Category: Learning 2.0

July 29th, 2013 by Michael Sauers
Zombie LibrarianYou know these folks.  They’ve made an art out of being a disconnected educator, they’ve done no professional reading since leaving library school and while they’re not exactly sure what a PLN is, they know they don’t want one.  While you’re spending your evenings attending webinars or participating in Twitter chats, they’re still mourning the death of Encyclopedia Britannica’s print edition.  While you’re spending your weekends and summers attending professional conferences, they’re at home knitting yet another cat sweater. And while you’re collaborating with other educators from around the world to create new and innovative experiences for your students, they’re still using the same lesson plans that they’ve used for years, (because, you know, they’ve always worked just fine).
You get the picture.

What’s really worrisome about this affliction is that being and staying disconnected these days requires work.  Shoot.  The other night my husband and I went to dinner at a restaurant where the menu encouraged us to “pin” its recipes, the receipt requested that we “follow” them for special deals and the to-go cups were decorated with QR codes.  Seriously, social media has infiltrated just about every aspect of modern life, which makes the fact that some of our colleagues seem to be living on professional deserted islands utterly mind boggling.

What’s more, this type of intellectual stagnation is bad.  Really bad.  And here’s why:

Read the full post @ The Adventures of Library Girl.

Posted in Learning 2.0, Libraries Tagged with: , ,

April 2nd, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Nebraska Learns 2.0 banner

The Nebraska Learns 2.0 Thing for April is ‘Social News Sites’.

For this month’s Thing, we will explore social news sites, places where users – anyone in the world – can post a news story that they’ve found online and share it. Then, other users get to vote on that story, making it appear higher or lower on the list of news items. In this way, the reading community decides what is more interesting or relevant. The same goes for any comments on a story – they can be voted up and down, depending on how interesting they are or what they contribute to the conversation.

Another facet of Nebraska Learns 2.0 is BookThing. Each month we pick a single title that we feel has relevance to librarianship and/or information theory. Some of the titles will be very obviously related, while others may not seem so on the surface but there is a connection. Your assignment will be to read the book and create a blog post answering some questions about the title.

The BookThing for April is: You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier.

Nebraska Learns 2.0 is the Nebraska Library Commission’s ongoing online learning program. It is a self-discovery program which encourages participants to take control of their own learning and to utilize their lifelong learning skills through exploration and PLAY.

Each month, we offer you an opportunity to learn a new Thing (or lesson). You have all month to complete that Thing and receive one CE credit. You may choose which Things to do based on personal interest and time availability If the Thing of the month doesn’t interest you or if you are particularly busy that month, you can skip it.

If you are new to Nebraska Learns 2.0, your first assignment is to sign up to participate.  This program is open to ALL Nebraska librarians, library staff, library friends, library board members and school media specialists.

We hope you’ll join your library colleagues in the fun as you learn about new and exciting technologies!


Posted in Learning 2.0

May 17th, 2012 by Michael Sauers

For this month’s book thing I read The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr and to be honest I was expecting to be a text that I would disagree with page after page similar to books like Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur. But, surprisingly, I found myself not only understanding Carr’s arguments but agreeing with him more often than not. There are just some times you can’t easily argue with the science.

I still want to be careful however and not say that I agree with all of his conclusions. Ok, computers and the Internet may be changing the way our brains operate but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Well, maybe my opinion is more subtle than that. Yes, as Carr states, all technology changes us, whether is be as something as complex as a computer or as simple as a hammer. What worries me though is that one might be tempted, after reading this book, to assume that all change is bad. There are always those that worry that change will lead to the end of something, maybe even humanity itself. And, I suppose that being concerned isn’t necessarily bad either. Mostly, I just feel that this book placed his concerns in a well-deserved context, and that by being aware of those concerns we can make better choices in the future.

I’m sorry if this review seemed a bit rambling, but I’ve been mulling over what to say for a few days now and I’m still got a bit more thinking to do about this book, but I knew I needed to get these thoughts down before I moved on to some other projects.

As a footnote, I did listen to the audio version of this book instead of “reading” it. I do wonder what Mr. Carr would think of that…

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March 2nd, 2012 by Michael Sauers

Aviary pinterest-com Picture 1I’ve got a sort of love/meh relationship with Pinterest. I’ve used a lot of different social networks over the years and I can see why this one is so popular. (It’s the first one that my wife discovered before me so that backs up my theory that it’s very popular with “crafty” people; she’s a quilter.) Anyway, I’ve tried to participate and I have pinned some content over the past few months but I just can’t seem to get excited about it. 

However, in a way, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a good thing that I just don’t care about Pinterest all that much. Because if I did, I’d then have to think I heck of a lot more about all of the issues the service has raised over the last month. From copyright issues, to legal responsibility issues, to it’s relationship with Flickr; If I cared a lot about Pinterest I’d have to care about these issues and right now I just don’t seem to have the time to do that. 

I’m not going to block you from sharing my flickr photos on Pinterest. Please share away. But I’m not all that sure that I’ll be posting much more, if any, content on the service. Meh.

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October 28th, 2011 by Michael Sauers

This has been an interesting program for me as it’s made me think a little more deeply about how I view my career, both how I got to where I am and where I’m going. As much as I’d wished that I didn’t have to batch some of the things as much as I have, some weeks there just wasn’t time to focus on this program. But, in the end, here I am at the last post within the (Nebraska’s) deadline by a few days.

Moving on I’ll of course continue to blog the larger things but remind everyone that I post a lot of other things, most recently over on Google+. Hey, and wouldn’t you know it, but that’s our next thing when we get back to the regular monthly Nebraska Learns 2.0 program early next week. I’d better get to writing that lesson…

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October 26th, 2011 by Michael Sauers

Phone bankingWhen it comes to what I would consider large-scale volunteering, back when I was in Aurora, CO for a period of years on was both on the board of the Aurora Public Library and the Friends of the Aurora Public Library, the later involving being the manager of the bookstore. While here in Nebraska I’ve been the chair of the Information Technology and Access Round Table (ITART) of the Nebraska Library Association, wan the local liaison for the annual NLA conference this year, and I’ve been asked by several people to run for NLA president next year.

On what I would consider small-scale volunteering I regularly give talks on topics to libraries and library-related groups that aren’t officially part of my job duties (i.e. for groups outside of Nebraska) for which I don’t ask to be paid. (This isn’t to say that I never charge, it just depends on a lot of different factors.)

All in all, I’d say I have a strong history of volunteering and giving back to the library profession. I’ll also add that not all of the volunteering I’ve ever done has been simple or easy but in the end they’ve all be satisfying and worthwhile experiences. So, the simple answer is yes, volunteering is a good thing and I hardly feel that it devalues our profession.

In the past week I’ve had discussions with two colleagues about requests they’d received about speaking outside of their normal job duties. In both cases the conversations started with “how much should I charge” and ended up focusing on how much outside-of-work work were they willing to put into the experience. In both cases I stressed that speaking for pay does look good on a resume but that doing it for free is nothing to sneeze at either, especially when the speaking gig wasn’t your idea. 

In then end, it’s all a balancing act. Sometimes giving back is more important than a check.

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October 26th, 2011 by Michael Sauers

Rex AuerThis thing doesn’t ask us to get specific about what we like and dislike when it comes to our current jobs, but “what do you like to do? What do you dislike? Do you remember the last time you felt that feeling of deep satisfaction after creating, building, completing something? What was it about? What skills do you need to do the things you like? These skills are your strengths; they stem from your interests.” Let me try each of these in turn.

What do I like to do? Read, obviously. Write, not as much but it is fun. And helping others learn. I suppose I can throw in things like bike riding and travel, but those aren’t necessarily central to my career. Ok, I guess the travel thing is.

What do I dislike? Frustration, which I suppose is an odd thing to dislike when you’re helping others learn. However, that dislike has forced me to become more able to deal with frustration in general.

The last time I felt deep satisfaction? That would be just a few days ago when I received an e-mail from a soon-to-be library student who attended one of my presentations at Internet Librarian and she took the time to track me down online, and send me an e-mail letting me know how much that presentation meant to her. (Thank you!) Sometimes it’s hard to judge your impact and it’s words like those that allow you to know you’re having an impact.

What skills do I need to pull all this off. First a willingness to speak in front of a group, no matter how small or large. Second, the ability to deal with frustration. Third, the ability to try, fail, and try again. (These don’t necessarily apply to the reading bit, but they most definitely apply to writing and helping others to learn.)

So, I guess those are my strengths and the next time I apply for a job (hopefully not any time soon) I’ll be sure to focus on those.

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October 25th, 2011 by Michael Sauers

This thing centers on talking about your roots but gives those of us that have discussed this topic before and out or two. One of those outs is to talk about advice we might give to those new to the profession. So here’s my advice.

  • Free adviceDon’t keep quiet. Whether it’s via presentations at conference or just talking to someone at a bar, talk about libraries and your experiences in and with them.
  • Start the conversation. I suppose this is similar to my first piece of advice but just talking isn’t enough. It needs to be a conversation and if you won’t start one, why should you expect others to do so?
  • Always strive to improve yourself. The learning opportunities today are almost limitless. Read blogs. Read books. Watch videos. Then, do all that outside of your skill level and community. You never know what you might learn from someone that isn’t in libraries.
  • Take the long view. Things you do now may not pay off immediately, but they might just help you later on in your career.
  • Develop your network. Those of us in the library world are genetically predisposed to helping others. The more people you know, the more people you can call on when you need some help.

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September 22nd, 2011 by Michael Sauers

I looked at Prezzi back when it first arrived on the scene and even did a version of my Creative Commons presentation using Prezzi. This thing was enough to make me consider updating that version from 2009 in order to present it next week at the Wyoming Library Association Conference. After thinking about it I’ve decided to stick with PowerPoint for the forseeable future. Let’s just say that I’ve only ever seen one Prezzi-based presentation that actually pulled it off…

I’m no Chris Anderson.

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September 22nd, 2011 by Michael Sauers

I’m in a reflective mood but I’m not being all that reflective of the program itself, maybe since most of the things in this particular program aren’t all that new to me. However, this week Gina Trapani of posted the following titled Automattic’s Company Creed:

I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

She didn’t provide any context so I don’t know any more than just that statement but it has made me start to think about my own priorities and I feel that this has a lot to say about how we as librarians need to conduct ourselves when it comes to things like lifelong learning, and the sharing of the knowledge we already have. This is one of those times that I wish I could be that eloquent and since I’m not I’m not going to say much else and just let those words stand on their own.

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