Going through the process of creating a mind map for my own Personal Learning Network (PLN) I became acutely aware that my networks were predominately online and it was not until I mapped out my PLN with people, organisations and social networking sites that I also saw how interconnected my network was. When creating the mind map I was originally going to link the different networks using arrows to highlight the links but this would have made it difficult to read because of the multiple connections and interconnectedness of my PLN. To give an example, I use Twitter personally and professionally across organisations. I have my own library Twitter page which I use to network with my school and share the tweets across platforms (such as Facebook and Youtube) as well connecting with the wider profession, organisations and to widen my knowledge and understanding on a wide number of topics, with a focus on literacy and learning.
Utecht (2008) discusses the stages of progression he went through and a possible model for others to consider when reflecting on their PLN. The first stage ‘Immersion’ refers to when collaborations and connections begin. When I started my work as a Teacher Librarian (TL) six years ago I was at this stage. I was often quite undiscerning about what tools I adopted and connections I made as I was exploring the benefits of a range of networks. I then went to the second stage’ ‘evaluation’ , when I started being more selective about how I would connect online. I’ve certainly been through the third stage ‘know it all’ when the I’ve been trying to keep up with all my connections (and failed) and then fairly quickly to the fourth stage ‘perspective’ . This happened for me when I left my Library Twitter for 6 weeks while on summer holiday and found that nobody had noticed I had gone and that it really had little impact on my life overall and I was able to pick it up again but at a slower and less intrusive pace.
It is now that I am trying to reach the fifth stage of ‘balance’. It is very hard to reach this stage at present especially with the nature of my current MA and profession where inertia is not an option!
Smith, B. (2008). Creating an online Personal Learning Network [slides]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/bethanyvsmith/creating-an-online-personal-learning-network-presentation
Utecht, J. (2008, April 3). Stages of PLN adoption. [blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption/
“The Library Minute” is a playlist from the Arizona State University (ASU) YouTube channel. This playlist includes 20 one minute videos covering topics such as services offered (ASU Libraries, 2009, June, 25), guides and tutorials (Arizona State University, Tempe Campus, 2011, January, 28), events (Arizona State University, Tempe Campus, 2011, August, 16), physical layout and space (Arizona State University, Tempe Campus, 2011, November, 30), and resources available (ASU Libraries, 2009, July, 7). A wide range of information is covered and the videos are well edited and presented. The short time frame provides a succinct overview of what the library has to offer so that, in addition to be a great source of information, the videos can also be seen as a great promotional tool for the library. However, this particular playlist does not create regular uploads and the videos are dated from 2009-2013 so there have been no videos made in the last three years. I think for the channel to reach a greater number of students and to remain relevant to the community it would benefit from more up-to-date and regular content being uploaded.
ASU have other services available through their wordpress blog. The site is user-friendly, engaging, easy to navigate and informative but the emphasis is not on user-generated content but rather the sharing of information. However, the site is interconnected to all of their social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook which offers users multiple ways to interact.
The videos in particular represent the underlying principles of Web 20 including ‘content creation’ which refers to the creative and technical process of making and uploading a video. The interactive nature of Youtube encourages viewers to interact and leave their comments which enables ‘conversation’ and the creation of a ‘community’ within the video medium as well as physical library. This sense of community building and conversing represents the ethos of Web 2.0 and what can be described as “an attitude, not a technology” (Miller, 2005, para. 3 ).
Arizona State University, Tempe Campus. (2011, January, 28). The library minute: Library One Search. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNe6yBSaORc&list=PLCA6A813AA9C9A574&index=9
Arizona State University, Tempe Campus. (2011, August, 16). The library minute: Exhibits.[Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJAPIimv6MY&index=6&list=PLCA6A813AA9C9A574
Arizona State University, Tempe Campus. (2011, November, 30). The library minute: Study spaces. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi_SGY8niCY&list=PLCA6A813AA9C9A574&index=5
ASU Libraries. (2009, June, 25). The library minute: Ask a librarian. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5lDo-uFgTw&index=14&list=PLCA6A813AA9C9A574
ASU Libraries. (2009, July, 7). The library minute: Libguides. [Video file] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TGOZP8oBVw&list=PLCA6A813AA9C9A574&index=13
Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new library, Ariadne, 45, 30 October. Retrieved from http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue45/miller
Shel Waggener, formerly of UC Berkeley talks in the opening remarks about the importance of ‘Planning, partnership and privacy” (UC Berkeley Events, 2007) and that understanding people’s needs are key to achieving this. We have ICT support in our library but I agree with the speaker, that a structure is needed to make the planning successful. This could be implemented by creating a strategic plan and implementing it in partnership with the ICT (Information, communication, Technology) team and other groups in the school. These groups should be consistently represented with a focus on how they are using the technology and the services they provide in order to plan for future developments and delivery.
Shel Waggener also talks about looking at computers as learning spaces (UC Berkeley Events, 2007). Indeed, the proliferation of Ipads, mobile devices etc. could potentially indicate that fixed computer stations are not a necessity in a library. However, it depends on how the space is utilized. In our library we try to use MED’s (mobile electronic devices) to complement learning rather than to replace existing structures. In this way. I feel it is possible to observe users’ behavior and patterns in order to anticipate future needs as well as consider virtual learning spaces.
Meredith Farkas, the keynote speaker has an interest in the innovative use of technology and states “We are all participants in the development of the web” (UC Berkeley Events, 2007). Inclusion and participation is a key driver for library 2.0. She stresses the importance of meeting changing users’ needs and revaluating services. This involves trusting users as partners in developing the culture of libraries. Keeping up-to-date with new technologies and opportunities is also vital. In my role, I try to see how new technologies can be used to support the curriculum. In order for this to work, I think the clear purpose and objective needs to be considered so that the technology used is effective and align with learning outcomes. Last year we started using the website ‘Storybird.com’. This site can be accessed on MED’s and desktop computers. Students were able to create their own stories and meet Information Literacy and English curriculum objectives. The technology was also user-friendly and enabled the books to be easily shared with parents and the internet. Students could comment on other users’ work and receive feedback on their own. An example of one of the stories can be viewed on the link below. The interconnectivity of the site allowed me to directly link the site to our library Twitter account. This user ability and interconnections are also serious considerations when selecting and using new technologies.
UC Berkeley Events. (2007, November, 19). Building Academic Library 2.0. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI