Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted – as with most people I know, I’ve been incredibly busy. Luckily, I can now say that I’m on research leave! Unfortunately (or not, depending on how you view it) it will not be a slow, easy going research leave. I have tons to do – I am preparing for 4 conferences (presenting at CiL in a week, and preparing for presentations at CLA and WILU, as well as writing a paper which will be presented at IFLA). Busy, busy, busy!
It does mean that I get to catch up on some reading and do some much needed thinking (it’s also annual performance review time, which means goal setting and general planning). Once I have all of my presentations done, I hope to start spending some more time on exploring the role of technology in teaching – something that has certainly become a growing interest since I started Second Life.
In the reading department, I finally got to read Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail and Learning 2.0 (it’s only been sitting on my desk for the past couple of months). I quite enjoyed the article and it fits in to my new interest in teaching and technology. It notes that there is a change towards social learning, focusing on not what we learn but how we learn. The culture is changing from “I think therefore I am” to “We participate therefore we are”. Students are moving from learning about subject matter to learning to be a full participant in the field, and this is being aided by the internet and the social web.
While this has some interesting educational applications, it got me wondering what it means for academic libraries. If we are becoming a culture of participation, are libraries adjusting to meet this? We have always been the keepers and houses of information – how can we be key players in the culture of participation. Learning commons are one way to help this culture – providing the space for students to work in groups, become teachers to their peers – but is there more we can do? We see some libraries leading the way in the use of new technologies, such as Second Life. What else can we do to engage our students in a new culture of Learning 2.0?
One research leave just started and I’m already brewing up ideas for next year’s leave!