There’s loads of activity happening in the world of educational technology. New startups. Dozens of websites for managing learning activities. Apps by the dozens. Academic librarians seem out of the loop.
A few months ago I subscribed to the weekly email newsletter from an organization called EdSurge. It’s subtitled “a weekly newsletter for innovators in education.” Depending on you how you feel about the phrase “innovators in education,” you may be thinking that’s exactly who you are—or maybe you’ve had your fill of innovation talk. While EdSurge does dedicate about half of each issue to the K-12 startup scene, there’s also reporting on the latest educational technology resources and utilities. Some of these are startup websites that may or may not be here for long. What it reveals is a veritable flood of new educational technologies. It leads me to question if academic librarian educators are managing to keep up with all these new resources. Are we taking time to investigate and explore these new tools or are we falling back on our old familiar standbys? Based on some time I spent listening to an instructional technology discussion at ALA Midwinter, I think it might be the latter rather than the former.
Some Old Wine
Admittedly, some of these new instructional technologies are simply variants, or even outright replications, of existing educational technologies. Coggle, for example, is hardly the first web-based mind-mapping tool, but it claims to add new collaborative sharing capabilities. Some replication is expected, because it’s well known in the startup world that the trick is not always being first to the market but being the product in the marketplace that catches on with users (think MySpace and Facebook). However, that strategy is no surefire path to success. Right now a slew of imitators are trying to move into Snapchat’s space, but so far the original is still number one with the user community. Still, while discovering some truly original utilities takes a bit of work, checking out newcomers to an old space may lead to a great new find with better options or performance (think screencasting utilities).
American Libraries Live—online learning is changing the way schools work. From elementary to graduate school to continuing education, online tools are creating new horizons in distance learning and new tools to supplement in-person learning. But what does this mean for libraries?
Sarah Steiner, Social Work and Virtual Services Librarian at Georgia State University Library will lead our expert panel:
John Shank, Instructional Design Librarian and Associate Director of the Center for Learning and Teaching at Penn State University
Lauren Pressley, Head of Instruction at Wake Forest University Libraries
A new research project by the Open University explores the much-debated concept of “the digital native”. The university does this by making full use of the rich resource which is its own highly diverse student body.
It concludes that while there are clear differences between older people and younger in their use of technology, there’s no evidence of a clear break between two separate populations.
Is there really a distinct group of younger people who are not only easy with technology because they’ve grown up with it, but actually think and learn differently as a result? The idea gained quite a bit of traction after Marc Prensky wrote about the idea ten years ago in Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, with other writers weighing in, such as Bradley Jorgensen with Generation X and Generation Y.
Since then, the concept has often been questioned, and even Prensky’s own ideas have changed somewhat. The notion persists in the public imagination though. After all, it seems to bear the fatal hallmark of “common sense”. On one side of the divide is the young person who uses technology like she drives her car, without the need for conscious attention to the process. On the other side sits a grizzled and mature individual, maybe a would-be ‘silver surfer’, frowning impotently at a keyboard and calling for his granddaughter.
This isn’t, though, just a saloon bar debating point, or material for yet another Grumpy Old MenTV programme. If there really is a clear generational separation of brain process, then we need to know more about it because there are important implications for learning. Read more…
But the team needed a new service at Tech’s Newman library to help them honor a commitment to the USGS to make that online database available to other scientists.
“I don’t think researchers across campus are aware of this service the library can provide,” Frimpong said.
Welcome to the modern research university library, where new skills and even new spaces are being developed to serve the needs of scholars, scientists and students working in the digital age.
From a digital-ready classroom to furniture reminiscent of the starship Enterprise, library officials say they are developing new ways to serve the campus, and the public.
As libraries transform for the digital age, “it’s an exciting time,” said Judy Ruttenberg of the Association of Research Libraries, a membership and advocacy organization for 125 of the nation’s largest research libraries, including the Library of Congress. Read more…