Digital Scholarship in Today’s Schools

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“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow” – John Dewey

Introduction

The rise of the digital age, the sudden ubiquity of information and our access to it and the evolution of the static Web 1.0 to the participatory Web 3.0 have enabled an overhaul of what we deem as academic scholarship (Starkey, 2012; Vodanovich, Sundaram & Myers, M, 2010; McCain, Jukes & Crockett, 2010; Levnajic, 2014).  Learners are operating in the world of the unknown where the paradigm shift that accompanied changes to learning in the twenty-first century continues to challenge us with new cognitive approaches (Spector, 2010, p.4). As the technologies we are exposed to continue to evolve at such a rapid pace, learning has become online, participatory and social and this, in itself, poses many challenges to the nature of scholarship – a practice that was often undertaken in the isolation of print and static materials (Weller, 2011, p.2).  With the impact of technologies on our daily life so great and ‘digital’ now the norm, scholars such as Martin, warn that we cannot become complacent in proffering that traditional academic scholarship has been replaced by digital scholarship (2016, p.3).  In fact, we must consider the affordances created by the possibility of new and emerging trends in technology and how these influence the notion of scholarship in the information age (Goodfellow, 2013; Weller, 2011).

Evolution of Digital Scholarship

When Boyer (1990) challenged the traditional notion of scholarship by suggesting that scholars go beyond traditional research to adopt to social, contemporary and environmental changes, we witnessed the catalyst of change in the way academia viewed scholarship.  Boyer’s model of scholarship transcended traditional notions to consider a broader approach beyond that of research, to one that recognised, “knowledge is acquired through research, through synthesis, through practice and through teaching” and these four components should be valued equally (1990, p. 24).  His four functions of scholarship: discovery, integration, application and teaching set a new framework in the understanding of scholarship and recently, have acted as a benchmark in the consideration of digital scholarship (Weller, 2011; Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012; Martin, 2016).  While it would be easy to label digital scholarship as scholarship using digital means, in reality, digital scholarship goes much further than this.  It is the ability of the scholar in the digital age to go beyond discipline-specific formal publications and enter interdisciplinary realms (Goodfellow, 2013).  In fact, Esposito (2013) argues digital scholarship to include research practices, “such as – information access, authoring, sharing, networking, publishing – mediated by technology”.  The nature of participation in the digital age and technologies such as blogging, back channels and social media have many implications for Boyer’s functions of scholarship as suddenly education has become ‘open’ and ‘available’ online for everyone as opposed to our traditional ‘four walls’ models (Katz, 2010, p.48).  With this sudden equality of information available for everyone, regardless of their academic background, the playing field of scholarship has been evened and this calls for the necessity of educators to rethink the learning that happens in their institutions (Katz, 2010, p. 50).  What becomes evident however, is whether we are ensuring that scholars have the skills necessary to harness this availability of information through finely honed digital scholarship skills.

 

Implications of Digital Scholarship for Students

As ‘knowledge’ is no longer attained in isolation and learners are exposed to a range of networks and resources that allow them to interact, collaborate and engage with others in the development of ideas, we must consider how this is reflected in scholarship (Starkey, 2011, p. 22).  If the focus of education in our schools and higher education systems is to prepare students to become active participants of society,  it becomes evident that the concept of digital scholarship must be considered in the future of learning as our traditional notions are challenged by digital and participatory cultures.  The University of Queensland’s Student Strategy 2016-2020 White Paper acknowledges that,

“Digital technologies have fundamentally altered the way we live and work. They have broken down barriers and given rise to a wave of new job titles, a growing virtual workforce and an explosion in personalised online services – all of which are having a profound impact on what and how we choose to learn (2016, p. 3).

This is reflected in the Australian workforce as employers are increasingly identifying skills reflective of digital practices as a necessity in their employees.  In 2016, the Business Council of Australia in Being work ready: A guide to what employers want, identified  technical skills, understanding of Information Communication and Technologies (ICTs), data analysis and critical analysis as the four key skills necessary for employees in the current work force.  Similarly, The Australian Council of Learning Academics asserted that employees need to, “think in technological terms and know what and how solutions can be achieved through the use of technology” (2016).  Reports such as these lead us to question how we are preparing students in schooling and higher educational institutions for their future careers.  It is clear that the workforce is demanding skills indicative of the digital age, thus, is academic scholarship alone best preparing students with the knowledge and skills they will need for their future careers of the digital age?

When examined further, it appears that Australia has long recognised the value of preparing students to deal with concepts such as global connections and technological change in our education systems.  In fact, the need to increase the effectiveness of student ICT usage was emphasised as an essential consideration in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008, p. 5).  This sentiment was echoed by the Regional Australia Institute and NBN in The Future of Work: Setting Kids up for Success report that identified information, digital and media fluency as absolutely critical skills for the workforce of the future with the prediction that within two to five years, ninety percent of the workforce will require digital literacy (2016, p.10).  Interestingly though, while the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) established the general capabilities (2016), including the ICT capability, in response to the Melbourne Declaration, we are yet to see evidence of the impact of these inclusions in our schooling systems.  Most alarmingly, ACARA reported a significant decline in the proportion of students at or above proficient standard in ICT literacy in both Year six and Year 10 across all states and territories in Australia, identifying an increased need to focus on the development of ICT literacies in Australian Schooling (as cited in NSW Audit Office, 2017, p.17).  With more educators identifying their practices as inclusive of digital scholarship, yet literacy rates declining, it is necessary to consider what translation this has to learners in our schools (Lippincott, Hemmasi & Lewis, 2014).

Uptake of Digital Scholarship in Schools

Perhaps the misinterpretation by educators of what constitutes digital scholarship is cause for the concerning impact of these practices in Australian schooling. While many dominant authors in the field acknowledge the likely transition towards a more digital, networked and participatory scholarly future, they warn that digital scholarship must be more than making traditional content freely accessible online (Goodfellow, 2013, p. 76).  Rather, it involves providing access to content that allows scholars to create, produce, analyse, publish and disseminate new scholarship using digital means (Lewis, Spiro, Wang, & Cawthorne, 2015, p. 1).  Thus, what this calls for is further examination in to the new skill sets needed by scholars to explore these possibilities.  Can we expect our learners to be digital scholars without the skills necessary to harness their learning in this area? Furthermore, have we considered the implications of digital scholarship on our traditional achievement measures as the way our students are constructing knowledge is vastly different to what it once was (Loveless as cited in Starkey, 2011, p. 20)?

While the concept of digital scholarship is definitely not new in our schooling system, it appears that we are yet to harness this effectively to make a consistent change to the teaching and learning offered across our schools.  Publications such as the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report 2017 K-12 Edition make evident the importance of digital scholarship in the future of education. However, some of the significant challenges identified that are impeding developments in this area are, providing authentic learning experiences in a digital realm, enhancing ICT literacy and rethinking the role of teachers (2017).  In alignment with authors such as Weller (2013), Scanlon (2014) and Starkey (2011), the Horizon Report suggests that digital scholarship is more than understanding how to use technology; it involves fluency and deep understanding (2017, p. 4).  This involves teachers themselves becoming comfortable in the transformation of their role form the ‘sage on the stage’ to that of the ‘guide on the side’.  Digital scholarship involves mentoring and coaching learners through complex digital world as they explore and delve deeper into new environments (2017, p. 4).  Not surprisingly, this creates the need for teachers to be fluent in digital scholarship and the skills necessary to partake in this and engage with students in the four functions of scholarship.

Conclusion

While it is evident that scholarship of the digital age has morphed into a networked, online and participatory process, further research is needed in relation to the translation of digital scholarship into our educational systems.  Australian schools in particular, seem to be lagging in their uptake of digital scholarship, with national standardised testing signifying that student achievement is not yet indicative of an increase in the ICT literacy needed as successful scholars.  In fact, an area of concern is the willingness (or lack thereof) of Australian educators to embrace digital scholarship and the skills necessary to harness this in their learning experiences.  Connecting students to a device or piece of software is not enough to ensure the transition between traditional scholarship and scholarship of the digital age.  We must act to ensure our educators and learners can nurture, participate and embrace the affordances that digital scholarship provides.  In echoing Dewey’s sentiment, we can’t prepare our students effectively for the future of continuous technological development in an ever-transforming world if we don’t reconsider our learning practices.

Reference List

Australian Council of Learning Academics (ACOLA) (2016). Skills and capabilities for Australian enterprise innovation. http://acola.org.au/wp/PDF/SAF10/Full%20report.pdf

Barr, A., Gillard, J., Firth, V., Scrymgour, M., Welford, R., Lomax-Smith, J., … & Constable, E. (2008). Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs. Carlton, South Victoria.

Business Council of Australia (2016). Being work ready: A guide to what employers want. Retrieved from http://www.bca.com.au/publications/being-work-ready-a-guide-to-what-employers-want

CSIRO (2016). Tomorrow’s digitally enabled workforce. Retrieved from https://www.data61.csiro.au/en/Our-Work/Future-Cities/Planning-sustainable-infrastructure/Tomorrows-Digitally-Enabled-Workforce

Dewey, J.  (1944). Democracy and education.  New York:  Macmillan Company

Esposito, A. (2013). Neither digital or open. Just researchers: Views on digital/open scholarship practices in an Italian university. First Monday, 18(1).

Goodfellow, R. (2013). The literacies of digital scholarship–truth and use values. Literacy in the Digital University: Critical Perspectives on Learning, Scholarship and Technology, 67-78.

Image – http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/infographic

Katz, R. (2010). Scholars, scholarship, and the scholarly enterprise in the digital age. Educause Review, 45(2), 44-56.

Levnajic, Z. (Ed.). (2014). Frontiers in ICT: towards web 3.0. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au

Lewis, V., Spiro, L., Wang, X., & Cawthorne, J. E. (2015). Building Expertise to Support Digital Scholarship: A Global Perspective. Council on Library and Information Resources. Washington, DC.

Lippincott, J., Hemmasi, H. & Lewis, V. (2014).  Trends in digital scholarship Centers.  Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2014/6/trends-in-digital-scholarship-centers

Martin, L.  (2016).The university library and digital scholarship: a review of the literature.  In A. Mackenzie & L. Martin, L. (Eds.), Developing Digital Scholarship: Emerging practices in academic libraries (pp. 3 – 23). Facet Publishing.

McCain, T., Jukes, I., & Crockett, L. (2010). Living on the future edge: Windows on tomorrow. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

New Media Consortium. (2017). NMC Horizon Report: 2017 K-12 Edition. Retrieved from https://cdn.nmc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017-nmc-cosn-horizon-report-K12-advance.pdf

NSW Audit Office (2017). ICT in schools for teaching and learning. Retrieved from
https://www.audit.nsw.gov.au/publications/latest-reports/ict-in-schools-for-teaching-and-learning

Regional Australia Institute & NBN (2016). The future of work: Setting kids up for success. Retrieved from http://www.regionalaustralia.org.au/home/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/The-Future-of-Work_report.pdf

Scanlon, E. (2014). Scholarship in the digital age: Open educational resources, publication and public engagementBritish Journal of Educational Technology, 45(1), 12–23.doi:10.1111/bjet.12010

Spector, J. (2010). Part 1 cognitive approaches to learning and instruction. In J. Spector, D. Ifenthaler, & P. Kinshuk (Eds.). (2010). Learning and instruction in the digital age (pp. 3 – 65). Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au

Starkey, L. (2011). Evaluating learning in the 21st century: a digital age learning matrix, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 20(1), 19-39.

Starkey, L. (2012). Teaching and learning in the digital age. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au

University of Queensland Library (2016).Student strategy 2016-2020 white paper. https://student-strategy.uq.edu.au/files/453/Student-Strategy_White-Paper.pdf

Veletsianos, G. & Kimmons, R. (2012). Networked participatory scholarship: emergent techno-cultural pressures toward open and digital scholarship in online networksComputers & Education, 58(2), 766-774.

Vodanovich, S., Sundaram, D., & Myers, M. (2010). Digital Natives and Ubiquitous Information Systems. Information Systems Research, 21(4), 711-723. doi:10.1287/isre.1100.0324

Weller, M. (2011). The digital scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. A&C Black.

 

Educators, Social Media and Networking: A Serendipitous Relationship

“We need, first, to take charge of our own learning, and next, help others take charge of their own learning. We need to move beyond the idea that an education is something that is provided for us, and toward the idea that an education is something that we create for ourselves. It is time, in other words, that we change our attitude toward learning and the educational system in general” (Downes, 2010, para 16).

The concept of socialisation in learning has long been acknowledged as essential to knowledge building and attainment in the field of education (Belbase, 2011, p.3; Cobb, 2005, p.41; Dewey, 1910; Perkins, 2009, p.7). In the Digital Age, as educators and students alike begin to favour models of connected learning over the static environment of the traditional classroom, socialisation in learning has begun to establish itself through the use of social media and networking applications, “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content” (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010, pp. 61). These innovations and technological developments that allow for online collaboration and socialisation, enable us to expand our knowledge-building ecosystems and move away from the concept of the classroom teacher as the owner of all knowledge and information (Pink as citied in Bingham & Conner, 2010, loc. 177).

Moving away from traditional model of learning where the teacher acts as holder of all knowledge to a social, networked approach to learning where all participants are part of the learning process (Grout, 2013).

Moving away from traditional model of learning where the teacher acts as holder of all knowledge to a social, networked approach to learning where all participants are part of the learning process (Grout, 2013).

Thus as educators, whether we like it or not, we must embrace social media and networking within our own learning ecologies so that we can extend these learning opportunities to our students of the Digital Age. Just as businesses of the twenty-first century have been forced to up-skill and transform their business models to avoid losing currency, educators cannot ignore the pull of social media and networking to meet the natural drive of socialisation as these emerging technologies, “allow us to embrace the needs of changing workplace demographics and enable people of all ages to learn in ways that are comfortable and convenient for them” (Bingham & Conner, 2010, loc. 184). In echoing the sentiment of Downes when he suggests we must first take charge of our learning before assisting others with their learning, the time has come for educators to embrace social media and networking in their own learning so that they can benefit from, participate in and model this learning for both their peers and their students (2010, para. 16). Whereas traditional education has taught us that learning only happens in the classroom, the rise of social media and networking has proven that learning happens in a variety of ways and places beyond the classroom, opening doors for citizens in the digital age to be, “more effective, more knowledgeable, more energised, and more efficient as professional educators,” and ultimately, as learners (Whitaker, Zoul & Casas, 2015, loc. 205).

Opening the door to learning beyond the classroom (Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest, 2015).

Opening the door to learning beyond the classroom (Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest, 2015).

As Perkins suggests in Futurewise: Educating Our Children For A Changing World, We must consider what constitutes our learning ecology and ‘go beyond’ the world of traditional education to ensure our students are prepared for learning that is ‘lifeworthy’ – “likely to matter in the lives learners are likely to live” (2014, loc 395), and ‘lifeready’ -“ready to pop up on appropriate occasions and help make sense of the world” (2014, loc 694). This learning will only be possible when we consider learning collectives in networked environments, rather than learning in our traditional hierarchal classrooms (Schravemade, 2015, para. 4).

What is different about teaching and learning using social media and networking is that we are working in environments that we cannot control. The traditional learning relationships we had with our peers and students took place in physical environments, however in the digital age, they are happening in front of an audience we cannot monitor, mandate or select. The notion of connected learning is not one we can learn from a textbook, it involves educators stepping out of their comfort zone and, not only reading or viewing the work of students, but adopting a mindset that places them in the position of learner as they participate in the processes involved with, not only their individual learning, but also that of their peers and students (Whitaker et al., 2015, loc. 248). If, “social learning happens using social media tools and through extended access and conversations with all our connections – in our workplaces, our communities, and online. It happens when we keep the conversation going on a blog rich with comments, through coaching and mentoring, or even during a workout at the gym,” as Bingham and Conner suggest in The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media, then we as educators must ourselves be comfortable with and understand how to participate in such environments (2010, loc. 340).

This is where teaching and learning using social media and networking constitutes a serendipitous relationship with educators. Piaget asserted that, “cognitive conflict created by social interaction is the locus at which the power driving intellectual development is generated” (Perret-Clermont, 1980, p. 12). In this sense, cognition is a collaborative process, and the mind of the learner creates meaning, knowledge and understanding through dialogue, interaction and conversation with others (Ernest, 1995). Research such as that by Bell, Grossen and Perret-Clermont (1985) affirms this social practice, as they assert that students who are actively engaged in working with their peers display greater cognitive growth than those working alone. This promotes the idea that, “personal experiences of individuals become social and collective experiences when they are shared, interacted, and retained as knowledge” (Belbase, 2011, p.3). It is essential then, that as educators we examine how our pedagogy encourages students to participate and be guided by others in their learning. In the twenty-first century, we must embrace trends in technological development such as social media and networking to provide learning experiences reflective of the Digital Age. It becomes innate for educators to continue their serendipitous relationship with socialisation in learning through the participatory culture that is social media and networking.

In the video below, Helen Haste articulates the collaborative nature of information gathering and knowledge development in the twenty-first century (2009).

Social media and networking present the perfect platforms to encourage collaborative an co-operative perspectives through technology use. It is our role as educators to embrace these in our learning so that we can model, participate in and extend this opportunity to our students. The first step in this process as educators is to become digital citizens and connected learners ourselves, so that we can effectively and successfully extend this opportunity to our students. The interactive infographic ‘Getting Started With Digital Citizenship: Social Media and Networking’ shared in a previous post  provides a bank of resources for educators to use as a guide when they begin their journey as connected learners, exploring digital citizenship through social media and networking.

Reference List

Belbase, S. (2011). Radical versus social constructivism: dilemma, dialogue, and defense [Online Submission]. Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED525159).

Bell, N. Grossen, M. Perret-Clermont, A.N. (1985). Sociocognitive conflict and intellectual growth. In M.W. Berkowitz (Ed.), Peer conflict and psychological growth. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Bingham, T., & Conner, M. (2010). The new social learning: A guide to transforming organizations through social media [Kindle edition]. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Social-Learning-Organizations/dp/1605097020

Cobb, P. (2005). Where is the mind? A coordination of sociocultural and cognitive constructivist perspectives. In C. Twomey Fosnot (Ed.), Constructivism: theory, perspectives and practice (2nd Ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Dewey, J. (1910). How we think. Boston: DC Heath.

Downes, S. (2010). A world to change. Huffpost Education. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-downes/a-world-to-change_b_762738.html

Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. (2015). Open white door floating plaster wall [Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest http://quest.eb.com/search/165_3338382/1/165_3338382/cite

Ernest, P. (1995). The one and the many. In L. P Steffe & J. Gale (Eds.), Constructivism in education (pp. 459-486). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Grout, M. (2013). Teaching strategies [Image]. Retrieved from https://prezi.com/y28yncf_uu4b/teaching-strategies/

Haste, H. (2009, June 25). Technology and youth: rethinking the landscape of education (part 4 of 4) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZt9rEnAvew

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59–68. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2009.09.003

Perkins, D. N. (2009). Making learning whole: How seven principles of teaching can transform education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Perkins, D. (2014). Future wise: Educating our children for a changing world [Kindle edition]. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Future-Wise-Educating-Children-Changing/dp/1118844084

Perret-Clermont, A. N. (1980). Social interaction and cognitive development in children. Academic Press.

Schravemade, K. (2015, March 29). ‘Lifeready’ and ‘Lifeworthy’ learning: go beyond the traditional [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://theprivateteacher.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/lifeready-and-lifeworthy-learning-going-beyond-the-traditional/

Whitaker, T., Zoul, J., & Casa, J. (2015). What connected educators do differently [Kindle edition]. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/What-Connected-Educators-Do-Differently-ebook/dp/B00ULQN564/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1428829250

Digital Citizenship just as important as Social Media Policies when considering Online Behaviours

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There is no doubt that considering how Social Media is used by ALL members of a school community (students, staff, parents) is essential in our digital age.  Often, we may find that staff can be just as prone to misusing (either intentionally or unintentionally) social media as students.  While many organisations are drafting policies to cater for the use of social media by their representatives, I believe, particular in schools, that we must begin with educating community members about Digital Citizenship in conjunction with any policy creation regarding online behaviours.

I was at a BBQ last week and the ideas of teaching Digital Citizenship and using Social Media in class were mentioned.  I was interested that many attendees scoffed at the idea of teaching this in schools and believed that this was something of a joke, with one person commenting that, “no one ever taught us to socialise at school and we turned out just fine”, and another suggesting that, “if schools didn’t encourage their students to be online they wouldn’t have a problem”.  Unfortunately, I think many parents have this same mindset when it comes to Digital Citizenship and Social Media, often believing that whatever will happen online will happen, regardless of what they are taught, or, they won’t have  a problem if they prohibit their children from being online.

This Science Friday podcast provides some real insight into the ‘why’ behind teaching Digital Citizenship in schools, as it suggests that teenagers have always needed to learn how to control social situations and being online should be no different.  We have always focused on ‘personal development’ in schools where we have modelled appropriate behaviours in social situations, we shouldn’t ignore that much of this socialisation has now moved beyond physical situations to online situations. Thus, I believe that as educators it is our responsibility to create awareness of what it means to be a digital citizen and model this behaviour, not only for our students, but also for their parents, our peers and wider community.

One thing we often overlook when we consider Digital Citizenship, is that we are not only teaching students how to be appropriate in their socialisation online, we are also teaching them how to be ethical and legal online.  It is essential for people to realise that as soon as they post something online they are becoming both a copyright holder and  publisher, hence, they need to consider how they are branding themselves personally and professionally.  In the video below, Barry Britt discusses the importance of students and teachers understanding the impact that their interactions and posts online can have on their personal and professional profiles.  Essentially, he suggests that we need to ensure both students and teachers have the knowledge to make decisions about branding rights.

Another important consideration concerning Digital Citizenship is catering for ‘context collapse’.  In her book It’s Complicated, Danah Boyd asserts that teenagers today are not doing anything different to what they have always done; the problem with the emergence of social media is that now the whole world can see how they are socialising.  Thus, they need to be aware of ‘context collapse’ – if they don’t  understand the context in which they are operating  online, their behaviour will often be misrepresented.  A teacher mentioned to me the other day that she was annoyed students had started following her on Twitter as she wanted to use it as a personal account.  This is a perfect example of ‘context collapse’  as this teacher obviously didn’t understand the social context around Twitter, highlighting the growing need for awareness around Digital Citizenship and the use of social media.

Digital Citizenship involves accepting that we need to interact online and brand and promote ourselves in a positive manner.  We must accept that we need to learn to control our social situations online, just as much as we do in a physical setting. Thus, if we begin a Digital Citizenship education in conjunction to creating policy around Social Media use, we may find that community members are more aware of and informed of acceptable online behaviours.

Enter Librarians 2.0 – We’re not paid to shush!

 

Librarian Signaling Quiet. [Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. http://quest.eb.com/images/154_2888635

Librarian Signaling Quiet. [Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. http://quest.eb.com/images/154_2888635

Often when we tell people that we are Teacher-Librarians (TLs) a strange smile spreads over their face. Straight away we feel a need to defend what we do and explain that we don’t actually spend our days loaning out books, nor do we hide in the stacks waiting to catch people talking, or putting things back in the wrong places. In fact, sadly, often we can go days without even touching a book. So this begs the question, what do Teacher-Librarians in the world of Web 2.0 actually do?

Teacher-Librarians are uniquely qualified: we are specialists, we are teachers, we are learners, we are researchers, we are information specialists we are supporters, we are facilitators, we are connectors, we are teachers AND we are readers. We’d love to give you a run-down of what we do everyday, but, in this position, no day is ever the same. We think on our feet, we go where we’re needed and we share what we know, or find what we don’t. Libraries 2.0 don’t just store information, they connect learners with skills, tools and information and, as teacher-librarians, this is what we do. We are the space, we are the library and we’re everything in between.

So how can we help you? Firstly, we like to research. We’re information specialists, so ask us to help you find resources, or show you where to find them. We can teach you and we can teach your students, we’re very friendly and we don’t discriminate. We love books, fiction and non-fiction, ebooks and audio. Ask us to talk about them, recommend one, read one. We’ll build a campfire and make hot chocolate.

We’re quite literate, we love literacies and we love sharing our knowledge of these. Digital literacy, computer literacy, media literacy, information literacy, technology literacy, visual literacy. We have the skills, we have the knowledge. If we don’t, we’ll find out. All you need to do is ask.

We love change, we love mess, we love order. Need a Space? Teacher-centred, student-centred, collaborative, campfire. We’ll make one.

We love to travel. We can come to your class, in fact please ask us. We can share our knowledge, assist you or collaborate with you. The Library 2.0 has no walls. We can tweet you, skype you, call you, blog with you.. We’d love to help you do the same.

We can help you connect. To a professional learning network, to your colleagues, to your family, to your friends. Need help with your privacy settings? We can show you how to set them and check them.

We research. A lot. Pedagogy, technology, trends in education, the lot. Ask us. We love to share. We love to learn.

Some confessions we’ve always wanted to make. Catalogues bore us, we’re not great with contact. Laminating scares us, we don’t sleep on the beanbags, we like noise.. lots of it. We don’t know the history behind book-binding and haven’t memorised the Dewey Decimal system. We make a mess and we eat in the library.. often.

We are Teacher-Librarians in the world of Web 2.0 Library 2.0.

Is your Library in the World of 2.0?

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The connectedness and interactivity of Web 2.0 challenges us to only change our behaviour online, but it always pushes schools and businesses to rethink they do to cater for clientele that are used to such fast-passed, click-of-the-button service.  One particular sector that has been under great pressure to alter or face redundancy is libraries.  School libraries especially are quickly realising they need to offer services to cater for the change in teaching and learning that has accompanied Web 2.0 as their users are preferring to visit Google and  other Internet services over the library catalogue, under the belief that the library can no longer meet their needs. Enter the notion of Library 2.0.

The video below published by UC Berkeley discusses the notion of Library 2.0 and flags several concepts for libraries to follow when ensuring their services reflect twenty-first century, digital age services.

Keynote speaker Meredith Farkas discusses Library 2.0 as building on the concept of Web 2.0 where instead of users being only viewers of information, they became active participants in the creation of information (UC Berkeley Events, 2007). Whereas our traditional libraries acted primarily as storehouses of information, they must now evolve to reflect societal and technological changes and reevaluate how to meet the needs of users in the world of the digital age. Perhaps the biggest change libraries can make to move into the world of 2.0 is embrace the notion that our services can no longer remain static, we must constantly alter what we do to reflect the world around us, whether we have yet perfected the service or not.

The video below created by myself and colleague Helen Stower provides one example of how our libraries can enter to the world of 2.0 and evolve to meet the needs of users.

As suggested by Farkas in her UC Berkeley address, libraries need to reimagine what they can offer in their spaces and how they can enter Web 2.0 and respond to the needs of our digital age users. This involves considering exactly who the users of library are, in the case of the Mount Alvernia iCentre, this meant altering services to not only consider the needs of students of the college but all learners; teachers, parents and the wider community.  After all, in the world of Library 2.0, access to the library becomes open to anyone with internet access, not just those who access the physical space.  If users can access Google and other information services from the comfort of their own home, why wouldn’t they want to access the services of their school library from the same place.  Hence, libraries that offer 2.0 services must allow for interaction with users  via websites and social media sites. The Slideshare below highlights some key considerations for school libraries to consider when altering their services from a Library 1.0 model to that of a 2.0 model.

http://www.slideshare.net/schrk/slideshelf

Most importantly, the biggest recommendation for libraries looking to enter the world of Library 2.0 is to dive and meet users where they are at, if we continue to sit back and wait for services in the digital age to become perfect and static, they will have changed before we have the chance to offer them in our spaces.

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Reference List

UC Berkeley Events.  (2007, November 19).  Building academic library 2.0 . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI

Letting Others Control How You Are Perceived Online

online-reviews

Question and Answer services and User Review sites have become increasingly popular features of Web 2.0 platforms as users connect with each other by asking or answering questions and posting reviews or services or products they have encountered. While in theory this concept is not a new one, the posting of these things online allows the option of anonymity, making the validity and reliability of content questionable and hard to trace. While in the physical world we can choose to gain opinions, answers and feedback from people we know and trust, we cannot guarantee this in the digital world. Also, instead of being able to judge an individual’s response by way of physical determents, such as body language and tone, their response is reliant on their ability to articulate themselves in writing (Jeon & Rieh, 2014, p.663). Consequently, while it may be useful to gather feedback, answers and reviews at the click of a button online, users are often taking a gamble in doing this, as unless they are able to trace or verify the source, they are relying on feedback from someone completely unknown to them, with motives that are completely unknown.

While these question and answer and review sites provide a certain convenience for users who may be shopping or need a quick answer, we cannot overlook the potentially detrimental affects of the anonymity of these services, as evidenced in the video below, when 12 year old student Rebecca Sedwick committed suicide after she was bullied on popular question and answer sites, Kik and Ask.FM

 

This may be an extreme example, but it does lead us to question whether the anonymity allowed on such sites makes it easier for people to act without consequences of their actions.  This also leads to users being able to give an opinion or review of a person or business out of context, as is seen regularly on social media sites such as Facebook when disgruntled customers post their annoyance, anger or negative opinions on company pages for all users to see.

Even though question and answer and reviews sites are prone to negative feedback, many businesses revel in the free publicity and advertising they gain.  Racherla and Friske suggest that online word-of-mouth platforms such as TripAdvisor and Amazon have become the most valuable sources of information for online consumers, as these sites allow them to become fully informed as the product details and social interactions available allow them to become fully informed (2012, p.548). These same authors warn however, that there is still a way to go in terms of  the balances and checks put in place on these platforms to ensure that the user is gathering valid information and not experiencing a sense of ‘infowhelm‘ (2012, p.558). Additionally, more recent examples of customers being fined by companies for leaving bad reviews on word-of-mouth platform raise the question of how these sites are monitored and controlled.

Allowing others to control how individuals or businesses are perceived online is definitely a reality of Web 2.0.  However, as with any interaction in a digital environment, users must exercise digital etiquette and common digital citizenship practices to ensure that they are discerning in their use of these sites.

Reference List

Jeon, G. Y., & Rieh, S.U. (2014).  Answers form the crowd: How credible are strangers in social Q&A? iConference 2014 Proceedings (p.663 – 668).  Retrieved from http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/106410/Jeon_Rieh_iConference2014_answers%20from%20the%20crowd.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Racherla, P., & Friske, W. (2012).  Perceived ‘usefulness’ of online consumer reviews: An exploratory investigation across three service categories.  Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 11(6), 548-559.  doi: 10.1016/j.elerap.2012.06.003

 

The Connected Attraction of the Socially Networked World via Web 2.0

Kocaer, M. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/289074869801956615/

Kocaer, M. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/289074869801956615/

It has become clear in recent years, post the emergence of Web 2.0, that social networks, are here to stay. As evidenced in the images below, Web 2.0 altered the static nature of the websites we experienced in Web 1.0, allowing users to not only consume but produce content when interacting with a site.

web1_0-vs-web2_0

Martin, P. (2007).  web 1.0 vs web 2.0.  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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Pan, A .  (2006).  Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0.  CC BY-NC-ND 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When users became able to interact with the sites they were visiting online, it was easy to see how the popularity of social networking sites grew rapidly, as the ability of users to draw on the collective intelligence of other users and ‘friends’ replicated networking in the physical sense but evolved to ‘networking on steroids’, as users were suddenly able to connect with people at any time in any place with the click of a button (O’ Reilly, 2005). Christopher Barnatt (2008, March 30) elaborates on this in the video below and suggests that Web 2.0 involves making connections between two or more people, items or applications, essentially allowing interpersonal computing aspects to integrate their offerings and provide a richer service than that of Web 1.0 sites.

 

This emergence of Web 2.0 and social networking challenged us to re-think our behaviour on the internet and, instead of viewing it as simply a place to gather information, users were able to go beyond this and create and discuss information with others around the world (De Rosea, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk & Jenkins, 2007, p. vii). As Meyer suggests when quoting from A. A. Milne, the concept of social networking that evolved with Web 2.0 has allowed us to connect with others where they are comfortable, instead of waiting for them to come to us, creating attractive  networking possibilities as we strive to create and maintain relationships both personally and professionally (as cited in Ishizuka, K, 2010, p.32).

The social networking craze that resulted from Web 2.0 is one that needs further exploration in the world of education.  If individuals have become so attracted to broadening their networks beyond physical forms and connecting with others in the digital world, it won’t be long before this concept is one we must consider in our classrooms.  We must consider how the emergence of Web 2.0 and social networking will push us from the world of static learning and information to the interactive.

Reference List

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 from www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/sharing.pdf

Ishizuka, K.  (2010).  People who need people.  School Library Journal56(2), 32.

O’Reilly, T.  (2005) What is Web 2.0.  Retrieved from http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=2