Thursday, October 27, 2011

To Infinity....and Beyond...I Chose to NOT Reinvent the Wheel and Will Embrace Web 2.0

When I reflect and consider Web 2.0 technologies this is the phrase that comes to mind. Buzz Lightyear's powerful phrase, "to infinity and beyond!", which he used to encourage and cheer on his fellow toys in Walt Disney's Toy Story Movies, is how I feel when I consider how useful, meaningful, and important certain web 2.0 technologies can be for libraries and educators. If we can seek out, practice, and effecitively use web 2.0 tools that enhance our teaching skills and lessons, I think everyone in the classroom will benefit.

After reading about Web 2.0 tools at the OCLCs online newsletter forum, three big ideas jumped out at me: libraries are like idea labs, everyone online can literally be connected, and that the web can use these connections for greater communication, researching, and networking. As a professional, you would be exhausted seeking out and using these tools all at once. There are just too many. However, it would be helpful to attend workshops about these tools, seek them out yourself, and say abreast with discussions and literature about tools that can really work in your schools. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and scared regarding Web 2.0 technology I chose to be curious, selective, helpful and positive.

I definitely see libraries as mind gyms, a mind spas, and dynamic, interactive social and academic realms. Libraries serve many unique functions in addition to storing and organizing data, helping with data retrieval, and providing reference for research inquiries. Libraries are Masters of Information and I think we should embrace this title with confidence and eagerness. Having the right attitude about what services a library can offer helps open people's minds and eyes about the potential usefulness of all libraries. We no longer are helping people manage the resources in our libraries, but we're helping people understand and use data that lies in The Cloud, on their Kindles, and pretty much everywhere!

Understanding this daunting task should make librarians eager to stay connected with other professionals and enthusiasts. Web 2.0 technology allows us to be connected easier, faster, and in formats that change and develop everyday. Being a part of online web conferences, downloading podcasts, bookmarking sites on a shared bookmarking service, blogging, and even Skyping open up our classrooms to be part of new learning opportunities. I think we need to be cautious and knoweledgable about the technology we use, but practice may make perfect. I hate writing citations, so when I get library of my own, i'll be sure to offer citation help help with Zotero, for example.

Because the web truly does connect most of the world, it provides a great base for networking, researching, and communicating. When I was completing my undergrad studies for social studies education, I was always reinventing the wheel. I 'd do everything from scratch. It was exhausting. I didn't always see the usefulness of borrowing and adapting others ideas. Five years later, I see how much extra work I made for myself. One great tool I use to avoid reinventing the wheel is subscribing to new librarian blogs, RSS feeds from schools and library organizations, and reading a concise digest from the listerv LM_Net. I feel like I can stay in the loop and still get the scoop about what is going on in the library world. I can pick and choose what I feel is important and read it at my leisure. I can also ask questions, post comments, and seek out answers that will return fast and accurate answers, unlike my undergrad days.

My pledge after graduation will be, "I promise to never reinvent the wheel. I may improve the invention, but I will embrace Web 2.0 technology so that even learning more about making new wheels will be effective and done with ease."

The OCLc articles and brief and to the point, some being more helpful than others.

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