Breaking Down Barriers in Communication

CC image used courtesy of BookMama

When sharing or communicating information most of us take for granted how easy it is to see the content, hear the audio, or tell another person what we have learned. Most of us never give a second thought to how this simple act might affect people with disabilities trying to disseminate information or share content. Thankfully with advances in technology these limitations no longer pose the hurdles and roadblocks they once did.

Libraries have always been early adapters for this portion of the community to provide access for people with different abilities through assistive technology and staff interaction. The very basic and beginning services such as having a staff member who can communicate through ASL, Braille collections, Braille transcription services, special playback equipment for use with recorded cassettes, books and magazines on recorded cassettes, Audiobooks, descriptive videos (DVS) Large Print materials, Mail-A-Book programs, and request lists for library customers that are accepted by mail, phone, fax, and e-mail. for the homebound are great examples of this.

Technology has started to add to these existing services in ways that we could have only dreamed of 20 or even 2 years ago. Now we have screen readers like JAWS (Job Access With Speech) and the speech function on Gale (listen to an example). Efforts are being taken to create more services like Access Keys for the Omeka archives, creating screencasts, adding closed captioning to videos on Youtube and Vimeo, the use of image services like Flickr and Picasa, and even more innovative devices like the EyeWriter initiative.

Take the time to learn the resources that your library offers this portion of the community and expand upon them. Remember that is our duty to connect people with information and help them convey what they have learned no matter the medium.

21st Century Workers Require New Skills.

The constantly changing environment of information consumption, interpretation, and sharing is far more reaching into our lives than most think. It is no longer enough to master the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic (the three Rs) in order to advance in your education and career. We are moving into what some are calling the four Cs to become equipped for the workplace. Critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation are becoming even more important to organizations in the future according to a new survey conducted by American Management Association (AMA).

CC image used courtesy of wallyg

According to the AMA 2010 Critical Skills Survey, these skills and competencies are already priorities within their organizations for employee development. In all actuality, they said that employees are measured on these skills within their annual performance evaluations and are factored in during the hiring process. To help raise these levels companies are relying on one-on-one coaching and mentoring as ways to help advance employees’ skill sets, followed by professional development and training, in-house training, and job rotation.

Although at the moment management believe it is easier to develop these skills in students than it is to develop them in experienced workers , the report suggests that students and recent graduates are more open to new ideas, versus experienced workers with formed work patterns and habits.

This is why it is more important than ever to identify, acquire, and cultivate these abilities into your skill set. Not only to understand how to advance within work and education, but communicate in the rapidly evolving climate of information and understanding.

Libraries and Librarians as Sponsors of Transliteracy

This week I shared two presentations in which I outline how libraries can function as sponsors of transliteracy.  The first slidedeck was developed for a brief talk at Computers in Libraries 2010, and the second slidedeck is an expanded version delivered at a preconference session of the Alabama Library Association Annual Convention.  This resource page, while geared for the initial talk, also provides support for the second slidedeck.

Supporting Transliteracy in a High School Library

Please see slides 28-44 from Wendy Stephens, school librarian at Buckhorn High School in New Market, Alabama.  These slides represent how Stephens is nurturing, supporting, and privileging transliterate practices in her library, including a focus on:

  • how students can use texting as a means for discussing reading and books
  • how students can use a Facebook page to mashup their content creations, such as videos, to document their school projects and interests, such as drama
  • how you can use social media to support students experiences, including her students’ work in a local art show
  • a student’s use of Twitter for publishing her poetry (with a focus on haiku)
  • students using movie making tools and YouTube for creating and sharing documentaries of their research project
  • supporting and honoring one student’s efforts to self-publish his novel (which is available on Amazon!)
  • nurturing students reading, discussion, and writing/publication of fan fiction
  • encouragement of a student’s creation of fan art that was eventually included in a book and resulted in a dedication from the author of the book
  • students’ active participation in building the library collection

Using Jing to Grade Student Assignments

A recent post at Teach Paperless demonstrates the use of Jing to grade student assignments.

What would take 20 minutes to write out can be done in 5, allows a wider range of feedback and multi-media interaction with resources.

What a great idea! It is exciting to use the use of video and voice as feedback on written assignments.  I can see the applications for this in library instruction for staff, patrons and students.

Evernote for Every Literacy

Read Buffy Hamilton’s fulll post on supporting transliteracy with Evernote

Handbook of Research on Social Software and Developing Community Ontologies

Although full preview is not available, I believe enough of the chapter, “Transliteracy as a Unifying Perspective” is available to give a reader the essence of the full chapter text; you may access the chapter preview by clicking on the Google Book preview of Handbook of Research on Social Software and Developing Community Ontologies.

From the chapter abstract:

Transliteracy might provide a unifying perspective on what it means to be literate in the 21st Century. It is not a new behaviour but has been identified as a working concept since the internet generated new ways of thinking about human communication. This chapter defines transliteracy as “the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks” and opens the debate with examples from history, orality, philosophy, literature, ethnography and education. The authors invite responses, expansion, and development. See also http://www.transliteracy.com

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