This week I have been teaching people about using Twitter and WordPress. Not in formal classes, but on a one to one basis both inside and outside of work. At work a management lecturer called in to see me to get some advice about using Twitter during the week. She had set up an account but not yet dared to tweet. We had an interesting chat where she showed me some things, including a tool called Buffer, which can allow you to schedule tweets or updates to Facebook at set times. I also persuaded her to take the plunge and she is now tweeting, reassured that some of the people who are following her are not weirdos and with some lists set up to help manage the overload.
Outside of work, I helped the Chair of my local Civic Society get his head around Twitter, which we’ve been using to promote the work on the group (I am the social media rep and Secretary). We also uploaded some photos to the Facebook site, but it’s interesting as I’ve found Twitter to be a far more effective tool for engaging with people in the local community than Facebook.
And then today I helped my aunt set up a website using WordPress for a local charity she volunteers for. We used Skype to have a lesson and I shared my screen with her to give an idea of what she should be seeing on her own screen. It probably took slightly longer than if we had been face to face, but she was really pleased we managed to get the website up and running within a few hours. I also tried out giving a remote tutorial and sharing my screen via Skype for the first time, which was fun! It’s interesting how these tools that I use professionally have so many other applications outside of work. I think this week has been an example of transferring the value of my own information competencies from my professional to personal life, and then back the other way! I’ve also had a week where by teaching someone else, I’ve actually learnt to use some of these tools better myself. My other great find of the week has been Wunderlist an app which was recommended on the Lifehacker site and which I am going to trial for managing all my tasks, in my personal and professional life. I will see how that goes!
Happy New Year, and apologies for the short interruption to my postings. I’ve been enjoying a well earned break, celebrating my birthday and also working pretty hard since the start of term. I have been meaning to blog more and decided that there really was no point doing it unless I had something to say, and now I do!
Well this week is proving interesting. What with planning for the second SADL workshop, taking place next week and repeated the week after, planning for a presentation at the M25 event on Information Literacy taking place at the British Library next week and planning for the first of three sessions I’m teaching with Maria Bell, for A Level students from City and Islington College, I’m as busy as ever. Today we also had the first of the 2014 NetworkED seminars, and it was great to meet Sylvester Arnab, from the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University. He spoke about Games, Learning and Beyond and we should have a recording up on our website in a few days time.
Last Friday and this Tuesday Ellen Wilkinson, Arun Karnad and I ran our first workshop for the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy (SADL) project. Four students came to the first workshop, and 15 came to the second, so there was quite a different vibe in the two sessions. We’ve got 20 student ambassadors in total, from the Departments of Social Policy and Statistics. You can find out about them on our Ambassadors webpage. However, it was really exciting to meet them for the first time and hear first hand what skills they thought were important for their studies and the role of digital literacies. We concentrated on how they find information, and introduced them to the SADL blog and the project overall. We also asked them to think about the aspects of social media that annoy them! There’s a short blog post about the first workshop now online.
I also visited the University of Kent last week to give a talk about digital and information literacy based on ANCIL. I ran a short workshops for staff after the presentation where they had a chance to start thinking about how the support they deliver can be mapped according to ANCIL. My slides from the talk are available on Slideshare. Unsurprisingly the SADL project also attracted some interest and I enjoyed chatting to staff there about common interests and activities.
This week I’ve done two talks with the theme of librarians as researchers including a lecture at the Department of Information Studies at Aberystwyth University and a workshop at Cambridge University Library. One of the key problems in doing research is finding the time. The day job really does get in the way and cloud the brain when trying to get some clarity of thought. But I guess that is an occupational hazard of being a practitioner researcher – you wear two hats, have twice as much to do but twice as much fun! No time to be bored. Missing my train today has allowed me to grab some time in the day to stop and reflect for a moment which is what I think I meant on Tuesday when I urged would be researchers to modify their attitude to time. I didn’t mean sit up half the night working as I’ve been known to do. But grab time when you can in the day and make the most of long (or short) train journeys for some thinking space!
There is a great write up from Tuesday’s workshop by Georgina Cronin. Our slides are really similar to those from January this year when Emma and I spoke at York St John. But I think I’m even more convinced than earlier of the huge benefits of being a practitioner researcher. Surely the desire to keep on learning has to be a good thing and the benefits of doing this should be more widely acknowledged in so called service departments. My slides from the lecture in Aber are also on slideshare.
I’ve just returned from a long weekend in Italy, visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum. History was my first degree and I never tire of visiting places of great historical significance. Being able to walk on the Roman streets of Pompeii and to see houses, shops and vivid paintings at Herculaneum was amazing and moving.
I’ve been thinking a lot about history recently. I was struck by the quote that was written at the Harbiye Military Museum in Istanbul while attending the ECIL conference a few weeks ago. It was a quote from Ataturk, which read something like ‘A Nation that doesn’t remember it’s history is doomed to obscurity.’ I’ve been trying to track down the quote, but I guess the translation from Turkish makes it difficult to find.But for me, history is vital. It tells us where we have come from, the progress we have made and inspires us to strive for the future.
This week I’ve been busy finishing my editorial for the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Information Literacy, which also has a historical theme. As we approach the 40 year anniversary of the coining of the phrase ‘information literacy’ I have been reflecting on the origins of the term. Zurkowski’s definition of information literacy is still relevant today, but the problems he faced getting recognition for its importance remain.
At LSE this term, recognition for the value of information literacy took a few small steps forward. We have some small scale pilots to embed aspects of digital and information literacy in undergraduate courses. And just today we launched the recruitment campaign for the SADL project, to find 20 undergraduate students to be Digital Literacy Ambassadors. We’ve had fantastic support from our Students’ Union Education Officer, Rosie, who blogged about the launch today. For too long librarians have been waving the flag for information literacy as a lone voice, but collaboration with academic staff, with other learning support colleagues and with students is surely the way forward? This was a topic of the presentation I gave with my colleague Maria Bell at ECIL, and we’ve made our slides available on SlideShare.
I’ve just returned from a fantastic week away in Istanbul for the first European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL). The conference brought together researchers and practitioners from over 50 different countries to discuss and debate information literacy, a topic which is close to my heart. I was also involved in a workshop with Nancy Graham and Eleni Zazani from the CoPILOT Committee, a panel discussion about RIDLS and presented a paper with my colleague from LSE Library, Maria Bell on work we are doing with undergraduate students.
This is just a short blog post as I am not long home, but highlights for me were the keynote from Paul Zurkowski, and a chance to meet the man himself. Paul coined the phrase ‘information literacy’ in 1974, so it was great to have a chance to hear from him about how this term has evolved and why it is still so important today. I also enjoyed the keynote from Christine Bruce, one of the greatest researchers in the IL field. I went to some great sessions, met old friends, such as Li Wang from New Zealand and made new friends and contacts in Scandinavia, Czech Republic, Australia, the Middle East, the US and of course Turkey.
The gala dinner was a cruise on the Bosphorous, a truly memorable experience with stunning views, lovely food and wine and some great dancing! And the final wrap up session by Ralph Catts, who I spent several great evenings chatting to, was an excellent ending to the conference. You can read a blog post from Andrew Walsh summarising this and the discussions around information literacy verses media and information literacy as a term. We also found out the conference will be run next year in an equally fantastic location – Dubrovnik, Croatia in October 2014. Can I book my place now?
Next week I will be heading to the European Conference on Information Literacy in Istanbul. I’m presenting a paper with my colleague Maria Bell, about work we are doing to embed digital and information literacy into undergraduate teaching at LSE. We’ll be speaking about the work we did last year to survey staff across our institution and the subsequent activities since then. We’ve just put our digital and information literacy framework online so would welcome any comments. We will also say something about the new Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy (SADL) project, which is kicking off later this term when we recruit some undergraduate students.
I’m also presenting a workshop with Nancy Graham and colleagues from the CoPILOT Committee on sharing information literacy resources as open educational resources. Our presentation is already online on Slideshare for this session.
Finally I will be taking part in a panel discussion, run by the RIDLS Coalition on the work this group has been doing in the past year, related to digital and information literacy and data management. So it’s going to be a busy week, but hopefully a lot of fun! Before I jet off, I’m also really pleased to be running a copyright workshop tomorrow for the Manchester New Professionals Network. If you haven’t checked out their website yet, they have a review of Walsh and Coonan’s new book, Only Connect which I managed to get my hands on a few weeks ago when I saw Andy at the Information Literacy Group meeting. Have a good weekend everyone, and hopefully if you are coming to my workshop on copyright tomorrow you will enjoy it. For most of you, I hope your weekend does not involve copyright issues!