Student Learning Objective 6
The student applies appropriate technology for effective information services.
Choosing the appropriate tool for a given service is typically a daunting task because many adequate tools are typically available, but the cost and difficulty of use often determine the choice rather than the quality of service. Sometimes the task itself dictates the best technology to utilize such as a paper pamphlet for how to utilize a computer makes more sense than a website since one needs the information being provided to get to a website. Even then a poster might be a better choice than a pamphlet given multiple people can use a poster at one time and it does not require tracking of the supply since it is less likely to disappear. The exact technology utilized requires analysis of the nature of the service provided even when utilizing older technology. Choosing to provide digital reference books over physical reference books provides wider availability and simplified maintenance, but assuring the cost is sustainable is also a factor in choosing which is appropriate in a given setting. The availability of adaptive technologies such as screen readers can make services more inclusive. Rarely is a single choice the best, but a variety of options must be sifted to choose the technology. Ensuring a choice is not inappropriate is typically the best one can do.
The online nature of the program at UNCG causes digital technology to permeate every course though not always explicitly discussed. The LIS 635 class focused exclusively on various technologies and how to utilize them well. One topic of particular interest was on taking good pictures and utilizing photography. The technical aspects of framing a photograph such that the third lines cross the points of interest and understanding what makes a photograph good were topics I did not previously consider. The practice at different types of photographs and editing them to make them better should prove to be useful particularly for marketing purposes. Photography is a simple way to tell stories about the library and can be delivered through both new and old technologies.
Another use of technology explored was using it to deliver instruction. Many aspects of using technology for instruction were part of the program, but the specific example provided here is of a “flipped lesson” where the new content is provided to the learner through technology and a classroom setting is utilized to explore understanding of the new content through activities. The lesson I created as part of my assignment focused on learning about history utilizing board games. The specifics of using the classic board game of Diplomacy was the focus of the lesson plan with other games and projects included on the instructional website. Using a variety of technologies both new and old makes conveying information on World War I far more memorable than just reading a book or hearing a lecture.
Websites are the most commonly utilized technology of the twenty-first century. My analysis of Google Sites and their applicability to delivering information is a project done for the LIS 635 class and Google Sites is my chosen tool for this portfolio as well as other projects created during my study at UNCG. The versatility of the tool and performance across platforms makes it appealing to use. While the limitations of the framework occasionally block some good ideas, they also eliminate some poor design choices that are common such as not considering the variety of screen sizes on which the site will be viewed. Adequate, functional, and free are words that work well in the limited funding world of libraries.
Technologies are constantly evolving and it is impossible to stay abreast of all of the new things that come and go, but thoughtful utilization can broaden the impact of a library and enhance information delivery. Some technologies will go the way of video discs and others will be as ubiquitous as smart phones, but through thoughtful choices librarians can harness these tools to enhance the experiences of the communities they serve.