Monday, March 12, 2018

ECIS Librarians Conference 2018 - Chennai part 3

Day three of ECIS Librarians conference in Chennai started with another wonderful opening to the day of learning.

We had another beautiful song from Jayashri Ramnath , a wonderful violin recital by a young student in year 2, Dancing Mums from AIS Chennai and a very fun song by Bill Harley "The Library song". (which can be downloaded at the link).

Then John Schu led us on a wild ride through getting kids excited about reading and how stories connect us. He fanboyed Kate diCamillo throughout (he did warn us he was going to do this) and highly recommended we all read "From Striving to thriving - How to grow capable confidant readers" by Stephanie Harvey & Annie Ward, especially the introduction by Dav Pilkey and consider what we and others do to dampen the love of reading without even thinking about it. (There is a 'not for distribution' draft of the book on this Scholastic website if you want to see it before you buy, I just found it randomly, really ....). John also reminded us why reading is important and how good authors (Like Kate di Camillo) use reading as a vehicle for learning - about words, the world, feelings, empathy and about the importance of story in our lives and cultures. He also championed the world of book smellers - be loud and proud! Apparently Amulet are the best smelling books - ever!

Then it was time to move into the learning sessions.

Session 1 I attended Tracie Landry's session "Teaching research as a conversation: How librarians can help teachers teach information literacy every day" along with many others in the room. This session was based on one of the six threshold concepts being the focus of much research in economics education and developed further by the ACRL.

The six threshold concepts are :

Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
Information Creation as a Process
Information Has Value
Research as Inquiry
Scholarship as Conversation
Searching as Strategic Exploration

Katie Day has done a great job of introducing them here and here. Philip Williams has unpacked them in his blog post here. There is a one page PDF summary of what these concepts are at this link. Andrea Khambalia wrote a neat outline of how she uses this in a high school setting. (Thanks to Katie Day for supplying these links for this post). 

A video I found that gives a good introduction to this concept, even for students is "Research as a Conversation" by University Libraries.

Tracie focused on "Scholarship as conversation".

To start with she posed the question "What do your students think research is?" and then led us into how reading and research are conversations. Teaching through this concept we connect the students or researchers to something familiar - conversations are familiar, research and associated terms are unfamiliar, we need to change the vocabulary to help the students make connections that matter.

To further the metaphor of research as conversation we discussed how conversations can occur on multi levels, it can occur in many languages and is interactive.

Conversations need to occur in context, as does research. Conversations are recursive as is research. We construct meaning from conversations, as we do from research. Conversations move across multiple social settings and disciplines, with different vocabulary and types of conversations happening in each of these settings - as does research. 

Considerations we need to be asking to improve our ability to converse: 

How do scholars converse?
Where do these conversations occur?
How to access this conversation?
What do you want from this conversation? - evidence, arguments, methodology.
What did you learn from this conversation? 
How does this learning change your thinking about what you know or believe??
Who are the influential conversationalists?
What impact did the conversation have on you?

Scientists have their own way of having a conversation that only scientists understand really well - how is this different to a historian? We need students to BE these researchers in their disciplines - not just read about them.

Striking up conversations with strangers - stranger danger - who is a friend or not (fake news, bias etc) when researching? 

Tracie then outlined some strategies to teach students to access Scholarly research.

Using search strategies
Search terms need to be nominalised where verbs are changed to nouns. 
Also use advanced search strings in any search engine to include 
"research guide"
site:edu (to access university research papers etc)
"libguide" OR "research guide" OR "pathfinder"
Thinking about where these conversations may occur a search string may be 
-intitle : conference 
use appropriate hashtags for searching
The use of technical terms changes the results - ie renal failure instead of kidney failure - vocabulary is key to finding the deeper & more specific conversation.

Research the conversationalist - (ie author)
Interrogate the source, be critical thinkers, what do I already know about this and how does this correlate? Does it make sense? What is being said and how convincingly?
Triangulate - go seek another opinion.
Who will be talking about this?
What will their bias and agenda be?
What are their intentions?

And then I had to leave the conversation!

The next session was my own on using Social Media in the school library setting. We explored what is currently being used, when and how often, and discovered that many who use Social media to promote their library actually do not have a plan for it nor do they evaluate it.  How do we know what value it is adding if we have no idea what we want from it, or if we evaluate it? 
Some key questions to consider to create a plan or policy ...

Who is your target audience?
What platform will be used?
What type of content will be posted?
Who will be posting the content and answering enquiries?
How often will you post?
How will people find out about it?
How will success be measured?

The next session I attended was Shannon McClintock Millers session Digital Tools to connect, create and collaborate. She highlighted the following platforms that could be useful for school librarians depending on their context and requirements. The link to her slides is here.

Smithsonian learning lab
DK findout
Class Hook
Photos for class
Adobe Spark
Google slides
Spreaker for podcasting
Story Bird
Storyboard that
Recite this
Comic Master
Spell with Flickr
Classroom screen

The last session I attended was with Jill van Niekerk "Under the influence: Collection development for a better world" all about developing empathy and humane education through the resources and education we can provide through our libraries.

Jill's session was based on the question of ethics of information - what is our responsibility to provide ethical and correct information for all library users - not just those who agree with us?

She identified a couple of texts:
 Library Ethics for non librarians by Doug Johnson,
The world becomes what we teach, by Zoe Weil (TEDx talk on this topic by Zoe Weil). 
The human economy  by 
Blackfish the movie

Places to find humane stories and books to add to our collections. Little Rebels award
Amnesty International Booklists
Red Rover humane reading list
Red Rover reading to build empathy

Jill stated something that resonated with me in a powerful way

No opinion equals no impact.

This statement needs a bit of thinking and unpacking - maybe a later post ...

Then we were onto the closing ceremony of the conference - so soon!

We were treated through a fun Haiku challenge with Michael Salinger leading the hilarity.

Credit: AIS Chennai photographer

Credit: AIS Chennai photographer

Then Jeremy Willette gave us a powerful and heart felt closing address on how an empathetic librarian changed his life, 

and then the official part of the conference was over and sadness at saying goodbye to learning and new connections was soon overtaken by another opportunity to shop ...  
Chennai will go down in the history of conferences as the Shopping Conference!

What a fabulous 3 days of learning and socialising so far ... but wait - there is more more day of post conference workshopping for a lucky few. Others went home, exploring or shopping!

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