Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Learning Should Be Messy....Right?

I was at a school recently. (I won't say where to protect the innocent. Well they aren't so innocent, but nonetheless...) And I saw this:

I think it was the sad faces on it that really got to me.

So what do you think was the first thing I did when I took said picture? Yep, posted it to Twitter. Just to share. And the reactions I got were pretty much universal. Many said that wasn't much of a media center since most media was banned. (One person even asked if they banned books there. The answer is no. There are books in there.)

For this particular location where this school is, banning phones or iPods and the such is nothing new. (And actually there is a loosening of the rules this year with schools allowed to decide if they want to use them in the classroom, which is a huge step forward.) What really bothered me was that last sentence.

For a neat and quiet Media Center.

Traditionally, libraries and Media Centers were quiet places. Places for deep study and reflection. But are they still that way? Should they be?

Learning is messy. And learning spaces should be too. Is there a time and a place for a quiet Media Center or learning space? Sure. But does banning these devices automatically make this space "neat and quiet?"

When I was in the classroom, my room was rarely quiet and rarely clean. In science, we had experiments continually going, data collection all over, papers, books, technology stations. But it was controlled chaos. And when my Administrators walked by and my room was quiet, I always got the "What's wrong?" look. It was expected that when we were learning it was going to, well, not be quiet. But again, it was controlled chaos.

I have never been a Librarian or Media Coordinator. (I never thought I was smart enough!) But I wonder how many of them would feel about this sign. Should a modern Media Center be "neat and quiet?" Even if you aren't a Media Coordinator I would enjoy to hear your thoughts on if learning should be messy and how so.
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