Library Gazette

During March 2009...

Steve at South By Southwest

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 3:08 pm

Several folks have asked me for a report on my trip to Austin, so here goes.Last

week, I enjoyed Mimi’s belated gift for my 40th birthday-I spent four days and nights at the South By Southwest Music Festival with my brother and a couple of old friends.South By Southwest (abbreviated SXSW) is an enormous event, it includes a music conference (which I didn’t attend), and has spawned precursor conferences/festivals for film and technology.But the music festival remains the big one.

The local news in Austin said that there were about 2,000 bands at the festival, but I actually think that’s a bit of a low-ball estimate.There are about 80 official venues for the festival, each hosting 5 or 6 acts per night for four nights, and that doesn’t even include the unofficial day parties, and the Austin venues that are unaffiliated with the festival that host live music. With live music available at about a hundred places simultaneously, going to SXSW requires a lot of pre-planning, and studying schedules available on the web to come up with a plan of attack.And even then, you have to be pretty flexible, and resign yourself to missing acts you might want to see.Cell phones and texting are also absolutely vital to coordinate with other people, as it makes it possible to split up and re-unite later.

While in Austin, I’d start my day watching bands by about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and would go till 2 in the morning.I saw 51 acts over the four days.Most of the acts I saw for about 30 or 40 minutes, but it ranged from as little as a song or two to around an hour.The diversity of venues was amazing.I saw bands indoors, outdoors, in bars, in night clubs, in restaurants, on patios, under tents, on a roof, at a pizza parlor, at a barbecue joint, in a fancy hotel bar, in a convention center, in a Presbyterian church, and even in the lobby of a Hilton.The styles of music I heard included country rock, singer-songwriters, blues rock, modern Appalachian folk, psychedelic, punk, post-punk, twee pop, noise rock, dance music, art rock, power pop, garage rock, glitter rock and Detroit rock (Lynn and Mary Beth may be surprised to hear that there is an influential sub-genre of punk rock named after their home town, that doesn’t necessarily have to do with being from Michigan).

If pressed, I guess I’d say the best band I saw was the Hold Steady.The funniest band name I heard was We Were Promised Jetpacks, and the funniest song title I heard — well, I actually probably shouldn’t repeat it in a public forum, but ask me privately if you’re interested.Some of the acts I saw whose names some of you might possibly recognize were the Decemberists, Camera Obscura, Grant Hart, the Avett Brothers, the Heartless Bastards, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, Frank Turner, Bishop Allen, the Sonics, Radio 4, Lisa Hannigan, the New York Dolls, Laura Marling, Echo & the Bunnymen, and the Duke Spirit (who Carol should like just based on the name alone).Needless to say, I had a great time.

Day 6: Teaching Perspectives Inventory

Sunday, March 22, 2009 7:24 pm

day 6 was a discussion of Teaching Perspectives that came out of my ACRL Intentional Teacher Immersion program from San Diego last summer. I began by discussing the two books on teaching that we had used in that program: Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher by Stephen Brookfield and The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer. I briefly reviewed the main points of these two books. Palmer’s book focuses on the connection we make with our students rather than good teaching ‘technique.’ Brookfield’s book looks at teaching through four lenses: our autobiographies, our students eye’s, our colleagues’ experiences and theorhetical literature. I have both of these in my office if anyone is looking to read them.

Next the class looked at the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (http://teachingperspectives.com/ ) As we had all taken the inventory – we posted our placement on the continuum on the board. The five measures of the TPI are

  • Transmission: Effective teaching requires a substatial commitment to the content or subject matter
  • Apprenticeship: Effective teaching is a process of socializing students into new behavioral normas and ways of working. (Kolb)
  • Developmental: Effective teaching must be planned and conducted ‘from the learners point of view’ (Vygotsky)
  • Nurturing: Effective teaching assumes that long-term, hard, persistent effort to achieve comes from the heart not the head (Albert Bandura is a researcher here)
  • Social Reform: Effective teaching seeks to change society in substantive ways.

Once again we fell all along the continuums of these five factors but an interesting discussion ensued on ways our perspectives inform our teaching and our students learning.

Learning Styles Discussion

Sunday, March 22, 2009 6:08 pm

Last week Lauren did a brief discussion of the various learning styles. We brainstormed on ones we had heard of and came up with visual, auditory, kinesthetic, verbal, etc. We had all done the Index of Learning Styles questionnaire from NCSU available at http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html

I drew up the continuums on the board and had everyone come up and mark where they fell on them. The ranges were:

  • Active — Reflective;
  • Sensing — Intuitive;
  • Visual — Verbal;
  • Sequential — Global;

Here’s how we came out on these: ZSR Teachers and Learning Styles

I think it’s interesting to see how we cluster in some areas and spread out more in others. I think our best discussion came out of how our own learning styles can impact how we teach our material.

Teaching Teaching (or maybe it should have been Teaching Strategies… )

Friday, March 20, 2009 4:25 pm

It occured to me that with the passing of spring break we’ve crossed the halfway point with our Teaching Teaching class! For those who are interested in what we’ve been doing, you can read up on it with our blog. If you’re interested in coming, feel free to drop in any Friday at 9:00 in 476. You can attend as many or as few as you’d like, and we try to make it relevant to everyone, even if they’ve missed prior classes.

Here’s some of what we’ve covered:

Let Roz or me know if you have any questions!

Day 8: Learning Theory, the Meta

Friday, March 20, 2009 4:18 pm

Today we talked about several types of learning theories, really quickly. We’ll go into several of them in greater depth in the next few classes.

Because I used a very “meta” approach, I’m rolling the two posts into one here.

We started with a Q&A exercise that Kevin, Craig, and I have used in Lib100. Everyone (who wanted to) wrote questions they have in the course, and after it was over everyone (who wanted to) added tick marks to the ones they also shared. This will help Roz and me make sure to cover what you want by the end of the course.

We started with Active Learning, and used a case study as an example. The case study could be approached with an active learning strategy, but that wasn’t necessary. The point of the exercise was to experience an active learning activity.

Next up we addressed Problem Based Learning. In this case each pair had a problem they chose (how to teach a specific skill) and had a minute to find a way to solve the problem. The pairs shared out with the larger group, reflected and discussed some more, and had the opportunity to share their solutions again.

The third method we explored was Inquiry Based Learning which is perhaps the most student-driven solution. Pairs (again!) explored some aspect of IGI (how it’s related to the other subjects we’ve covered, if it is effective, how to incorporate it into instruction, etc) and shared out to the class.

Service Learning was our fourth topic, were everyone reflected individually on a project that they were very involved in. After reflecting we shared with the group.

The final category was conversation theory, in which the group would make connections as a whole. However, I had a meeting scheduled right up to that moment in class, so I had to leave at this point. If someone wants so share how that went… feel free to comment!

So, the big meta of the day:

  • It was fast! It was designed to be fast to get through a lot of content for those who wanted a taste of a bunch of things. The speed also allowed us to demonstrate that there will be a lot of content about the specific topics we’ve singled out for future classes so that participants would know it’s more than just what is covered on the surface at conferences, in mainstream education literature, etc. Finally, if someone’s really busy and having a hard time making it to the classes, there was enough content to know if it’s something you want to know more about in the future. Of course, we hope you’ll come, though! :)
  • I tried to fit in pair work leading to discussion, pair work that informs discussion that informs pair work, and personal reflection. Each of these approaches has strengths and weaknesses and a combined approach allows you to give more people a chance to do something that resonates with their own learning style.

If you have questions, please leave them here!

Day 8: Case Study Ideas

Friday, March 20, 2009 3:36 pm

So we’ve done a lot lately! On day 6, Roz talked about teaching styles. Day 7 was a swap and share. Last week was spring break, which brings us to Day 8!

I’m about to post all the standard class posts, but wanted to give space for sharing the case study ideas you might have come up with when reading through the exercise and talking in pairs. So, if you had an idea… this is where to put it!

Thanks!

Wednesday Lunches with TED

Thursday, March 19, 2009 9:24 am

Sorry all! I was demoing embedded videos for a podcasting class and accidentally used this blog instead of my normal demonstration site. Too many blogs, I guess! ;) Heather emailed me about the 404 error and reminded me that we had a Wednesday with TED lunch yesterday, and hadn’t posted about it, so I’ll do that to make up for the blank post earlier today. :)

We started this informally last week, and it was so much fun, we did it again! In case you didn’t see it (from the post): TED Talks are great. The Technology Education and Design conference occurs every year. This invite-only conference brings in world leaders in various areas, and gives them 18 minutes to present. 18 minutes is about perfect. It’s long enough that they can cover content with depth and content, but short enough that they don’t drag on and you can make time to watch them. Most speakers, as world leaders, tend to be very effective presenters as well. You can see talks on the TED website. Kevin and I like them, and we both have learned a lot from them. However, as you know, it’s hard to find 18 minutes most of the time….

Yesterday Kaeley, Mary Beth, Heather, Craig, Kevin, and I watched two. Here’s the (now more formal) idea:

  1. Reliably have a TED Talk video play each Wednesday lunchtime starting at noon and ending by 1:00.
  2. Let people know that they’re welcome to come by. (Please come by!)
  3. Watch TED Talk (we picked the first one, and folks voted on yesterday’s).
  4. Chat about possible applications for the library.

Good stuff! Here’s what it was like yesterday:
Wednesday lunch with ted
We watched 2 shorter ones. The first was Pattie Maes on the sixth sense:

And the second was Tim Berners-Lee on Linked Data

Good future-of-libraries/information stuff! And now we know that as library professionals we need to know more about linked data (look for something on this in the near future)! And it was a very fun time… I’m looking forward to next week’s. If you’re interested, put it on your calendar and just come up to the room outside Kevin’s and my office at noon on Wednesday. We’ll be voting on the next one to watch then!

ZSR Goes 4-0 in Faculty/Staff QuizBowl!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009 8:14 am

Provost Office Vs. ZSR Library Team 2

ZSR Team 2 vs. Provost’s Office

Last night the two ZSR teams went 4-0 in their matches in the faculty/staff QuizBowl tournament! The teams were: ZSR I (Giz, Mary Beth, Heather, Roz) and ZSR II (Beth, Lauren C., Chris and Carol). In their first match, ZSR II went up against a formidable Provost’s team consisting of the Provost, Rick Matthews, Jacque Fetrow and Kline Harrison (nothing like playing your boss in the first round). They shined through and answered amazing questions seemingly without thinking. Their second match was against a mixed team of Political Science, Biology, Math and Communication faculty. Again – they amazed us all! With amazing answers like ‘Borneo’ and ‘Tobit’ ZSR II stormed through the rounds and lived to play again on Monday.

ZSR Team 1 Vs. Computer Science Faculty

ZSR Team 1 vs. Computer Science

ZSR I then took their seats against a Computer Science team and the match was much closer. A bonus set of questions all on computer coding terms didn’t help us much. But we were tied going into the last question which began ‘Portia disguises herself as a judge…’ and I rang in to answer “Merchant of Venice.” Once again, Shakespeare saves the day! We got the bonus questions, too and moved on to face a team from Campus Ministry. I have to say they were some of the funniest people in the world and we had a blast playing against them. We came out on top again, and now the great irony is that ZSR I will face ZSR II in a match at 6pm Monday night in DeTamble Auditorium in Tribble Hall. If the loser of that game then wins its next match, we’ll face each other in the final game on Wednesday night! The winner of that game will go up against the winning student team for fun (if you call getting your tail kicked fun!)

It was a fun time and we loved hearing from the other teams how much they dreaded playing the librarians! We found that funny because we were saying the same thing about the faculty. Just goes to show that a broad knowledge base, lots of reading, NPR listening and a good sense of curiosity really pays off when it counts!

Hope you will come out and see us play!

Tim Westergren, CSO and Founder of Pandora to Speak at ZSR

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 3:48 pm

Update: The following discussion is available online.

Join Tim Westergren on Tuesday, April 7th at 3pm in Library 204 for a lively discussion about Pandora, online music, and the evolution of digital technology in general, followed by an informal Q&A with the audience.

Sharon at “Pink in the Rink”

Monday, March 16, 2009 5:45 pm

A few weeks ago the local office of the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure issued an invitation to all breast cancer survivors in the area to go to a Twin City Cyclones hockey game for free. Two tickets per person were given for “Pink in the Rink” where the Cyclones all wore bright pink jerseys!! All survivors and their guests were seated in one section.

My pal Annie and I went, my first and her second ice hockey opportunity. Bundled for the cold, we watched the Cyclones lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets but we had a blast – - a cold one for sure! At one of the “intermissions,” a red carpet was rolled onto the ice and all survivors and their guests were called on to the carpet, with our names called out one- by- one on the loud speakers. It was tremendous to see rows of survivors in pink walking out onto that ice.I was so happy to join so many women who had survived the disease – -some for 2 years, some for many more, and me for 7 years!


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