12/14/2011 From the Chronicles Wired Campus
comes this article on a new course management open access software.
New Course-Management Software Promises Facebook-Like Experience
November 29, 2011, 1:40 pm
Three University of Pennsylvania students who recently dropped out to start an upstart course-management system today unveiled their software, called Coursekit, after having raised more than $1-million in venture capital.
The trio, frustrated with the systems offered by universities, such as Blackboard,decided to team up and design their own online course platform, which emphasizes social networking and an easy-to-use interface. By May, the founders, Joesph Cohen, Dan Getelman, and Jim Grandpre, had raised so much start-up cash, from sources including the Founder Collective and IA Ventures, that they decided to quit school to focus on developing Coursekit.
Thirty universities tested Coursekit this fall, including Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania.
Coursekit offers a platform for hosting discussions, posting grades and syllabi, sharing calendars and links, and creating student profiles. The company has hired 80 student ambassadors to introduce the new course-management system to students at colleges across the country.
The software is one of several new challengers to Blackboard, which is used by a majority of U.S. colleges. In October, Pearson announced OpenClass, a free course-management system, and last year a Utah company called Instructure unveiled Canvas, which is available under an open-source license.
11/30/2011 A new Information Literacy Journal.
Perhaps your library would like to prescribe? This was brought to my attention from the ILI-L listserv by Christopher Hollister email@example.com.
The editors of Communications in Information Literacy (CIL) are pleased to
announce the publication of the journal’s latest issue: volume 5, number
1. The table of contents and a link to the issue are pasted below. As
ever, we look forward to hearing from you, and we offer our sincere
gratitude for the ongoing support.
Vol 5, No 1 (2011)
Table of Contents
Teaching Matters: Developing as a Teacher/Librarian. Budding Researchers and the
Process of Framing Research Questions
Patrick P. Ragains 1-3
Privileging Peer Review: Implications for Undergraduates
Amy E. Mark 4-8
An Assessment of Peer Coaching to Drive Professional Development and Reflective
Caroline Sinkinson 9-20
Format as a False Judge of Credibility: Messages from Librarians and Faculty and
Amy E. Mark 21-37
Information Literacy for Multiple Disciplines: Toward a Campus-Wide Integration
Model at Indiana University, Bloomington
Brian Winterman, Carrie Donovan, Rachel Slough, 38-54
Supplementing a Librarian’s Information Literacy Toolkit with Textbooks:A Scan of
Basic Communication Course Texts
Melissa A. Gains, Richard A. Stoddart 55-67
sarcasm, math, and language presents:
Information Literacy 2.0
Critical inquiry in the age of social media
Critical inquiry skills are among the most important in a world in which the half-life of information is rapidly shrinking. These days, what you know is almost less important than what you can find out. And finding out today requires a set of skills that are very different from what most libraries focus on. In addition to academic sources, a huge wealth of content is being produced by people every day in knowledgebases like Wikipedia, review sites like Trip Advisor, and in blogs. Some of this content is legitimate and valuable—but some of it isn’t.
Keeping up and being able to find the latest information is an important skill that requires not only good search skills, but also good networking skills. In our own profession, it’s impossible to be well-informed about every aspect of librarianship. I focus my own professional development on areas most relevant to my current position, but there are times when I need expertise I simply don’t possess. This is where the axiom “I store my knowledge in my friends” comes into play. Because I have successfully built a professional network, I have a large group of friends with diverse knowledge whom I can rely on when I find my own knowledge is insufficient for a particular task. While networking is an important aspect of information literacy, it is rarely taught as part of information literacy instruction.
Years ago, it was often difficult to find enough information on a research topic, a product you wanted to buy, or a hotel at which you were considering making a reservation. Now we are in an age of such information abundance that the problem is not finding information, but determining which information is worth relying upon. An August 19 New York Times article, “In a Race to Out-Rave, 5-Star Web Reviews Go for $5,” discussed the growth of commercial services that are paid to create glowing reviews. After discovering that most people couldn’t tell the difference between real and fake reviews, researchers at Cornell started to work on a computer algorithm that could. While we may not always be able to distinguish real from fake, we should at least learn the clues that will help make that determination.
Academia is not immune to problems with quality and accuracy, challenging the assumption that articles that make it through the peer-review process can be trusted. The proliferation of peer-reviewed journals and pressure to publish from the tenure system have led to the publication of studies whose conclusions cannot be relied upon or are downright fraudulent. A September 15 Guardian (UK) article, “Publish or Perish: Peer Review and the Corruption of Science,” railed against a system that leads to the publication of worthless scientific studies with poor research design that come to conclusions hardly supported by the results. Given this, we all need to look beyond the headlines and evaluate research design before trusting conclusions.
Information literacy instruction should be focused on helping people develop skills that will benefit them in answering questions and informing decision-making throughout their lives, not just for their next paper. Therefore, it’s critical that we develop instruction that supports critical inquiry in this extremely complex information environment.
MEREDITH FARKAS is head of instructional services at Portland (Oreg.) State University. She is also part-time faculty at San José State University School of Library and Information Science. She blogs at Information Wants to Be Free and created Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki. Contact her at librarysuccess[at]gmail.com.
10/07/2011 Just came across this terrific resource from York County Community College for activities to teach information literacy from a colleague.
Active Learning Techniques
for Library Instruction
Information Literacy Activities Designed by Librarians, For Librarians
|Keyword vs. subject headings Phone book keyword vs. subject headingThinking like a computer: Magazine or journal citation examination|
|Searching & retrieving sourcesACRL Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education, Standard 2
AASL Information Power, Standard 1
Building a search query The Google Parlor GameResearch Game Plan
|Evaluating sourcesACRL Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education, Standard 3
AASL Information Power, Standard 2
Popular magazines vs. scholarly journals Hands-on comparison of paired periodicalsAuthor search
|Evaluating web pages Web page worksheet|
|Understanding the social and ethical aspects of informationACRL Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education, Standard 5
AASL Information Power, Standard 7 & 8
Using proper citation styleHuman Citation
|General Library Orientations|
Library Lingo: a crossword puzzle
Note: activities contributed to this collection may be edited for consistency. The contributor agrees that their idea may be freely used
in the classroom by other librarians. Activities may not be reproduced electronically or in print without permission of the contributor
This site is hosted by York County Community College in Wells, Maine.
Last updated: 10/03/07
10/06/2011 A new site which I have just come across tells about an International Information Literacy Conference in Finland this summer which I would love to attend. More information follows below and I am adding this site to my Blogroll.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2011
More information on themes and how to submit proposals can be found at:
9/18/2011 From Prof Hacker of the Chronicle comes this article
How to Measure (and Improve) Students’ Digital Skills?
September 14, 2011, 11:00 am
Early last year I wrote a post about the ways in which an uncritical adoption of the “digital native” concept does our students a disservice. “[F]eeding our students the myth of ‘digital natives’,” I wrote “gives them a false sense of confidence about their use and understanding of their digital environment.” My experience in the classroom since then has only strengthened my opinion: I’ve found that for some students, its easier to blame a new technology for being “too difficult” or “too confusing” than it is to actually learn how to use it. Even a task as simple as figuring out how to add page numbers to a document in Microsoft Word is a difficult task for a significant percentage of my students this semester. Stack up all the simple little digital tasks that are required to brainstorm, research, draft, and revise a substantial term paper and suddenly the content of the course is overshadowed by the difficulties involved in the necessary workflow.
And when it comes to information literacy, students’ lack of critical skills is alarming. In a recent Inside Higher Ed article, Steve Kolowich reports the results of “[t]he ERIAL (Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries) project–a series of studies conducted at Illinois Wesleyan, DePaul University, and Northeastern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois’s Chicago and Springfield campuses” There are many details to the results–and I don’t want to gloss over the nuances of those details, so I’ll encourage you to check out the project for yourself–but for me a central nugget is that for the most part, students in the study did not demonstrate an ability to find, evaluate, and use appropriate academic resources. Instead, they tend to search databases–any database–the way they would search Google: enter a word or phrase in a search box (without specifying a particular metadata field) and then plow through the list of hits that results.
My question for this week’s open thread, then, is not “Kids these days… Whaddya gonna do?” Rather, I’m interested in hearing from ProfHacker readers about what they see as essential digital skills for their students, how they measure those skills in their students, and how they go about helping students improve those digital skills. That’s a lot to ask for, I realize, but these are pretty important questions. Are you tackling them solely in your own teaching, or does your department or campus have some kind of initiative underway? Do you have any assignments or exercises you could share? Do you have any specific success stories to relate? Let’s hear from you in the comments, please.
Each Wednesday, ProfHacker hosts an open thread discussion. Sometimes a specific topic is announced, and sometimes the discussion is completely open. Please remember to abide by our commenting and community guidelines. Thanks!
09/01/2011 From Information Literacy in West Virginia website comes this experiment. Will it be effective?
Another excellent Edublogs.org weblog
iPads & Info Lit
Starting this fall 2010, Marshall University librarians will begin to experiment with using iPads to advance information literacy – in the First Year Seminars in which they are embedded, in other classes in which they may offer library instruction, in remote Reference and Research Services, etc. This iPads in education experiment comes in the midst of a changing culture at Marshall University Libraries – in how we serve our students, faculty, staff and community and in how we interact with our stakeholders. Our philosophy of information literacy in application through the embedded librarian program in the FYS is challenging us to completely rethink Reference. This page or section of the Information Literacy in West Virginia blog will be devoted to iPad pedagogy – how we are using, could use or shouldn’t use iPads in the classroom, in other instructional settings and in the context of Reference/Research assistance. Our librarians will be blogging regularly, and we invite anyone else to reply/respond on the subject. We not only want to document our successes and innovative ideas, but we also want to be truthful about bombs, situations or scenarios that went awry or just didn’t work. So this is a place for reflective practice related to our iPad experiment. Blog away my friends! ~Jennifer Sias (aka infolitwv), Marshall University Libraries.
August 11, 2011 Webquest.org brings educators many resources. Examine what follows and see what is helpful to you.
Useful WebQuest Resources
The resources on this page are designed to be useful to teacher educators and staff developers who are putting together a course or workshop about WebQuests. There’s a lot to choose from!
Concepts & Definitions
|Some Thoughts about WebQuests - The 1995 paper that started it all. A version of this was published in The Distance Educator edited by Fred Saba.|
|Project, Problem, and Inquiry-based Learning - A nice summary and set of links by Annette Lamb distinguishing among these three important lesson types.|
||Constructivism - A useful set of bookmarks by Martin Ryder at the University of Colorado at Denver.|
|Women of Web 2.0 Show #31 - An hour-long conversation about the origins of WebQuests, the present state and the future evolution of the model. June, 2007.|
|Education World Wireside Chat - Why were WebQuests developed? Why should teachers use them? What does the future hold for educational technology? WebQuest creator Bernie Dodge answers those questions and more.|
|Thirteen Ed Online Concept to Classroom: WebQuests - Definitions, video interviews, examples and rationale.|
|WebQuest: Aprendendo na Internet. Archive of the excellent portal that was organized by the University of São Paulo School of the Future and edited by Jarbas Novelino Barato. Still the best resource out there in Brazilian Portuguese.|
|A WebQuest about WebQuests - An exercise that’s useful for introducing the concept to educators. Working in teams they examine five WebQuests from four different points of view. There are several versions for different grade levels. Write us if you’d like a version tailored to meet your needs.
Elementary | 6-8 | 6-12 | HS English | HS Math/Science | HS Humanities
|Encouraging the Use of Technology in the Classroom: The WebQuest Connection
This article tracks the evolution of a cooperative effort between children and teachers in a local school district and university students enrolled in a secondary reading methods course.
|WebQuests in Geography - Explores the relationship between ICT and student learning in geography. In particular, it proposes the use of WebQuests. WebQuests are enquiry-oriented activities whereby learners work collaboratively and draw most of their information from the World Wide Web. They focus on learners using information rather than looking for it and aim to make the most of online education.|
|WebQuest 101 - A series of short videos developed by SDSU Professor T. J. Kopcha. Part 1: What is a WebQuest? | Part 2: How to Make a WebQuest | Part 3: Intro to QuestGarden | Part 4: Designing the Process|
|Search Techniques - A critical aspect of WebQuest design is knowing how to find good resources on the Web. Three guides are available: Step Zero: Before you Search, Four Nets for Better Searching,and Specialized Search Engines.|
|Finding Resources - The most time-consuming part of creating a WebQuest is finding great links. Try our new search engine that combs through dozens of kid-friendly sources simultaneously.|
|WebQuest Design Process - A bird’s eye view of the major steps in pulling a WebQuest together.|
|Overcoming Obstacles to Quicker WebQuest Production - NECC 2005 presentation describing what makes it so hard and introducing QuestGarden as an attempt at a solution. Slides and a webcastare available.|
|Adapting Existing WebQuests - Why start from scratch? A flowchart showing the steps in finding and changing an existing lesson.|
|Design Patterns and Templates for WebQuest Development - Want to be thoroughly up to date? These 26 design patterns, each with their own template. If you can find a pattern that fits your needs. you’ll cut your development time in half!|
|The WebQuest Taskonomy: A Taxonomy of Tasks - Describes 12 categories for describing what you ask learners to do, 11 of which can lead to higher level thinking.|
||WebQuest Process Checklist - A list for self- or peer-review of the Process portion of your WebQuest.|
|WebQuest Process Guides - A series of short guides that you can link to or download and adapt. Each is designed to scaffold a specific cognitive or interpersonal activity.|
|Fine Points - Describes 14 little things you can do to improve the aesthetics and professionalism of your WebQuest (or any) pages.|
|A Rubric for Evaluating WebQuests - Is your WebQuest as good as it could be? This rubric allows you to score it along eight dimensions to see where it might be improved.|
|Rubrics for Evaluating Student Performance - An exercise by Nancy Pickett with templates and example rubrics.|
|FOCUS: Five Rules for Writing Great WebQuests. From Learning & Leading with Technology, May, 2001.|
|Internet Expeditions: Creating WebQuest Learning Environments by Annette Lamb. Explore four ways to build a WebQuest learning environment including using existing resources, adapting or modifying a webquest, create a new webquest, or co-producing materials.|
|T-Spider.Net - A website developed by David Young (U of Colorado at Denver) to help teachers create WebQuests collaboratively with middle school & high school students.|
|Teaching with WebQuests - An online graduate course designed by Bernie and June Dodge and delivered by Teacher Education Institute.|
|Map-a-Course - Dr. Michael F. Ruffini, teaches Instructional Technology at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, and has developed a one page eMap to explore WebQuests.|
Articles and Papers
The best way to search the education literature, of course, is through ERIC. ERIC indexes journal articles as well as “fugitive literature”, that is, unpublished project reports, conference papers and so on. If you’re putting a reading program together to teach yourself about WebQuest, doing an ERIC search for the word WebQuest will net you a lot of good material.
August 11, 2011 Another excellent resource for literacy teaching from Reading Online.org brings the following resources. References can be found at the original article URL below:
Making Technology Meaningful for Literacy Teaching: A WebQuest
Dana L. Grisham
Technology is changing the way we think about and teach literacy. Decker Walker (1999) predicts that the widespread use of information technology will change our expectations of what the educated person must know and be able to do in order to effectively participate in society. As the bar is raised for what constitutes good literacy instruction, expectations for what reading and language arts teachers must know are hoisted skyward.
An important consideration is how a teacher conceptualizes literacy. We now define literate individuals as those who are proficient in all forms of communication. In fact, humans use varied symbols and systems of symbols to communicate with one another. Reading and writing are symbol systems, but only two of the many that we use to convey our thoughts and ideas. Any agreed upon or culturally shared symbol system allows us to communicate with one another. New media combine symbol systems in entirely new ways (e.g., multimedia).
“Multiple literacies” is the newest term for the many symbol systems identified by semiotics. There are many such terms that have resulted from the broadened definitions of literacy. As Ann Watts Pailliotet (2000) noted in an article in this journal:
Over the years, as a former classroom teacher and now as a literacy teacher educator, I have discovered many compelling reasons for extending ideas about literacy and for teaching with new technologies and mass media. These include
- The prevalence of electronic media and popular culture in our students’ lives (Buckingham, 1993a)
- Making teaching and learning pleasurable, relevant, and interesting (Alvermann, Moon, & Hagood, 1999)
- Connecting home and school environments (Dyson, 1997)
- Developing learners’ positive identities and democratic values (Watts Pailliotet, in press)
- Extending existing print literacy instructional frameworks (Hobbs, 1997)
- Developing critical thinking and appreciation for diverse cultures (Considine & Haley, 1999)
- Fostering literacy learning processes and content (Semali & Hammett, 1999)
- Responding to changing communications environments (Reinking, 1998)
- Utilizing useful, up-to-date resources (Leu & Leu, 1999)
- Preparing an educated workforce (Tyner, 1998)
- Encouraging critical consumers (Steinberg & Kinncheloe, 1997)
Bolter (1998) discusses and attempts to (re)define visual literacy in the hypertext medium. He reminds us that word processing is now the dominant form of writing in North America, but that straight linear word processing may become as passé as the yellow tablet due to hypertext. In hypertext, we can combine various symbol systems in multilinear formats. An example of this is shown at the Web site for Amazon.com. The site features a main page with graphics, images, and text. Readers can select any of a number of predetermined choices (books, toys, etc.) or can use the search engine to make different choices. Thus, multilinear texts have no “standard” or “natural” reading order; the reader can choose where to start, where to go next, whether to use the “buttons” offered or search for some other area of the Web site.
McEneaney (2000) has discussed a number of substantive differences to be considered when writing in the hypertext as opposed to “traditional” format. Many hypertexts allow the reader to focus more deeply on a topic by linking it to another page. If you are reading an article in Reading Online, for example, you may be referred to a related article or Web site through a hypertext link. This practice is revolutionizing the way we read (and write) and is contrary to the linear way in which we must read the printed word. While some of us may elect to read excerpts from the middle of a book, we know that the conventional or “natural” way to read printed text is from beginning to end. However, in hypertext, readers enter the text at some point, then figure out how the links work. Readers then can choose to link or not, in any order, skipping some links, and following others.
An important feature of hypertext is the ease with which graphic elements are included. Reinking (1998) advises us to try to picture the future of literacy, believing that “we are heading toward a post-typographic world; that is, one in which printed texts are no longer dominant” (p. xi). He notes that the transformation is in process and speculates how our literacy is shaped and limited by the technology that we possess. How will multiple texts, formats, and genres affect us?
Good teachers need to be cognizant of these new technologies and literacies in order to know how to scaffold learning activities for our students. Instead of asking students to write a research paper, teachers may want to coordinate the effective use of multiple texts, formats, and genres, and assign a multimedia project that includes representations such as print-based text, graphics, video streaming, audio, and pictures. Children “writing” on the computer—using a software package such as Hyperstudio, for example—may be considered by their peers to be good writers if they can easily navigate the technological aspects of the writing, such as importing graphics. In other words, adding computer technology to writing may redefine what we consider as “writing.”
Obviously, the World Wide Web has changed our lives in many ways, including how we read and process information. Thus going online to several Web sites and analyzing the structure of multilinear texts is critical to teacher education students’ professional development. Literacy events are planned and situated electronically so that teacher education students are asked to experience them in preparation for using online resources in their own classrooms.
Figure 1 shows the instruction sheet I used in one of my courses to facilitate preservice teachers’ technological exploration. In this activity, teacher candidates first examine an online journal (in this case, Reading Online) and learn to navigate the site. Next, students are directed to the Web site of Jill Kerper Mora, a many-branched site where the reader can find everything they want to know about second-language learners and more. (Readers interested in learning more about this site can visit Jill’s article, “Responding to the Demographic Challenge,” in ROL’s Electronic Classroom.) The third site is SCORE, a site maintained by the San Diego County Office of Education. Here the teacher can find many literature-based learning activities to use with K–6 students. Finally, the site at www.childrenslit.com provides a wealth of resources for children’s literature.
Web Site Exploration for Preservice Teachers
I have used this activity in my preservice teacher education courses in literacy for years, and students have generally responded positively to it. In their reports on the activity, they comment about the usefulness of the information that they find online, and also state that they enjoyed the experience and wish they had known about the resources earlier. A few negative comments usually mention the confusing nature of some Web sites. Students tell me there is too much online to digest, that there are technical problems, or that they aren’t able to access the sites for some reason. Most of this, I suspect, is because of slight typos in the URLs. Teachers, especially new teachers, gravitate toward Web resources that provide them with practical, immediately usable ideas or materials for teaching. After viewing the SCORE materials, students often sing the site’s praises, because they can “lift” or “steal” (their words) the ideas and use them in their student teaching immediately.
The analysis of the various Web sites has led to lists of preferred sites in each of the classes I have taught. These have been compiled into a directory and reproduced so that students have their own copies as a resource.
Despite the effectiveness of the activity, I saw that many students dealt only superficially with the Web sites and with the content. For example, a substantial number of students appeared to dismiss Reading Online and the Mora Web site as “too complex” to be very useful. Instead of just surfing the Web, I want them to do a little deep sea diving.
For teachers in the Master of Arts in education (and Reading Specialist Credential Program), the vagaries of technology can be more acute than for preservice teachers. A number of excellent teachers come into the program without extensive knowledge or skills in technology. For these teachers, I designed a WebQuest that would allow them to explore Reading Online in more depth.
In late 1999, Bridget Dalton and I were named editors of Reading Online; our first issue appeared in July 2000. Like any professional journal, articles sent for publication to Reading Online are peer reviewed. Unlike print journals, ROL is published in HTML format, with color with graphics. A useful feature of ROL is that articles may be read on screen or downloaded and printed at the reader’s convenience. The search function allows readers to quickly access all articles that have been published in ROL. Such a valuable resource seems almost too good to be true. I wanted my graduate students to know about ROL and the excellent resource it is for our profession.
Accordingly, I planned a study using a WebQuest to get my graduate students acquainted with the journal. In doing this research, I wanted to know several things.
- Was Reading Online responsive to teachers’ needs?
- How effective was the WebQuest format in getting teachers to look at the entire journal?
- How easy was the format to navigate?In addition, I wanted to boost participation on the ROL’s Online Communities listserv, so I made joining the listserv and posting a response to an article of their choice part of the assignment.In fall 2000, I taught a graduate course in children’s and adolescent literature, in which 36 practicing teachers were enrolled. Students were asked to do two technology-related activities during the course. In the first, they were asked to do a WebQuest assignment (see Figure 2 below) in which they spent 3 hours online at Reading Online, navigating the site in order to answer specific questions.
A WebQuest for Veteran Teachers
When students returned to class with the completed WebQuests, they were asked a series of questions about their experiences. Thus I collected data about teachers’ level of expertise in technology, their computer ownership, what was or was not available in terms of technology at their school sites, and whether they found the WebQuest (and the journal) useful to them. Several opportunities for open-ended commentaries were provided, and from this rich source of qualitative data, several important themes emerged.
What I Found
Of the 36 graduate students, only 4 (11%) did not have home computers; of these 4, 1 had a laptop computer at school that she took home regularly. Twenty-nine (81%) had access to the Web from home; 33 (92%) had access at their schools. Despite this high level of access, students rated themselves rather low on technological expertise. On a scale of 1–5, with 1 being apprentice and 5 being expert, the average rating for these 36 teachers was 2.9. Only one teacher rated herself as a 5.
The average amount of teaching experience was 5 years in the classroom (range, 1–12 years). Seventy-five percent of the teachers worked at the K–3 level, 12% taught fourth through sixth grade, and the rest included middle, high school, and adult education teachers, and one assistant principal. These teachers completed the WebQuest with little difficulty, even though for a few this was their first (or nearly their first) experience navigating online. One teacher wrote, “It made me feel that there needs to be a much stronger technology aspect to the everyday classroom.” Another wrote, “I would like to use Webquest in my classroom.”
Teachers liked the format of Reading Online. One stated, “It is user friendly and full of information! It took me a few separate sessions to become comfortable with the format, but now I feel comfortable using this online journal.”
This comment was poignant for me: “Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything that I currently use. At this point I’m feeling a bit strangled educationally in my teaching because of the way the state content standards are being enforced at our specific school site.”
What they liked. Teachers commented favorably on the journal’s format, the articles, the ease of navigation, and the resources provided. One teacher wrote, “I was really interested in the articles, especially when I noticed some were from teachers currently experiencing and sharing their own ideas on literacy.” Another stated, “I was surprised that an online journal has so many sources—200 articles for one search!? This seems better than the library, probably because it’s so specialized.” Another said, “Until this assignment, I never had looked at it—A way to let others know about the site would be practical.”
What they didn’t like. Joining the listserv and posting a response to an article proved problematic for nearly everyone. I couldn’t understand why this should be so difficult for students, but I later found out that the site had experienced a brief period of technical difficulty, during which time my students were becoming frustrated with the process of trying to join.
Of 36 students only 2 didn’t find the exercise useful, and both of these were so discouraged about the difficulty of posting to the listserv that their response to the whole activity was affected.
I believe that the time students spent visiting Reading Online helped them develop a much better sense of its utility. Some teachers commented that they planned to share this resource with others now that they knew about it. Others said they wished they’d known about the resource earlier in their studies.
The question of breadth versus depth is an ongoing dilemma that I will need to continue to address. The WebQuest assignment seems to be valuable in teacher education courses, but because I had the graduate students focus on one site in depth, I did not feel I could ask them to also visit other sites, as I had done with my preservice students.
What are others doing to integrate technology into teacher education? I hope that readers will take a few minutes to respond in our Online Communities.
August 8, 2011 Sometimes it is difficult to decide exactly which category an article falls into but considering these are resources for Mobile Learning, I thought that this was the right place. This comes from a new resource to this weblog called:
Ideas and Resources for Educators by Lucy Gray
SUNDAY, AUGUST 07, 2011
Leadership for Mobile Learning Resources (weekly)
- 10 Major Mobile Learning Trends to Watch For | MindShiftTags: mobile, learning, trends
- Education Week’s Digital Directions: Educators Evaluate Learning Benefits of iPadTags: iPad, mobile, learning, EdWeek
- Smithsonian mobile strategy aimed at learning — Federal Computer WeekTags: mobile, learning, smithsonian, museum
- Lunch’n’Learn: Mobile Devices | Centre for Teaching, Learning and TechnologyTags: mobile, learning, Canada
- Tips for BYOD K12 ProgramsTags: BYOD, mobile, learning
- New Classroom Tool Uses Laptops & Phones for Instant AssessmentTags: assessment, mobile, learning, iOS, Android
- Ed Tech Administrator: Playing with an Android tablet for education.Tags: administrator, android, tablet, blog
- Mobile Learning Devices – Kipp RogersTags: mobile, learning, book, solutiontree, mobile learning
- Jumptap Mobile STAT Report Maps the U.S. as Android vs. iOS « Mobile Advertising Conversations | Jumptap News and BlogTags: iOS, android, STAT, maps, report
- iPad program prepares med students for ‘wave of the future’ | Healthcare IT NewsTags: iPad, med, program, CA
- Mobile LearningTags: mobile, mobile learning, learning, snewcomb
- Focus on Learning with the HP TouchPad | Digital Learning EnvironmentsTags: HP, touchpad
- ‘Bring your own device’ catching on in schools | Curriculum | eSchoolNews.comTags: BYOD
- Mobile learning: Not just laptops any more | Featured Special Reports | eSchoolNews.comTags: mobilelearning, mobile, learning
- Details emerge in city school tablet push | 3D TabletTags: tablet, Windows, NC, news
- Results of Survey Show Why a Mobile Strategy Includes Both Mobile Web & Apps – Mobile in Higher EdTags: highered, higher, ed, app, native, strategy, mobile, learning, web
- School District Technology Plan ApprovedTags: iPad, netbook, NY, mobile, learning, news
- Lincoln Park Zoo awarded 2 significant grants for science education | Science NewsTags: science, education, mobile, learning, cultural, institutions
Posted by Lucy Gray on Sunday, August 07, 2011 at 07:32 AM | Permalink
8/07/2011 This another one of those situations where it is difficult to choose between the categories so please see in the Emerging Technologies section. It is an older article but still relevant.
Connecting the Digital Dots: Literacy of the 21st Century
8/0 2/2011 Came across this new blog for literacy narratives and thought it might be helpful
As this blog progresses, we look forward to highlighting resources related to literacy narrative collection and showcasing specific documents in our existing DALN resources section. For today, however, we wanted to point visitors to the many wonderful, existing resources in the DALN’s Resources area! Many of these documents are Word .DOC and .PDF files that we invite you to use freely while collecting, sharing, and teaching literacy narratives.
Another great Slideshare presentation, just click on the link and learn about embedded librarianship.
Libraries and Librarians Without Borders: Distributing Libraries and learning Through Embedded Librarianship
The Chronicle of Higher Education delivers this information. Click on the URL at the end of this article to see the slide show which explains the reasons for the sources below which basically concerns the interaction between students, learning and technology.
Information Provided By and entered into blog 7/1/2011
“Today, we’re beginning to see how inter-dependent our education communities really are. And we know that to continue to meet your needs, and make your students…” see slide show on the site for the rest of the presentation
SunGard Higher Education’s mission is to promote individual achievement, enhance institutional performance, and foster education communities worldwide. It is a mission that requires us to work diligently to build bridges between your community and ours. Learn more.
As the global leader in education technology, content, services and support, Pearson Learning Solutions serves as a valuable partner in powering innovative technologies and content delivery methods which support online and blended learning environments. Learn more.
Jenzabar® is a leading provider of software and services developed exclusively for higher education. With more than 35 years’ experience delivering enterprise solutions to colleges and universities, Jenzabar is the technology partner of choice on more than 700 campuses worldwide, dedicated to driving institutional success in three key areas: enrollment, retention and advancement—what we call ERA™. Learn more.
Blackboard Inc. is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of educators and learners around the world every day. Learn more.
From campuswide efficiencies to extending the classroom across the globe, a successful implementation of Adobe eLearning and collaboration technologies provides a powerful platform for distributed learning and reducing spending and waste. Learn more.
Find out more from these participants
|ADOBEAdobe eLearning and Collaboration Solutions for Higher Education
Adobe eLearning solutions combine the best technology with free downloadable guides for extending courses with virtual classrooms, creating reusable online learning content, supporting online meetings, collaborating online, and integrating with your existing Learning Management System. » Download Now» Click here for more Adobe White Papers
|BLACKBOARDMcGraw-Hill LearnSmart™ Effectiveness Study
Evaluating the adaptive learning tool’s impact on pass and retention rates and instructional efficiencies at seven U.S. universities. » Read the study» Click here for more Blackboard White Papers
|JENZABARSpring Arbor University
Spring Arbor University has chosen to participate in a pilot program for a new institutional advancement system, FrontRunner by Jenzabar®. The solution will help the University manage advancement activity, engage constituents, and cultivate stewardship.
» Download Now» Click here for more Jenzabar White Papers
|PEARSONPearson LearningStudio: Academic Assessment and Analytics in Higher Education
There is an ongoing national debate concerning how to best measure student learning outcomes in higher education. Do greater analytics and measurement truly lead to greater student achievement? How can we best use data to hold institutions and students accountable for their performance? » Download Now» Click here for more Pearson White Papers
|SUNGARDThe Case for an Open Digital Campus
Working smarter. Working faster. Working more efficiently. That’s always been the promise of technology. But it hasn’t always been the reality.
» Download Now» Click here for more SunGard White Papers
6/26/2011 “Professor Hacker” beloved contributor to the newspaper Chronicles of Higher Education brings us these words of pearly wisdom from Anastasia Salter of ways to bring fun into the classroom and learn at the same time
Playing with Reality at the Learning and Entertainment Evolution Forum
June 21, 2011, 8:00 am
By Prof. Hacker
[This is a guest post by Anastasia Salter, Assistant Professor at the University of Baltimore in the school of Information Arts and Technologies. Her academic work focuses on storytelling in new media; she also writes the Future Fragments column for CinCity. Follow her on Twitter at AnaSalter.--@jbj]
I’ve just returned from the Learning and Entertainment Evolution Forum (LEEF) in Harrisburg, PA. LEEF is a gathering dedicated to exploring games and simulations as tools for learning. It overlapped with Games + Learning + Society 7.0 in Madison, WI, and between the two twitter streams it was clear that excitement–and ideas–for using games to learn are still on the rise.The opening keynote by Nathan Verrill, co-founder of Natron Baxter, set the tone fo rapplied gaming as he pointed out that “For many people, fun is the f-word.” When we talk about bringing games or play into the classroom, there can be resistance on that very grounds–are we just just selling chocolate-coated broccoli? Why is there still a cultural trend towards fun and work as opposites that have to be tricked into coexisting?
The talk brought home some of the very tensions inherent in the forum’s name–learning and entertainment, two words that seem to imply different goals. To defeat that binary, conversations about educational technology, especially gaming, need to involve more people on all sides of the classroom. The games and ideas floating around LEEF definitely have uses for more educators and learners than the specialists conferences like this attract.
Some of the things I saw at LEEF, like the VirtuSphere, are still in their early stages. A ten foot hamster ball for “being” in virtual space is still too expensive (and odd) for general use. But the ideas surrounding the technology promise experiences that are nothing short of the Magic School Bus–for instance, imagine diving in to an artery and exploring it through a moving virtual reality set-up. Outside of VR, there’s already a case study game exploring that terrain: Immune Attack, a game on cell biology aimed at high school science students whose designers are currently working on gathering data on the game’s effectiveness at challenges like educating non-gamers.
This was just one of the cool technologies on our minds last week. Some were demos of tools, like the Resequence engine for serious and strategic games and simulations. Others were breaking in the news outside of LEEF, like the release of the development tools for Microsoft’s motion recogintion-based interface device Kinect. EvenBuddyPress and CubePoints, the same platform I used for my gamified course experiment, got a mention from Natron Baxter among the list of tools he’s used to create applied games.
With that said, perhaps the most important takeaway from LEEF is that it’s not all about expensive toys. Learning games don’t have to be hi-tech to be effective. There’s a lot to be learned from Space Vikings, the conference’s ARG—that’s alternate reality game, not its augmented reality cousin. Unlike augmented reality, which requires technology to mediate an environment, alternate reality is a playful imposition of story onto a physical space. In Space Vikings, a number of us dedicated conference attendees were drawn into a mission to save our tribes from a “pedagogical wasteland.” How did we accomplish this feat? By hunting down “anomalies”–read masking tape clues, QR codes and posters–with answers to questions to submit in a digital educational games theory scavenger hunt. This is just one example of a conference ARG, and designers were at LEEF to report on lessons learned from others like DevLearn’s Zombie Apocalypse. (For more ideas on educational uses of Alternate Reality, check out Think Transmedia.)
These same ideas can scale and transform to a number of settings. For example, Melissa Peterson’s Elmwood Park Zoo ARG is currently a project conducted with paper (though imagined for smartphones), and it’s already doubling the engagement time of visitors to the local zoo. And on the other side, games like the Giskin Anomaly in Balboa Park are adding new layers of narrative to a popular and culturally rich tourist destination. And these games don’t have to be location dependent. Case studies like the Radford OutdoorARG Outbreak, a social inquiry game that puts students on a quest for an antidote, demonstrate ideas that can be brought into a schoolyard.
Some of the best moments I had at LEEF were from just playing games: collaborating with my Uplanders teammates, trying out new learning simulations, and playing inventive card games around the dinner table. We as attendees were our own case study, playing our way to a more productive conference.
Have you played any learning games you’ve found inspiring? What role might learning games play in your classroom next year?
Photo by Flickr user arenamontanus / Creative Commons licensed
Updated 6/22: Edited to reflect Anastasia’s recent change of Twitter nickname.–@jbj
June 19 This presentation is scary, but important for us to know. It is enlightening: One student comments on the film “Traditional education needs to die. It needs to go away.” Please watch it.
Thought this might be helpful to all the librarian educators out there. This comes to us from American Express OPEN Forum. Think I will use some of these myself and it’s fun!!!
6 Rules For A Beautiful PowerPoint
Helen Jane Hearn6 Comments
June 14, 2011
When it comes to our senses, vision trumps them all. When I’m communicating to persuade, I need to get the point across as clearly as possible. If my presentation slides are cluttered or confusing, I lose my chance.
Over 400 million computers have PowerPoint installed. That’s a lot of opportunity for beautifully engaging communication. Apply these six rules for beauty to help your next presentation get your audience to act.
1. Design for the purpose
Is your presentation meant to persuade or entertain? Are you trying to impress or inform? Once you figure out the purpose of your presentation, you can find out if a formal, executive design or a lighter touch is the right one. Knowing the purpose of your presentation will help keep your imagery, templates, colors and fonts consistent with your objective.
How do you know what colors are the right ones to use? Usability studies have shown that strong use of red can cause viewers to become more excited and agitated. Blue is more calming. Yellow is for optimism. If your purpose is to get your audience excited, go with red. Delivering tough news? A blue-heavy presentation can help send a different message.
Determine how much information you’re trying to get across. If you’re giving a technical presentation, it may be appropriate to add more data and charts to your slides. Make your handout do the heavy lifting, but some additional data may be necessary. If you’re giving a presentation on marketing or leadership, the simpler the slides, the clearer the communication.
2. Pictures over words
We see presentations, we don’t read them. Using effective imagery makes your PowerPoint design more engaging. To find compelling imagery, Seth Godin suggests an advanced Flickr search “Go to advanced search, choose Creative Commons Commercial license and search away. The breadth is extraordinary, but what will amaze you is the quality.”
Using images with minimal words can help craft an emotional response to your presentation. It can also keep the focus on you and your story. Consider stock photography websites, Flickr and photographs from your company’s own creative department to help you communicate your story more effectively.
3. Clutter free is the way to be
Pull out any information that does not directly communicate your message. You’re there to present, not talk them through lots of information on each slide. Put spreadsheets in the handout, not on the screen.
“When you overload your audience, you shut down the dialogue that’s an important part of decision-making,”says PowerPoint expert Cliff Atkinson. “When you remove interesting but irrelevant words and pictures from a screen, you can increase the audience’s ability to remember the information by 189 percent and the ability to apply the information by 109 percent.”
Help your audience remember and apply your information by remembering the following tips:
- Excluding any corporate logos or design element, use no more than one graphic image or chart per slide.
- Use white space generously. White space sets the tone of your design and affects the usability dramatically. White space around the biggest items on the slide can convey elegance. The more white space, the more impactful your message.
- Distracting transitions can detract from your message by making you look amateur. Stick to the basics when it comes to transitions between slides.
A good way to keep yourself in line is by remembering the 666 rule. Presentation University recommends slides shave no more than 6 words per bullet, 6 bullets per image, and 6 word slides in a row.
4. Be consistent
Use the same colors, imagery style and fonts throughout your presentation. To help keep the focus on you and your story, use no more than two font families.
Templates can help you maintain a consistent look. You can either create your own template or find one online to suit your purpose. Be warned, some templates are so busy, they can detract from your message.
5. PowerPoint is a tool
Powerpoint isn’t you, it’s just a tool you use to get your point across. Remembering this is key in successful Powerpoint design. Use the slides in your presentation to highlight and emphasize key points but remember that you’re the one telling the story.
Memorable PowerPoint presentations use the power of surprise to go beyond the unexpected. This element of surprise can be used to entertain your audience. If you want your business to stand out, don’t copy all the other presentations. You need to go beyond the expected.
Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Die and Others Survive say, “If we want to motivate people to pay attention we should seize the power of big surprises.” They recommend building beautiful and memorable presentations by breaking patterns, creating mystery, building unique stories, and finding knowledge gaps. Exploiting the unexpected can create attention.
Want more information about Powerpoint? Resources abound.
- Presentation Zen is the leading resource for reasonable Powerpoint design.
- The Powerpoint blog has examples and insight to help your presentations shine.
- Idea Transplant is filled with inspiration for your next presentation.
6/16/2011 From today’s Chronicle we get this article written on an earlier date about embedding librarians through Twitter into the classroom
‘Embedded Librarian’ on Twitter Served as Information Concierge for Class
February 25, 2011, 2:08 pm
By Jeff Young
What if a reference librarian was assigned to a college course, to be on hand to suggest books, online links, or other resources based on class discussion? A media-studies course at Baylor University tried the idea last semester, with an “embedded librarian” following the class discussion via Twitter.
At the start of each class session, the professor, Gardner Campbell, asked the 11 students to open their laptops, fire up Twitter, and say hello to their librarian, who was following the discussion from her office. During the hourlong class, the librarian, Ellen Hampton Filgo, would do what she refers to as “library jazz,” looking at the questions and comments posed by students, responding with suggestions of links or books, and anticipating what else might be helpful that students might not have known to ask.
“I could see the sort of germination of an idea, and what they wanted to talk about,” she said, noting that it let her in on the process of students’ research far sooner than usual. “That was cool for me,” she added. “When I work with students at the reference desk, usually they’re already at a certain midpoint of their research.”
When the class was discussing the work of the science-fiction author Clifford D. Simak, for instance, she tweeted a link to his archives at the University of Minnesota.
“One of the students said, ‘Hey, is there anything like that for Rilke?’,” Ms. Filgo said. “He was all excited. I don’t even think he knew of the idea that a library might collect an author’s papers.”
Mr. Campbell, who just left Baylor to take a job as a professor and e-learning administrator at Virginia Tech, said one moment, in particular, made the experiment worthwhile. The students were discussing a rare book by Theodor Holm Nelson, a sociologist who coined the term “hypertext.” The book, Computer Lib, is really two books in one, with an unconventional layout that tries to simulate linking among segments and marginal comments that Mr. Nelson said would come as text was increasingly stored on computers.
Ms. Filgo tweeted that she had something for the class. Then she grabbed a copy ofComputer Lib from the library’s shelves and walked over to the classroom. She had never actually met the students in person, so they were surprised when she appeared with a copy of the book to pass around, as they were still discussing it.
“There was apparent magic to it,” Mr. Campbell said. “It made that class unforgettable.”
Ms. Filgo said she would try it again, but she worries that it would be difficult to expand the effort to a wider number of classes. “It took out three hours of my workweek,” she says. “The question is how can you scale this up?”
An article appeared in the Seattle Times 6/3/2011 Do you think students need Bibliographic Instruction?
College students eager to learn but need help negotiating information overload
Guest columnists Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg push back on the prevailing idea that today’s college students are slackers. Rather, these researchers argue that colleges must retool to help young people learn the skills to negotiate the vast amount of information at their disposal.
Special to The Times
Seems like everywhere you turn — in a stream of new books, blogs, newspaper stories and broadcasts — the same story is being reported: Today’s students don’t study much. Many are unrepentant slackers, tethered to Facebook and their smartphones on their way to another party. Even worse: Today’s college students lack critical-thinking skills, leaving them unprepared for the workplace.
Reports from campus front lines, especially from professor-authors, present the most comprehensive — and damning — arguments.
For example, the newly released “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” by sociology professors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, found almost half — 45 percent — of the 2,300 students they studied “demonstrated no significant gains in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and written communications during the first two years of college.”
In “The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future,” Mark Bauerlein, professor of English at Emory University, concludes, “the intellectual future of the United States looks dim.”
While our own research findings from the University of Washington’s Project Information Literacy Study have confirmed today’s college students struggle, our ongoing study adds another dimension to what is going on in the academy.
All is not lost! Most of the students we studied across all types of higher-education institutions in the U.S. still attend college to learn, but many are afraid of getting lost in a thicket of information overload they cannot dodge.
Our research tells us information literacy is a critical component of the larger concerns facing higher-education institutions today, along with challenges of multiculturalism, massive budget cuts, helicopter parents, grade inflation, limitations of K-12 education and preparation for college, and adapting to an ever-changing information-technology landscape.
Since 2008, we have been studying the information-literacy skills of students — the ability to recognize when information is needed, then locate, evaluate and put that information to effective use. As information scientists, we believe these skills are essential to critical thinking, lifelong learning and succeeding in life, the work force and in a democratic society.
We surveyed and interviewed more than 10,000 U.S. students at 31 U.S. colleges and universities, including undergraduates enrolled at UW, Harvard, Ohio State University, University of Michigan and community colleges, such as Shoreline Community College. We found no matter where students are enrolled, no matter what information resources they have at their disposal, and no matter how much time they have, the abundance of information technology and the proliferation of digital information resources have made research uniquely paradoxical.
Information is now as infinite as the universe, but finding the answers needed is harder than ever.
Our ongoing research confirms proficiency in information problem solving is urgent, given the dauntingly vast and complex wilderness of information available digitally. As one student in humanities said during one of our focus groups, “What’s so frustrating to me about conducting research is the more you know, the more you realize how little you know — it’s depressing, frustrating and suffocating.”
When we surveyed undergraduates last spring in a large-scale survey, eight in 10 of our 8,353 respondents reported having overwhelming difficulty even starting research assignments and determining the nature and scope of what was expected of them.
Nearly half of the students in our survey sample experienced nagging uncertainty about how to conclude and assess the quality of their research efforts. They struggled with the same frustrating open-endedness whether they were researching something for a college course or in their personal lives.
Almost every student surveyed used a risk-averse and consistent strategy that closes the aperture of information available in order to cope. Many respondents reported relying on the same few tried and true resources — course readings, Google, library databases, instructors and Wikipedia — to control the staggering amount information available.
This strategy, of course, underscores the gap between the plethora of Web sources and rich information campus libraries make available to students and the sources students actually use: a limited toolbox of familiar sources, which infrequently includes consulting a librarian or, in many cases, even going to the campus library at all.
While these findings are truly concerning — we would argue they are not entirely damning.
In fact, we found a gaping chasm between some of the widespread assumptions about today’s students and what students themselves hold important about learning.
In our last survey, more than three-fourths of our total sample of students — 78 percent — reported it was important to learn something new and conduct comprehensive research about a topic — along with the tangible rewards of passing a course, finishing an assignment and earning a good grade.
This finding squarely counters the conventional wisdom that characterizes students as worthless slackers.
Problems do not begin or end with students. Many — not all — educators are failing to teach students how to navigate a vast wilderness of information — to discern what they can trust, edit out what is unnecessary, redundant or unreliable, and focus on what they really need.
As one engineering student explained, “None of the old-timers — the old professors — can really give us much advice on sorting through and evaluating resources … we’re kind of one of the first generations to have too much information, as opposed to too little.”
We argue evaluation, interpretation and synthesis are the key competencies of the 21st century. These information-literacy skills allow us to find what we need, filter out what we do not and chart a course in an ever-expanding frontier of information. Information literacy is the essential skill set that cuts across all disciplines and professions.
It is time for many educators to stop lamenting about “these kids today” and retool and prioritize the learning of skills for solving information problems if students are to learn and master critical thinking at all. Or, as one student in social sciences we interviewed told us, “College is about knowing how to look at a problem in multiple ways and how to think about it analytically — now, that’s something I’ll use in my life.”
Alison J. Head, left, and Michael B. Eisenberg are the co-principal investigators and co-directors of Project Information Literacy, which is based in the University of Washington Information School.
This article appeared in the June issue of ACRL News. Obviously we can’t get students to do away with Google so these authors found a new approach to get scholarly information.
Google like a librarian
Sharing skills for search success
The workshop announcement started simply enough: “Your students are using it. You are using it. Why not get the most out of Google tools?” The workshop, called “Using Google Like a Librarian,” was for faculty and staff at Grand Valley State University. Over the past two years, librarians have been teaming up with instructional technology staff to create on-campus professional development opportunities, and this was going to be (we thought) just another workshop. And then it got popular.
Why we did it
When we ask students where they start research, most say Google. But we began to suspect that the really interesting and useful Google tools went largely unknown, and, since we started paying more attention to how people use Google, we have seen that others have noticed (and written about) the same thing.1,2
One day after a busy week of instruction, we started talking about some of the misunderstandings people have about Google searching. Both of us noticed in our classes an under-appreciation for Google’s many functions, especially those that go beyond the simple search box. We also realized that librarians know a Google trick or two that other faculty and staff might find useful.
Google seemed at first like a rather frivolous topic for a faculty workshop. Yet, upon further thought, it made a lot of sense. We had been assuming that, sure, everyone knows how to use Google. But do they really know how to Google like a librarian?
In May 2010 we advertised the “Using Google Like a Librarian” workshop for two of Grand Valley’s campuses. We expected a half-dozen or so participants, figuring that it was new and, really, everyone already knows how to use Google, right? Both sessions were nearly filled. We repeated the sessions in September 2010, and this time they filled up, had waiting lists to get in, and generated several requests for more sessions. Based on the “sold-out” enrollment, these were among the most popular workshops the library has ever offered.
The notice for the workshop promised that participants:
will know how to use many of the fun and interesting advanced search options in Google,
will learn what Google Scholar and Google Books are, and how they and their students can use those tools for research, and
will set up a Google account and know how to create, edit, share, and upload files.
The lesson plan included how to use the Google menu bar, some fun search tips (e.g., conversions, earthquakes, airline flight tracking, and public data, plus many more),3 Google Scholar, Google Books, Google Translate, Google Finance, and Google Docs.
The sessions were an hour-and-a-half long, so we split the presentation between two librarians to make it easier on the presenters and to make it more interesting for the audience. The lesson was grouped into four sections: advanced search, Books and Scholar, Translate and Finance, and finally Google Docs.
An hour-and-a-half is a long time to pay attention to a projection screen, even for the most focused student, so we felt it was important to hand out a fill-in-the-blank worksheet and to hold the sessions in a computer lab. Participants were free to follow along on the computers, to fill in the worksheet, to make notes, or simply to sit and listen, based on their own learning styles. We also hoped that the worksheet could be used as a reference tool after the workshop.
All workshop documents were loaded into the Blackboard course management system for ease of future use by participants and presenters.
Almost everyone we’ve spoken to uses Google on a daily or almost daily basis. Yet we suspected that many who use Google, even those who use it often, had either been frustrated by Google results in the past, were convinced there was more that Google could do but didn’t know how, or didn’t have time to figure it out. We suspect three reasons for high interest in our workshops:
Google can be used for nearly any topic, the workshop appealed to a much wider audience than other workshops. It’s relevant and realistic: people can strike up an easy conversation with colleagues about Google, it doesn’t require special software, it’s not limited to one discipline, and it’s quick to get started.
The sessions were in computer labs, so participants could follow along with the presenters. We gave them hands-on, in-the-moment practice. One particularly satisfying aspect of the session for the librarians was the many “oohs and ahhs” from participants when we introduced short cuts or advanced features.
When advertising it to faculty, we emphasized that “Your students are using it. You’re using it. Why not get the most out of Google tools?” We pointed at the elephant in the room and said, “Let’s take a ride!”
It seems like the timing was right, too. Our own discourse had moved from, “Do students use Google?” to “How do students use Google?” Inside Higher Ed recently reported on a presentation by Andrew Asher at the 2010 Ithaka Sustainable Scholarship Conference that looked at “what happens when students do not learn how to use Google properly.”4
Then the New York Times Upfront magazine re-asked the question “Is Google making us stupid?” and aimed the debate squarely at teens.5 We hope it’s not too bold to claim that classroom faculty are at the front lines with students, that librarians support faculty, and that librarians know Google.
An observational study in Sweden found that most faculty use Google for all their research needs and weren’t aware of the services the library and librarians offered.6 This is one reason why it’s so important for librarians to market all of their skills so that faculty associate us with the entire research process and not just the part that involves library resources. We noticed in conversations that students and faculty were using some Google resources incorrectly.
For instance, most faculty and students don’t know how critical Scholar Preferences are to using Google Scholar from an off-campus location. This is also an opportunity to talk about Google Scholar as a back door into library resources and not completely separate from a library search.
It was this strong emphasis on using Google as a supplement to library resources that was most important. Workshops like this are an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between librarians and the university community. Even the title of the workshop reinforced the librarians’ expertise: “Using Google Like a Librarian.” People turn to librarians as search experts; this was offered as an opportunity to learn how the experts do it.
With expertise can come remarkable efficiency. Yes, we asked our faculty and staff to share well over an hour of their busy work weeks learning how to use Google better. But we also wanted better use of Google to be accompanied by faster and smarter use. Knowing some of the search tips, knowing another way to get to scholarly articles, and knowing how to navigate Google Books all could save time and energy.
Project Information Literacy researchers found that students “consulted their instructors first when looking for research information from a person—before they consulted librarians, if they did, at all.”7
The researchers also found that Google was the most popular source for students looking for “everyday life research” and second-most popular when completing course assignments.8
We agree with the researchers’ recommendation that “librarians need to actively identify opportunities for training faculty,”9 and, as an extension of that, we feel that it’s important not to focus only on database and library skills training. If Google is as ubiquitous as we think, using it as a training topic is worth our focus, too.
We are thinking of creating videos in either Wimba Classroom or Camtasia that could be used as a refresher for those who attended the workshop or as an introduction to those who were unable to attend.
Most likely the workshop will be offered again. Based on feedback from past workshops, we may adjust the lesson plan to reflect new Google features and to incorporate more of the Google search capabilities. 10 There also seems to be considerable interest in using Google Docs, so a session just for that tool is possible.
The success of such a workshop raises several interesting questions: Are the skills retained? Are the elements of the lesson plan reflective of the greatest learning need? Is there a gap between what learners expect and what the instructors present? Is there a lasting efficiency effect? Future assessment could focus on any one of these questions.
- © 2011 Mary K. O’Kelly and Colleen Lyon
For the notes see the original article at http://crln.acrl.org/content/72/6/330.full
06/04/ 2011 Check out ipl2′s videos in YouTube!
You and your students can use ipl2 to research areas which have already been approved by librarians as having reliable sources
June 1, 2011 by Stephen Wesson
The purpose of this blog is to” discover and discuss the most effective techniques for using Library of Congress primary sources in the classroom. Teaching strategies, outstanding primary sources, lesson plans, teacher resources, and current thinking on effective classroom practice are all open for discussion.
The Library of Congress has millions of primary sources available for free online. Teaching with primary sources is powerful way to help students engage with content, build their critical thinking skills, and construct knowledge.
Welcome to Teaching with the Library of Congress!
The Library of Congress means many different things to many people. But for teachers and students it represents a source of discovery and learning unlike any other.
The Library has the world’s largest online collection of primary sources—the raw materials of history. More than 20 million photographs, maps, manuscripts, movies, newspaper articles, books, and sound recordings are available for free, with no subscription, from the Library’s Web site, loc.gov.
Analyzing these primary sources is a powerful way to engage students, and helps them build their critical thinking skills and construct knowledge.
To unlock that power, the Library offers teachers a wide range of resources, from classroom materials to professional development opportunities. These all can be found at the Library’s site for Teachers, loc.gov/teachers.
But we at the Library know that the most innovative ideas usually emerge through conversations with educators. Teaching with the Library of Congress will be one space for that conversation to take place.
This will be a place where Library staff can informally present teaching strategies, highlights from the collections, and the latest on new programs and teaching resources. At the same time, we hope it will be a forum where teachers share experiences, exchange ideas, provide feedback on what the Library has to offer, and take the conversation on teaching with primary sources into new territory.
Whether you’re an expert at working with the Library’s primary sources or you’re just discovering them for the first time, your voice is needed here.
So let’s begin the discussion: What experiences have you had with the Library’s primary sources, and what would you like to see us explore in this space in the future
May 31, 2011
In “The Onion” a “bogus” website gives political reports which are nonsense. This is a fun literacy tool to demonstrate to students how just because it is on the web doesn’t mean it is true or valid. An example is the video piece below from The Onion website
In The Know panelists discuss a new congressional report linking all of America’s problems to the fact that our entire nation was built on top of Native American graves.
The US Government has embarked on an exciting new website on Digital Literacy for the 21 Century as reported by Thomas Krichel faculty member of Long Island University
“Today the U.S. Department of Commerce launched DigitalLiteracy.gov http://www.digitalliteracy.gov/, a gateway to materials, research, online learning tools and more to help librarians and educators access and share materials to use when training learners of all ages on topics such as information literacy, computer skills, digital literacies and more. The Dept. of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) created the portal in partnership with nine federal agencies to provide librarians, teachers, workforce trainers and others a central location to share digital literacy content and practices. Individuals are welcome to visit the site to find resources, upload their own and/or connect with others who are offering training on these topics. Visit http://www.digitalliteracy.gov/ to access the resource, or read more about it from the ALA Washington Office’s blog: http://www.districtdispatch.org/2011/05/ala-collaborates-with-ntia-to-launch-enhance-digitalliteracy-gov/“The following is a link to a PDF file http://www.imls.gov/pdf/21stCenturySkills.pdf called “Museums, Libraries and the 21 Century” compiled by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. It contains an ” Online Self-Assessment (www.imls21stcenturyskills.org)– this brief interactive survey quickly analyzes an institution’s 21st century strategies and describes next steps for action.”
It outlines the following skills for the 21 century libraries and museums:
21st Century Skills Framework –Adapted for Libraries and Museums
LEARNING AND INNOVATION SKILLS
• Critical Thinking and Problem Solving• Creativity and Innovation• Communication and Collaboration• Visual Literacy• Scientific and Numerical Literacy• Cross-Disciplinary Thinking• Basic Literacy
INFORMATION, MEDIA, AND TECHNOLOGY SKILLS
• Information Literacy• Media Literacy• Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) Literacy
LIFE AND CAREER SKILLS
• Flexibility and Adaptability• Initiative and Self-Direction• Social and Cross-Cultural Skills• Productivity and Accountability• Leadership and Responsibility
21ST CENTURY THEMES
• Global Awareness• Financial, Economic, Business, and Entrepreneurial Literacy• Civic Literacy• Health Literacy• Environmental Literacy
“Success in today’s society requires information literacy, a spirit of self-reliance,and a strong ability to collaborate, communicate effectively, and solve problems.Combining strengths in traditional learning with robust investment in modern communication infrastructures, libraries and museums are well-equipped tobuild the skills Americans need in the 21st century” (IMLS 2008).
An important aspect of teaching Information Literacy is plagiarism. This article addresses plagiarism and Web 2.o. applications. The website “The Scholarly Kitchen” asks:
Wikipedia is the most popular site for copying and pasting content into student papers, a new study reports, and social media and content-sharing sites are not far behind. Image below via Wikipedia
The report is called “Plagiarism and the Web: Myths and Realities.” It’s written by Chris Harrick, vice president of marketing for Turnitin, a popular service designed to detect content matches from other student papers, Web sites, as well as an entire library of academic journal and book material.
Analyzing nearly 40 million submitted high school and college papers between June 2010 and March 2011, the company detected 140 million content matches and classified them based on their source:
- Social Networking and Content Sharing (33.0%)
- Homework and Academic sites (25.0%)
- Paper Mills and Cheat sites (14.8%)
- News and Portals (13.6%)
- Encyclopedias (9.5%)
- Other (4.1%)
Harrick believes that digital media has created a cultural shift among our youth, who need to be educated to value originality in academic thought and writing. He writes:
A digital culture that promotes sharing, openness and re-use is colliding with one of the fundamental tenets of education – the ability to develop, organize and express original thoughts. For many students who have grown up sharing music, retweeting thoughts and downloading free software, the principle of originality in research and writing can seem antiquated.
For a study of 40 million papers and 140 content matches, I found this report excessively lean. We are not told how much content is typically matched in student papers, the typical number of content sources per paper, or the percentage of papers that don’t suffer from any content match, nor do we have a breakdown based on education type, subject, or grade level.
More importantly, while the company is clear about distinguishing plagiarism (a deliberate attempt to claim ownership of another’s intellectual contribution) fromcontent matching (the simple overlap of text), Harrick often equates the two in the report, and most explicitly in its title (“Plagiarism and the Web”).
The service does not detect nor determine plagiarism – it detects patterns of matching text to help instructors determine if plagiarism has occurred
Unfortunately, stories using the “P-word” have already started showing up in the media: The Chronicle of Higher Education (“Plagiarism Goes Social“), Inside Higher Ed(“The Sources of Plagiarism“), and PR newswire (“Turnitin Debunks Myths Surrounding Plagiarism on the Web“).
While I have no doubt that plagiarism is present in many of the 140 million content matches in the dataset, the study did not attempt to investigate plagiarism, which is why I take issue with the use of the “P-word” in this context. Many of the content matches may simply be attributed pieces of text (such as a quotation that is found on Wikipedia), or a block of text that is proceeded with a citation or footnote. Even academics charged with plagiarism find ways of attributing the match to a missing quotation mark or the loss of a few footnotes, as in the case of the late American historian, Stephen Ambrose. In academia, the P-word is more offensive than the F-word, which is why it should be used carefully.
At present, the Turnitin study provides some novel and informative data about where students are getting content for their papers. For this reason alone, the report is valuable to high-school and college educators, librarians, and academic publishers who may all attempt to steer their students to more authoritative sources of content (or alternatively, start populating these sites with the content they want students to read). But without knowledge of whether the content they use has been properly attributed with a reference, it’s a stretch to make strong claims about student plagiarism.
Students, you can quote me on this: Just make sure to include a full citation.