When it comes to addressing the American Association of School Librarian Standards (AASL), it can feel overwhelming to figure out how to integrate them into your lesson planning.
Luckily, we’ve covered some of the groundwork for you and provided ideas that you can use in the classroom today!
Here, we’re going to look specifically at AASL standard C.III, which is Share ( C) and Collaborate (III).
Integrating Sharing and Collaborating into Your Classroom
For this learning framework, the librarian or media specialist needs to explicitly teach communication strategies spanning questioning, listening, negotiation, and compromise.
Scaffolding collaboration is achieved by establishing groups, roles within those groups, norms and goals, and allowing groups to become more independent as they develop their skills.
Finally, a public practice should be established for sharing work with teachers and peers, and, in the process, develop greater connections and relationships with faculty, staff and peers.
With the formalities of what this AASL code entails, now let’s actually break this down into actionable steps that you can take in your lesson planning and delivery.
Applying C.III in Library and Media Lessons
One of the easiest entry points for covering this AASL standard is to leverage something almost all students will be native to - the digital age. Competency C.III centers on collaboration and sharing, so why not focus on the importance of sharing knowledge and collaboration with others in the digital world? This competency aligns perfectly with the interactive nature of modern education and these are some ways you can integrate C.III:
Promoting Digital Citizenship
Let’s face it, it’s a jungle out there with students faced with a barrage of (mis/dis)information and influence from positive and negative sources. In promoting digital citizenship, we can teach students about responsible online behavior, copyright laws, and proper citation practices. We can also incorporate discussions on the ethical use of information and the implications of sharing and collaborating in digital spaces.
An explanation I like to use with students is this: Would you put it on a billboard, and would your mom be proud of what you said? While freedom to express lies at the heart of the Constitution, it comes with responsibility too. Just because you can say something, doesn’t mean that you should!
Ways you can promote digital citizenship in your lessons can include:
- Research and discussion on digital etiquette
- Discussion and sharing of cyberbullying
- Explaining and demonstrating online safety
- Organize debates or discussions on ethical dilemmas related to online sharing and collaboration.
Virtual Collaboration Tools
The internet is all about sharing. So this is the perfect opportunity to introduce students to various digital tools and platforms that facilitate collaborative projects. Platforms like Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, and Padlet allow students to work together on projects, share resources, and provide feedback in real time.
Ways that you can explore virtual collaboration tools include:
- Hosting a virtual book club where students can discuss assigned readings or their favorite books in an online discussion platform, like Discord. You can create your own server and monitor the discussions this way.
- Collaborative editing is a hugely fun and creative activity. Assign a writing project where students work together to create a document, report, or a story using a platform like Google Docs. You can track the version history to see how things evolve, and students can comment and edit the document as needed.
Collaborative Project-based Learning
The joy of collaboration is that no two individuals are the same. Each person brings something to the table. The skill is in figuring out how to get the best out of each person. Well-crafted collaborated project-based learning hinges on designing projects and activities that require students to collaborate on research, creation, and presentation of content. Encourage them to make use of their diverse skills and perspectives to contribute to a collective understanding of a topic.
Ways you can bring collaborative project-based learning into your lessons include:
- Assigning a research project on a global issue, such as immigration, global climate change, gender or social equality, human rights, etc. Students are then required to gather information, analyze the data, and create a multimedia presentation. Students can use Google Slides, Powerpoint, or Apple Keynote.
- Encourage students to create a collaborative wiki page on a historical event, scientific concept, or literary work.
Forming Global Connections
Technology in the last decade has surged to connect people all over the world. Just think about the success of Facebook and its origins as a site designed to share and build connections. Use technology to connect students with peers from around the district, state, country, or even the world. Virtual pen-pal programs, video conferences, and collaborative research projects can help students to develop a global perspective and enhance their cross-cultural communication skills.
How to integrate global connections into your lessons:
- Arrange video conferences with students from other schools or even different countries to discuss shared topics of projects. If this is a challenge, you can find fellow educators who can be interviewed by the students to achieve their assignment goals.
- Initiate a digital pen-pal exchange program where students can learn about different cultures and share their experiences.
In conclusion, the integration of AASL Competency C.III – Sharing and Collaborating – into school library lessons represents a pivotal step toward preparing students for success in the interconnected and digitized world of the 21st century. By embracing the principles of responsible digital citizenship and harnessing the power of virtual collaboration tools, school librarians can cultivate a rich learning environment that nurtures critical thinking, empathy, and effective communication.
Through the promotion of digital etiquette and discussions on ethical online behavior, students gain a heightened awareness of their digital footprint and the lasting impact of their interactions in the digital realm. Engaging them in collaborative project-based learning not only hones their teamwork skills but also exposes them to diverse perspectives, enhancing their ability to work harmoniously in an increasingly globalized society.
The utilization of virtual collaboration platforms fosters a seamless exchange of ideas and resources, enabling students to co-create knowledge that extends beyond the confines of the classroom. By facilitating connections with peers from different cultures and backgrounds, school librarians expand students' horizons and enrich their understanding of the world, laying the foundation for them to become informed global citizens.
In embracing Competency C.III, school librarians become catalysts for transformation, empowering students to navigate the digital landscape responsibly and confidently. By guiding them through the intricacies of sharing, collaborating, and engaging with others online, educators instill not only practical skills but also a deep appreciation for the values of respect, empathy, and the responsible use of technology. As these students become active participants in the digital discourse, they carry forward the lessons of Competency C.III, fostering a digital society characterized by collaboration, inclusivity, and a shared commitment to the greater good.