IL2009: Growing & Grown-Up Digital: Next-Gen Speaks

Facilitator: Stephen Abram
Panel: two high-school students, a college student, and the teen services librarian from the local public library

Abrams has asked that folks blogging or tweeting to not use the name of the teen participants, as some are under-age and we should act responsibly when creating a digital trail for them.

First question is about music. The college student likes classical, one high school student still likes vinyl and cassette tapes (no iPod), and the other puts music on her USB stick to take with her (along with her iPod). The college student started with illegal downloads, but gained a respect for the musicians, so now he buys music via iTunes. The iPod-weilding high school student has an iTunes account that she uses sometimes, but mostly shares music with friends. The vinyl student buys the physical medium rather than making copies.

What’s in your bag? Surprisingly, two of them carry USB sticks, which I almost never see with the college students at my library.

Is brand important? Yes, if it’s indicative of the quality, which is more important. (Ugg boots and short-shorts = "the Escaho")

How do you use your phone? Keep in contact with family and friends around the world, mostly via text. One high school student uses her phone mainly to take photos and videos.

"Facebook, Myspace, and phone are good places to keep in touch with people, but Twitter is kind of dead." Ouch — I guess it’s all about where your community exists.

Do you create content? The college student writes music and records it, but hasn’t posted it yet.

Do you expect the same or better standard of living than your parents? Everything seems better/easier now. If we use it the right way, everything will be exponentially easier. There are more options available now for careers, and the internet has opened doors of awareness of what could be. Technology is almost overly-available to us, which can be distracting.

Homework? The college student uses voice recognition software to "write" his papers. He uses Google for most research, but will get a book from the library for "older" material. One high school student uses "homework help now" service from the library for online tutoring. The analog high school student avoids the computer and it’s distractions when doing homework. She also uses interlibrary loan & federated search engines, but doesn’t know them by those names. ("It’s like a bajillion Googles, but for information.")

How do you evaluate information? One tries to find other sources to back up the info. Another starts with using library/school authoritative sources. And the other uses the search limiting tools like peer-review only searches, although, again, she doesn’t know it by that name. She also likes to us Opposing Viewpoints.

Wikipedia? Good for big, broad topics, according to some teachers, but others limit information sources to the textbook only. Some teachers recognize that students use it for overviews of topics, but it’s not good to cite it in a paper.

Are online sources good for finding information about things that you would be uncomfortable to talk about with your parents? It’s easier to talk about things with someone you don’t know. Or go to friends first and then verify with online info. "It’s must be true, it’s on the internet!" isn’t true. There are safe, anonymous places around town where people can talk to each other face-to-face.

Video games? The college student doesn’t play, but his friends do. Neither high school student plays, although they did when they were younger (Nintendo 64, Tekken).

Read online? No, it hurts the eyes after a while, and there are too many other distractions online, too. It’s hard to take notes and highlight online books.

Republican, Democrat, or Independent? They seem to all be the same anymore. There aren’t distinctions. We need to review our system and do a CTRL-ALT-DEL reboot. They are concerned with the impact of the meat industry and oil consumption on the environment, as well as the unequal distribution of wealth around the world.

Teen librarian: There are too many groups of teens with too many interests to connect with all of them, so the focus has been to try to provide a space in the library that they can create for themselves.

How do we overcome the emerging prejudices towards Millenials? The Pew research shows that Millenials and Boomers have a huge overlap in interests and activities. We need to stop thinking of them so much as something strange and different.

Learning 2008 Keynote: Networked Academic Conversations and the Liberal Arts

The creation of knowledge through conversation is the core of liberal arts education.

Presenter: Ruben R. Puentedura

The creation of knowledge through conversation is the core of liberal arts education.

According to research from the past 5-10 years, blended learning (face-to-face + online) is becoming more relevant and necessary on residential campuses. These studies show that truly blended courses where the face-to-face and online components are comparable in magnitude will fix some of the problems with both face-to-face and online courses.

Face-to-face learning is good for:

  • establishing a local presence
  • discursive task definition
  • generation of ideas

Online learning is good for:

  • sustaining social presence
  • discursive task execution
  • evaluation & development of ideas

[side note: I am seeing truth in the above thanks to online social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and the Library Society of the World, which are responsible for both sustaining and growing the connections I make at conferences.]

Prior to the development of the tools and technology that led to Web 2.0, we did not have the ability to see bi-directional conversations on the Web. Web 2.0 has re-defined the Web as a platform for small pieces, loosely joined. The Web 2.0 is the architecture of participating, with remixable data sources and data transformations, harnessing collective intelligence.

Conversations as continuous partial attention
Twitter is both asynchronous and synchronous at the same time. Conversations can be both instantaneous and over time, and there are no expectations that you will read every single update from everyone you follow.

Conversations surrounding production/consumption
Flickr has taken the static image on a website and enhanced it with conversational elements like comments, groupings, tags, and notes on photos. Partially because the content is self-produced, this has created a supportive community and a culture of intolerance for troll-like behavior. In contrast, YouTube, which offers similar features for moving images, is filled with content not created by the sharer, and the community is unfriendly compared to Flickr.

Ustream contains user-generated live streaming video, and should have a culture of users similar to Flickr; however, it appears to lean more towards the YouTube culture. Swivel is a site for sharing data and creating visualizations from that data, and it straddles the line between a supportive culture and one that is prone to troll-like behavior.

All of this is to say that if you choose to use these tools in your classroom, you need to be aware of the baggage that comes with them.

Conversations mapping the terrain
del.icio.us is a social bookmarking service that can be an information discovery tool as well as a conversation. The process of adding a new bookmark tells you something about the URL by showing how others have added it (leaning on the expertise of other). The network of users and tags can show connections outside of defined groups.

Conversations based on shared creation
Most blogs include comment functionality which allows readers to participate on equal footing. Trackbacks show links from other locations, branching out the conversation beyond the boundaries of the solitary blog. The blog has also cause the rediscovery of forms of discourse such as the exploratory essay, epistolary conversation, and public scholarly societies (scholarly societies that are visible and present in the public eye as authorities on subjects).

Wikis provide a forum for discussion with a historical archive of past conversations. Through the interaction between scholars and non-scholars on wikis such as Wikipedia, the articles become better, more comprehensible explorations of topics. A student project using wikis could be one in which they create a scholarly essay that for a topic lacking such on Wikipedia and submit it, thus gaining the experience of creating scholarship in the public eye and contributing to the greater good of the whole.

SIMILE Timeline is another tool for creating content relevant to a course that provides a forum for discussion.

Conversations about conversations
Ning allows you to create a social network with tools like those on MySpace or Facebook but without the culture and baggage. You can do similar things in traditional academic tools such as course management software, but Ning is more attractive and functional.

What’s next? Puentedura suggests the SAMR model. As we move from substitution to augmentation to modification to redefinition in the way we use technology and tools in the classroom, we move from basic enhancement with little buy-in or value to a complete transformation of the learning process that is a true academic conversation between the student and the professor.

Resources:
The Horizon Report
ELI: 7 Things You Should Know About…
50 Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story

CiL 2008: Libraries A-Twitter and Using del.icio.us

Speakers: Aysegul Kapucu, Athena Hoeppner, and Doug Dunlop (University of Central Florida)

del.icio.us is a free social bookmarking tool that can be organized with tags and bundles. UCF wanted to see if they could increase access points for library resources with on-the-fly lists for classes and individuals.

They loaded all of their databases with EZProxy string pre-pended to the URL. Then they tagged them.

The del.icio.us browser buttons were installed on the reference desk. During the reference interview, they tagged resources, and at the end, they would give the user a link to all the resources that were tagged for them. For classes, they tag the bookmarks with the course short code and include the resources listed by the professor in their syllabus. Two topical accounts are being developed through a collaboration with faculty and graduate students in Art and Engineering.

They surveyed 300+ faculty and students and received 50 responses, most of which came from seniors and reflected the courses that were included in the tagging project. 70% of the respondents had not used del.icio.us prior to the library’s involvement, which is probably due to the relatively small number of users as compared to other social networking tools like Facebook.

I could see del.icio.us being used as a replacement for hand coded subject guides or commercial products that do the same. Since it’s easy to add or edit on the fly, the guides could be more relevant than static lists.


Speakers: Michael Sauers and Christa Burns

Twitter is microblogging, like status updates on MySpace and Facebook. It’s like instant messaging, but it is asynchronous. Twitter is experiential — you have to do it with people you know to get it.

All of the twitterers in the room were wetting themselves with the excitement of getting to twitter about a Twitter presentation.

Libraries can use Twitter to broadcast information about what is going on at the library. At the Nebraska Library Center, the reference librarians send out tweets of the questions they get (not the answers). A few cities have traffic and weather reports sent out via Twitter. “We can’t get enough information about weather. Especially catalogers who don’t have windows.”

Twitter is ephemeral.

7 Tips To a Good Twitter Experience from Meryl is a good resource for new twitterers.

They must put the “Twitter is like…” slide presentation somewhere everyone can see it.

quechup? no, thanks.

New social networking site gives everyone the how-to for bad PR.

Last week, I got an invitation to join Quechup, a new social networking site, from someone I’m pretty sure doesn’t want to network with me. Unfortunately, this person uses Gmail, which adds all new email addresses to the contacts list, whether you want it to or not. Since this person had emailed me in the past, my email address was still in their contacts list.

The problem with Quechup is that during the account creation process for new users, they are asked to give permission for Quechup to view their email address books in order to see if any of their contacts are already on Quechup. What most people seem to miss is the fine print that indicates Quechup will be spamming everyone in the new user’s contact list who is not already on Quechup.

I have two theories about why they chose to market their site this way. The first is benign, and assumes that someone at Quechup thought that users would read the text that indicates Quechup would be sending non-members email invitations.

quechup

The second theory is that someone at Quechup expected that few would read the text closely, and that it would be a simple and effective way of collecting a large number of active email addresses.

I suspect that the truth may be somewhere in between those two theories. Social networking sites do not exist out of the goodness of some programmer’s heart. They exist to gather information about you and your friends, and to use that information to make money off of you. Quechup is no different in that than sites like MySpace and Facebook. However, unlike other sites, Quechup is quickly getting a bad reputation for mass emailing, and that will be a tricky spot to pull themselves out of.

Be careful out there. Even if you don’t read the Privacy Policy or Conditions of Use before signing up on a new site, do at least read the text presented on the signup page. And please, stop sending me Quechup invitations.

revelations

Go, 80’s Girl!

Listening to Jodi Jett, one is reminded of the subdued yet aggressive voice of Liz Phair. According to Jett, she had never heard of Phair when she first began playing her music out in the local clubs, a fact which I find nearly unbelievable. I suppose one could chalk it up to her Midwestern childhood and the bland nature of commercial radio in rural locations. After giving Revelations a spin, other comparisons sprang to mind, such as fellow New York rocker Halley DeVestern and the understated stylings of Beck’s sparser tunes. The other name that is frequently mentioned in her press material is Lou Reed, but I am not familiar with his music.

Before I received her CD, I listened to a few tracks on her MySpace page. The one that stood out and made me listen to the rest is “’80s Girl.” The song gives shout outs to the fashion and the hit songs of the American 1980s, ensuring it to be popular among those old enough to remember them.

Go, go ’80s girl
We are the world with your big teased hair
And your short short’s Nair
Your Michael J. hands and your parachute pants,
Your Madonna bras and shopping malls
Go ’80s girl

The video expands upon the theme, showing us the ’80s Girl trying to keep it real in the new Millennium. Once my amusement at her predicament passed, I began to think about how this song is in many ways a warning to anyone stuck in a particular frame of mind when the rest of the world has moved on. While it may be merely amusing to consider a woman stuck in the ’80s fashion scene, it is more serious when one realizes that our current political situation in the United States seems to indicate that our leaders are stuck in the ’80s global politics scene. If only it were that they they had hung onto their parachute pants and Aqua Net. . . . But I digress.

The other gem on the CD is “Bedford Avenue.” The percussion provides the perfect build and drive to move the song forward, saving it from the wistfulness of the electric guitar line. The lyrics are almost a Cinderella style fairytale, minus the happy ending. Bedford Avenue is presented as a romantic memory frozen in time rather than a particular place. The lovers cherished the moment knowing that it would be gone by sunrise. It was a relationship doomed from the start, but the pair entered into it nonetheless. A mistake that is made far too often. Ah, Ms. Jett, soothe our pain!

If Dorothy Gale had been a rocker instead of a girl with some funky shoes, perhaps she would have written an ode to her home in Kansas instead of running off to some wizard. “No Place Like” home gives a nod to the Oz tale while providing a mouthpiece for Jett’s homesick ruminations: “wandering — no place to go — somewhere over the rainbow.”

The most touching song on the album is the low-fi “Heaven To Me.” It could be taken as a sappy song to a lover until one realizes it’s about a parent-child relationship. “Yeah, I like to play and I like to sing, but, Baby, you in my arms – that’s heaven to me.” The bass-heavy acoustic guitar and cello (played by Jane Scarpantoni) bring a dark sweetness to the song not found on most of the other tracks.

My only complaint with the album is that Jett’s vocals are much the same throughout. Her range is limited, almost monotone. Some folks might groove on that, but after a while I get bored and stop listening to the lyrics.