Monday, 10 December 2007

M-Libraries Conference, November 2007

It seems an eternity since I last blogged! This is because I have been on the Conference trail and have not been one of those really whizzy delegates who sit in sessions taking notes on their laptop and blogging immediately afterwards! Still in the Stone Age of taking notes in a book I have to decipher hand-writing later on...
I can report on what I think was a ground-breaking Conference held at the Open University 13-14 November about Mobile Libraries (not the vans) but those hand-held devices. Many of the presentation slides are now on the Web site.
It was great to hear and meet Joan Lippincott (Coalition for Networked Information), a true expert on the Web Generation. For the first time I came upon the term "screenager" for the latest Web generation ; interestingly many of the characteristics of the Web generation are now transferring to older generations, particularly as we acquire new skills, but the big differentiating factor, she believes, is that the Web generation is more VISUAL.
She cautioned against believing we know our student population and encouraged us to look for quantitative data, and qualitative data from focus groups, interviews and field studies.
She quoted the JISC 2007 report 'In their own words' which says "many speak oftheir personal devices as individulaised learning environments which...go everywhere with them".
Her presentation lists mobile devices and examples of how libraries are already responding to student preferences for use of mobiles.
In a trully inspiring presentation she suggested the need within an institution for a Mobile Learning Task Force to drive integration of mobile technologies, encouraging the transition of usage from recreation to student learning.
Time does not allow me to blog about the rest of the Conference but I can recommend the Conference site.
My conclusion is that this technology will become very important for delivery of IL, particularly because of its convenience throughout the world (twice as many persons can access mobile phones as the Web) and ability to provide small gems of information or advice when the student requires.

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