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Personal, Portable, Multifunction-Devices and School Libraries

School Library Association of Queensland and the International Association of School Librarianship Conference incorporating the International Forum on Research in School Librarianship,


To maximise learning value from one-to-one programs in schools, computing devices need to be personal, portable and multifunctional. It is likely that shared devices will not be as effective. The increased access provided by one-to-one devices creates great opportunities for school librarians to support their school technology directions and to implement 21st century information literacy and reading promotion programs. Increased access will mean greater utilisation and demand for online resources. The key factor in the success of one-to-one programs is teacher implementation of appropriate pedagogies. Teacher-librarians have the chance to provide leadership in pedagogies that most effectively utilise these devices to improve learning outcomes. If we consider how ipods have revolutionised the music industry, what are the implications of personal, portable, multifunction-devices (PPMs) for learning and school libraries? Increasingly, the anecdotal and research experience is that learning needs to be continuous, not discontinuous and a personal part of a student's learning life. If a teacher has to book a computer lab or book a laptop trolley, there is discontinuity--learning stops and starts, and there is no ongoing personal relationship with the learning device. Computing devices need to be integrally blended into learning, both inside and outside the classroom. Learning can benefit from the example of the mobile phone, one of the most successful information and communication technologies of the last 30 years--mobile phones are personal, portable, and multifunction; and today have wireless web access. Such learning devices need to meet the majority of a student's daily learning needs, such as: (1) word processing; (2) printing; (3) information retrieval (searching, textbooks, accessing school learning management system); (4) video, camera and sound recording; (5) communication (email, collaboration); (6) tools--software; (7) connection to their learning networks (moodle, online textbooks); (8) access at home and school and elsewhere (wireless); and (9) can be personally adapted to the student. Learning theorists from Dewey to Vygotsky to Seely Brown see learning as a personal process in a social context. Personalisation makes learning flexible, adaptive and student centred. Learners become co-producers. Personalisation of learning devices also comes from their size, connectivity and "belonging" to the user (State Govt. of Victoria, 2009). Thus, a ratio of one-to-one computers may be insufficient to improve learning outcomes. Students and staff need to have their "own" personal, portable multifunction-device. For school libraries this means an opportunity to attain an increasingly important role as their school communities' gain increased access to information, with all its associated implications and challenges. (Contains 3 figures and 4 tables.)


Weaver, A. (2010). Personal, Portable, Multifunction-Devices and School Libraries. Presented at School Library Association of Queensland and the International Association of School Librarianship Conference incorporating the International Forum on Research in School Librarianship 2010. Retrieved October 14, 2019 from .

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