Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: notes

Hanging Out, Messing Around & Geeking Out: Genres of Participation in the New Media Ecology: Heather Horst, UC Humanities Research Institute, UC-Irvine



Major trends in new media for kids & young people:

–          Increasing accessibility of tools for digital production. Part of everyday life and taken for granted.

–          Distribute new media through networks: other people review and comment on their work

Kids often have 2 primary motivations for using digital media

  1. Friendship-driven participation (facebook, MySpace, IM, texts)
  2. Interest-driven participation (“hobbies” are important in deep, engaged learning)

Genres of Participation:  Kids move through these genres all the time.

  1. Hanging Out: a space that we know, really.   Social space.  Chat, etc.
  2. Messing Around: looking around for information. Experimentation and play (not necessarily serious). Learning about resources and different media ecologies.  Using new media for a specific purpose.  Trial and error; non-consequential use of new media.  *Know that the library has a space where you can access/create new media.
  3. Geeking Out: deep-dive into specialized interest or topic.  Development of expertise and credibility in a specific domain.  Use new media in the pursuit of specialized knowledge. Alternative models of status and credibility.  Bend or break social/technological rules in pursuit of interests.  Get feedback and recognition for work.

What can we do to create spaces that support the diverse modes of participation and the learning that happens within them?

YouMedia space in Chicago PL: http://vimeo.com/6384385


Notes on Joan Lippincott’s keynote

Nothing originally mine– these are just my notes from Joan Lippincott’s great presentation.

Joan K. Lippincott – Keynote Address   “Reorienting Libraries for Today’s Students”

There are many ways that students use library spaces: group study, quiet study, taking a break with video games or on a couch.  One student will have different needs at different times of day depending on coursework or social interaction.

What if we call students “learners” or “knowledge seekers” instead of “library users”?  There are students that are not currently library users.  We want to encourage all students to take advantage of the library services even if they haven’t been in the habit.  Informal learning space where active, engaged learning is taking place.

What if we focused on developing physical and virtual learning environments?  We know how to provide libraries; we mostly provide good library spaces for the books and traditional usage.  What we don’t necessarily have covered yet are “learning environments.”

Some faculty are re-orienting their thinking around teaching: from “teaching” to “learning.”  In a UMN Biology intro course, Professor Robin Wright assigns her lectures as homework.  Instead of sitting at a lecture, students watch them at home and come into a classroom with round tables, appropriate technologies, and they do “problem-based learning”—an entire reorientation of the common wisdom.

Problem-based learning for freshmen engineering students (Wendy Newstetter, Georgia Tech). Professor does not “cover content;” instead, students learn the practice of the discipline.

Traditional libraries are set up for knowledge seekers—now we need to reconfigure to accommodate knowledge creators too.  Provide environment for doing *and displaying* creative work as well.  Most students (even some Ph.D.s) will be outside academe in jobs where they will produce some kind of digital content every day.

Inviting learners to connect.  Inviting students to partner on information literacy materials.  Collaborate with students on library guides.  New type of engagement in curriculum: co-creators.  Students as open access advocates and partners.  Working with grad students as TAs for info literacy classes.

Revitalizing our facilities.  How to provide new collaborative learning spaces?  Practice presentation rooms, multimedia production areas, etc.  Can we promote a sense of the library as a cultural center?

Closing Keynote — Sarah Houghton-Jan

One of the main themes in this presentation was one I heard a lot throughout the conference — Experiment and Evaluate.

Sarah started by saying that public libraries have been working on a shoestring for a long time; with the budget crisis, many more libraries need to learn how to provide services with free or low-cost tools.

Library users today (Venn diagram)
– brick & mortar users (shrinking)
– dig lib users (growing)
– power users intersect both (growing)

Digital library usage is still very low per capita …Various reasons for low usage — in San Jose bandwidth problems present a barrier; people don’t want to wait for downloads.

Necessary library services (and how it’s done online):
*book and media
– ebooks : libraries should promote free ebook sites
– emusic, emovies, egaming, instructional videos — free and CC licensed
– digital special collections. scanner + wordpress = special collection

Concerns: DRM, formats, platforms, devices, ADA-compliance (many vendors – including OCLC – are not ADA-compliant. If it’s a concern for your community, you should test.)

*periodicals (free article sites & other resources work for undergraduate research) and ejournals (open access).
Concerns: DRM, formats, open access, sustainability of subscription model

*databases (free databases)
also: free language learning sites, free practice test sites etc.

*reference and research
Instant Messaging (AIM, Yahoo, MSN, GoogleTalk), web chat and widgets (meebo, plugoo), VOIP (Skype, AOL, video chats and  Twitter), free
text messaging (be careful not to get blocked by wireless carrier)
Concerns: staffing models, co-ops

*information literacy
screencasts: Wink, CamStudio
podcasts: Audacity, OurMedia
video class recordings: avidemux, YouTube, blip.tv
class websites: WordPressBlogger
live office hours: freeconferencecall (good regardless of equipment & bandwidth)
Concerns: use– will users even touch this?, learning models

free and low cost hardware on free after rebate

*special events
podcasts: Audacity, Ourmedia
vidcasts: Avidemux, YouTube or blip.tv
live webcasts: ustream.tv
event websites for comments and questions before and after — WordPress, Blogger, Google sites
Concerns: use, access

everyzing ($ based on hours/words you’re transcribing) audio & video to text
textaloud ($) text to audio eg class notes to podcast

*Marketing tools
social networks (FaceBook flyer — $10 = 5k FaceBook flyers to targeted audience )
event sites
concerns: going where your users go, where to distribute staff time

1) interacting
welcome comments on everything
respond quickly
respond like a human being
tools: google groups, google wave, WordPress PBworks

2) use cheap services
engaged patrons.org
have a contingency plan — be able to re-purpose equipment

3) free web hosting, statistics and web gadgets

tinypics, Google apps, WordPress, statcounter, bravenet, google analytics, gimp, yousendit, survey monkey, openphoto, programmable web, zoomerang
(there were a lot more — see slides)

4) use LibraryThing

5) Project planning is very important but we often don’t give enough attention to planning and following up.

tools: MS project, Excel table
What we most often fail to do is evaluate projects after they’re done. e.g. blogging — analyze usage
It’s better to move on than continue to spend money supporting a service that no one is using

6) Getting staff buy-in:
– Let staff know about the project early
– Ask staff for their input and use it
– Keep everyone informed at all stages
– Managers must consistently support the new project or service

7) Evaluate!
– survey users and staff 6 months after the launch. Simply ask: would you recommend this service to a friend? Why or why not?

Evaluate statistics
– how much time is being used?
– how much is the service being accessed?

Evaluate the library’s follow through
– has adequate marketing and training been done?

Different type of statistics for different type  of projects
– assess the usage you’re getting against how much money you’re putting into it
– analyze monthly usage

Evaluate results and then take the next step…

– continue service
– discontinue service
– extend pilot
– change aspect of the service
– do more promotion or training

“Failing to discontinue an unsuccessful service is failing”

8 ) Push for change
– Try new things
– Push administrators (they like 24/7 nature of web services, minmal staffing and cheap costs, highest ROI in library)

Rejoice in failures (it means you’re pushing boundaries)!

Regardless of what kind of library we work in, we democratize  information and expertise — and we should applaud ourselves for this.

contact info:

Sarah Houghton-Jan
web: LibrarianInBlack.net
email librarianinblack@gmail.com
im: LibrarianInBlack
skype: LibrarianInBlack
facebook: facebook.com/librarianinblack
twitter: twitter.com/TheLiB

A lesson learned at the LAUC-B October Conference

 I.  Lots to take in…

                I am still taking time to digest it all.  Going to the conference allowed me to become more aware–if I wasn’t already–about the attitudes, preferences and behaviors of current college students in the UC system. 

 II.  Interesting speakers, great findings…

                The afternoon panel discussions by Mary Linn Bergstrom and Susan Shepherd’s Undergraduate in a Science and Engineering Library; Char Booth’s Informing Innovation with Local User Research and Jeff Rosen and Thoreau Lovell’s Gaining a Foothold in Theirspace were excellent primers for what all the stuff I was going to miss.  For me, choosing one breakout session over the other was difficult because each of the presenter’s work had something juicy. 

For instance:

  • Rosen and Lovell’s philosophy of “small changes, big impacts” felt like such a sound practice.
  • Booth’s main message of utilizing user research and applying it to your own [college library] environment. And,
  • Bergstrom and Shepherd’s seemingly nuturing practices of a relaxed food and drink policy with smatterings of great candy and brainy-like Jenga games all seem to fit into a best practices model for catering to college students.  In essence, all of the presenters had solutions that were working

III.  Lesson learned:  I need time away from all this and I’m not like the generation ahead of me…

                In between drafting a blog about this and editing the pictures in my previous post, I really got the sense that people in younger generations are changing and adapting to different technologies.  It’s the thing we must continue to learn from them.  However, much can be learned from us.  At least, I come from this school of silent spaces.  You know spaces in libraries that are untouched by technology?  No wires, no whirring of hard drives and no streaming media dancing off screens.  I’m relieved that college libraries still have the “shuuuush” zones.  Although, maybe the practice isn’t shushing as it were in my undergrad days.

                Ironically, I read in the New York Times Magazine and interesting article on “self-binding” <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/magazine/25FOB-WWLN-t.html> in which Peggy Orenstein practices the non-use of Internet in order to find freedom (also a Mac program) from the hustle and bustle of banner ads, Google searches and unexpected trips to sordid videos on YouTube.  Refreshingly, she interviews Fred Stutzman–a grad student in information and library science–who “writ[es] at a café without Internet access,” but sadly fails when the café adopts wireless access.   Orenstein argues that the whole pursuit of information seeking online is akin to falling prey to a Siren’s song.

                For me?  My library and information science program increasingly demands that I hunt for relevant sources to do my projects and papers.  However, deliverables I produce are somtimes hinged on Internet searches by using a variety of search tools from Bing to Resfseek.  I even cull the restricted materials online at the King Library as much as I can.  Mostly, I use the library–the (quiet) books part of it–because lots of time can be sucked up from lack of online self-discipline.  So, instead of using a smart program like Mac’s Freedom, I have a more analog solution:  I use an egg timer (setting it to a targeted amount of time to find something online).  Once the alarm goes off, I jump on my yoga mat and do downward facing dog–holding the pose for several breaths until I get my sanity back.  Too bad you can’t check out a zazen pillow or a yoga mat at a library for a little piece of self-reflection before studies, right?

                I’ll close for now–my alarm just went off and it’s back on the mat for me.

Photo essay on and at the LAUC Berkeley Conference

To the right, were a clumping of bicycles you can faintly see under the arch.  However, I spent a chunk of my lunch time just watching the sun pour all the light it could on to this side of the bulding.
More details 
What can I say?  I really loved going to the campus–it’s almost like a separate retreat from the main campus.   I took the opportunity to snap as many pictures I could and then post what I thought gave the viewer a different light. 

Autumn tree, blue sky

Above.  Yes, a bit off in alignment, but appropriate.  I’d thought I’d catch this tree undergoing its transformation against the massive, bright, vibrant blue sky that didn’t seem at all affected by the season.

Opening Keynote

Joan Lippincott opened the conference by saying she was glad to be among an audience that is likely to act on the ideas discussed today — she thinks this because the UC librarians already are.

Describing her presentation as a way to provide a framework for the conference, she started with a series of questions:

“Who are today’s students and what do they want?”

  • one size does not fit all
  • we should consider lots of different environments as we reconfigure libraries; students have different needs at different times of day, for different kinds of coursework.

“Would it make a difference if we called these students learners/knowledge seekers instead of library users?”

We know plenty of students in our universities are not library users — we don’t want to shape services just for library users, but encourage all to take advantage of library services.”

“Would it make a difference if we focused on developing physical/virtual learning environments rather than libraries?  (We’re good at the book thing — need to focus on learning environments.) e.g. : photo of GIS workstation at NCSU learning commons.

Examples of active/engaged learning:

  • some faculty are reorienting from “teaching” to “learning”
  • At UMinn, biology professor Robin Wright assigns lectures as homework; classroom work is based on problem-based learning.

UM news article on Wright classroom

Wendy Newstetter at Georgia Tech sets up problem sets that include need to gather information, and sets up study rooms for duration of project.
Professor does not “cover” the content — the students learn the practice of the discipline.

“How can we translate this to libraries?”

Libraries are set up for knowledge seekers — now it should be an iterative/seamless process, therefore must reconfigure services AND spaces to enable creative work. It’s also good to display that work — let students / faculty see results of that work

Some results of “Project Tomorrow” survey work in California schools — that queried students/faculty/parents
67% h.s. students maintain a personal website
27% k-12 students say they create slideshows, webpages, and/or videos for assignments.

The Diagnosis Wenckebach video created by University of Alberta medical students and moodjam.org are  examples of students embracing this technology.

The library’s job is to encourage more of this in academic work.

Understanding our users:

  • students are connected (we don’t need to focus on supplying the technology) 98% students have computer / 82% have laptop
  • most students would choose to keep their mobile phone over all electronic devices
  • they share all kinds of information (how can we leverage that?)

The Beloit College Mindset identifies the experiences that have defined the lives of the students starting college each fall.

Most students today, even PhDs, will work outside academe and produce some kind of digital content every day.

46% think they’re very skilled & 33% think they are expert at searching information on the internet.

The MIT photo/diary study was a user needs assessment conducted in 2005-06. Findings included:

  • discovery/search need to be easier
  • embed trusted resources (social network of trust)
  • link to libraries from where the students are doing their work

What can librarians do?

  • Invite learners to connect
  • Make personal connections — students want to know who they’re working with (post pictures on web, Twitter, Facebook etc.)
  • Invite students to partner on info literacy materials
  • Work with faculy on rubrics
  • Deep engagement with faculty (UCBerkeley is doing this) about how faculty might use resources in curriculum.
  • Library sponsored contests (sparky awards for digital resources)
  • Provide services to increasingly mobile world — can we develop a cohesive strategy for mobile devices? (UVA does a good job of this.)
  • Address special needs of grad students  — tools:  specialized software, spaces for dissertation study groups, intellectual property issues.
  • SPARC — students can be advocates for Open Access
  • TA’s could co-teach literacy class
  • Revitalizing facilities — need to provide new collaborative learning spaces, whiteboards, flipcharts, colorful facilities, presentation rooms, new kinds of software, multimedia production areas.
  • Promote what we offer: Better signage, make services noticeable
    YouTube videos, UTenn movie night and blog

what do they want:

  • services that link them to content that they need in formats they prefer
  • assistance in becoming practitioners of their discipline and using tools they need and might not be able to afford
  • connections with librarians who are responsive

Post presentation question:
How can we let students know we’re doing these things to improve services?

  • focus groups, interviews
  • target specific groups of students
  • experiment: try things & measure success

Twitter hashtag

Planning on tweeting about the conference? We’ve designated #laucb09 as our hashtag — please add it to your messages so we can track the online discussion!