Wen's Woffle

An intermittent blog for work and play!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Library Involvement in Education projects.


I'm really keen on developing Library involvement in education projects. Leigh Blackall's blog article on "New Librarian skills and capabilities needed " promted me to reply. I posted the following comments to networked learning group.

"For myself working in the tertiary environment I believe it is very important to be part of what is going on in my institution. It is so easy to feel out of touch and adrift from what is going on in the teaching environment. Being involved in some of the flexible learning projects (albeit in a small way) has introduced me to all sorts of new stuff-wikipedia, wikiverstiy, blogs, podcasting, creative commons licensing, social bookmarking, online delivery, the pro's and con's of finding suitable content to use online, copyright restrictions, online delivery environments etc etc.
It also gave me the opportunity to use some of my traditional librarian skills. For instance- I've known where and how to find certain information, put into action searching techniques, wrestled with copyright issues, and most importantly evaluated what I've found, to see if it was useful.
I'm also in touch with the learning needs of the staff and students that come into the library. These can vary from being highly proficient with new technology (and me learning from them), to having never used a computer before. I'm also aware that some students who feel confident using computers are not as skilled at finding information and haven't developed their skills to their full potential. Being aware that there are these differences is really important.
There have been many great spin-offs from being involved with the projects.These include getting to know staff, networking with them, learning about the new technology, seeing the technology being applied in their teaching, seeing how the new technologies could work for us in the library, seeing the potential for students to access a diverse range of information I could go on*but the one thing that has hit me square in the face, like a wet blanket, is that as a professional librarian I need to keep abreast of new developments, and *it's hard!* At times I have felt completely daunted by all the new technologies, it's happening so fast, and there's a whole new language connected to all this stuff. However, everyday I worked on the projects I learned a bit more, and now feel a bit less like a flailing fish.The actual getting stuck in and using the technology, has for me, has been the one way of getting to understand it. I consider myself lucky that I've been given this opportunity. I've also come to realise that I need to be pro-active in asking for professional development opportunities.
We probably only have a few librarians who are comfortable with the new technology (and actually use it). I've chatted to several colleagues and most feel daunted with the new technology. We agree that we need much more professional development in this area, otherwise how can we keep up with the students? How can we support staff and students if we don't have the skills ourselves?
I would like to see more opportunities for librarians and lecturing staff to collaborate and learn together. There's a lot we can offer each other, and at the end of the day I think the institution and the students are the winners."

I also recieved the following reply...

"Hi Wendy,
It's great to read about your interest in whats happening into the tertiary environment, and really being involved in the educational environment.Several years ago I spent time in Alberta and Vancouver and talked with educational development teams there - they're on a much bigger scale than us, and much better funded... but what struck me is that Library stuff were integral to any distance based programmes. They were included in the planning teams, they even handled the copy and distribution of readings for distance based courses. I would love to see something like that happen at OP - and have this year joined the Library Committee (OP and BRL)... perhaps this is the place to bring this up???Merrolee"

Does anyone else have any comments or experiences to discuss? It would be great to hear your comments.

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