Participatory Culture and Learning: Knowledge Quest September/October 2012

http://www.ala.org/aasl/aaslpubsandjournals/knowledgequest/archive/v41no1

Participatory Culture & Learning | American Association of School Librarians (AASL) via kwout

I’m delighted to share that the September/October 2012 issue of AASL’s Knowledge Quest is now available; I had the tremendous honor of co-editing this issue with my good friend and colleague Ernie Cox.  The issue’s theme, participatory culture and learning, is one that has been central to my work in recent years and as most of you know, a lens of practice and thinking that is close to my heart.  We hope that our readers will be as enthralled as Ernie and I are with the quality and diversity of articles; a talented range of practitioners and scholars who work in librarianship as well as related fields have contributed rich, thoughtful, inspiring, and provocative articles to this issue.  Not only am I honored to serve as co-editor with Ernie, but I’m also thrilled to have co-written an article with four of my Media 21 students for this issue.  Many thanks to Kristiena Shafer, Jordan Grandt, Bethany Roper, and Jacob Morgan who gave up a slice of their summer to co-compose our collaborative article.

Here are a few links of interest for those who may be waiting on their print issue to arrive in the mailbox , who may be looking forward to accessing the issue later this fall through their library databases, or who want to access additional resources and content independent of the print issue:

A heartfelt thank you to all of our authors, Ernie, Markisan, and the entire AASL KQ team who worked diligently to help us take this issue from abstract musings that began in the early spring with mine and Ernie’s marathon Skype session to reality this fall.  Whether you are a librarian, classroom teacher, student, parent, administrator, or community member, I hope the issue will expand your thinking about the possibilities for participatory sites of culture and learning in schools and libraries.

Henry Jenkins and Liz Losh Discuss Participatory Learning and Public Education

from the blogs of Henry Jenkins and Liz Losh:

At Mobility Shifts: An International Future of Learning Summit Henry Jenkins (Team Cultural Studies) and Elizabeth Losh (Team Critical Theory) offer a progress report on whether and in what ways the public schools and universities are going to be able to absorb or meaningfully deploy what Jenkins calls “participatory culture.” Rather than an abstract discussion of a theoretical construct drawn from their supposedly opposite positions studying fan culture and institutional rhetoric respectively, the two will discuss concrete experiences of young people acting appropriately or not, inside or outside the classroom. What might a participatory learning culture look like? What policies make it hard for even supportive teachers to achieve in their classrooms? What stakeholders would need to be engaged in order to change the current cultures of our school? How might participatory learning take place beyond the schoolhouse gates? What is everyone afraid of?

I desperately wanted to go to this conference in October but could not get travel time or scrape up the personal funds to go although I hope to attend in 2012 if the conference is held again.  This video is timely as I’m drafting blog posts this weeks reflecting on the pushback I’ve encountered from students and faculty this semester on participatory learning.   I’ll be writing more about this video and my own experiences as a teacher and librarian over the last semester a little later this week; I’ll also be discussing the library’s efforts to nudge toward more inquiry based research as well as efforts to scaffold digital composition and the questions I’m left with midyear.

Crowdsourcing and Curating Collective Memory, Legends, and Local History with Facebook Groups

About two days ago, I noticed a flurry of postings from my local friends to a Facebook group called, “You’re Probably from Canton, GA (Cherokee County) If You Remember??” in which people were reminiscing about places, people, and traditions gone by in the local town and surrounding communities of Canton.   Out of curiosity, I began perusing the posts in the group this evening and am fascinated by the phenomenon I see happening here:  over 900 members are sharing collective memory, legends, lore, photographs, and remembrances of life in the past of Canton.

People are sharing musings and engaging in threaded conversations around historic photographs, school days, local events that no longer take place, “urban legends” (including one about one of my high school teachers, Miss Mauldin, who supposedly became distressed when she could not find her classroom after a group of mischievous teens pushed the lockers down the hall and concealed the entrance to her classroom), local figures, traditions, and cultural institutions of life in what used to a be fairly small north Georgia town.  Most of the memories center on life prior to the 1990s, a decade in which a population explosion changed the physical and cultural landscape of the community in many ways.

As I am browsing through the posts this evening, I can’t help but wonder what libraries and educators could take away from this kind of phenomenon of crowdsourcing collective memories; I’m intrigued what an ethnographer might also be able to take away from this collective narrative as well as individual narratives that are shared in this public space.

  • How can libraries and educators harness the power of social media to help people build a rich narrative?
  • Whose voices seem included and what groups might be absent from the conversation–and what might that in and of itself tell us about the culture of the community?
  • What can we learn from the stories that are shared in a medium like this and how could this be a medium for multiple voices telling the history, the story of a shared place?
  • Could we view this Facebook group as an alternative or emerging form of text?
  • What can we take away from this kind of narrative to inform our understanding of digital storytelling and digital composition?
  • Is Facebook a medium for curation, and if so, what are the benefits as well as challenges for using it as a curation medium?  How might libraries weave narratives from a group like this into a larger digital text using a tool like Storify?
  • What qualities engage and compel people to contribute to this conversation?  I saw numerous comments along the lines of, “This is fun!  I could do this all night!” or remarks about the number of hours people were devoting to sharing and reading the posts and comments in the group.   Clearly, people are experiencing flow in this learning and shared story space–how can libraries and educators tap into the power of shared storytelling and construction of local history/memory?
  • How is this group functioning as a site of participatory culture?
  • Do groups like this encourage people to use social media who may be reluctant to join a social network or who may not feel a sense of agency or desire to participate in social networking?
  • What motivates people to establish and engage in sustained participation in groups like these?

ISTE 2011 Talk: Libraries and Enchantment

I’m pleased to share the slides and footage (thank you, Neil!)  of an intensely personal talk close to my heart that I gave at ISTE 2011 a few weeks ago as part of a panel discussion, “SIGMS Forum: A Dawning Era for School Librarians.”   I’m grateful to Doug Johnson and Lisa Perez for inviting me to participate in this session and for the opportunity to share some thoughts I’ve been dwelling for some time that finally crystallized in this talk.  I’ll be sharing a post soon featuring a Mindomo map I’m developing  to weave together program goals for 2011-12 and tying it to our efforts to increase enchantment for new points of innovation and transformation for our library program and learning community at Creekview High School.

Bonus material:  a fantastic short video outlining the principles of Guy Kawasaki’s book, Enchantment:  The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. 

Invasion of Participatory Culture

The concept of networked individualism reconfigures users’ access to information, people and other resources allows them to move across, undermine, and go beyond the boundaries of existing institutions to seek and enforce new levels of institutional and personal transparency.

~William Dutton~

I’ve written and spoken pretty regularly in the last year about libraries as sites of participatory culture, so I was immediately intrigued by this terrific slidedeck I discovered this afternoon.  Take a look:

Although designed for a business audience, the content is teeming with implications and relevance for our practice as librarians and educators.  The slidedeck emphasizes the shift from “command and  control to collaboration and co-creation.” I especially like the six participatory principles for today’s “associations” (and then insert libraries and learning spaces):
1. Participatory members

2.  Presumed authority to collective credibility

3.  Horizontal structures

4. Variety of formal and informal learning opportunities

5.  Networked learning ( as you readers know, a topic close to my heart and practice)

6.  Interactive and without walls

How are you incorporating these principles of participatory culture into your library programming and instructional design?