Leveraging Virtual Reality in a School Library

Can Virtual Reality be Integrated in School Libraries?

Are you waiting for the correct new model of a library to appear?  We assume once it is revealed then it will be our job to implement it, full it with resources, and carry on with our work.  But what if your work is to actually invent the future?    What if student learning was game based for example how would you create an environment to support that pedagogy?  Or what does the library become if your school is the academic version of the movie Avatar?  Well, these are certainly an “out-of-this-world concept”; aren’t they?  What if it isn’t, what if it was just around the corner or already being planned for a private charter school?  Would shifting to a Learning Commons concept seem too little, too late?  Maybe and maybe your traditional concerns for physical space would suddenly seem ludicrous.  We are going to explore creating a library based on the experiences of our students not on your past experiences.

This unit is about the future, the types of resources students will want and need to work with, and in what type of environment you will be asked to interact with them.   It should trigger a whole new range of base knowledge building issues yet we cannot question the need for reading proficiently as a ongoing cornerstone.

Begin by watching Helen Shenton’s talk on Collaboration and Bubbles of Silence.  Your follow up conversation will be on the types of resources, levels of access and growing digital literacy skills our students require.    In this unit no idea should be overlooked, no option too farfetched, and hopefully at the conclusion you will have new ideas not based on your experiences for what a school library could be.

Our second resource is Jane McGonigal’s talk on Gaming Can Make a Better World.  McGonigal is the Director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future.   Her thoughts on gaming and this generation of students are insightful such as gamers being used to leveraging a collective intelligence in solving problems.   Read about Quest to Learn, a chapter school in New York focused on student engagement through gaming.  Her writings’ on “superstruct” are an alternative way to think about building future libraries. 

Superstructing isn’t about just making something bigger.  It’s about working with an existing foundation and taking it in new directions, to reach beyond present limits.  It means creating flexible connections to other structures, to mutually reinforce each.  And superstructing means growing in strategic and inventive ways so that you can create new and more powerful structures that would have been previously unimaginable.” P318 Reality is Broken

And finally we will look at holograms.  This will challenge you to truly think out of the box.  What could this emerging technology do to student engagement and learning?   Alex Kipman’s presents what to most adults might look like science fiction but for today’s students with a pair of hologram glasses is the next “cool step” into a virtual world.  How can you make it a learning world?

After viewing all three videos and documenting school library opportunities, write about or illustrate what a 2026 school library might include, how it might look, and what resources might be needed.