INF506 A Facebook Reflection

Standard

I have been using Facebook for this course but have found myself with some reservations that I have come to realise may be important before I utilise Facebook (or similar social networking sites) in my own practice.

When I initially found out that using Facebook was fundamental to this course I was not surprised but I was hesitant. My reluctance to use this site is due to the fact that all teachers at my school have been told not to have Facebook accounts. (We have also been told that should we decide to have an account anyway, the school will not support us if there are any issues surrounding our accounts). Therefore, I find it hard to engage in depth on the site as I have no wish to upset my employer.

My other hesitation after using the site is simply that I don’t find Facebook as easy to use for study purposes as I do the university forum pages. I find myself scrolling through a lot of information to see if conversations I am interested in have been updated.

Something I find myself considering is the correct register to use for Facebook (and I feel that many struggle with this). As it is a social networking site many people adopt casual language. However, I struggle with this as I see university study as a professional, more formal enterprise. I think that as a teacher librarian this is something that needs to be addressed before using pages like Facebook to connect with library patrons.

There are positives in using Facebook for study. I am easily able to access the site via my mobile so it makes keeping up to date on the go much easier. It is an interface that I am familiar with using so I didn’t need to teach myself anything before joining the Facebook group. It does also make study a more personal experience. I have enjoyed being able to see other people’s profiles and it makes online study more personal, instead of feeling quite formal and distant.

I thought it was important to reflect on the use of social networking tools from a student perspective before I implement these technologies in a school environment.

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INF506 – Criteria for Library Websites Task

Standard

Activity:

1. Develop your own set of criteria with regard to effective library website design.

The criteria that I have developed are designed for secondary schools as that is the area in which I currently work.

Library websites should have the following features:

1. A modern design – they should not look old and outdated as students will be less inclined to use the site.

2. Regular updates – The library webpage should be updated regularly so students who visit it are met with something new and interesting when they visit (e.g. photos, events, new book releases, podcasts etc.)

3. Different links/pages for parents, teachers and students (Matthews, 2009) as the interests and vernacular of each group is different.

4. Search boxes (Matthews, 2009) – Important for users to be able to find the information they need quickly, otherwise students may turn to sites like Google for more efficient searching.

5. Mobile Friendly (Matthews, 2009) – As many users now access the internet via their phones/iPads etc. the site must be accessible using these devices.

6. Help – the library should have many ways of providing assistance to its users.

7. Clear instructions – At the school that I work at many students struggle to access the library services (e.g. encyclopaedia links, OPAC, logging in at home etc.) Therefore, clear instructions need to be provided stating how to access all the library has to offer – perhaps even a podcast/YouTube video to aid students who struggle to comprehend written instructions.

8. Social networking – the library needs to have a presence on social media to engage with its users. As McBurnie states ‘more than 70% of 16-24 year olds visited social networking sites’ (2007).

9. Student creation – As Web 2.0 is focused on user creation, perhaps having some student input would be an interesting way to engage users.

10. A sense of humour – Most students I speak to find the library a serious place. Showing an age-appropriate sense of humour may be another way to change attitudes and put a human face on the library.

Part two –

Evaluate the effectiveness of the selected library website based on your set of criteria, and identify aspects of the website that could be improved using Web 2.0 technologies.

My chosen website:

http://www.mariancollege.nsw.edu.au/new/library/

The website has a design that is beginning to look outdated (old graphics and fonts etc.) It is hard to tell when the page was last updated but it does not seem to have any ‘what’s new’ links. It does have a link to the student portal, which is excellent, however, an improvement may be adding teacher and parent links too. It does not contain a search box, contact information or a help function which does make it difficult for students should they need assistance. It does have some presence on social media with links to a Del.icio.us account.

While the library website has some good features, it needs to adopt a more interactive approach, it needs to be made more user-friendly and it needs to have many more ways of seeking assistance. 

References:

Matthews, B. (2009). Web design matters: Ten essentials for any library site. Library Journal, (15 February).

McBurnie, J. (2007). Your online identity: Key to marketing and being found. FUMSI, (October.)

 

INF506 Assessment Item 1

Standard

A)   Define what social networking is for you in your own words

Social networking is a concept that is ever expanding as new ways of communicating and sharing are created. It refers to the online sharing and connecting of people or groups of people. Social networking is used for a variety of reasons, for example; sharing common interests, ideas, backgrounds, hobbies, personal connections etc. It is a way to connect and communicate informally with people either locally or globally.

B)   List what social networking technologies and sites you already use (for personal, work and study purposes)

I currently use Facebook, Pinterest, WordPress and Twitter.

C)   Describe what you expect to learn from INF506

I hope to learn about a broad range of available social networking technologies, particularly those related to, or ones that can be used for educational purposes. I would like to learn how to critically evaluate social networking tools to assess what can be appropriately used in the classroom.

As a future teacher librarian I would like to learn about the various issues that exist around social networking and how to manage such issues and implement policies in this area. I realise this is particularly challenging as the area of social networking is not a static one and new technologies and ways of connecting continually arise, making it an exciting field to explore, while at the same time making it a difficult field to navigate as an educator.

I would also like to use the knowledge gained in this course to be able to educate other teachers in my school about how best to embrace social networking technologies in the classroom as there are many teachers reluctant to embrace technological change. I feel that social networking technologies can no longer be ignored and must be embraced in classroom settings in order to better prepare students to become digital citizens with a responsible digital footprint and I would really like to learn how best to help schools proceed in this area.