OITP Fellow Renee Hobbs on Digital Literacy

The post below comes from Renee Hobbs, an expert on digital and media literacy and the founding director of the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island. In addition to serving as an American Library Association Office for Information Technology Policy Fellow, Hobbs supports the work of the ALA’s Digital Literacy Task Force. On November 14, 2012, Hobbs will moderate Creating a Culture of Learning: How Librarians Keep up with Digital Media and Technology, a national conversation about the role of libraries in supporting and deepening digital literacy skills development for students, the general public and colleagues in other professions (RSVP now). Her post originally appeared on Renee Hobbs at the Media Education Lab.

Creating a Culture of Learning

These days, who has time to learn new things? At this time of year, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the pace of work and life. As the days grow shorter, it seems there’s even less time to get everything done — at work, at home, and in our communities. Yet educators, media and information professionals and librarians DO find time to learn new digital media tools and technologies. We learn when we go to conferences and get inspired by a demonstration. We learn when we exchange information with colleagues who have cool skills we lack. A couple of weeks ago, my colleague Rebecca Romanow, Interim Director of the Film/Video Program at URI’s Harrington School, taught me how to grade papers on an iPad. For me, finding time to learn new digital tools happens during the times I set aside for “play-and-learning.” Right now, I’m teaching myself to learn PTCH, an easy-to-use video sharing app on my smartphone that lets me assemble short videos. I find myself playing with new digital tools in a variety of in-between situations. Especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed or when I am procrastinating, learning new digital tools gives me a kind of refreshing “break” that can inspire my creativity and productivity. Want to learn more about how information professionals stay on the path of continuous learning when it comes to digital media? On November 14 at 7 p.m. EST, I’m hosting an Google hangout called, “Creating a Culture of Learning: How Librarians Keep Up with Digital Media and Technology.” The event is free and open to the public and all are welcome to attend. We’re discussing how we stay on the learning curve with our students, colleagues and patrons as new devices, software and Internet-enabled services emerge. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Caroline Haebig, instructional technology coordinator, Adlai E. Stevenson High School. Haebig collaborates with teachers and administrators to improve student and teacher engagement using technology. She is an active member of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Young Educator Network and was named as the ISTE Outstanding Young Educator 2012.
  • Jamie Hollier, a technology consultant and project manager with the Public Library Association and formerly the Colorado State Library. As part of its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant, the state library conducted training across the state and developed a range of training tools available at http://www.coloradovirtuallibrary.org/techtraining/. Hollier was the project coordinator for the Colorado BTOP project.
  • Gwyneth Jones, aka The Daring Librarian, a middle-school teacher librarian at Murray Hill Middle School in Laurel, Maryland. She is a member of the ISTE Board of Directors, and was named an Innovator and one of Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers 2011. The Daring Librarian blog delivers “Ed-Tech Talk with Sweet Snarky Freshness.”
  • Bobbi Newman, aka Librarian by Day, is currently enrolled at Iowa State University pursuing her second master’s degree. While working at a Missouri public library, Newman was among the first to replicate Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library’s “23 Things” model, and she has written and spoken frequently on how the library adapted and made the program work. Newman also co-founded the award-winning Libraries and Transliteracy Project.
  • Anu Vedantham, director of the Weigle Information Commons at the University of Pennsylvania. The Commons has supported new media and video projects in the context of college coursework for several years. Anu writes and speaks extensively about the integration of technology into teaching and learning. Her research has explored gender-related aspects of the creation of videos by today’s college students. She has held leadership positions in K-12 administration, the federal government and non-profit organizations.

How can library groups and library leaders best support library staff in the quest to stay current? What are the perceived obstacles that interfere with the continuing education process? What resources or continuous learning models already are available to the profession, and what are their pros/cons? To learn how to participate, please RSVP at alawash@alawash.org.

About Jazzy Wright

Jazzy Wright is the Press Officer of the American Library Association's Washington Office. Email her at jwright@alawash.org.

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