Wednesday, 25 August 2010

How the internet is altering your mind

John Harris wrote an interesting article in the Guardian (see here) recently following a look at a forthcoming book called "The Shallows" by Nicholas Carr. Is the extensive use of the internet affecting our brans? Or our ability to think deeply? Worth having a read.
I tend to agree with comments from Professor Andrew Burn of University of London Institute of Education"Temporary synaptic rewiring happens whenever anybody learns anything," he says. "I'm learning a musical instrument at the moment, and I can feel my synapses rewiring themselves, but it's just a biological mechanism. " (Yes!! so that's why I am finding it so hard learning to play the organ at the moment reading two bass lines, one for feet and one for left hand...")

Delivering information literacy programmes in the context of network society and cross-cultural perspectives

This article derives from a paper given at IFLA recently by Huy Nghiem (Vietnam National University, Hanoi). As I was cited I felt I should blog about it! Amusingly my name has become Godwill but the references at the end are OK. Sheila Webber has already blogged about this paper here.I am grateful to the article for the emphasis put upon the nature of the information landscape and global network society and how this might alter the way we look at information literacy. It is not easy to pin down yet ... however I found the diagram which maps the individuals' information landscape and the role of information literacy on page 7 very interesting and well worth investigating.

Friday, 20 August 2010

No link between social media and student grades

Predictors and Consequences of Differentiated Social Network Site Usage is a report by Eszter Hargittai and Yu-Li Patrick Hsieh, published in Information Communication and Society, 13(4) June 2010, 515-536.

There is a useful commentary of the report on Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning blog.
Here is the abstract :
"Applying a typology of social network site (SNS) usage that takes into consideration the intensity with which people use such sites, this piece offers an empirical investigation of how users' social practices on SNSs differ and whether different levels of engagement have consequences for academic performance. We rely on a unique survey-based data set representing a diverse group of young adults to answer these questions. We find, not surprisingly, that the more intense users of such sites engage in more social activities on SNSs than those who spend less time on them and only use one such site. This finding holds both in the realm of stronger-tie activities and weaker-tie activities, that is social practices involving one's close friends as well as less established ties. Our analyses suggest gender difference in level of engagement with SNS social practices. Women pursue more stronger-tie activities than men, such as interacting with existing friends. In contrast, women engage in fewer weaker-tie activities than men, such as developing new relationships on such sites. However, neither SNS usage intensity nor social practices performed on these sites are systematically related to students' academic performance, findings that challenge some previous claims to the contrary. "

Blended Librarian talks Information Literacy

This little article in Chronicle of Higher Education 2 August 2010 tells of the work of Mark McBridge at Buffalo State College of the State University of New York. The work of this "blended librarian" should not be too much of a surprise to readers of this blog. "Mr. McBride teaches a course called Library 300. Its goal is not just to teach college students how and where to find information but how to weigh it—what counts as a reliable source and what doesn't." But there might just be some ideas here which could be of use in developing or justifying a service.

Google chief's fears for Generation Facebook

The Independent carried an article this week based on comments by Eric Schmidt, chief executive of Google.

"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time," he told the Wall Street Journal. "I mean we really have to think about these things as a society."

The weirdest thing he came out was " a stark warning over the amount of personal data people leave on the internet and suggested that many of them will be forced one day to change their names in order to escape their cyber past."
Bet the Passport Office and ID Card development staff are not too keen on this...

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Want some good advice about screencasting?

Then look at Tips from the Experts Five Minute Screencasts - The Super Tool for Science and Engineering Librarians, by Olivia Bautista Sparks, Noble Science and Engineering Library, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. This excellent article comes from Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Winter 2010.

She often uses screenr. a free screencasting serice. There are some examples of her work introducing herself (Meeting your chemistry librarian) ; Exporting references from PubMed into RefWorks (this one really impressed me because I thought no-one can make this intelligible and yet I stayed wake through the whole 5 minutes..) ; more stuff on class instuction voia screencast ; and a very useful comparison chart comparing four screencasting services.

Finally : this is not just for Science and Englibneering librarians! All subject librarians can gain hugely from this brilliant little article!

Pic is of St Albans Abbey

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Trust Online: Young Adults’ Evaluation of Web Content

Trust Online: Young Adults’ Evaluation of Web content by E.Hargitti, L.Fullerton, E.Menchen-Trevino and K.Y.Thomasi of Northwestern University, is an important article. Net Gen Skeptic blog comments on how this article draws upon user research at that University into how their students evaluate web content.It throws further doubt onto claims made by such as Tapscott and Prensky that the digital natives know instinctively how to assess what they find.They conclude :

"As our findings show, students are not always turning to the most relevant cues to determine the credibility of online content. Accordingly, initiatives that help educate
people in this domain – whether in formal or informal settings – could play an important role in achieving an informed Internet citizenry."

Web 2.0 in the classroom? Dilemmas and opportunities inherent in adolescent Web 2.0 engagement

Sandy Schuck, Peter Aubusson, and Matthew Kearney of the University of Technology, Sydney have written an interesting paper on Web 2.0 in the classroom and adolescent attitudes to engagement with Web 2.0.
"Young people are increasingly active Web 2.0 users, and their interactions through these technologies are altering their social identities, styles of learning, and exchanges with
others around the world. The paper argues for more research to
investigate this phenomenon through the use of virtual ethnography and
identifies the ethical challenges that lie therein. It raises questions for
school education and presents an argument for studying the area in
culturally sensitive ways that privilege adolescents’ voices."

If you build it will they come? Researchers and Web 2.0

If you build it, will they come? is a Research Information Network (RIN) report about researchers and Web 2.0.

They conclude "Our study indicates that a majority of researchers are making at least occasional use of one or more web 2.0 tools or services for purposes related to their research: for communicating their work; for developing and sustaining networks and collaborations; or for finding out about what others are doing. But frequent or intensive use is rare, and some researchers regard blogs, wikis and other novel forms of communication as a waste of time or even
Uptake of Web 2.0 varies according to discipline. There is a lack of trust and a good deal of conservatism around. It is a useful document for all librarians who have to support researchers to have a look at.
The message is :
"Information professionals should not seek to re-establish centralised provision, which might
inhibit the dispersed processes of innovation and experimentation. Instead they may need
to rethink their current roles and organisation, and to broaden their agendas to include
effective support for web 2.0.
Their roles might usefully include:
• raising awareness of the range of tools and services and their relevance for different
kinds of activities;
• publicising examples of successful use and good practice by research groups and
networks across a range of disciplines;
• providing guidelines and training to help researchers make informed choices;
• helping to set standards and providing advice on curation and preservation."

Teaching Strategies for the Net Generation

This article by Ronald A. Berk of John Hopkins University is worth a read. The author acknowledges the limitations of a wide brush approach but still "acknowledging those limitations, I still think there is legitimacy to suggesting a set of characteristics and cultural trends derived from sound scientific research that can guide future teaching practices for faculty." When I was at London South Bank we had a Learning and Teaching Day and we had the pleasure of hearing Professor Berk speak. It was a name I could not forget.

Pic is of student group at Luton in our Library some years ago. I wonder how different they were?

Information Literacy in context

Miss Sophie Mac did a great post "Information Literacy in context" which emphasises the connect between their studies and everyday life. I have believed for a while that the breakthrough in public understanding of information literacy would come if there is an understanding that this is important in whatever task we seek to undertake. At a simple level we require to read the up to date bus timetable to get to work, or reliable health information on the web rather thana site that has a vested interest in selling to us.
She goes on "Within an everyday life information seeking context there are socio-cultural contexts to consider when planning IL training. For example, an academic library IL program might be three tiered consisting of: generic skills, subject specific skills, assignment specific skills. When teaching subject or assignment specific skills is there a way to apply an everyday life lens so the experiences can be applied to formal and informal settings? I believe we can achieve this by understanding the needs of learners and the socio-cultural context of their learning."

Pic shows the activity going on in our LRC over the summer!

21st Century Information Fluency

If you haven't come across the IMSA (Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy) projects before, I can heartily recommend that you do. It is now under the direction and banner of 21st Century Information Fluency.
The latest material that I have had a brief look concentrates on Web 2.0. There is a comparison chart between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. here. Also material on digg, twitter, delicious, Google bLog Search etc. Very useful for teaching ideas.