What’s Possible with Transmedia – free webinar

If you’ve read any of my work or seen me talk, you know I’ve referenced Interactive Fiction projects like The Amanda Project and Skeleton Creek, so I’m very interested in attending this free webinar hosted by StoryWorld on Transmedia.

“They might be called cross-platform stories, transmedia projects, branded entertainment, or even alternate reality games, but, whatever you call them, at the heart of these new forms of entertainment is engagement across platforms. It’s hard to believe that the earliest “extended” experiences are now at least a decade old, and it can be difficult getting a handle on the full scope of what’s already come in the world of transmedia storytelling.”

Read more at DigitalBookWorld.com: What’s Possible with Transmedia: Case Studies in Successful Projects (WEBCast 7/27) | Digital Book Worldhttp://www.digitalbookworld.com/2011/what%e2%80%99s-possible-with-transmedia-case-studies-in-successful-projects-webcast-727/#ixzz1RwqU0WYZ

The webinar will be hosted by Michael Andersen, owner and senior editor at the Alternate Reality Gaming Network (ARGNet), and claims to lead attendees “through a tour of what’s possible with alternate reality games, cross-platform strategies, and transmedia storytelling.” This seems to be worth checking out for those of us who work in public libraries. And hey, it’s free – what have you got to lose?

The StoryWorld Conference + Expo is in San Francisco from October 31 – November 2, 2011 is not free, but sure does sound interesting!

“Be part of the first major gathering of industry leaders to come together for the purpose of exploring new business models, partnering across media boundaries, and building new revenue streams by changing the way consumers experience narrative.”

Wonder how many libraries or librarians will participate?

Posted in Education, Transliteracy, Webinars. Comments Off

Ideas for Incorporating Transliteracy in the Classroom

from Horia Varlan on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

One of the frequent questions I’ve encountered from academic library instructors goes something like this: “Transliteracy sounds like an interesting concept, but how do I use it in my library instruction sessions?” It’s a very good question; how can transliteracy inform the typical one-shot library instruction class? I’ll be addressing this issue at LOEX in a few weeks, so I can’t give away the answer just yet. But, in the meantime, I’d like to point out a recent article that provides substantive, practical, and engaging classroom techniques founded in transliteracy.

The word ‘transliteracy’ does not appear anywhere within Greg Bobish’s recent contribution to the Journal of Academic Librarianship. His article, “Participation and Pedagogy: Connecting the Social Web to ACRL Learning Outcomes,” is directed at effective methods for incorporating social media into the traditional library instruction session. Importantly, he makes the case that “instruction designed to take advantage of [Web 2.0] tools’ capabilities on their own terms,  however, will prepare students to directly apply information literacy skills as these technologies are increasingly encountered in daily life” (p. 55). Put another way, incorporating social media into the library instruction curriculum can add a familiar, effective, and transferable skill-set for addressing the critical ACRL Information Literacy Standards. As Bobish concludes his article, social media and related technologies

present a golden opportunity, not generally available previously, for students to see the real world relevance of the skills that they learn through information literacy instruction and to learn how information is created and shared by doing it themselves rather than hearing about it. (p. 63)

Yet, though he does not directly address transliteracy, his approach is an excellent example of transliteracy in practice. Transliteracy is all about the ability to move across competing literacies, and one way to address this in instruction is to emphasize cross-platform (or “multimodal”) research skills. That is, we need to teach skills and concepts that are transferable between radically different media. So, rather than treat library instruction as a class on “library skills” we can address information literacy more broadly, divorced from any particular information source. Bobish’s article reinforces this need for transferable information literacy instruction, insofar as he provides great examples for classroom activities that engage the students on their own information turf (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), yet still teach the kinds of skills that are needed in academic research.

Best of all, Bobish suggests an activity for each and every performance indicator in the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards. For example, to meet the performance indicator I.1.e (the student identifies key-concepts and terms that describe the information need), we might have students run blog-posts, articles, or wiki-pages through Wordle to find the best keywords. To meet  performance indicator II.2.c (selects controlled vocabulary specific to the discipline or information retrieval source), we might use social bookmarking sites like Delicious or CiteULike as a parallel to subject headings. In total, there are 87 suggested activities for using social media to teach information literacy skills in the library classroom.

Of course, not all of the selected activities are going to work in your library instruction program. Many of them require a level of interaction that is difficult to achieve in the traditional one-shot library session. Several of them require some reworking to address possible FERPA concerns. Others can be met using different social media. But, at the very least, the ideas presented can be helpful if you are trying to figure out new and engaging ways to address information literacy competencies that transfer across multiple literacies. As an earlier review on Ink and Vellum sums it up, Bobish’s article “takes a step beyond simply using Web 2.0 for its entertainment value (or just because we can) and asks students to question the platforms they use daily to communicate information, both personal and professional.” In other words: it’s one way to answer how we can teach transliteracy in the classroom.

Recommended Reading: Bobish, Greg. “Participation and Pedagogy: Connecting the Social Web to ACRL Learning Outcomes.” Journal of Academic Librarianship, 37, no. 1 (2011): 54-63.

Posted in Education, Information Literacy. Tags: . Comments Off

Knowledgeable to Knowledge-ABLE

I finally had a chance to watch Michael Wesch’s new TEDxKC talk (October, 2010).

When I went to find the code for the video, I came across this article he wrote on the same subject here in the Academic Commons.

This new media environment can be enormously disruptive to our current teaching methods and philosophies. As we increasingly move toward an environment of instant and infinite information, it becomes less important for students to know, memorize, or recall information, and more important for them to be able to find, sort, analyze, share, discuss, critique, and create information. They need to move from being simply knowledgeable to being knowledge-able.

His argument that we need to be able to find, sort, analyze and even create new information in a new media landscape is perfectly in line with the principles of Transliteracy, but the section I was most struck by was around 6:30 when he talks about students seeking meaning in their lives. Near the end he states, “meaning is not just something you find, but ultimately something you create.” As someone also working with young people, I know he’s absolutely right and I find myself thinking more about context.

Knowledge Ability changes over time, based on the communication environment they are in.

Media are not just tools, they mediate relationships and allow us to connect with each other. When media change, our relationships change. Does that sound familiar to anyone who read Transliteracy: Crossing Divides?

The literacies (digital, numerate, oral) may be different, but the transliteracies (social, economic, political) often transect them in similar ways, depending on cultural context.

Wesch says learning is not a one-way conversation anymore – I say neither is librarianship! The old model with youth was “sit-down, be quiet and take in what I tell/give you.” We need to find ways to transform the one-way into two-way conversations.

But here is my great challenge as a children’s librarian in a public library. How do I help teach this in my informal learning environment? How can I help students learn outside the classroom? Wesch’s quote from Neil Postman, “You will do nothing” is not an option for public librarians!

So, what AM I doing? I’m going to do a quick self-audit of Wesch’s criteria to make young people knowledge-able:

  • Connect – We bring together students from across the district with shared interests through our programs and with their friends in the physical space. We’re working toward making our website/catalog (SOPAC) to become a social space where members can connect with each other through the site.
  • Organize – I don’t think I’m doing much of anything to help them organize.
  • Share – Our kids and teens have a voice. They can write comments on the website, write reviews in the catalog and I work hard to hire staff that listens and encourages the kids to share their stories and ideas.
  • Collect – I guess we help kids collect their research, but most often kids come in when they’ve finished their web research and the teacher is making them use a book. The nature of our work as Librarians allows us ample opportunity to collect resources and make them available, but I don’t see us having much of a role in our patrons experience of collecting anything.
  • Collaborate – Staff collaborates all the time using tools like google docs (I have introduced staff in other departments to these tools too) to plan summer reading programs, big events or preparing resource lists. Our Teen and  Kids Advisory Boards collaborate to plan events and collaborate with staff, and sometimes they may work together on a game or craft, but nothing I can identify as an organized effort in our department.
  • Publish – We are experimenting with an elementary school class to digitally publish their personal narratives and make them available on the library’s website. Close, but an unfinished project. Some of us try to “publish” content the kids and teens make in programs, but there isn’t much more I see us doing to publish kids’ creations at the moment. I see lots of potential in this area for public librarians.

Sadly, this makes me realize I am doing a better job of providing this structure for my staff than I am for my patrons. The places I see this type of work happening in a public library are through programming and through our Reference/Reader’s Adivsory with the public. I guess I need to think about those services with an eye toward this concept.

I will take his statement to heart and continue to keep this in my mind:

Knowledge-ability is a practice

I shall practice making more opportunities for my patrons that’s for sure!

New Learners of the 21st Century

Though transliteracy isn’t just about the digital world, there is no denying that the rapid changes that occur as we enter the digital millennium are driving a big part of the research into transliteracy. To that end, I’m really looking forward to the upcoming PBS documentary Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century. You may have already marked it on your calendars but, in case you haven’t, the documentary airs Sunday, February 13, at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Whether this documentary adds anything new or just rehashes the same-old, same-old, I’m curious to see what people think. Click the image below for a short preview…

Posted in Digital Literacy, Education, Videos. Tags: . Comments Off

Why transliteracy?

I think I’ll back off the technical writing from the previous post and go from the gut in response to a common concern that keeps on cropping up in the general discussion about transliteracy. David Rothman frames the issue this way:

I can’t find anything on Libraries and Transliteracy that makes a compelling case for why the word should matter to librarians or what it means to you all aside from the need for libraries to be active in working with patrons in the use of new technologies (which is right, good, and almost universally agreed-upon without the need for the word ‘transliteracy’).

I can’t speak for everyone at Libraries and Transliteracy, but I can at least give a justification for why I am interested in transliteracy and why I think it is an important concept for librarians.

Read the rest of this entry »

Information is Always Evolving

The video below was made in 2007, the same year the term Transliteracy was coined by Production and Research in Transliteracy (PART).  It was created by Dr. Michael Wesch to show the way we find, house, and share information was changing.

Now in 2010, the video and its content are still relevant  This video really shows how the transliterate individual can do so much with the access to information we now have.  In addition to this, the video shows a clear need to educate people on how to transverse this now limitless sea of information. I think that this is where Participatory Librarianship and Transliteracy go hand in hand.  We need to understand how to help or patrons, students, friends, family, and colleagues become cognizant and comfortable with the tools they will need to communicate and collaborate with others.

Visual Learning and Mind Mapping


Visual Learning & Mind Mapping was created and originally presented by Roger Hannon and Kaitlyn Mesley of Adult Learning Centres Grey-Bruce-Georgian for Transliteracy Conference 2010 in Owen Sound, Ontario. These videos give you a great visual representation of mind mapping, immersive learning, and how we are primarily visual learners. They also go into explaining how to use Power Point and mental models to educate adult learners.

These presentations will give you some great tools and ideas for your adult technology/non-technology programs and help you understand how they learn and retain information.

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