#1 Learning about Learning 2.0

Learning about the ‘Learning 2.0 Program” turned out to take much longer than I had originally planned.  The original programme by PLCM took place in 2006 so I thought I’d have a look at some of the programmes that have happened since and what the most common changes were.  The original 23 things are available on the Learning 2.0 Blog and participants were given 9 weeks to complete them.  Although this seems like a mammoth task, not all of the 23 things involved learning and using something completely new.  Each week had a theme and sometimes one of the things was simply discovering the new tool and having a play.  Participants were required to set up a blog and record their progress on the blog and often the ‘thing’ involved posting their thoughts or uploading something they had found.  The key idea is that this is learning not training and that learning should be fun.  It’s not about finding the correct answer but exploring a new idea or tool and thinking about how it might be useful.  Obviously this is the sort of learning that some people love and others hate – a marmite style perhaps?

To look at how the programme had developed I headed over to the full list of learning 2.0 libraries on delicious and had a look at just some of the 265 libraries who have registered.  Many of the basic tools appear throughout, Bloglines is popular even in later programmes probably because it is so easy to produce a public view to share feeds although Google Reader is often mentioned as an alternative.  What surprised me was how much some libraries packed into the programme.  Introducing 2 or 3 new tools a week may not sound too bad if you’re already the sort of person who enjoys playing and exploring online but if you have never looked at blog before, only have 30 mins a week at work and don’t have a computer at home I can see how you would soon be overwhelmed.  Orange County Library System offered different levels of learning – eXplore activities for each week which were mandatory for anyone who wanted the completion prize and then additional Adventure activities which were optional and rated according to difficulty.  The Orange County programme also covers topics such as music copyright and creative commons and has obviously been designed to appeal to frontline public library staff but I’d be interested to know how much time they expected each topic to take.

Wake County Public Library ran their programme over 9 weeks but only included 13 things and although participants were told how to create a blog they only had to leave comments each week to qualify for a chance to win a prize.  This programme had a more relaxed feel to it and it was made very clear what people needed to do ‘for credit’ as opposed to optional exploration.

Apparently I’ve chosen a good time to look at the Learning 2.0 idea.  The latest issue of Library & Information Update (December 2008) appeared in my letterbox today and on page 6 I discovered an article about Lewisham Libraries and their Library 2.0 training!  Unfortunately the article is only available to CILIP members but the Lewisham Web 2.0 Blog and Lewisham Web 2.0 Wiki are publicly available.  In addition Lewisham have a presence on Facebook and MySpace, images on Picasa and even a YouTube channel!  The article mentions that the team chose to provide more support for learners after hearing about low completion rates for some 23 Things courses and they are offering 1.5 hour training sessions on a variety of topics.  I loved the quote from Information & Heritage Manager Julie Hall “Staff are eager to learn and want to develop Web 2.0 skills, but need support.  Start small, keep it practical and let people go at their own speed and don’t be surprised when they come up with better ideas than you have on how you can use Web 2.0 in your service.”  The best part is that this isn’t just being seen as an isolated training programme.  Julie mentions the idea of Library 2.0 champions drawn from staff across the service and developing ongoing projects.  Hmmm, wonder if I could commute to Lewisham…

So how do I decide what my 23 Things are?  I’ve decided to follow the themes of the original programme and refer to a couple of other programmes for activities.  I’ve started a ‘Life List’ on 43 things and number 1… is done!

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Starting afresh with 23 Things

It’s been a while folks but I’m back!  Please take as read the usual list of excuses and distractions that have kept me away, it would be a boring list and I don’t want to be responsible for anyone falling asleep at work…

To get back into the swing of posting I’ve set myself a little challenge.  If you read a lot of library related blogs you’ve probably heard of 23 Things or the Learning 2.0 programme.  For anyone in the dark, the original “Learning 2.0 Program” was a learning program for staff working at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County which was such a fantastic idea that it caught the imaginations of library people around the world.  According to the original site over 250 libraries and organisations worldwide have now duplicated the programme.  Much more information on the Learning 2.0 blog

I’d love to try doing something like this at work for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, the ideas and online tools covered are those rarely covered in any formal training for library staff but frequently used and mentioned by readers and library managers alike.  Secondly, the focus is on learning through playing then reflecting on what has been learned and sharing those reflections with others via a blog.  What’s not to love??

Looking at the original list of 23 things I think I’ve already tried most of the sites and tools mentioned.  So for me this will be more an opportunity to reflect on which worked for me and how I use them personally as well as highlighting some of my favourite library sites.

Finally, I had a look at the list of libraries worldwide to see if anyone in the UK had registered a programme.
Imperial College London Library appear to be the only UK library listed so I’d love to hear if there are any others…

Interlend08 – Keynote Speaker

These are my rough notes on the first speaker of the conference, hopefully we will be able to load the powerpoint onto the website and I’ll add the link once it’s available.  Apologies if they make no sense!

Derek Law, University of Strathclyde

ILL has been an extraordinary feat – moving books from one country to another is a feat of diplomacy but that is the past

Failures of libraries: making technology work too well, keeping our hard work secret and making the job appear too easy.  Delivering materials without any branding to show that the library was involved in the discovery and delivery eg articles delivered to reader with no library branding

An obsession with licenses and digital oddities – building cabinets of curiosities rather coherent  bodies of collections

Referred to the OCLC College Students’ Perceptions report ; the Great Expectations report (JISC) ; the CIBER report (UCL)

Trust metrics have a new significance – cam.ac.uk can involve something published by Cambridge University Press or by Cambridge Students’ Union.  Librarians have a role in applying trust metrics. Students believe that the Google brand equals quality

Nintendo over logic – a new learning style of trial and error.  Computer games have a learning process of trial and error rather than learned logic.  Digital natives and digital immigrants.  Digital overlap strategy (keeping your fingers crossed!)  🙂

A-literacy not illiteracy but choosing not to read and write.

Prensky 2001 – digital content, legacy content and future content.  We need to address future content! See http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/default.asp for Digital Natives, Digitial Immigrants article

Too focussed on content produced by publishers rather than material produced by people eg wikis, blogs, podcasts, research data, streamed lectures, images and email

Quoted Mike McGrath

Digital asset management needs to be happening and we should be doing the management!

There will always be a need for human intervention in organising and storing material but are we choosing the wrong material??  (Legacy content vs future content)

Document supply librarians are becoming searchers and finders rather than fetchers and carriers

Interlend Day 1

I think this wins the prize for post written in beautiful place!  I’m at Interlend 2008 which is taking place at Peebles in the Scottish borders and the hotel has a fantastic view across trees with the hills in the background… expect some Flickr pictures to follow.

Although today is the first day of the conference, some of the committee arrived yesterday for the preparation which mainly involved collating papers and stuffing conference packs.  We may have worried some tourists in the process as our packing involved laying the papers out on a round table and then walking around the table to collate.  From the car park all you could see was four people walking round and round with various pieces of paper in their hands, a new version of Morris dancing maybe??  At one point we did stop and wave to the bemused man standing and watching us, he didn’t wave back but he did leave rather swiftly…

I’ll be covering the conference over on the Interlend blog but will probably summarise here as well so if you’re interested in interlibrary loan and document delivery, stay tuned

RSS feeds into email

Thanks to David Lee King I’ve found out how to offer email notifications for my blog! Obviously RSS is great and I love my feed readers but it’s not always the best way to communicate with people who have only just worked out how to send an email. People reading this blog may not come into that category but as more libraries start using blogs to share library news and alerts it is useful to offer more than one way for people to subscribe to that information. We had a lot of people sign up for email notifications for our conference wiki, probably because email is a familiar tool and not too scary. Being able to offer RSS feeds and email notifications makes me feel much more comfortable about suggesting that we offer our conference news in a blog format in future, yes I’ll post about feed readers and promote them at the conference but people who want to stick to email won’t be left out.

I used Feedburner to set up my email notifications (free service) and have added the subscribe link underneath the RSS option using a widget.  (FeedBlitz appears to offer a similar service.)  Feedburner also appears to offer a pretty comprehensive stats service and there are some other interesting options mentioned such as mobile versions of feeds and a BuzzBoost option for displaying feed content on other sites.

Conference wiki update

I’m rather aware that this blog has been neglected over the last couple of months. This is partly due to personal reasons and partly due to the fact that our FIL* conference is fast approaching and there’s been a lot of organising to do! As mentioned previously we’ve experimented this year by using a wiki to plan the conference. First it was restricted to the committee and then, once we’d got some pages up and running, it was opened up to all FIL members and advertised on our mailing list and website. The aim of the wiki was really to help the conference committee keep track of the planning and make sure that there was one place where we could always find things like the most up to date version of the programme and the latest to do list. Once we opened it up, the wiki became a useful place to direct anyone who wanted to find out more about the planned programme and invited speakers without needing to upload a word or PDF version to the official website every week.

So far… as of today we have 112 email addresses receiving notifications of changes to the wiki and since putting a site counter on the front page about 6 weeks ago we have had 240 visits. Considering that we expect about 60 delegates to the actual conference I’ve been quite astonished by the takeup. Unfortunately we didn’t really build evaluation into the initial idea and so the site counter was only added a few months after the wiki was launched. We’ve also kept the wiki private so far although the ‘invite key’ (password) is clearly shown on our website and was included in the mailing list information.

The email notifications have caused some problems as we went for a free account and put all the information on one wiki, including our planning lists and notes. This means that even though the committee pages were not linked from the home page, delegates were getting email notifications that didn’t really have any relevance to them, such as which committee members were going to help put the conference packs together! As the wiki was set as private the RSS feeds were disabled so the email notifications were the only way for people to keep up to date and this may not have been the best option. As an alternative I created an Interlend blog at the beginning of May and incorporated it into the wiki as a ‘news’ page so that anyone who wanted the important updates could subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed instead but I have no idea whether anyone is actually reading it at the moment! We are also considering creating a separate ‘planning’ wiki to keep hidden the information that is only of interest to the planning committee.

I’m really looking forward to chatting to people at the conference about our web 2.0 experiments and asking for feedback that we can use to plan for next year. At the very least, it should have increased the number of delegates who can say they know what a wiki is!

Further evaluation once the votes are in…

*FIL – Forum for Interlending and Information Delivery – http://www.cilip.org.uk/fil

Self issue for kids


Self checkout for kids

Originally uploaded by Andrea Mercado

I love this idea! Children are always intrigued by what we do when we issue (checkout) books at the library and I imagine they’d be delighted to be able to do it themselves. It’s such a simple idea but so effective.