Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Self-Evaluation

One of the tensions that exists in the world of teacher-librarianship is the relationship between print and digital sources. Purists want nothing to do with on-line, virtual, digital avenues, and prefer to speak about the primacy of print. Mavericks want to push beyond the printed page and create an environment where information rules, regardless of its provenance. Cybrarians look to the future, and traditionalists hold tightly to the past. As we move into this brave new "post-print" world, where social networking and Web 2.0 are redefining what will soon be the new educational landscape, teacher-librarians have to jostle to find their place in the parade.

This course has been a great source of ideas for me. It has tugged at the boundaries and pushed me to sharpen my thinking and my philosophies. The level of discourse both in the class and on the blog challenged me to respond in kind.

Our discussions around the notions of mediation, hypermediation and remediation led me to the virtual tour project for my own library. As I explained in my project overview, I wanted to create a resource that students could access to find out more about the library. Using the library web page as a starting point, I wanted to explore the physical space, with a map (a mediated expression of space in its own right) on which I would superimpose images (spinners, computers, study carrels) and (i) information icons. These images link the viewer to text, pictures, audio and video that orient the student to the different areas in the library. This was fun to plan and create, and after my presentation, I can see even more ways to expand it: each set of shelves could be a link to a closeup with text explaining the Dewey section featured; a click on the catalog computer icon could call up the On-Line Public Catalog and allow students to browse the collection; clicking on the new books display could bring up a link from LibraryThing and feature the newest additions; selecting the newspaper area could pull up a set of RSS newsfeeds. There are many, many enticing possibilities.

This course has been an exciting smorgasbord of viewpoints and ideas. Every class discussion opened up new suggestions, and the blog posts were far-ranging and filled with new technologies and resources. I looked forward to the class, the articles, the blogs and in particular the discussions. And I was impressed with the practical applications each of the class members showed us in our final session together. This group has become, in a very real way, a community of learners, exploring this new landscape together. It was a pleasure to be part of the adventure.

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