A heartfelt thank you to the Florida State University SLIS community and the PALM Center for giving me the opportunity to visit, share, and learn with FSU SLID faculty, doctoral students, alum, and local school librarians this past week. Spending time with such amazing people was truly an honor for me as well as a tremendous amount of fun!
Here are my slides from my presentation to the FSU SLIS community on April 7, 2012. The video from today’s presentation will be posted to the PALM Center website soon, and I will provide an update once it is available for viewing. You can also learn a little more about today’s talk here.
In November and December, I wrote two rather lengthy reflective posts about efforts to help students take a more explicit inquiry driven, participatory stance on literacy and learning as well as digital composition; these were preceded by an October post about the use of the Fishbowl approach to giving students more ownership of class conversation and for developing their own lines of questions/inquiries/points for exploration with peers.
This unit of study, which began with our book tasting in September 2011, was an extended inquiry into student selected issues that included child soldiers, treatment of women in the Middle East, immigration laws, the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa, racial profiling, fear and prejudice in a post 9/11 world, and genocide. At the end of the semester, Susan Lester and I asked our students to reflect on their learning experiences with a series of questions and class time to compose their responses. Embedded below is a summary of student responses and some additional questions (that piggyback on those from the December blog post) for next semester. Susan and I are meeting this week together to brainstorm and explore the implications of this feedback as well as new strategies for learning and how to tweak some existing learning strategies; we’ll also meet with our students in class this week to discuss the feedback and to invite student opinion on their ideas for addressing some of the challenges as well as celebrate the progress and accomplishments of first semester. I’m excited to see how we can work together as a community of learners to build on our successes and find ways together to address some of the student identified challenges of these approaches to learning.
I’m interested in any thoughts or patterns you may notice, or if you are doing similar work, any ideas or insights you might have to share that will help all of us expand our thinking and improve the learning experiences we’re trying to create with our students.
I’ll be blogging more about The Atlas of New Librarianship, a landmark book, later in the week, but if you have felt discouraged as of late about the state of librarianship in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, whatever your library enviornment may be, then this post is for you as well as for me. Sometimes I become so frustrated, so angered, so saddened by events and circumstances that defy logic and feel out of my control that I can’t help but cry and vent before dusting myself off and getting back on my feet again to try and take on these challenges more thoughtfully and intelligently. While I do not know what lies ahead, I do know these words reflect my mission and my focus to keep pushing what my best can be as long as I am a librarian because I know what we do matters—we make a difference to someone, one person at a time.
Why You Cannot Give Up
“This atlas is written for you. It seeks to bolster the defiant who stand bravely before the crushing weight of the status quo and seeks to give hope to those silenced by the chorus of the medicore and resistant to change...It is not about cataloging, or books, or building, or committees–it is about learning, knowledge, and social action...We must be brave and and stand up to the inertia of colleagues unwilling to change and an antiquated stereotype of librarians within our communities” (Lankes, p. 1).
Keep Your Eyes Focused On The Mission of Improving Society Through Faciliating Knowledge Creation in Your Community
“The fundamental shift is from things to human knowledge. It changes the focus of the work of librarians from artifacts and the products of learning (like books, web pages, and DVDs) to the learning process. Rather than being concerned with some externalized concept such as information (or, worse, “recorded knowledge”), it (Conversation Theory) places the focus of librarianship squarely on behavior and the effects of services on the individual. In essence, the value of a book, or librarian for that matter, is evaluated again the need of the library members’ ability to learn (Lankes, p. 23).
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling decidedly defiant today. Keep your focus on how you are enabling, igniting, inviting, and sustaining conversations for learning with the members of your learning community, not things. Courage and onward, friends.