A new culture of learning

Thomas and Brown’s (2011) new culture of learning resonates strongly with me as an educator, but even more so as a learner. Since 2008 when I first embarked on a “23 things” learning experience I have been exploring, engaging, following interests, connecting and learning using the fabulously vast resources of the online world. I came into this Masters course not so much for the specific qualification but to find structure and direction to focus my explorations. In the end I hope to find some new career options; whether or not I take them up is moot as I will be equally happy to find new direction within my existing career.

In all subjects so far (INF530, INF536, INF506) I have learned just as much with and from my fellow students as from exploring the course materials. Distance education has been an eye-opener and a fabulous surprise in how rich and rewarding the engagement has been. Many years ago I started on-campus Masters studies and never once felt anything like this level of engagement with other students. We sat in the same room for 2-3 hours a week and nothing more (or since). In this past year of study I’ve had many interactions with my fellow students which continue despite the subject/s being complete. My PLN continues to grow.

Just as it is for Allen (Thomas & Brown, p. 26), Google is the first port of call for many people faced with an error or problem these days and I’m certainly one of them. Whether it’s battling Apple’s Configurator for our class set of iPads, finding the best app for a purpose or trouble-shooting computer errors I can almost always find and answer or a forum where similar experiences are being discussed and learn from them.

Beyond a depressingly unsuccessful go at learning about Minecraft (at a full day workshop) and an uninspiring exploration of Second Life for INF506 I’ve not ventured into the world of massively multiplayer online games. Perhaps the closest I come to it is managing the family footy-tipping contest at Footytips. When we first started (about 7 years ago) my brother and his family were heading overseas for an exchange year and I thought it would be a good way to keep in touch. It was and is, but really it’s a very insignificant part of how we connect as a family.

It is clear to me that allowing students the freedom to explore their own interests and passions will facilitate the learning of concepts and skills beyond the topic – like Sam who learned valuable citizenship habits through the Scratch community (Thomas & Brown, p.21). In my school, as a teacher librarian, I promote project-based/challenge-based/inquiry-based learning by engaging with teachers and supporting them in myriad ways. We are a mixed-ability staff and some are much more ready to give up teaching to start enabling (as Thomas did (Thomas & Brown, p.25))  than others but there is recognition that old ways need to change and some commitment to giving it a go.

References

Thomas, D., Brown, J. S. (2011). Arc-of-Life learning. In A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change (pp. 17-33). Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.

New models of information production

De Saulles, M. (2012). New models of information production. In Information 2.0: new models of information production, distribution and consumption (pp. 13-35). London: Facet.

What are some of the defining characteristics of the Internet and world wide web that have stimulated the creation for new models of information production?

What are some of the challenges that these models present to educators and/or information professionals?

The digitisation of information and the proliferation of devices with internet access means that information that was once scarce and/or difficult to access is now freely available. The world wide web, and in particular, Web 2.0 have made it possible for anyone, even with limited resources, to publish to the world. Formats like blogs and podcasts are logical, democratised, developments of pre-internet formats such as newspapers and radio broadcasts. What is new is the built-in powers of search engines and the metadata accessible through social media giving rise to new developments in the study of human trends. These can be used in diverse ways such as tracking the spread of disease to manage health resources, targeted marketing, or identifying and responding to the issues most important to voters at multiple levels.

These new models of information production present both challenges and opportunities to educators and information professionals.

With information no longer scarce and precious we are challenged with dealing with too much rather than too little information. Educators are challenged with teaching students the skills required to filter and think critically about what they find and, just as importantly, what they share. Information professionals, whose core function of getting the right information to the right person at the right time has not fundamentally altered, are challenged by this oversupply of information making their role more and more complex. At the same time there are new opportunities as the skills of information professionals – organising, classifying, disseminating – are needed more than ever in the era of big data.

Why should libraries be on social media?

Select three (3) libraries of your choice that use social networking to meet their goals.

Develop a comparative table which documents how each of the libraries use social networking tools to support information service provision, educational programs, conduct business etc.

Based on this comparison (and in no more than 350 words) develop your own list of “Reasons why libraries should be on social media”, and draw upon aspects of these three libraries to illustrate each point.

sm icons

CC0 Public Domain image from http://pixabay.com/en/icons-buttons-logos-structure-489548/

 

YPRL (Public library)

Facebook Page

1057 page likes. Posts include events happening in the various libraries, updates on renovations, links to lists created in bibliocommons, links to reading related articles and external events; occasional posts to page from users, some asking questions which are responded to.

Twitter

1082 followers. Links to Facebook page posts and occasional retweets. Some interactions with users

Bibliocommons

Rate and review books. A worldwide (200 public libraries in 4 countries – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, US., wikipedia) service that is incorporated seamlessly into the YPRL site. Both staff and patrons review and create lists of books to share. Did not observe commenters interacting with each other/library staff but that’s not to say it doesn’t happen.In 2008, Library Journal called BiblioCommons “a revolutionary social discovery system for libraries”.I incorrectly noted in my review of the website that there was no option for users to share their books/reviews on social media – Bibliocommons does have sm sharing options for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google +, Tumblr and to email.

MHS (Secondary school library)

Blog

Reports on events held in the library, information about various websites and tools of interest to students, book reviews etc. No evidence of interaction by students through comments but various posts liked by other bloggers (from observation these were not students).

Facebook Page

186 page likes. Almost exclusively links to blog posts. Some evidence that post likes are from students.

Twitter

49 followers. Different content to their blog/facebook. Tweets observing goings on in the library, links to articles and sites, general observations of school/library life etc. Tweeted 4 times in 2012 then nothing till September 2014.

CSU (Tertiary Institution library)

Blog

“Your Library@CSU keeps you up to date with new titles and DVDs, new databases, changes to services, as well as great new web sites. The Library blog has handy study tips, links to current reports and newspaper articles, and alerts you to any new Library podcasts.”Eclectic range of articles on library services, resources, advertising events, news – eg opening hours over breaks etc,, study support and so on.

Facebook Page

1859 likes. Less frequent but similar posts to tweets. More evidence of interaction through likes, comments and shares.

Twitter

1497 followers. Links, information, RTs. Not much evidence of interaction.

Youtube

Channel includes library tours and information videos (eg What is Endnote; Saving searches)

Google+

Only found this from the Youtube channel. Doesn’t appear to be anything shared here.

According to Farkas (2008) – our goal is to “do right by our patrons” by focusing on the users’ needs. That means that if users communicate using social media so should you.

Burkhardt (2009) gives four reasons:

  • Communication – it is the way that many younger people communicate (as opposed to email, phone etc)
  • Respond to positive/negative feedback – show that you care
  • Marketing/advertising
  • Understanding users better – have a conversation, learn stuff!

King (2015) lists 5 reasons:

  • listening
  • making connections
  • getting responses
  • taking advantage of mobile technology
  • extending reach

I think these can be streamlined into three main reasons:

  1. Communication – includes listening, responding and making connections. CSU and MHS use their blogs to keep users informed about new resources, new and changed services, study help and more. All three curate for their users by sharing links via Twitter and Facebook. YPRL users ask questions and get responses on Facebook.
  2. Marketing – social media is ideal for sharing virtual advertising posters promoting services and upcoming events making them available anywhere instead of just within the library building. MHS and CSU use their blog and Facebook in this way. YPRL promotes events and competitions through Facebook and Twitter links to Facebook posts.
  3. Extending reach (this incorporates taking advantage of mobile technology) – just as a website should provide multiple access points to get to information so should a library offer more ways for users to access their services than just a physical location. This is increasingly important in schools where one to one technology access is becoming the norm. The library should be providing services to teachers and students where they are and when they need it. A student might not think to go to the library website but if they connect with Twitter or Facebook they can be kept informed and involved. All three libraries use social media in this way.

References

Burkhardt, A. (2009, August 25). Four reasons libraries should be on social media. Retrieved from http://andyburkhardt.com/2009/08/25/four-reasons-libraries-should-be-on-social-media/

Farkas, M. (2008, January 24). The essence of Library 2.0? Retrieved from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/

King, D. L. (2015). Managing your library’s social media channels. Library Technology Reports, 51(1), 5. doi:10.5860/ltr.51n1

Usability, usability, usability

Develop your own set of criteria (up to 10 criterion) with regard to effective library website design; evaluate the effectiveness of a selected library website based on your set of criteria, and identify aspects of this website that could be improved using Web 2.0 technologies.

This is an interesting task for me as I am about to be closely involved with the development of our library’s website. Even though it will be created through LibGuides and therefore restricted to a template-based approach, I have already seen a range of different examples of LibGuides in use and there are definitely some that look and function much better than others.

For this task I read the recommended readings but from following up leads within them I came across Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited by Steve Krug (2014). After reading it I almost decided that I only needed one criteria – usability. As Krug says, if your website is effective “A person of average (or even below average) ability and experience can figure out how to use the thing to accomplish something without it being more trouble than it’s worth” p. 9. The book is an easy, and very worthwhile, read – I’ve found myself viewing every website I’ve visited differently since reading it. Any website that has been set up with his usability principles in mind should, by definition, be effective.

That said, from this and other reading for this task (Mathews, 2009; Bartlett, 2014) I have come up with a list of ten criteria for effective library websites and to test the criteria I had a look at my local library’s website. Yarra Plenty Regional Library has nine branch libraries servicing the 350,000 residents of Banyule, Nillumbik and Whittlesea local government areas.

 YPRL website homepage

Criterion YPRL website
1. That the catalogue provides a link back to the library home page or if not it should open in a new window Search occurs within the webpage (ie doesn’t go to a different site) so it is always easy to get back to home.
2. Search box in consistent position on every page. What will be searched should be obvious ie the catalogue and/or the site itself. Search area consistently located in the header area. Choice to search catalogue/events/site (radio buttons) – usually defaults to “catalogue” except when you’re on the What’s On page when it defaults to “events” – clever!.
3. Responsive design – ie layout changes according to device type Not responsive. The display is acceptable for iPad/tablet but not for a phone sized display. However, they have iPhone and Android apps available where the most important features from the website can be used (search, holds, renewals, location etc.). The apps can be accessed via QR code.
4. Looks uncluttered, clean and simple The look is clean with three main colours from their logo used on a white background.
5. Multiple pathways to required information/services – menus that dropdown when hovered over; sidebar; footer. Easy return to home Main navigation from drop-down menus under the header, they expand when hovered over. Some items also linked in left or right sidebar, presumably those considered the most important – My YPRL (information about the users loans etc); Hours & Location; Upcoming events. Minimal navigation in the footer. Hours & Locations also appears above the header.
6. Easy and obvious means of seeking help There are FAQs and Ask A Question options in the sidebar; links to Contact information and Feedback in the footer. Depending on the page there will be different FAQs displayed to the right, minimising the clicks to get to the most likely questions.
7. Place for easily changed temporary alerts Yes, top of centre section
8. Place for regularly updated promotional material The central section has a display of new titles which can be filtered by Fiction/Non-Fiction/Kids/Youth. Below that are staff picks (link to a list curated by a staff member); and then recent comments from reviews shared by users.
9. Minimal clicks required for any purpose = the “Don’t make me think” principle (Krug 2014, p. 11) Choices are obvious, there is little superfluous information and I didn’t find any redundant steps.
10. Oh, and did I mention usability! Yes, very. At the simplest level users of a library website want to know where the library is, when it is open and if they have the book they are after. All this is very easy and obvious.

 

In terms of Web 2.0 features the catalogue provides the option to add books to your “shelf”, to add a review and to follow other library members who have posted reviews and shared their shelves. As a member of this library service I’ve never really explored this feature until this activity. I was quite surprised to discover, by exploring the reviews, that this is part of a much larger service – the people involved are not just from YPRL but from all over the world. I don’t know if this makes this more or less useful, certainly it means there is a much bigger pool of people to generate the reviews but are the reviews of someone on the other side of the world relevant to me? Not sure. I am, however, very impressed with how seamlessly this fits into the YPRL website.

The library service has a Facebook page and Twitter account (tweets are almost exclusively links to Facebook posts) but there are no other options for connecting via social media – users can only share their reviews and shelves with the community, not with Facebook, Twitter or other social media.

Overall I found YPRL’s website to be very usable and effective.

After reading Krug’s book I will definitely be looking into usability testing for our own site and (thinking aloud here) I might start by doing some tests on other LibGuides sites. Our library staff have already started discussing our approach – consistency of look and placement of certain elements has been identified as important and this exercise has only served to confirm that.

References

Bartlett, H. (2014, February 27). Best Practices for Library Website Design. Retrieved from http://www.bartlettinteractive.com/blog/best-practices-library-website-design

Krug, S. (2014). Don’t make me think, revisited: a common sense approach to Web usability (Third edition.). Berkeley, Calif.: New Riders.

Mathews, B. (2009). Web Design Matters. Library Journal, 134(3), 24.

Social Media Policy

Search the Web and full-text databases for articles examining social media policies in libraries or organisations that specifically relate to your workplace context. Also locate some examples of social media policies in libraries or organisations that specifically relate to your workplace context, which you believe can assist your organisation in developing or revising a social media policy. Share five (5) of these resources (complete with a 50-75 word annotation for each).

My workplace context is a K-12 school where I am Library and Information Services Manager. I have selected articles relevant to schools and school libraries. These articles have also been shared with the Social Networking for Information Professionals Diigo group.

Conversation topics for educators in the age of social media

Lisa Nielsen promotes the effective use of social media in education and is concerned that teachers do not fully understand their potential, nor best practice. She recommends conversation as an excellent way of supporting teachers in having a go. She provides two lists of conversation starters worthy of discussion in relation to particular contexts. While not promoting them as “Do and Don’t” she has, however, divided them into Recommended, and Think twice before… The lists provide an excellent basis for the development of a social media policy for schools. (Nielsen, 2014)

How to create social media guidelines for your school

In this concise four page guide (produced by Edutopia in collaboration with Facebook) educator and author Steven Anderson (@web20classroom) provides a very practical, step-by-step guide to developing a school social media policy. The seven steps start with “Examine your school culture” and conclude with “Review periodically”. Each step includes reflection questions (for example “What are the fears around social media in school?” and “Does everyone on the team share the same goal?”) and/or links to further resources as appropriate. (Anderson, 2013)

Social media and Web 2.0: Teacher-librarians, risk and inequity

In a pilot study the author found the approach to social media access for school students and teachers differed according to sector. State schools had a “walled garden” approach while independent schools “empowered and managed”. The differences were attributable to either risk aversion or bandwidth management or both. This was found to contribute to the digital divide between “information-rich and information-poor” with state school students disadvantaged in the development of digital literacy. (Lupton, 2013).

Staff use of social media in Sydney Catholic schools

An example of an actual policy, this is clearly written, in accessible language, and there is support for the use of online communities with students for educational purposes if the explicit procedures and expectations are followed. The policy for the personal use of social media clearly outlines what is and is not acceptable and there is excellent practical advice for teachers to consider in order to maintain professional standards.

My only question is has this been reviewed? It is dated February 2011 with a review date of March 2012 but this is the only version available (from CEO Sydney website) as of January 2015.

What’s Not to ‘Like’?

Describes how social media can support learning and argues that restrictive social media policies should be re-thought. Suggests making a distinction between policies (what is specifically allowed and not allowed) and guidelines (recommendations for best practice). References specific US legislation and education standards but the proposed framework for guidelines has general relevance with learning and behaviour the focus, not technology and tools. (Harris & Cusick, 2014)

References

Anderson, S. (2013). How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your School. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/pdfs/edutopia-anderson-social-media-guidelines.pdf

Harris, F. J., & Cusick, M. M. (2014). What’s Not to “Like”? School Library Journal, 60(3), 46. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/1502700437

Lupton, M. (2013). Social media and Web 2.0: Teacher-librarians, risk and inequity. Synergy, 11(1). Retrieved from http://www.slav.vic.edu.au/synergy/volume-11-number-1-2013/research/289-social-media-and-web-20-teacher-librarians-risk-and-inequity.html

Nielsen, L. (2014, November 12). Conversation topics for educators in the age of social media. Retrieved from http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/conversation-topics-for-educators-in.html

Staff use of social media in Sydney Catholic Schools. (2011). Catholic Education Office. Retrieved from http://www.ceosyd.catholic.edu.au/About/Documents/pol-socialmedia-staff.pdf

Did you know 4.0

Watch Did you know 4.0 and identify five examples of ‘shifts’ or trends that can have an impact on how individuals behave as a digital citizens.

How do these behaviours impact on the need for, and development of, information policy in organisations?

My first reaction to this video was the thought that, given it was made in 2009, a lot of the information must be very dated by now. However, there are certainly some “shifts” mentioned that continue to impact individuals, their use of information and their behaviour as digital citizens; that libraries, schools and other organisations need to consider in the construction of information policy.

95% of all songs downloaded last year weren’t paid for

Copyright is huge area and a minefield for schools and libraries. Organisations providing access to the internet (to library members for example, either through providing computers or just wifi access) need policy in place to protect themselves from copyright violation accusations. Their acceptable use policies need to be explicit about what can and cannot be done with the access they provide and to place responsibility with the user. With this comes the obligation to provide adequate information and education so that users are properly informed of their responsibilities.

The rise of Wikipedia

Schools and libraries have a role in user education about the credibility of information and the importance of locating and using multiple sources. Wikipedia is an amazing resource but it should not be used to the exclusion of all others. I’ve written more about Wikipedia here.

The rising incidence of employees being disciplined for violating blog/message board policies

Social media sites allow the individual great freedom to express themselves – policy should be in place so that employees, users and students understand the potential implications of what they post online; and not just if their social media profile is linked to their organisation.

The mobile device will be the world’s primary connection tool to the internet by 2020

In 2013, 73.4 percent of the global online population accessed the internet from their mobile phone.  Organisations need to ensure that their online content is accessible/readable/usable via smaller screens. This also opens up issues of accessibility for people with disabilities – can the website be read by screen reading software for the vision impaired for example. It also impacts on the provision of wifi as opposed to hardware by schools, libraries and other organisations.

Newspaper circulation down, online reading up

Libraries, in particular public libraries – have always provided anyone who walks through their doors access to information about current events through the provision of newspapers and magazines. This obligation to provide access to information is just as important in the digital age and possibly even more so as those on the margins of society are even less likely to have their own means or capacity to access such information.

After viewing the video I found another updated version, this time from 2014:

My key takeaway from this was the prediction that 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020. The world’s population is predicted to be 7.7 billion at that time so that’s around 7 devices for every single person. The Internet of Things is already impacting our everyday life – the impact on information policy will be huge.

 

Community, collaboration, conversation and content creation

Module 4 OLJ activity – Arizona State University Library Minute

The Library Minute videos from Arizona State University Libraries tick all the right boxes

  • They are short
  • focus on one topic at a time
  • give a lot of information in a short time without over-complicating things
  • show where to go to learn more
  • and there’s just enough daggy humour to make you smile.

They would be well-received by today’s university students who, like millions of other young (and not so young) people have made YouTube the second top search engine.

I imagine these videos, along with the other social media tools used by the library, help break-down communication barriers by making the library staff approachable and available in multiple ways both online and in real life. The ASU twitter stream includes study tips, timely information about extended hours, competitions and special events. Their Facebook page includes lots of eye-catching visuals with similar information to the Twitter stream in longer, less frequent posts.

I am seriously impressed by the videos and I wonder how many man-hours go into making each one? The technological side would be relatively easy, even just with an iPad you can green screen (Green Screen by Do Ink), edit (iMovie), add effects and so on; but before they got to that stage someone (or several people) have spent serious time writing the script and story-boarding. They are evidence of a strong collaborative process and co-ordinated marketing plan. I would love to create similar videos for my library even though I don’t have the same level of resources behind me.

On a final note, this video, highlighting ways to have fun at the library is one of my favourites. Who wouldn’t want to connect with a library like that!

 

Social bookmarking


creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by langwitches

I’ve been a social bookmarker since early 2007 when I set up a Delicious account. The following year I was participating in a blogging challenge and when requested to “Find a new toy” I joined Diigo but maintained my Delicious account by auto-saving from Diigo (which seems to have mysteriously stopped happening about six months ago, lucky I wasn’t relying on it).

Quite apart from the convenience of having your bookmarks accessible from any internet connected device, social bookmarking develops a range of skills as shown in the illustration above.

What I do with Diigo:

  • Save bookmarks for me. I use the Chrome browser extension on desktop/laptop computers and the Diigo app on my iPad and phone.
  • Use tags as effectively as I can. The librarian in me endeavours to be consistent with tagging. I don’t hold back with how many I use but I like to keep to a consistent format. eg putting multi-word tags in quote marks rather than use hyphens or underscores to prevent each word being treated as an individual tag. I try not to use capital letters except for proper names.
  • Auto-tweet new public bookmarks (via IFTTT) as a means to share and also to acknowledge that I’ve seen something someone I know has published.
  • Save bookmarks to share with groups. I’ve joined the group for this subject, as well as various other educational groups, and I’ve created groups. I get daily or weekly update emails from the groups I belong to which is a great way of keeping up. I’ve often thought that the ability to have a discussion about a bookmark within a group should be very useful but I haven’t been able to engage the members of the groups I’ve created in this way and I’ve only infrequently seen it used effectively in other groups.
  • Save bookmarks to auto-post to two different blogs. One is a resource for teachers at my school – anything tagged KDSBytes gets posted daily as “Worth a read [date]”; while those tagged KDSiPad post as “iPad news and views [date]”. Everything I bookmark (except those marked private) get posted as “New and interesting links (weekly)” on my personal blog.
  • Use lists. I used bundles extensively with Delicious until they disappeared (although it seems they’re back), lately I’ve started trying to make lists work for me in the same way.
  • I’ve recently set up a Diigo account at my new school although it is still very much a work in progress – I’m looking forward to having LibGuides next year so we have an online presence from where we can provide access. I will be using lists to organise the bookmarks into curriculum areas.
  • Occasionally use the highlighting feature.
  • I have registered as an educator which gives some premium features for free – well worth doing!
  • I haven’t explored using Diigo with students although I’ve read about it being successfully used. I think social bookmarking is part of being digitally literate.

What is Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 icons by zipckr, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  zipckr 

The “2” in Web 2.0 can be seen to mean two-way. Previously, in Web 1.0, static webpages only allowed one-way communication. You visited a site and read or viewed what was there. Web 2.0 opened up options for ordinary people to have an input to the sites they visited, what Will Richardson calls “the read-write web”.

While individuals with the skills and access to hosting facilities had been able to publish online for some time, Web 2.0 enabled user-generated content to be published without the need to use specific web-authoring software. To me a key feature of Web 2.0 is that I expect the “how” to be intuitive or at the very least easy to do with the help that is provided or available elsewhere (usually on Youtube!). I expect to be able to create and post my video, share my photo, build a website, and connect with others, all with a minimal learning curve, with accessible help and information readily available. In the world of Web 2.0 I do not need to do a six month course or be trained by a guru to learn how.

Social networking is one thing that Web 2.0 technology has facilitated but they are not synonymous – not all Web 2.0 tools are for social networking (although all online social networking tools can be categorised as Web 2.0). There are many Web 2.0 sites and services that are not fundamentally about connecting people or community formation (or if they do have an element of this, it is not their core purpose). Things like

can all be effectively used (and are very useful tools) without engaging in their social aspects.

Another aspect of Web 2.0 that isn’t social networking is the ability to mash together two or more tools, for example putting a Google map onto a website or embedding a Youtube video in a blog.

Tagging and folksonomies are inherent in Web 2.0, something that we librarians with our authority files must also embrace.

Finally, an oldie but a goodie. This video which I first saw in early 2008, sparked an a-ha moment that has lead me on an incredible journey. It might look a little dated but all its messages are still very relevant. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it but I find something new to think about every time.

Social Networking and me

INF506 Assignment 1 – OLJ first entry

Social MEdia by John Atkinson is licenced under CC BY NC ND 3.0

Social networking is the use of online tools to connect, communicate, share and collaborate with other people. Social networking can be used for purely social reasons or for education or work. Social networking enables people with common interests to connect in ways unthinkable before the birth of the world wide web and particularly the development of participatory web 2.0 tools which allow an individual to publish their writing, photographs, videos and so on.

I am proud to be Twitter user no.16,589,509 having joined in October 2008. At that point I already feared I was a late-adopter! Twitter is the heart of my PLN and is invaluable for my work in a school library, my interests in education and technology, and was a key driver for the connections I’ve developed with my fellow MEd (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) students. That said, I also follow various accounts for news purposes and quite a few people/accounts just for their entertainment value.  Last year I set up and used a Twitter account for the Disaster Resilience Education project I worked on at Australian Red Cross and at my previous school I set up an account mainly to follow accounts to generate a Paperli daily news edition.

I use Facebook mostly for personal and social connections, all my Facebook friends are people I knew in real life before we became Facebook friends. In contrast in my early days on Twitter there were very few people I followed who I’d actually met. One of the great joys of Twitter though, is how wonderful it is when I actually get to meet one of my “old friends” and I’m happy to say that I now know many of the people I follow on Twitter and we were able to connect in real life because of the Twitter connection.

I belong to a few Facebook groups that are education/library/technology focused but I’ve not been an active user of them (until now with the INF506 group).

I’ve been using Google+ more and more of late, particularly since my experience at the Google Teacher Academy in September. I like the way the communities work and how everything integrates really well with other Google tools like calendar and hangouts.

I’ve used Diigo for bookmarking for a long time and before that I used Delicious. I don’t regard it as “social” in the way Twitter and Facebook are but I belong to a number of groups and have also created groups for work purposes.

Over the years I have belonged and contributed to a number of Ning networks and at my previous school I set up and managed a Ning network for our year 12 students and their teachers.

This is where you can find me:

Through studying this subject I hope to gain a more informed basis on which to draw on in order to advocate for the use of social networking within my library and school. Like many schools, mine is protective and wary of social media, particularly regarding the participation of students. I would like to develop my knowledge of the research about best practice in this field in order to make informed contributions to decision-making processes.