When will my reflection show who I am inside?

A little Mulan to end the semester…

What was the most interesting thing you learned from a class colleague this semester? How did it change your perspective? 

I do not have a specific example of one particular classmate, they were all so insightful and each had their own magnificent opinions. We all bring our own experiences do whatever we do and coursework is no exception to that, particularly at this level. I have read a lot of great post this semester and what I learn the most is how our individual selves contribute to the whole because of our differences.

Was the content of this course what you were expecting it to be? What would you like to have spent more time learning? Less time focusing on? 

I was not sure what to expect from this class honestly. I did not really know about participatory spaces before this class. I suppose I had seen them and even used them but did not know the vocabulary behind them. The Teen Media Center at the San Francisco Public Library is a good example of this. I knew of its existence but did not know about participatory spaces until now. Anyway, I think this class was very well balanced. I feel as though it does a good job of covering what is important about this direction of special use in information centers.

What was your favorite project or reading you worked on this semester? If you had to eliminate a project or reading, what would it be? 

My favorite project was the maker faire blog post for Week 13. It really took me out of my comfort zone and gave me a neat experience to share with the class, who seem to enjoy hearing about it as well. I also really enjoyed reading Hang Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out. It was a pleasantly easy read and a great introduction the participatory spaces.

Highway to the discomfort zone…

Let’s face it; I am not a crafty person. It is weird because I play music and have written and perform songs, and I fancy myself to be fairly decent at drawing. I think I have the “arts” part down, but the “crafts” part seems to give me a lot of trouble. The project I chose was a handmade leather sketchbook, which I found on a blog by Melissa Esplin called I Still Love You (http://melissaesplin.com). This tutorial seemed pretty straight forward and claimed to only take 10 minutes to complete. It seemed like a pretty neat idea, and something that I could use and possibly make for others if the opportunity ever arose. I was also drawn to this because it seemed like a project that could be translated into a library program pretty easily, perhaps around the holidays so the patrons could make a handmade gift for someone.

This step did not take ten minutes. It took me about an hour and a half to complete. Since I wanted to use a thicker paper for the signatures and the sheet were bigger than the measurements listed in the tutorial, I had to trim them a bit. This is where having the cutting mat really paid off, with the ruler markings on the mat itself I was able to measure and cut all at once, without much premeasuring. I was also not terribly concerned about clean edges, because I was going for a more handmade look in the end. I did use the straight edge ruler to attempt to make straight cuts.

Once I got into a rhythm the process and assembly went more quickly. I was able to quickly put the pages together and punch hole out for the leather ties to go through. My hole-puncher was a little too big but I determined it would work for the time being. I then cut the felt to be a little bit bigger leaving some room to create a flap and tie feature. I have not gotten this far on the actual product yet because I did not have any glue that would hold on the felt material.

The felt fabric itself was a little flimsy so I cut a piece of Bristol board that I use for drawing, as it is a little bit firmer that the drawing paper I used for the signature pages. I lined them together and tied them with the leather ties. This process was a little more difficult to do since the hole I punched were a little too big but I was able to get all the pieces together. The leather tie was cut to about 16 to 20 inched because it needed to be threaded through the cover, the reinforcement board, the first set the pages, and then the second set with enough length to tie it at the end.

Finally, once every thing was tied together I had the beginnings of a finished project. It turned out a little bit loose and I felt a bit rushed when I was doing it because I was out of the comfort zone a little bit, but I feel like it came together in the end a lot better than I thought it would. It was an experience that opened my eyes to a way of seeing how pieces work together by putting them together myself. I liked this project because it can definitely be worked into a class for students, or library patrons to participate in. I even suggested that a friend of mine use it for her Sunday school class, the kids a re a bit young but if the materials are precut the assembly and decorating can be fun!

One cannot ride into riding…

I would like to discuss the Maria Montessori quote in this week’s blog. I do not completely agree with that statement. In the context of my own educational experience I have always faired better when someone was helping me, even in my professional life I rely on help when a task seems difficult. For me, it is helpful, even if I feel like I can be successful, to receive help. It can give me reassurance that I am doing it right, or give me a perspective on a new way to do something. When considering educational scenarios, while group work makes me anxious, it is beneficial the see how others in the group do things and get their input and insight on your work. I think as I was going through grade school I would have preferred help with tasked despite knowing I could be successful.

On the other hand, I have seen the frustration children have when they are helped sometimes so I can certainly see where the quote came from. I do think that children need learn can gain confidence through the success they achieve by progressing through steps of a task, and helping them complete them could potentially hinder their cognitive development. However, I think helping them could also create a trust and by repeating the processes they will learn how to work through problems by examples other set and learn to make their own ways through the tasks in the future. I think of learning to ride a bike. Did you just get on one and start riding? Don’t answer that if you did, it will mess up the analogy. Someone helped you with that task, probably a bunch of times until you figured it out. What about driving a car? Spelling? Math? If have to get to the place where you find comfort enough to feel like you can succeed, someone has to get you there, but you will not know everything and you certain will not succeed every time. So, why not help out a child and give them the reassurance that you are their for help whenever they need it.

Reading, wRiting, and STEM/STEAM…

When reading about Integrating the Arts this week I was reminded of the “Three R’s” the old school (pun intended) foundation of basic skills-oriented education programs, you know the one. Anyway, the general basis behind the “Three R’s” was essentially what we are seeing today with the energy behind STEM/STEAM curricula. Bothe are basically putting a spin on an initiative that does not really reflect the interests of students, but rather the fear of not falling behind others countries in terms of education. Some would say we are a little too late for that, but I’m getting of track a little bit. All is not lost, and I feel that the existence of programs like STEM give hope that there is a desire for change.

Martinez and Stager make the argument that adding extra letters to an acronym does not equal change (p.54). This is what made me think of the “Three R’s” as it was a similar type of spin on an initiative meant to boost education in this country in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. It may have started the whole movement of making acronyms for thing to make them sound appealing when the actual content (that of learning and education) should be appealing enough. Martinez and Stager state that children “deserve rich experience across the widest range of disciplines available (p. 55).” Adding arts to this program will add more engaging and participatory experiences to an already rich curriculum. This is what STEM/STEAM should be about. The debate should not be about adding letters to a flashy name to make it more palatable, it should to be about our education system allowing kids to express themselves in the fullest ways possible. Rebranding education historically offers very few results as Martinez and Stager state (p. 55), and I can only speculate that by including the “A”rts in STEAM there will be more funding for the arts while not marginalizing them, or marginalizing science and math based studies either.

So, the STEM/STEAM program has its heart in the right place. I want it to be successful, I really do. I would love from my kids, if I were ever fortunate enough to have any, to get the fullest education they can. I don’t want them to not be allowed to express themselves in creative ways and share or collaborate with other children. STEM/STEAM offers hope, but it needs to be taking seriously and not be hidden behind an acronym. Arts need to be included and encouraged in the education of our children, not an afterthought behind what is essentially a rebranding of the “Three R’s.”

Martinez, S. L. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

it takes a village… to participate

This week I wanted to explore Nina Simon’s article The Participatory Museum, Five Years Later. I found the thought behind the article to be an interesting one, in that she gave the initial book publication time to be absorbed, and allowed herself time to reflect on the ideas she set forth with the book The Participatory Museum. It was fascinating to see how the waves the book made since its publication, changing the questions of museum participation from “’what?’ and ‘why?’ to ‘how?’” within the museum field. It is interesting to see that museums are becoming more participatory and it really shows that the world of learning centers are continuing to change with the times.

I also found it interesting that Simon, while not necessarily changing her view on participation in museums, but rather shifting it to a different focus. What I identified most with was the idea of facilitated participation as an important piece to the evolution of participatory spaces regardless of the environment. Encouragement drives participation. From my own experience I can definitely say that I am not a fan of participation really, I prefer to watch or observe. Being encouraged into doing things one is not comfortable doing certainly helps motivate the person to take a chance and get out and try it. Sharing experiences is really the key to all experience. Even when we experience something alone, we instantly want to share it with a friend or loved one. Creating experience form users to share with each other invites more participation and more enjoyment for everyone.

Simon, N. (2015). The participatory museum, five years later. Retrieved from http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-participatory-museum-five-years.html.

Back to the Future (of Libraries)…

As I was looking through the ALA’s Library of the Future “Trends” page, which is a popular topic among my fellow classmates, I found it interesting that there were some many, and that there are more being developed and added. There were quite a few of them I have never considered, and to honest I have not heard of a lot of them either. I was curious about trends such as Badging, and Flipped learning. I had not heard of these terms before and I found them both to be very innovative ways the develop learning.

UC Davis’ badging program offers a unique learning experience that takes students outside the classroom, and the wide range of environments will call for more library involvement in the continuation of badge development. Libraries will need to provide spaces for this participatory learning experience.

I also thought that flipped learning was a really interest trend heading towards libraries, and actually, it is a learning environment I never really though of. However, initiatives like the Khan Academy have been able to bring flipped learning to the attention of the public. Librarians can help provide materials and resource for a transition into a flipped learning approach, and libraries can also provide spaces for students to participate in this approach.

I was also not sure what haptic technology was, and in turns out I have been using it for most of my childhood thanks to video game consoles. Atari and Nintendo introduced scores of kids to haptic technologies via early kinetic controls for some of their titles. Advances in the technology have made kinetic video games controls even more interactive with Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Kinect for the Xbox One. The learning application can give a more tactile experience to the process and resources can be more widely available to those with audio and/or visual disabilities. Libraries will have the opportunity to integrate haptic technologies to enhance the users experience.

Looking ahead to the future of libraries is exciting and the trends being developed will only enhance the patron’s experience and give new and excites ways for libraries to stay relevant throughout the changing of technologies and learning approaches.

The silent observer…

INFO 287

Week 8 Blog Post

In reading Dobrzynski (2013) I was drawn to her idea that the thrill of simply being in the presence of great art is nearly gone for most people. I agree with this statement as I am coming from a position of enjoying, from lack of a better term, classical works of art. I am not really a big appreciator of modern art like those Dobrzynski describes in her article, though I do respect the work that goes into it, and other people’s opinions on the matter. I also cannot claim to be a student of art, so I do not know much about it. I just like what I like.

When I think about museums, art museums in particular, I think of a peaceful place to consider the piece in front of you. Modern art museums, specialty museums and cultural centers always seem to have a more interactive environment, and the subject matter of the exhibits tend to encourage such behavior. There is certainly a call for such spaces, patrons enjoy seeing, feeling, and doing and it makes these space more entertaining for those who are looking for more and those who appreciate those types of spaces.

From my perspective, the real difficulty with participatory museums and other cultural spaces is that the silent observer is taken out of their comfort zone and the experience would be less than ideal. There is place for both the silent and active observers in participatory spaces. Libraries and museums have been adapting more to interactive services, but they have also been creating spaces for both traditional and non-traditional environments.

Dobrzynski, J. (2013). “High Culture Goes Hands On.” New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/opinion/sunday/high-culture-goes-hands-on.html?_r=1.

What prompted me to do that?..

When reading Greenwalt’s article about prompts I was immediately drawn to when I first started going to community college. I can remember being right out of high school and having no idea what I want to do. I was not prepared for college and did not know what to expect. So I thought of things I liked such as music, art, and photography and though that was how you chose what your major was going to be. I really loved Raiders of the Lost Ark, I still do, and though being an archeologist would be really cool! I still think being an archeologist would be really cool, but that’s going to have to wait, because it’s kind of pulling me off topic for this discussion.

My point I want to eventually get at is that prompts are how I recall those first view classes I took at community college. They showed me a different way of thinking about things and what I wanted to do. There were a little bit like Eno and Schmidt’s deck of cards, that got me to look in different direction and explore new avenues that I did not consider. They showed me I didn’t want to be a photographer, at east not professionally, and music was a passion but not a career. Anthropology was the most interesting card I pulled from the deck back then, and would later come back to me after a long absence for academics.

I do have an example of a creative way a music-recording teacher got us to think about how recording studios work. He assigned for us to create are own recording studios to show us the amount of work and equipment go into making the music we hear. He created a prompt that helped his students understand music in a different way and it was pretty exciting. I wish I could say I passed that class, but I ended up dropping out of college by the end of that semester due to some life stuff that I’m sure we are all familiar with. I did seeing music production in a new light. I learned it was hard work and not magic. It gave me a sense that looking at things differently can create new ideas.

What librarians can do to create prompts is to make things interactive like that music teacher did. As a volunteer for the San Francisco Public Library I taught a class on how to use the new library catalog that the library was switching over to. It started out as a formal how-to type instructional class but soon turn into a show-and-tell model similar to what Greenwalt discussed in regards to the iPad class. When that happened the student started to enjoy it more because they all had very specific questions about their own accounts, and it became more personable.

We can find prompts in the most interesting places, movies interests, and even college courses. I like the idea of having something that helps you go in a different direction, it give us a chance see find things we might never have found otherwise.

Greenwalt, T. R. (2014). It’s all around you: Creating a culture of innovation. Public Libraries Online. Retrieved from: http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2014/02/its-all-around-you-creating-a-culture-of-innovation/

What was old is new again…

In response to The FastCompany.com article on the 50 most innovative companies of 2015, I found it interesting how while there were many new companies finding ways to make e-business more creative, and simpler for the consumer, there were a few older companies that have taken the change of technology as a sign that they must change as well. Startups seem to be the norm in business these days, and the “tech boom” is continuing to grow. The rents in my city have also grown as a result, but let’s not get into that. I am certainly not saying that startups are an easy task, but perhaps, they are easier than taking an older company and changing its business model to reflect the change in technological times.

New companies like Fuhu have thrived in a very aggressive market by providing a similar product to those of Apple, and Samsung (two other contenders on the list) but in a more innovative way. Seeing the family market as relatively under crowded, Fuhu made tablets for kids, not for adults to put apps for kids on. Innovative lessons for kids come loaded on the tablet and the parental features such as “curfew time” and “virtual currency” gives parents and children interaction with each other as well as with the device. This is a great example of a new company making innovative changes to an overcrowded market of handheld electronic devices and created its own market for itself.

I was surprised to see companies on there that I have known about for a while now, predating the Internet in fact. Companies like HBO, Virgin America, Samsung and Toyota are examples of an older business seeing the change in the weather and adapting to those changes to stay relevant. HBO stands out to me because of the TV streaming market. Netflix and Hulu and many more services have dominated the home entertainment streaming party, and HBO with its HBO Go brand has come to that party with it innovative thinking outside the box to discover all options. In the end they have created a way for HBO content to be streamed on multiple devices reaching the user were they are.

The user-centric model of business is not a new concept, but having to apply it to a rapidly changing technological environment is. The most innovative companies will not shy away from this tend, rather, they should embrace the change. Libraries have been doing this for many years, offering these new technological advancement and services to patrons. Something that will be the most willing to change will be something the will last and stay relevant.

The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2015. Fast Company. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/section/most-innovative-companies-2015.

It’s the little things… an anthropological view of learning

Of the Learning Personas we have look at so far while reading Kelley’s The Ten Faces of Innovation (2005) I see the Anthropologist as the most identifiable to the way I learn. I studied anthropology in undergrad so I no doubt that I adopted some of the traits. What Kelley (2005) discusses regarding the Anthropologist learning persona is a penchant for human extremes, whereas they do not get stuck in a routine. I feel that this is why I have remained in retail for so long. This environment is never the same from day to day, with a lot of opportunity to collect fresh and insightful observations of other humans. Let me tell you, we get some doosies at Whole Foods, but that’s a story for another time. These insightful observations lend themselves to noticing the small things like regular customers, and their buying patterns. This has allowed for more pleasant interactions with our customer base. There are also plenty of chances to observe instant behaviors and react to them.

A good example of this is one that some of you may not believe. One of our regular customers is a retired actress who was in a movie with Alicia Silverstone and a young Paul Rudd. She comes in with her daughter who is around toddler age about twice a month. We use to have these shopping baskets that rolled, we all hated them because they were big and bulky, but this customer daughter loved them. Well we have since stopped letting customers use them for reasons that were not really explained to me. Well, today she in in her daughter went to the baskets wanting to get the rolling cart and was trying to pick up one of the other baskets, which she certainly was too small to carry. I noticed this and knew we had the rolling basket tucked away, so I got one for her. I actually didn’t even realized who the customer was until someone pointed it out to me, I just observed the behavior of the child and then notice the mother who was explaining that we didn’t have the rolling baskets anymore and wanted to prevent a child from having a meltdown. I later checked up on them and she was pushing the basket along a putting things like string cheese and strawberries in it. That was quite a nice feeling.

I also see myself as a caregiver at this point in my time at Whole Foods. I have a instinct to help my team members as much as I can, though I may not have “great beside manner” that Kelley talks about but my straight-forward approach has earned the trust of the team I work on. I do tend to notice the Experience Architect in myself as well as in a few of my colleagues, as we tend to look at the bigger picture. Admittedly, I am less adept at this than others. I still focus too much on a small observances but I can take in the bigger goal from time to time.

Kelley, T. (2005). The ten faces of innovation. New York: Doubleday.