Today I wanted to learn more about the new Victorian Curriculum for years Foundation to ten. I knew that there had been a conference conducted recently by the School Library Association of Victoria so I checked their homepage and found a Storify of the tweets from the conference. Thanks to those at the conference who were willing to share their learning using the hashtag #slavconf, the tweets gave me a good overview of the conference and some additional resources to explore.
Twitter chats are another source of learning that I would like to get more involved in. On Sunday evenings #AussieED is frequented by some of my fellow CSU class mates. By following @aussieED you learn about other global Twitter chats too. If the time difference is a problem you can follow the chat hashtag at a more convenient time and connect asynchronously.
Students at my senior secondary school could use Twitter in a similar way to either follow hashtags or participate in a teacher organised chat with other students locally or globally. I know that the Politics teacher has already made Twitter part of her class’ digital learning environment. The class shares resources and insights with each other and their teacher but they could extend their learning further by connecting globally with other students.
The emergence of social networking technologies has significantly altered the way people communicate and connect with each other. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, are online spaces where people with common interests can interact whereas social media sites, such as YouTube and Flickr, allow people to share the content they create (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk, & Jenkins, 2007). The internet has moved “beyond linking and clicking to creating, sharing and collaborating” (Khosrow-Pour, 2013, p. 975). This social network aspect is commonly referred to as web 2.0.
Ubiquitous access to computers and mobile technology has increased participation in online spaces. Commerce, government, education and libraries are able to harness the affordances of Web 2.0 technologies and the accompanying principles of collaboration, conversation, community and content creation. While some educators and library professionals may be sceptical, “Web 2.0 characteristics support the principles of good teaching and learning – active participation and collaboration” (Berger, 2010, p. 14).
Virtual environments, simulations and laboratories provide opportunities for authentic learning, augmented reality and collaboration. With Second Life, Linden Labs pioneered multi-user virtual environments and “brought graphically rich simulations out of the rarefied realms of defence and aerospace, and made them available to anybody with a moderate level of computer literacy” (Helmer, 2007, p. 13). Although not initially designed for education, the pre-existing environment and commitment to open source makes Second Life appealing for education and training purposes. Studies have found “immersion in a digital environment can enhance education in at least three ways: by enabling multiple perspectives, situated learning, and transfer” (Dede, 2009, p. 66). The sophisticated technological barriers to virtual learning are coming down “thanks to smartphones, immersive gaming software and other rapidly evolving technologies” (Waldrop, 2013, p. 268).
In response to Web 2.0, the concept of Library 2.0 was debated in 2005 but an exact definition was not determined. Despite this uncertainty, it is generally understood that “Library 2.0 requires an LIS professional that is better equipped and [more] broadly educated than one just ten years ago” (Partridge, Lee, & Munro, 2010, p. 316). Casey and Savastinuk assert “Library 2.0 should include three elements: constant change, giving library users control through participatory, user-driven services and implementing these to improve and reach out to both present and potential users” (Anttiroiko & Savolainen, 2011, p. 91). Mobile devices, blogs, curation tools, video sharing sites, photo sharing sites, Twitter and Facebook are significant in many people’s lives so “ideally, libraries will match these evolving options to their user’s technology preferences and information seeking behaviours so they can provide optimal user experience” (Hofschire & Wanucha, 2014, p. 9).
According to the Pew Research Centre, 74% of adults use a social networking site and 71% of teens use more than one social network site (Lenhart, 2015). These statistics confirm that libraries should be exploring, planning and working towards developing policies for social networking and social media. Nevertheless, technology should not be the only driver “when thinking about ways to work toward Library 2.0, consider what services your library already offers that could be improved as well as new things that can be added” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2010, para 22). This mirrors some key advice Meredith Farkas gave in the video, Building Academic Library 2.0 (2007). Farkas says it is important not to focus just on technology or to abandon those that do not use technology. Used in combination; social networking, social media and print can reach different audiences. Existing collections can be highlighted and Web 2.0 “seeks to harness our customer’s knowledge to supplement and improve library services” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2010, para 11). An example of this would be using Flickr and utilising crowd sourcing to tag images for an historical collection. With ongoing evaluation and adaptation, organisations and libraries can leverage these social spaces and tools effectively to extend their reach, to communicate, to connect, to interact and to advertise.
The concepts behind social networking are not new. Seeking out others with shared interests and building communities predates technology. “Social sites do not just have various social features; their essence is social. Their central value is as a platform, their functions are social and they enable personal and group connections at levels never before seen in the history of telecommunications.” (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk, & Jenkins, 2007, p. 2-2).
Anttiroiko, A., & Savolainen, R. (2011). Towards Library 2.0: The adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in public libraries. Libri, 61(June), 87-99. doi: 10.1515/libr.2011.008
I started Social Networking for Information Professionals as an active user of social networking and social media technologies. As my time working in school libraries progressed, so did the internet. I had never given much thought to how the internet developed and went from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. This subject has given me an historical perspective of the internet and made me aware of significant shifts in technology. I now realise that I have continued to use Facebook because it allows me to connect and share my experiences with my personal network. I can also see the educational possibilities for Facebook through my involvement with the Social Networking for Information group.
Despite some concerns about privacy issues, I have been quite relaxed about providing personal details in order to use social networking and social media sites. The benefits of the sites often outweigh my reservations. I am cognoscente of my position as a teacher librarian and protect my privacy on Facebook and am conservative with my interactions with friends. I believe I have a better understanding of privacy issues and how the concept of privacy is changing, particularly for teenagers, in a networked world.
Social networking and social media are nodes in my professional learning network (PLN). I was initially skeptical of Twitter but have found it to be an extremely valuable tool for finding and sharing resources. My new goal is to start using Twitter to connect and become involved in conversations with other library professionals. For me this step requires a competency using Twitter and I think my confidence has grown in this area.
Prior to undertaking this subject I started a school library Twitter account. On reflection I took an ad hoc approach and did not listen or ask users what they wanted. I was not aware of the importance of having a strategy. This subject has exposed me to practical strategies, plans and policies from a variety of organisations and libraries that I will be able to adapt and implement in my school library. I am now in a much better position to formulate a social networking and social media plan for my school library and I understand that it is imperative to continually evaluate it using tools such as Twitter Analytics.
I have rediscovered and found new ways of using Flickr. Photography is a passion of mine so I use Flickr to showcase my photographs and be inspired by other photographers. Now that I understand the power of creative commons and crowd sourcing, I have started to use Flickr in new ways. I am eager to share this ethically responsible way of sourcing images with my students and colleagues. I will also consider sharing some of my own photographs using Creative Commons licenses.
As a teacher librarian I enjoy using curation tools for personal interests and to gather resources for the library. Visually appealing tools such as Scoop.it and Pinterest stole my attention away from Diigo. I am pleased to say that Diigo has returned to my professional toolkit since my return to formal study and I am finding it very useful. Apart from Feedly, I haven’t used many social new sites. I have added Nuzzle to my toolkit because it recommends articles from friends or people I network with. I still need some more convincing about the value of Reddit but I will not dismiss it until I have explored it further. I have been playing in the “sandbox” with curation tools and trying to see which are of most benefit to my PLN and which can make digital material more visible to my school community.
I have a gap in my knowledge with computer games and simulations so I tentatively stepped into the world of Second Life with Carole Gerts as my guide. I only scratched the surface and barely learned to how to walk during my sessions so I will need to spend more time within this world to become familiar. I am aware that I need to learn more about the educational applications of gaming and virtual learning. It is something that does not come naturally to me so it will require motivation on my part to broaden my knowledge, skills and experience.
School libraries are bound by the policies of the school and/or education departments. This does not preclude school libraries from developing their own policies in relation to social media strategy but I found little evidence of these online. Many school policies are kept within the school and not published so examples of school library social media policies or school social media policies were difficult to find.
This slideshare by Judy O’Connell encourages teacher librarians to become competent social media users. The twenty first century learning environment is constantly changing and teacher librarians must adapt. The internet is now a participatory medium and social networks are integral in our lives. School libraries need to be involved in social media and it begins with teacher librarians being active users within their with personal learning networks and their personal lives. Judy provides advice for teacher librarians on how to get started with policy planning, examples of best practice, tools and strategies for implementation. Specific instructions are provided for using Facebook and Twitter in school libraries.
The National Library of New Zealand provides services to school libraries. This comprehensive guide explains what social media is, how it can enhance school library services, what planning is involved, and the types of tools that can be used. The guide explains that social media for libraries is about building connections and learning communities using web based technologies. Seven steps to planning the library’s social media presence are clearly articulated. There are also links to a detailed planning template, a social media toolkit, examples of social media use in school libraries and further reading that would assist teacher librarians to learn about and plan a social media strategy.
Ellyssa Kroski explains that school libraries have different challenges to face with social media than other types of organisations. Social media policies provide clear guidelines for staff posting on behalf of the library and on their personal accounts and standards for acceptable use by library users. The article outlines what should be included in a social media policy and suggests looking at other organisation’s social media policies for best practice. The importance of revising the policy when technological changes occur is also stressed. Unfortunately some of the links to examples of policies are no longer available.
The social media policy of All Saints Anglican School is one of many of the school’s policies. This is a very detailed policy that outlines appropriate guidelines and procedures for the use of social media by the staff and students. This policy therefore would also encompass the library. The main aim of the policy is not to restrict staff and students from using social media but to protect them by making very clear what is considered appropriate and acceptable use. The following headings provide structure to the policy: purpose, scope, responsibilities, definitions, breach and conclusion.
This document from New South Wales Education & Training provides social media guidelines for the department. The value of social media is noted and employees are made aware of what is required for responsible use of social media for personal and professional use. While this is not a library policy, aspects could be adapted for library use. The guidelines are clearly summarised in large font on a single page and then followed up with more detail.
My reasons why libraries should be on social media:
Advertise library events and services
Promote the library collection
Report on library events
Extend the reach of the library
Communicate, interact and connect with library users
Educate library users
According to the Pew Research Centre, 74% of adults use a social networking site and 71% of teens use more than one social network site. Social media is a big part of people’s lives now so “ideally, libraries will match these evolving options to their user’s technology preferences and information-seeking behaviors so that they can provide optimal user experience” (Hofschire & Wanucha, 2014, p. 9). The three libraries above are adapting by moving beyond their physical spaces and attempting to connect and communicate with their users using social media. Library news that traditionally would have appeared in a newsletter or on a bulletin board is now communicated widely using these new channels. Melbourne Library service advertised their booksale, Melbourne High School shared a link to their blog that contained a report of a recent library event, The University of Melbourne shared library tips to educate their users. All libraries posed questions to initiate try and discussion and used images to highlight their events, services and collections.
For my scholarly book report I chose It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens by Dana Boyd. This book appealed to me because I have followed Boyd’s blog and read articles by her in the past. I work as a teacher librarian in a senior secondary school so I want to explore the relationships teenagers have with technology and social media further.
The documentary Frontline – Generation Like is a thought provoking look at how teenagers use and consume new media. Teenagers tell the world what they think through likes, retweets, views and follows. Companies are able to turn “the currency of likes turns into real currency”. Companies today believe the consumer is now their marketer and young people can sell a product for them and they employ complex marketing strategies to exploit this. Danah Boyd says in the documentary “Young people want attention and want validation and that’s not actually new” however the audience they can reach is much greater. Many of the teenagers interviewed speak of feeling empowered by using web 2.0 technologies. Some, such as Tyler Oakley understood that big business benefited from their activities and he used this to his advantage, but others were oblivious. I don’t believe this type if thinking is confined to teenagers. While some adults are suspicious of the ways companies such as Facebook and Google use their data, others do not give it a second thought.
Educators have an important role to play in teaching young people how to use social media safely and to question their relationship with it. I look forward to exploring this issue further throughout my studies.