Month: January 2014

Information Literacy– Evaluating websites

Class this week was different — in a good way. We got a chance  to work independently and be creative, which isn’t something I get to do much in grad school. We were given time and a list of tools to creatively come up with a way to ask or answer a question about information literacy. It was really interesting to see what everyone did with their time. Some people did really funny memes, some did posters and flyers. I did a word cloud. For my word cloud I went through my classmates blogs and choose a few that I really like. I took the blog post and created a word cloud to compare what terms and words were used most often. Heres what it looked like.

wordCloud

It was interesting to see how we used all of these different tools like canva and bitstrips to convey similar ideas. And it was good to see everyone creative and social side.

We also did a little experience in information literacy. Basically Kristin read us a blog story and asked up how creditable it was. There was a lot of back and forth about whether or not the story was real or not. I took the article at face value because I regardless of whether or not it was true it wouldn’t have impacted me. I think its important to be able to evaluate a website and be able to tell if the information should be trusted. But to me, that skill isn’t necessary for every piece of information you come across on the internet. I scroll through my Twitter daily and read things that sometime seem unrealistic, but unless its breaking news ( like a life or death situation) I’m just going to accept it and move on. I think if you are doing research or you are reading a news story, then its really important to check the facts and make sure what your hearing is true. But there aren’t enough hours in the day to spend time check is someones blog or twitter post is a fact.

Til next time..shhh

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Transliteracy?

At the end of class last week we were tasked with finding our own reading to blog about as well and creating a screencast. I left class a little confused about what information literacy and screencast had to do with one another, but I decided to “trust the system”. I decided to tackle the screencast first because it was closer to my comfort zone. I’m proud of my screencast and you can view it here!

With that out of the way the only thing left to do was to find readings to blog about. One term from class last week really stood out to me: transliteracy. I wasn’t even sure what the term meant, so I decided my reading would be on getting a better idea of what transliteracy meant and how it related to me and my career goals.

Leave it to humanities folk to Frankenstein a concept as simple as being able to use multi-media platforms.

“Transliteracy is the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.” –  www.transliteracy.com

Perhaps this doesn’t seem like a foreign concept to me because I did my undergraduate degree in multi-media journalism, but honestly I think my generation is pretty used to being able to interpret information regardless of the form it takes. (However being able to take a message from one form and convert it to another may take some skill or training.) Transliteracy in libraries does seem like a really interesting topic. This blog from Libraries and Transliteracy does a great job breaking down what the term means, where it came from and how it relates to libraries. Having transliteracy skill is really important to future librarian because as library user change and embrace new technologies, librarians have to be right along side of them adopting to fit their needs. Now I get why we did screencast this week too. Being able to write or verbalize how to use a tool is great, but as a future librarian I should be able to transfer that skill on to digital video or audio platforms. It also allows a library to reach a larger audience and it gives the users more options in how they want to interact with librarians.

Ideally I’d like to work at an academic library which has a very unique purpose in a community. Sure.. majority of the users will be students and faculty/researcher, but MLibrary also offers a lot of great resources to all Michigan residence and those studying outside of the US. Naturally my next question was : What are the transliterate skills any academic librarian should have? Well according to Introducing transliteracy: What does is mean to academic libraries? no one knows. While the concept is clear to understand, the term is very new and coming up with a set list of skills of technologies a person should know is difficult. Well if I’ve learnt anything from last semester (and a bit from 500 this semester), no one is expected to be and expert. How could you even come up with a list when technologies and trends change so often? The second you complete the list it could be outdated. I think transliteracy should be a way of life. A vow to always be a student.. eager to learn and embrace the new and unknown. In my opinion once you learn how to learn a certain skill, changing isn’t that difficult. You already ready have a foundation and  the metacognative ability to process a new technologies and once you find a transferable aspect of the new technology making the adjustment from one to the other won’t be as hard as it may seem. Mutli-disciplinary “t-shaped” people are all about transliteracy (whether we realize it or not). (I wonder if i should list that as a skill on my resume?)

“transliteracy as a cultural phenomenon” -transliteracy: crossing divides

I’m glad to be a part of this new way of looking at information literacy. People are working together and collaborating across discipline like never before. Fences are coming down..and we’re starting to think of professions like librarianship in new ways. (YAY! because seriously if one more person refers to LIS as a ‘soft-science’ I’m going to “softly” put them back in their place) I’m glad to step out from behind the reference desk and take those reference skills into HCI, IAR , SC and beyond.

Readings:

Beginner’s Guide to Transliteracy by Tom Ipri & Bobbi Newman

Introducing transliteracy: What does is mean to academic libraries by Tom Ipri

transliteracy: crossing divides by Tom Ipri

Til next time….shhhh

A stroll down digital memory lane

In my quest to find literature on information and digital literacy I came across the digital literacy portfolio I created when I was a senior in high school! Whether I realized it then or not, where I am today has always been my passion and its so interesting to see how much I have changed and how much the world has changed as well.

Throughout high school I participated in Global Kid, which is a non-profit education organization aimed at empowering students to be aware of global event and active global citizens. It was my safe haven and the after school activities they provided stimulated me in a way school couldn’t. One of the after programs I joined was call Media Masters. At the time I thought it was boring but looking back now I see that it gave me the foundation to be a successful iSchool student. The Media Masters program was aimed at teaching us digital literacy skills. Each week we had an activity and at the end we would blog about it and earn a badge.

gkMM                                                                   gkDM

 

Some of this skills I’m passing along in classes and in the Michigan Makers after school program I help facilitate. It is so cool to find this stuff, I completely forgot it even existed. But it shows me just for much knowledge I’ve gained. While I do miss the simplicity of high school I’m so glad that I’m in the position now to return that knowledge to younger students who will grow up one day and write a blog about it.

Last but not least here is the final project from that program: My Digital Portfolio! (which is also my very first screencast!)

Til next time…shhh (no seriously…I don’t need that video going viral. Keep is on the down low!!)

Snow Daze

I’m not entirely sure is its the lack of sleep or the freezing/snowy weather…but I have been feeling very fatigued and lethargic. A prime example of this it the fact that I meant to put this blog up last week. Very little energy mixed with an insane amount of ambiguously described assignment is only making me want to be even more of a shut it. Just about the only thing I look forward to is Michigan Makers ( which we didn’t do this week due to the MLK holiday). But having the day off from classes did help me get started on my assignments (or at least trying to understand them).

So glad that this weeks assignment for 643 is right up my alley. Screencast seem a little more difficult than they really are and three minutes is plenty of  time. But like we saw in class..there are several ways a screen cast can go very wrong. So here’s a list of a few things we discussed in class and some from my own experiences in broadcast journalism:

  1. A script is your friend! Please don’t think you are going to remember everything you want to say and the order in which it should be said. Not having a script leaves you open to sound like you have no clue what you’re saying. A tip about scripts I learnt from being a radio host: WRITE IN ALL CAPS. It makes the words easier to see and read.
  2. You’re not going to like the way your voice sounds the first time you hear play back the audio but trust me that’s how you sound to the rest of the world. Focus more on pronouncing your words clearly.
  3. Start with the ADDIE plan first! Many of the things you write in the plan can become phrases you use in the script later. Make sure you’ve got a clear understanding of your objective, audience and the tool you are describing. It will make writing the script easier.
  4. It may take a few times before you think its perfect. Don’t get frustrated, shake it off…have a drink of water and try again.

It also doesn’t hurt if you have a cool accent. None the less I think this week for 643 will be a more flexible one for me and I’m so grateful for it. I’m really looking forward to seeing how everyone’s screen casts turn out.

Til next time….shhhhh

Screencasts and One-shot

I am a huge fan of screencasts and online tutorials especially when they are used in libraries. I found this weeks reading really interest and they brought up a lot of important aspect of teaching library and literacy that are often overlooked.

One of the most interesting things that came out of the readings is the idea of the ‘one-shot workshop’ that is pretty common at libraries. If your unfamiliar with this term, it basically refers to the short information workshop held by librarians to teach users how to use certain library features. I’ve attended a few in New York, but honestly they’ve been a little boring and in some cases useless. Typically these workshop are conducted by a library staff member (hopefully one who is familiar with the topic and workshop structure), and for about and hour they ramble or show examples of how to do something (like navigating the stack, placing a book on hold, or citing a source). One issue with this format is that the user is rarely engaged and often the librarian is trained on how to teach the material. However the book Creating the One-Shot Libary Workshop highlighted some really cool tips and techniques on improving this experience for both the librarian and the user. According to the book, one of the most important things a librarian who want to do a workshop should keep in mind is ADDIE:

Analysis

Design

Development

Implementation

Evaluation

Each of these steps are key to having a meaningful exchange. I think this process seems great. Its ensure that all the basic components are in place and that after the workshop is over, you take the experience and start over to improve it. I’ve facilitated several workshops in the past and feedback/evaluation is just as important as any other step because it encourages you to make changes and fix things that didn’t work the way you thought it would.

I think that the ADDIE process should  be including in every teaching experience, even in online tutorials.  Not many libraries have a collection of tutorials but I think that they are very useful and when done correctly are usable and valuable to  users. The article on online tutorials; Best Practices for Online Video Tutorials in Academic Libraries looked at how user of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign library understood and engaged with the video tutorials. One of main things at a library that want to put out a collection of tutorials should really think about is the content and quality of the video, as well as advertising to and feedback from the users. I think its pointless to wait until a user is in chat reference service to bring up the videos. Users need to know that the videos are available otherwise there’s no point to having them. And I think there should be a quick survey at the end of the video to collect feedback.

Sidebar: I’m super excited for class tomorrow!!! And I can finally let my background in journalism shine with scripting and producing screencast.

Til next week…shhhhh!!

Why Libraries?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked why I want to be a librarian. Why would you want to do that? Who even goes to the library any more?  And for a long time I would honestly tell people to picture Google with no search bar. How would you find what you needed? Would you just wonder around Google.com hoping you stubble across the information you needed? What do you do if you’re not clear on what you need to know? Someone needs to organize and keep track of all the information so that you (users) could find the information you needed. Someone needs to help you focus your search and help you find information that meaningful to your need. Those people are librarians.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend class this week ( although I’m sure the discussions were great), but the readings and videos assigned are very interesting. This blog would be ridiculously long if I tried to share my thoughts on everything, so I’m just going to focus on the text readings from  How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. 

I took this quote from the first chapter because it really stood out to me:

 “As Nobel laureate Herbert Simon wisely stated, the meaning of “knowing” has shifted from being able to remember and repeat information to being able to find and use it (Simon, 1996).”

This quote really explains why most people don’t understand why libraries are important, but it also explains why librarians are so important. Most people thing that the internet has made all information easily accessible; in some ways this is true because people aren’t going the library anymore for “reference-ready” information like census facts or information on a  person. Those are quite simple to look up on Google. However simply being able to find information isn’t enough, you also need to know how to use it; and this is where librarian trump Google every time. Merely clicking links isn’t the same as having someone who can assist you in understanding the information and how to make connection between different pieces of information.

It’s similar to reading the text for a class verse actually going to class. Yes you will understand the readings but you wouldn’t get the depth of the information without the professor and classmates to help you make connections. Majority of courses just require the student to memorize and restate facts. Which is not very effective. With the current way people find information, there’s less emphasis on memorizing information because they know its regularly available on the information; but what good is knowing where to find it if it has to real meaning to you?

One thing that really captured me in chapter one was the concept of metacognition. Metacognition refers to the process of assessing ones abilities and making prediction on how well they will understand things

“Teaching practices congruent with a metacognitive approach to learning include those that focus on sense-making, self-assessment, and reflection on what worked and what needs improving.”

The book Fish is Fish is a good way to help people understand that their perception and past shape how they understand new information. How you understand something new relies heavily on what you already know and how you process new information.

“Since understanding is viewed as important, people must learn to recognize when they understand and when they need more information.”

This is a new concept to me but I find it extremely interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever taken to time to trace how I came to understand something and when I knew I had understood. How do you really know when you’ve gone from a novice to an expert? Experts have acquired a great deal of knowledge about a subject and they understand and notice things that a novice to the subject may not. However I think its interesting to look at people who are considered experts in information and technology, because to me these fields are changing so rapidly how could one person keep up with it all.

For example, the analogy of a Chess master who has studies Chess so well that they can quickly make meaningful patterns and understand the other players tactics. That’s logical for a game that has set rules. But imagine if someone decided to change the rules, add a new chess piece or an extra row to the board. What then? While the chess masters knowledge is still meaningful, it nothing if they aren’t flexible enough to accept the new rules and adapt.

Last semester in a programming course I took, there were several times when the professor would get stumped by a student question. Not because that professor isn’t skilled or knowledgeable but because sometime a novice may notice or question things in a way that the expert may not. That’s what I think makes information science such an appealing field, there always a different way you could try to understand or present a piece of information. It’s difficult at times to try to understand how or why we learn things the way we do. Its easier to just tackle a task in the form it was given to you. But I think if I took the time to analyze how I understand the task and ways to solve it, I’d spend less time stressing out. I will definitely strive towards being an adaptive expert in the LIS field from now on, using what I know and paying closer attention to ways to learn and teach new things effectively.

Till next week…. SHHH!

Library of Congress– Loved it!

I recently went to Washington DC on vacation (but being a full-time nerd), I couldn’t resist stopping by a LOC Thomas Jefferson Building. It was absolutely wonderful and worth the 10 mins I spend in line outside to get it.

photo 5           photo (3)

Architecturally, the building is beautiful. Grand staircases, marble and stain glass at every turn. Every inch of the building was covered with artwork and inspiring quotes about knowledge, reading and the power of words. There were several exhibits open (including one titled Exploring the Early Americas that features some very interesting and priceless maps).photo 4

Since it is still the holiday season they still had a very large beautiful tree in the lobby. It wasn’t until I got closer to the tree that I realized the ornaments were book covers, hundreds of classic stories and fairy tales! I wish I had thought of that for my tree this year.

photo 3        photo 2        photo 1

I’d love to go back (or better yet intern there during the summer) and visit some of the other LOC and Smithsonian buildings