Laura Fleming is a librarian in the "new media vanguard" who specializes in helping schools pilot transmedia multi-platform storytelling and create future-focused "maker spaces." Fleming has worked as an educator in the state of New Jersey for 16 years, both in-class and as a K-12 media specialist. She is currently the Library Media Specialist at New Milford High School (check-out their Principal’s 60K+ Twitter following), as well as an Independent Learning Consultant. Fleming has developed a unique, badge-based digital professional development program at NMHS, World’s of Learning @ New Milford High School, written countless publications and is a sought-after speaker at events focused on transmedia, next-generation teaching methods and tools. Fleming describes her personal and professional mission on her blog, "My goal is to create learning experiences that empower and equip students with necessary skills to effectively produce and consume content across multiple media platforms. I am also driven to enable educators and cohorts in applying these innovative methods and cutting-edge technology in their fields of expertise." Fleming holds a Masters in Educational Technology from Ramapo College of New Jersey and received her Library Certification from Rutgers.

EXCLUSIVE NEW LEARNING TIMES INTERVIEW

Question: How did your educational trajectory (background) affect your current work?
Answer: I have always been passionate about educational technology and its applications. My work is rooted in the concept of teaching and learning across multiple media platforms and this stems directly from my 16 years in education and seeing how the implementation of methods in relation to this creates transformational learning experiences. I am very much interested in how these methods help to break down the barriers between students and teachers, making everyone learners learning together, and how they leverage the distribution and the proliferation of knowledge.

Question: What professional experiences have been most formative to your current work?
Answer: My professional epiphany occurred back in 2010 when I discovered the novel Skeleton Creek written by Patrick Carman which takes place both in print and web/video form. It was at that point I discovered just how powerful storytelling across multiple platforms could be. From that point on I tried to seek out and also to create learning experiences that empower and equip students with necessary skills to effectively produce and consume content across multiple media platforms. In addition, I have been driven to help enable educators and cohorts in how to apply innovative methods and cutting-edge technologies to their fields of expertise.

Question: How do you hope your work will change the learning landscape?
Answer: Technology is transforming our current models of instruction and changing what, where and how our students learn. Rather than focusing on new and trendy tools, I think in today’s learning landscape the focus needs to be on the techniques we use to most effectively engage our students and immerse them in their learning. Allowing content to flow across the curriculum from one media to the next should be something that is embedded in the teaching and learning processes. I hope my work can help people to see how important it is to leverage the power of multiple platforms to create opportunities for exploration, participation, and expansion in teaching and learning.

Question: What broad trends do you think will have the most impact on learning in the years ahead?
Answer: I have a particular interest in the area of micro-credentialing and how it can be used to capture demonstrations of competency. I am particularly interested in how digital badges can be use to acknowledge and showcase ‘soft’ skills a learner gains in both informal and agile learning environments.

Question: What are you currently working on & what is your next big project?
Answer: Of particular interest to me right now is how we can broaden the concept of traditional learning spaces to create unique learning environments that our students need, want and will flourish in. This includes of course physical spaces but also pushes into the virtual and how that space can contribute to learning success. I have been exploring how 21st century libraries can use the virtual terrain for face-to-face collaboration, and how we can embed collaboration into the planning and the outcomes of instructional design and the learning process.

Image: Courtesy Laura Fleming