In 2008, Jeff Utecht wrote a blog post outlining what he believed to be the stages of Personal Learning Network (PLN) adoption. He observed that when people go about starting a PLN they often move through five stages that include immersion, evaluation, know it all, perspective and balance. In this model, stage 3, know it all, can be a dangerous time. At this stage, Utecht says people find themselves spending many hours trying to learn everything they can, they feel like they can’t afford to miss anything posted in networks and even give up sleep to stay connected. The image below was developed by Utecht to illustrate these stages:
Personally, I think these stages do describe my own journey in establishing a PLN and I oscillate between stage 3, 4 and 5. I particularly identify with a comment on the blog made by Nancy that says “I might consider drawing a ’roundabout’ as well since I find myself entering Stage 3, then 4, then 5 and then something happens and I’m back at Stage 3 then going on to 4, etc.” I always maintain a goal of balance but manage to lose this mid-term when I enjoy being connected to interesting people and great ideas to the point of spending too much time on devices. When university studies or the school term comes to an end, I have a break, get some perspective and seek balance again. If balance is a habit that can be achieved through practise and discipline, then my efforts to obtain this will eventually pay off and indeed, I think slowly, I am experiencing more of the balanced periods and less the manic ones.
In the classroom, I’m constantly telling students that healthy digital citizenship includes digital down time as advocated by others such as Ribble (2011), Rheingold (2012) and Boyd (2014). I think it is important to ‘practice what I preach’ and apply this principle to time spent in my PLN. I also agree with the comment left by John Larkin in response to Utecht’s post, that states too much intensity in a PLN can lead to burn out and that can be debilitating, personally and professionally (2008). In his book, Netsmart: How to thrive online, Howard Rheingold argues that learning how and when to concentrate on the relevant portions of the incoming tsunami of information is a skill that can and should be learned. He labels this process – infotention (2012).
As part of my studies for Social Networking for Information Professionals at CSU, we were asked to develop a meme map of our own PLN which involves social networking sites, people and organizations. Here is mine:
For this subject, we were also challenged to identify any ‘gaps’ in our existing PLN (ie. areas which we feel we would like to develop further/in the future). Linkedin is one such gap in my PLN. While I have an account and a profile, I have always felt uncomfortable in this environment and avoid updating or participating here. I don’t have a solid explanation for these feelings but something about the platform makes me feel like a “boaster” on one hand and a “stalker” on the other. For the purposes of both the subject and my digital footprint, I have set the goal of becoming more familiar with what is on offer for professionals in Linkedin and improving my participation in this network.
Boyd, D. (2014). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Rheingold, H. (2012). Net smart: How to thrive online. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Ribble, M. (2011). Digital citizenship in schools. Eugene, Or.: International Society for Technology in Education.
The course work for Social Networking for Information Professionals (INF506) has provided opportunities to participate in social media environments and examine literature on this topic. These experiential and academic exercises aimed to broaden students’ understanding of the concept, theory and practice of social networking technologies for education and public organisations. An examination of three blog posts created during the course, RSS feeds for school libraries, ASU Libraries: do they achieve the 4C’s of social media? and Reasons why school libraries should be using social media, highlights an expanding knowledge of social networks, Library 2.0, information services and library management in digital and networked environments.
Understanding social networking technologies
Understanding social networking technologies and their use in the professional setting, first involves learning how to use social media tools. Some of the tools investigated and evidenced in the blog posts include Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, RSS and Google+. In addition to this, the goal of using new tools should be to improve patron services rather than provide an excuse for implementing cool technologies (Farkas, 2008, para. 1). As such, it is essential that library professionals comprehend what different tools may offer patrons and any issues and processes that need to be considered when adopting these (Dellit & Schnindler, 2012, P.3). Schrier states it is also essential that librarians’ usage of these tools is focused on developing a rapport with users, broadening an awareness of the collections and establishing the librarian as an easily accessible source of authoritative information or they will achieve the opposite of the desired outcome and result in disconnecting rather than connecting the library (2011, para. 21). An examination of RSS feeds for school libraries will provide one example of these understandings.
Understanding Library 2.0
A key learning in INF506 has been that social media use by libraries is about transforming them into the participatory services that characterise the Library 2.0 movement. The blog post, ASU Libraries: do they achieve the 4C’s of social media?, evaluates one library’s attempts to adopt a Library 2.0 model. Integral to such a model is customer driven service in which feedback is an essential component (Casey & Savastinuk, 2010). The blog post examines how ASU Libraries do this through an online suggestion box. Meredith Farkas states that Library 2.0 is a difficult concept to grasp and whereas libraries have always sought to meet user needs and garner feedback to that end, in a 2.0 model, they also need to: embrace a position of radical trust and give users a role in the library; get rid of the culture of perfect and adopt constant iterative processes; keep up with new technologies; and look outside the library world for inspiration By embracing these values, it is believed, libraries will move towards a greater culture of assessment and learning (2008, para. 8). The analysis presented in the blog post concludes that the ASU libraries had embraced some of these values but could improve further by incorporating the fourth principle of Library 2.0, that is, content creation by methods such as publishing user reviews and inviting patrons to participate in tagging resources.
Delivering information services via social media
An examination of all three blog posts, will demonstrate that the course work in INF506 required participants to investigate how social media can be used to deliver information services. The blog posts document that one of the common ways libraries have employed social media tools is to promote their collections, events and services. According to Schrier, the power of social media for libraries lies in the use of these tools to communicate with users. The danger, he warns, is that libraries will use social media only as a means of promoting content rather than establishing trusted relationships with users (2007, para.5). Other usages for social media in the delivery of information services include: providing reference help to patrons; obtaining feedback; providing opportunities for patrons to participate in online communities; and crowd sourcing in which users contribute to the work of an organisation (Dellit & Schnindler, 2008, P.2). Examples of these usages are also found within all three blog posts and in particular the post entitled Reasons why school libraries should be using social media, provides an infographic that illustrates how three libraries use social networking to support service provision. The role of involving users to value add to collections via crowd sourcing and content curation to find, aggregate, tag, rate, comment on and update information are among the interesting possibilities made available to libraries using social media.
Managing social media for an educational organisation
For school librarians, a key takeaway from INF506 is an understanding of how to develop and implement strategies and policies around the social, educational, ethical and technical management issues that exist when using social media. The blog post Reasons why school libraries should be using social media, explores the issues of why school libraries are sometimes tentative to adopt social media for information service. Following this, a number of examples of libraries using social media are provided and a case is made for the special role social media use can play in the education of young people. Digital citizenship education is among the opportunities afforded to students when school libraries engage social media in their service delivery (Valenza, 2009). It is important, however, that strategies for the use of these tools are clear so that the scope of use can be defined, budgets can be allocated, training can be provided and staff roles are adjusted to provide time for managing these communications. To this end, policies and guidelines should be developed as means of enabling and protecting both the educational organisation and the staff within (Society for new communication research. n.d.).
Students in Social Networking for Information Professionals (INF506) were provided a variety of opportunities to explore social media use in both practical and academic learning experiences. These experiences will instruct future initiatives undertaken by students to use social media in their work places and to build Library 2.0 practices.
Part B: Reflective Statement
As a Teacher-Librarian, the use of social media to deliver information services has been a key focus of my practice over the past three years. In my first blog post for this subject, I wrote:
“By completing INF506, I hope to achieve the following goals for both my personal and professional use of social networking:
examine and interrogate the effectiveness of existing practices;
explore methods to improve the effectiveness of social networking; and
develop a set of good practice points and recommendations for future involvement in social networking”.
The course work for Social Networking for Information Professionals (INF506) has provided many opportunities in these areas and significantly broadened my thinking about future professional directions. For the purposes of this reflection, I would like to address these points firstly in reference to the use of social media for the school library I manage and secondly in reference to my personal use of social media for professional growth.
Interrogating the effectiveness of existing practices has certainly been an outcome of completing Social Networking for Information Professionals. One of the opportunities afforded through the course was to complete a case study based on the practical application of a social networking site or environment. I chose to interrogate our library use of social media to investigate how well we are satisfying user needs in our community. The recommendations from this case study have already been passed on to the rest of the team for consideration and discussion about how we might better lead and manage future use of social media. One of the recommendations resulting from this case study was to move beyond using social media purely for promoting our services and collections. The team and I are now rethinking our strategies so that we can have more meaningful interactions with users via our social media channels such as offering reference services. It was also highlighted that we need to obtain feedback from our teachers and students for the ongoing evaluation and updating of services (Casey & Savatinuk, 2010, para.21).
Exploring methods to improve the effectiveness of our library’s social networking practices was a second goal of completing INF506. The blog post Embracing Library 2.0 reflects on some methods we can employ to improve the effectiveness of our existing services. Additionally, one of the readings for this subject was a case study of social media use by the National Library of Australia (Trove). This study presented a successful example of a library utilising crowd sourcing to facilitate participation and contribution to the collection as Trove do through the Flickr and the newspaper correction programs they operate (Dellit & Schnindler, 2012, p.2). This idea is particularly exciting to us because a survey together with a number of focus group discussions we conducted suggest teachers and students at our school want a direct say in what information they need or find useful. Resultantly, we have begun our first attempts at crowd sourcing by setting up group boards in Pinterest and inviting teachers to contribute to these. Further methods for improving our use of social media were also explored during the online journal (OLJ) tasks during which the Arizona State University Libraries and the New York Public Library presented examples of effective practices in action such as the use of Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.
The course work for Social Networking for Information Professionals has also informed my personal use of social media for professional practice. Through participation in the subject, I used Facebook as a learning environment for the first time and this broadened my knowledge of the platform, including its functionality. It also gave me confidence to extend my personal use of Facebook to share ideas as opposed to simply posting and catching up on day-to-day events. The requirement to complete reflective blogging through online journal (OLJ) tasks has been a fruitful process for me. The opportunity to step back and think critically about the motivations and patterns of my PLN as per blog post PLNs – is there ever too much of a good thing?, brought an awareness of my habits of engagement in my PLN and the need to seek balance.
Furthermore, as a teacher-librarian and curriculum leader, one of my responsibilities as set out in my role description is, “promoting the positive interaction of individuals in online environments through digital citizenship” (Mt Alvernia College, Staff Handbook, 2014). Being a student of INF506, has required digital citizenship in many forms and is a good example of positive interaction in online environments. Such interactions took place through sharing resources on Twitter and Facebook, and posting, reading and commenting on blogs. The blog post, What are the right questions for digital literacy?, reflects on how I can subsequently assist students to learn in social media environments.
As the subject draws to a close, the challenges and opportunities afforded have been many and have already started to impact my working life. My goal is to transfer these understandings to library and classroom practice to prepare students for futures in connected and participatory environments.
Using social media to enhance service provision can be a difficult prospect for school libraries because there are often a number of hurdles in the way. These hurdles may include:
Fear of the misuse and abuse of these technologies – schools have a responsibility to keep students safe and often the fear of students accessing inappropriate information online, unsafe behaviours and cyber bullying results in schools developing policies that restrict technologies and social media use.
Fear of academic distraction – keeping classroom disruptions to a minimum is a key goal of teachers and possible interruptions caused by phones, devices, texting and social media is a significant issue that schools need to consider.
Giving away intellectual property – schools &/or education systems own the copyright on all resources produced for their context. Some administrators have difficulty in adopting an open source model and may restrict online sharing and collaboration.
It’s all too hard – there may be a lack of knowledge, experience and understanding of how to use social media for library services and taking that first step seems just too hard for some.
These hurdles suggest there are many reasons why school libraries are not on social media. Nevertheless, there are many examples of libraries, in and out of the school sector, using social media to successfully enhance their services. Three examples of these are presented in the following infographic:
These examples demonstrate how libraries can use social media. If Teacher-Librarians are going to be persuaded into the social media landscape, however, they will need to be convinced why it is a good idea. Here are some good reasons why school libraries should use social media:
Social media can provide online channels for broadcasting library content and drawing attention to the collection material. The National library of Australia believe that these media also provide high-value word-of-mouth marketing and are a successful method of reputation management and brand strengthening (Dellit & Schindeler, 2012, p.3)
Through social media, libraries can interact with users and provide opportunities for them to join groups and share ideas and information. When discussing why she blogs, Terri Bennett, a public library director from New York says that blogs “have the power to break down the institutional wall between libraries and their community members” (in Brookover, 2007, p.28). Furthermore, social media can provide opportunities for libraries to respond to feedback, both positive and negative, and to engage in conversation with patrons and better understand their needs (Burkhardt, 2009, para.3 & 5).
Digital Citizenship education – Teacher-Librarians are in a great position to be leaders of digital citizenship practices in their schools and teaching social media can be one method of enacting this. Joyce Valenza believes that using social media for learning will open students to:
respect for and creative use of intellectual property;
operating search tools so they work harder for them – receiving pushed information through feeds and widgets;
understanding their digital footprint;
building their own Professional Learning Networks (PLNs);
connecting with authors and experts;
communicating research; and
valuing intellectual freedom (2009).
Crowd sourcing involves individuals contributing to the collective to create a product that is far greater that the sum of individual achievements (Thomas & Seely Brown, 2011, olc.767). Wikipedia is a great example of this. Trove, an online library service of the National Library of Australia, is a world leader in crowd sourcing. They believe libraries can use crowd sourcing to facilitate participation and contribution to the work of an organisation, advocating this enriches their collections in ways previously not possible (Dellit & Schindeler, 2012, p2).
For school libraries contemplating going down the path of using social media, there are some important considerations that need to be kept in mind, including:
Strategies – a social media strategy is important as it articulates what individual libraries wish to gain from using social media. This will then inform the tools chosen, the types of conversations that will take place and the time and energy invested in these communications.
Policies – having guidelines for social media use is particularly important in the school setting where the age of students, institutional values and parental concerns necessitate consideration. Sharlyn Lauby’s blog post, 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy, contains good advice for those considering a social media policy. If libraries are contemplating patron/student-generated content through crowd sourcing, this also necessitates the establishment a clear set of guidelines. The New York Public Library’s Policy on patron-generated web content is an excellent example of such policies.
Licensing – when publishing to social media, school libraries need to adhere to the ethical use of the creative materials they share and attribute sources appropriately. This can be a legal issue as well as role modelling good practices for students. Teacher-Librarians should also consider having a discussion with their school principal about licensing the work they publish and participating in a creative commons culture of sharing information with the view that access to information has always been a core value of libraries.
Staff roles – good social media communications take time. When libraries are sure their reasons for using social media mirror their core values, staff roles need to be redefined in order to allocate time in the working day for staff to learn these technologies and then engage in these environments on behalf of the library.
Risk & trust – mistakes can be made and when these are online the potential audience is always large. Letting go of the culture of perfect and trusting users to play a role in library services are essential to the successful use of social media which at it’s core must be about understanding, connecting with and involving users (Farkas, 2008, para.16).
Brookover, S. (2007). Why we blog. Library Journal, 132(19), 28.
2015 is the ten-year anniversary of the Library 2.0 movement (Wallace, O’Connell & Hsang Lui, 2015, para. 1). Since its inception, libraries have been trying to transform the way they serve and interact with customers (Casey & Savatinik, 2010, para. 2). This service model is participatory and based on the underlying principals of Web 2.0 including collaboration, conversation, community, content creation and crowd sourcing. In Building Academic Library 2.0, a presentation for a symposium sponsored by the Librarians Association of the University of California, Berkeley Division in 2007, suggestions were put forward about how to embrace the Library 2.0 ethos. In his opening remarks, Shel Waggener, states that today’s library should endeavour to know what people need and plan for it. He goes on to specify that forming partnerships is essential to this understanding. Following these opening remarks, the keynote speaker, Meredith Farkas agrees that Library 2.0 is essentially about meeting user needs. She also says that libraries need to: embrace a position of radical trust; get rid of the culture of perfect and adopt constant iterative processes; keep up with new technologies; and look outside the library for information and inspiration.
At the Mt Alvernia iCentre, we are four years into our journey of embracing Library 2.0 services and have identified a need to enter into a phase of reviewing and reconsidering of our virtual spaces for learning. This blog post will consider how our change process might be informed by the insights presented at the Berkeley symposium.
Meeting user needs
The first phase of our journey was about moving into digital environments to complement our physical collections, services and spaces. This was driven by the changing information landscape and the College’s strategic directions to embed technology into classroom pedagogies. In order to do this, we engaged in creating a website, building digital resource collections and joining social media networks. This period involved a lot of experimentation, learning, and advocacy. Through reflection, research and feedback, we have identified that some of our work has been successful and yet there is room for improvement in meeting user needs. When asked if his class used the library website, one teacher responded with “why should we, what is in it for us?” This is a very important point – we need to make conversations with teachers, students and parents our priority, to listen carefully to what they need, and to use our expertise to meet these needs. Throughout this, we must ensure we communicate our intentions clearly and keep our processes transparent.
Embracing a position of radical trust
Not only should we be meeting the needs of our users, but also think about ways of giving users the opportunity to be participants in our iCentre services, spaces and collections. While we have been very busy curating resources in Pinterest, pushing great ideas to our followers on Twitter and building a beautiful website, this has more often than not, followed a more traditional library model of “us on behalf of them” rather than the “us with them” philosophy of Library 2.0. In order to shift more in the direction of involving users as co-creators, we need to embrace a position of radical trust much like that evidenced in the crowd sourcing processes used by Wikipedia and the Ushahidi website which are powerful examples of collectives in action. Thomas and Seely Brown maintain this is important in the digital age in which participation now “shapes and augments the stream of information” (2011, loc. 596). In digital collectives, the contributions of people, skills and talents lead to results greater than the sum of individual achievements (2011, loc. 767). As we move forward, we are thinking about ways that we can embed user comments, tags and ratings to feed user-created content back into our website as suggested by Casey & Savastinuk to create a more informative product for subsequent users (2010, para. 11). In the iCentre, we are taking a first step in this direction by involving our teachers in our efforts to curate resources in Pinterest and their expert knowledge of the curriculum and students, we hope, will build an even stronger collection. Our hope is that it will also provide a sense of ownership in the collection and make it more useful and more widely used.
Getting rid of the culture of perfect and adopting constant iterative processes
This is something that we value highly in the iCentre. We position ourselves as learners and view our endeavours to date as only the beginning of an ever-changing process. We value ongoing assessment and need to continue thinking about methods of embedding feedback to inform our services.
Keeping up with new technologies
Learning is a key value in the iCentre and we believe every member of the community is a learner. As a staff, we endeavour to enact this value. Each member of our professional team that consists of two Teacher-Librarians and three Library Technicians is engaged in formal study. Each member of the team is also committed to building a Professional Learning Network (PLN) through connections made in person and online. Through these avenues, we are constantly discovering and sharing new technologies and thinking about ways that these might benefit the students we work with.
Looking outside the library for information and inspiration
Louise Starkey maintains the impact of connected environments is widespread and is changing the nature of knowledge. Her research suggests that, “ideas about ‘knowledge’ appear to be changing from something that is found in the heads of individuals or in books to something that is not fixed, is debatable, accessible through a range of media and created through networks, connections and collaboration” (2011, p. 22). Given this, it is important that we consider ways of providing our users with the tools and skills that will connect them to ideas beyond the library and empower them to form their own networks. For this reason, we believe it is important to keep investing in a website that offers avenues for these connections rather than restricting students’ library experience to the OPAC.
As we move forward in our journey to develop Library 2.0 services, a key focus must be on involving our community of users every step of the way. We need to listen carefully to their needs when planning, we need to involve them as co-creators of information and we need to do this by embracing a position of radical trust. At the same time, we need to continue our practice of positioning ourselves as learners in order to adopt constant iterative processes, keep up with new technologies, and look beyond the library for inspiration.
The Library 2.0 movement is all about transforming libraries into participatory services based on the underlying principles of Web 2.0. These principles include collaboration, conversation, community and content creation (CSU, 2015, para. 2). The Arizona State University (ASU) Libraries are an example of how one organisation is attempting to put these services into action using tools such as Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and online forms.
The Library 2.0 model is a customer driven service and as such, feedback is an essential component (Casey & Savastinuk, 2010). Investigating the ASU Libraries services reveals much evidence of engagement with users. Most particularly, the online suggestions box encourages input from users and the responses provided by the libraries clearly demonstrate they value this input and adjust services in response where possible and applicable. The libraries response in these forums is important and Schrier tells us that in order to build trust with customers, libraries must answer people’s questions out of a desire to help rather than a desire to promote the library (Schrier, 2011). In this respect, the example below, of the ASU’s online suggestion box, demonstrates the libraries use of collaboration and communication to receive feedback, to answer questions helpfully and to provide customer driven offerings.
Submitted: January 20, 2015 Regarding: Online Catalog
Comment/Suggestion: When viewing the list of checked out books, it would be really nice to have a way to export the list to a bibliography tool, such as BibTeX.
Library Response: Thank you for the suggestion. While the ASU Libraries does not support BibTeX, we were able to create a button to export checked out items to RefWorks, which is a web-based bibliography database manager that allows you to collect, organize and manage a personal database of book and article citations. You will now see this button in your library account when you are viewing checked-out items.
We hope this improves your research experience at ASU Libraries.
A second example of the ASU Libraries incorporating the Library 2.0 model is their connection to community. The ASU Facebook page and Twitter contains a number of example of valuing community above collections, including providing charging stations for users and rewarding feedback in the form of prizes for completing surveys.
Meeting user information needs and communicating the usefulness of the collection to users is an essential role of libraries. Miller states that this communication must reach the user “where they happen to be, and in association with the task they happen to be undertaking” (2005, para. 18). The ASU Libraries Youtube channel – The Library Minute is a very good example of a library performing this role.
Despite searching the ASU Libraries website, I could not find any examples of the fourth principle of Library 2.0, that is, content creation. A more thorough investigation into the catalogue and twitter feed might provide some examples of this but there are no obvious user reviews, invitations to participate in tagging resources or user generated content on the site.
How can RSS enhance a library or information service’s ability to meet the information needs of its users?
What is an RSS Feed?
Feeds allow websites to deliver content and updates via a subscription to users. These feeds may be delivered to a reader, a portal or even email. For the organisation behind the website, this is a great way to keep their community updated. For the user, RSS feeds are great because they aggregate information from a variety of favourite sources into one convenient location. RSS feeds streamline both transmitting and receiving news and information. (Google, 2015)
How might libraries use RSS feeds?
Libraries would find RSS feeds beneficial for two reasons: the collection of information from valued sources; and, the passing on of this information together with their own updates to their customers. The collation of resources and information has always been a key role of libraries and like other curation tools, RSS feeds can simplify this task which has become increasingly complicated in the Information Age. Libraries might in turn encourage customers to subscribe to their RSS feeds to promote services and library news, to customise information delivery to targeted audiences and to enhance the user experience.
What are some examples of libraries using/potentially using RSS feeds?
The Inside a Dog site publishes information about books for young people and is provided by the State Library of Victoria. Their blog roll provides users with updates about new titles, authors and awards. The blog roll provides the ability to subscribe to an RSS feed. This feed URL could be added to a user’s reader such as Feedly or even embedded into a user’s blog with a widget. As a secondary school library, such a widget would be a very convenient way to promote YA fiction to students.
The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) library embed an RSS feed from their blog onto the library website – this connects users to their blog and displays the titles of recently published articles. By doing this, they are linking their virtual spaces and ensuring the website transmits university and library news and updates to visiting patrons.
RSS feeds are valuable tools for libraries to consider and the school library is no different. The Australian School Library Association (ASLA) tells us that school libraries have community responsibilities that include sharing knowledge and promoting library and information services to the school and the wider community (2004). RSS feeds would be one of the methods school libraries could use towards achieving this goal. By encouraging students to use RSS feeds, Teacher-Librarians would also be supporting them to develop the information skills necessary for successful digital citizenship.
For some time now, we have been talking about the need for Information and Communication (ICT) capabilities in our schools and that we must establish ways of embedding these into our curriculums and pedagogies, as it is important to the success of our students at school and beyond (ACARA, 2014, ICT capability across the curriculum, Para 1). Such discussions have centred on the skills and tools necessary for digital participation but some are starting to question if we are focusing on the right things. Instead of focusing on the technologies, it is argued, we need to concentrate on the literacies made possible by the technologies. Howard Rheingold tells us that such literacies can “leverage the Web’s architecture of participation, just as the spread of reading skills amplified collective intelligence five centuries ago. Today’s digital literacies can make the difference between being empowered or manipulated, serene or frenetic” (p.3). What then, are the questions we should be asking if we are to build digital literacy into our teaching practice?
I have constructed the following list of essential questions based on the reading I have been doing for my Masters (Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation) at Charles Sturt University (CSU). Some of the authors I have consulted in my quest for these essential questions include: John Seely Brown, Howard Gardner, David Buckingham, Mike Ribble, Douglas Rushkoff, Douglas Thomas, and Howard Rheingold. I have included some of these readings in the reference list for this article. The questions generated here are neither quoted nor paraphrased from these references but rather synthesised from the ideas they contain. These questions will be a starting point for how I think about assisting students to navigate digital environments in 2015.
Are you a participant?
Participation rather than theory is necessary to understanding digital environments. To build digital, network, media, information and computer literacy and understand how, when and where to pay attention to the flow of information contained within these environments, we must be involved. When we participate in networks, it requires a two-way exchange in which we obtain information from others and contribute to the collective knowledge. Participation may take many forms, including joining conversations in social media, writing a blog, creating a website, doing a course of study, joining creative communities, gaming, taking a political stance or the commercial activities involved in buying and selling.
What does your participation say about you?
Imagine if someone could view all of your online participation – what would it say about you?
Would it show someone who is in control of their participation or someone who is being manipulated?
Would the amount of time spent online be healthy or unhealthy?
Would the information you accepted as truth demonstrate someone who is smart or gullible?
Would the agreements you make by joining particular social media environments and using Apps be legal or in breech of policies and rules?
Does your participation demonstrate an ability to use online environments for learning?
What values would your interactions demonstrate?
Would the way you treat others and their contributions be ethical or unprincipled?
Does your participation demonstrate an understanding of how online environments work and who controls them or does it demonstrate someone who is at the mercy of others?
Do you know how to protect yourself and others online?
Finally, what of your own contributions online – are they creative or uninspired or even destructive?
Seely Brown, J. (2012, November 21). Learning in and for the 21st Century. Lecture presented at National Institute of Education, Singapore. Retrieved January 12, 2015, from http://www.johnseelybrown.com/CJKoh.pdf
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.
The general public first experienced The Internet as a place to browse or surf for information. They could read material on static web pages but without coding knowledge could not otherwise participate online. The Internet changed from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 when users began to be able to upload and create content. Forums, blogs, wikis and YouTube are all examples of Web 2.0 platforms that allow user generated content. The introduction of social media platforms took Web 2.0 to another level because they allowed users to communicate with each other. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ are all examples of social media platforms. (Schwerdtfeger, 2013) The following video provides a concise explanation of this evolution of The Internet.
The Internet in currently evolving into Web 3.0 and this will bring with it new platforms that bridge the gap between the off-line world and the on-line world. These platforms will provide a filter of information between the user and reality. This is referred to as augmented reality (Schwerdtfeger, 2013). These platforms will also bridge the gap between the off-line and on-line world by moving beyond computing devices to incorporate other objects in what is being referred to as The Internet of Things.
The following two videos provide a concise introductory explanation of Augmented Reality and The Internet of Things:
Augmented Reality explained by Common Craft (2010):
The Internet of Things explained by Mashable (2014):
In a presentation for the Edtech National Conference held in Brisbane on 3rd June, 2014, Judy O’Connell shared her insights into how Web 3.0 will impact learning environments. These insights have been shared on the following presentation:
It is with enthusiasm that I begin my studies in INF506: Social networking for Information Professionals at CSU. The subject promises to examine the social, cultural, educational, ethical and technical management issues faced by professionals who work in socially networked environments (Wallace, O’Connell and Hsang Lui, 2014, para. 3).
Appropriately, the subject will predominantly take place on Facebook. We will be contributing to the multitude of activity conducted in Facebook. This “tubechop” of the video from Module 1 shows a snapshot of the activity that takes place on Facebook every 20 minutes.
The first task in this subject is to construct our own definition of social media. Here is mine:
Social networking involves using digital tools to connect with people and groups to share news, knowledge, opinions, ideas, images and resources. When people participate with social media, they are engaging in a conversation. The power of social media is that it is mobile, dynamic, rapid, convenient and global.
The social networking sites I currently use for personal, work and study purposes include:
By completing INF506, I hope to achieve the following goals for both my personal and professional use of social networking:
examine and interrogate the effectiveness of existing practices;
explore methods to improve the effectiveness of social networking; and
develop a set of good practice points and recommendations for future involvement in social networking
My initial idea for the Social Networking Report (#assignment 3) is to conduct a case study into our library use of social media to investigate how well we are satisfying user needs in our community. This will be timely as we are currently entering into a re-design phase of our digital library and learning space.