Wednesday, 30 July 2014

ARLG Conference 2014: The Final Frontier - to boldly go where you've never been before

There was so much packed into the 3 days, that I can't hope to cover all that I went to, so I am going to pick out the things I took from it the most, in no particular order:

That it doesn't cost a huge amount of money to make your library and it's services more accessible than they currently are. My plan  - to assess where we are at and find ways to improve it, using some of the ideas and resources mentioned by Virginia Power in her Inclusive Practice session. They are JISC TechDis' Online Accessibility Self Evaluation Service (OASES), the MLA Accessibility Toolkit, which I do have in paper format at work and is still available online from the National Archive (Disability Portfolio Guide) and to start making screencasts of how to use the accessibility resources we have.

Promote and encourage better use of e-books - Elaine Mulholland sent lists of relevant e-books (from the JISC e-books for FE) with live links to each curriculum area in her College, to raise awareness and encourage use. This, I think, is an excellent idea and as the JISC e-books for FE original agreement is about to expire, I feel that promoting what we still have available is very important. We have 3 different e-book providers and a 4th imminent (i.e. when I get my new budget), so it's a good opportunity to drill down into what we have and see if there are any gaps in the resources.

A task that I keep mentioning and never actually do anything about (I mentioned it at my last performance Review too, so I need to do it!) - better use of social media. We have a Facebook and Twitter account and are guilty of sporadically using it. My plan of campaign is to start with Georgina Cronin and Meg Westbury's idea of a social media policy and build from there. My initial thoughts are in addition to keeping people upto date with changes in opening times, events and any database downtime we are informed about, is to incorporate stuff that ties in with our displays and maybe current events. I know that in order for this to work I will need some way of scheduling updates - Hootsuite springs to mind, as I already have used it (not to full effect though) - I will need to train myself how to use it more efficiently and then train my staff.

I would also like to make a glossary of library terms, as suggested by Kirsty Carver and Sophie North in their Culturally Aware Library session. Whilst we do not have the same extent of diversity as Bradford University, we do have learners from different countries and as importantly we have a population who, in many cases, have never been into a library before. Therefore a glossary could be of benefit to a great many of our learners.

I have set a target for all of these goals to be achieved or at least worked towards (as I know some will take some time to put in place) within the next year.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

RSC Northern's e-Fest 14 - an e-Ventful Tale

Guess what? As usual I've left this too long from the event to writing it up. Bad practice I know, and not what I was taught whilst doing my Chartership. So first of all any action plan I have should start with must reflect sooner on training rather than later.

What can I remember about the e-Fest?

I can remember tweeting all day rather than taking notes. This is a first for me and something I would like to continue doing. What I haven't done is collected the tweets together so let me put that as another point on the action plan.

I am a digital native apparently, this came as a surprise. I'm not saying i'm no good at it and I'm not scared of it, I just don't find it as intuitive or as easy to use as (some) other people - especially those who are younger. I do though make the Internet my first port of call when I want to find out something which is what supposedly makes me a digital native. I'm still not convinced!

Minecraft - using it as an educational tool. I tried to do a bit of homework before this session, I'd heard of Minecraft but never seen or played it, so I decided to take a demo of it and get a feel for what it is about. I was so inept I drowned myself 3 times in about an hour of play :( Anyway as an educational tool, I can see the benefits of Minecraft, build something collaboratively, project management, teamwork, decision making etc it is all there and in a fun way.

Sensory Pods - definitely the most fun thing of the day. An immersive learning experience where you have smell, sound, climate and movement to accompany the topic you are learning about or you can go in and chill out, which makes it ideal for learners with special needs, as it is a safe haven for them. This is todays version of Star Trek's holodeck, we are not quite as advanced as in Star Trek but we are getting there.

Monday, 19 May 2014

CoLRiC Roadshow, Durham - my top 5 most interesting points

Last week, I attended the CoLRiC Roadshow event in Durham. To help get me back into blogging, I am writing this post about it. Also to help me get back into blogging, i'm going to try to keep it fairly short by writing the top 5 things I took from it. These are in no particular order:
  1. I enjoyed using the Socrative app, which is an online and mobile student response system app. I was pleasantly surprised that when I downloaded it onto my phone, I didn't have to put in my e-mail and password. It only asked for a room number, which is provided by the person taking the session.
  2. Dundee and Angus College have front facing IT Technicians. This is very refreshing and sadly for most of us probably a pipedream.
  3. In order to survive the LRC / library service needs to make itself essential to the College. To do this you need to identify what the College needs and then provide this service. Where I work the first service that springs to mind as being essential is our assignment submission service. This service allows students to hand in their work at a central location. I will be looking at the other services we provide to see if anymore are essential and also thinking about what else is needed that we could provide.
  4. The Six Book Challenge can now be ran from September. The Reading Agency has moved up the timescale for when the packs are available to accommodate the academic year, as there are so many Colleges taking part now and some would like the full year to do it in. Whilst my College hasn't yet started running the Challenge, I am now going to give it another push and see if we can get a group going in September.
  5. LRC induction done as a gameshow complete with compare and scoreboard using the Cephalonia method of learning - looks and sounds great. Done in a lecture theatre, so it reaches many students at once. I really like the idea and would love to give it a go.

Making better use of e-resources

At the beginning of the year, or possibly late last year, an e-mail came through from Credo Reference informing me that some e-books had bee...