The secret formula. . .

... to building online experiences.

If you think about it, it really is that easy. It's navigating the transitions between the two that tend to trip things up. :)

Thank you Hugh MacLeod | Gapingvoid


21st Century Literacies

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and hearing Howard Rheingold speak before. He’s a interesting speaker, author, and self-proclaimed “online instigator” who wears hand-painted shoes. But all this aside, Howard is also good at honing in on cultural trends and exploring the implications to society and humanity.

In this recent talk for Reboot Britain (July 09) Howard talks about five critical 21st century literacies. Need a good boost for your brain (or a self-directive cont. education experiences) take 40 minutes to watch, or listen to Howard.

Taken from Howard Reingold’s talk (July 2009)

Howard Rheingold's 21st century literacies:

  • Attention- knowing how to focus and how to divide your attention without losing the ability to concentrate. It’s more than multitasking; it’s learning how to exercise attention.
  • Participation- particularly the more constructive modes of participation that are useful to others
  • Collaboration- being ready to organize together, and enable a collective response to emerge
  • Critical consumption-aka “crap detection” the ability to spot bad info from good.
  • Network awareness- the combination of reputation, social capital, “presentation of self” and other sensitivity to individual positioning within the network collective.

Here's two other tidbits I gathered from his talk:
Literacies = skills + community
Fluency means being able to master these five literacies together.

Important stuff and a good jumping off point for a discussion in libraries and/or education. How do we support the development of these new, and different kind of literacies? How can our services evolve to enable greater participation, collaboration and encourage critical consumption?


Trendwatching: The ebook device race

Like many people, I’m a trendwatcher. I enjoy scanning the landscape and seeing how trends emerge. One that I’ve been watching keenly this past year is the technology device race for the ultimate e-book. Amazon’s Kindle (which launched Nov 16, 2007) started a new race that has really taken off within the last year. And now it seems almost every major viable tech company is working on some top secret (term used loosely, because we all know that leaks and rumors are critical to creating hype around new product launches) project that is tied to this race.

The latest development in this race came yesterday with the news that Microsoft is working on new dual foldable tablet project called “The Courier” (video showing the concept for the courier).

Anyway, as I said above I’m a trendwatcher. And since this latest development I think is worthy of noting, I've also updated the slide deck from one of my recent talks on the trends and the future of libraries and decided to isolate my slides from just this one trend so that I can share them here.

Trend: The Kindle rekindles the flame (and race) for the ultimate digital book

I’m curious to know what other developments you have seen in the ultimate eBook device race? Where are you seeing this trend heading? And, of course, what does it mean to libraries?


Sidewalk chalk engagement

Over the past three years I’ve talked about and highlighted a lot examples that exemplify customer engagement. When it’s the most difficult to do, is when your customers are not only upset, they are anonymous.

Take a look at this story from Jenica Rogers-Urbank .

Indeed engagement comes in many forms … even sidewalk chalk. :)

Filed under: Brilliant!

Lose control ... stream small ... create socially!

Although those of you who have read my site for a while know that I'm not a huge fan of the term "social media", I couldn't help but fall in love with this slide deck from Seth Goldstein that so eloquently hones in on three important story telling engagement strategies:
1) Lose Control
2) Stream small
3) Create socially

Think about Seth's three concepts. Can they be applied to libraries - not only virtually, but physically?

It's got me thinking. How about you?


Augmented Reality Redux

A funny spoof on GPS:

...and a few more AR apps:

Google's Skymap for Android
Worksnug - find great wi-fi enabled places to work
Augmented ID - a AR concept that visualizes the digital identities of people you meet in real life using face recognition technology.
Sun Seeker - locate the path of the sun and determine which homes have the best light.

Related post: Augmented Reality: "There's an app for that"


Guest Post from the World's Strongest Librarian | Josh Hanagarne

I had the pleasure of the meeting the world’s strongest librarian in person a few weeks ago when I visited Salt Lake for the Thinking Ahead Symposium. Josh was so very personable, likable and well... just plain interesting & inspirational (just take a look at his bio to see what I mean) that I couldn’t resist taking him up on his offer to guest blog.

I have to admit, when I first read the contribution Josh had crafted for LibraryBytes, I found myself wondering how did the topic of “libraries & learning” ( a topic I had suggested) morph itself into a small story about public urination? But as I read Josh’s tale, I started to see the connection. “Learning in libraries” isn’t always as glamorous, or noble as one would think. Read it for yourself. Perhaps you can relate. :)

When The Recruiters Came For Me, or: Another Tale Of Public Urination

By Josh Hanagarne

I thought of my enormous student loan and wondered how long it would take to pay it off. I thought of my parents and wondered what they’d think if they could see me at this moment. I thought of my hopes and dreams and silently mouthed the words, Where did you go?

Then I gritted my teeth. I opened my mouth and hesitated for a moment before saying…

…well, hold on a second. Let’s back up.

Rewind Two Years

When the Library School recruiters came for me, they smiled gaping smiles that resembled the mouths of The Muppets. They revved at a very high RPM. Their eyes bulged with enthusiasm. They said things like:

“You will be the ssssssteward of democracy. Think of it, child…”

“…the front linessss of censorship…”

“…the guardian of ideassss…”

“…sssspecialized ssssskillssss…”

“…all the other librarianssss….they are weak and will ssssoon retire…all their power will be yoursss…for a fee…”

I couldn’t get my credit card out fast enough.

Present Day

I thought of my enormous student loan and wondered how long it would take to pay it off. I thought of my parents and wondered what they’d think if they could see me at this moment. I thought of my hopes and dreams and silently mouthed the words, Where did you go?

I had planned on spending the rest of my days swinging a battle-axe into censorship’s ugly mug.

Instead, and not for the first time, this Newly Anointed Steward Of Democracy gritted his teeth. I opened my mouth and hesitated for a moment before saying:

“Dude, please quit peeing on that.”

The young patron jumped as if he’s been tasered. Urine ran down the rocks in decidedly non-glorious rivulets.

I hope we’re not out of rubber gloves, I thought.

“Seriously. Zip it up.”

The boy tucked himself away and ran to tell his mother I’d been mean to him. When she confronted me, I handed her the rubber gloves and tried to look stern.

She tried to argue a bit, but finally relented and cleaned up the story room. I like to think it was because everyone knows that it’s crazy to argue with the Stewards Of Democracy.

But she may have had her own reasons.

About the Author: Josh Hanagarne writes World’s Strongest Librarian, a blog with advice about living with extreme Tourette’s Syndrome, book recommendations, buying pants when you’re 6’8”, old-time strongman training, public urination, and much more. Please subscribe to Josh’s RSS Updates and Stronger, Smarter, Better Newsletter to stay in touch.

Thanks Josh!


Augmented Reality: “There’s an app for that”

Augmented reality applications have made a big splash this summer with video and GPS enable mobile devices which allow live stream images to merge with digitally overlaid data to create an augmented view of the world in real time.

Here are a few applications that have caught my attention:

Nearest Tube – AR app that shows you the direction and distance to nearest subway entrances. (YouTube video)

Layar – augmented reality browser letting you view information about the world around you.
(YouTube video)

Yelp - this augmented reality app provides you with information and reviews about local restaurants. (YouTube video)

When I think of where this technology might take us, my minds wanders to all sorts of apps. Just think what it might mean to real estate and home buying (I see an AR app that let’s me view home values and property tax rates while I drive down the street) or comparison shopping (just point your phone’s camera at a product and the AR app tells you not only the competition’s price, but also calculates the distance to other store and gives you the total cost of the alternative including your added cost of gas and travel).

When I shift my thinking about AR apps to the physical library space I see our whole collection opening up before our eyeballs. Imagine the ability to walk down an aisle and see the reviews and popularity of an entire shelf titles just by pointing the camera lens on your phone at the spines (or outfacing covers).

Indeed, augmented reality apps are just in their very earliest infancy. But it’s interesting to think and ponder the possibilities… because if you can think it up, you can be sure to bet that “there’s (going to be) an app for that.

What library AR apps can you imagine?


Nine words = grow & learn

I got an email the other day from a distant colleague that I respect asking me to sum up my “instructional philosophy” in 75 words. Hmm… well since I’m usually up for challenges, I thought about it for a moment and then easily penned this one that I’ve shared many times within the last three years as I’ve given talks about 23 Things.

“The very first step in learning is simply exposure.”

Yup, that’s really all it is for me …just nine (count ‘em) words. Exposure to new ideas and concepts not only is the very first step in any learning process, unfortunately, it’s also often the most over looked step instructional design.

Trust me on this. I’ve worked in the learning field for over twenty years. Over the last two decades I’ve developed and designed online tutorials (back when they were actually called CBT – computer based training), written courseware and published several technology training workbooks, designed numerous technology classes and logged well over 1000 hours in the classroom. What I’ve noticed from both my training experience and from watching others, is that most instruction design jumps directly to focusing on skill building or performance growth training outcomes. It skips completely over the first step, exposure (which leads to discovery) often leaving learners in the dark without a personal context or framework for them to spring board off of.

It’s been interesting to me to watch and study how instructional approaches differ between children and adults. Early childhood learning is almost completely exposure driven through self-discovery and play. But somehow as we mature in our learning, we have tendency in most of our formal education processes to devalue the self-discovery and exposure phase as performance measures (i.e. teach to the test and grading scales) and skill building (i.e. job competencies) are tied even tighter to personal success.

I’m not saying that performance measures and skill building isn’t important. Both of these are pretty vital when it comes to a person’s ability to achieve a successful life. But without a good learning foundation acquired through exposure and self-discovery, learners often lack the roots (ie personal context) to grow their learning from.

So the bottom line for me is that exposure is foundational. As the instructional designer for Learning 2.0: 23 Things I’ve learned this over and over as I’ve watched other organization’s flourish and flounder with replicating the program. If you don’t focus the program’s design on exposure and discovery, there’s little soil for learners to till on their own and little motivation for them to self-direct and grow their knowledge.

PS: Thanks Char for the prompt. :)


Applying the ownership strategy to libraries?

Just finished reading Robert Fabricant’s FastCompany article, Is the Kindle Destined for Skymall? and found his ownership analogies related to business strategies interesting. Here’s the five he outlined:

Own a killer app… the Tivo strategy
Own a library… the iTunes strategy
Own a device … the Wii strategy
Own a marketplace… the Apple Store strategy
Own a community… the MySpace strategy

You’ll need to full article (a fast read) to get the gist of his analogies, but after reading these, it had me thinking about how this “ownership” analogy applies to the future of the physical library. If you had to fill in the blank to this question what you answer.

Own ______________ … the library of the future strategy.

Or does “ownership” thinking/strategy not work at all for libraries? My thinking is, is that if that we don’t strive to be the “owners” of something, and then our value to our communities diminishes.

Your thoughts?


The future of libraries, with or without books


"The stereotypical library is dying -- and it's taking its shushing ladies, dank smell and endless shelves of books with it.

Books are being pushed aside for digital learning centers and gaming areas. "Loud rooms" that promote public discourse and group projects are taking over the bookish quiet. Hipster staffers who blog, chat on Twitter and care little about the Dewey Decimal System are edging out old-school librarians.

And that's just the surface. By some accounts, the library system is undergoing a complete transformation that goes far beyond these image changes."

I'm not sure if I agree with "pushed aside", but it is nice to see so many forward thinking libraries include in this article. Indeed, we are more then just books!