Presentation DBS Annual Library Seminar 09/06/17

First up, here are my slides

From attending and listening at the seminar I learnt a lot from the keynote by Andrew Preator relating to critical reflective practice. This was particularly timely as I was presenting with the viewpoint that the PDP portfolios were not  a place for this. But I am not suggesting that critical reflective practice is not to be engaged it, just that it is incompatible with a professional development portfolio. I drew the analogy with assessment of and for learning and how presenting yourself, your digital persona, for career enhancement is different from the kind of experimental, questioning work that critical reflective practice is.

It was nice to see the work that the public library service do, and obviously the DLR Lexicon is awesome, and the regeneration of the concept of the commons of a public non-commercial space is really importseminarDBSant.

I was less happy about the embrace of big data than the second keynote. But that should come as no surprise to those who have read my tweets on IP, infosec, privacy etc.

The lively debate at the end was notable for Jane Burns having a losing proposition to fight- getting rid of the word librarian in a room full of librarians – but she convinced me (not that Helen Fallon wasn’t also excellent) and I noticed that Andrew Preator changed his too

On a personal level it was quite stressful getting the presentation together in such a rush with the data arriving late. The presentation went well though, I did have to go  quickly. I’m now more focused on bringing this work forwards. What I have planned so far is:

  • Attending a seminar exploring the T&L framework for librarians (invite from the Librarian at DIT)
  • Follow up with the HECA Librarians group meeting on Friday, scoping out the mapping exercise for library CPD (Helen/David) I will update this following 16/06
  • This should lead to publishable work late in 2017
  • Possible article (non-peer reviewed) over the summer, a publication is interested

Intellectually I am planning to engage further with queer and feminist radical pedagogies. I have just bought Bell Hooks’ Teaching to Transgress based on Andrew’s presentation. I also realise I need to reconsider digital citizenship (which I view from the perspective of preserving the well being of the subject/teacher in a harsh neoliberal reality) and came upon this article via Catherine Cronin on Twitter. Which is timely.

catherine cronin tweet

I also would like to place the video of Judith Butler somewhere, so here would be good.


The PDF Pilot and this eportfolio

I admit it: this project has not featured a lot of reflection from me, and certainly no deep reflection. I got the impression as the project progressed that this was intended by the NF. I’m not apologetic however. I needed to catalogue this activity for myself. And to see what emerged from it myself, and then to see what could be codified. From the beginning when discussing this with colleagues, and I talked with other groups and gave some support also, that it was crucial that what we produced was useful for us.

In my work I am mindful of the tension between a public portfolio and a reflection which is, by nature, revealing and difficult in public. Jenny Moon discussed at this workshop the concept of learners delivering what was required in reflection. I’m often worried about the “performance” of reflection also. And as I perceive the eporfolio as being a tool for the performance of a digital/online identity in a professional context I don’t think it is an appropriate space for the kind of professional reflective practice that the main workshop activity involved.

This image contains most of the self reflection in this portfolio!

This mirrors the tension in a student’s eportfolio between a portfolio for learning and one for assessment. It is not possible to achieve both aims honestly and this is largely accepted in the field. I was taken by Helen Beetham’s concern that the learner has their working portfolio in a walled garden with a route out. Her work on digital identity in the modern mediated world has been important to me (as has danah boyd’s) and both have influenced how I think about eportfolios for professionals. And as with the statement above about student work I believe that the eportfolio as a professional development tool and as a tool to manage your digital identity is not a suitable place for deep, critical, self-reflection. I think Michael Seery expresses this well. It is however a good place to put your statement of practice, policy, and your ideas based on this self reflection. It is product, rather than process, that a professional CPD focused eportfolio focuses on.

To this end I will be proposing to this group a continuation of the pilot scheme with a real focus on our own ends. I intend to support the group in exporting their portfolio work so far to other domains and possibly systems. Many of us have used domains, as I have here, that echo the aims of the project rather than our identities. And I then intend to collaborate with the group to get a better sense of what the realisable CPD aims of this portfolio can be, taking in not only the teaching world which is the pilot, but also the information professional. This should lead to some publishable work.


Jenny Moon: reflection

It was a great privilege to get this opportunity, hosted by l2l in DIT Bolton St. to attend a workshop with Jenny Moon. She, in a way, started out this teaching and reflection thing for me c.13 years ago via a workshop I attended in Griffith College arranged by Dr. Fiona O’Riordan then working part time in lecturer support. I was looking for a real insight into how much, if at all I had grown. I also retain few specific memories of the actual workshop! Plus I have always struggled with reflection and self-awareness.

It was interesting for me to see how she introduced the concept of reflection and the specific focuses she brought. And also the literature that she conspicuously didn’t refer to. And again, as with all the “structured non-accredited” that we have here, it’s always a pleasure to see how another person teaches, to be a student again.

The largest part of the workshop was the case study on four successive iterations of a reflection. I enjoyed it, and was interested in how it revealed the process of self-examination and how self-examination can lead to compassion when continued, rather than mere empathy. Though I think I was the only person who saw it quite in that light at the workshop. For example others took the case study as ending up with the subject of the examination being placed in the centre, whereas for me, the author (doctor) was at the centre but having reevaluated their experience and empathising with the patient they were able to relate the patient’s experience to their own autobiography. This to me is more realistic, empathetic, and capable of producing compassion than an elision of the author for a not possible patient or student centred approach. This is, in part, why I have appreciated the experience of being a student several times during this project: it helps me empathise and relate my students’ experience with my own.

Of less interest and impact to me was the element Jenny felt was most important, and that we should take away and use: the epistimology of thought and learning section. I suppose we should have been an ideal audience for this being librarians and currently quite obsessed with fake news, media literacy, criticality etc. I need to take a further look at these materials to see what insight I can gain. I have a huge bias against psychological “types” I admit. And the process of categorising brief statements into different levels of critical perception seemed quite arbitrary and, divorced of concept, not hugely useful to me. I don’t think you can make a deep distinction based on keywords popping out of sentances. It needs much more and deeper investigation.

I will do this however, as I will review the case study that she did as I may use it with my RPD group next year.


Data mapping at AIRO

This is a real new learning post for me. I attended the data mapping QGIS training in AIRO Maynooth as I do support students doing their business plans in demographic and market information and I felt as time passed that I wasn’t offering the students as good a service as I could. In short: I was lacking professional knowledge. I do work against the notion of the teacher being the source of information but in this case I lacked know how  of how to get that data. I was delighted to take the opportunity to attend training in AIRO. I have admired their work for years and used their web app for mapping data and watched how it developed. I did see its limitations for our students and thought as well that other faculties, in particular media and design, could benefit from a well informed data visualising proselytiser in the library. I think this is the very epitome of how we see ourselves in the profession of librarians as teachers and educators developing.

I realised as the day developed that I would firstly need to keep this up as a practice and that I already learnt what would be of use to my business students in the first hour.

But then we learnt to calibrate maps to different points on the globe, get the census divisions, join data sets, apply them to spacial parameters, map them, select colour heats and schemes, edit legends, overlay visualisations dynamically…

thumbnail_Dublin CIty Unemployment

…and many more things than I can possibly expect to become expert in. I look forward to working with this and developing it. I think it is an area we can really help students stand out in.

As always it’s interesting to be the student. Perhaps it was due to it being a corporate training event but a big pack of take home always makes students feel like they have received their dollar’s worth. I’ve always resisted that and to some extent we worked through a workbook which we then took home. I see how this is useful in the context of a single day as deeper learning is more difficult and being able to replicate exactly what you did in class with notes is most likely very useful. This approach is always going to lead to parts of the day where you are held up dealing with details that you assume which makes you lose track sometimes, lose concentration.

Marc and related training

Today I taught two of my colleagues how to use marc ftp server, to bulk download records for ebooks.

Then how to use MarcEdit to batch process these (join, mnemonic, edit for 856 field url, process) then upload, stage, and add to koha catalogue.

It’s quite technical and very library. It’s interesting to consider this as teaching as I normally wouldn’t. For me training is teaching. If we think that teaching relates to learning in that the learner does the learning it becomes a part of their identity for me this really fits this. This kind of detailed technical knowhow is a real part of building the identity of a librarian. We need to feel comfortable, or at least many of us do, in this kind of data and metadata related detail for our professional identities.