Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Commoncraft "Plain English" video series

Maybe many of you have seen these videos and readers of my previous blog should have heard of them! They are an excellent introduction to many Web 2.0 tools. Here are some examples :

RSS in Plain English
Wikis in Plain English
Blogs in Plain English
Social Networking in Plain English
Social Bookmarking in Plain English
Photo Sharing in Plain English
Twitter in Plain English

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Facebook apps and Libraries' friendly future

This presentation by Laurie Bridges and Cliff Landis at Computers in Libraries in April 2008 is available on slideshare here. They say "The line between social space and intellectual space isn’t blurring… It was never there in the first place," and "Library catalogs are social networks for ideas." and "How to not be left behind… • talk to your users & find out what they want • use the tools that they are using • broadcast what you're doing • "earn your audience".

Pay attention

This video on Teacher Tube has been around a while but it's worth highlighting as a wake-up call for teachers/educators in schools. "Since most of today's students can appropriately be labeled as "Digital Learners", why do so many teachers refuse to enter the digital age with their teaching practices?This presentation was created in an effort to motivate teachers to more effectively use technology in their teaching." Powerful stuff and apparently some American pupils are showing it to their teachers...

Ofcom report on Social Networking

Social Networking : a quantitative and qualitative research report into attitudes, behaviours and use, found "that just over one fifth (22%) of adult internet users aged 16+ and almost half (49%) of children aged 8-17 who use the internet have set up their own profile on a social networking site.For adults, the likelihood of setting up a profile is highest among 16-24 year olds (54%) and decreases with age." Much concern over cavalier or ignorant behaviour of privacy issues when using the sites. BBC News site has a good summary. Full document here.

Creative Commons images on flickr

There is a Creative Commons search here which allows searching a number of sites including flickr, all from one page. It might save you a bit of time.
Otherwise there is a new site here "fashioned by Ryan & Bryan with glue sticks and rubber bands, " (I quote) which is good for tag searches and limiting to Creative Commons material.

Free use flickr

Taking Creative Commons further, a Free Use group has been set up on flickr which has at the top "The photos in this group are available for use by anyone. There is no need to give credit or to fear rights infringement. These images are posted by their creators. By posting to this group, you're allowing freedom of use.We know that these images still have the "rights reserved" stamp on them. Frankly, we don't know how to get this removed yet. We're working on it. " There may be some images here which are of use in your teaching or presentations.

Three whacky videos

Here are three promotional videos which are a bit different from the stereotypes.
The first is Empty Pockets Library by the Australian comedy duo called Empty Pockets, selling you public libraries - great if you like slapstick!
The second is Need Information ! Contact your special librarian today. Okay, maybe they're exaggerating a bit.
The third is Need Information ! Contact your academic librarian today. Okay. maybe they're exaggerating a bit too.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Growing up with Google : what it means to education

There is an excellent article by Diana Oblinger (Educause) in Emerging Technologies for Learning , vol.3 2008. She summarises common Web generation characteristics. "An increasing number of students - and their parents - expect academic success wuth little academic effort". They "prefer to learn by doing rather than by telling or reading. Don't just tell us - let us discover". This is very much borne out by my experience here at University of Bedfordshire in the way we are approaching the first year Business Studies curriculum. Very interestingly she sees the Web Generation as the harbingers of change - where they are today, tomorrow we shall be.I think that has been shown by the take-up of Web 2.0 technologies by librarians over the past year. She emphasises that students seem more at home with images, and this visual characteristic of the Web Generation was also picked out in a presentation I heard recently by Joan Lippincott. She acknowledges that a second-level dital divide may exist on PC age, connectivity and user support."Not all students have computers, not all are skilled users, and not all want to use technology". She also doubts whether the Web generation is naturally reflective. This is very important for academics and librarians alike as reflective practice looms so large in so much of academia.

She asks the crucial question :

"how do we ensure that information fluency becomes a habit of mind rather than of an isolated library requirement if parents, teachers, and staff do not integrate into their daily interactions with students?"

I'm not going to comment on the rest of the article, save to say that it gets more and more revolutionary!

Well worth reading!

Friday, 11 April 2008

InfoTubey awards 2008

Take a look at this year's winners of the InfoTubey awards for YouTube library videos awarded at Computers in Libraries 2008 this week. I particularly liked the DePauw University Libraries Visual Resource Center – Introduction (A clever enactment of Google Image Search v. the Library search) and the Amazing Library 101 challenge from University of Ottawa. (a sort of racey treasure trail - phew!)

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Latest Pew Report cheers up Public libraries

If you thought that Generation Y (18-30s) in the USA would not be keen to visit a library to solve a sample of 10 possible common problems, then you'd be wrong! The latest Pew survey "Information searches that solve problems" shows that they were the most likely group who would visit the library to solve hteir problems. 40% of Gen Y against 20% of those above age 30. A major thread in the survey concerned those with no access to the internet (23% of the population) and those with dial-up[ access (13%). These are the poorer, older, less well-educated sector who may be less inclined to visit government offices or public libraries, about whom public librarians will be most concerned.
Lee Raine (from Pew) in his keynote at Computers in Libraries this week, highlighted the huge influence of wireless technology in bridging the digital gap, and the increasing number of "adults" using 2.0 technologies. Read LibrarianInBlack's full report. It makes crucial reading for public librarians. Wonder how far the same trends can be seen in UK public libraries? Certainly my own public library in St Albans is usually bustling, with large percentage of teens and 20s and it's not just on the PCs...

LibGuides increase student use!

I have posted about the LibGuides application before on my previous blog, but want to highlight a presentation given this week by Kristina De Voe at Computers in Libraries, where she recounts experiences at Temple University. Usage of the subject guides has rocketed apparently; they are easy to use ; flexible ; interactive ; and could be used for information literacy. Anyone considering use should consult the Springshare site for a quote.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Not so Distant Learning in South America

Came across this post by Bill Farren, what I would call a radical 21st century educator, who developed a notional project on Latin American Studies with sustainability as a unifying context; with a strong focus on information literacy and Web 2.0 information tools
He says "Join teacher Bill Farren in a year-long learning odyssey as he travels on motorcycle through four different Latin American countries, three chosen by you, the students. Follow your teacher/facilitator, tracking his location via global positioning satellite, as he acts as your “reporter in the field” connecting you with real people, real communities and real issues."

Wikipedia again and again

There are several items on Wikipedia which I must highlight : Andreas Brockhaus and Martha Groom (University of Washington Bothell) gave a presentation at an EDUCAUSE Conference last year "Using Wikipedia to reenvision the term paper" Find out how students became more motivated through publishing their term papers on Wikipedia and learnt to deal with issues of voice, knowledge, and community.

Tara Brabazon (University of Brighton) wrote a critical piece in the Times Higher, 20/3/08 "Where fans put Franz before the Archduke". She lampoons the objectivity of Wikipedia by comparing lengths of articles on topics like Franz Ferdinand (the group) versus the Archduke who caused the Great War! A point well made but there's more to Wikipdia than this. She made similar points at the LILAC Conference, but when questioned is well aware of the possibilities of using Wikipedia in a positive way to teach students about how "information" is created.

Wikipedia : the missing manual, by John Broughton was referred to in Lauren's Library blog recently, and she relates some very telling points about how it shows Wikipedia could be used in an Information Literacy class.

There are some "guidance" pages on School and University projects on Wikipedia itself which may prove interesting.

Finally, if you want some basic sources for reliable online information you might try When Wikipedia Won't Cut It: 25 Online Sources for Reliable, Researched Facts, some standard alternatives.