Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Thing 17 - Prezi and Slideshare

For a while now I have been aware of the death by powerpoint syndrome, both as a teaching and learning tool in schools and at conferences, training etc.  When I was doing a great deal of Information Literacy teaching from about 2003 - 2009 in particular, all of my lessons were on Powerpoint and actually replaced my lesson plans.  This was very much the case across the school in terms of being very reliant on Powerpoint with faculties having whole schemes of work presented using Powerpoint.  Over the years, I have seen a gradual 'move' away from Powerpoint in teaching, although not necessarily at conferences, however more people tend to be using pictures as a visual stimulus rather than reading vast amounts of information from a slide.  And, a lot of the teaching I now see at my school, does not depend on Powerpoint at all, which I can only put down to our whole college ethos for cooperative learning; the teacher is the Meddler in the Middle rather than the Sage on the Stage.
Nevertheless, I have used Prezi, interested as I was to find an alternative for presentations and although I successfully used it (two examples include presenting at a workshop on Web 2.0 and social media and in a 6th form assembly), I am not a fan of it.  For me, it is the constant zooming in and out, layering of text and pictures etc which distracts me from the actual information contained wherein.  I fully empathise with the writer of Thing 17's blog post when she says that people often overuse these techniques to make their presentation seem more exciting with the same result as death by powerpoint.  The saving grace for Prezi, as far as I am concerned, is the ability for users to simultaneously access the same Prezi, make and save changes, thus making it a truly collaborative piece of work and indeed I have witnessed this in the classroom.  For me, I am trying to keep my use of Powerpoint to a bare minimum, relying on images or single words as a visual stimuli rather than flooding the delegate, teacher, student with a lot of information to read.
Although I haven't used Slideshare personally, i.e. have an account and upload presentations, I have accessed many a presentation via it, Powerpoints, Publisher documents etc and I think it is a great way of sharing presentations, gaining feedback etc, both for professional purposes and for use in the classroom enabling students to offer feedback and reflect on other students' learning etc, using that to consolidate their own understanding. Slideshare is great for inspiring you to try and do different things; seeing what works for other people e.g. in their libraries etc and then developing resources for your own use/institution etc as is any resource sharing Web 2.0 site.  Slideshare is used quite a bit by the Dixie Grammer School Library and it is good to see different takes on the same type of resources, e.g. staff library handbooks.  As far as gaining inspiration, having watched the visual resume example given on the CPD23 blog, I really wish I could do my CV for my chartership portfolio in the same way

Update on 21/9/12 - enjoyed reading Phil Bradley's presentation as part of the CILIPSW group's AGM which I was unable to attend.  Put up on Slideshare and link sent to all committee members, it was great to see 'why librarians should use social media'.  I already do, but interesting to see other resources such as Trailfire, Trailmeme and Quora.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Thing 16: Advocacy and getting published

Still trying to catch up and having read ahead to some Things to come, I am not sure I want to catch up as they look quite hard.  Still, advocacy.....not something I am especially good at I think.  I am very good at keeping up to date with what other people are doing to save the library profession, such as Voices for the Library  and I wrote to my MP when they organised a parliamentary lobby earlier this year (receiving a rather bland and slippery shoulder response); my letter and the response can be seen in my earlier posts.  I am also aware of the upcoming parliamentary Lobby for School Libraries on 29th October and will be contacting an MP (can't decide if it should be my own MP or the one for the constituency where my school is - don't hold out much hope for either really) in due course, although I cannot be there in person.

But that's about it for me.  It's not that I don't care about the profession.  I do and I have always been quick to support its professionalism.  I am qualified, currently chartering and working in a school where it is essential to have a professional qualification and more (Masters, NPQH, threshold 1, 2, 3) for career progression, therefore I believe in celebrating this professionalism.  Not that I am going to get into that whole professional/non professional stuff in this post.  It's just that I don't get out there and shout! I am not an Ian Clark or a Lauren Smith et al who are doing great things to advocate libraries and I am not even sure I do it very well in my workplace where I am sometimes scared to say I am a librarian for fear of not being taken seriously or ridiculed. It's why in my email signature, my job as Assistant Head of Sixth Form is listed first because I know that this carries more weight, despite me working in a very supporting school as far as the LRC is concerned, employing me (qualified) to strategically manage the LRC (alongside my other responsibilities), a full time (non-qualified) LRC Manager and a part time (22 hours a week) LRC assistant.

Regarding being published, I have been in 2009.  I contributed a chapter to a School Library Association publication called the SLA Survival Guide.  Each of the chapters was written by a school librarian who had featured on the School Librarian of the Year honours list and aimed to give bite size chunks of advice to librarians entering the school library profession for the first time.  I have also had an article recently published in the CILIP SW branch's newsletter, circulated with September's Update.  I wrote an account of a recent workshop I attended on marketing online resources in library, run by Credo (see an earlier post) and this has also been featured on the  Libraries Thriving  website at:

So that's it for this Thing.  Definitely a need to do more both with my personal advocacy for libraries and to try and share more of my experience as a professional librarian, including keeping up with this blog once CPD23 and my chartership is finished.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Thing 14 moving swiftly onto 15

I meant to look at one of the following bibliographic tools, Zotero / Mendeley / CiteULike, at my leisure over the summer holidays.  Honestly, really I did.  As the CPD23 blog post says I also laboriously typed my bibliography up myself when I did my dissertations, but I did do them in the dark old ages of 1997 and 2004, so taking a look at software which makes it a slightly less laborious process is a sensible thing, especially as I will (honest, really I will), get around to starting my Chartership portfolio (right after I attend a portfolio writing course on the 27th of this month).  It will also be useful in my dual role as sort of Senior Librarian and Assistant Head of Sixth Form to share with the Year 12 and 13 students.  We currently tell them about which allows users to generate a bibliographic record, Harvard style, which can then be cut and pasted into a bibliography and also tell them about the iCite app for the Iphone, giving access to records in Worldcat, so an understanding of a free tool which will allow them to import, export references etc will be another tool in the fight against the cut and paste generation!  The only issue I can see is the need to download Zotero and Mendeley as this will prevent students (and me) from using them in school due to the firewall restrictions etc.
However onto Thing 15; attending, presenting and organising seminars, conferences and other events.  Whew!  Where do I start?  Previous posts entitled Libcampsw 2012, Recent CPD and Sharing Good Practice: Social Media demonstrate what events, seminars and conferences I have either attended or attended AND presented at over the past year, including Libcampsw, Use of Ipads in teaching and learning at the Apple Regional Training, Cyberlibrary as part of the Plymouth Area Secondary Heads' training day as well as two relating to my management & careers aspects of my role.  I delivered a session on Social Media at the Cyberlibrary event, focusing on tools such as Twitter, Prezi, Animoto, Glogster etc as well as the use of Ipads in the LRC.  I also pitched an idea for a session at Libcampsw, facilitating the session when people actually came to it much to my relief. Over the years, I have presented at various conferences, including one where I received payment from RTA on Managing an Outstanding Library/LRC.  In addition I have presented workshops to teachers at my school on cooperative learning and Thinking Maps as part of the teachers' inhouse CPD programme and also delievered teaching and learning sessions at whole city events to NQTs (newly qualified teachers) and student teachers.  In my experience, although presenting at a conference, workshop etc is nerve wracking, it does get easier providing you are properly prepared for any eventuality (even people walking out) and the immense personal satisfaction you get makes it worth it. 
Part of my PPDP (Personal Professional Development Plan) for my chartership aimed to improve communication between school libraries in the city, especially raising awareness of digital literacy and social media and although I  have established better links with some schools and their library staff, visibly seeing their journeys with social media extend and expand, I have not had much success with others, partly due to my fear of treading on the local SLS's toes (the other schools are not members and so it has been easier to share good practice).  Perhaps a LibMeet after school this year would be a possibility with people offering bite size training sessions on good practice - maybe a follow up to an event on social media hosted by the SLS with CILIP President Phil Bradley next month. Hmmm.....