Castle Librarian

Archive for the ‘Web 2.0’ Category

Educators as Copyright Violators

In Musing, Web 2.0 on October 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Clicking on a tweet link lead me to this post including a cool graphic about 21st century learner’s skills. I liked the graphic and soon found myself wondering who created it. The above post links to another blog which contains the graphic. There is a logo in the corner of the picture, but it is too blurry to read due to the quality of the image. I got a bit bent out of shape and decided that I would post about what chronic violators of copyright educators are.

three panel comic

So, I turned to Google image search to try to track down the origin of this image. Three pages of results did not provide a better quality picture or earlier version.

three panel comic

Apparently, the graphic had been made with http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/ by the owner of the blog referenced by Edudemic. So, I spent all this time fussing around about this for nothing, although a credit statement or citation on the original blog would have been helpful. I should learn from this and make sure I credit or cite my own images.

I made the two images in this post using http://www.makebeliefscomix.com October 3, 2013.

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Writing is to book as …

In Musing, Web 2.0 on March 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Last year I witnessed a group of students attempting to define what a blog is. There was a great deal of confusion and lack of definition.

There was less confusion of format and content in the good old days when we had just books and magazines as textual information sources. A few formats could contain a wider variety of content types. A short story might be in a newspaper, a magazine or a book. Some formats were more appropriate for certain content types than others. Novels are too long for anything other than a book. The internet muddied the water by greatly increasing the number of “formats.” Now we have web pages, forums, blogs, wikis, databases, etc. Now there is a plethora of formats and a plethora of content types that can be mixed and matched. To make it even more complicated some are disguised and difficult to identify. It may not be important to identify a format. Some online magazines are using a blog format, but it is modified in such a way as to be transparent and the blog aspect isn’t really important. Format no longer tells us what kind of content to expect.

Helping students understand and navigate information sources is no longer simple, because the nature of formats is hazy. The physical formats have obvious features. E-formats are somewhere in the invisible world. When teaching visual or kinetic learners, it can be challenging to teach about the invisible/intangible. Add limited time for instruction and important foundational concepts get skipped. We go straight to “here is how to search this database” without explaining what a database is, what one might find inside, and how it works. I’ve seen this result in students searching a database, looking for research reports, but selecting letters to the editor instead. Finding and evaluating information is not instinctive. The 50 minute one shot instruction session is a tiny drop in the bucket, insufficient to the task.

Way Beyond Web

In Musing, Web 2.0 on April 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I wrote previously – Predictions of Future Past – about Internet predictions and what actually developed. I’m going to prattle on about this some more from a slightly different tack.

I’m amazed by the paradoxical ease and complexity of accessing information these days. We can google most anything, although the answers we find might raise more questions than certainties. (Notice how Google has become a verb?) The recent 50th anniversary of The Flintstones resulted in a discussion (via Facebook) about exactly when was Pebbles born. Googling led to conflicting answers and questions of which source could be believed. (If my students had any idea what The Flintstones was, I would use this as an example for how to evaluate sources. Unfortunately, it is not culturally relevant.) Anyway, I’m going with Feb 22, 1963.

I live abroad (not in my home country) and Twitter has been important for us in making friendships with a wide variety of people. For example, recently we had a dinner with 13 people (including us) in which 6 of those people were expats (foreigners like us) and 7 were locals (citizens). You will have to take my word on just how extraordinary that is. However, Twitter is also a major source of information about what is going on locally and in the world. Tweeps (people who twitter) read an interesting article on a news website or a blog and tweet a link to the article. I, being lazy or harried, rely on this referral system and use these links to go to articles that pique my interest. Yes, I could use RSS feeds to collect articles in an automated way, but I kinda like the added social aspect that the person who shared the link also read the article (I know there’s a bit of assumption there) and if I have a strong reaction or opinion about the content, I can “talk” with them about it.

Now, back in the “real” world, students are flocking into the library during their breaks to grab newspapers (in physical format), find an article and scan a copy of it on a daily basis. I have concluded that there is at least one professor who is convinced that the students must “learn to read newspapers” and is requiring the students to produce an article each day. There are teachers who are scandalized that these students have never touched a physical newspaper. But, let’s face it, newspapers are dead, they just don’t know it, yet. Most newspapers have websites where they post all their articles and possibly additional content. These websites have become quite sophisticated, well organized, searchable, and incorporate social media functions so that you can comment on what you read. The tradition of the leisurely breakfast with the morning newspaper is a luxury only the retired have. These students are not sitting down with the paper, reading it through, and coming away fully informed about what is happening locally and globally. Let go of format! Paper is dead, long live the web (until the next thing comes along). Content is where it is at. It doesn’t matter if it is carved in stone, painted on papyrus or sheep skin, inked on wood pulp, or displayed on screen.

Ironically, there are some “services” that are designed to take your Twitter feed and turn it into your very own personalized “newspaper.” At least one application for iPad combines your Facebook and Twitter to make a personalized “magazine” for you. Just how many interfaces do we need to filter our information through?

I don’t think that the word “web” describes the Internet accurately anymore. Maybe “fractal” would be more appropriate.

Predictions of Future Past

In Musing, Web 2.0 on November 30, 2010 at 8:48 am

A long time ago (1992) when I was in graduate school learning to become a librarian, we were shown a short video that predicted the future of information.First let me set the scene:

  • This was pre-graphical Internet browsers. (Mosaic was another amazing demonstration at the time, but there was no Internet Explorer, Firefox, or whatever.)
  • We were using Pine for email.
  • We were posting things to “bulletin boards” and usenet. (I remember spending hours reading the leaked script to the Star Trek Next Generation movie and being disappointed.)
  • There were no images, no videos, no animations, no search engines.

The video we were presented with showed a business man getting up in the morning and having a relaxing cup of coffee while his computer generated “information butler” (my terminology) told him verbally about news reports he might find relevant, gave him the stock report on his investments, told him his schedule for the day, and responded to the man’s verbal feedback. All those things that personal assistants do for the rich and powerful. The message for us apparently was that we had just signed up for a profession that would soon cease to exist. I looked on YouTube for this video, but that is like looking for a needle in a very big haystack with my eyes closed.

Happily, 18 years later, the death of the librarian profession has not been realized. We still don’t have artificial intelligence and we still need people to organize, channel and disseminate information. (We still need people to figure out why the computer system isn’t giving us what we want when we want it.)
There are things like RSS feeds that we are supposed to use to glean information we want from the overwhelming mess called the internet, but only a few use them (the info savvy). Even I haven’t taken the time to set this up for myself (mainly because I expect to be deluged with more info than I can possibly handle). I’m a secondary consumer, I suppose. I rely on my Twitter friends who are using their RSS feeds to find out what is happening in the world. They then share the link via Twitter and if their comments catch my eye and I think I might be interested in the information, I follow the link and read for myself. I’ve found some really important information that way.

In a way, the Internet is seriously inbred. For example, someone out there writes something interesting. Someone reads it and channels it in my direction. I find it interesting and useful for others, so I put it in a wiki or a blog for further distribution. Search engines index my wiki enabling others to find it and before long my wiki is linked to someone else’s wiki or website. Etc., etc., etc.
In the spirit of inbred Internet, here is a link I think you might find interesting. The Internet in 1969 via the Huffington Post

[Previously published on my other blog.]