On Tuesday night my team and I did our webinar. We were really happy at the good turnout of people who watched our webinar, especially since we had to reschedule last week. We had a small technical difficulty before our webinar started, one of my team members was unable to join our blackboard collaborate session. Thankfully, the rest of us were able to join and it did not prove to be a large problem.
Though we did not originally plan to go last out of all of the groups, there were both advantages and disadvantages to being the last webinar of the class. The advantages were that we were able to watch a lot of other really great examples of webinars that our classmates did. We were able to observe some teaching methods that we really liked. We were able to borrow from some things that worked really well for our classmates. One major disadvantage to going last however was that the energy of our participants in general seemed a little low. Considering that our webinar was after the last day of class, I was just happy that 11 people attended. The lack of discussion in the beginning and middle of our presentation could have also been due to a lack of knowledge on the subject. Our webinar was about the visually impaired as an underserved ommunity in public libraries and it appeared that most of our participants did not know a lot of information about the topic before we presented.
Overall, I think that our webinar went really great, and I am very happy that I had the opportunity to practice using this mode of instruction. After completing the webinar, I think that I prefer face-to-face instruction, however I am happy that I had the opportunity to practice and develop this skill in the safety of the classroom.
This week’s readings focused on continuing instruction to patrons beyond one-shot workshops and how we can continue our professional development outside of this class and in the professional world. In large, the readings focused on integrating technology and web 2.0 tools into instruction and professional development. I thought that the three readings were a good place to leave off after all that we’ve talked about this semester.
The Blowers and Reed article “The C’s of our Sea Change” talked about the core competencies for learning web 2.0 tools. The article was published in 2007 and might be a little outdated in the descriptions of the gaps in tech abilities of librarians, however the themes discussed reminded me of some of the challenges we, as students of an ischool, might face when we move on from UMSI. This semester we’ve talked about how UMSI tends to be a bubble in the library world where there is little resistance to change, new technologies, and innovation. I suspect that when we leave SI either in a few weeks or next spring, that we will find our selves working in places and with people who may not be as comfortable working with technology the way that we are expected to be here. I doubt that we will find our selves in the exact situations described in the Blowers and Reed article, however I think it provides a good model for how to deal with these differences. The article reminded me that while it is important to be good instructors for our patrons, it is also important to be good instructors and leaders within the profession as well.
The other two readings focused on being leaders among the teachers in our work environments in the of web 2.0 tools. The major take away that I took from these readings was that while we may be the “experts” of these tools in our organization, our job is to assist them in supplementing their teaching with these new tools; not make them adjust their teaching to the tech tools. As Kristin’s article discussed, it can be difficult to offer individualized help with tech tools while not overwhelming our selves and stretching ourselves too thin. As one of the webinars stated this week “we are not super heroes,” we can’t take on every problem, especially not by ourselves. I think that these articles provide good and thorough examples of programs that accomplish that goal.
During this week I also watched my classmates conduct our webinars. It was really fun to see the class carryout their webinars and I was able to learn a lot from their research as well as their examples. In all of the webinars that I watched I saw things that I thought worked really well that I will most likely include in my own webinar. It was also helpful to see and experience how as an audience member I can be easily distracted. I hope that this will help me improve as a presenter for this class and in my professional practice when I am a webinar presenter.
In class this week we discussed our twitter assignment from last week and the pros and cons of using twitter to develop our professional learning network (PLN). As I mentioned in my last blog, I struggled to find 25 new twitter users to follow. It was really helpful to hear from my classmates the strategies they used during the assignment. In class we also discussed what we want to get out of our PLN and who we want to include in our PLN. Throughout the course of the semester I began to see my network of professional connections as a natural process of meeting people with similar interests as me in SI as well as connections I made through part time jobs and internships. It seemed a little strange to me to think of my PLN as something constructed. However, the class discussion made me think about it a little more. Though I still think that I will be more likely to have more productive professional relationships with individuals that I know in person, I think it is important to to be conscious of who I am connecting with.
In class we also discussed the pros and cons of using twitter. I really enjoyed our twitter assignment last week. My twitter feed has change significantly since before the assignment and I’m finding a lot of interesting articles and blogs that I wasn’t previously. One thing that I really like about twitter is that it exposes you to a lot of of information that you can preview, without searching multiple places to find relevant information. The other side of that however is that there is A LOT of interesting articles and blogs that I would like to read, but simply to not have the time for. Going on twitter now can be a lot more time consuming.
In class we also had time to work with our groups to work on our webinar assignments. I was grateful to have this extra time to work on some of the technical details of performing our webinar. Though ti was really great to see the first group to go on Monday do such a great job! Watching their webinar helped calm my nerves and I’m getting excited to do ours soon!
This week we did not have class because we will be spending a lot of time outside of class watching webinars hosted by my classmates. Instead, we met with our groups to prepare for out webinars and were asked to join twitter and start following librarians and information professionals that share our interests. I started by following the bloggers on twitter that I wrote about in week 5. After that we were asked to follow 25 more people who share our same professional interests. It took me a lot longer than I expected to find 25 more users to follow and was a little harder than I expected. This also increased the number of people that I followed pretty dramatically. However, once I did that, I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of interesting tweets that were related to things we’ve been discussing in class all semester, in addition to some delightfully humorous tweets.
I started following public librarians and school and media librarians. I was a little surprised at how quickly I saw my twitter feed transform from random posts by friends, celebrities, or recent news updates into a much more intriguing discussion regarding literacy, open access, undeserved populations, etc. I was also a little surprised by the response I received from those I recently started following. A few individuals followed me back after I re tweeted something they posted and one twitter user thanked me for following her. Though I am happy that I have begun to transform my social media presence into something a little more professional, it will give me reason to be a little more thoughtful of my posts and use of hash tags.
This weeks twitter assignment has also given me the opportunity to reflect on what I’ve learned this semester and how it has changed my perception of the profession. Though this class hasn’t caused me to have a major change in what kind of library I want to work in or what kind of librarian I want to be, it has given me a bigger and more detailed picture of what it means to be a librarian or information professional. It has also given me an online network and community to follow to help me process my thoughts and ideas into something tangible and productive.
In class this week we discussed how to make a good webinar the technical side of performing a webinar, the details of our upcoming assignment, and embedded librarianship. I’m not sure if it was because of April fools day, a full moon, or Kristin teaching through example, but class started off with a few technical difficulties in regards to the webinar software we will be using. Though I don’t think that Kristin planned it this way, it gave us a good preview of unexpected difficulties we could face during our webinars. For this reason, the webinar assignment makes me a little more nervous than the screencasts, book club, and workshop assignments we’ve already done. I’m grateful that we will be doing these webinars in groups because it seems like there will be a lot to juggle during our 3 minute workshop. For this reason, I’m glad that I have the opportunity to watch the webinars of my classmates so I can learn more tricks of how to make a great webinar.
In class we also discussed embedded librarians. I was surprised that I didn’t think about our own embedded librarian at SI before I came into class. Interestingly, we all realized that not many of us take advantage of the our own embedded librarian, especially since we all generally felt that they can be very helpful. Personally, I work during our Shevon’s office hours and don’t have any assignments that I feel I need help with that warrant missing work. However, I was surprised to find that most of do not take advantage of her office hours. It is, at the very least, ironic that as librarians do not support our own embedded librarian. But why not? A few answers to this question bounced around, including that we do not have research assignments that we need in depth help with, we work or class which prevent us from stopping in, we feel like we can answer our own questions, etc. I think there are a variety of reasons as to why we as a whole do not take advantage of our own embedded librarian. I hope that this question can be put to use in the future in order to connect my services as a librarian to the patrons I serve.