Thanks to wonderful, wonderful Community Access Program, MPOW was able to secure a number of laptop labs, which — and I kid you not — looks very close to this example of “Library Cart 2.0,” except it is lockable and can host as many as 15 laptops for instructional sessions. The Spring Garden Road Library is using this lab alot to help people (mostly seniors) get the basics of technology and support literacy and ESL programming. The other advantage of this lab is that it can travel for outreach purposes or presentations. All we need is an internet connection (preferably a wireless one).
Well, as said before, Kelli Wooshue and I conducted a program that we called Experience the Web — Computers and Communities at the NSLA conference. The feedback we received was all positive, although I would like to see what the evalutations said. There were a few technical glitches. Authenticating the wireless for 10 laptops was a little challenging and I didn’t know that the code we were to use expired after 24 hours. And, of course, 24 hours was up in the middle of our presentation.
Kelli did an amazing and brief presentation on web 2.0 and library 2.0. The important thing in this session is that we did not want to advocate. We simply wanted to have people try the technologies out and make their own decisions about whether the tech bug was for them. My sense was that most believed it was — at least to some degree. At the end I emphasized my belief in self-paced learning. I don’t think people have to know everything all the time, but they should become aware of those tools that are a) useful to them and b) useful to their customers.
Fortunately, Kelli and I had great volunteers in Emmanuel, Vaiva, Ron and Lara and things ran smoothly despite the little burps and churps that occurred.
To make things a bit more comfortable for people, we tried to add as much color and pizazz to the setup as possible. We used different color bristol boards to identify the different technologies and lollipops moved people from technology 1 to technology 2. We added other things like glitter glue and popsicle sticks, but that idea didn’t catch on very well. The idea of coloring on paper and being around a laptop didn’t seem to go together. I wonder why? It could be that I didn’t encourage it enough. Or it was enough struggle to get familiar with the interfaces that playing with the other stuff was more a distraction than a support. I think I’d try offer toys again though and encourage that creative process more — especially if we were given more time to conduct the workshop.
A participant asked me if I would be willing to do this same presentation to a school or school board. I am excited about this, because I think there is opportunity here to do outreach in this regard. In my view, advocating Web 2.0 on the web, or even to librarians is only half the story. Librarians ought to be demonstrating this new way of using technology to learn, engage, inform, cite, design and collaborate is something that everyone should know something about and I am not sure that this is happening in the grand scheme of things.