Category Archives: Teaching & Learning

Internet Librarian International Interview

I was recently interviewed for an email blast for ILI2010. Hope to see you in London in October! Here’s the text:

Internet Librarian International continues to provide pertinent resources and support for today’s information environments. With the shifting emphasis on information provision; constantly-evolving methods for delivering it; increased demands from users; and tighter than ever budgets, we asked Advisory Board member, Michael Stephens, for his views on the future for library technologies and more … Read the full Internet Librarian International programme here.

I would have to say the advent of participatory technologies has been the single most important technology development for librarians in the last 5 years. Call it the social Web, social networking, 2.0, mobile technology, whatever, but the importance is four-fold:

— The tools/technologies have allowed people to interact in ways online that go beyond simple one way publishing.

— It’s created a sense of community for many people. Look at all the various communities we can participate in online just in our profession.

— These technologies allowed for the creation of Learning 2.0 from Helene Blowers and the people at Charlotte Mecklenberg Library. My current research focus is on the impact and benefits of “23 Things” and what happens in libraries after the completion of the program.

— I see this as the advent of DIY Culture with technology. Open source solutions have put high end development of content and community sites in the hands of everyone

Amplify these with what location-aware services are enabling for people and physical spaces and you have a powerful connector. I am fascinated by the power there is in adding data and knowledge to geographic spaces, turning a community into a large collaboration space. This will change the way we travel, work and play in ways we probably haven’t even imagined. That’s why I want libraries to be playing an active role in user education about all of these technologies as well as creating vibrant info spaces with them and for them.

My current favourite technology innovation?
I am REALLY enjoying my iPad and all its possibilities. I’ve started reading much more via the iPad Kindle app and iBooks reader. I can use my iPhone 4 or iPad to share via Facebook or Twitter, and I can snap a photo or record and edit a movie for upload to YouTube. I think this must mean that my favourite technology right now is mobile technology access to my life-streams and friends – wherever I happen to be.  This speaks to the possibilities for our connected future. As networks improve and devices become more powerful, the opportunities for learning, exploration and connection with friends/family is huge.

As a professor, the potential for delivering course content and interacting with students via a handheld device is very attractive.I can’t imagine the model of driving to a classroom and sitting for 3 hours for a class will be the definitive one much longer. The library supporting the future of learning will have to be just as mobile and just as connected.

Where’s it all headed? My predictions for library technologies in the next few years
We’ll see even more advances with open source, more libraries making the jump to software developed for the common good, and more development of user communities built around library services. I think we’ll also see streamlined services more-focused on user needs and wants – wherever those users happen to be.

Content will continue to shift to a model of direct producer delivery to the end user, cutting out the middleman… I think broadcast has done a good job of diversifying into new methods of delivery. The music industry and even movie business came kicking and screaming. I’m also watching ebooks closely; it just makes so much sense to circulate Kindles, etc. That doesn’t mean libraries won’t have content – they always will. Some of it may be of a different sort. Some of it will be made up of user-contributed content.  I look to libraries like DOK in the Netherlands and libraries in Finland and Sweden for a glimpse at what’s possible with user-generated content and creation spaces.

I’m really looking forward to Internet Librarian International for this reason – interaction, networking and discussion about innovative practice in libraries that will point to the future.

Michael Stephens leads the Internet Librarian International workshop: A Roadmap to the Hyperlinked Library onWednesday 13 October. In addition, he presents Transparency in Hyperlinked Libraries; Hot Topics in Innovation; and Library Futures: Views and Visions for the Future of Libraries & Information Professionals at Internet Librarian International on Friday 15 October.

Transliteracy Quick Code

http://nlabnetworks.typepad.com/transliteracy/2010/04/a-quick-code.html

Kristy McGill writes:

For a bit of fun, try taking this very quick transliteracy test…

Transliteracy Code from Kirsty McGill on Vimeo.

I will stress that this was designed only as a bit of fun – it is not, by any means, a definitive test! However, in producing it, I was mulling on two points related to transliteracy…

1.Our brains are designed to solve problems and spot patterns, which allows __ to miss ___ every third ___ without confusing ____. Whilst it is not possible to understand and demonstrate complete fluency in every type of literacy there is, the ability to find patterns and infer meaning must surely be a component part of being a transliterate individual?

2.The desire to understand and the ability to search out meaning must also be a factor in transliteracy. How many of you did an internet search to de-code the morse code or semaphore sections of the video? Does an ignorance of morse code or semaphore mean you are not transliterate? Or does the desire to fill in that gap and the ability to find that information prove that you *are* transliterate?

Something to ponder, anyway! ;-)

I’m fascinated by the robust discussions of transliteracy and transmedia going on right now. I was interviewed last spring for an IFLA paper on the topic:

http://www.ifla.org/files/hq/papers/ifla75/94-andretta-en.pdf

and since then I’ve incorporated the topic into my classes.

The Online Student Experience

A very striking example of what online education can be for some. I’m currently teaching a class this summer and am trying to do as much as I can to increase my visibility/presence. The good folks at SJSU University SLIS shared this video with me – I’m on their Technology Advisory Board.

One thing I noticed last semester is that my classes really responded to video, so I’m aiming to do more and more with video. Here’s a silly class check in from last week while Cooper and I were hiking:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJV-dKq6zq8

One thing I heard from the SJSU folks that agreed with my own realizations: if you are going to do video, don’t fret too much that it is absolutely perfect – just do it. The video above was the second take of only two I did on the trail.

I’m interested to hear from other folks who teach online – what has worked well? What have you found that sparks interest and engagement online?

Online Education & Blogging

http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology_and_learning/online_education_and_blogging

Joshua Kim writes:

The best preparation I received for blogging was teaching online. One of the most important elements for running a successful online course involves presence. The instructor must be “present” in the course discussion boards and blogs. Teaching online gave me tons of practice in writing rapid, hopefully thought provoking, discussion and blog posts around the curriculum and the student’s work. Much has been written about how teaching online can improve on-ground teaching. I’d add comfort with blogging to the benefits online learning.

Is the ability to quickly produce prose that (at least sometimes) may interest a reader the sort of skill that we want to cultivate in our students? The importance of rapid, persuasive writing is growing as blogs and other social media displace other forms of communication. We all need to learn to make our case, to persuade, to make arguments based on evidence – and to do so in a limited attention economy. For all of us, both writes and readers, time is our scarcest commodity.

Perhaps participating in online courses provides students the same practice with rapid and persuasive writing as teaching an online course. The same behaviors that make for a good online instructor, namely the willingness to be active and engaged with the asynchronous communication tools, are also those behaviors of a successful online student. An online course is all about collaboration and interaction. The best students post persuasively, briefly, and often.

I would venture to say the best preparation I received for online teaching is blogging! Quick posts sharing links and commentary – something bibliobloggers have long been doing – translate perfectly to the way I interact with my online and hybrid classes. I also think the blogging activities have helped my students with their writing – just afeeling, no evidence yet, but it might be a good thing to study.