On May 7-9, 2012 the University of Calgary hosted the 6th Canadian Learning Commons Conference. The theme of the conference was New Media, New Fluencies and Life Skills Development: Preparing Learners for the 21st Century.
In his 2009 book, “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.” (MIT Press), Henry Jenkins talks about the skills students need to succeed: “The new literacies almost all involve social skills developed through collaboration and networking. These skills build on the foundation of traditional literacy, research skills, technical skills, and critical-analysis skills taught in the classroom.” (p. 29)
Learning Commons have established themselves as a place where students come to engage in collaborative learning by providing the spaces, technologies, information resources, and expert assistance to support that learning. We invite our colleagues to come together in Calgary to discuss recent developments in Learning Commons services.
As institutions of higher learning strive to meet the expectations of 21st century learners, how has Learning Commons evolved?
What is the role of the Learning Commons in enhancing student engagement, retention and success?
■What are new developments in the physical, social and technical environment of the Commons?
■What services are being offered in Learning Commons to cultivate the development of collaboration, networking and other life skills?
■What new programs are we offering to ensure the development of fluencies for the creation of knowledge using new media?
■How are we integrating data resources into Learning Commons Services?
■How are we expanding upon the traditional collaborations between learning support units, libraries and IT to include teaching support units, instructors and students in the development and delivery of Learning Commons services?
■What recent innovations in the use of technologies to support learning have we incorporated into the Learning Commons?
■What have we done to create a culture of respect for diverse learning styles within the Learning Commons?