The purpose of this page is to provide examples of holistic instructional strategies involving information technology in any learning environment. Rather than solely focusing on objectives, assessment outcomes and a heirarchy of subject matter, which are important, the role of the Teacher-Librarian is to help learners focus more on building new questions, resources, ideas and knowledge together surrounding enduring themes. The following section will discuss holistic learning strategies including knowledge building, makerspaces, inquiry based learning and content curation.
Holistic Learning in the Library Learning Commons
Librarianship is about providing holistic learning opportunities for all learners. 
The Learning Commons represents a holistic model of the traditional library. It’s purpose is to foster collaborative engagement to cultivate and empower communities of learners. The role of the Learning Commons is essential to supporting diverse communities of learners in flexible ways. 
The purpose of Librarianship goes much deeper than the provision of resources. It goes beyond access to information, and toward helping learners know how to find information, how to use it, and how to do this in authentic and holistic ways. Information Technology is a reality of our world, and our students need to understand how to harness its power to follow their own inquiries, build new knowledge, and use information in meaningful ways. 
Please check out this video introducing the Together for Learning document from the Ontario Library Association: 

YouTube Video


The Library Learning Commons (LLC) is a constructivist environment where skills and strategies including Knowledge Building is facilitated. 


Knowledge Building

Knowledge Building is an essential learning process in the 21st century. The Learning Commons provides a framework for knowledge building. 21st Century information technologies facilitate this knowledge building process for our learners in holistic ways. Effective use of information technology increases the potential for global connections and opportunities for collaboration and learning. The Learning Commons fosters a holistic knowledge building process with 21st century technologies.
Today, our young learners appear to be very savvy with technology. However, this does not mean that they understand the knowledge building processes with information technology. The Learning Commons is essential to helping students to enhance their critical thinking, reflection and metacognition skills.


Makerspaces offer holistic ways of integrating information technologies in innovative ways. In a makerspace, learners can be creative and collaborative. This is a safe place where learners can truly explore new ideas, and engage in meaningful activities including, but not limited to, the following:
  • Blogging reflections & Book Reviews
  • Book Trailers on iMovie
  • Twitter accounts for characters in a book
  • Publishing stories and poetry into an eBook
  • Newsletters & website dedicated to authors and books, characters too!
  • Apps and programs including ‘Explain Everything’, ‘Haiku Deck’; Google Docs & iBooks where students can explain what they are doing in math to teach another group of kids, or show to their parents.
  • Publish work anonymously
  • Robotics
  • 3D printing
  • Stop Motion Animation
  • Use of various presentation formats to demonstrate a continuum of learning
  • Drama Presentations turned into iMovies with Greenscreen
  • Skype with an author
  • Lego
  • Coding
  • Research
  • Create infographics, or other visual representations of data and information in books and about books
  • Create and record music soundtracks
  • Podcasts

Inquiry Based Learning

Inquiry Based Learning is yet another holistic learning strategy that can be linked with informational technology to support learning goals.

Building a foundation and a framework for literacy cannot be prescribed. It needs to be built in its own holistic way, with authentic strategies that connect with prior experiences and knowledge. 

1. Start with the Big Idea. 

As educators we start with the Big Idea or topic. This helps to provide a flexible framework that our learners can work within. However, flexibility and autonomy are key. As we move away from prescribed programs, we see that we need to engage learners in authentic situations that connect back to the big idea. As an educator, we introduce Big Ideas and do mini-lessons, then we provide students with active learning opportunities that promote the learning of skills and concepts. The OLA Together for Learning document outlines key concepts for helping students to take ownership of their own learning processes and engage in rich learning opportunities for deep learning and thinking with their peers, based on where they need to be.

The role of an educator is to help learners hone their questions in ways that connect to the big ideas, make predictions and create the learning tasks that build on prior learning and knowledge. Big ideas and expectations can be clustered together from across the curriculum as they relate to the big idea. Further, it provides students with multiple entry points into learning. 

2. Information Literacy
The students learn to gather information from a variety of sources, particularly digital sources, and learn how to effectively record this information with new tools ie., Google Apps for Education (GAFE), and culling work samples for their ePortfolios.

But we must go deeper. Throughout the process the thinking is extended, challenged, and modelled in ways that make the thinking visible. Further, we continue to encourage sharing and opportunities for self and peer assessment.

3. Making Conclusions

As learners discover patterns, draw patterns, confirm or disprove hypotheses, the role of the Librarian is to help learners to clarify and extend their thinking. Students can gain opportunities to demonstrate understanding, skills and knowledge in new ways that are authentic and meaningful. 

4. Collaboration: 

Collaboration is essential while engaging in inquiry. When learners have opportunities to talk and ‘bounce ideas’ off of each other, they have an inherent ability (with expert facilitation) to figure out exactly where they need to be in their learning with each other. Learners are encouraged to share their ideas together and engage in peer assessment. 

5. Sharing

Sharing is a key component of the learning process. Not only is this a way to make learning visible, but also provides opportunities for differentiation and multiple entry points for learning. Learners also gain key opportunities to choose how they will represent their learning to others, and then extend their learning to new contexts and learning opportunities, both inside and outside of the learning environment. 

Regardless of the holistic strategy we are engaging in, content curation is a necessary digital skill for educators and learners alike. 

Content Curation for Information Literacy

Content Curation is a necessary skill in today’s world. This is a key component of holistically using information and effectively integrating information technology for our own purposes. The tools that is used depends on the goals of the learner or facilitator. 
What Tools to Pick?
    Diagram created by: Deborah McCallum, 2015, Copyright
With this in mind, we can turn our attention to how we can harness these information technologies to support learning in innovative and beneficial ways:

Benefits of Holistically Integrating Information Technology

  • Safe ways to publish student work
  • Motivation for students to get their work done knowing that they can work on it using technology
  • Feelings of Pride and accomplishment for seeing a Published piece of work
  • Sharing with Parents
  • Opportunities for students to teach other students
  • Enrichment Opportunities
  • Knowledge consolidation
  • Creativity and Imagination
  • Differentiation
  • Collaboration and support from other people in the school
  • Gives student work new purposes
  • Transfer ideas to other different classrooms with students teaching other students about new tools they learn about
  • Inspiring new types of learning
  • Ongoing feedback that Teachers can use for formative assessment and evaluation:
  • Assessment For, and OF learning
  • Reinforcing the learning process
Please take a moment to engage in this reflection of your learning from this site:
Google Form for Reflection

Now you can go forth and create something similar for your own situation or learning environment! Here are some tips and resources to help:

Build your own Google Site!

Use this information to help you get your own Google Site started! Create a safe website to share your own work. Remember, no pictures or identifying information please!
Would you like to create your own Google Sites Website to share and publish your amazing work?? Here is how:
  • You need to have a Gmail address to own your own site.
  • From your Gmail account, notice that there are various tabs at the top linking you to various Google applications.  You will need to find the MORE tab, the scroll don to EVEN MORE and then find the tab for SITES
  • Once in sites, you will be given the opportunity to create your own site using one of Google’s templates. 
  • When you find the template you are interested in, select it, rename it for you, and then type in the authorization code from the picture at the bottom.
  • Cheer!  You have your own template.  You are its owner.  Now you can erase anything we have and begin adding your own material.
  • To edit the site, you should see the pencil at the upper right of the screen.
  • You will also see the MANAGE tab.  Go in here and under general near the bottom, click on the box that allows your website to be seen on any device.  That way, iPad users and cell phone users can enter it in addition to finding it on a computer connected to the Internet.

YouTube Video



Effective Library & Resource Management

Important resources for running an effective Learning Commons.



21st Century Technology

Assessment and Evaluation

Professional Learning Networks

Professional Learning Communities

Media Awareness

Policies & Procedures




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