Wrap – up Reflection – ‘Awesome free stuff – ask your library!’

Community of learning

I saw my role in the community this semester as a student, with a learning blog, expressing my interest in discrete aspects of the learning program. I wasn’t keen to critically analyse others’ comments, although I was happy for others to challenge my views, and to respond appropriately to those comments.

My nature is to be collaborative rather than radical and I tended to comment positively and supportively on peers’ posts. To be honest, I did not feel particularly opposed to any of the posts that I read. I sometimes added my opinion or shared a personal or professional experience or link on the posts as evidence-based understanding of the topic.

I noticed that there was a greater activity on posts at the assignment 1 checkpoint and again after the lecture in relation to CLA Toolkit.   The CLA toolkit connection did not happen for me as I understood from discussions during the Week 2 class that it was optional rather than optimal and have not resolved the login difficulty, and did not have a validated sign in until Week 13. On that note, I felt unable to fix the problem. This impacted negatively on my attitude toward engaging with the learning community.

Despite my lack of interaction using CLA Toolkit (which incidentally I was really interested in seeing how it worked once explained to me in the second session), I feel that my contributions would not have been differently positioned, but may have been greater in number and frequency.

The quality of information from my peers was amazing, presenting a plethora of perspectives on a broad spectrum of topics, especially in relation to GLAM, makerspaces and children’s programs.

Twitter and me

Twitter was a wonderful learning experience for me as I was not confident to use Twitter regularly at the start of the semester but feel much more confident about it now. I really enjoyed the challenge of Twitter Chats in organising the information before the chat and setting up with a twitter tool to enhance the experience.

I think that Twitter is a valuable social media tool for quick short shallow conversations with the advantage of linking out to more in-depth information, but I did not like it as a stand-alone learning tool. I found it too short, too sharp, too shallow to properly discuss the topics.

If Twitter chats were run in conjunction with a regular online class, I think I would have gained more from the chats. I really appreciated the links out to relevant information from Clare and other students, and the snapshot of interaction with other library professionals.

As a result of the Twitter Chat component of the course, I have been using Twitter more as a connection with library professionals and my peers. I like it because it is concise, succinct, and can be a very clever conversation tool.  Having experienced Twitter Chat as part of this unit, I am more likely to join industry specific twitter chats as part of ongoing learning.

I recently re-tweeted a twitter comment from a scientist who remarked that Twitter = workmates playground and Facebook = family and friends playground, because it aptly describes my use of twitter too (although I do sometimes use it for personal communications)

My take-away – ‘Awesome free stuff? – Ask your library’

My key take-away for the unit is that we should all be wearing badges that say ‘Awesome free stuff? – ask your library!’ because the diversity of programs available through libraries – public, private, institutional and academic – is awesome.

The Readers’ Advisory programs, Book Chat and the family oriented literacy programs like First 5 Forever and CoderDojo really struck a chord with me as great community connectors.

I like the training and education programs offered for all ages, from children and teens with coding classes, to career resume builders, and tech-savvy for seniors and others. Libraries are a hub for life long learning – this I think ties with my key take-away, that libraries offer awesome free stuff!

I enjoyed exploring the movement toward Makerspaces and amalgamation of GLAM organisations under the library banner, with the aim of presenting digital and physical resources to the public. Creativity and innovation are key to learning and discovery.

Personally, I realized that not all teaching styles align with all learning styles and that this unit challenged my ability to understand the course framework – what was required, and where to find the information. I felt really disconnected. I did not have a clear understanding of what it was that was required.

I know that I missed the lack of interaction through classes, and the opportunity to hear guest presenters share their knowledge and industry experience in relation to topics covered.

I focussed on extra-curricular learning, observing library programs, products and services while completing fieldwork placements, attending and participating in 23 Research Data Things, and attending other professional development events.

The quality of my work

I acknowledge that this unit has not been my finest work. I am not confident that I have understood the requirements and the parameters of the course.   I regret the misunderstanding about CLA Toolkit and the lack of interaction with that tool.

Blogging and commenting have not been my strong points. I was very concerned at the first check point, after receiving negative feedback. I sought help with these issues and feel that I have now better responded to the assessment criteria.  Blogging weekly is a call to action and meeting that obligation is compulsory practice which built my skills and my confidence.

In relation to the grant application assessment, I enjoyed the challenge and appreciate that these applications are an essential skill to support library programs. I feel that my choice of program (Get2thGames Hackathon) was difficult due to my inexperience in that field, and additionally, writing the project concurrently with weekly blogs was quite a workload.  Notwithstanding this, I enjoyed the learning curve.

Makerspaces – version 2

I do wonder what I was thinking when I opted to be twitter champion for the week of Makerspaces.  So much to say, so few characters – the dynamic medium of twitter communication with an intrinsic demand for being succinct did not fit well with the wide horizons of Makerspaces.

To makerspace or not to makerspace?  That is the question for many libraries that build a strategic plan based on community needs and expectations.   Continue reading “Makerspaces – version 2”

Makerspaces – empowering, engaging, making connections

Twitter Chats and Makerspaces

Twitter chats are short and sweet with a ton of content that is sometimes very hard to digest. This dynamic and challenging medium of communication demands preparation, concentration and the ability to be seriously succinct.

The introduction of  makerspaces to library environments is evolving so quickly and so diversely with so many platforms for exploration available that connecting makerspaces with the succinctness of twitter chat is in itself quite an oxymoron.

To makerspace or not to makerspace?

Rigorous discussion of reasons to establish or not establish a makerspace in libraries iterated the common theme of meeting user wants and needs within the community. Nura Firdawsi, Karen Parker, Kylie Burgess, Michele Smith and Katie Ferguson responded to Heidi Stevens’ early tweet questioning the notion of ‘trend based purchases seen out of scope’.

Competing arenas of STEM and GLAM also featured in discussions as to why libraries should provide spaces for these activities when previously community interest groups had filled this need. The discussion led to sharing experiences of learning within dedicated communities, where inexperienced people felt uncomfortable in that environment. Library programs are seen to provide a more encouraging and nurturing platform of learning supporting creativity and experiential learning.

The Edge – a masterpiece makerspace – styled by State Library of Queensland

The Edge is described as ‘a visionary space for ‘creating creatives’; a melting pot of ideas and innovation, capacity-building, experimentation and innovation’. The space provides a meeting place for creators to create and share ideas, using the space, tools, equipment and support network provided under the mandate of empowering Queenslanders to explore creativity across art science technology and enterprise’.

This aligns with [Lisa Hetherington’s] belief that libraries are a place to explore and learn and [Katie Ferguson’s] belief in meeting community needs and interests. It’s about accessing technology to enhance learning by bridging the technology gap that exists even in the middle of the city.

Events courses and programs described in the Edge E-News publication invite public participation in creative workshops and short courses; meet-ups to learn about calligraphy, book crafts, interactive technology, design and multimedia production; and an invitation to look at The Edge and all it has to offer.

Makerspaces are more than a haven for creativity – they’re about incubating new ideas – supporting creators with tools and equipment – building a platform for startups – giving innovators a place to design and prototype. Makerspaces empower people to have a go, without fear of failure, in a non-confronting space, with support, encouragement, tools and knowledge.  Makerspaces foster community engagement and peer-to-peer interactions that open conversations and share knowledge through the iterative processes of creativity.

Commercial Makerspaces

I listened to Chris Lau, general manager of Portland Oregon’s entrepreneurial makerspace Art Design “ADX” Portland, when he presented a forum hosted by The Edge, SLQ in May 2016.  This business has increased by an average of 61% annually over the past three years, due to what he describes as  American Makers of the Manufacturing Renaissance.  Essentially ADX is a warehouse space that provides small businesses with an opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge in their pursuit of a place in the market and product development.

The [Manufacturing] Renaissance is emerging where local economies become self-reliant and more robust.  Chris Lau proposed that ‘the politics of humanity eclipse the politics of globalisation’ – a great foundation statement for the maker movement where people are encouraged to work together, and work on what is available locally, coordinating these resources to work collectively to access the expertise within the ADX community.

Chris Lau spoke about the huge potential for partnerships between maker spaces and libraries especially where maker spaces are introduced into libraries to re-invigorate sharing spaces. While ADX  is a business model for social enterprise, makerspaces in public libraries create a plethora of opportunities for community engagement and connection among creators.  The focus for this informal and experiential learning is on upskilling rather than accreditation.

Driving interactive and collaborative learning through public space

Following this presentation, I toured the makerspace in the basement of The Edge, where an eclectic team whose skill levels are diverse,  offer support and services to makers. The Edge team shares a common commitment to supporting and encouraging ‘makers’ in a safe and secure environment, using a  professional standard of equipment that is properly maintained.

Libraries are evolving continually to accommodate the demands of  disruptive technology that sweeps away tradition paving the way for innovation and design.  Providing a makerspace is more than providing a 3D printer – it’s more about discovering what the 3D printer can do and why the library chooses to have it.  It is not about having the shiny new thing but about having the thing that is most needed and will be most used.

 

© <a href="http://sarabbit.openphoto.net/gallery/">Sarah Klockars-Clauser</a> for <a href="http://openphoto.net/gallery