Sharing new tools

Today I tried to imagine how Rollyo could revolutionize our library practice. Here’s what I came up with:

Would you like an easier way to find county school information? Try my new Rollyo search! I took all our individual school websites and “rolled” them into one customized search: http://www.rollyo.com/erindowney/joco_schools/

This is but one of the awesome tools we learned about in the Internet@Schools sessions. I can see recommending this tool to patrons who need the “right” information rather than a Google search dump… especially for homework. Help kids pick a handful of trusted and authoritative sites, and they can roll their own search engine that gives them very specific results.

If we don’t like to rely on Google, now we have an alternative. Of course, this means adding an extra step and selecting sites in which we place authority. That means that we need to have a better sense of what’s out there to use on the web. And again, more librarian job security to the rescue 😉

Gathering awesome info

One of the most frustrating things about finishing an article is looking around the world of information and seeing all the awesome things you could add. I have been collecting examples, anecdotes, and tools from the web for ages and every day there are still more. Fortunately, this latest article (on how we adapted a patron class to the education environment) is due soon, and I can dive further in to advertising said class to more patrons. I’d much rather conduct a few experimental versions of a new class and then perfect it afterwards, but I totally understand that from the patron side that nobody likes being a guinea pig 😉 I hope that after learning 6 new 2.0 tools in an hour or so, participants will want to go on and create localized cohorts that will experiment together in a more in-depth process like 23 Things or 5 Weeks to a Social Library.

I hope to make some super short Adobe Breeze-style presentations using Camtasia to advertise two of our services to start with: homework help and the Cyber 6 Pack 4 Educators workshop. From there, I want to try and forward these to key people in school districts that can show the presentations in front of large audiences… like department meetings, PTA meetings, and maybe even post them on web pages. I want to create a compact, powerful message that can travel widely and be seen in less than 2 minutes (considering this an asynchronous version of my various “elevator” speeches). More to the point, I want to spend less time personally talking up these sorts of services and spend more time actually delivering said service to patrons. I will be sure and post a follow-up on this topic letting you know how it works.

Trends in Mobile Tools & Applications for Libraries

Megan Fox, Simmons College presenting.
web.simmons.edu/~fox/mobile

Mobile tools are part of daily life for our patrons – how can we be part of our patrons’ info-seeking lives? It’s not a “librarian” v. “handheld” dichotomy… it’s how to be part of that handheld life.

Ubiquity of mobile devices: 3 billion mobile phones v. 1 billion PCs. 80% of teens use text messing regularly. They say that email is only for “business.” More users are being equipped to do more and more with their mobile devices! She shows us a lot of nice phones with qwerty keyboards, new interfaces for input, like thumbpads and sliders. Points out the larger screens to better use multimedia content and video/pic capabilities. Oooh, iPhone: the holy grail of mobile messaging. Of course, I noted earlier in the conference that attendees with iPhones were ultra-mobile and constantly connected… totally unlike those of us struggling for a wifi connection. She’s pointing out the multi-touch interface and orientation both horiz and vert. She calls them “gesture devices?” Nokia’s 810 is similar but also have a slide-out keyboard. Verizon Voyager has that same look but has a clamshell full qwerty keyboard. Centro by Nokia is a mass-market version of the same for only $100.

Handheld computers – UMPC Ultra Mobile Personal Computers. 7″ or smaller display… Samsung Q1 ultra has keyboards on both sides of the screen so you don’t take up that real estate with a screen-based keyboard input device.

Mobile web demands a different sort of information coming their way… shorter text, simplified pages, etc. All quite logical.

Strategies for facilitating our info stream to mobile users:
.mobi domains and Zinadoo
Search engine: Find.mobi

ILS vendors offering mobile optimized catalogs… all the major players getting into this. Making library staff LIS modules with barcode reader attachments like the ones we’re testing now. Pocket circ mentioned. Wireless workstation = Innovative.

Answers.com has released a mobile interface. Mobifusion has partnered with traditional pubs like Worldbook and etc. to provide content. This is of high interest to schools, I should think. Why purchase sets of encyclopedias when kids can get stuff on mobile devices in the classroom?

Transcoding: Squeezer.net the big player. Services are seen by originators as bastarding their content?!? They strip out stuff like javascript and things that might slow down the data transfer. (i can’t find a good link; I may be misspelling this)

Databases are addressing mobile interfaces – and talking about doing it out-of-house by licensing someone like Squeezer. Other content is being mobilized through iPods, SparkNotes, and etc. Test prep also popular. Britannica is available for iPod!!! I can see us having to help patrons convert content for vacations, etc. if they want some of our info to be mobile. We will need to look at how we offer different versions of our info – 5 years from now we will def. need to offer “standard” and “mobile” versions of database logins, etc.

90% of all music downloads in Japan are to mobile phones.

Wifi is increasingly popular for downloading content. Spoken word study materials are gaining popularity. iTunesU is big in universities. Shows us the iPod Touch – basically a non-phone iPhone. I can see that lending devices or having a “Device lab” for patrons may become an important thing for those wanting to see what our content will be like on different platforms.

Museum411, OnCellsystems, etc. are using your own device to give you a tour of a facility. Great for libraries! She mentions Google SMS use. HarperCollins Australia are sending book extracts to phones for promotions this way.

Simmons can now send citations to students’ phones via text! This would make the catalog very handy for us… mentions Teleflip and GizmoSMS. I know we’re heading in the right direction this way. Wake Forest is integrating a whole host of campus services via cell and text. Clicker systems offer a great way for a classroom to quickly assess students’ “temp” in class.

(Note: this is an excellent .edu presentation. It should have been adapted for the Internet@Schools track.)

So what’s next? Companies are working to “push” ads to your mobile device. They’re offering small discounts in exchange for watching or listening to ads. As in Asia, they’re moving towards only carrying the cell to pay for purchases, etc… libraries will have to find a way to roll our cards into these devices too. Google Checkout now has a mobile version! Gpay is a new service, coming up. Projectors are being built into cell phones for sharing – SUPER HOT. Glasses that project from a mobile device are also being developed. Gyroscopic interfaces being developed as well for mobile devices so that you can tilt and flick to quickly read things without lots of buttons, etc.

India Calling

So our state provides a subscription to Tutor.com as part of our “homework suite” of services – in-person, online, and virtual reference. When I tried to get caught up on my reading today this article on offshore tutor services caught my eye. I mean, I knew this was going on but I guess I was in denial about how much it cost, etc. $99 a month for unlimited sessions… That’s a pretty good deal but how many families can afford an expense like that? It drives home the point that we are a highly stratified society in which the “haves” can shell out $40-$60 an hour or $99 a month for extra tutoring for their kids and the “have-nots” can’t even think of doing something like that. I’ve heard teachers get a pretty sweet deal occasionally when NCLB requirements have them tutor a kid after school and they pick up an extra $30 or so an hour for that.

It makes me wonder if offering free services like we do through our libraries are devalued. Not because they are of less quality, but because they are explicitly free and therefore are seen as having no value by parents who are used to seeing big price quotes. Maybe we look cheap or shabby? Must muse more on this subject.

Kelly’s portion of the SL presentation

Kelly tells us that there is a huge room for growth in-world. There are not very many libraries participating in TeenSL so we have opportunities that are worth checking out to provide services and expose the kids to this new technology.

Question from the audience on standards… teachers and librarians are all very concerned about how any activity fits into existing standards. Remarked that in the Midwest, not many teens are in-world. Linden Labs are v. careful with background checks for anyone over 18 who wants to be part of TSL.

We are in-world. Teens have created a machine that will convert their Linden dollars to pay off fines and fees! Sweet! Kelly is paying her fines right now in front of us… it converts USD to Linden. V. nice. She remarks that the teens are super inventive and they are able to invent and create in infinite variety. The fine and fee machine is just one example. She’s not sure how many kids from her library are online. Gets 2-3 requests a week for info on what they’re doing, but she doesn’t know if the’re following through. BlueWings Hayek = Kelly’s avatar in SL

Related: Eye4You Alliance blog.

Teens have many roles. Greeters, etc. The Eye4You logo is teen-created and has an eye in an open book 😉 lol!!! Kids from all over the world participate? Greece, UK, etc. One teen wants to see if TSL will help launch bands like MySpace did. Kelly’s super wrong – they are more than innovative, they are totally constructing their own reality here. V. teen centered.

This opens up the library to teach classes on scripting and other skills used in-world. Kelly says it creates new conversations that builds off web2.0 and other participatory culture. SL takes it all to another level by allowing contact and construction not available to them in RL.

Other resources from Kelly:
tinyurl.com/2sk6e3
tinyurl.com/23k2h5
tinyurl.com/2lma2g

Teen Services in Second Life

Finally… live blogging!!! Internet works in the regular sessions. Kelly Czarnecki and David Lee King are presenting.

David’s avatar actually looks like him. I’m jealous… He’s talking about how Jean Gardner from TSCPL was actually supposed to present, and how she got excited about the possibilities to reach teens through SL. They want to ultimately support teens and schools and educational goals… to support KS state standards in literature and technology. They hooked up with Hope Street Academy… hoped they would read a book and then create an environment that they read about. But they ran into some obstacles… Linden Labs (they people behind SL) haven’t billed them for their island or touched base with them. They did background checks with staff and 18+ participants. It took a lot of lead time to get everything set up and to get everyone trained, etc. Changes were afoot! They switched gears and then planned a new landscape for the school using SL as a modeling device.

Lessons learned: The classroom teachers need training and in-world experience beforehand. Same with the teens – they need to know the basics before going to the next level. One semester is not long enough for a project of this sort. They ultimately completed three projects, in got more than 20 kids exposed to the new world, and had 2 older kids open up main grid accounts… AND some were working on their SL outside of class, a major accomplishment in an alt school. So far: they have 65 teens complete the project, 2 SLMS’, and 5 middle and high schools wanting in on the action. They have gotten more interest in collaborating with other schools even out of the area! Hard to keep money straight as the banks in SL aren’t like banks in RL 😉 Lots of tech expertise needed to get it all straight on the computers.

It appears like this has been a great partnership with the schools thus far with lots of room to grow. An excellent outreach partnership that promises more progress and involvement. Next up: Kelly’s portion of the presentation where we go into TeenSL and see what’s going on.

Addl thoughts during Berger’s keynote

Michael Wesch’s Managing Information video. I just love it more each time I see it.

Epiphany during video: if we’re changing the power of hierarchy in a metaphorical sense, are we not also challenging the hierarchy and authority of the entire power structure of education? We are, more often, moving towards becoming facilitators of learning. It implies an active learner and a responsive facilitator of of learning. Learning is becoming more reciprocal – how will this mesh with a system that defines itself as a highly controlled atmosphere? What does this mean for the concept of in loco parentis? How is that even possible in a world of information that constantly changes? What should this mean for the textbook industry? For the whole industry of education (for it is an industry, make no mistake)? The future of learning may not even include PLACE as a concept. I have already seen teens in the library who are attending school virtually, and they have NOT chosen any physically local program in the area. They have used the internet, they have shopped around, and they have NO LOYALTY to locality. Which means we need to simultaneously give them a reason(s) to participate fully in the community in which they’re physically located.

DAY 2 – Pam Berger Keynote

Phoebe Bechir in SL – www.infosearcher.com

Learning and Literacy in a Digital World

Last night she went to animoto and made a music video-style presentation on yesterday’s session! Fun!

Internet as transformative technology. What is digital literacy? What does it mean to be a learner in a digital environment? What are some of the key survival skills learners need?

Native or immigrant? I was yes to 7 of 8 questions.
Y, Y, Y, N, Y, Y, Y, Y

Today’s student: They would answer 8 of 8

Tells a story about a modern-day student and how she uses technology in her life. Very integrated into all her life – connected 24/7. They’re collaborative. They share. They connect. The internet has become the computer. 55% of online teens have social profiles but only 20% of adults.

OMG – all I can think about is a class I took about the Bloomsbury group – EM Forster’s quote “only connect” seems to have actually happened! Musings on the anxiety of technological change on society…

Paul Gilster’s book Digital Literacy: 1997 “ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide variety of sources when presented via computers.” Kathleen Tyner’s book Literacy in a Digital World – two literacies: tool literacies and literacies of representation.

Ppl. Are required to use a growing variety of technical, cognitive and social skills… literacy advances the ability to effectively and creatively use and communicate information. But it’s always CHANGING.

We come to Web 2.0… now memory is less of an issue as the programs and platforms reside “on the web” – the idea of collective intelligence. Can get and create content. Web 2.0 characteristics: Interactivity, user participation, collective intelligence, self service, convergence of media.

Matches what we want to see in schools. Collaborative, active, independent learners. Indeed!

Graphic literacy: being able to “Read” graphical displays so that they can function at a high level – photo-visual literacy. Navigation next – need to construct knowledge from large quantities of non-linear information. A new sort of spatial orientation!

Kids 7-12 worked on the International Children’s Digital Library: designed the interface to orient the reader. The question of finding and presenting information stymied the adults. Kids voted to search for the color of the book too!

Students need to develop a sense of context so that they can use information in intelligent ways.

Focus: digital environments tend to fragment the attention. Encouraging reflection and deep thinking. Learning to organize information to facilitate quick retrieval. Tagging will encourage this process– folksonomy may be more personally relevant.

My observation: Tagging evolution follows this order: confusion/randomosity, epiphany, folksonomy. I want to incorporate this into the cyber 6 wiki!!!

Diigo is one of her favorites. She started a best practices web 2.0 tools tag

Confronting the Challenge of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century – Henry Jenkins is a must read.

Developing these new literacies requires passion on a personal level – and a ton of these skills are learned outside of the traditional school system. It’s not about web 2.0 – it’s about giving students the tools they need to learn. The services they need to make it happen – and the platform for Inquiry 2.0 = student learning.

New IST standards released at NECC: moving towards habits of mind rather than concrete skills: OERCommons.org

Wesch’s video

Just in case any new readers haven’t seen Michael Wesch’s videos… this is his latest and greatest. He’s a winner on many counts: from KSU, awesome thinker, and all about information.

Additional thoughts from Aaron’s presentation

Aaron’s presentation was really good, and I just thought of something I forgot in the last post. He referenced the recent articles on churches who are using Halo to draw in young men who would otherwise have no excuse to attend. And then he noted – surely SCHOOLS and PUB LIBS can use Halo and other “violent” games if churches are using them in this way. I think he has a point there… the number ONE game guys always ask me about is if we’re doing Halo tournaments. And then they get pretty much disinterested when I have to say “no, no Halo” and “no, you can’t bring your own controllers and games in..”

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