People in K–12 education, whether on the front lines in classrooms and school libraries or in the background creating educational products, services, and tools, are constantly having to gauge and recalibrate owing to the changes our newly digital environment has brought about. What exactly do they need to teach to prepare students for the world that awaits them … or that we believe awaits them? What techniques and tools do they need to employ or develop to ensure success? The gauging and recalibrating must be constant, especially given the rapidly increasing pace of change “digital” has wrought.
In this issue, our stories are about that gauging and recalibrating. Each of our writers, in his or her own way, explores today’s digital students and suggests how educators should chart their course based on an understanding of those students and their world.
In the main feature, EBSCO’s Deirdre Costello reports on her user research team’s studies of students’ online behavior. She has written a great synopsis of their studies, what they revealed about today’s students across the entire K–16 spectrum, and what it all means for them and for educators. Learn about grazers, loopers, skimmers, l’efficients, and more in Grazing, Looping and Skimming: Understanding Students’ Digital Habits (page 6).
Next, Stephen Abram explores the heavily (but hardly exclusively) digitally informed makerspace movement in school libraries. Given its ability to motivate learners–girls specifically in the technical and engineering realm, boys in the broad realms of reading, creation, writing, and STEM–Stephen is a fan. “Maker is about more than 3D printing,” he notes. “You can create music, film, programs, games, art lyrics, and more if given the opportunity and space.” Read more in Real Makerspaces in School Libraries (page 10).
Finally, in her Idea Watch column, Carolyn Foote digs into research and surveys of students’ use of ebooks, and recounts her school’s ongoing efforts to gather and analyze information on ebook usage and student preferences at the local level. See how she is proceeding and what she’s learning in Ebooks: What Can We Learn From Students (page 12).