We just finished an intensive session of my Hyperlinked Library class – a full semester taught in seven weeks. the students were GREAT and really took on the hard work. One of the students created wordclouds of all of the class blogs to celebrate the end of our journey. He called it a word cloud party. Take a look:
A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink explores the capabilities of the brain and spirit in this conceptual age where high touch and high concept aptitudes are gaining serious ground. Emotional intelligence is becoming just as important as IQ due to abundance, outsourcing, and automation. People are now required to use both sides of their brain. L-Directed Thinking pertains to sequential, literal, functional, textual, and analytic thinking. R-Directed Thinking is simultaneous, metaphorical, aesthetic, contextual, and synthetic. No longer can we just be knowledge workers. We must be attuned to the big picture, how things work together, patterns, and above all, the synthesis and meaning of life.
Daniel Pink details six concepts, which he calls The Six Senses, that will help people survive and thrive in this adapting and often uncertain world.
The Six Senses
Whether a building, a toilet bowl cleaner, or a website, design affects our day-to-day lives. Pink describes the ideal design as beautiful, whimsical, or emotionally engaging. Function is no longer enough. Librarians have a plethera of design issues to consider every day – interior design of the library, website design, marketing materials design, message design, and instructional design- to name a few. Library websites play a huge role in getting users to use the library resources and take advantage of librarians’ expertise. In many ways, we’re competing with Google. That’s tough competition! The more intuitive and attractive the site is, the better the experience for the library community. Pink’s Portfolio section provides useful activities you can do to increase your design palette, from keeping a design portfolio to help you stay attuned to design that works to the C-R-A-P-ify method which can come in handy when creating promotional materials for libraries.
Pink expresses the concept of story perfectly with this quote, “When facts become so widely available and instantly accessible, each one becomes less valuable. What begins to matter more is the ability to place these facts in context and to deliver them with emotional impact” (p. 193). Stories live at the library through books, video, and people. The reference desk is often the place where students and community members tell their stories. Listening to peoples’ stories is one of my favorite things about my job and often necessary in order to glean what they need help doing/finding/getting. “I need information on ethics,” for example, usually comes with a story. It’s a librarian’s responsibility to figure out the story.
The ability to relate concepts, make patterns, and synthesize embody the symphony aptitude. Relationships are at the core of symphony. Boundary crossers, inventors, and metaphor makers are able to pull ideas together from seemingly unrelated concepts. Librarians must be boundary crossers in their profession. They are often called up to bridge the gap between faculty departments, communities, and concepts. Seeing the big picture comes into play when we think about information literacy. Yes, we want students to know how to search in databases or how to do an advanced Google search, but really, our goal is to make them independent, self-directed lifelong learners. More importantly, our goal is to inspire them to be curious about the world around them. Pink’s Celebrate Your Amateur section revels in the idea that we are all learners, forever. Marcel Wanders writes, “I am best at what I can’t do. It has become my ability to feel strong and confident in these situations. I feel free to move, to listen to my heart, to learn, to act even if that means I will make mistakes” (p. 157). It reminds me of Char Booth’s comment recently in a lecture for our TransTech course, “Stay brave and vulnerable.”
The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is paramount in libraries and in life. It ties with the story aptitude in so many ways. Just listening to someone’s story can put you in the position of understanding their perspective. Subtle clues like facial expressions can tell you how someone is feeling- if they’re overwhelmed or confused. In teaching, it’s necessary to read people’s faces to gauge their level of engagement, their comprehension, and their annoyances. A librarian can learn to adapt their sessions based on these reactions. Empathy also comes into play when it comes to workplace relations. Learning to work collaboratively with colleagues takes openness and delicacy. Being open to your colleagues’ perspective can sometimes make all the difference in how you interact.
Play is monumental and necessary. It adds a joyfulness and positive spirit to any learning process. Just the fact that it’s called play provides a light-hearted mindset. Introducing play into a library instruction can be freeing for students. There is no right or wrong way when it comes to research. Every topic will lead you in a different direction and having the openness of mind to follow a topic through all the tangents, nooks and crannys, and caveats should be fun – not a chore. Pink mentions laughter as one of the key elements in having a spirit of play and I am a firm believer that trying something new and knowing that you will most likely make a fool of yourself – but everyone else will too – inspires laughter and openness. On the right is an image of me trying flying trapeze last fall, and yes, it was slightly terrifying the first time. But the second and third time, pure excitement and freedom! My friends and I laughed and played during the entire experience. When teaching or learning new things, play can make all the difference in the experience of learning.
The This Emotional Life series on PBS recently took on the topic of Happiness. It relates so well to Pink’s section on Meaning. We are all looking for the key to happiness and it comes from our social relationships – whether that’s parent/child for an infant, friends, colleagues, or partners. We want to feel fulfilled and supported in our lives. So, it seems, relationships are also the key to meaning, in addition to symphony. When a relationship is off at work, at home, in your life, it affects you. Meaning and mindfulness also go hand in hand. Simply being more mindful through labyrinths, through empathy, through perspective from gratitude, by giving yourself the permission to play and rest, dedicating your work, and re-claiming your priorities as Pink suggests, can create a framework for what you want your life to look like. At some point, it will become second nature and you’ll be living the life you seek.
As the words flow through my mind after writing this, I stop on these. Openness. Mindfulness. Vulnerability. Heart. Relationships. Empathy. Perspective. Life. Going through your life, your career, it is necessary to reflect on yourself, your relationships, your career, and your contribution to society. Even if you lead a small life, like me, you can glean little things every day that serve to enrich your life and fire up both sides of your brain.
Booth, C. (2011) Reflective teaching, effective learning: Instructional literacy for library educators. Chicago: American Library Association.
Pink, D. (2006). A whole new mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future. New York: Riverhead Books.
Terri Rieck Artemchik is an Adjunct Librarian at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois. She is currently enrolled in the Post-Master’s Degree Certificate Program at San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science and received her MLIS from Dominican University in 2011. Terri’s interests include emerging technologies, digital services, information literacy, and Learning 2.0.
Note from Michael: This is an example of the “Context Book” assignment from #hyperlib.
It use to be that being physically isolated meant being alone. But now, internet access allows us to be connected to the world. As information professionals, we can create thriving communities that are face to face, site to site, app to app. I am a teacher without barriers and a humanitarian aid volunteer without borders. Why can’t a librarian create such freedom?
I am a hyperlink. A road sign. A matchmaker. A synapse.
My students think that information starts and ends with me. (They are 12 and younger!) I would rather that they see me as a vessel that guides them to find the answers themselves. Weinberger tells us that people would rather find information themselves by using the Web. Fantastic! This is the goal of teachers! We want students to read directions and try on their own first before seeking help. As librarians, we should continue this encouragement of self-motivation. We shouldn’t be offended if young people don’t seek our direct assistance, we’ve been guiding them toward independence since birth!
If library patrons come to us through a database search engine that we’ve created, we’re still as useful as if they physically walked up to our desk. But now, we can reach more people, even beyond our borders, at the same time. We can be roadsigns and hyperlinks at the same time. We’re a bigger community of researchers.
Teachers can be gateways to the world, not only by teaching search techniques, but by creating student-lead web-conferences, blogs and book reviews. Our school has a news program each Monday morning completely lead by 5th and 6th graders. Our library has featured web-conferences with NOAA Hurricane Hunters and famous authors.
Students can check their progress, download worksheets and find missing assignments on Edmodo, a learning management system with a social network vibe. A chat box allows students to ask others about homework, due dates and anything else that will help them. Since the site is monitored by the school, conversation remains positive and appropriate. The students don’t just learn to communicate better, they strengthen their grade level community which enriches their relational and learning environments at school.
As a digital humanitarian, I am a hyperlink between victims of disaster and relief organizations. Their message does not end with me. It is categorized and defined, then sent to those who can help them best. Am I ever the end of the information chain? Nope. Good thing. What a heavy burden that would be! Our team talks through Skype chat while we geo-locate the tweets and posts. We aren’t alone while we face pleas for help and people describing such personal tragedies that sometimes make us cry. My fellow volunteers are in Vienna Austria, Darwin Australia, Bergen Norway, Washington DC and many other places. We use GMT time instead of our own timezones.
Check out this Hurricane Sandy Twitterbeat Map created by Kalev Leetaru. It shows the emotions felt through Twitter during Hurricane Sandy. This map is a hyperlink to the world that shows how people felt.
“I am”, I said… to all my communities everywhere.
Joyce Monsees is an instructional assistant at a public elementary school. She teaches 3rd, 4th and 6th grade students. She is a former school librarian clerk and a City of Orange Library Trustee and she volunteers with the Standby Task Force, a digital humanitarian group who examines messages sent through social media during a global crisis then maps their exact locations and type of need to assist the United Nations or other disaster relief agency send aid. She is a student in LIBR287 The Hyperlinked Library at San Jose State University SLIS.
Note from Michael: I am honored to be amongst these great folks who teach at SLIS for this award. Also – thanks to the WISE students far and wide who have taken my classes!
Five faculty members from the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at San José State University received a 2012 Excellence in Online Teaching Award from the Web-based Information Science Education (WISE) consortium.Lori Lindberg, Dr.Michelle Holschuh Simmons, Dr. Michael Stephens, Gawain Weaver and Patty Wong were among the 11 recipients of the national award, which recognizes the accomplishments of online educators.
Lori Lindberg uses real-life workplace examples in her courses on archival methods. “Complex technical courses presented online succeed best when the instructor is consistent, organized and prepared,” she said. Lindberg makes her course materials available in a variety of formats so students can access them anywhere, online or offline. One student described her teaching style as meticulous and thorough, adding that she makes learning interesting and approachable.
Dr. Michelle Holschuh Simmons, who received the award for the second time, structures her courses on information literacy to foster personal connections and a sense of community among her students. Simmons “provides an innovative learning environment where students can participate in ways they feel most comfortable, and can experiment with new learning activities to stretch beyond our comfort zones,” one of her students said.
Dr. Michael Stephens tells students in his courses on emerging trends and technology that learning is an ongoing process vital to keeping up with technological and societal change. He keeps that in mind in his own teaching and use of technology, learning from his students, colleagues and online networks. But in teaching, it’s also important to nurture the human connection, he said. “Bring yourself to your online teaching – share, be authentic and connect with students via the heart and the keyboard.”
Gawain Weaver incorporates live lectures as much as possible in his photographic preservation courses to provide classroom-like interaction with students. Video is another important teaching tool, he explained. “I use the video to show different photographic processes and to demonstrate how to examine them to observe their unique characteristics.” Students said he’s extremely helpful and quick to respond to questions, and that his enthusiasm for his subject is catching.
Patty Wong gives students in her grant writing courses a chance to work with actual clients to research grants and write proposals. “The student benefits from real-world experience working with an agency, determining client needs, and integrating practice with theory within a deadline,” she said. Aware that some online students live outside the U.S., she seeks out resources and foundations that can be of help to them in their communities. Her students said she’s an involved and inspirational teacher.
All five teach in the ALA-accredited Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program at SJSU SLIS. However, the award is based on nominations from WISE students at a school other than the instructors’ home institution.
Beautiful Connections: Questions in Distance Education
Distance Education SIG
Convener: Nora Bird, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
The session will explore new research by three presenters on the connection opportunities that extend beyond the virtual classroom. Presenters will explore walled gardens, communities of practice, and ego- centric analysis of connectedness.
Presenters: Michael Stephens, San Jose State University; Kyle Jones, University of Wisconsin at Madison; Jennifer Branch, Joanne de Groot, and Kandise Salerno, University of Alberta; and Fatih Oguz and Nancy Poole, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
This paper highlights one of the key concerns in the emerging area of crisis informatics: issues of trusted information in crises/disasters and how the unregulated nature of social media affects information creation and dissemination. Deciding which information providers to trust and what sources of information to trust in crises is critical as acting upon trusted information can shape and influence the nature of the crisis. Social media is a powerful tool for sharing information during crises and can be used to improve emergency management capabilities, however, it has the power to misinform and to hinder response efforts.
Dr. Christine Hagar is an Assistant Professor at San Jose State University, School of Library and Information Science. Dr. Hagar holds a PhD in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
I am also using some new-found time between semesters to read and reflect on two noted thinkers/practitioners, one old and one new. The Idea of a University by John Henry Newman was originally published in 1852 where Newman proposed the theoretical underpinnings of what would become University College, Dublin. At core, Newman argued “the general principles of any study you may learn by books at home; but the detail, the colour, the tone, the air, the life which makes it live in us, you must catch all these from those in whom it lives already.” The interaction with faculty, practitioners in the field and with fellow classmates animate and deepen our own learning and can, and should, be introduced and fostered through a re-considered core.
Published a few months ago, The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reconsidered written by the founder of the Khan Academy directs our gaze forward. In describing what higher education could be like, Salman Khan imagines an education “rather than taking note in lecture halls, (where) students will be actively learning through real-world intellectual projects”. Key elements in the content, delivery and assessment of the curriculum must be further explored, but the innovation actively promoted at SLIS makes the discussions, questions and possibilities for the foundation of our curriculum full of promise, rigor and creativity for faculty and students, alike.
In my Library Journal column “Office Hours,” I explored the concept of learning everywhere. Here’s a snip:
This semester, I’m teaching a new class based on Mezirow’s concepts of transformative learning, the work of Char Booth in the arena of user instruction, and the Learning 2.0 model…. We’re working with consultant Polly-Alida Farrington, who teamed up three groups of my students with two libraries and a school library consortium in New York State. Over the course of our 15-week semester, each group is adapting, designing, and running a “mini-23 Things” for its assigned organization.
It’s been a fun, chaotic, and messy experience. In our weekly group chats online, the mantra has become “Learn by doing….” Real-world messiness offers a level of experience unmatched by classroom activities. This high-tech/high-touch experience sets the students on course for getting jobs and taking on future projects.
We’re winding up the second iteration of #transtech – and I am knocked out be the work five students groups did for five project site libraries! This was truly a class on a global scale – the groups worked with libraries in the US, Australia and Japan:
Over the course of the semester the students adapted Learning 2.0 content and then ran a 5-6 week course for staff at each institution. Here’s the cool thing. We’ve archived all of the modules the students created for their programs here with the modules from last semester: http://thehyperlinkedlibrary.org/learning20/
We want them to be available for any future Learning 2.0 programs or just for individual library staff to explore. Please share far and wide.
I also want to take a bit of space here to thank some important folks:
Everyone at the project sites above who worked with my students and participated in the programs.
Special thanks to Polly-Alida Farrington, who volunteered her time to work with us via online chat and checking in our class site.
Greetings! The semester is winding down and my classes have been going gangbusters! So much in fact that they all want to stay in touch with each other via their blogging. This post will serve as a place for the students to share their URLs that will remain after we clear out our course WP sites.
TTW readers – want to be inspired, check out some of these blogs!
Note from Michael – Carlie is a WISE student taking my Hyperlinked Library course. Carlie wrote this post as part of her course blogging.
I’ve been reflecting on what kind of librarian I wish to become, and in the process, I discovered the social media guidelines I developed form a beautiful basis.
As a future librarian, I promise the following to members, colleagues, and to myself that I will:
My learning will never be finished. I want to learn from colleagues and members, and promise to never be afraid to say “I don’t know.” I will give others the benefit of the doubt that their intentions are positive even if it doesn’t feel that way in the moment.
I will read outside the boundaries of library literature.
I will be grateful for all the positive things librarianship brings to put into context the few negative interactions that will occur.
Be a valued member.
I will contribute to the profession, and create meaningful learning opportunities for members. I will be mindful as I navigate my community to look for opportunities in disguise that the library could easily fix. I will also pay it forward and support MSLIS students just as I have been mentored by amazing librarians.
I will continue to enjoy group work, and will task myself (and for those who know me, you know what a huge task this is) to listen more and talk less.
I will speak up to create engaging, meaningful, and fun library that demonstrates to members the library cares. I will set aside funds to attend favorite conferences.
I will work to counteract hierarchy by building networks.
I refuse to say “librarian” apologetically or to accept library stereotypes. When I see other librarians exhibiting them I will be curious and engage in a dialog that helps move the profession forward, respecting tradition and people.
Of everything on this list, this one feels the most important. I know I will do work that I don’t absolutely love, but if I think it’s moving the profession or the library in the wrong direction, I will be brave and speak up.
I will treat others as they want to be treated. I commit to create a truly inclusive library. I will honor the skills of all library staff, and will never belittle anyone for not having an MLIS degree, because I know what that feels like.
I won’t waste the time of others, and won’t use my powers of reference skills to hold members hostage as I show them how to search at times when they just want the answer. Sometimes, it’s OK to take shortcuts if it’s for the right reason.
I will consciously seek to make sure my physical and online presence matches, so that when members meet me, they’ll feel like they already know me.
I will stop myself when I leap to judgment and try to remember to reach for empathy instead.
I will never stop looking for ways to innovate to bring truly cool and useful things to library members. I promise to work to bring art, culture, beauty into libraries, and will seek out simplicity.
Be a curator.
I will continue to research my interest towards curation as an alternative to searching, and I will think like a museum professional when I look at the physical library too.
Because it’s awesome. And it’s good policy not to take oneself too seriously.
I know I will stumble, and promise to learn from my mistakes.
I hope others help me to continue to learn and grow as I enter the profession.
Carlie Graham is by day a manager at the University of Victoria Libraries in British Columbia, Canada, and is by night a distance graduate student at the Syracuse University iSchool, polishing her brain to become shiny new librarian. You can follow her on Twitter @carliebrary
People, Libraries & Technology – A Weblog by Michael Stephens