Part A - Evaluative Statement
The following evaluations of experiences documented in my OLJ summarise how I have met the criteria as stated in the ‘Learning Objectives’ of the INF506 Subject Overview.
  1. Library 2.0 – The 4cs of Social Media
  2. Web 2.0 Technologies and Social Software
  3. Social Networking and Information Policy

The concept of ‘participatory library services’ as demonstrated with Arizona State University’s (ASU) library channel clearly demonstrates a way in which libraries of the 21st Century are heading to deliver services to both online and in person patrons. As mentioned in my OLJ post on Library 2.0 – The 4cs of Social Media, ASU has integrated effective use of social networking in their library services to deliver what is referred to as the 4Cs of social media of Web 2.0, ‘collaboration, conversation, community and content creation’ (Hay, 2012). The extensive range of services that the ASU Library provides to its users indicates that ‘collaboration’ and ‘conversation’ are evident in the delivery of their library programs. The library works closely with other faculty in delivering 24/7 support and access to information. The ASU Library is, quite visibly, the hub of the university ‘community’ as seen by the accessibility to online materials and access to information, be it, in the form of a ‘Library Minute’ or the ability to contact a professional librarian at any time of the day through ‘live chat’, phone or email. In choosing the five Library Minutes to review, it was interesting to identify that the most popular hits were the videos that dealt with the basic needs of students: how to get their work done effectively and efficiently. Farkus supports this attitude toward library 2.0 in that, ‘A library for online students is a means to an end. They just want to get the resources they need in the shortest amount of time so they can get their research done.’(2008).

Serving the library community also extends to the online social network community that ASU connects with via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. The ASU Library offers the opportunity to participate in online communities amongst other users which ultimately expands friendships and creates new relationships for sharing and collaboration. Content creation is also promoted through a link to Vimeo where one can either view or create online content. The ASU team supports participatory library practices in their promotion of user created content from their community whilst also offering ‘guidelines’ for those who want to ‘share their creative work and personal moments from their lives’ (http://vimeo.com/help/guidelines). As stated in my OLJ entry, ‘The ASU Library epitomizes what Library 2.0 is and should be. It utilizes technology and Web 2.0 tools whilst maintaining good customer service which responds to the needs of its users in many modes, formats and access points. It clearly achieves the 4Cs of social media in the context of the Library 2.0. Although many, so called 2.0 Libraries may have all the tools and bells and whistles that the 21st Century can offer, if it is not assessing customer needs and wants and reflecting those in the services the library provides then all the technology in the world will not make a difference to the community of patrons it is serving.

This subject has opened my eyes to the many forms that social networking can take. I was both intrigued and a bit tentative to download Second Life onto my computer and step into the 3D Virtual World of Avatars and teleporting. It wasn’t until I met up with 'Cas Geordie' and 'Lenalotus Latte' that I discovered that virtual worlds can be fun as well as offering limitless possibilities for learning and connecting. Even though my first attempts were disappointing due to my wireless connection, I persisted and was able to swap computers and experience the full extent of what can be achieved by innovative developers such as Artropolis, UWA 3D Art Exhibit and Stanford University.

As stated in my OLJ on Web 2.0 Technologies and Social Software, having visited a variety of sites, offering many different experiences, I have appreciated how effective Second Life ‘could be for students studying particular subject areas such as history [or art] and wanting to view particular items that normally would be unavailable because of their location’. Touring on Second Life was a definite highlight and a worthy addition to my Personal Learning Network. The pure social element of connecting and sharing on a 3D platform is unlike any other social network experience. It is completely immersive to the point of departure from the real world. It is hands on without being physically there, which offers a completely unique way of experiencing, interacting and sharing. Of course, participating in 3D Virtual Worlds like any other form of social media requires certain guidelines to follow, particularly if using them with students. Although Mallan and Giardina were commenting on My Space when referring to the concept of ‘wikidentities’ (2009) or ‘virtual identities’ with which to engage in social network sites, the term could easily apply to 3D Virtual worlds like Second Life or similar. It appears that no matter how one is being represented on a social network site ‘identity construction’ (Mallan & Giardina, 2009) is a major priority, particularly with younger people.

Creating a safe environment in social media should always be a priority and is dependent on the behaviours of its users professionally, socially and ethically. Organisations, like schools and libraries, that are beginning to use social media more widely are finding it necessary to create clear guidelines in their social media policies which, as mentioned in my OLJ post on social networking policies, clearly outlines: what the company will and will not do online; what employees can and cannot do online; what the members of the public can and cannot do on company properties’ (Fleet, 2009). Module 5 readings, and in particular those of Kroski and Fleet, point to several important key issues that should be addressed when developing a social media policy. The following are some of the issues that I referred to in my OLJ entry which appeared to be priorities when developing and implementing a social media policy for schools:
  • Confidentiality and Privacy
  • Respect – which is also a key value in most schools
  • Alignment with other organisational policies (not contradictory)
  • Value added – the content should provide valuable information to the school/library
  • Responsibility - which is also a key value in most schools

Respect and responsibility are two of the core values of my school and are often the backbone supporting most policies which respond to acceptable behaviour when using social media. Implementation of a social media policy need not be restrictive nor does it aim to overtly censor. What it does do is provide guidelines for responsible, ethical use that can assist in the management of using social media as a teaching and learning tool as well as assisting teachers in educating students and parents about online safety. The Department of Education and Child Development (DECD, 2013) promote online safety and social media policies in their guidelines which can be accessed through their own website for both educators and the public.

Part B – Reflective Statement


When looking over the Abstract of INF506 I was reminded that students would need to ‘immerse themselves within a range of social networking environments’ and ‘evaluate their learning experiences throughout the session as social networkers and information professionals’ (CSU, Handbook 2012). There is no doubt that what I have experienced over the course of this subject has been a complete immersion into the online world of social networking. There wasn’t a day that went by that I did not blog, Facebook, or check my ‘Daily Scoop’ to see what was going on in the information environment where I now reside.
Although I had always considered myself to be a fairly regular Facebook participant I had not really capitalized on its ability to work for me professionally until the launch of my social network project. As I commented on the INF506 Facebook group page, ‘Seeing how my Facebook Group is starting to take on a life of its own, I can really appreciate how the social media ecosystem works now.’ (January 31st at 10:36pm). This statement was referring to Fred Cavazza’s article, ‘An overview of the social media ecosystem’ in which ‘conversations and interactions’ (2012) all become interconnected and grow organically. The growth and development of my Facebook group had clearly taken off about midway through January when other members of the group began to add members causing the group to grow exponentially. It became quite evident that to maintain a healthy ecosystem, the addition of ‘value-added content’ (Cavazza, 2012) was essential to keeping the ecosystem alive, active and sustainable.

Planning, developing and maintaining the Facebook group, The Share Network for the Australian Curriculum SA, (SNAC SA) has been a satisfying and rewarding professional experience. It has achieved exactly what was intended: to be an online environment where educators can ‘share resources, information and ideas about teaching and learning with the Australian Curriculum’ (http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/384597188300408/members/). As someone who is new to using social networking professionally, I am encouraged by its potential: the creation of collaborative environments that bring likeminded members of communities together. What began as an assigned project has now become a routine part of my day and something that I enjoy maintaining and developing for the benefit of teachers and students alike.

Utilizing social networking tools with students has led me to consider ethical and potential cyber-bullying issues at school. With the advent of one-to-one computers/devices and increased access to online learning there exists the potential for abuse and misuse of social networks. Being fearful and resistant of social networking is not the answer. Rather, a proactive approach is needed in conjunction with education of staff and students with the development and implementation of clear objectives in a social media policy (Cybersmart, 2013).

As a social networker I have expanded my horizons to include a variety of other platforms with which to engage. As seen by the concept map in my ‘Developing a Personal Learning Network’ post, my own social network has developed into an immersive, meaningful and informative web including Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Second Life, blogging and microblogging sites. PLNs have become the new wave of professional development and as Luca states, many teachers have ‘developed the fine art of sharing and benefit from the reciprocal generosity that pervades these spaces’ (2012). In my own school, this has also translated into becoming a more valuable member of staff; someone who can provide leadrship in helping others become professionally socially networked online. What has become evident over the course of this subject is that for every type of social need, be it sharing teaching resources, articles, recipes, favourite books, photos, there is either a social network or online community that can fulfill our human drive to share and build relationships in meaningful ways. This subject has lived up to its promise. It has allowed me to immerse myself in a variety of social networking environments and assisted me in my development of the information professional I aspire to become.

References


Cavazza, F. (2012), Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/fredcavazza/2012/03/12/an-overview-of-the-social-media-ecosystem/

Cyber[smart:] (2013), Retrieved from http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Schools/Cybersafety%20policy%20guidance/Holistic%20approach%20to%20cybersafety.aspx

Department of Education and Child Development, (2013) Retrieved from http://www.decd.sa.gov.au/socialmedia/default.asp?navgrp=185

Farkus, Meredith, (2008) Retrieved from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/

Fleet, David (2009). Social Media Policies E-book. http://www.slideshare.net/davefleet/social-media-policies-ebook

Hay, L. (2012). Library 2.0 and participatory library services [INF506 Module 3] Retrieved February 2, 2013, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201290_W_D/page/84cf677e-ec91-4f08-8080-0f7dd953df21

Luca, Jenny, (2012) Retrieved from http://splash.abc.net.au/teachers/blog?id=40029

Mallan & Giardina, (2009) Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/2445/2213