Honoring the spirit of exploration inherent in this class, I’ve created a presentation using Prezi, my first time using the software. While I created the presentation, I learned a few things about Prezi:
Prezi presentations don’t embed in WordPress well. There are apparently a couple of plug-ins that might help with that, but we can’t use those here.
I recorded a video of my Prezi presentation, then realized I can’t add captions afterward. So the video slides only show summations of my points, and not the full text.
So I also reverted my slides back to a audio-free version, where the slides have the full information.
These readings hit me hard. While I’m sure I will do some more reflecting in my symposium post, I wanted to write something separate as well, to react to the last few readings on this topic. This is directed not only to our wonderful professor here, Dr. Stephens, but to my fellow students in this class as well, as it would not be as vibrant a community without such an active fellowship.
As I have said elsewhere, I am thankful that Dr. Stephens has created such an open and forgiving space in which we can explore and experiment and discuss without concern for making mistakes. I truly believe his librarian superpower is empathy, getting to know each of us personally, and working with us to become both better librarians and better humans. This class embodies not only the essence of Learning 2.0, but also the environments described by Stephens in both Office Hours posts (2018a, 2018b), as well as Cheetham & Hoenke (2013) – not only should we be making mistakes, but allowing others to see and learn from them.
This course and our hyperlinked community also have built our emotional skills (Gershon, 2017), allowing us to be vulnerable; I’ve shared more personal emotions and experiences through our blog than I’ve ever done in any of my other graduate work. This is primarily because Dr. Stephens has created a community led by kindness (Corkindale, 2011), where his examples of forgiveness about deadlines and stress allowed us to learn at our own pace, and our community discussions through blog posts and group chats made me feel comfortable to be open about what I was experiencing this semester.
While these readings tilted toward emotion and soft skills, I do see how they complete a full circle back to our foundational readings. If we are not reflective about our library and our programs, how can we be the change leaders described by Casey & Savastinuk (2007)? Assessment means being honest in reflection when considering whether a new program or service (or an old one) is working. The confidence described by Sally Pewhairangi (2018a) is what allows librarians to be frank in those assessments, giving them permission to fail – and rebuild stronger libraries and programs in the process.
This class has inspired me to be such a librarian, one that works with her community to create interactive and engaging programs, asking about what more we can do – using emerging technology or simply an amazing staff – to not only enable research on campus but to innovate and inspire others.
Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A Guide to Participatory Library Service. Information Today, Inc.
The idea of using technology to measure movement is nothing new at modern universities. Many use technology to study movement for research, but these laboratories and research facilities are often associated with physical therapy or kinesiology programs, and their goal is usually to study movement in order to make treatment of injuries better, or to condition athletes to be faster or stronger.
But some universities are exploring the art of movement through technology. Groups like The Movement Lab at Barnard College and the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design at The Ohio State University (henceforth to be referred to as ACCAD and OSU, respectively) are using technology to encourage students and faculty to explore and experiment in the arts. These universities are encouraging their communities to learn about the use of technology by playing with it, just as the LEGO Foundation discussed professional learning for their employees.
This director’s brief explores these new labs that bring together both technical and artistic creators, giving them the chance to experiment with technology in their movement and performances. As a dancer with more than 35 years of training under her belt, it was amazing to investigate the possibilites these labs offer their students, faculty and staff at their respective universities.
I love the idea of exploration to learn. Particularly when it comes to new technology, the best way to learn about it is to try to use it. Whether it’s called “learning through play,” as described by the LEGO Foundation (2016) or Learning 2.0, the backbone of the 23 Things movement (2006), it makes sense to use that mindset in the library community, where so much technology is in constant flux.
I particularly love the ideas put forward by the 23 Things project—the idea that you will learn about 23 things by using them directly. It’s clear that some of this has been worked into our class, the fact that we create our blogs and experiment with WordPress, and that we investigate new trends and consider how to incorporate them into our workplaces.
I enjoyed going back and seeing how the 23 Things have evolved over time. The first projects looked at Web 2.0 tech — blogs, Wikis, RSS feeds, and photo-sharing sites like Flickr. The Oxford project added social media (2011), while Barwick (2013) turned her attention to more practical (and mobile) apps and scholarly tools like Skype, Dropbox, and Zotero. By the time Charles Sturt University posted their project (2017), they’re discussing current trends like online collaboration, digital curation, and open educational resources—and the project is now listed as shareable through Creative Commons licensure, which embodies the essence of Learning 2.0 – sharing and building through exploration.
The challenge with using exploration as learning is that a) some learners need structure, and b) some institutions require structure and/or proof for tenure or promotion. You can see some of that reflected in the post on the professional development blog (2013), where the author points to other courses that can help librarians learn about (and play with) technology. Dr. Stephens notes this as well (2018) when discussing his conversations at the ALA conference: When asked about barriers to PLE, attendees responded that “how to get buy-in from administration” was a challenge, and that they need permission from their organizations to learn through exploration (Time for discussion, para. 3).
This takes me back to my context book assignment, where one of the main points of BiblioTech was that librarians need to network with and learn from other librarians (and non-librarians) to continually reinvent themselves and their libraries. But it seems like in most organizations, the pressure is on librarians to do such exploration on their own time, considering it as “playing around online” rather than the exploration needed to expand their technical skills.
As I wrote last month, the idea of stories immediately brings thoughts of my father, who was an extraordinary storyteller.
Dad died a few weeks ago, on October 6.
Few people talk about grief openly, outside of funerals and memorials. How it commingles sadness, anger, and, strangely enough, laughter. This is the goal of a funeral, right? To share these strange feelings together, to commiserate and grieve a loss of someone important to you, to tell stories of the person no longer with us. To give closure to friends and family members, and enable movement forward.
But what happens when you can’t gather?
One of the things that made me angriest in the days after my father’s passing was the knowledge that I couldn’t mourn with anyone outside my immediate family. My dad’s lifelong friends are far away in Missouri and Illinois, and I can’t gather them for fear of spreading COVID. As the only child of an only child (of an only child), I’m my father’s primary mourner. No siblings or aunts and uncles to share stories with. I never realized how isolating that could be.
The week after he died, I was speaking with friends over Zoom, and I mentioned how frustrated I was that we couldn’t gather for months. A friend suggested collecting the stories via email now – there’s no need to wait for a memorial to gather stories about him. I was dumbfounded that I hadn’t realized this myself. We’ve been discussing the collection of stories in this class all semester… yet I couldn’t remove myself from the idea that the sharing of someone’s stories happens at a memorial, in person.
So I spread the word, through text message and Facebook post and email: Send me your stories about Dad. Remind me about his wild and crazy days. Tell me the story about how he ended up in the hospital with a fishing lure in his ear. Share photos of your trips together, and your days at work together.
And they have been trickling in. At first every day, now every few days, I get a new memory of my dad in my inbox. Stories of him teaching my high school friend how to swing dance. Stories of how fun he was to work with. Stories about him checking in on the teenage neighbor who might have been throwing a party when his parents were out of town.
Stories have the power to heal. They are important to tell, and important to share. We need to celebrate that, both as librarians and as humans.