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A Project of the Educational Technology & Media Program at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU)

Welcome to your Virtual Media Center and Learning Commons

The school library, as we once knew it, may no longer be relevant. School librarians/media specialists, as we once knew them, may no longer be relevant. And, yet, this is undoubtedly the most exciting time in history to be a librarian. For the first time , we are moving from a time of information scarcity to one of information abundance. We can define why libraries are necessary even when information is often “free” online!

Libraries need to change from places just to get stuff to places to make stuff, do stuff, and share stuff. It is time for us to stop being the copyright heavy. It means becoming an expert in the new rules. Those new rules include helping teachers and learners take full advantage of fair-use provisions.

For many students, the impact of technology on everyday life is no surprise. They connect with their friends via e-mail, instant messaging and chat rooms online; search the Web to explore their interests; express themselves fluently using new media; learn with educational software; play video and computer games in virtual realities; manipulate digital photos; go behind the scenes on DVDs; channel surf on television; and chat on and take photographs with cell phones. Through the media, they identify with their peers in the global culture through music, games, toys, fashion, animation and movies.

Today, technology makes it possible to bring the world into the classroom and to get students out into the world with “virtual” outreach and excursions into the physical world. Technology also makes it possible to change the dynamic between students and teachers, allowing students to pursue topics in depth and, at times, become experts in charge of their own learning. Good searching is not just about using Google, accessing databases, or teaching Boolean logic. It’s about teaching how to search and evaluate information coming from wikis, blogs, Twitter, and whatever comes next. It’s about understanding and using tags, about sharing and harnessing the power of a wide variety of information feeds. It’s about teaching how to aggregate RSS feeds, to gather useful widgets, and to create personal information portals. Librarians must reinvent themselves and stay ahead of the digital natives they are teaching by creating a 21st century context for learning.
Librarians are the agents of these exciting changes.

Roles and places may be changing. But what is still the same? It is the LEARNING! A learning that has evolved to include technology and 21st Century skills and resources, one that involves more discovery, exploration, and a lot of creativity.

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