Keynote: James Paul Gee: “A New Paradigm for Learning in the 21st Century (And Where Libraries Fit In)”
The keynote speaker was the main reason for my attendance at the WILU conference. I knew it was going to be a great talk from the get go when Gee began with: “I don’t like libraries. I’ve been in a library twice in my lifetime. I don’t like them because you can’t mark up the books.” As you can imagine, this sentiment immediately turned us on our heads and had us thinking differently. Gee’s talk looked at the problems and gaps in education and our school systems. Schools are profoundly out of date. 21st century skills are not being taught in our schools. These skills are being picked up at home in places like World of Warcraft. Lower income families rely on schools to teach these kind of skills, but this is not happening. Gee shared an anecdote with us involving a grandmother who helped her grand daughter adapt a video game, and then proceeded to become a celebrity in the video game world by building modified versions of game elements for fans for free. The environment in which this grand mother was able to learn had no hierarchy, and was an environment of distributed knowledge where it is never wrong to ask for help, as long as you take on the onus of learning. When asked if she was an expert in the game, the grand mother replied, “no, no…the community is the expert…”, the grandmother knows how to leverage the community. Gee explains that we can’t create this kind of learning environment in our schools because of the inertia of our society. Classrooms can’t do this, but why not libraries?
Jacqui Grallo, “Designing Learner-centered Research Guides”, Californial State University, Monteray Bay.
Jacqui introduced us to an open source version of Libguides called Library a la carte. In developing their guides, Jacqui’s library looked at the literature and studies that had been done, including a Rochester study that revealed that students don’t understand disciplines. Jacqui says that we should consider scrapping these discipline-based approaches and focus on the course level, or if we aren’t willing to do this then we need to be creative on how we steer students to our subject-oriented guides. The creative way that they did this in her library was to leverage the tagging feature in the guide software. They opted for the phrase “Start Your Research” as a way to direct students to these important research guides. They also adhered to good design principles, such as consistency (“recognizability”) as this facilitates learning. Selectivity was another key factor in the creation of the guides; they should be a starting point, and not be exhaustive.
Birds of a Feather – “Motivating Students – How to Inspire Passion”
I learned a lot of tips from the participants in this conversation, and here they are in point form from that conversation:
-how can we make information literacy relevant? Can an academic information need be an intrinsic motivation? (see work by Andrew Shenton and Megan Fitzgibbons).
- One technique would be utilizing peers – and having students attempt to publish in undergrad scholarly journals, or work on wikipedia articles.
-Simply telling students that they are scholars will help set a mind frame
- Use real life examples of newspaper articles “studies show that…” – ask the students to find THOSE STUDIES.
- If we think of modeling in learning…and use driving a car as an example. Seems like a very complicated thing – but people learn this quite easily because they see it done all the time – it’s visible. We need to make the research process visible – we could do this by creating 2 min videos to make the process visible.
-Structured and achievable = successful.
- Have student contribute live, in class to course web pages – this is possible in Drupal!
- Active learning – pull students from audience to do live searching
- plant questions in the audience
- Try using twitter live in class