Sunday, May 2, 2010

Upcycling, Bricolage and Librarianship

Today I learned a new term, "upcycling."Upcycling is taking waste and making it into something that has equal or greater use or value. Upcycling maintains or improves the quality of the original materials.

In considering this concept, I was reminded of another interesting word.

Bricolage means to "make creative and resourceful use of whatever materials are to hand (regardless of their original purpose)." This art form was mentioned by Sylvia Martinez in her Tinkering workshop at EduCon, where she imagined a place and a time for people - both teachers and students - to experiment, re-imagine, and invent as part of the educational process.

On Friday, I was privileged to hear Ross Todd speak about "The Essential Pieces" for school librarianship. Dr. Todd emphasized that librarians must rethink, redefine, and recast both their role in, and their vision for, school libraries.

He challenged us to discard our dearly-held notion that the library is the hub or heart of a district and to seek ways to enable students to actively engage with learning wherever, whenever, and however that occurs.

Another key point that Dr. Todd made was that librarians need to TEACH, to initiate as well as collaborate, to be able to show evidence of the type of quality teaching that has been proven to have a key effect on student learning.

The library, he warned us, can't just be about "stuff."

To use my new vocabulary, the library has to provide the tools and space to upcycle information, to improve the quality of the original material. It has to facilitate the process of bricolage: creation and invention, through tinkering, without penalty for failure.

Library as an intellectual play center...library as experimental information zone...librarians as learning enablers...

Ross Todd challenged his audience to "Turn on the Light." If we don't heed his call to action, it is our students who will be condemned to stumbling blindly into the future. And we (the teacher/librarians) will be, with some justification, cast out into the darkness.

"Process without knowledge outcome is useless." -Ross J. Todd

“Where lights converge” by sanjibm


Ms. Gibson said...

What a beautiful blog you have here Diane.
Ross Todd always inspires me to aim higher.

diane said...

Thanks. It was such a pleasure to meet you in person. Just think of what our PLN might accomplish if we share a common vision!

teacherninja said...

Lovely post, thanks.

diane said...

Glad you could stop by :-)