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Our own Creative Commons

Right before the end of school we launched a new creative space.

The transformation of our reference area to a making space was funded by a very generous gift from a family in our community. This little video gives you a flavor of the change.

The Altman family wanted the space to be accessible to all high school students and to be sustainable.  We all wanted the kids to be involved in its planning.

Even though we opened it just a couple of weeks before school closed, they got into the habit of racing in to claim space.

The kids helped along the way as we chose the furniture, the colors, the hardware and software, and the name.

Joy suggested we call it the STHS Creative Commons and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it, and then I loved it. (Okay, I also love that they thought highly enough about Creative Commons to consider it as a name.)

The real Creative Commons was developed to help people share knowledge and creativity across the world with the goal of maximizing digital creativity, sharing, and innovation. So do we.

So, I checked with the lawyers at the real Creative Commons and they were delighted by our use of the name. They gave us their blessing. Student artist Hannah is currently creating a glass sign to hang above the space.

We planned it to be flexible–to live well beyond the lovely new Mac workstations that now grace our new high-top tables.

We planned in drops–even though our wireless is pretty good–and we planned lots of hidden power strips to encourage visiting laptops and mobile devices.

We already had pretty tables.  We didn’t see anything we liked better in the current catalogs, so we retrofitted our existing round tables with pedestals through which we pulled and hid the necessary cables.

We purchased external storage devices so that our Macs’ hard drives wouldn’t get completely filled up with student projects.

The large counter space encourages collaboration.  I love that I didn’t actually lose the reference shelves.  We ordered the fabrication of a countertop to fit right over our shelves with a twelve-inch overlap on either side.  It’s already the primo meeting space for faculty.  Lit Magazine, the school newspaper, and my book club have already claimed it for after-school meetings next year. It’s going to rock for virtual author visits!

The large monitor above the collaborative counter space swivels and can be seen in two labs as well as most of the rest of the library.

My arty kids went a little nuts over the Bamboo tablets.

Already kids have signed up to be labsters–study hall mentors for our Creative Commons.  Already teachers from the various disciplines, especially the arts, are planning to book it in the fall.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


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