Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Principles of an Open World

Don Tapscott’s principles of an open world include collaboration, transparency, sharing and empowerment.  They are all relevant to current learning trends and relevant to the position of the teacher librarian within a school. 

For the teacher librarian, collaboration means opening up planning times, planning ideas and inviting the classroom teachers to avail themselves the skills a teacher-librarian has to complement and enhance students’ learning experiences.  Collaboration is inviting teachers and students to buckle up and jump aboard the information super highway via stories and imagery from books old and new, to up-to-date facts, figures and information over through our historical past and out through PowerPoint, publisher and presentation.

Through effective collaboration, will come transparency.

Transparency for the teacher librarian means effective communication, the development of trusting work relationships and the assurance of high quality learning experiences in the library.  Between the TL and classroom teachers, all aspects of planning need to be open, communicated and relevant to collaborative planning.  Between the TL and leaders of the school, transparency includes resources, budgets, timetables and planning schedules.  Transparency will also provide the TL’s with an opportunity to demonstrate, share and further develop his or her own skills, interest and talents as a teacher-librarian.

Through transparency will come the opportunity, and the need, for sharing to achieve the common goals of the classroom teacher, TL and students, and fulfill the visions of the schools learning curriculum.  Sharing for the TL means that the library will be a more physical presence in the school’s learning curriculum, not just a place to borrow books.

Collaboration, transparency and sharing will empower staff and students by giving them access to the TL as a resource and will empower the TL as a leader in their field.

A classroom teacher – teacher librarian relationship can be likened to the “murmuration of starlings” that Don Tapscott spoke about in that within the collaborative relationship there is not an individual leader as the interests of each individual are the same as the collective.  The relationship should bear the characteristics of collaboration, openness, transparency, sharing, therefore empowering the group to succeed.  Tapscott rhetorically asks whether a collective intelligence can be created.  I believe that successful collaboration between classroom teachers and the TL would produce a degree of collective intelligence through working together.

View Don Tapscott at

Tapscott, Don. (2012) Four Principles of an Open World.  TED Global.  Edinburgh, Scotland. Retrieved 18 March, 2013.

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