Friday, April 20, 2007

back from Computers in Libraries 2007

And there was alot of good stuff going on. I didn't have internet access sadly, so no live right there updates, but I can offer some interesting bits, which have hopefully gotten more interesting and focused while being slowly digested for a few days.

The second day really focused on instruction which is what we are talking about, so I will put in a short precis of those first.

The first instruction related session was given by Chad Boeninger from Ohio, (and I'll stop here and give him some props for being so nice) entitled "Dynamic Instructional Content." He covered a goodly number of tools like podcasts, videos, screencasts and other stuff all in 45 minutes.
Some of the stuff that stuck out in my mind (and my insanely written notes) were things like:
  • using a blog to teach for a business class
  • also putting class assignments in the wiki with helpful links for students (and probably other librarians)
  • using a locally hosted wordpress blog to use polls in the blog as an alternative to a clicker, or the meebo me widget embedded in the wiki or a blog page.
  • The meebo thing was really interesting as a way for shy students to ask questions during a class.
  • podcasting--discussed good free stuff like audacity and wink
  • camstudio (for recording screen captures and things, like camtasia or captivate)
  • communication tools like Skype, IM, etc
  • using bookmarks for classes in del.icio.us
  • facebook
Also the bits of good advice like:
  • software is free like a free kitten.
  • learn from failures and success
  • try new things and get momentum for buy-in
  • try looking at other tools
The next one was given by Meredith Farkas and Michelle Boule, "Learning with Blogs & Wikis".
This session discussed using these tools in the context of an online course for librarians called "Five Weeks to a Social Library".

The main points covered were short definitions of what blogs and wikis were, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and also a short comparison of each in relation to each other (blogs vs. wikis). They also discussed the effect on reflective learning They encouraged everyone to steal this idea! and also offered interesting insights and tips on how to make it work.
The main points I got from this part were: (and this is drawn verbatim from their actual presentation wiki here)
  • You don't have to teach this course in five weeks
  • You don't have to use the exact same tools
  • You don't have to cover the same topics (this would work for most topics!)
  • You do need to provide for experiential and reflective learning
  • You do need to provide ways for people to have many different conversations about what they're learning
  • You do need to use tools that aren't so difficult to learn that they become a barrier
  • You do need to be flexible when technology problems arise (they will!)
  • You do need to be open about the process and allow criticism from inside and outside the project (if it is public)
  • The learning experience needs to be flexible and involve multiple modes of learning (audio & video, synchronous & asynchronous, etc.)
The really cool thing about this particular project is that from what I understand, this was put together by a group of librarians and designed for librarians who wouldn't be able to have access to this sort of training otherwise. The course site is still up and freely available for people to look at.

It's getting late, so I'll continue with this later.......

Friday, April 6, 2007

Find Articles Tutorial

We're in the process of creating online tutorials to help people do research at Alkek Library. Here's a sample:

Find Articles

Devin Zimmerman

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

RSS workshop date changed to April 24 10-11am

RSS workshop has moved to April 24 from 10 to 11 am, in room 101.