The Future is in Your Hand

CC Image used courtesy of K!T

[tweetmeme source=”Strng_Dichotomy” only_single=false]When you look at your phone so much more than calling comes to mind.  You can record tasks that you need to accomplish within the day, record voice memos, listen to music or audio books during your commute or at the gym, respond to email, get directions, and update your social media accounts. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

For most of us smartphones have become indispensable in how we communicate, consume, and connect with information and people. But guess what, it’s not happening through voice calls.  Recently CTIA, the wireless industry association released that the average number of voice minutes per U.S. user has fallen for the last two years, and that the average time taken for local calls was just 1.81 minutes in 2009, versus 2.27 in 2008. It  shows that the number of text messages sent by the average U.S. user spiked 50% in 2009 from the previous year. What this says to me is that the mobile future is here, but is your library ready for it?

With this change, your services should also to be accessible. You can do this in a number of ways. You can do this by having a mobile interface which is especially designed for viewing on mobile devices or just have a mobile OPAC. Here is an example from the Auburn University Library in Auburn, AL. Some libraries have taken it a step further and created mobile applications through iTunes that do everything from searching the catalog, to your hours, locations, and directions to branches via Google Maps like the District of Columbia Public Library. Others are creating mobile library tours where patrons can either download video or audio to their mobile device or library loaned equipment. The best part is some of these are in different languages.

Another avenue is SMS (short message service). Through this you can see if the book you requested is available, get due date reminders, request a loan, renew your materials, get your fines, check the availability of a book, hours of the library, alerts to programs, and reference services. Lastly, you can have mobile collections through services like Overdrive via their Apple or Droid applications, instruction through podcasts, and language services.

To remain relevant in this mobile age you need to try and have at least one if not all of these services depending upon your location, size of population served, and patron technology level. The future is in your hand, it’s your choice to respond.

Scholars’ Use of Digital Media

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The Chronicle of Higher Education summarizes an interesting study by Ithaka which surveyed how academic faculty use various digital media. The study focuses on three areas:

  • how faculty members use and perceive their campus libraries
  • how they are handling the print-to-digital shift in scholarly work
  • how much they have or have not changed their professional habits in an increasingly electronic environment

Many of the findings will probably not be very surprising to academic librarians. Scholars are less likely to begin their research at the library (physically) or at a library catalog. They have a preference for access to electronic journals rather than print; however, they have been slow to adopt e-book readers. Scholars put more faith in traditional publishing avenues rather than in open-access journals.

The full report can be found here.

Howard Rheingold on Social Media, Participative Pedagogy, and Digital Literacies

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I heard Howard Rheingold speak for the first time at Internet Librarian 2008. I wasn’t in Ohio for the CollabTech Summit his talk on Social Media, Particpative Pedagogy and Digital Literacies but thanks to the Internet and YouTube I can watch it now and so can you.

It is well worth the hour, go get a beverage and pen & paper for note taking and start watching.

Helping Educators Learn About New Media Practices

Although the book,  Teaching Tech-Savvy Kids Bringing Digital Media Into the Classroom, Grades 5-12, highlighted in these  interviews by Henry Jenkins with author Jessica Parker and additional contributors is geared toward educators, the conversations and content are also applicable to librarians who work with youth in a public or school library setting.   You can read both Part 1 and Part 2 of Henry Jenkins’ interview on his blog, Confessions of an Aca-Fan. Here is a short excerpt from Part 1 of the interview:

With regard to new media practices making youth less literate, it’s a version of an old argument that surfaces every time there’s a new wave of practice. Each new wave of media practices encounters resistance. Literary scholar, Nina Baym (2006), chronicles magazine and journal articles from the early 1800’s in which editors asserted the need for reviewers to exercise surveillance and provide direction to the newly literate masses who had taken up the habit of reading fiction. Novels were dangerous! There was a similar kind of backlash in response to comic books. If anyone had taken that criticism seriously we would never have the incredible array of graphic novels we enjoy today.

As Henry Jenkins has pointed out, the critical change in the latest of the new literacies is that of convergence. The problem with “either/or” thinking with regard to traditional and digital literacy is that it fails to capture the experiences of youth. The child who is reading a novel from a traditional text, or listening to it on her ipod, downloading it onto her e-book, and visiting a website where she can play a game as a character from the book, participate in a forum discussion, and answer challenge questions, is transforming the practices of reading and writing. The sad fact is that she is not allowed to bring her e-book to school, even though some of her classmates wear outfits that cost more than her Kindle. She only sees a computer when her teacher beats out the thirty other teachers attempting to sign-up for the school’s only computer lab on Wednesday, after lunch. Though at home she rarely writes with a pen, during the school day it is the only tool she is allowed to use in most of her classes. Even her cell phone must be kept in her locker or it will be confiscated.

Chapters in the book include:

1. Understanding Youth and New Media

2. Hanging Out With Friends: MySpace, Facebook and Other Networked Publics

3. YouTube: Creating, Connecting and Learning Through Video

4. Wikipedia: The Online Encyclopedia Based on Collaborative Knowledge

5. Role Playing: Writing and Performing Beyond the Classroom

6. Virtual Worlds: Designing, Playing and Learning

7. Remix Culture: Digital Music and Video Remix, Opportunities for Creative

8. Conclusion

You can also join the website/social network  for the book for supporting content and discussions related to the themes of the text:

Partnership for 21st Century Skills: Teaching 21st Century Learners

[tweetmeme source=”librarianbyday” only_single=false]In this Pearson Foundation video, “Teaching Teachers to Teach 21st Century Learners,” we hear from various leaders from the worlds of business and education as they discuss the importance of 21st century learning.

This shift will be regarded as threatening by some, it will be viewed a hostile act by some but it will be absolutely necessary to include in order to make schools and education relevant to the future.

Society is going to force us to change, whether we want to or not, society is gonna force us to change.

From the Partnership for 21st Century Skills

via My Island View

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