I enjoyed reading through Rudaí23, Thing 20 by Liz Keane Kelly. What she says is true: “presentations are as normal as meetings nowadays…”. If only most people who are presenting would remember that it is only a tool used to clarify your idea or information. Just recently I was in a 3-day workshop where the slides used were packed to capacity with information, hard to read, and where the presenter read each and every word from the slides. Yikes, that sends me over the cliff of boredom!
My own efforts at presentations have been few. I once prepared for a Book Talk presentation aimed at a group of children in a private school. They would have been aged between 9 to 11, an international group who mostly use English as a second language. To keep both boys and girls engaged for the 10-min talk, I decided to present Diary of an Ugly Sweater by Cassie Eubank. Christmas was approaching and the book had been released earlier that year. It was my hope that it would engage the children in a lively discussion around feelings. Also that they would enjoy reading this delightful book, finding its value as well as theirs. Well, the book talk never happened. Long story. However, the presentation can be viewed here. Needless to say, my presentation could have been improved upon, since it was one of my earliest attempts. To engage the children I used a few more ‘bells and whistles’ than I would normally like. I planned to use the notes panes to prompt me on what I wanted to say with each slide. The presentation is set to progress with mouse-clicks, to control the timing and the discussion.
Just recently I undertook a presentation for a library when the library manager (where I volunteer) mentioned that the overhead TV needed a new info display. At the library we were all under pressure, with about 10 days’ notice before an IFLA committee viewing of Qatar’s libraries in order to consider Qatar as a potential venue for an annual IFLA conference. At home I had time on my hands, so I tackled it and was humbled when they decided it was good enough to be used as a permanent info display. With this kind of presentation, which you don’t get to present, as it were, the vital info must be imparted to the viewer with a comfortable time-based scroll, so that they have time to assimilate the info in passing, but without getting bored. This (museum) library has a lot of walk-in visitors, both residents and tourists, who often don’t know that the library even exists.
A few years ago, as an English teacher at the British Council, the classrooms had smartboards for us to use. I would imagine that giving a presentation is not much different. We all know there are rules out there to come up with amazing presentations, and having read many over the years, I would be inclined to follow these six that I remember easily, and which are common sense really:
KNOW your audience; create a presentation to keep them engaged, within the time allocated. Otherwise you’ve lost them, period!
Don’t overdo the text. (I’ve heard it said no more than 6 words per slide. Extreme or correct? What do you think?)
Not too many fancy bits, simple is always better (and safer!).
Know your subject; don’t rely on the presentation to get you through. (What if the power is off and you have to talk anyway?) 😮
Give credit where credit is due! All the material used – images, clip art, ideas, text – should be referenced.
Create a handout for AFTER the presentation. Not the entire presentation – you can put that up on Slideshare.net – just the most important points.
Moving on to Thing 21, Creating Infographics. Fun! Thanks for stopping by. 😀
Copyright, creative commons and all things legal have been well presented by Caroline Rowan in her write-up of Rudai23 Thing 19. It’s a topic that we should all be familiar with, but as librarians even more so, to ensure we offer proper guidance and advice to library users. I’m always appreciative of people who have the ability to explain it so clearly.
Recently (April/May 2016), I completed a 4-week course offered by ALIA and Sydney TAFE on Copyright. Here is my reflection of the course, after completing it:
This course was invaluable to me as a new librarian, especially since much of the focus was on Australian copyright. Locating different links and exploring the website for the Copyright Council for Australia was beneficial, most especially access to the Information Fact Sheets for each area of copyright.
It was interesting to learn about copyright period, and how it is applied worldwide. I learned about take-down requests and the issues that surround them, and enjoyed seeing examples of copyright policies from different libraries. The most valuable part of the course for me was learning about Creative Commons; at last I was able to take time to study the different licences and how they are used and cited.
Finally, Digital Rights Management (DRM) was presented and we were able to see the controversies surrounding this issue. We were shown all sides of the argument. It was really enlightening for me, as a new librarian, having not yet had opportunity to work with these issues. We learned about ‘click-wrap‘ and ‘shrink-wrap’ – “non-negotiable terms that accompany the [boxed] product” (CSO 2011) – pertaining to software and licences, and how libraries are affected by these.
While on the course we were given the link to this super video explaining Creative Commons from Creative Commons Kiwi…
Having once again gone through the issues pertaining to copyright, I have decided to place a prominent notice on the upper right hand side of my blog, showing that content created by me is covered under the creative commons licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Here is a link explaining how to protect your blog with a CC notice. I’m relieved that I finally got round to doing this. 🙂
Since the start of this blog I have used only Creative Commons or Copyright free (public domain) images, and have endeavoured to credit them correctly. If you see a discrepancy on my site, please be sure to tell me.
If a story is not about the hearer he [or she] will not listen . . . A great lasting story is about everyone or it will not last.
John Steinbeck, East of Eden.
For the library sector, communicating through photographs is essentially advocacy. And storytelling. Or am I wrong? And isn’t it so, that each person sees an image in line with his/her background of information, cultural experience and personal understanding? So where one photo will be harmless to some, to others it can be huge controversy or insulting.
Therefore, I would imagine that for a library’s account to be successful on Instagram or Flickr etc., knowledge and sensitivity must be the starting point…know your community, their values, culture, lifestyle, struggles, and so forth, to ensure that no individual or group is made to feel inferior, insulted, intimidated, excluded, etc.
As a volunteer within libraries I’m unable to comment on how effective photography is as a means of impacting users and visits to the library. But as a user of social media and a library/museum/history/info enthusiast, I know how avidly I pursue various accounts, based on what they share. Flickr is used effectively by libraries to show-case vintage photos, photos of their community activities, to document the history of their area, and more. Instagram is a wonderful way to highlight displays in libraries and museums, to draw attention to new resources, to notify of, and share, activities within the library and to be innovative in communication with a bid to draw the local community to the facility and all it has to offer (the recent #liblympics from @noosalibraryservice was a brilliant example of an advocacy campaign on Instagram).
On a personal level I have used a Flickr account since 2011, and Instagram since December 2014. I follow libraries and librarians, museums and other interesting (story-telling) accounts. On Instagram I post photos of my volunteering efforts in libraries and interesting things I encounter along the way. I use Flickr as a cloud storage facility (on a private setting) for my personal photographs, since they offer 1 Terabyte free of charge, but I have made a few public in an album.
Here are some links to a few accounts that I follow, and which I really enjoy:
For Thing 17 we are encouraged to apply the “Cobbs Cycle of Reflective Practice”. The process is outlined in the diagram below (taken from the Rudai 23, Thing 17 article):
Today, my reflective thinking post will be on the course in general, thus far.
I decided that I needed to tackle a course on technology…something that would challenge me. I remembered seeing Tweets about “23 Things” and so I explored the various options. Although Rudai23 was no longer active or monitored, the activities for each Thing and the length of the course felt right to me. I threw down the gauntlet to myself as it were, and picked up the challenge.
At the time I was excited to begin this course. I felt as if I was losing touch regarding technology and the skills required. Some forms of tech I had not, at that point, ever used. The niggling urge to try them out was always there, but never the time. This course would require action. Besides that, I had let my blogging slide into neglect, and kept hearing people banging on about how important a blog was as a CPD record. It annoyed me, since I did not enjoy blogging, but wanted to ensure that one day, one day, when hopefully we could escape from this ‘land of sand’, I would be an employable candidate. So, with the added requirement of writing a blog post, I realised there can be no excuses…I would have to write.
I have had to dig deep. I confronted insecurity in tackling technology that I had not used before; faced my fear of ‘being visible’ (blogging publicly) since I don’t have the gift of the gab; also of linking my social media accounts for branding purposes. I realised that I suffered from ‘imposter syndrome’. Something kept whispering ‘you’re not a real librarian’, ‘you’ve used distance study’, ‘you’re out of touch’. I had to actively work at quashing those thoughts. Feeling very vulnerable, I only experienced kindness online. I’m thankful for the librarians who commented and encouraged. With each Thing‘s activity, I my confidence grew. Exploring the topics gave me more insight. Finally, tackling the activity and writing up the blog post afterward, was hugely satisfying. I am just over halfway through the course now, and feeling more equipped with knowledge and experience. 😀
Before beginning I didn’t fully think the course through. I merely jumped in. While that is a good thing in some ways (because in too much thought I may have decided to shelve it), I have also found it tough to stay on schedule. Working as a volunteer, running a household, trying to remain up to speed with professional development, strength training, reading and other commitments, alongside weekly blogging, is a serious challenge to one who isn’t a natural writer. Also, doing this kind of programme solo is not desirable – it would have been valuable to share with someone along the way, to discuss various elements and to compare notes. (The administrators of Rudai23 encouraged me and invited contact if I needed to, but that would be a lot to ask of people who are probably as pressured as the rest of us and who have in fact moved on from this course.)
Some of the activities sounded as if they would be a walk in the park, but in reality were tough and a time challenge. For example, screencasting in Thing 9. That taught me a lesson in three Ps…preparation, perseverance and patience. 😀 I eagerly anticipated experiencing the Augmented Reality in Thing 14, when, obligingly, Pokémon Go was launched just a few weeks earlier and it was on everyone’s lips. My desire to explore new things, had me looking at different AR Apps and in so doing I discovered AR I hadn’t known about and found some ideas for library advocacy, which was to follow in Thing 15.
So, I see a pattern emerging…these tasks and skills are interwoven and can be combined to equip one for more effective service to users and stakeholders within all kinds of libraries.
What else could I have done? Read!…more blogs linked to the Rudai23 things course…more articles on technology…more research. I could have given each activity more thought in respect of application to libraries. I could also have actively tried to form a local group to do this course together with.
Short term: to not quit, but to finish strong.
Medium term: to read more on professional writing.
Long term: to begin another 23 Things course in 2017, hopefully as part of a group… 23 Research Data (RD) Things. 😀 (If anyone is interested in doing this course next year, please drop me a line below, so that we can connect.
The use of reflective practice in libraries should be encouraged by managers. Each member of staff, each professional, given a chance to revisit their learning; their experiences; their interaction, with users and with each other; their attitude, aptitude and approach to new technologies. How could this be instituted? How do you ensure library staff are exercising reflective thinking? By providing forms to complete? By asking for feedback from each person? How often? Monthly, quarterly, annually? Not everyone will be interested in maintaining a continuous professional development (CPD) blog. So how?
In my previous life 😉 as ELT coordinator, the Head of Department was of the opinion that regular observation of teachers was vital to maintain standards of professionalism. Random, drop-in observations, was the method used. Not popular, I know, but to measure someone’s actual ability/performance on the job, it is effective. In an office the manager doesn’t always notify people that s/he’s planning to walk the floor. They often just pitch up to take a look at what’s happening. I’m unsure of how it works in a factory, but I’m almost certain workers are not pre-warned that managers observe from a window/platform above, they just do. In our ESL department the teachers were aware, from the start, that we used this method of observation.
These observations ensured that teachers remained on top of their lesson planning and that weekly lesson plans were drafted, helping the department to run smoothly when someone called in ill or went on leave. They served to keep the lessons varied and interesting. There is nothing worse than sitting in a language class for 6 hours of a very hot desert day, having a teacher drone on about grammar, writing, spelling and comprehension. Equally so, lessons that were planned were more interactive, making the task more enjoyable for both teachers and students. Lastly, professional feedback was the outcome, since teachers had the chance to respond in writing to remarks on the observation report. Reflective thinking! From it came growth. Our ESL department was so effective, that it became popular locally and we were bursting at the seams.
So, in my experience, the outcome of reflective thinking, especially when it involves accountability to someone else, is professional growth. Yesterday’s #auslibchat on Twitter was about professional development, mentors and mentees. One outcome of the discussion was the need for mentors, and for all of us, in fact, to come alongside the other. So perhaps we can each find someone that we can do some mutual reflective thinking with…regularly…so we can challenge our growth and professionalism as librarians.
Six years ago I was one of three people (two coordinators and the HoD) responsible for drafting weekly class tests for each module on English language training, across different levels. For uniformity purposes collaboration was vital. They contained speaking activities, listening activities, reading extracts, images, clip-art, and questions of varying format. However, collaboration was a nightmare. First, our time was taken up with different tasks in the normal day-to-day running of the ESL department. Second, when we could, we would work on our local PCs, back up on the flash drives, and then go into the local network’s shared drive to back up again and create a master copy. If one worked at home, the documents would be copied from a flash drive to the work PC, overwriting a previous copy, and then again placed on the shared drive, overwriting the master copy. When we all worked on these tests over the weekend, there we would be, on the first day of the week, trying to retrieve and edit the same master documents, but in turn, as only one person could access a particular master copy at a time.
Needless to say, the entire process was a mental battle, trying to establish which was the latest and final edit! In the end each task often ended up with multiple copies, and all three of us at a loss as to which was the actual copy to use. Not only would we have to ensure that the copy on the shared drive is the correct one, but all our local backups needed overwriting, as well as the documents of the flash drives. We realised that our collaboration was a shambles! As far as drafting final tests were concerned, it was all best left to one person, we decided. The downside was that that person was sent multiple emails (leading to new stress) with questions and suggestions for additions, and telephonic debates on the side. The whole process was stressful and was repeated weekly. Somehow we managed to get the tests issued on time every week, but only after many private hours spent by one person, at the weekend.
Has the above story rung a bell, or revived old unpleasant memories? Made you confused and exhausted? Good! Because it drives home my point on just how wonderful it is to have Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox,OneNote and all the other programmes that allow effortless collaboration. Microsoft’s SkyDrive (now OneDrive) was available from about 2008, but cloud computing was a mystery to most of us, and those who were not techie-minded were adamant – they were not going that route.
Even our IT department was suspicious of the cloud, and consistently avoided any queries.
Dropbox was around soon after, but again, not widely used. Google Drive was only created in 2012, long after I left the ELT department. Had we have had those programmes and their current features, oh, our lives would have been made so much easier.
So averse was I to creating backups of backups of backups, that as soon as I began my course in 2010, I immediately turned to SkyDrive and Amazon Drive. When Google Drive arrived, it quickly became the popular choice. Today, documents can be created within these drives, shared, commented on, and collaborated on. No constant backing up and transporting of flash drives. It is safe…in the cloud. 😀 (Indeed, the onus is on the creator of the document to keep a back-up of his/her documents on site, but at least the documents and files on the cloud are not on a device that may drop, become damaged, corrupted, be mislaid, or anything else.) Truly wonderful. And now I can just about hear all those questions and comments regarding security and the cloud?! Haha, well after 6 years of using it privately, I would never, ever, NOT EVER, look back!
Earlier this year, as an intern in the school library, I was tasked with designing reading badges. These were digital images created with an online badge maker. To share them with the librarian would have resulted in countless emails containing rather large image files. Instead, I stored them on Google Drive, and shared each grade’s folder with her, automatically sharing the documents within. All she needed to do was to click on the link, open the folder, edit and/or save the file on her computer for printing. No pain. No flash drives. No back and forth emailing. The folders were downloaded onto her PC, organised according to grades, all ready to go.
Today, in the library where I volunteer, no-one seems to be using collaboration tools. It may be that their needs are different, but I have on multiple occasions wished I could give someone access to a document or form that I have created for the library, instead of having to email it as an attachment.
My favourite is Microsoft’s OneNote, which I use to take notes for both professional and private use, and create documents with to share with friends or family. It is user friendly, has multiple features, available on all devices, also allowing collaboration between different users. The writer of Rudai 23 Thing 16 has provided a super explanation of Google Drive and Doodle as collaboration tools. (I have made my entry into Thing 16’s Google Drive document, by the way. )
Cloud computing. Cloud collaboration. My personal thanks to the founders and developers of these software.
Thing 17 will be a reflective practice blog entry. Until then…cheers. 😀