Creating a Virtual Library Classroom Tool for Digital Age Youth

Serina Patterson

Abstract


In 2001, education writer Marc Prensky noted that “today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors”. With the rise of web 2.0 applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and Del.icio.us, today’s youth live in an online world increasingly marked by consistent, fragmented discussion. These applications re-configure traditional concepts of information flow and enable new systems of understanding our world. Using these interactive environments, new knowledge surfaces from various channels: peer2peer, cross-platform communication (such as cell phone to computer messaging), and spontaneous dialogue through blogs, twitter, email, instant messaging, and discussion groups. While some online learning environments, such as Moodle, have adopted some features of these applications, numerous online classroom tools have resisted the shift to increasingly decentralized knowledge platforms. Through the construction of current web 2.0 features in a virtual library classroom tool entitled SD62’s Online Library – a website I built specifically for a project that studies the impact of digital technologies (i.e. e-Readers) on digital age youth – the aim of my paper is to illustrate how the changing learning practices of today’s digital age youth can serve as conceptual foundations for enhancing online classroom tools. By focusing on concepts of interactivity, connectivity, and accessibility, I will argue that SD62’s Online Library showcases the Radical Change Theory first theorized by Eliza Dresang, as well as highlights alternate approaches to online learning. The virtual learning space does not eliminate the classroom, but rather acts as a facilitator to connect with new knowledge. The website was developed as part of a pilot project led by Ray Siemens at the University of Victoria.

Keywords


learning environments, pedagogy, application, web 2.0, social network, digital age youth, web design, SD62's Online Library, Radical Change Theory

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