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conference, librarians, universities

WILU 2010: Design Play Learn

This year I was once again fortunate to attend WILU (Workshop for Instruction in Library Use) hosted by McMaster University. Last year I was on the programming committee and I also volunteered for this great conference which has been around for over 30 years now.

As my habit, in lieu of taking notes, I tweet the conference instead. Notes are a waste of paper and it’s solely the action of writing that I learn from so Tweeting is just as effective for me.

Tweets of Interest:

@colgoni: WILUites: You’ll find the flickr photostream (I’ll upload ’em as I take ’em) at: http://bit.ly/dubDFn


Dr. James Paul Gee from was our opening keynote speaker. Most of the following tweets were by me, some from @uinen and @amlibrarian

The #wilu2010 opening keynote is about to start. James Paul Gee will talk about new paradigm for learning.

We all laugh when Gee says doesn’t like libraries because can’t mark up books.

Schools are outdated. Learning facts does not create ppl who can problem solve. -Gee

In addition to literacy gap now there’s digital gap.

Gee talking about yugioh. Kids get it even with its vocabulary. Why get this but not school texts? Yugioh teaches to make $

Gee on WoW. He’s talking about mods – theory made by players to optimize. What happens if solve/ teach physics (eg) like this? #wilu2010

Is chemistry the new brain surgery? #wilu2010

There are no experts because there’s always something to learn. Leveraging community is key. #wilu2010

He’s now talking about fan fiction. Teen girl writes better stories (and spells correct now) as her fanbase increased. #wilu2010

Gee on 21st century learning: we’re not going to do it in schools: it’s going to be in popular culture, in everyday life #wilu2010

Sims challenge – character live as poor person. Like toolkit for social change. This is 21st c learning

Basic point: set up community of problem solvers. – Gee

What works: Set up communities of learning with people who are proactive learners who want to optimize solutions to problems.

Gee: there’s no such thing as generic information literacy

Oops. Gee says there is no generic information literacy. I wonder if that irked anyone here. (I agree w that)

Gee: Libraries should be about collaborative digitally based learning. Librarians as mentors and resource providers.

Someone asking about how to create these communities in physical space. Maybe more all ages programming?

Our baby-boomer models are killing us! #wilu2010. Learning comes through passion.

Gee says our baby boomer models are killing us.

Session 1a

Student-Focused Curriculum Planning: Starting from the Ground Up, Heidi Julien & Lisa Given (University of Alberta).
Tweets by me and @colgoni.

Let’s all move away from ‘tool’ teaching. ‘click-here’ teaching is boring. That’s what screencasts are for. Amen!

In session 1a by Heidi Julien. Studying il skills of highschool students transitioning to university.

All high school students are supposed to be graduating with info & research skills per curriculum. Not happening tho.

Test results using James Madison uni test, 50% average score. Only 15% “proficient”. These kids heading to uni.

No surprise: incoming university students have poor IL skills. In one test, only 19% are proficient, 0% are advanced.

Clear gap between curricular mandates & learning outcomes. Teachers themselves don’t have IL skills and teach to the diploma test.

Oops make that 19% proficient. No advanced. Slide changed too quick for me.

Highschool librarian here talking about how teacher candidates are showing kids to use Google for authoritative source. Hmm

Here’s the catch: highschool teacher applicants promote Google for authoritative research

Students happy to run with whatever they find. They make source fit with assignment.

Let’s teach them the interesting stuff about scholarly communication. It’s ok to start off where they’re at eg wikipedia- audience

Let’s all move away from ‘tool’ teaching. ‘click-here’ teaching is boring. That’s what screencasts are for. Amen!

There seemed to be some active Tweeting from session 1B: Learning Styles and Information Literacy which was attended by @uinen and @StewartCaroline who shared tidbits like:

Heather Sanderson: uncritical use of any given “learning styles” theory is dangerous. Lots of misrepresented research out there.

Sanderson: we can motivate students & develop their self-awareness by talking with them about how they learn

Interesting thoughts about the usefulness of learning styles. Like the idea that you need to match instruction style with content.

Important to keep in mind: don’t divorce the teaching method from the actual material

I didn’t attend the next session since I was presenting with my colleague: Hybrid learning: Integrating online and offline activities into an IL course. Considering I was (and am) still recovering from my chest infection and crazy traveling, I was not feeling quite up to the challenge of presenting for the first time at a professional conference. I managed to squeak my way through a portion of the presentation and my coworker, Andrea Cameron, did a fabulous job covering the rest. Andrea asked me not to Tweet during her portion of the session, so no Tweets from me!

Thursday morning I attended the Lightening Strike sessions. This is when I learned about GameSalad. How come no one ever told me about it before? After the lightening strikes was the “Birds of a Feather” portion, which was sort of like the unconference-y bit. I hung out at the Blended Learning table where we talked about ways to use CMS/LMS for teaching library skills. We shared advice like the fact that students don’t prefer doing “click here” type activities in class so those are the sorts of activities that should be put online in modules so they can work on their own and at own pace. We also tackled the perception that if an online module is available, librarians or instructors won’t have to also teach it or follow up. It is also a huge misperception that going blended or online is a time-saver. It rarely is. Time, at most, is shifted from one area to another.

I’m writing this post on the train and the wifi has started to get flaky, so I’ll end this one here and post more soon about the rest of WILU!


About Jen

An instructor, a reader, a dog-owner, and advocate; that's how I define myself and these aspects directly impact my interests and conversations.


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