Update – November 2016:
Our ever evolving learning commons digital footprint continues to expand. I have updated the Calgary Public Library section with a number of resources that are free to access for CBE students.
I have also worked with Mr. Morgan to come up with a plan to highlight a number of his grade 9 Nature Photography students’ pictures on our LC blog.
Ms. Svensen and I have started the “Book Boas” club. We have a dedicated team of students who will be helping out in the LC starting after Student Conferences.
Our digital contest board will soon be starting. Keep an eye open for it!
Update – October 2016:
I am very honoured to take over the supervision of our Learning Commons. As the new Learning Leader for our LC I am working hard to continue the strong work that was started by Mr. Lang and continued by Ms. Svensen.
I will be looking to continue to turn our LC into the heart of the Tom Baines community. We will continue to showcase student work and try to get students into the LC through various methods.
I look forward to updating this webpage with newer material. Stay tuned for more information.
Mr. B. Paddock
Update – February 2013:
We are incredibly excited, and much more comfortable, because we now have our ergonomically designed flex back chairs and stools as well as our cafe height tables. The most buzz around the school though has come from our new living wall that is starting to add some well needed greenery to the space and freshen the air. Students have started to explore the space with their PEDs by accessing QR codes that we created to enhance the functionality and usability of the environment.
We are in the process of creating a Wall Talker space, ordering headsets for student use, playing around with augmented reality using a free app called Aurasma, and are playing around with the idea of creating some “Maker Stations” to further students creativity and exploration into their learning.
Where we were:
Our story begins three years ago with a few ideas, some hopes, and many dreams.
We knew that we wanted to modernize our physical space to better meet the needs of our learners, but we did not fully realize how far we could go, how to get there, or where we would end up.
We had three distinct spaces separated by fixed shelving instead of one fluid and flexible space. We had blank walls surrounded by mismatched furniture and tables that forced students to sit in groupings of six. The old grey carpeting was ripped, wrinkley and had a funky smell. The infusion of technology was minimal with a small number of desktop computers, and the “Library” was only open during instructional hours which limited access for students. The space was as quiet as a sleeping boa and students rarely came into the space to work unless it was with their class.
Where we are now:
With the support of our students, staff, parents, and greater learning community, along with a gracious grant from a donor through Education Matters, we have been able to transform the way we think about learning. Our Library has been transformed into a collaborative, modern, and engaging Learning Commons.
Over the last three years we have made many physical, digital, and philosophical changes to get to where we are now. Our physical Learning Commons is now packed with excited students before school, at lunch, after school, and throughout the entire day. The scheduling system has been adapted to be more flexible and designed so that teachers can easily book variations of the physical space as well as the resources in it.
All of our floor shelving is mobile, allowing the space to be transformed into any imaginable configuration be it for small work groups or presentations that can accomodate over 250 people. The tops of the shelving are an ideal height to display and share student work. Our walls are now covered with thought-provoking images to encourage conversation and discussion. The flooring has been replaced with bright floor tiles to improve the ease at which the space can be transformed and to keep the space cleaner and healthier. A lounge area has been created in our entrance with modular lounge chairs and a lowered mobile work table. The same modular seating can also be found near the fictional print material creating another lounge environment. We have added different shapes and sizes of mobile flex tables that connect in a variety of formations to allow for individual as well as large group work spaces.
Students and teachers now have access to the many technological resources able through the Learning Commons hub including a mobile SMART Board 885ix interactive whiteboard, 32 desktop computers (located throughout the space), 2 laptops carts, digital video and still cameras, card readers, tripods, dvd players, and rechargeable batteries.
The Learning Commons is now available to our students, staff, parents, and greater learning community 24/7 through the Tom Baines Learning Community, and our Digital Learning Commons. Through these online sites we provide information and resources wherever and whenever it is needed.
Please visit the Tom Baines Learning Commons through the two interactive virtual displays below.
Front of the Learning Commons
Back of the Learning Commons
Where we are going:
We continue to strive to adapt our physical and digital Learning Commons to accomodate the ever changing needs of our learners. As part of this we have already ordered mobile stools, cafe height tables, and new ergonomically designed flex back chairs. We are working with the Tom Baines Eco League club to bring a movable living wall into the space to add some greenery and to freshen the air. There has been some talk about incorporating a reptile tank into the living wall where a boa could be housed. The wireless infrastructure throughout the school is slated to be updated to improve access for all electronic devices including those that students bring themselves.
Please come and visit us to take in and enjoy all that the Tom Baines Learning Commons has to offer.