Not alone!

Photo by Anna Samoylova on Unsplash

As I was going through all the readings, I was wondering about the relationships that we develop at the library in which collaborative learning is happening. Obviously, my main focus goes on students. And, the challenge to be less vertical and more horizontal encouraging them to lead their own learning experience.

As a librarian, we wear many hats at the school. Our roles change according to the audience and the purpose of the sessions. One day, we can be leading a Professional Development session. Another day, we can be working with a group of students. We need to adapt our role according to the scenario and merge our goals with teachers’ and students’ goals. As Cornell University clearly explains, learning experiences  that

” … are active, social, contextual, engaging, and student-owned lead to deeper learning”

All this time, I have applied different strategies to promote collaboration between students, librarian-student, and teacher-students. The outputs are different according to the groups but most of the time, satisfactory and encouraging life-long learning skills and independence. However, I should mention that one of my biggest challenges is to collaborate with teachers. Sometimes, we cooperate more than collaborate.

These days, I was reading Sarah Crary article about collaboration between teachers and librarians, I could identify two reasons:

  • Time: teachers have many duties
  • Teamwork: who should be in charge of Information literacy? only teachers? only librarians? both together?

We need the strong support of the administrators to encourage collaboration. Opening spaces of dialogue and exchange because collaboration is teamwork.

Getting started

For this post, I decided to use a structured learning activity with a group of Primary Division students (specifically grade 6) related to ‘Digital citizenship’ in two sessions of approx. 45 minutes. 

Session 1:

I wanted to know their previous knowledge about the topic and if they were active in social media. So I display two posters with a question:

My preferred Social Media platform is…

Unexpectedly surprised to see that the students are not so involved in Social Media. Most of them chat on Hand-outs, watch videos on Youtube but do not have a channel or an account. And only two students are on Instagram with the authorization of their parents. 

What does ‘Digital footprints’ mean? 

Some students got an idea!

Then, I showed them the video: What’s in your digital footprint? (

and we have a discussion based on the video with the routine: See, think and wonder

Students shared their opinions based on 3 questions :

  • What do you see? => I see …
  • What do you think about that? => I think… 
  • What does it make you wonder? => I wonder…

As a conclusion of the discussion, I can say that the students didn’t really know about their footprints on the internet. They believed that just because an account is private, they were free to share everything without any consequence. They started to think about their role when they share information on Hangouts. Therefore, they wonder about consequences that can affect them in the future.

“All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall.”
Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers

Session 2:

I started with a question:

Who is your favorite Superhero?

I used the Think, pair, share routine. Students have 1.5 minutes to think about a Superhero that they admired. Then, they found a peer (the one that is next to them) and shared the reasons why they have chosen that particular Superhero.  Then, in small groups, they shared their Superheroes.

After that, I showed them the video ‘Super Digital citizen’ by Common sense.

And, I invited the students to form two groups. They chose their members and broke up in a group of 5 and a group of 6. 

Later, each group got an IPAD and they have the following task:

  • Create a Super Digital Superhero
  • Describe his/her characteristics
  • Draw it!
Group A
Group B


Use only one IPAD per group was the best decision to promote collaboration. They discussed, assigned roles and shared responsibilities, leading their own learning. They also decided to use the tablet-table available at the library (the screen is really big!) to draw their Superhero.

Even one group, use a pencil as a sign to identify who will talk. Students were holding the pencil while talking and the others listen and do not interrupt.

Time to draw!

Are you a school librarian? A teacher? How are you working toward learning collaborative experiences??

Leave a Reply