Professional Development

In the 'innovation' Category...

The Future of Education: The Horizon Project Retreat

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 5:29 pm

Immediately following ALA, I was extremely lucky to be able to attend The Future of Education: The Horizon Project’s Tenth Year Retreat.

Since I first learned of the Horizon Project, I have been impressed with it. It’s an annual report, with editions for higher education, k-12 education, and museums, about the technologies that are on the horizon. Each report focuses on six technologies over three time horizons as well as naming some contextual themes that are applicable across the board.

Several years after first learning of the Horizon Project, I saw some discussion on library blogs about how libraries weren’t represented, so I decided to throw my name in the ring to see if I could be involved. I was fortunate to be included and the first report I contributed to was the Higher Education edition for 2011. I also contributed to the 2012 Higher Education report. The process of creating the reports, itself, is an amazingly efficient and productive modification of an onlineDelphi study, and I’d be happy to blog or chat about it if you’re interested.

Horizon name badge

The retreat, itself, was for anyone who had served on any of the advisory boards over the past 10 years. It was organized by Dr. Larry Johnson, CEO of the NMC, and Dr. Lev Gonick, VP and CIO at Case Western Reserve University and Board Chair Emeritus of the NMC. It was held in Austin, Texas at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort. The location was ideal. It wasn’t in the city, so we weren’t tempted away the way we might have been otherwise in the evenings. This meant that for the entire retreat we were all in one space, thinking about the same thing.

The event was comprised of group discussions, nine speakers featured on the NMC’s YouTube channel under 6 minutes with, and the amazing facilitation of David Sibbet, which is hard to understand unless you take a look at his visual representation of the event. Sibbet is a master at visualizing ideas, and I think every one of us probably wished for an ounce of his ability in that area.

At the Horizon Retreat

As you can see, this event incorporated various communication technologies as you’d hope it would. iPads outnumbered all other computers as best I could tell. (I felt a little old-fashioned with my MacBook Air!) They brought in speakers via videoconferencing technologies. Tagging was used extensively.

The pace of the event was quick, as we’d get a little bit of introduction, hear a speaker, have structured small group discussions, bring back the big ideas to the group, and watch as Sibbet illustrated the discussion we were having. The structured group work was built around specific points they wanted us to come to conclusions on–which took a bit of getting used to for me but I ended up really liking it. It reminded me of some of my teaching exercises, trying to make sure we don’t always do the same group work and mixing up the types of interactions.

The main ideas from the retreat are captured in a Communiqué. The ideas in this document are “megatrends” that are impacting all educational institutions (libraries included) around much of the internet-connected world. The executive summary, if you don’t want to pop over there, is:
At the Horizon Retreat

  1. The world of work is increasingly global and increasingly collaborative.
  2. People expect to work, learn, socialize, and play whenever and wherever they want to.
  3. The Internet is becoming a global mobile network – and already is at its edges.
  4. The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based and delivered over utility networks, facilitating the rapid growth of online videos and rich media.
  5. Openness – concepts like open content, open data, and open resources, along with notions of transparency and easy access to data and information – is moving from a trend to a value for much of the world.
  6. Legal notions of ownership and privacy lag behind the practices common in society.
  7. Real challenges of access, efficiency, and scale are redefining what we mean by quality and success.
  8. The Internet is constantly challenging us to rethink learning and education, while refining our notion of literacy.
  9. There is a rise in informal learning as individual needs are redefining schools, universities, and training.
  10. Business models across the education ecosystem are changing.

There was brief discussion of including a library-related topic as one of the ten, but there weren’t enough library folks at the retreat to get the votes necessary to include it. If you read the communiqué, you’ll note that libraries are mentioned under many of these 10 megatrends. In fact, there was brief discussion of if there should be a libraries Horizon Report as their is a Museum one. I’d lean towards keeping libraries integrated within the existing documents, while increasing librarian participation. I think I can contribute more about libraries to a higher education discussion, and I’d rather librarians be at that table. Likewise, a school librarian could really contribute to the k-12 report. I’d like to see public libraries represented somewhere, though.

And, since we have a library focus here, I thought I’d include Marsha Semmel’s (Director of Strategic Partnerships at Institute of Museum and Library Services) talk.This talk was given to an audience with only about 5/100 librarians, so she was definitely introducing people to standards of the field as well as pushing on some boundaries.

The Horizon Retreat was an amazing opportunity, and I–frankly–was frequently surprised to find myself included at the table in these discussions. I look forward to seeing what else comes of our work over that week. If you’re interested in following along, you can on the (surprise!) wiki!

Gretchen trains at Cisco

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 4:16 pm

On Monday I trained in the Cisco offices in Raleigh to learn all about Cisco’s NEW (Network Enhanced Workspace) features. The workshop was geared towards sales associates, specifically helping them to most effectively use all of the tools they are selling. Monday’s session worked with BlackBerry users, whereas Tuesday’s is reserved for the iPhone.

Official Cisco sign.

The morning session started with NEW provisioning, which means employees must request a NEW account. A NEW account affords the user access to Cisco collaboration tools such as Quad, Pulse, and Show and Share (more on those later.) My local contact at the company, Ted Mead, reports that access is restricted, so not every employee is granted an account

Our instructor then moved on to Device Procurement, which covered tools such as the 9971 IP phone with camera, Bluetooth, and the 7921 wireless phone. Desktop Phone Integration and BlackBerry Mobile Applications followed. However, my BlackBerry model is too old to support CUMC (Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator) and WebEx Mobile.

Later we went over the Social Software, for which I was most excited. I learned that these tools are still in Alpha mode within Cisco, meaning employees are still learning how to best integrate them into their work flow. I have faced difficulty utilizing these technologies myself because they are Cisco internal, and they have existed as yet another medium for me to update. However, now I feel reinvigorated by their collaboration power, and as a way for me to stay more connected to those back at Cisco.

Quad and Show and Share hold real potential for the public sector in my opinion. They provide a secure way for students, faculty, and staff to stay connected. Think of Quad as “Facebook on steroids,” as our instructor (reluctantly) called it, and Show and Share as a private video sharing and editing platform. I did not know that one could edit videos within Show and Share, so I now look forward to exploring this feature in the future. The final Social Software piece is Pulse, which facilitates finding experts on certain subjects within your network.

The afternoon was reserved for one-on-one help provided by Ted Mead, and a few others. I had my official Cisco Badge made:

All in all, Monday was a valuable day. I’ve met some more Cisco employees, expanded my knowledge of Cisco’s Collaboration tools, and look forward to sharing this information with interested parties at Wake.

Lauren C. At ALA Annual 2010: iPad, e-books, video experiments

Monday, July 5, 2010 1:49 pm

The iPad with 3G is an amazing productivity tool at a conference! Quick intros from Barry and JP were extremely helpful in getting me started — thanks, guys! The 3G was absolutely key, because wifi in the convention center was spotty and the added mobility created opportunities. For example, I showed info to a new committee member on the Gale shuttle bus, which I wouldn’t have done with my ThinkPad.

Most of my conference was spent in governance meetings, either with the ALCTS Acquisitions Section committees or with the transition to being on the ALCTS Board. Topics the Board will grapple with during my term as section chair: meeting at Midwinter (or not), shifting more ALCTS publications to electronic instead of print, developing more continuing education webinars, “reshaping” the ALCTS organizational structure, and possibly changing the meeting schedule so that a person could possibly attend all meetings organized by a given section.

I squeezed in a few other events around my Vice-Chair duties and here are three highlights:

  • JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) is a brilliant concept. This peer-reviewed journal is the brain-child of a man with a PhD in stem cell biology, Moshe Pritsker, CEO, Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder of JoVE. As a grad student, Pritsker was unable to successfully replicate a published experiment by following complex written steps, so grant money had to be used to send him from the US to Edinburgh, UK to see the experiment performed. Because of this experience, Pritsker started a journal that not only publishes the steps but also has the video. According to Pritsker, JoVE had to be a journal, not videos on YouTube, to be successful: authors are motivated to publish in the framework that fits current tenure and recognition processes, and scientists turn to journals for their info. JoVe started as an open access journal but had to go to a subscription model to continue. It is the only video journal indexed in PubMed. Derrik, Carol and I are trying to figure out how we could get this innovative journal since several faculty have already expressed interest.
  • Interest in patron-driven acquisitions of e-books using EBL and eBrary seems to be on the rise. Nancy Gibbs, of Duke University, reported out on a test and someone from Rice University in the audience said they are testing right now too, but on a smaller scale than Duke. I also just found a conference report on a blog for a session I couldn’t attend: http://www.libraries.wright.edu/noshelfrequired/?p=1118
  • I spent some time at the Spacesaver booth working on storage planning jointly with Paul Rittelmeyer from University of Virgina (UVA) and the sales rep. UVA is replacing static shelving with the mobile shelving (Xtend) from Spacesaver; UVA’s project is running about 8 months behind ours, but there was utility in exchanging questions. For example, I learned that we need to communicate shelf “elevation” planning data to Spacesaver now — in other words we need to let the company know the heights of our books so they can hang the shelves to fit our collection size.

IIC Conference-UNCG June 3-4

Friday, June 5, 2009 3:08 pm

I thought I’d jump in and do my post before all of the “good” sessions got reported on by others. BUt in truth, they were ALL good.

In the keynote by Joyce Ogburn, she talked about some of the entrepreneurial initiatives that they’d done at her institution, the Marriott Library at the University of Utah. The coolest was the Western Sound Scape where they are capturing and cataloging western sounds from nature. We could to that! Couldn’t we? The “Eastern Sound Scape.” I’ll go out to the mountains of Western North Carolina with a backpack and a microphone any day…well maybe not TODAY, but any sunny day!

My first session on Wednesday was with Gillian McCombs and Rob Walker from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and a presentation entitled “Carpe Digital, or Reinventing a 1980s AV Center as an Entrepreneurial Digital Services Center.” The two presenters discussed how they took a center that had been entrenched in classroom support, (delivering materials to campus classrooms, providing overhead projectors, DVD players, and slide projectors), and being the videographers, filming campus events for their archive, to a center located in the library that provides digitization assistance and a video and film production lab to users. Getting there was a hard road and took lots of convincing as at the outset, they had no interest from the faculty or students for such a center in 2001. But, with vision and determination, and a great deal of hutzpah from the two presenters, they looked forward 7 years to what will be needed, and worked to make it happen. They got very little additional funding, but creatively worked through all of the obstacles a little at a time.

The second session on Wednesday was the one that I presented on the WTL 5K. It was sparsely attended, with just a handful of people I didn’t know in the audience. (Mary S., Patty, Ellen, Heather, Lynn and Bill were there and they were, literally, half the audience.) It was fun to relive the good times. At the end of the presentation I was approached by the rep from EBSCO who suggested that he might be able to get a donation for our 5k this fall, and that at the very least he will run in it. He lives in Charlotte. I also got a high five from the director of High Point Public Library who said he might be interested in running an event like this. I said I’d be happy to help, just so long as he picks a different weekend than ours.

The final presentation of Wednesday was given by Camilla Baker and Michelle DeLoach at Augusta State University who gave a presentation on “Study Space for Students with Young Children.” They took an innovative approach to providing services to students who had no choice but to bring their children along when they needed to study, and created a study room for them. The school is a commuter school that has a large population of students who have small children and they were worried about retention of these students if they didn’t find some way to meet the need. They retrofited two small computer labs that had a connecting door and turned one into the study lounge, and one into the play area. They fitted the study lounge up with traditional furnishings, (desk, table, chairs, whiteboard, 3 computers) and put in bean bags, a book shelf with kids materials, a DVD player and DVDs and an assortment of games for the kids in the adjoining room. The parents need to sign in at the circulation desk to get the passcode to enter. They’ve had good response from some parents who admit that but for this study room they would have had to drop out of school.

The afterhours reception that was held at the Weatherspoon Art Gallery on UNCG was quite the elegant affair. We took great pains to have just the right food and drink and kept the galleries open to allow for quiet contemplation and viewing by all of the conference attendees. Unfortunately, the thunder and lightning and rain stole our thunder. Ask Lynn about her harrowing trip down Spring Garden and the floating trash can that almost took her out. This will be known as the Conference that survived the great Greensboro Flood of ’09.

Thursday morning’s presentation I attended “Meeting an Unmet Need: Extending the Learning Commons Concept Through On-Campus Partnerships and Branding”. La Loria Konata, from Georgia State University discussed all of the ways that they have marketed the library, and the Learning Commons to campus. She discussed the training that was provided to staff; the creation of new programs called “Write Right” (a writing center) and “Cite it Right” (Zotero and End Note training). “Reference-to-go” is a program that they created to put librarians in the Student Center the week before exams to make them more available for consultation. She also said that when they started to make study rooms bookable, they contemplated calling it “Get a Room!” but decided against it since it’s a little too salacious. They’ve also undergone a big change to their website and embedded some home cooked video meant to get the word out about different services. They call their finals study break “Chillax” , serve pizza and show “Family Guy” episodes on a smart board in their computer lab. They had so much going on to engage the students and get them excited about library services, and the students are responding.

The final session I attended was called “Horses and Hoops: New Approaches to Oral History in a Digital Environment.” Doug Boyd from the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky gave a great talk about how he leveraged opportunity to expand the size, endowment and presence of their oral history project on campus. The most exciting part of the presentation was his demonstration of the OHMS (I think it stands for Oral History Metadata Software) software which is being developed by them that allows for people to search for key words or phrases within the text of a transcribed document, read that portion of the document and then, with a click listen to the chunk of the digital recording. He demonstrated the methodology to us. It was really well done. When I asked him when we might get our hands on this software, he grinned and said something about patents and testing, etc. So I’m thinking this won’t be an open source product.

It was a really good conference. A great deal of variety, and a good number of ideas that can be brought back to each institution for ultimate implementation.


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