In the song “The Long and Winding Road” by The Beatles I find answers to where it is I am on this amazing journey of information science, and especially in my understanding of information competencies for Young Adults.
In this online summer course with Dr. Renee Hobbs at University of Rhode Island I have found much twist and turns. I found stimulating material that has been introduced through our word press website where each week I have had several opportunities to share experiences with some of the 25 classmates in my course. Taking an online course has been both rewarding and frustrating. The chance to join a weekly meet up once a week with Dr. Hobbs and up to 9 other participants and a great way to exchange ideas when we are all somewhere else physically. On the other hand I feel sad that I am unable to get to learn and grow from the input of all those of my classmates that contribute such wonderful insights on flip grid, padlet and other non synchronous assignments that Dr. Hobbs has invites us to use. I respect Dr. Hobbs for challenging us to use our words wisely through active writing on Twitter that requires us to sum up our thoughts in just 140 characters, really less since we use 7 of them for our course name, and just over a minute of video time when making a comment on flipgrid. I can write meaningful reflection about what I read or watched. However, doing it in a public forum of a blog or on Twitter is not always the right medium when you are a graduate student.
Out of my courses at URI I found that I was able to have more meaningful reflections when I was allowed to participated in closed forums that were visible only to myself and my classmates in LSC 508 with Dr. Mandel as we discussed tough articles we read each week in introduction to Information Science. I feel often online that my physical voice is not heard. In my classes with all my professors this year I never felt so isolated as I did on this course. It’s as if my voice was muted because of the forum that was chosen for this class. I have not felt this way when Dr. McCarthy used WebEx and had remote students chime in any time. Still I do believe that materials I read in Teaching Young Adult Literature by Hayn and Kaplan have been helping me directly as I explore the changes I am implementing at my current school library. Though the articles are all directed with my situation, the theme being explored is helping me develop my critical thinking as I apply lessons learned for building a better collection that will help my high school community grow at the same time that it nourishes their specific needs as individuals and students who are in a specialized school curricula. My District Determined Measures for the upcoming school year were much easier to choose once I finished reading Book Love by Penny Kittle. Knowing that someone has done what I believe is possible makes it much easier for me to do what I would like to do and help students in my school fall in love with reading. It saddens me that currently there are very low expectations from the school with regards to reading for the sake of reading. Why are we so hung up on score and common core when we will not even consider implementing a 20-minute time slot daily for just reading for the sake of reading? In my final project I dig deeper into the details of steps I am taking to create a pilot program I wish to implement that is based on Penny Kittle’s work and another program that was done in Vocational Schools in Europe.
Amy Pattee’s book- Developing Library Collections for Today’s Young Adults could not have reached my hands in a better time since I am dealing with multiple items she focuses on in her book. In particular I find helpful her section about weeding to be very insightful. I think I am not alone in feeling scared to throw something out that might be of use in the future. I am not talking about the obvious books that are just worn or tattered but more about knowing what is and isn’t appropriate to discard and not feeling guilty about doing so. I also believe Pattee is right when she writes about the importance of knowing the community you serve and their needs. This is something I have been working on for the last 4 months. It my opinion it takes time. The more you are able to know the patrons personally, the better you can meet their needs. This past week I have been working with some of our students in summer school. It is in that time that I was able to know them better and get to better understand their needs and interests.
Personally I have been at odds about all the postings in Twitter as my Twitter posts go directly to my Facebook feed and I do not wish to have my personal education experience be shared with those who may read my feeds. This has been extremely problematic to me and has me reconsider some of my own personal views with regards to social media implementation within an educational setting. Although I have used Twitter to connect to some people, I found that there have been more than one occasion in the course where we had to do activities together with a partner and they made no sense at all. I found the activity I did with Hymen I could have done by myself, as she had no direct input on what I place on the board. The other example is my joint activity with Kyle. We did exchange emails though the collaboration needs to be ongoing in longer assignments as I did with my classmates when we worked on our final presentation for Dr. Mandel in LSC 508.
One of the things that I like, yet at the same time frustrates me is that we do not dig deep into certain topics. We just skim the surface. This is especially true when we were using Storify as a tool. I know that we can use it again but I feel that practice increases our own likelihood to become regular users. Regarding sharing- at the moment I am a student at URI and I feel that I have a right to be in a mode of absorption as this is the normal mode of one who is interested to learn. I have no problem in sharing as I do so regularly on other topics. I just do not do it regularly through Twitter. Since the crisis in Israel broke out over 16 days ago I have been posting and sharing regularly. I believe that once I am done with my studies at URI I will do more sharing, as I will not be a student at that point. I know that we all share with one another but I feel at the moment I would like to receive and share once I have reached that comfort point. With regards to information literacy and the current Mid East crisis I have posted a few time regarding people just posting stories that are not even from this year. It frightens me how many people do not dig in and find out more about what it is they are sharing. In one example someone shared a post by Michael Bloomberg with remarks he said back in 2012 as if they were just said. I have a whole new perspective on how information is consumed now that I am becoming an information specialist.
I am very excited about my final project as it relates to the song I chose to begin my reflective essay. I began my GSLIS at URI last summer. Although I have learned so much and have been on an amazing roller coaster ride I feel as if the journey is just truly beginning. My project is focused on refining the collection at Tri County Regional Vocational High School to meet the current needs of our patrons and to develop an appreciation of the wealth of resources available to them. At the same time I will be working with a pilot group on a love of reading project as part of my District Determined Measures for the upcoming academic year.
My own preference was to see this class as a blended class as I believe there is so much that I have missed from not being able to gain both from Dr. Hobbs and the rest of my classmates face to face.
Although our journey together is soon ending, I take comfort in knowing that I can always come back through the open doors of my fellow information specialists.
Hayn, J. & Kaplan, J. (2012). Teaching young adult literature today. Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield
Kittle, P. (2013). Book love: Developing depth, stamina and passion in adolescent readers. Portsmouth NH: Heinemann.
Pattee, A. (2014). Developing library collections for today’s young adults. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.