It’s Addictive – Focused Learning with and from AASL Colleagues October 24, 2012Posted by Jen Habley in AASL Fall Forum.
Posted on behalf of Dorcas Hand
July decision: AASL Fall Forum – Hmm, should I attend the main site or the Texas satellite location? I do love South Carolina near the mountains! Then there were the crazy busy weeks before when I almost cancelled my trip to just stay sane, but Thursday, October 11, dawned and off I went to Greenville, only to run into fellow Texan and AASL Fall Forum committee chair Barb Jansen to share the hotel shuttle. We found Kristin Fontichiaro in the hotel restaurant, along with other AASL leadership. It felt like old home week rather than a professional conference. The meeting opened Friday at 1:00 p.m. eastern, allowing me a luxurious slow morning to read the homework. Kristin made a few jokes in her presentation about folks overheard complaining about the idea of homework for a conference. Secret (don’t tell Kristen…) – that was my first reaction as well. Though, being a curious sort I knew I would read the article. I had only just finished reading Digital Literacy, Libraries, and Public Policy to comment for the ALA’s OITP Digital Literacy Task Force. Kristen’s piece on the origin of the term transliteracy only continued the mental conversation.
Henry Jenkins is quite wonderful, mellow, humorous and oh so knowledgeable and insightful. I have notes – heck, I could go copy them for you, but instead you could begin to read (as I will) Henry’s blog Confessions of an Aca-Fan. I’ll also be reading Kristin Fontichiaro’s blog for even more humorous insights into various aspects of digital literacy and transliteracy. Sadly, David Lankes had a medical emergency that kept him at home, but Fall Forum chair Barb Jansen stepped up in an even bigger way by taking on the role of presenter. Check out her wiki Transliteracy, Libraries, and Participatory Culture. Henry started us at the most big picture and abstract levels; Kristen began to ground us in school library practice; and Barb offered us a chance to use our new vocabulary to consider ways to embed transliterate efforts in our libraries on our return on Monday. I’m still digesting the content and conversation.
My biggest takeaway for use at home is Kristen’s reminder:
student + technology + school > student + technology
In case your math is rusty, that little > symbol means “is greater than” and points to the side that is weaker (sort of logical, yes?). This simple equation spells out the need for librarians to (continue to) teach remixing skills that combine information from various formats to deepen and demonstrate student understanding; “remixing” is just a new term for the kinds of thinking we have always taught. Barb offered the insight that traditional learning is individually based, while transliteracy includes a crowd sourced component; the collaborative aspect of crowd sourcing can intensify both engagement and information retention. We librarians find ourselves at the intersection of informal and participatory culture and the more traditional, individuated classroom structure. Much of transliteracy is associated with technology, but there are many opportunities for informal, participatory learning that do not involve technology. Look at Caine’s Arcade. Henry Jenkins mentioned the four C’s–his circle of participatory culture–Collaborate, Circulate, Connect, and Create. Kristen added two more C’s–Cogitate and Comprehend–that bring the concept more into a traditional school culture looking back to the original equation at the start of this paragraph. Trying to sum up two days of intense listening, connecting and creating is tough. I hope you get a taste from these thoughts.
In my school life, I’m in the midst of writing a huge proposal to upgrade lots of the campus technology. I am so thankful to have gone to the Forum because I brought home language and references to use in my writing. I had not before managed to attend a Fall Forum, thinking I had enough conferences on my plate, but this topic called my name. I so appreciated the smaller size and quieter pace that allowed reflection on new material rather than a rush from presentation to presentation. I may be hooked! I only wish I had figured that out years ago.