CBC Fremantle doesn’t just have a school library – it has an Idea Shop, where reading, research and creative inquiry come to life for students in a dynamic and stimulating environment.
In the Idea Shop, students and teachers are challenged to think differently and engage more actively in the learning process. They are invited to participate in the free exchange of creative ideas and get involved in a variety of innovative learning activities. Here, they can get excited by possibilities and feel empowered to try new ideas on for size.
The College established its Idea Shop around 10 years ago, inspired by Teacher-Librarian Trevanna Cooper’s visit to the innovative Idea Stores in London’s Tower Hamlets. The Tower Hamlets project succeeded in reinventing the concept of libraries as a place where the traditional emphasis on silent, self-contained reading is replaced by a new approach centred on stimulating new ideas and using the full range of 21st century technologies to make them a reality.
Trevanna recognised this approach as a natural fit for CBC, which welcomes ideas and technologies that nurture students’ curiosity and encourage them to explore every possibility to deepen and extend their learning. The Ideas Shop provides the college community of more than 750 students and staff with an extensive, thoughtfully-curated collection of books, journals, DVDs and other resources, as well as a purpose-built film and sound room, a radio station, café, green screen, sublimation centre, story wall, calibrated wall, robots, and more!
Several years ago, CBC chose Softlink’s Oliver v5 as its library management system, as the software fulfilled their need for flexible, intuitive technology and offered an attractive interface that the students enjoy using and find easy to navigate. Recognising the potential of LearnPath, Softlink’s information curating tool for schools, they became early adopters soon after its release in 2017.
Trevanna explained how LearnPath not only complements their existing library system, but also pairs well with the innovative, hands-on approach that characterises the CBC Idea Shop.
“With LearnPath, we can showcase not only information about what the boys are studying but also how to create a podcast and other useful skills.”
She said the visual appeal of LearnPath and its ease of use made it popular with students.
Trevanna said the clear and simple format of LearnPath enabled students to approach unfamiliar tasks with confidence, as they could more easily see what processes they would need to follow to achieve their desired outcome.
“If asked to present information in a different form, e.g. a timeline or podcast, students are happy to try if they can be given clear, easy instructions.”
“Students identify what is needed more easily if they see it broken down into small chunks. LearnPath helps them to see the topic set out in individual segments.”
Trevanna said teachers at CBC had responded positively to LearnPath, and that they now viewed library staff as more actively involved in the teaching and learning process.
“LearnPath allows me to package information in an attractive way that appeals to boys and enhances their understanding of the topics they are learning about in class.”
“Once teachers have used LearnPath, they become very appreciative of the work we have done.”
She gave the example of a Year 8 Religion assignment, where the boys were required to compare features of three major religions. Using LearnPath, Trevanna was able to guide the students to successfully navigate this major research task by presenting resources in a way that made sense to them and prevented them from feeling overwhelmed.
“I colour-coded each religion with a banner and grouped everything with the same coloured banner together. The students just sailed through it!”
Trevanna said teachers valued the simplified presentation of resources that LearnPath allows.
“Teachers have welcomed the fact that students can now find information for big assignments that is presented in bite-sized chunks.”
According to Trevanna, another benefit of LearnPath is that it has led to increased collaboration.
“There’s been more opportunities for one-to-one discussions with both teachers and students. Teachers who’ve seen the guides I’ve produced have asked me to cover their subjects, too.”
Encouraged by her success with the tool to date, Trevanna said she is now considering new contexts for using LearnPath.
“I can see how LearnPath will be useful for other applications such as learning new skills, investigating new apps, step-by-step instructions and so on. There are so many possibilities.”