is perfect for differentiated work groups, collaboration and team teaching,’ says Head of Library and e-Learning, Alison Derbyshire.

The original concept of the Learning Commons was to develop a fresh thinking initiative that promotes best teaching and learning practice.

Year 7-13 teachers can book the flexible use facility and use it as a classroom, collaborative space, performance space or for self-directed learning. The large open space with customised furniture means that teachers have the option of moving the furniture around to suit their teaching needs and tailor to their class requirements.

Desks can be set up in traditional classroom rows, or group work stations can be conjoined to allow for better discussions. Students can choose from the high table seating or chill out style next to the windows on the relaxed lounge suites.

‘The comfortable design of the seating caters to different types of learning preferences and also allows for better teamwork as the students are more focussed,’ says Ms Derbyshire.

The development at the College reflects Saint Kentigern’s commitment to engaging in the digital society and providing the best and most relevant teaching and learning practice to prepare students for life in the 21st century.

It has been a team vision for the space over the last three years and many people have been involved  who strive for all students to build a strong sense of achievement, resilience, and motivation to engage with future learning which this initiative will foster.

The open plan learning environment enables the teaching staff to learn from each other as well.

‘Whenever a teacher comes in with their class I always learn something new,’ Ms Derbyshire adds, ‘their feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and the venture has been such a success.’ 

The latest technology specifically features Toshiba and Apple Mac touch screen desktops, Microsoft Windows 8 operating systems, an interactive projector and wireless headsets and display screens for audio recordings and movie viewings.

The Library and Learning Commons is also the base for Ms Derbyshire and Professional Learning Coordinator, Tabitha Leonard who oversees Professional Development for teachers. Both are then on-site to offer assistance and advice to students and teachers in the use of the space.

This was the original foresight the Library Committee had for the space, the inclusion of e-Learning and Professional Development leadership, and the team say it has been great to see it come into being.

Along with Ms Derbyshire and Ms Leonard, the Commons is supported by the valued work of the College librarians Anita Vandenberghe, Janice Nye and Lesley Verryt who work in the main library which is situated alongside the learning space.

The building is open from 7.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, when students can use the space to study before and after school and at lunch break, which has been full since its opening. Year 13 students are able to utilise the space during study periods and always have somewhere to study, as there is a designated area just for senior students.

Other bookable rooms in the space include two seminar rooms for student use such as project work, practice presentations, council and student meetings.

The finishing touches will be added to the building in December 2013 when the outside garden area will be decked to maximise all the space available.

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