Archive of ‘Social Netowrking’ category

5 reasons we need an iCentre Website

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As we continue to travel along the path of re-visioning our iCentre virtual spaces, we have been investigating what a website, Library Management System (LMS) and social media can offer school library services.  Our research has been interesting and we easily agreed that the LMS and social media are vital virtual spaces for our services.  The Library Management Systems we have investigated are web-based, learner-centred, sophisticated and interactive and as such, we have been challenged to consider the question: is an iCentre Website necessary?  Our conclusion is a resounding YES and here are the reasons why:

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-26-pmWe model the literacy of participation

Jenkins et al. argue that the digital divide between those who will succeed in twenty-first (21st) century futures and those that will be left behind is determined not by access to technology but by access to opportunities to participate and develop the cultural competencies and social skills necessary in new media landscapes (2006, p.3).  Crockett, Jukes and Chruches (2011, p.14), O’Leary (2012, para.18), and Seely Brown (2012, p.15) are also among those advocating the necessity of educating for participation because individuals who find themselves lacking such skills are at risk of being on the wrong side of the divide and left behind in academia and the workplace. Many of the skills and mindsets outlined by these authors, require schools to transition from a scholarship practice that uses technology as a tool to enhance research to a social scholarship practice “in which the use of social tools is an integral part of the research and publishing process and is characterized by openness, conversation, collaboration, access, sharing and transparent revision” (Pearce et al. & Cohen as cited in Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012, p.767).  The iCentre website models this literacy of participation through publishing blogs, connecting with social media, and the open sharing of learning.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-39-pmWe serve a community not just students & teachers

The college community served by the iCentre is broader than the students and teachers on campus.  In particular, parents, as the primary educators, are an important part of our community.  One of the roles of the iCentre is to provide leadership in digital citizenship.  The website regularly curates and publishes information on how parents can assist their children to develop the capacity to build a positive digital footprint that showcases their learning interests, talents, and successes, and enables them to build social skills and cultural competencies.  This content also includes resources that will assist the community to use information and technology safely, legally and ethically.  To this end, the iCentre website is a valuable tool because it provides learning experiences that enable the community to engage in positive digital practices that are relevant and timely.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-50-pmWe value networks

Technological shifts have changed the culture of learning to one in which the classroom is now global and provides learners with access to “nearly unlimited resources and incredible instruments while connecting with one another at the same time” (Thomas & Seely Brown, 2011, loc.55).  In this new culture, learning resides in the ability to form networks and learning how to learn, what to learn, who to learn with and when to learn is more important than the mastery of content (Olsen, 2011, p.22).  It is argued that understanding both digital competencies and new ways of learning in order to model digital citizenship become possible when educators take on the responsibility of developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011, p.10).  The iCentre website is one of the tools we use to connect with our colleagues in education – it is part of our learning network.  We have had many instances of professionals from other school libraries making suggestions for our website, contributing content to our website, and contacting us through the website in order to visit and share knowledge.  Such connections have been invaluable to the service we offer our community.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-59-pmWe value Open Scholarship

A trend that has been identified in 21st Century scholarship is an “openness” resultant from developing digital communication and networked technologies (Pearce et al., 2010, p.37).  According to Katz, this trend towards open content, knowledge and learning will offer great opportunities for scholars (2010, p.6).  The Creative Commons movement, which has opened up access to licensed creative content and also allows individuals to license work for others to share, is one example of how openness can lower barriers and democratize learning.  By sharing resources and learning through the iCentre website, we too are participating in a form of open scholarship.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-44-09-pmWe want to share our story

At this year’s Edutech Conference in Brisbane, both Kate Tormey, CEO of the State Library of Victoria and Dr Ross J. Todd, associate professor at Rutgers University, Department of Library and Information Sciences, stressed to delegates of the Future Libraries stream that if libraries are to thrive, then they must share their story.  The capacity of the Teacher-Librarians to share their story both within the college and beyond has valuable outcomes and the iCentre website has proved a powerful way to share our story.

References

Crockett, L.,Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age. [Epub]. Kelowna, B:C: 21st Century Fluency Project.

Jenkins, H.,Clinton, K., Purushotoma, R., Robinson, A., J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Paper presented at MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved from http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF.

O’Leary, T. (2012, October 10). Making connections to end digital divide. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/making-connections-to-end-digital-divide-20121009-27aul.html#ixzz2nF0cHrLS

Olsen, R. (2011). Understanding virtual pedagogies for contemporary teaching & learning (pp. 1-32, Rep.). Victoria: IdeasLAB.

Pearce, N.,Weller, M., Scanlon, E., & Ashleigh, M. (2010). Digital scholarship considered: How new technologies could transform academic work. In Education, 16(1), 33-44.

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). The power of networked learning. In Personal Learning Networks: Using the power of connections to transform education (pp. 1-14). Moorabbin, Cictoria: Solution Tree Press.

Seely Brown, J. (2012, November 21-22). CJ Koh Professorial Lecture Series No. 4 in Singapore: Learning in and for the 21st Century Singapore. Retrieved 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.

Veletsianos, G., & Kimmons, R. (2012). Networked Participatory Scholarship: Emergent techno-cultural pressures toward open and digital scholarship in online networks.  Computers & Education, 58,, 766-774. Retrieved from http://10.1016/j.compedu.2011.10.001

 

Fan fiction on Instagram – the digital story experiment

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The project

This digital storytelling venture endeavoured to create a fan fiction response to The fault in our stars by John Green and consisted of Instagram posts from Hazel Grace Lancaster, the protagonist of this story and a connected website containing author notes.

It was a conscious decision to make the reader aware that the Instagram posts were a fan fiction response because fandom is a theme presented in the novel and because John Green himself has commented on fan fiction, social media and the relationship that exists between an author and reader.

Two interviews I discovered with John Green prompted this idea for a project that combined social media, fanfiction and The fault in our stars. The first was an interview by Zuckerman (2014), in which John Green states:

“I am really interested in fandom because I am a fan myself”;

and

“I think in the age of the internet – in the age of social media – it’s just much harder to separate the artist from the art. Particularly when the artist is constantly inserting himself into the conversation on Twitter or Tumblr or whatever”.

Secondly, in this extract from a Youtube interview with John Green on the red carpet of The fault in our stars film premier, he discusses the future of media and the relationship between the author and the reader. Both of these concepts have been of particular interest to me throughout the course of Literature in digital environments (INF533).

The challenges

Among the students for whom this project was designed, Instagram is the social media tool of choice and was therefore selected for this project. As a platform for digital storytelling, Instagram presented a number of challenges:

  • Firstly, it was time consuming to produce images that were my own creations or licensed for reuse. One solution I found was the Canva platform that proved very useful for the creation of original images to use throughout the story. Creative Commons images were also a good resource for this project.
  • A second difficulty with using the Instagram platform is that, on face-value, it is quite superficial. In order to go beyond image sharing, and create the multimedia elements Lamb describes as necessary for a transmedia story (2011, p.15), I had to research how to use and incorporate other apps such as Flipagram.
  • Finally, creating the opportunity for interactivity and collaboration between author and reader is a feature of digital storytelling that allows the audience to become part of the journey (Fora, 2009, 24min,10sec). To provide an interactive facility in Instagram beyond ‘liking’ posts required some thought and the resultant comments and posts from readers were a highlight of the project.

The highlights

For me, the biggest highlights of the project occurred when readers interacted with the story. These included:

Occasions when readers spontaneously responded to a post:

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Reader responses to questions that were embedded into the text of posts:

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Content contributed by readers when invited to share with a hash tag:

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Comments and questions added by readers to the forum in the connected website:

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My favourite response was when two readers discussed and issue raised with one another:

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It may never end ……..

When discussing Instagram with the students in my class, they have a very strong opinion that one post per day is the accepted convention when using this social media. Adhering to this convention meant that only twenty-seven posts were achieved for this project. As a fan fiction piece, this story will persist as long as the author (the fan) wishes to continue interacting with the text this way. Because the reader has become involved in the story, the author also loses some control over the structure of the narrative, and as observed by Fitzgelrald, the digital story may not have a narrative conclusion (2013, 8min50sec). As an assessment piece for a university subject, this also poses an interesting conundrum to the notion of a due date. The story present at the time of submission may in fact be different to the story read at the time of marking.

References

Beyond the Trailer (Director). (2014, June 5). The Fault in Our Stars interview 2014 : John Green, Hank Green, Wyck Godfrey [Video file]. Retrieved September 22, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt-e7Nwj3Bk

Fitzgerald, L. (2015). Literature in Digital Environments [INF533 Module 6.1]. Retrieved October 13, 2015, from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-510015-dt-content-rid-1113506_1/courses/S-INF533_201560_…

Fora.TV. (2009, September 23). Once Upon These Times: New Stories for New Audiences [Video file]. Retrieved from http://fora.tv/2009/09/23/Once_Upon_These_Times_New_Stories_for_New_Audiences

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and leading with technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/ login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=67371172&site=ehost-live

Zuckerman, E. (2014, May 06). ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ author John Green on fandom and his favorite YA romances. Wire. Retrieved October 12, 2015, from http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2014/05/the-fault-in-our-stars-author-john-green/361732/

 

 

Context for Digital Story Telling Project

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Introduction

Teachers in the digital age are becoming increasingly aware that technology is having an effect on the traditional definitions of reading, learning and literacy and this necessitates changes in reading literacy pedagogy (Felvegi & Matthew, 2012, p.41). New technologies, however, do not reduce the value of literature studies in the new millennium and the need to spend time reading and discussing stories remains important for freedom of thought, cultural continuity, and engaging imaginations (Robinson, 2001, pp.1-8). The fact is, new realities are expanding the meaning of reading a book and have come to include electronic literature (eLiterature) as works with important literary aspects (Rettberg, 2012, para.4). The emergence of eLiterature provides an opportunity for teachers to combine digital literacy and literature studies in the classroom. This digital storytelling proposal explores one way that this may be done in a secondary school setting.

The school context

The school context for this proposal is a Catholic secondary independent girls’ school that caters for approximately eight hundred and ninety (890) students ranging from years seven to twelve (7-12). Because of the school’s inclusive enrolment policy, these students are made-up of a diverse range of learning styles and needs. In terms of technology integration, the school has a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) model and supports a philosophy of digital participation, acknowledging the need for digital learning environments in order to adequately prepare students for life and work outside of school. The role of the school library (also known as the iCentre) is to support the school in the delivery of library and information services. Supporting literacy development is one such service provided by the iCentre. In line with the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians (2014), the iCentre works collaboratively with teaching teams “to plan and implement information literacy and literature programs that result in positive student learning outcomes” (standard 2.2).

Proposal topic

In year seven, eight and nine at the school in which I teach, an integrated curriculum approach is taken and Core Studies is a class that incorporates the English, History, Geography and Religion curriculums.

This proposal is designed for year 8 Core Studies. In this subject, students undertake a literature unit called “Book Club”. This unit has traditionally required students to read five novels and complete a creative response task to each. After consultation with the team leader of Core Studies, it is proposed that one of the reading choices for this unit be a piece of eLiterature and one of the creative response choices be a digital story. As the Teacher-Librarian, I will provide a reading list of eLiterature options available through the iCentre that students can choose from. I will also create a digital story as an example for students. This digital story will be in the form of a fan fiction response to The fault in our stars by John Green and will consist of Instagram posts from Hazel Grace Lancaster, the protagonist of this story and a connected website containing author notes. It is a conscious decision to make the reader aware that the Instagram posts are a fan fiction response because fandom is a theme presented in the novel and because John Green himself has commented on fanfiction, social media and the relationship that exists between an author and reader.

Proposed digital tools and/or spaces to be used

After surveying the Year 8 students, I have chosen to use Instagram as the platform for my digital story as this seems the most popular choice of social media in our school context. This Instagram account will be supported by an ‘Author notes’ website that includes a forum page for interactivity. The purpose of this website is to experiment with creating a story, like those described by Alexander (2011, p.228) that requires a reader to negotiate across multiple platforms such as hyperlinking, media embedding and browser tabs. I have also chosen to make my story a spin-off from The fault in our stars by John Green as most students in this year level have read the story or seen the film and will have prior knowledge or familiarity with the character of Hazel Grace Lancaster. This project would fit within the Literature strand of the Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2013) and provide opportunities for students to:

  • respond to literature
  • experience eLiterature
  • develop storytelling skills
  • create in a digital environment
  • experience fan fiction
  • build digital literacies

References

Alexander, B. (2011). Storytelling: A tale of two generations, Chapter 1. In The new digital storytelling: Creating narratives with new media. ABC-CLIO.Retrieved from http://CSUAU.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=678297

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2013). Overview: Literature. Retrieved September 15, 2015, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/english/content-structure/literature

Australian School Library Association. (2004, December). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx

Beyond the Trailer (Director). (2014, June 5). The Fault in Our Stars interview 2014 : John Green, Hank Green, Wyck Godfrey [Video file]. Retrieved September 22, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt-e7Nwj3Bk

Felvégi, E., & Matthew, K. I. (2012). eBooks and Literacy in K–12 Schools. Computers In The Schools29(1/2), 40-52. doi:10.1080/07380569.2012.651421

Rettberg, J.W. (2012). Electronic literature seen from a distance: the beginnings of a field. Retrieved from http://www.dichtung-digital.de/journal/archiv/?postID=278

Robinson, M. (2001). Standing on the faultline: The value of literature in the new millennium. In Books up front: Investigating the value of literature [ed. S. La Marca] (pp. 1-10). Carlton, Victoria: School Library Association of Victoria.

 

Reflection: Digital citizenship in schools


The evolving context of digital landscapes and how these impact life and learning, is something I am keenly interested in. My interest in this topic is both professional, through my role as a Teacher Librarian, and personal, in my role as a parent of teenagers. The subject ETL523: Digital citizenship in schools has provided an opportunity to explore how we can adequately prepare young people for life and work in 21st century futures. In my first blog post for this subject, I wrote:

“The Students I work with live digital lifestyles. They attend a BYOT school that requires them to own a laptop. Additionally, the majority of them also own personal mobile device such as a phone or tablet. Some of them also have wearable computers such as smart watches and fitbits. They use social media and belong to online communities. They are often texting, downloading, updating and searching and they are always looking for Wi-Fi and chargers. Come to think of it, this same lifestyle is lived by their teachers, parents, grandparents, coaches and employers. It’s just the way life is for many in modern society”.

It was at this very early point in the course that I came to appreciate that due to the ubiquity of technology, life in 21st century Australia is digital and as such digital citizenship and citizenship should not be considered different entities. Furthermore, citizenship is fundamentally about participation in society and issues of access, rights, responsibilities and contributions to the collective are as important in our digital interactions as they are in our civil communities. The readings throughout the modules have broadened my thinking about digital citizenship in education and highlighted three interconnected issues that I would like to address in this reflection. These include: the digital divide; learning in a connected world; and the importance of teacher role models.

The digital divide

Throughout the modules in this course, we were challenged to consider questions such as:

  • Why is it important to establish digital learning environments in schools?;
  • Why should we teach digital citizenship?; and
  • Why must educators accept the professional responsibility to lead and support digital citizenship development?

One of the most compelling answers to all three of these questions is because digital and media literacies of participatory cultures are necessary in the 21st century for “social inclusion, business development, service delivery, creative expression, innovation, collaboration and employment” (O’Leary, 2012,Para.19). Essentially, this creates a digital divide that is not about access to technology but about access to the opportunities, experiences and skills required for participatory cultures. Individuals who find they lack such skills are at risk of being on the wrong side of the divide and left behind in academia and the workplace (Jenkins, 2006, p.3; Crocket, Jukes and Churches, 2011, p.14; O’Leary, 2012; and Seely Brown, 2012, p.15).

Learning in a connected world

One of the opportunities afforded in this course was to participate in a collaborative wiki project. The realities of digital citizenship and learning in connected environments were experienced in this project and as a member of a group working towards a common goal; it was imperative that I put into practice digital communication, the ethical and legal use of others’ intellectual and creative property, technical awareness and digital literacy, social awareness and interpersonal skills, and responsible and reliable contributions for shared academic outcomes. Such practices are among those outlined in Ribble’s Nine elements of digital citizenship (2011) and Enlightened digital citizenship model produced by Lindsay & Davis (2013). A conclusion drawn from this experience is that digital citizenship education requires two key components – understanding the competencies necessary for participation in digital environments and understanding learning in a connected world.

Teacher as role model

The course work for Digital citizenship in schools has also informed my professional practice in regards to my own online participation. One of the key questions considered in another blog post response to the course work, is how do we teach digital citizenship? A starting point is for teachers to practice what they need to teach. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) considers it paramount for teachers to possess the skills and behaviours necessary for participation in the digital age and to model these for students (2008). Clark (in Hollandsworth, Dowdy & Donovan, 2011, p.38), Ribble (2011, loc.1901) and Lindsay & Davis (2013, p.98) are also among those advocating the necessity for teachers to lead by example in the arena of digital citizenship. To “practice what I teach”, I ensured that I shared information in social media environments such as Diigo and Twitter and experimented with new tools and published original creative content in order to go beyond consuming information. To this end, I created an infographic of Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship, an embedded Google slideshow of titled Teaching digital citizenship = leading by example; and produced a two-part video guide introducing teachers to the basics of building a PLN for my digital artefact in the collaborative wiki task.

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.

References

Crockett, L., Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age. Kelowna, B.C.: 21st Century Fluency Project.

Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., & Donovan, J. (2011). Digital citizenship in K-12: It takes a village. TechTrends, 55(4), 37-48. Retrieved March 28, 2015.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2015). ISTE Standards. Retrieved May 14, 2015, from http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century [White paper]. Retrieved from MacArthur Foundation websitehttp://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF.

Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. A. (2013). Citizenship. In Flattening classrooms, engaging minds: Move to global collaboration one step at a time (pp. 97-125). Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

O’Leary, T. (2012, October 10). Making connections to end digital divide. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved May 15, 2015, from http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/making-connections-to-end-digital-divide-20121009-27aul.html#ixzz2nF0cHrLS

Ribble, M. (2011). Digital Citizenship in Schools : Nine Elements All Students Should Know (2nd Edition). Eugene, OR, USA: ISTE. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

Seely Brown, J. (2012, November 21-22). Learning in and for the 21st Century. Lecture presented at CJ Koh Professorial Lecture Series No.4 in Singapore, Singapore. Retrieved May 23, 2015, from http://www.johnseelybrown.com/CJKoh.pdf

A Guide for Developing a PLN for Educators

When considering how to shape digital citizenship development among students, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) considers it paramount for teachers to possess the skills and behaviours necessary for participation in the digital age and to model these for students (2008). It is argued that understanding both digital competencies and new ways of learning in order to model digital citizenship become possible when educators take on the responsibility of developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011, p.10).

Sometimes, the idea of beginning a PLN may sound daunting for teachers. The following two-part guide aims to introduce the basics of building a PLN specifically for educators, including the terminology, tools, and methods necessary to get started.

References 

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). Standards for teachers. Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards/standards-for-teachers

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). The power of networked learning. In Personal Learning Networks: Using the power of connections to transform education (pp. 1-14). Moorabbin, Cictoria: Solution Tree Press.

PLNs – is there ever too much of a good thing?

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:

Stages of a PLN

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:

My PLN is 2015-01-29 at 10.41.04 pm

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.

References

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.

Utecht, J. (2008, April 03). Stages of PLN adoption [Web log post]. Retrieved January 31, 2015, from http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption/

 

Assessment Item 3: OLJ/Evaluative Report

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Part A: Evaluative Statement

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.).

Conclusion

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.

References

Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2010). Library 2.0. Library Journal, (May), 21st ser. Retrieved January 24, 2015, from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2010/05/technology/library-2-0/

Dellit, A., & Schindeler, S. (2012, February 7). VALA2012 concurrent session 2: Discovery. In Trove: The Terrors and Triumphs of Service-based Social Media. Retrieved February 1, 2015, from http://www.vala.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=547&catid=87&Itemid=159

Farkas, M. (2008, January 24). The essence of Library 2.0? [Web log post]. Retrieved February 1, 2015, from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/

Schrier, R. A. (2007). Digital librarianship & social media: The digital library as conversation facilitator. D-Lib Magazine, 17(7/8). doi:doi:10.1045/july2011-schrier

Society for new communications research. (n.d.). Best practices for developing a social media policy. Retrieved February 3, 2015, from http://socialmedia.biz/social-media-policies/best-practices-for-developing-a-social-media-policy/

Reasons why school libraries should be using social media

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:

3libraries

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).

References 

Brookover, S. (2007). Why we blog. Library Journal132(19), 28.

Burkhardt, A. (2009, August 25). Four reasons libraries should be on social media [Web log post]. Retrieved February 1, 2015, from http://andyburkhardt.com/2009/08/25/four-reasons-libraries-should-be-on-social-media/

Dellit, A., & Schindeler, S. (2012, February 7). VALA2012 concurrent session 2: Discovery. In Trove: The Terrors and Triumphs of Service-based Social Media. Retrieved February 1, 2015, from http://www.vala.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=547&catid=87&Itemid=159

Farkas, M. (2008, January 24). The essence of Library 2.0? [Web log post]. Retrieved February 1, 2015, from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/

Lauby, S. (2009, April 27). Should your company have a social media policy? [Web log post]. Retrieved February 2, 2015, from http://mashable.com/2009/04/27/social-media-policy/

New York Public Library. (2015). Policy on patron-generated web content. Retrieved February 2, 2015, from http://www.nypl.org/policy-patron-generated-web-content

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.

 

ASU Libraries: do they achieve the 4C’s of social media?

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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.

Jan 21, 2015 · suggestion box

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.

RefWorks Button

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.

ASU Tweet 2015-01-24 at 11.47.05 am

 

ASU Facebook 1 2015-01-24 at 11.52.37 am ASU Facebook 2 2015-01-24 at 11.53.18 am

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.

ASU Youtube channel 2015-01-24 at 12.54.07 pm

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.

References
Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2010). Library 2.0. Library Journal, (May), 21st ser. Retrieved January 24, 2015, from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2010/05/technology/library-2-0/
Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new library. Ariadne, (45). Retrieved December 28, 2014, from http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue45/miller
Schrier, R. A. (2007). Digital librarianship & social media: The digital library as conversation facilitator. D-Lib Magazine, 17(7/8). doi:doi:10.1045/july2011-schrier
Image Attribution

RSS Feeds for school libraries

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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?

#1

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 7.29.48 pm

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.

#2

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 7.47.49 pm

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.

Conclusion

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.

References

Australian School Library Association. (2004, December). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved December 29, 2014, from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx

Google. (2015). Feed 101. Retrieved January 14, 2015, from https://support.google.com/feedburner/answer/79408

Queensland University of Technology. (2014). QUT Library Home. Retrieved January 14, 2015, from https://www.library.qut.edu.au/

State Library of Victoria. (2014). Inside a dog. Retrieved January 14, 2015, from http%3A%2F%2Fwww.insideadog.com.au%2F

Image Attribution

Nemo, Rss News Feed Blog Web Icon Symbol Www, CC0 Public Domain

 

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