Thursday, 25 March 2010

"Nurture the Belbin plant"


This is a post on my personal blog about the CILIP in Hants and Wight AGM yesterday. Now that we have our own sub-branch blog I'll post a slightly different version on there also...

...but this one's about what I got out of it personally - so mostly it's about the excellent presentations from Linda Jones and Timothy Collinson.

The theme was the Darkside and the Brightside of the web, with Linda taking the former and Timothy the later. I liked that both presentations allowed audience to participate. Some quite dry topics (like copyright) were dealt with in an interesting and engaging way. As well as demonstrating an understanding of the topic, both presentations showed an understanding of how people learn.

Dark side

The  first of the two presentations was about the dark side. The session kicked-off with newspaper clippings of cautionary tales of the Internet (all from last month) handed out to all . Seeing such a massive folder of clippings about how the internet or public disclosure had somehow gone wrong for folks made quite an impact.
The first topic chosen by the audience was copyright  ("you can tell it's a room full of librarians!"). One example was a 10 minute movie on YouTube called "A Fair(y) Use Tale" - a mashup comprised of Disney clips that explains copyright (irony fans will love this).

Another topic was a Facebook T&C's activity (with sweets) - or perhaps more broadly, getting us to think about what we're signing up to on the web. Sometimes it does pay to read the T&C's! Other examples related to passwords - i.e. lists of commonly used passwords and public disclosure (Tony Blair itinerary being disclosed by his daughter on Facebook for e.g.).

Normally, I switch off to cautionary tales about using the Internet. In my early days as a librarian I heard lots of scaremongering born of fear of the unknown. I think the reason Linda's presentation was so good was she wasn't saying don't use the Internet, just that you should be a bit savvy when you do. One of the key messages was to use the Internet to evaluate the Internet  - if something looks a bit iffey - Google it!

Bright side

Timothy's presentation was about really positive uses of the Internet. About getting user participation - particularly in a HE setting. An interesting concept was his use of Analog -> Digital twitter. This was a fantastic way to get people engaged with Twitter without having to have everybody logged into a computer. At the start of the session the audience were given slips of paper and encouraged to write short messages or thoughts (tweets to the initiated) which were collected and entered to a twitter account through the session. For anyone who's been itching to use Twitter for collaboration in the classroom but has been struggling for a way to do it without everyone: a) having an account and knowing how to use it; and b) having to be logged in to their own computer - here's an answer.

Timothy illustrated a number of positive uses of the internet - especially good examples of web 2.0 usage at UoP.  Their Thing of the Day blog is definitely worth a look as it sneaks IL into posts among more esoteric entries such as Hats of Meat! The key message for me was that librarians need time to play and be creative! "Nurture the Belbin plant in your organisation" was Timothy's parting shot - definitely something to think on.

All in all, top notch. It's a day and several glasses of wine later, for somebody with a goldfish memory like mine to recall this much is testimony to the quality of the presentations.

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