TL Ponderings


Reflective Statement

Progression through this course has involved a huge learning curve for me (and the teachers at my school who have taken up the new wiki I have set up). It has been a journey of discovery concerning the progressing world of social media and networking and the amazing contribution web 2.0 technologies can make to a new and improved participatory library. In particular I have experienced much serendipitous learning that I have been able to transfer from web 2.0 tool to tool such as the ease of use of the wikis (two years ago I toyed with starting one up but found it too daunting and the time needed to develop my skills too great). Furthermore I have made some deep seated changes within the way I work, habitual change, I now scan my RSS feeds daily, although I don’t let it rule my day and many more of the solutions I come up with for the teachers involve social networking tools rather than ramdon links and photocopies. As the evolution of change that started in the 1970’s surrounding the placement of the user at the centre of library services continues to progress through to best practice for today, being those information institutions who seek the contributions and feedback of users through online mobile devices, my outlook for the future appears exciting, challenging, encouraging and enjoyable.

The areas I have found particularly interesting throughout the modules have been the overwhelming dominance of digital technology amongst a majority of users in the western world (OCLC Report, 2007). I was aware of the prevalence of such technology for the .com generation but was surprised at the rate of uptake for others in our community. The growing power of the behind the scenes mechanics of Internet giants such as Google and Facebook in gathering information about you and filtering your searches according to some algorithm, challenge of finding authentic information on the web and the issues surrounding security, privacy and identity have all certainly intrigued me. I have become a much more discerning user of the internet and in my role as a Teacher Librarian have begun to inform my peers, through small information bites on email (my personal tweets to them), my schools preferred online communication method, although over the next months the wiki will be further developed to include a general school communication page. By educating primary aged students early enough about their digital footprints I hope to ensure that as they become teenagers and enter the workforce they will not have ghosts in the wires that follow them around.  I have been pleasantly surprised at the ease and effectiveness of using Facebook for this subject and my adventures into secondlife although, unfortunately I can’t see them being used in my primary setting for many years to come – although I am happy to say I will be ready when the time comes and am looking for an alternative in the meantime.

Areas I have found most useful for my everyday work has definitely been the recognition and development of my online social networking, my PLN. My involvement is changing making my memberships of online networks more into communities of practice where I now find myself asking, and once or twice, answering queries particularly in regards to my involvement on a Teacher Librarian listserve as opposed to hovering.  I certainly harness the web 2.0 tool of RSS feeds much more effectively (again contributing to my PLN) – my understanding and appreciation of this online tool has grown and I regularly follow a variety of tweets, (although I am yet to activate any of these facilities on my mobile device as I am still worry about falling into stage 3 of PLN adoption where I lose perspective). I love my wiki, I love the way many of the teachers in my school have embraced it and of course I look forward to learning from the students as they take it up and run with it. Slow and steady in introducing library 2.0, I have 6 months to plan for new furniture in the library and therefore six months to convince our leadership of the benefits of a monitor to display student’s social media and to play interactive virtual games resulting in transference of knowledge. The need to educate both teachers and students to be critical about authentic information and information literacies, including  transliteracies,  will be written into my programs from term 3 on.

Areas I have found most challenging – incorporating web 2.0 technologies in a meaningful way, not just for the sake of technology. The urgent need for revamped policies and procedures surround library 2.0 in particular how to monitor its effectiveness. Finally, I have begun to develop a library page for my school, one that fosters community, communication, collaboration, creativity and crowdsourcing, through the embedding of web 2.0 tools into its platform.

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. [ebook] Available http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/sharing.pdf

RSS

My homepage on each computer is iGoogle where I have many RSS feeds. Not surprisingly, the page is getting longer and longer as I come across more ‘authors’ to follow. I try to scan my homepage on a regular basis – daily, weekly although Sometimes its fortnightly, and I’m confident that the time spent scanning each heading and summary is keeping me abreast of current trends, good practice, social media tools and research. In searching for sites to subscribe to, to see RSS in action, I decided to set up and add feeds to my Google Reader rather than my iGoogle page (maybe keep my very favourites on the iGoogle and all the rest on Google Reader). It will mean remembering to check the reader regularly.

I subscribed to Ted Talks using Bookmarks Toolbar, although I can see that only a few feeds could be linked there otherwise it would become too busy, the same problem as iGoogle. I looked at the NSW State Library to subscribe to; they have quite specific categories, nicely catering to the needs of the user and so chose to be alerted to new titles. I also went to ALIA and discovered what ‘subscribe using Google Feeds’ is (a tab in your favourite button), I subsequently added a few more feeds that way. So I currently have four places my subscriptions feed into – iGoogle, Google Reader, Google Feeds and Bookmarks Toolbar (do I need Netvibes). I shall discover over the course of the next couple of months which platform best suits my online activities.

RSS feeds are currently meeting some/most of my work related information needs although i can see that one needs to be careful not to link to too many sites, possibly be selective otherwise i see myself getting bogged down in keeping up.