RT @MMichelleMoore: Curation as learning in information literacy ~ libfocus – Irish library blog: http://t.co/lNUKYu4lRb
Site explains well how curating information is a valuable ‘filtering’ infoLit skill!
See on www.libfocus.com
The importance of advocacy is evident to us during a crisis. When our libraries are threatened or our staff faces cuts, then we leap into motion. But we should be mindful of advocacy every day. With social media tools, we can …
It’s all about building your own skills and capacity to support your particular clients and the curriculum you work within.
See on www.slj.com
The whole article makes interesting reading . . . some about how communities build online.
May 11, 2012, 9:12 a.m.
… In that way, attention connects with participation and collaboration. The act of sharing not only builds intelligence but shows good faith in a community. It also has a reinforcing quality; once you go from being a passive part of a community to liking, retweeting, and curating, you increase your activity as well as your value. The act of transforming information into knowledge and making it usable to people will always have value, no matter what platforms exist, Rheingold said.
“The proliferation of media has not stopped — if anything it has gone into hyperdrive,” he said. “If you want to keep up with anything, it’s not about keeping up with technologies, it’s about keeping up with literacies.”
Photo of Rheingold by MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito used under a Creative Commons license.
The human desire to connect with other people and communities has always led to improved efficiency in those connections. The result has been a greater access to information and the sharing of knowledge throughout the world – evidenced in Worldwide Web (www).
Now even greater sophistication of digital technologies and the interconnectivity of global communications networks and suitable software, allows for more ‘two-way’ responsive and social interaction opportunities along those connections.
‘Web 2.0’ is the evolution of the www (Web 1.0) and is comprised of many different interactive platforms. These digital connections and interactions through ‘social media’ are where much of the world’s communication activity is increasingly occurring. Information is being created, shared, stored and accessed by those with the technical means to be online. People who work as information professionals have an obligation to ensure they themselves and their clients have the access and skills to participate in this online information environment. The growing significance of social networking through a digital medium is making it imperative for Librarians to participate and promote its ethical and effective use to meet client needs. These views are prevalent in the online writings of information professionals such as Joyce Valenza – ‘Never Ending Search’, Bev Novak – ‘NovaNews’ and Judy O’Connell – ‘Heyjude’.
My own learning process was fairly dense with skill acquisition in a variety of software tools. Though I achieved a satisfactory level of usage in the majority of these – all could be enhanced with further use and investigated for possible ways to integrate them into the current educational curriculum. In an overview post entry to my OLJ blog platform, I share how my Social Networking Experiences have expanded through exposure and use.
A Web 2.0 immersed world means that information is available to the seeker in new ways. Where an information search traditionally took one to a library to source reference collections and journals, it can now be affected away from a library through electronic collections and systems available 24/7. The collaborative nature of the Web2.0 finds people using their ‘network’ to assist with their searches and learning. However, not all information is ‘free’ – accessing certain databases and journals is cost-prohibitive for most individuals. Following assessment, the qualified personnel of a library are best positioned to select and maintain the digital tools and subscriptions appropriate for their clients needs. Casey and Savastinuk (2006) have suggested:
”The heart of Library 2.0 is user-centered change. It is a model for library service that encourages constant and purposeful change, inviting user participation in the creation of both the physical and the virtual services they want, supported by consistently evaluating services. It also attempts to reach new users and better serve current ones through improved customer-driven offerings. Each component by itself is a step toward better serving our users; however, it is through the combined implementation of all of these that we can reach Library 2.0.”
With the exponential increase in available information, the corresponding understanding and use by people has not kept pace. I’ve outlined in an earlier OLJ post, the aspects and implications of being a Web 2.0 Information Professional in a Library 2.0. Concluding that a librarian needs to be constantly building their capacity by establishing a manageable Personal Learning Network (PLN), being active in a focused Community of Practice (CoP) and reinforcing newfound skills by demonstrating them within their professional circle.
Whether we are participating to build our own knowledge capacity or that of others as part of our teaching role – it is the quality of the reflective thoughts and interactions we have with people that allow us to be effective learners and teachers. Quite early in this course – as identified in the Dec 2nd post: Essential interaction! – I had perceived that the interactions through the social media platforms were their unique feature. With the actions and reactions along the connections, the conversations expand and develop and knowledge grows. Like many, I am experiencing that ‘ease of connection’ as a plethora of information that still needs to be filtered to identify what is valuable specifically to my needs and therefore worth further intellectual input on my part. More recently, information aggregators (I use Scoopit!) are being used to control the flow of visually appealing articles on topics nominated by the searcher. These articles take time to read and assess for worth. Then quality curation demands that this new information gets ‘added value’ when you link and relate it to other available information. Like any new tool, software applications need to be practiced, applied and continually evaluated for their usefulness.
My own development as a social networker is certainly underway – within the T.E.A.M. I’m connecting! In my first blog post for INF506 – New Connection for Growth – I eluded to a general knowledge about social media and how I am aware that the digital connections we collect ‘are becoming prolific and a significant part of all aspects of our interactive lives – learning, earning and living.’ Then I really got to know about it! The sizable collection of information I was managing at the time seemed to treble in a period of weeks. I began living the learning! When starting a new digital tool as part of the course content, I was constantly evaluating my time management and working to meet the learning challenges. Each new account needed a username and password and mail was continually being fed to me with alerts from Facebook and RSS feeds. There was a repeated mental pull to check my emails and I used the word ‘befuddled’ a few times. The graphic organizer I created on PersonalBrain was an effort to show the connections in my PLN . I recently considered where I am located now on that continuum – I believe I’m still in the first two of Jeff Utecht’s five stages of PLN Adoption (2008) – ‘immersing’ and ‘evaluating’ and honing the filtering process. Though I now know that I also have the ability and self-discipline to keep some ‘perspective’ about my online life. Although I’ve contributed to each of the various social networks joined – I have tried to stay focused only on the topics related to my current needs and not get sidetracked just because a link ‘looked interesting’.
Learning the basics of Facebook was fine but I found the push for me to ‘find friends’ quite intrusive. I chose limit my interactions in this platform to the INF506 group members at this time. I did come to value the friendly and resourceful INF506 community on our Facebook page and the Fun (and some frustration) of the Second Life virtual environment.
Likewise to begin with I limited my exploring to what was needed with the Flickr image and Delicious bookmarking sites. I have now searched further into both these platforms to find artifacts of use in my own OLJ and the project blog – Teacher-Librarians Connecting. The only thing certain in life is change! I experienced it when the Picnik program I’d spent time on – to add an attribution to photos – no-longer existed (a minus) and the Delicious site added the ‘stack’ feature to help with grouping links and further searching (a plus!). I have plans to investigate both Diigo and GreaseMonkey for possible future use now that I have some experience for comparison.
As a source of ‘information snacks’, I found Twitter another useful tool to find and share links without the time-consuming expectation to ‘curate with your own added perspective’. But the reciprocity of the system needs a disciplined approach to keep the flow of tweets under control. Twitter seems to exemplify what Watkins (2009, p160) believes: that the young are consuming smaller portions of much more content – and with more mobile devices – it is happening constantly! Since using more social media platforms myself, I have felt a daily need to action updates and to maintain currency of contact. A purchase jump to the latest iPhone has allowed me to be part of the tech-mobile group with apps like QRReader and Easybib in addition to mobilizing the previously mentioned platforms. Watkins (2009, p160) goes on to suggest: “ the social- and mobile-media lifestyle represents a new cultural ethos and a profound shift in how we consume media”. He adds: “Young people are media rich.” These are the devices many of our students are familiar with and will use in their adult working lives – so we need to be onboard and supporting the learning processes associated with these readily available devices. Most significantly TLs need to identify how these social media tools can enhance student learning, particularly within our established role in relation to information literacy and digital citizenship in an evolving transmedia learning environment. The individual students, the curriculum content and the available technology will all influence the pedagogy used. I need to keep in mind what Fred Cavazza said: There is “No tool to rule them all”. What is effective on one occasion may not be right for another. Continual evaluation!
The very openness of these social network connections allows searchers serendipitous finds – but it does also serve up undesirable ‘spam’. These seem to be driven by the SEO perspective that relates the quantity of visitors with the quality of the site. The accompanying qraphic ($ sign of icons) exemplifies their drive for the $$$. They look for the effect of crowd-sourcing power! Though I have though that getting that exposure can be of benefit as TL advocacy. I did not allocate enough time to the consolidation of my knowledge in relation to Social media use policies and the recording of my reflections. I believe my increased involvement in these last two months has developed my understanding and use of these technologies and with time I’ll have a greater capacity to evaluate the usefulness of existing and emerging individual tools and devise policies to suit my professional needs.
I have suggested that ‘the jump into the Web 2.0 water has made me feel part of a future where the current is strong and wide. It’s empowering to be part of the @ flow’.
Casey, M. E. & Savastinuk, L. C. Service for the next-generation library. Library Journal, 09/01/2006 retrieved from: http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6365200.html
Greenhow, C. (2011) Online social networks and learning. In On the Horizon (Ed.) Christine Greenhow Vol. 19 No. 1 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. Via ejournals.ebsco.com
O’Connell, J (2011) Revolutionizing Libraries with Social Media. Via Heyjude blog. Retrieved from:
Utecht, J. (2008) Stages of PLN Adoption. Via The Thinking Stick. Retreived from: http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption
Valenza, J. (2012) Hooray, we’re mobile! Our new App. Via Never Ending Search blog. Retreived from:
Watkins, S. C. (2009) The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social-network sites, Games, and Anywhere Media Means for Our Future. Boston: Beacon
After managing a deeper jump into the world of Web 2.0 by adding Twitter and Facebook to my repertoire – I was open to try a ‘virtual’ environment. Second Life (SL) was suggested as the platform to use as CSU has a dedicated area for the purposes of teaching and learning about and through this tool. My first two visits earlier in the course were ‘tech heavy’ as I refined my avatar and her abilities. Then I experienced a very frustrating group tour episode where I couldn’t hear instructions and the text support was limited. I certainly questioned how this environment could support ‘learners’ if the technology hurdle I was experiencing was likely to be prevalent for others. Does one commit lots of tech-tool learning time to simply read signs in a library-look-alike building? I did wonder at the value of a ‘virtual world’ for a while.
Then, having read more about the number of people (esp. youth) experiencing virtual worlds and realizing there is something in Ilene Frank’s (2008) suggestion – “that is where our users are headed”, I reviewed my opinion. As I became in just four visits, Frank has suggested that many users are becoming comfortable and more familiar within a virtual environment and the software is likely to continue to evolve and improve making it more accessible to folk with various languages and / or disabilities. When the tech difficulties are overcome, it’s a ‘playful’ place – being able to create a persona with a certain degree of anonymity can be fun – even more so during the tech-learning stages when all sorts of ‘silly’ things happen. Being able to enjoy the learning process is encouragement to come back for more.
Then our study group had some volunteers verbally present in a virtual seminar room, overviews of their assignment projects with accompanying slide presentations. Other students were the audience and allowed the opportunity to ask questions at the conclusion of each presentation. The presenters were well supported and coached to enable a ‘realistic’ impression for both speaker and listeners. The auditory dimension added to the visual slides was very effective and feedback later through our facebook page indicated that this could be a valuable experience for future course participants. This experience has clarified for me how this virtual environment can provide a place to participate and share knowledge with a particular interest-group. This has confirmed for me the effectiveness of auditory input in the online teaching/learning process. My previous experience of interaction using voice (Skype) had been a successful project involving a group of 5 students collaboratively creating a slide presentation within specific parameters.
I am yet to visit a virtual library populated with librarians – where according to Frank (2008) most questions concern Second Life software itself, but some ‘reference’ questions are answered. ‘Librarians are providing programming in the form of book talks, art exhibitions, meetings for professional development, and opportunities for networking’. She spoke of the ‘Teen Grid’ for 13 – 17 year olds – though the need for adults in an instructional role is still to be sorted. There appears to be a push to develop ‘education only’ virtual worlds where both adults and students can participate together. I now see the potential of a ‘virtual classroom’ (albeit without the avatars at this stage) in a ‘flipped’ fashion where the information is viewed at the learners convenience and then discussed and applied with the whole group at a future time.
I moved from a skeptical beginning to the realization that a virtual space can and will support future learning needs for many people. For many, access to quality information may only be online. In searching for suitable services to support our clients’ needs we can ourselves learn in the process. Farkas (2008) believes we need to ‘make mistakes and learn from them’ as we continue to assess and service the information needs of our clients. I’m pleased I persisted with the ‘virtual’ environment. Second Life is yet another way to be connected to people for my own learning needs and to support the learning of others.
Farkas, M. (2008), The essence of Library 2.0? from blog: Information Wants To Be Free. Retrieved from: http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/
Frank, I. (2008) Librarians in Virtual Worlds: Why Get a Second Life?, in First Monday, 14(8). Retrieved from: http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/2222/2010
Saba, D. (2012) Flipping the Classroom. from blog: Virtual Learning. Retrieved from: http://virtulearning.blogspot.com/2012/01/flipping-classroom.
During a quick reminder visit to Second Life this afternoon to practise my moves I found all was well, so I logged out to return later for the organised tour. The return visit was not so successful – others could hear me, but I couldn’t hear them and couldn’t work out why – it was like being deaf in a room full of speakers! My earlier visits to Second Life had been fairly successful – and I know with persistence I’ll improve my skills. I was hoping to visit the ‘instructional’ sites to see how this virtual place can be used as a learning tool. The snippets I saw suggests a self-paced ‘read-on-line’ information selection with links to helpful people I assume (perhaps delayed if they aren’t in the space at the time). Still lots to learn!
I’m up close to the big board in the snapshot. Went to investigate one of the towers and never came back!
Prior to this summer session at CSU (readINF506), my online networking experiences were limited and contained within pockets of academic necessity – forums for subjects, wiki and GoogleDocs for a collaborative assignments and occasional tentative comments on blogs. (Oh, did I mention a dash of NeatChat and Skype). Then suddenly I was on Facebook (FB) and Flickr for the first time, mentally juggling accelerated ‘catch-up’. Even the Delicious account I had quietly hovering needed a rethink due to the changes they’d recently effected and sending links to other collections wasn’t intuitive for me. The podcast made by one student was quite helpful and initiated my foray into PodOmatic. Of the three, FB’s push to activate ‘friends’ I found the most intrusive and annoying. So much of what I read seemed to refer back to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and getting maximum exposure – usually related to the ability to make money out of the site. I was happy to keep this platform just for the ‘study group’ and asked other ‘friends’ to wait until March when my focus would alter again. Did I believe then I would go back to pre-Facebook involvement? No – always thought I’d keep using FB – but I’d have more personal content and contacts. Now that I feel familiar with my fellow students, I’m keen to keep in contact with this INF506 group – it becomes another established link with like-minded people who’ll each provide glimpses into their own PLN.
My established MEd (TL) study reflection blog was then supplemented with another blog (Teacher-Librarians Connecting) as part of a project. Though the physical group existed – how it would ‘develop’ as an online presence became a work in progress and an interesting challenge. The content of both blogs is definitely supported by the access to ideas and artifacts through all the Web 2.0 networks and sites to which I’ve connected. Oh! and Twitter! I think of it as ‘snippets with links’ – usually visually filtered for the occasional ‘gem’. This microblogging tool is well suited to what Watkins (2009, p160) describes as the emerging ‘mobile-media lifestyle’. Apparently ‘we digest bits and pieces of an ever-sprawling narrative universe’ (esp. YouTube) and we are ‘constantly consuming’. He believes we have ‘evolved from a culture of instant gratification to one of constant gratification’. Have we? My own RSS feeds and Scoopit! links keep me busy enough each day – and I have limited topics. So I do see some evidence of how that ‘digital constancy’ can creep into a life. With the New Year (resolutions!) this concern produced plenty of online articles on topics associated with the management of one’s time, collection of links and online activity to retain a balance in life – both real and online. Some comments I agree with about the superficiality of ‘Like’, ‘Retweet’ and ‘Rescoop’ as not always being quality curation. It was a reminder that we need to interact with information, connect it to our existing knowledge and experience and add to it for further dissemination. Though we have now experienced the very influential effect of the Twitter platform in politics and during natural disasters.
The majority of my online life is academic – where I’m building my PLN and capacity to step up and establish myself in a career with the potential to influence a wider sphere of colleagues. My few ‘virtual world’ experiences limit how I think I can make use of that environment as a teaching and learning space. I’m planning to attend two SecondLife events this week that should give me some ‘food for thought’ – though I keep returning to the niggling feeling that the teachers and young students in my circle have a very great need to focus in other areas that require less ‘tool mastery’. Perhaps when I know more of its uses and I’m more adept within a game environment I’ll value its desirous problem solving attributes more.
Will I ever be the same? I hope not and I know not! Though ‘befuddling’ to begin with – the jump into the Web 2.0 water has made me feel part of a future where the current is strong and wide. It’s empowering to be part of the @ flow.
Baer J. (2011) Five Reasons Social Media Measurement is Making You Lie to Yourself. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/x1g7TW
Watkins, S. C. (2009) The Young and the Digital. Beacon Press, Boston.
Image 2: Personal photo from local library.