WIC is turning 11 years old this month, and we’re planning to give the space a refresh! If you are an undergraduate who studies at WIC, we’d like to hear your voice. We are holding student focus groups throughout April to get feedback on how we might improve our spaces and services to better accommodate student needs.
We will have Insomnia Cookies and giveaways for all who attend! Please register for a session below. All focus groups will be held in the WIC Seminar Room (Rm 124).
The Hoesley Program is open to current sophomores and juniors who are interested in broadening their digital literacy and technology skills and fostering career connections at Penn and beyond. This year, we are accepting a cohort of around 5-10 students. Read more about our Hoesley students in related blog posts and apply online.
With finals upon us and winter break quickly approaching, we wanted to inform our patrons that we’ll be having some work done at WIC over winter break. From December 27th through 30th, the library duct systems will be cleaned, which means that WIC will be chilly, noisy, and possibly overtaken by workers in certain booths and rooms. Even though WIC will be open (but not staffed) those days from 8:30am to 5pm, we’ve taken all of the bookings for the booths, group study rooms, and the WIC Seminar Room offline in case our workers need them. Anyone using WIC is more that welcome to sit in a booth or room, but please know that if the workers need access to any areas, they may ask you to move.
Please feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. We wish everyone a happy holiday and restful winter break!
The Hoesley Program is open to current sophomores and juniors who are interested in broadening their digital literacy and technology skills and fostering career connections at Penn and beyond. We generally accept a cohort of 15 students. Read more about our Hoesley students in related blog posts and apply online.
This fall, we are organizing a series called Research Teas that are meant to be open forums for students, both undergraduate and graduate, to discuss their research. Each of the six sessions this semester will have a topic to ground our discussions (see below), but participants are welcome to discuss their own research regardless of that month’s topic. Tea and cookies will be served!
We hope that this forum provides an opportunity for students to share ideas about research across disciplines and interests. Sessions will be held from 4 to 5:30pm in the Collaborative Classroom, and you can register by clicking the links below. We hope to see you on Wednesdays this fall!
When a colleague suggested that I attend the ISTE Conference for K-12 educators, I was a bit skeptical. I thought, “What can I learn from K-12 educators that would be applicable to the undergraduates – and often graduate students and faculty members – I work with as a librarian?” However, as I browsed through the workshop and session descriptions, I realized that we in higher education can take a few pages from the books of K-12 educators to enhance teaching and learning at the college level. Here are some highlights I took away from the conference:
1. iPad Apps. There are so many. Whenever someone asks me for app recommendations, I often turn to my “go-to’s” without doing much more hunting. In a workshop about using tablets in the classroom, I learned so much about app integration for both content (student learning) and creation (student making). For example, AppFusion or App Smashing is the process of using several apps to create different parts of a project, and then using one app to pull all the parts together. One such “fusion” app is ThinkLink, which can incorporate sound, video, images and text to create a short presentation, much like a PowerPoint or Prezi. Learning about all of these different apps stressed our responsibility in higher education to be knowledgeable about a variety of apps for different functions, such as video creation, white board drawing, or photo editing. A grid with apps, their functions, preferred platforms, etc. is a simple tool that we can develop to help students and faculty choose the right apps to use in the classroom, especially as we prepare new iPads for our lending program this fall.
“Deeper learning.” Learning in the classroom is great, but if it can’t be applied to real-life situations, it may not stick for all students. Presenters Chris Dede of Harvard and Julie Evans of Project Tomorrow explained that “deeper learning” involves this connection between learning and life, and also spoke about essential strategies for mobile learning, stemming from their 2014 Qualcomm report, The 8 Essentials for Mobile Learning Success in Education. One of the highlights included a video of an augmented reality project where students interacted with hotspots on their mobile devices when out studying a pond in order to reinforce ecological concepts. The presenters also stressed the importance of how students use social media platforms to think together and share information, and offered a great resource called the Conversation Prism. One point that stuck with me in terms of working with students and faculty at Penn involved developing fluency in interactive media. Chris Dede made the point that often, we have to create communities of “unlearning” the more traditional methods we’re used to, in order to become fluent in various media and collaborative, inquiry-based learning strategies. This is a tall measure for folks in higher-ed, but nevertheless something I believe we should all be striving toward.
Backchannels. A backchannel is a second form of communication that takes place at the same time as a face-to-face session, whether it’s a lecture, conference session, or other learning activity. In a great session on backchannels, where we modeled this behavior during the presentation, a high school teacher and college professor explained how they use backchannels, why they’re useful in the classroom, and shared a variety of different channels to consider. In one class, students used a backchannel while watching a video in order to answer certain questions about content and also ask questions of the teacher and other students. Backchannels, which include popular options like Twitter (using a class hashtag, for example), Today’s Meet, and Backchannelchat.com, can be a great way of getting students who usually don’t participate to join the conversation. In a “fishbowl” scenario, students on the outer edge of the class can be using the backchannel, while those on the inner circle can be paying attention real-time, and then roles reverse halfway through class. On certain platforms, students can remain anonymous to each other on a backchannel, but the instructor knows who’s chatting and can do some formative assessment. Some other backchannel platforms include Piazza, Tozzl, and Socrative. We often get questions from faculty about backchannels here at WIC, and this presentation made me feel more prepared to recommend different tools and discuss the pros and cons of using backchannels in teaching and learning.
Other great resources I learned about at ISTE included those about digital and media literacy, such as Common Sense Media’s digital citizenship curriculum, and how to teach and implement digital literacy using strategies from the Center for Media Literacy. I learned so much from K-12 educators at the ISTE conference. I now have some new goals and much personal learning to do as we prepare for the fall semester!