Week 13: Continuing Development

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  The article was published in 2007 and might be a little outdated in the descriptions of the gaps in tech abilities of librarians, however the themes discussed reminded me of some of the challenges we, as students of an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.

  1. One aspect of the programs from the articles that I really liked was that it seemed like participants often worked together to figure out the new tools and concepts that there were trying to learn. This seemed like it helped with that “stretching too thin” problem for the program coordinator. As participants came across problems, especially the ones that were also blogging their progress, they were able to help each other instead of going straight to the leader. I wonder if that aspect could be enhanced or pushed forward even more somehow?

  2. Amy S. said:

    I appreciate your perspective on these articles, as I had approached them more from the standpoint of how we can engage in professional development ourselves as we move forward. I think you’re right that we will be in situations where we are more familiar with the tech tools and particularly with Web 2.0 tools than a lot of our colleagues will be, so we will likely be in a position where we need to help our coworkers with technology. As we do so, we will need to apply the instruction skills we developed in this class and remember to respect the goals of our coworkers in their own professional development.

  3. Sarah W said:

    I really like the point you make about others potentially not being as tech savvy as we are expected to be at SI. I agree that as we go out into the world we need to be aware that our experiences will not necessarily be the same as our future colleagues. Keeping this in mind help us to interact in positive ways with the people around us, and it can remind us not to get frustrated or assume that someone has a skill just because it may be easy for us. We can also serve to help out in our future workplace by offering to help others increase their skill sets. On the flip side, I also think it is important for SI students to remember that there are still many things we don’t know and that our co-workers can be valuable resources for learning if we let them be.

  4. Good point about the “bubble” we are currently living and learning in. Right now it can seem far-fetched for some of us to picture scenarios where the people we work with aren’t very tech-savvy or adaptable to change. I also liked what you said about letting the tools we teach supplement others’ teaching, rather than trying to change the way they teach. I read the articles thinking more about the way PD was conducted rather than the results of it–I like your perspective.

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