Learning Resource Centers
Information and communication development opportunities and information flow are the big challenges dedicated review most of educational questions, whether from theoretical frames or material facilitations. School libraries are considered one of the most important, if not say the most important, within educational facilities, where educational theory across with material structure. And the need to develop school libraries becomes very urgent need to convoy the wide diversity in Information resources and their passages from one side and the new, teachers and students roles from another side. Among this view, came the project of learning centers to raise school libraries into International and technical level.
A school utility driven by a qualified specialist. It contains several information resources and their techniques, which the teacher directly deals to acquire searching skills of information, analyze and evaluate in order to build a new knowledge and experience, then develop them using several learning methods. It also provides services to, facilitate the useful for both teaching and learning.
Learning resources centers are not a new concept, they were known since 1960s when started the transition from traditional school libraries into resource centers which offer services for teachers and students. It is contains not only printed materials, but with all other communication means to give a concentration of facilitates to support self-learning methods. This view encourages educational trends, ruled in mid of 1960s and 1970s, whereas these are the methods of self-learning, from programmed learning and learning for mastery and learning throughout audio media to passing earliest beginnings to employ computer in learning process. And, information technology and teaching and learning theories have added a new dimension into learning resources centers concept.
Reasons of establishing Resources Centers
- The strong connection between learning resources and method, and passing away supporting and cultural general role of school libraries into essential, accurately planned, role to achieve the method and its purposes.- The book and printed material become not the only information resource.- Development of educational theories, international tends to self learning, taking in account differences of individuals, make the learner the axis of educational process, and the teacher role change into a leader and facilitator of learning process.- Learning Resources Centers concentrate on amalgamation of resources, information and communication technologies with educational practices inside centers.
- Definition the goals of learning resources centers programs, with and implemented, evaluated plan to achieve these goals.- Center activities planning and to amalgamate them with school educational program.- Establishing a balanced group that contains printed and non-¬printed educational and learning materials supporting curriculum.- School man-power development through continuous training during the period of teachers service and ensuring technical resources, and notify them about new materials, and sharing with them in decision making processes related to resources purchasing.- Presenting consultation services in the educational techniques field and teaching methods.- Ensuring educational techniques production requirements and acquainting about methods of their production and amalgamating them into educational curricula.- Make the periodical maintenance for materials and educational instruments available in the center.- Encourage students on self-learning.
Learning resources center's general aim is to ensure learning educational suitable environment that allows learner benefit from any kind of learning resources, gives him self-learning opportunities, reinforces searching and exploration skills and allows teacher to follow up effective methods when designing lesson material, develop it, implement and evaluate.
Learning resources centers, material ingredients
A) Self-learning auditorium:Self-learning auditorium should facilitate access to all kind of information resources: printed, depending on learning instrument and computerized resources. Then this auditorium should be available, attractive and suitable for student of all grades. Self-learning auditorium includes the following:- Reception and visitors serving area, cataloguing, borrowing and- management.- Reading and perusal area.- Self-learning area (using several resources)- Electronic learning area- Area when can be maintained learning resources (printed and not printed)- Catalogues area (using computer)
B) Group-learning auditorium:The most important characterizing this auditorium is: it has a various equipments and uses, whereas available projectors depend on computer, radio or live presentation through digital camera. There is available, also, flexible furniture which can be reshaped to suit all kind of group and cooperative learning. And it also prepared for simple designing and production of educational materials and several media.
Educational resources are considered as most important element of the center, and without it the center cannot achieve its main role. Building and developing collections to be made according to specific policy, made and adapted in order to satisfy center's goals. This policy should ensure the building and development of integrated collection that can help and enrich educational curricula.
Learning resources center specialist's role
As a teacher, the library media specialists works with students and other members of the learning community to analyze learning and information needs, to locate and use resources that will meet those needs, and to understand and communicate the information the resource provides. The library media specialist is knowledgeable about current research on teaching and learning and skilled in applying its findings to a variety of situations - particularly those that call upon students to access, evaluate, and use information from multiple sources in order to learn, to think, and to create and to apply knowledge. In short, the library media specialist teaches students to use information for critical thinking and problem solving using the information Literacy Standards for Student Learning set.A Learning resources center's success depends firstly on the range of its engagement in modern learning methods implementation, which gives more concentration to learner role in learning process, and evaluates work mechanism, in learning resources centers on the bases that learning resources center is not a place supported with learning resources accordingly, but educational action and substantial element of different elements of classroom lesson.The Work mechanism in learning resources centers requires following two methods and merging between them .- Benefiting from learning resources centers requires each teacher to implement one lesson weekly (or according to school classes number) in the learning resources center and to depend, in this lesson, mainly on group learning method (cooperative learning) .- In the second method, benefiting from learning resources centers does not require teacher to implement class lesson in learning resources center, but he has to follow up the same previous procedures, then allow the students to implement their projects referring to learning resources center outside the lesson time, and students to be given, in this case, more time to implement the project, then require do a presentation and discussion in the class.
The learning Center implements a group of activities, designed and implemented by teachers in cooperation with center specialist. Methods of implementation of these activities differs according to educational grades and concentrate on implementation of modem educational and learning methods. Such activities are:
- Reading activities: aim to sow reading habits those like; summarization and book presentation.- Learning activities: these activities are done by student depending on himself to support his learning.- Educational activities: these activities are done by teacher to support student learning.- Information search: search on internet and using references.- Cultural activities: these activities to be done by student in order to improve his cultural level; school radio, seminars, lectures and competition.- Cooperative activities: these activities are done by students to help center to achieve its aims as a center group.- Administrative' activities: these activities appear to occupy center with waiting lessons, school meetings and educational coordinator's meetings etc .- Social activities: the aim of these activities is community service; like anti-terror activity, anti-smoking etc.
Center offers a group of services to meet student and educational staff needs, and these services can be developed according to their needs. These services: guiding readers, references services, borrow out, copying and scanning and bibliographical services.
Learning resources centers are the correct way to activate school library and to amalgamate it into educational procedure as well as it is a part from it, but not among subsidiary utilities. One of the biggest problems that still face school libraries is that school libraries still playing general cultural role lead to isolate them away from educational process. So they became a place to cover waiting lessons and an escape for every lazy teacher, who does not desire to carry out lessons, whereas learning resources centers project has put the center among educational process through its support by necessary technical and librarian equipments needed for teachers educational tasks performance within modem method, and supported these centers with supporting for curriculum educational resources, suitable for age types existing there, so center became a necessary place where teachers run to, to help them to implement their tasks and achieve their educational aims.
[Alomran, Hamad Ibrahim (2007) Learning Resource Centres in Saudi Arabia: A study to the Reality with A plan for an Ideal center. Riyadh: Riyadh Girls University.]
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