Tackling Digital Literacy Head On

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Digital literacy is a slippery concept. Mostly I think we subconsciously know what it means but when we try to explain it it sounds kinda big and scary and hard.

We know digital literacy is being able to thrive in today’s technology rich, complex and constantly changing world. But what does that mean exactly? Where do we start? How can we make digital literacy meaningful in a practical sense for librarianship?

There are lots of digital literacy models or frameworks around. Generally they have a school (Netsafe) or higher education (JISC, Deakin University) focus which makes it difficult to apply to the profession. Belshaw’s model is different. It separates digital literacy into components that are meaningful for everyone, including librarians, rather than being heavily education focused.

8 Elements of Digital Literacy

I’ve matched each of the 8 elements in Belshaw’s digital literacy model to core library competencies then designed and developed a course for each element.

There is an additional course to Test Your Digital Literacy Fluency and another one to help you wrestle control from chaos using a one-page project management blueprint.

Course Brief Description
Better Bookmarks Better Bookmarks How to use social bookmarking tools as a better way to bookmark web content.
Communicating Online Blogs Communicating Online: Blogs How to craft online communications with confidence.
Curating Maori Resources Curating Māori Resources Learn to create a curated selection of online Māori resources.
Confident Digital Literacy Design Your Own PLE How to manage your learning in digital spaces.
Digital Rights and Responsibilities Digital Rights And Responsibiilities Understand the expected norms and behaviours of digital environments.
Finding Great Images for Reuse Finding Great Images For Reuse Improve your knowledge of Creative Commons licences to find great images suitable to reuse and remix.
Manage Your Digital Footprint Manage Your Digital Footprint Learn how to proactively protect your identity and data in online spaces.
One Page Project Management One-Page Project Management Wrestle control from chaos with a One-Page Project Management Blueprint.
Critical Digital Literacy The Search Engine CRAP Test Learn how to think critically about the search engines you use on a daily basis.
Test Your Digital Literacy Fluency Test Your Digital Literacy Fluency Understand the 8 essential elements of digital literacy and assess your fluency in each.

Tomorrow you’ll be able to sign up for the courses yourself and realise there is a better way to learn ‘real world’ New Zealand library skills. Just one more sleep!

Built With You In Mind

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I’m sure all of us at one time or another,  have undertaken a course whether it has been online or face-to-face where we have been overwhelmed by the amount of content presented to us. There has been so much to read, sift through and digest within the course timeframe that it’s a relief when the course is over.

I know when I have an experience like that I tend not to remember terribly much about what I learned, and the bits I do remember are rarely useful. Which kinda defeats the whole point of learning doesn’t it?

The courses I’ve developed are a delicate balance between simplicity and complexity:

  • Content is delivered in bite-sized lessons so you can get something worthwhile done even if you’ve only got 10 minutes to spare.
  • Each course is developed based on best practices from the fields of instructional design, elearning design, and course design.
  • With only 60 minutes to impart knowledge of practical value there is no time to discuss the background of a subject or the merits of a particular framework that might be used. However, each course contains references and a selected bibliography should you wish to delve deeper.
  • Courses are aimed at all library staff across sectors, who have no prior knowledge or experience of a subject but wish they did.

Very soon you’ll see there is a more enjoyable way to learn. On Monday I’ll share with you the courses on offer, and on Tuesday you’ll be able to signup for the courses yourself and realise there is a better way to learn ‘real world’ New Zealand library skills. Have a great weekend!

There Is Freedom Within

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One of the biggest hassles of online learning is technology.

Perhaps the video freezes every 3 seconds or content refuses to load because your browser is out of date, or perhaps you need to download a piece of software and you don’t have administration rights. Ugh!

Why should it be so difficult? Is any of this functionality really necessary to impart knowledge? Why can we not make it as simple as possible for a learner to learn with even the most restrictive technology setup?

The courses I’ve developed focus on ease of use. They:

  • Are text-based so you don’t have to wait ages for a video to load.
  • Work beautifully on any modern device and any modern browser.
  • Are also compatible with Internet Explorer 8 which I know a lot of local government bodies still use.
  • Don’t require you to download any software so should be IT-friendly and firewall-friendly.

Very soon, you’ll realise there doesn’t have to be a wall between us.

Happy Hour

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In New Zealand, professional development training opportunities suitable for library staff at all levels are few and far between. There are annual sector conferences, weekend schools and the occasional one-off workshop. All are face-to-face.

Online training is available through ALA webinars and the like, but they generally don’t require much more than you listening to someone share their experiences and knowledge.

What if you want more than that? What if you want to learn something and apply what you’ve learnt to your job? Or what if you want to check with someone to see if you’re on the right track, as you’re learning?

Traditionally if you want to apply what you’ve learned and receive feedback, you have to undertake formal learning – perhaps a paper that lasts a trimester and requires study, research, assignments and deadlines! Formal learning tends to be academic in nature and often lacks immediate practical application.

The courses I’ve developed:

  • Are online, self-paced and always available.
  • Are open to anyone, anywhere.
  • Emphasise the practical (not academic) nature of the profession.
  • Contain activities based on a one-page blueprint that enables you to apply your learning to your job.
  • Encourage you to contact the course facilitator to clarify information, address issues with the course, or to get feedback on work in progress. It doesn’t have to be a crisis :)
  • ONLY TAKE 60 MINUTES TO COMPLETE.

Very soon you’ll be able to celebrate happy hour at work and at the pub.

An Exciting Opportunity!

 

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Ten months ago, I pitched an idea to develop a series of self-paced online courses for New Zealand library staff.

The idea was based on the results of the 2012 LIANZA Career Survey that indicated:

  1. There were not enough continuing education opportunities available.
  2. There was a strong preference (64.02%) for continuing professional development to be undertaken during work time rather than after hours.
  3. Budget and technology were key barriers to undertaking continuing professional development.

I have received an overwhelmingly positive response in favour of developing online courses and very soon I hope to show you a better way to learn ‘real world’ New Zealand library skills.

In the next few days I’ll be sharing some of the features of these courses and how they can fill some of the gaps in your registration journal, give you the confidence to better assist customers and students, and immediately apply what you learn to your job. Stay tuned!

Taking The Long Road To Becoming A Librarian

By Angus – I like reading.

I never thought I’d be a librarian as a child – I had other ideas like becoming a vet or a journalist.  However I was the head librarian at school and always enjoyed reading and going to the library.  My mother has worked in a public library for many years.

It wasn’t until my early 30s that I got a job in an academic library and also a part time job at a public library.  I’d kind of run out of ideas about what to do with my life by then, having tried law, teaching and working in a bookshop.  But I was so glad to get the opportunity to work in a library.

I started off as a library assistant and 7 years later despite numerous job applications I’m still a library assistant.  This is a little depressing and frustrating for me as I’m pretty bored with the job by now as you can imagine.  But during that time I’ve completed an MLIS and completed 2 secondments as a liaison librarian which was great experience for me (this is the kind of job I’m hoping to get).

What do I like about this job?  I enjoy hunting for information, helping people find what they need, the calm, quiet atmosphere of a library and of course looking at books!

Share your path to librarianship.

Must. Remember. To. Breathe.

 PARANORMAL ROMANCE LOVEMATCH

Contender for New Zealand: Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh.
My Verdict: Must. Remember. To. Breathe.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

The winner of the Paranormal Romance LoveMatch is:

Lovematch