PaLA Northeast Chapter That Camp Presentation

As I mentioned elsewhere a couple of weeks ago, I returned to presenting after a brief hiatus due to changing jobs and relocating. I was fortunate enough to be asked by the Northeast Chapter of the Pennsylvania Library Association to give the keynote at their spring workshop. I provided an overview of Transliteracy and you can view my presentation below or on my Slideshare:

Transliteracy at ALA Annual 2011

The American Library Association’s Annual Conference in New Orleans is just a couple of months away and transliteracy topics will be well represented.

Two sessions about transliteracy will be held on Saturday, June 26th.

Why Transliteracy?
1:30 – 3:30
Convention Center – Rm 278-282

The skills needed to be an active participant in today’s society are rapidly evolving. Literacy is changing, more is needed than the ability to read and write. This session will explore the theoretical aspects of transliteracy, explaining why it is important and how it is tied to libraries. We will look at transliteracy from the varying perspectives caused by serving different populations including schools, universities and the public.

Bobbi Newman
Librarian by Day

Tom Ipri
Head of Media and Computer Services
Lied Library, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Lane Wilkinson
Reference and Instruction Librarian
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Brian Hulsey
Serials/Electronic Resources Coordinator
Simon Schwob Memorial Library, Columbus State University

Gretchen Caserotti
Children and Teen Services
Darien Public Library

Working Toward Transliteracy
4:00 – 5:30
Convention Center – Rm 278-282

Transliteracy is 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.  This session looks at the practical aspects of what we can do to help our patrons become transliterate citizens, including real world examples from academic, public and school libraries.

Matt Hamilton
Tech Manager
Anythink

Lilly Ramin
Instructional Technologies Librarian
University of North Texas

Jamie Hollier
Project Coordinator for Public Computer Center
Colorado State Library

Richard Kong
Information Services Manager
Arlington Heights Memorial Library

Amy Mather
Librarian
Omaha Public Libarary

An open meeting of the Library and Technology Association’s Transliteracy Interest Group will meet on Monday, June 27th at 1:30. Convention Center – Rm 340. This will be a general discussion about current trends and thoughts about transliteracy. Bobbi Newman will be rotating off as chair and Tom Ipri, the current vice chair will be taking her place, which means the IG is looking for volunteers to be the next vice chair. Chairs and vice chairs must be members of LITA.

Posted in ALA. Comments Off on Transliteracy at ALA Annual 2011

Visual Literacy Standards Update

A few weeks ago, Bobbi posted about the new ACRL/IRIG Visual Literacy Standards. Since then, the group has systematically posted each standard (with more to come) looking for feedback until the end of the month.

You can go to their site to read the standards and comment on the development of these standards:

 

Posted in Standards, Visual Literacy. Comments Off on Visual Literacy Standards Update

Social Media and the End of Gender

In her Ted talk, Social Media and the End of Gender, Johanna Blakley, the Deputy Director of the Norman Lear Center, does not so much predict the end of gender but more so the end of media created stereotypes of gender. She believes that social media will “free us from absurd assumptions about gender.” She believes this change is possible because social media transcends the old demographics that media corporations use to sell culture back to us. Through social media, people aggregate according to interests and values rather than overly general categories of age and gender. She points out that, worldwide, women outnumber men in use of social media technology, which could drive a change in the media landscape.

What’s interesting for our discussion is her analysis of how companies are beginning to look at how individuals use social media and the recognition that old media types are being reconsidered in light of how people interact with it. Most importantly, she describes a major culture shift in which members of social media groups, because they aggregate around tastes and interests, no longer needing the help of a media company to navigate the ways in which they spend their time and money.

Part of the definition of transliteracy put forth by Sue Thomas, et al, includes a very similar concept:

The literacies (digital, numerate, oral) may be different, but the transliteracies (social, economic, political) often transect them in similar ways, depending on cultural context. For example,  in recent years we have begun to switch from searching for information in encyclopedias, indices and catalogues to querying the kinds of data collections that existed before books–that is to say, we are asking each other.

In other words: “knowledge networks are inherently people-to-people.”

What Blakley’s talk also gets at is the notion that Thomas, et al, develop based on the ideas of Bernard Stiegler. Stiegler proffered that discussions of technology are “polarized between anxiety and euphoria” and that his response is a refusal “to distance technology from life; and to suggest that human individuation and technology have always had a transductive relationship.”

Social media, as Blakley describes, allows technology to return some level of human individuation. Although media companies still monitor user behavior, they can do so in a more respectful way because they are monitoring actual interests and values and not just making assumptions based on broad demographic categories.

Libraries use social media mainly to promote collections and services, but they can also use social media to aggregate students by meaningful categories, such as research interests, rather than overly broad categories like “millennials,” which may do more of a disservice to students by not exploring a more insightful understanding of their interests and values.

Collaborative Consumption

One thing which excites me about Transliteracy is, because of its newness, the skills involved are not well-defined. It seems like many people interested in the topic have an “I know it when I see it” approach to identifying skills and these skew toward computer-related skills, which is entirely legitimate since the need to be transliterate most obviously manifests itself when confronted with a new technology. Of course, Transliteracy involves a whole swath of cognitive skills that transcend navigating new technology.

One factor that suddenly seems, to me, so essential to Transliteracy, and not, perhaps, a skill per se, is the issue of trust. This insight dawned on me while watching Rachel Botsman’s TED presentation. Because Transliteracy often concerns itself with social media, the development of trust becomes very important. To a certain extent, trust is a teachable skill and librarians invest a great deal of effort in instilling notions of trust. How do we trust that a web site is reliable? But beyond that, individuals need to learn how and when other individuals are trustworthy. In a way, this notion of trust seems an obvious component of Transliteracy, but it only recently dawned on me how essential it is to our discussion.

Watch what Botsman has to say about trust. Does it seem like trust is an important element of our conversation? How teachable is trust? Can the level of trust she talks about be taught or are we relying on a cultural shift?

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

Matt Richtell, in his New York Times article, “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction,” raises the concern that computers and smart phones pose “a profound new challenge to focusing and learning.” He opens with the story of Vishal Singh, a seventeen-year-old high school student who prefers YouTube to books because, as he says, “A book takes so long. I prefer the immediate gratification.” Richtell paints the usual portrait of students too distracted to succeed in school, but he also raises many poignant issues.

He writes that

even as some parents and educators express unease about students’ digital diets, they are intensifying efforts to use technology in the classroom, seeing it as a way to connect with students and give them essential skills. Across the country, schools are equipping themselves with computers, Internet access and mobile devices so they can teach on the students’ technological territory.

Richtell does not portray technology as an evil but as a tool that can be harnessed for educational purposes and relates many of the complex tensions that arise between traditional ideas of education and more recent thoughts which attempt to utilize newer technologies.

The article also looks at some of the science behind distractions, pointing to various research, including this finding that was published in the journal Pediatrics:

The researchers looked at how the use of these media affected the boys’ brainwave patterns while sleeping and their ability to remember their homework in the subsequent days. They found that playing video games led to markedly lower sleep quality than watching TV, and also led to a “significant decline” in the boys’ ability to remember vocabulary words.

The article ends with the story of Singh’s passion for and success in video editing and points to this as his desired career. The article subtly argues that the nature of academic success is changing. He states one major reason why Singh succeeds with video editing: interactivity. Richtell writes, “As he edits, the windows on the screen come alive; every few seconds, he clicks the mouse to make tiny changes to the lighting and flow of the images, and the software gives him constant feedback.”

Richtell’s thoughtful article succeeds in humanizing some of the issues facing students who are exposed to a wide-range of technology and doesn’t shy away from examining the complex and changing nature of how we need to address learning.

Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010

Cathy Michael, who writes the Communications & Legal Studies blog, posts a link to the text of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. She quotes Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski on the importance of the act:

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act is the most significant disability law in two decades.  The law’s provisions were endorsed in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.  They will bring communication laws into the 21st Century, providing people with disabilities access to new broadband technologies and promoting new opportunities for innovation.

More pertinent quotes from Chairman Genachowski can be found at the Communications & Legal Studies blog and the full text of the act can be found here.

Posted in Digital Divide. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010
%d bloggers like this: