Tech Trends at ALA TechSource

I couldn’t participate in the rescheduled ALA TechSource Webinar but I was able to contribute slides and some text.

Organizational Immersive Learning

This subcategory addresses the outstanding success of the Learning 2.0 model of staff training: free, open, and inclusive. I was going to highlight my Australian research project sponsored by CAVAL. The foundation for this multi-dimensional study comes from the global replication of the program (1000 institutions and counting) and the words of Stephen Abram: ““I believe that this has been one of the most transformational and viral activities to happen globally to libraries in decades.”

Here’s a bit from a draft article my co-investigator Warren Cheetham and I just submitted to the New Review of Academic Librarianship that features a content analysis of focus groups with academic librarians:

What has been the lasting impact on your library after Learning 2.0?

These statements sum up the majority of responses to this question:

  • I am more confident with new technologies now.
  • I am more inclined to explore new technologies now.
  • I am more in the know about these technologies now.

Respondents shared statements concerning their comfort level trying out new sites and tools. One noted:  “It’s nice that it’s encouraged – like the learning through play idea and then get on and poke it and see what it does, hopefully that’s encouraged that behaviour a bit more with everyone so that if you do get stuck in that situation where you follow the instructions and it doesn’t work, you feel a bit more confident to go ‘I wonder what happens if I click this or poke this’…”

Another addressed confidence levels and dealing with change as well: “Yeah, just being receptive to new stuff because change is always a scary thing for a lot of people, it’s scary I know so yeah, that’s why this has been really good.”

Take a look at the slides for three word clouds of the content analysis from the questions examining the lasting impact and results of Learning 2.0 in libraries. The third is a synthesis of our overall findings so far. I have long suggested that libraries and other organizations adapt this model of continuous, immersive learning and believe our study results will support this view. I hope to expand the research to Europe and the US in the coming months.

Personal Learning Networks in the Cloud

The second subcategory addresses the power of participating in the thriving online communities of librarians and library staff available to all in the “cloud.” The slides detail just one example of benefiting from participating in Twitter – subscribe to folks who inspire you or make you think, follow along, chime in, share. The examples are from a talk I gave where I asked my own PLN what I advice they’d share with the LIS students.

Developing your own PLN can come from subscribing to blogs and news sites, Twitter, Facebook and participating in any number of online learning opportunities. A broad PLN might also include the people you learn from in physical space, your reading in and outside of the profession AND everything you encounter in your day to day. I have some serious “aha!” moments when I encounter cool things are doing with service and information delivery out in the world.

Learning in Flux

Finally, the most important part of the trend is the fact that teaching and learning are also changing – models for delivering education are rapidly adapted to the power of the Web, social technologies and mobile devices. The model of sitting in a lecture hall or classroom once or twice a week is becoming less and less important as devices and delivery methods allow us to engage in learning practically anytime and anywhere.

The slides detail some of the goals I have for my students in our LIS program – the world of libraries and educational institutions will be very different in the coming years for our recent grads. They have great work to do –  I call on new librarians and seasoned professionals to do three things: Support these new models with all of the foundational aspects of what we do, but also be present inside these new virtual learning spaces right along with the professors and students, ever ready to guide them. And – look toward creating flexible and vibrant learning spaces in both the physical and virtual world.

I was asked to describe my future vision of education and library support for an upcoming book on the topic o be published in Australia. Here’s a bit of those iudeas that’ve adapted into recent talks:

The ecology of information created within our own learning networks knows no boundaries. It’s not just the cyber world but also our physical spaces that are adapting and evolving. How will classrooms look in ten years? What will school libraries be then? I envision learning spaces and collaborative hubs with spokes that stretch out across communities. Engaged learning will play out along these spokes – at home, at cafes, in the park, community centers and at libraries and of course in educational institutions. For this to come to fruition, barriers must be thrown down, new methods introduced and constantly improved and old paradigms tossed out. We should, however, always stand firm on the foundations of our missions: for educators and for librarians. Ground yourself there but spread the proverbial wings as wide as you can.

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