Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I could have taught that

I just attended an online course on social software in reference and I did not learn anything. I keep wondering what I could write an article on or present to other librarians that they don't already know, but it seems like I already know what others are presenting to me. I really don't need a 40-minute demonstration on how to set up a MySpace page. I want to know how to get students to the library's MySpace page if I can't get them to the regular library Web site.

He went into the details of managing a wiki, but not so much on how or why. I'm sure this could have some great applications in the library instruction classroom, but I'm not yet sure how. I also hate how un-graphical wikis are.

I was the only person in the class who had played with Second Life other than the instructor, and my opinions were the same as his.

I'm trying to figure out the difference between technically-aware librarians and technically clueless. I feel like so few librarians are taking any interest in social softwares, rss feeds, widgets, or Web development. Is this perception valid? Of those who are not technologically aware, would most of them be interested in what I would have to say at a presentation? I've discovered so many great things in the past semester and I would love to share it, but I know there are plenty of others who know more than I do.


Andrew said...

Hey Mary -

Glad to have found your blog! I think you're far from alone for being a techy librarian -- after all, you were just at CIL -- if that didn't convince you, I don't know what will. My thoughts about tech in libraries are a little too complex for a blog post response, but I hear your pain.

But in more direct response: yes, you could have taught that. And perhaps you should. I recently presented on something I felt was not groundbreaking, and it was well received. So go do it!

- Andrew Klein (from IU)

PS - You're on the RSS reader now, so hope you don't mind a new reader!

supernumerarypa said...

Thank you so much for your comments and encouragement! I'm about to look at your presentation right now, thanks and welcome to my blog!

Mary said...

I know what you mean about being disappointed by the online course. I frequently avoid online courses and seminars for that same reason. I heard an interesting thing once on a listserv -- I think it was New Members Roundtable? Somebody suggested that if you're going to a big conference (especially for the first time, and especially if it's something really overwhelming, like ALA) that you should plan to go to lectures and sessions that are about something you're interested in but NOT something about which you know a lot or are an "expert" because you'll just be disappointed by the lack of depth of the presentation. It's hard to make a presentation that's suitable for a wide variety of knowledge levels.

And along those same lines, I think it's easier for us newbie librarians to forget that a large segment of the librarian population is older and didn't grow up with a computer in one hand and cell phone in the other (not that we necessarily did, either, but we're much closer to the technology). I don't think we're alone at all -- I just think technology issues and "techie librarians" get a disproportionate amount of print in libraryland, so it's easy to forget that many of us are not, to use an overused phrase, "digital natives."

Which is not to say that I still don't agree with you wholeheartedly about the online session. Webinars, conference presentations, etc. should DEFINITELY come with a mention of the audience for which the information is intended!

Anonymous said...

God, no kidding - Mary M. is right. I remember going to these "training" classes at a certain Florida library system... It was like attending a class for 5 year olds. Not to be in any way immodest, but I KNEW I should have been teaching those classes. (And you know how insecure I was about my teaching skills, Mary S.)

Your post reminded me of today's "Unshelved" comic: