OLJ – Creating an Online Personal Learning Network

If considering Utecht (2008), I sit at Stage 2 – Evaluation within the 5 Stages of PLN Adoption. Initially I engaged with many social media sites and had profiles galore (Stage 1). Professional connections were mixed with personal (Cowan, 2013) and it became obvious that some social media pruning was needed. At Stage 2 I find myself deleting profiles that I do not use frequently such as Twitter (I just don’t have enough occurring in my life to warrant regular tweets), LinkedIn (I believe the chances of an employer discovering my profile amongst a sea of better qualified individuals are slim) and also culling Facebook friends (I wasn’t fond of various individuals in high school so why do I accept these requests?). Given my current studies, I have begun to focus contacts and content towards information management. Using Delicious to bookmarks resources I may find valuable in future workplaces, saving poster images via Pinterest and limiting Facebook to colleagues – it feels better.

The above changes have brought about the following:


* Connection and sensible conversation – professionally these people are like-minded. I’m enjoying reading posts and comments that are not complicated by family feuds.

* In the loop – although not working full-time, I find that I am still updated with the latest happenings such as online conferences.

* Motivation – I like to see where and what my colleagues are up to. Asking questions or brainstorming opportunities exist via Facebook and my news feed is no longer clogged with items that are a distraction.


*Still striving for Stages 4 and 5.

*initially, I had a ‘detox’ period where I felt I needed to re-engage and was missing out on important happenings – I wasn’t.

* Negative reactions of de-friended individuals.


Although I have made many positive changes to my PLN, none of these have been a part deliberate plan but a general sweep of the obvious. Time permitting, I would like to better assess how social networking can be utilised for professional use. This would involve studying examples of other librarians and perhaps considering how I may market myself for future job prospects.

A visual of my PLN:

 image (2)

Image source: Apple ‘Inspiration’ App


Cowan, A. (2013). How many social medial social profiles do you needs, exactly? Retrieved from http://www.aliciacowan.com/social-media-and-digital-marketing/how-many-social-media-profiles

Utecht, J. (2008). Stages of PLN Adoption. Retrived from http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption/



OLJ – Building Academic Library 2.0

As a keynote speaker of this symposium, Farkas discusses academic libraries and how they may utilise Web 2.0 to improve user services. Other speakers also addressed how basic Web 2.0 applications such as blogs, Twitter, Flickr and so on can be harnessed to attract new users and reflect changing user needs.

Although delivered with academic libraries in mind, this valuable information may also be applied to a secondary school library:

Utilising social media as marketing tools

Using sites such as Facebook, information regarding the library and users can be delivered instantly and can be tailored to attract new users. A solid marketing strategy needs to be devised and maintaining such sites needs to be included in staff job descriptions so that ample time is allocated.

Know your users

At first, this seemed an obvious point as we interact with users on a daily basis. However, one must consider the users not often seen – students who play sport each break, students with learning difficulties, students who consistently have detention, teachers who devote breaks to other activities and so on. Each of these groups may benefit from library services but are otherwise engaged. Here the librarian may need to leave the walls of the library and go where the users are.

Go where the users are

Within a secondary school, the librarian may need to reach users outside of the library. Seemingly the majority of secondary students have a Facebook account and even though blocked at school, students still access their profiles before and after school – not to mention on mobile devices during school hours (school admin is yet to address this issue). Therefore it would seem sensible to maintain a presence where our users frequent.

Users include teachers

It is easy to focus upon student information needs and leave teachers to source their own resources. However, it is advised that teachers also need guidance and provide a link to student needs. If a teacher is aware of all resources and services the library has to offer, then this is also passed on to students.

Creating partnerships

A school library may seek partnerships with groups within the community to increase quality of service to users. Such partnerships can be promoted using Web 2.0 applications. For example, TAFE or public libraries, apprentice programs or mobile library services.

School library users should also be viewed as participants as opposed to consumers, being invited to suggest, comment and create information via Web 2.0 applications. Farkas recognises that there is a control risk when inviting patron comments publicly although, if monitored regularly, there exists rich opportunity for users to create services specific to their immediate needs.

Posted in OLJ

OLJ – Second Life Evaluation

Despite satisfying the Windows system requirements, I was unable to successfully participate in Second Life. With varying success, three attempts were made to install the program although and each time I was faced with error messages and freezing screens. After creating three accounts, I was eventually able to choose an avatar and this was the extent of my progression not to mention my limited monthly data allowance taking a huge hit. Perhaps turning off video and voice media may reduce data usage although once in the game, an avatar uses data regardless.

As a new user, I was able to create multiple accounts and this presents a significant security risk. Individuals are able to hide behind duel identities and are not accountable for personal behaviour. Helmer & Learning Light (2007: 28) also agree that the ability to create multiple virtual identities leads to an increased incidence in ‘griefing’ which can include deliberately harassing other players or intentionally lagging server.

I could, however, see the point of Second Life. Glitches aside, I was able to experience second life here and here. Attending classes, doing business and visiting virtual libraries all hold great potential for education and individuals somehow hindered in reality. Emoshea (2011) highlights the possibilities of partnerships between schools and museums thus creating an endless wealth of learning experiences despite location. The situated learning provided by virtual simulation allows students to establish skills or knowledge that can be transferred to the real world (Dede, 2009).

User services are supported within The Community Virtual Library. This space allows many professionals to virtually collaborate and participate in a variety of projects such as creating collections, providing reference services and holding exhibits. Cote, Kraemer, Nahl & Ashford (2012: 14) explain that Second Life radically shifts the traditional role of a librarian to that of an ‘embedded librarian’ where the professional is a member of the customer community rather than a stand-alone service provider.

Cote, D., Kraemer, B., Nahl, D & Ashford, R. (2012). Academic librarians in Second Life. Journal of Library Innovation, 3 (1). Retrieved from http://uknowledge.uky.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1017&context=libraries_facpub

Dede, C. (2009). Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning. Science, 323 (5910), 66-69. Retrieved from http://www.sciencemag.org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/content/323/5910/66.full.pdf

Emoshea. (2007). Second Life and Libraries: What’s the point? Retrieved from http://infoblog.infopeople.org/2007/02/20/second-life-and-libraries-whats-the-point/

Helmer, J. & Learning Light. (2007). Second Life and virtual worlds. Retrieved from http://www.norfolkelearningforum.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/virtual-worlds_ll_oct_2007.pdf

Posted in OLJ