Bec in the library

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

Study visit: Melbourne Museum Discovery Centre (DC) August 6, 2014

Yet another Melbourne gem that lay hidden from my prying eyes during university and my first year of teaching!

The DC is an absolute treasure trove, full of exciting hands on learning based on and around the Museum’s main collection. My four year old and almost two year old were transfixed with all the choices on offer – animal skeletons, ancient coins, insects in amber that could be studied under the microscope and so much more!

Truthfully, so was I. The more I think about it, the more I want my own library to be very similar to the DC. I absolutely loved how interactive each of the mini exhibits were. Patrons could use all five senses to explore objects then within a handspan, they had a collection of books and a list of websites where they could find out more. All that was needed was an iPad at each exhibit so that patrons could search immediately and it would tick all the boxes for inquiry learning.

Couldn’t you just imagine pairs of kids side by side investigating an animal skull by rolling it around in their hands, using the microscope to examine it in minute detail. One of the kids would have a question so could just swipe the iPad on, head to a database (maybe PebbleGo or WorldBook Animals) and start searching for an answer using some keywords (that were helpfully posted within the exhibit). Oh, the possibilities give me goosebumps!

More about the Discovery Centre

The MVDC is run in conjunction with the Discovery Centre at the Immigration Museum.

The variety of information requests is incredible, from genealogy to random insect identification – the staff list this diversity as the highlight of their working day.

To aid in easy partnerships with other libraries such as State Library of Victoria, and to reduce cost, the DC use Voyager as their LMS.

Much of the artefacts in the DC are not catalogued in any way as they are not deemed of historical value.

The DC staff’s constant Tweeting and blogging provide additional promotion for existing patrons.

Will and Charlie examine the coin collection.

Will and Charlie examine the coin collection.

Will is mightily impressed with the old coins.

Will is mightily impressed with the old coins.

Will loved helping colour the replica Aztec calendar.

Will loved helping colour the replica Aztec calendar.

MVDC - more coins!

Will was fascinated by the 'station' where he could view the preserved insects under the microscope.

Will was fascinated by the ‘station’ where he could view the preserved insects under the microscope.

Will couldn't get enough of this artefact station.

Will couldn’t get enough of this artefact station.

This small book collection is  provided by the Museum to complement the artefact collection but is rarely used.

This small book collection is provided by the Museum to complement the artefact collection but is rarely used.

This is an example of what a typical artefact station looks like.

This is an example of what a typical artefact station looks like.

Patrons can use the internet and the MV website to find out more.

Patrons can use the internet and the MV website to find out more.

 

Inquiry and PBL April 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — becinthelibrary @ 12:59 am
Tags: , , ,

I admit that I skipped much of this module as this topic is something I have lived and breathed my entire teaching career. Working as an IB PYP educator, and having a basis in inquiry driven primary teaching at home in Aus, this concept comes naturally to me. I actually have trouble understanding how else to teach. Throughout my learning and teaching lifetime, I have been blessed with mentors – both colleagues, peers and professors – who have facilitated my own inquiry learning, making me a better teacher and person.

I strongly believe in the PYP framework and the methodology employed within that framework. I have seen children of all abilities, nationalities, religions and races learn to collaborate in order to push their learning further. Teaching and learning within the framework of concept based education has been challenging – it adds a different dimension to inquiry/PBL – but worth it overall when you see the connections kids can make.

However, and this is a HUGE however, kids will only flourish with inquiry/PBL when they have teachers who genuinely UNDERSTAND what inquiry means and are willing to give HUGE amounts of time and effort to scaffold students.

Inquiry DOESN’T mean a free for all, it DOESN’T mean students do whatever they like, and it DOESN’T mean it’s airy fairy stuff where teachers just kick back and let it all happen.

TRUE inquiry needs strong planning, lots of collaboration, very clear expectations (for students and teachers) of the process needed to get to the end product, skills to differentiate for learning styles and abilities, extensive skill teaching of questioning and info literacy, an ability and willingness to participate in the think-act-reflect cycle (students and teachers) and most of all, TEACHERS or TLs who hold outcomes and standards in the back of their minds whenever they plan and teach a lesson.

Tell me how all this is EASIER than rote teaching and I’ll hang up my teaching hat right now.

 

 
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