Category: Inspiration

InfoLit Best Practices looking for example cases

According to the Information Literacy Blog, the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Information Literacy Best Practices Committee “is looking for information literacy programs that are exemplary in any of the categories outlined in Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy that Illustrate Best Practices: A Guideline.”
More information here: http://www.ala.org/acrl/aboutacrl/directoryofleadership/sections/is/iswebsite/committees/bestpractices

Power of/on e-learning

Sometimes, all one needs is a name to get started on researching a topic. Here is one: Michael Power.

I stumbled on his e-learning diary published in open access from Athabasca University Press in both French & English, called: A Designer’s Log: Case Studies in Instructional Design.

Already there are great insights in this book, including a thorough bibliography. It seems professor Power has been active within the Journal of distance education, such as:

Redesigning Online Learning for Graduate Seminar Delivery Vol 24, No 2 (2010) 
Générations d’enseignement à distance, technologies éducatives et médiatisation de l’enseignement supérieur Vol 17, No 2 (2002) 

Musings on Open Data, MineCraft and Libraries

This is a vision I had a few weeks ago, that I shared with colleagues at the Technoculture Art and Games (TAG) research group at Concordia University. It also fits with a conversation I’ve had with Marius Buliga on his blog chorasimilarity about
data visualization, apps and open data (and much more).

It is a bit of a rant, but I wouldn’t want it stuck in some old email folder, not with this blog begging for this kind of weird, pie-in-the-sky, waking dream… essentially, this is a broad sketch of using MineCraft as a data visualization tool…

I love to be handed vague & seemingly impossible challenges. These usually involve plugging random tidbits together so that something can emerge. So, I’ve been trying to figure out something simple yet awesome to do with the […] Library project. Also, someone on this list (who shall remain nameless) said in passing: “it would be great to use minecraft for data visualisation” and that somehow stuck.

Granted, I did not quite know what minecraft was (my bad, Lynn’s lecture fixed that). But since the e.SCAPE conference, I’ve dabbled in gamification of libraries as well as experiential learning (which are related somehow). I’m also reading about the history of books, swarms and how games were used to figure them out, as well as my regular score of copyright stuff (must-write-phd-thesis). Also, something impossible happened in the past 12hrs, both my daughters slept a consecutive 7 hours, and my train was delayed long enough for me to make myself a 2nd cup of coffee. All these sources, sleep and stimulants gave birth to an epiphany (a good friend of mine would call that a brain fart, but let’s not get graphic here).

The […] library system is releasing its datasets in an open format (a friend told me that) – which means that you can download their entire catalogue via an open protocol. So, if librarians construct an intellectual edifice with the books they buy, this analogy can deliver an evolving structure in MineCraft. For example, you could use the Dewey decimal code (which is a proxy to the subject of the book) as well as the location (branch library, a proxy for neighbourhoods) to devise a form of city scape or structure. Collections evolve over time – books are bought or weeded – which makes it into a living thing as this incorporates the concept of time. Also, the library system uses standards to manage its collections (which translate into fields in the catalogue), these rules can be transposed in a virtual representation.

Now, if you think this is cool, imagine if we could get the (anonymous ) data-feed from individual loans made to patrons – we could incorporate a whole new level to the game (swarms of people borrowing swarms of books). In fact, this would allow people in the city to “play the game” by borrowing a book! I don’t know if Minecraft has en engine to run critters in its environment, but we could have a swarm of critters walking all over the place based on the book-loans… or more simply, the structures in the system could somehow change with loans as well.

I feel Borges would have been pissed off if I did not share this fascinating living evolving vivid virtual representation of a library, its use and its impact on a city with such fine folks as yourself. I will let people more adept than me explore the ramifications of such a representation on identity, institutions, swarms, gamification, representations…

The idea is that as a Librarian, we learn how to evaluate a collection – a living organism which evolves over time based on constraints (space, budget, degradation of the material with use). People read books from librarians and librarians read collections. The collection as “edifice” is a strong analogy of how I perceive librarians do their work. MineCraft can be a tool to share this vision of a librarian’s professional work with others.

I call this the Edifice ™ project (which also works nicely in French).

Let a million Apps Bloom

A random RSS item sent me to Allan Carrington’s interesting blog post on applying Bloom’s taxonomy to Apps, called the Padagogy Wheel (as in using iPads in pedagogy).


See a high-resolution version of this image on a poster padwheelposter[1]

Also, here is a short video that explains how the Padagogy Wheel works:

As Allen writes :

During my research I saw lots of great work done by others using Bloom’s Taxonomy including the Revised Taxonomy which has now become the Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. However when I discovered the excellent pioneer work done by Kathy Schrock with “Bloomin’ Apps” I got the idea for the Padagogy Wheel. Dare I say it but it is the next version for mobile learning of the ongoing importance of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Bloom’s is still fundamental to good teaching and learning.

I’ve visited all the links mentioned in this paragraph and they provide great information about Bloom’s taxonomy, its revisions and applicaitons to the digital world. How interesting!

Scratching the surface of video games

Through the TED Talks iTunes feed, I watched last evening this talk by Mitch Resnick on teaching kids to code:

Here is the link to Scratch, the kid (and neophyte) friendly video game builder.

I’ve been thinking of using video games or gamification for library & information literacy instruction and the Scratch tool seems like a fun and easy way to test some prototypes.

A different thread lead me to the strange case of David S. Gallant, who was recently let go from the Canadian Revenue Agency. He apparently developed a simple game about his day job which seems to put him in hot water. Here is his video presentation you Youtube:

I like the simple game dynamic, it reminds me when I first learned how to code on Hypercard on an Apple II way back in the early 1990s. Essentially, you are placed in a situation and the system prompts you for a few options. I also really like the idea of putting the player in the shoes of a call center operator.

So, here is a simple concept of my game: You are the libarrian ™ in which you play a (maybe) stereotypical librarian that is faced with questions from users. That way, the player would need to learn what we know in a role-playing, cognitive dissonance inducing on-the-spot way. It is like taking a multiple-choice test, but with (possibly) jokes and a dynamic kitch-spartan interface. What more could you need ?

Actually, the goal would be to also start the game at the lever of the user. Too many library-related instruction starts by presenting the library (books on this floor, here is the library catalogue, etc.) – I find this turns most people off. We should start to discuss the learner – what are their learning/reading/seeking habits. Then, talk about their need – what it means to do research (at any level) in a university. Confronting the two is a great way to generate interest in library resources while having an open conversation about the tools that constituted their info seeking habits (i.e. watch my videos on Google & Wikipedia):