Supporting the Future Ready Student: The Mobile Transformation Lab

Guest blog by Leah Mann, Library Media Instructional Specialist and Jody Rentfro, Emerging Technologies Specialist from Lewisville ISD.

What will the world look like in 20 years?  No one knows, however business and scientific experts all agree that students who can solve problems, collaborate, and create within constraints are imperative members of the global workforce. The heart of a Future Ready teacher-librarian focuses on personalized student learning in an environment that fosters collaboration and aims to prepare students for the unknown. Under the guidance of our supervisor, Robin Stout, we are given the latitude to dream of a system to transform the role of instruction in school libraries.  Our focus is on individual student interests in order to expand their knowledge of career options and technologies to prepare them for jobs that may exist in the future. Our concept stems from the desire to better serve campuses in their primary goals.

A transformative instructional model preparing students for such a future…. a future they create! 

Makerspaces, STEM, and STEAM are all buzzwords describing educational approaches where the underlying pedagogy is about students owning their learning, remembering what they learned, and transferring that knowledge to address new possibilities. A design-centric classroom transcends traditional instruction by providing opportunities for all students to bring their ideas to life. We embrace the idea that libraries are evolving to meet the needs of 21st century learners by focusing on student interests within the parameters of standards-based instruction.  Our answer to this new set of challenges is the Mobile Transformation Lab.

This repository of lessons, reference materials, and emerging technologies provides a framework as we partner with the librarians, teachers, and other district curriculum specialists to create lessons built upon IDEO’s Design Thinking to foster empathy in students as they explore real-world applications. We co-teach with the staff during implementation of lessons, providing a gradual release model for the technology integration piece.

The primary areas of need in the Mobile Transformation Lab are determined by the campus, the Texas Association of School Administrator’s Visioning Document, the International Society for Technology in Education standards, Lewisville Independent School District’ s strategic design plan, and the Future Ready Librarian initiative  We rely on Robert Greenleaf’s model of servant leadership, Ruben Pentedura’s SAMR model, IDEO’s Design Thinking, and Jay McTighe’s Understanding by Design (UbD) to scaffold materials for teachers and librarians.  Our services center on helping to form a partnership between the library and classroom in order to build capacity and confidence with the use of varied technology tools, and provide assistance with curricular alignment to state and national standards.

The implementation process is as follows:

  1. Library Media Services staff meets with the campus librarian, campus teachers, campus administration, and curriculum specialists.
  2. Campus staff decides the curriculum area to be addressed, keeping the focus on the TEKS.
  3. Library Services staff researches emerging technologies to support the transformation of the lesson and designs a day of learning for the students.
  4. Campus staff creates a lesson plan written in the UbD format that embeds the recommendations from Library Media Services staff.

Library Media Services also:

  1. Connects the campus with experts and leaders in the field related to the topic of study
  2. Pre-teaches lessons about Design Thinking
  3. Provides hands-on assistance the day of instruction

Bubble 1

How does this look in practice?

In this unit example for Middle School 6th grade science, students learn about solar power, wind energy, geothermal, hydropower and biomass.  After teaching this for several years, the teacher wanted to instill a deeper understanding of the content and create a project-based unit of study focused on Design Thinking and empathy, and elevate relevance and rigor in the process.

Once the objectives and assessments for learning were identified and outlined by the classroom teacher, the project kicked into gear. Students were challenged to design a new product that not only helped others, but utilized alternative power as well. The librarian and classroom teacher collaborated on rubrics for the assessments, which were shared with students to guide their thinking and progress.

Teams were assembled after receiving direct instruction and practice in Design Thinking, and various forms of alternative power per the TEKS. Students interviewed others to build empathy and identify needs, then drafted plans for their design and brainstormed ways to build a prototype. Resources were available for them to use in class and in the library.  Many students were so engaged and excited by the project they worked together over the weekend. National and local experts in alternative power shared their knowledge with students and answered questions in person and via Skype. The library media specialist assisted with research on costs and the market viability for alternative power product designs. After a week of self-guided design and study, students presented their designs in a Shark Tank format, where judges voted for their favorite designs.

The breakdown of the shared responsibilities of the staff for this particular lesson was:

Bubble 2

  • Classroom Teacher: Project focus, TEK alignment, direct instruction of science concepts, designed UbD
  • Library Media Specialist: Provided space, facilitated the Skype with the National expert, provided library resources, initiated campus and central office partnership
  • Library Media Services Central Office Team: Taught the Design Thinking process, researched alternative Power experts to meet and Skype with the students, participated as project judges, created some printed materials for the project

If you have lessons you would like to share with the Mobile Transformation Lab, please contact us. We would love to include your resources, and will give full credit!



Future Ready Resources

Resources we share freely!

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