Being a researcher = being a librarian

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“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”

a holographic Princess Leia on Star Wars

Technology is around us…

I was born in 1970,   I can still see myself playing Atari video games with my brother. Have you ever seen that console?  The games were black & white and you have to insert the cartridge on the game. Also, it has some external devices connected by long wires (so you cannot be too far nor to close from your tv.) to play!. Almost at the same time, we were watching the first video recorded movies Beta (Betamax video cassette recorder) and listening to music on a walkman (I had a blue/grey and later a yellow one)  sold by Sony.  That was technology coming into our house and changing our lives forever.

My first encounter with the future of technology was that scene on Princess Leia in ‘Star Wars’. It was the first science-fiction movie that I watched and made me wonder when we will be able to communicate or use holograms. Years have gone,  devices evolved for their wellbeing or their failure. And the Merge cube appeared bringing us a new way to explore and experience learning through VR/AR.

When I was going through the reading ‘Children in a digital world’ by Unicef, it makes me reflect on the way I grew up compare to my youngest daughter’s life. In my days, we use to still play in the park, ride a bicycle, meet friends around the corner and talk by telephone. Now, access to technology is changing the lives of teenagers. They are surrounded by gadgets, connected and interacting with their peers 24/7 (Hanging-out). I see the ‘culture of the bedroom’ and the tendency of more “me” (my time, my life, my friends and my priorities). If being a teenager is challenging, I think now is more complex because they ‘school world’ will be transferred to their ‘online world and identity’. They deal with bullying and can be exposed to other serious problems like exploitation or abuse.  Psychological effects are also present as depression, anxiety, and solitude. The abuse of the internet is affecting the well-being of some teenagers.

Hanging-out, this new way of online socialization is not understood by many parents (including me). Reading ‘Living and learning with new media’ clarified me the feelings of teens when parents judge the time and activities that they develop online.

How all this access to information online affects teens behavior during the inquiry/research process? So much, they want fast results on the hit list in Google and they don’t have time (or the practice) to verify sources. So they are more exposed to believe in fake news. The probabilities of plagiarism are higher and, even higher, if they do not know how to manage their time, organize themselves with the pressure of their studies and their own lives.

Research and me:

As a librarian, research is one of the main focus of my career. We are totally surrounded by technology and every year something new is giving us more opportunities to learn and apply in education. When I was going through the readings, I was thinking about inquiry-based learning. For some time, I’m following Kate Murdoch’s blog Just wondering going deeper in my understanding of the inquiry-based learning and making a connection with the research process of the library. Usually, we are influenced by Guided inquiry design of Carol Kuhlthau and the Big six skills by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz. But do we really need to do research? Do I need to look for information?…. Yes. In fact, I’m very curious and I always want to go deeper and understand properly whatever new engagement is in front of me. It’s a new challenge! I use online databases, printed books, blogs, academic journals to find out more information. Other times, I will use social media to read study-cases but rarely I will post on any social media a request of help. I try to increase my opportunities for collaboration and connect with other librarians.

 

 

Yes, I’m a Lurker

I have never seen myself as a Lurker before, but after going through the readings of the first week, I have to admit it. I’m a Luker and I have enjoyed it for many years. I like to be updated on different areas related to school librarianship and IBO so I follow groups, people and even I’m part of closed groups. But, most of the time, I’m reading and learning. Sometimes, I will retweet or post something to share but rarely I will express my opinion openly on the web. It has to be something that really shocked me to open up and post it. Last year, I decided to be even less active on social media and only posting from time to time on Instagram.

Now, everything is changing and it’s also challenging myself. I’m coming out of my comfort zone. I will begin to share my thoughts….. even this blog! Sometime back, an administrator told me that I’m a silent worker. That, I didn’t go around the place showing off what we are doing. I always believe that it’s not my style but I was wrong. Social media can be an open door for content (if we know how to find what we need) to grow as professionals or to share experiences. As well as, a mass of connections but are all of them meaningful?. I like Alex Macmillan post about Tweeter and his reflexion about connections https://alexmcmillan.co/from-lurking-to-connecting/

How many times do we accept people just to increase the number of our followers? even people that we don’t know, friend of the friend of my friend. I stopped it some years back. And, I’m seriously thinking about revising lists of friends in social media!.

As a school librarian, I have seen how effective social media can be as a communication channel with our users. It’s faster, cheaper and effective for different target groups. Librarians, we consider all the possible ways to develop that relationship with our patrons and transfer messages. They need to know that we are here for them and ready to offer different tools and resources. The concept of a library is in constant evolution. It’s moving from a place to read to a place of creation (in some countries faster than in others). It’s unstoppable!

Just to finish, I would like to suggest an article published at Library Journal in 2013 by Ned Potter (https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=10-golden-rules-to-take-your-librarys-twitter-account-to-the-next-level) It gives 10 simple recommendations to improve the use of Twitter in libraries.

Happy Chinese New Year! And let’s begin this new year being connectors & creators!