Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Have Topic Will Travel

Today I taught a Research Workshop to a particularly attentive Composition class. I was surprised to see how much they had written down when I collected their Guided Notes*. Most of the time, students just copy what I write on the board, if they write anything. But these students also copied my power point slides and some took additional notes. I think these students particularly paid attention because they already had their assignment and topic.

Frequently, instructors send their students to our workshops before giving the students the assignment or having them select a topic. I assume they are thinking that the students will do better if they know how to research a topic before receiving their topic. However, as I look back on the workshops I have done in the past, students with an immediate information need (assignment and topic) are the most attentive.

I believe this could be loosely related to Constructivist Learning Theory. When students know their assignment and topic, they can immediately incorporate what they are learning into ideas of what they will need to do to complete their assignment.

*I collect the Guided Notes for assessment purposes. After looking at their notes, I returned them to the class instructor so that she can give the students back their notes at the next class meeting.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Google enters IM market


Google now has its own Instant Messaging software, Google Talk, in Beta. The Developer page states,

"We plan to partner with other willing service providers to enable federation of our services. This means that a user on one service can communicate with users on another service without needing to sign up for, or sign in with, each service. "
What does this have to do with Information Literacy? As much as librarians like to discuss virtual (remote) reference services, it is a service that has not come into its own yet. One problem is that services such as OCLC's QuestionPoint require library users to download a plug-in. Some libraries already use Yahoo or AOL Instant Messengers, but this excludes all library users who use a different IM service than the library's from their virtual reference service. If Google Talk is able to federate with the most popular IM services, a library could provide virtual reference to patrons using a variety of IM services.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Another Librarian Blog?

The Association of College and Research Libraries defines Information Literacy as “the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information.” Despite living in the 'Information Age,' many Americans do not possess such skills. Technology and the Internet provide easy access to good information, yet few know about how to find it. Most people are satisfied with the first results of their clumsy Google or Yahoo! search. Frequently, the information they find is mediocre, but they do not have the evaluation skills to recognize this fact.

As information seekers stumble on the surface of the Web, they are unaware of the wealth of information just inches below their feet. Most do not know that their Libraries provide them with FREE access to periodical articles, even some books, through the Internet. In addition, information seekers often overlook the vast information still contained in those old-fashioned things called ‘books.’ But what disturbs me even more, is the knowledge that most Americans remain blind to the fact that Librarians are there to help them untangle the web of information available to them.

As an Information Literacy Librarian at a community college in Texas, I help students (and anybody else who finds their way into the library) obtain Information Literacy skills. To do this, I teach workshops in our Information Literacy program, as well as workshops for individual classes. I also work one-on-one with students completing research for their assignments.

In this Blog, I will be recording my experiences as Information Literacy Librarian. Researchers and Librarians have written a great deal about Information Literacy theory and practice. However, one does not become a great librarian by simply reading the literature. I actively seek ideas that I can implement to improve my instruction skills. Information Literacy Librarian provides me a space to share and reflect on the teaching strategies I put into practice.