The task: Write a critical evaluation on ASU Libraries use of these platforms (‘The Library Minute’ You tube series and Web 2.0 tools used as part of the ASU library channel suite)to achieve the 4Cs of social media.
As part of this task I viewed many of ‘The Library Minute’ videos and also spent time looking at the ASU library’s Twitter and Flickr accounts. I was very impressed by the work the library has done to adopt web 2.0 tools and to entice users to gain the most from their library.
In terms of the 4Cs of social media, turning first to the concept of collaboration; it would appear from both the Flickr and Twitter accounts that collaboration is being done well at this library. In the Twitter feed, there were many Tweets related to displays, exhibitions, ceremonies etc. The Flickr account also showed many pictures of the library’s collaborative efforts. Collaboration with librarians was also encouraged in many of ‘The Library Minute’ videos and student feedback to tailor the library to their needs was stressed in many videos.
The second ‘C’ of social media is Conversation. I thought this was done particularly well by the library. Many of ‘The Library Minute’ videos encouraged conversation, through social media, through visiting the library in person and through submitting queries online. In the video ‘The Social Connection’ in particular, students were encouraged to speak to their librarians so the library could most effectively meet the needs of its users (2011).
The third ‘C’ of social media is Community. I feel that on the surface this appears to be something done well. However, I noticed that the library Twitter Feed had 492 followers and the Facebook page had 432 likes (at the time I accessed the sites). For a large university, these numbers seemed quite low. Therefore I feel that, in terms of fostering community, the library needs to encourage more students to access their social networking sites.
The final area of social media to be looked at is that of Content Creation. Again I feel this is an area that is being done well by the ASU libraries. However, when examining their social networking sites and ‘The Library Minute’ videos, there seems to be a lack of the co-creation of content, so perhaps this is an area for improvement.
Arizona State University. (2011). The Library Minute: The Social Connection. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohyqXAhLgsM
For the current subject I am doing we have to complete a group assignment, something which I had some reservations about. I find it harder to work in groups as it is hard to structure and arrange, especially when you are not collaborating face to face. I am also a person who likes to be effecient and use time effectively, so I can, at times, find group work frustrating if I feel that the group is not progressing steadily towards the completion of the set goal.
I had my first meeting (on Neatchat) with my group last night and (to my pleasant surprise) I really enjoyed ‘meeting’ my group members. I found them to be really positive and everyone was encouraging when ideas were suggested and refined. I am really pleased that all went so well as I realise that collaboration as a TL is of extreme importance and I know this task will be good training for me for when I am able to step into a TL role.
While completing the Organisational Theory readings for this week I was very interested in the ‘Leading Effective Teams’ article by Law and Glover. I found it important to my current situation both in the classroom and when completing the assignments for this subject as they are collaborative ones. Reading the article has made me reconsider how I will structure teams of students in the classroom setting as I now realise I could be doing so much more effectively.
Of particular interest to me in the article were concepts like satisfying an individuals’ needs in the team environment and the need for the group to like and accept team members. I believe this last point is particularly important when working with students as many of them are at a fragile stage of development when it comes to issues like self concept and self esteem. I also liked the table of the ‘Useful People to have in Teams’ and will be considering individual personalities (and the strengths and weaknesses that go along with these personalities) when structuring group work tasks.
I have now finished the RBL project with my year 9 class and feel that it is important to reflect on the outcome. First, the successes: students did learn more about their assigned poems and from student feedback most really enjoyed working in groups and thought that learning google documents was a very useful IT skill to assist them in completing the task at home and will also assist them in completing future group tasks in almost any subjects.
The areas in need of improvement? I think that we needed to break the task down into smaller component parts and be more specific in assigning roles to group members. I wanted to provide students with an overview and marking criteria at the start of the task, however, this was not possible due to the uncertainty of exams, students absences and yes lack of collaborative time.
Overall, I enjoyed the task as did most students, however, I have learnt a lot and will make some changes next time.
Ok, I have been collaborating with the Teacher librarian and a colleague on a year 9 poetry unit and it is time for an update. My TL has been fantastic, really willing to help out in any way, great in helping with resources and has spoken to the students about research which was invaluable (and indeed I believe I have improved my own research practice.)
I am also trying to think about the obstacles we have faced so that in my reflections I am able to improve my practices for next time. The first obstacle has been the interruptions to the school timetable, due to public holidays, school assemblies and staff development days, we had to shorten the unit to fit in the time frame. Things such as cross country carnivals, immunisations and the school musical have also meant that we have not always had the full cohort of students – difficult in a group task.
The second issue is the inflexible time table. As I do not have any double periods with year 9 it has been difficult to achieve everything in the 50 minute time slot available. I am now better understanding the literature that calls for flexible time tabling in collaborative tasks.
All in all I am pleased I am doing the task and feel that I have learnt great things from our TL. In my next update I will try and report (using evidence based practice) on student learning.
I found Fullan’s (1999) reading made some interesting points about learning organisations and has encouraged me to improve some areas of my current practice. Particularly useful was the point that teachers in a learning organisation examine how well students are doing, relate this to how they are teaching and make continuous refinements individually and collaboratively. I believe that this is very important and certainly does not happen enough at my current school (and I am sure many schools.) It is interesting to note that our most recent staff development day began to attempt to address this issue. I hope this points to promising times ahead!
Tomorrow, year 9, a colleague and myself are embarking on a collaborative poetry unit! I am hoping that all that my learning in this course will ensure that the project is as successful as possible. Stay tuned for updates…