Post-Class Post: Play

Despite all the technical difficulties with the shivering screen (as well as being exhausted from Quasi-Con), I found class this week to be very interesting. We discussed the ADDIE model for one-shot workshops in detail and also learned about screenshots. I found the in-class exercise to be the most fun. As you all know, we watched a couple of screencasts about Google Reader and then posted out favorite and least favorite. For my classmate Tyson and myself, each screencast seemed worse than the next. I found it interesting how the screencast that everyone almost entirely agreed was the best… wasn’t a screencast at all. It was a video of hand drawn cards and hands. I have included it below:

What this tells me is that even us stodgy librarians like it when people play with a medium. We like it when someone takes a medium that we know (even a cursory knowing based on one weeks’ worth of reading) and challenge it, hack it, question it. When approaching this supposedly brave new world of professional practice and web tutorials, we are still looking for a way to break the boundary, to make it fun and interesting and different. Play is more than just a command in this case: it’s a way of thinking. A screencast is just a workshop, and if it’s a workshop that is better as a video, then it becomes a video.

Picture used without permission from http://www.wipeout44.com/video/images/flash_play_button.jpg. Video used without permission from Youtube.

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About Ilana the Librarian

I am an aspiring librarian at the University of Michigan.
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3 Responses to Post-Class Post: Play

  1. ryabbc says:

    I think that you’re right that creating something that’s a bit more “quirky” than a straight-up-stare-at-a-screen screencast can go a long way. I’ve seen simple animation used more and more in effective how-to or explanation videos for everything from for-profit business to cultural organizations!

    Most of the screencasts that Karen and I watched were truly awful. One interesting thing I realized is that a lot of those screencasts were in some way more about self-promotion of the creators’ blogs or YouTube hits than actually starting with a goal of effective teaching and learning.

  2. adamsliz says:

    I forgot to mention (I had a long day yesterday) that I think that Veldof’s descriptions and use of teams within workshop planning could also cut down on some of the time involved in reflecting. As mentioned above, but something I should probably elaborate on here, Veldof notes, working together provides “the design team and others with workshop materials that they can adapt and use and reuse” (11). This not only cuts down on upfront work for the librarian but serves as a handy way of curtailing the amount of time devoted to reflection. I would imagine, that if you have already witnessed the implementation of a workshop, and if you discuss the processes behind that implementation with the actual creator, you could better reflect upon the material itself. Dead-ends in the development processes and the mentalities behind them could be met head-on in an efficient and effective way. You could ask rather than puzzle through the decision-making process. For a librarian who volunteers to instruct a workshop, that collaborative spirit could then only help the process. And because collaboration is a key part of the library experience, and because librarians seem to thrive on partnerships and communication, I know that this part won’t be a very large challenge.

  3. Playing with media is definitely a defining quality of librarians, at least recently. Some of the coolest tech I’ve seen was created by university librarians who were looking for new ways to engage students who passed through the library. Do we apply this same joyful hacking technique to our research/reference approaches? I think I do when I’m searching for something for myself, but I’m not sure how to approach someone else’s reference problem like this–a lot of the playing around with databases and searches that I do works because it’s intuitive to me, but it might be very hard to explain to someone else, and our prime directive (so to speak) seems to be to teach while helping. So do we keep our creativity out at the risk of missing some helpful information, or let it fly but risk not being able to transfer the process to the patron?

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