Friday, April 03, 2020

Talking to children about fake news/ Klicksafe - Zuhause lernen mit Medien

Two resources: one in English and one in German. The first is from the BBC: How to talk to your kids about fake news, including a video
The second is a key German site aimed at fostering competent and critical use of the internet: Klicksafe. As a couple of examples, it has a new section Zuhause lernen mit Medien – Tipps für Eltern und Lehrende [learning at home with media - tips for parents and teachers] and one of their recent pamphlets is Gutes Aufwachsen mit Medien - Kinderrechte im Netz [Growing up safely with media - children's rights on the internet]
Photo by Sheila Webber: mimosa tree, March 2020

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

More online teaching picks!

The Online Learning Consortium has Resources for K-12 Educators Teaching Remotely. These include their own online courses (which are usually priced - but they have been in this field a long time) and also links to other resources:
An upcoming free seminar from them is on Friday April 3rd, 1:00pm - 02:00pm (US Eastern time, so e.g. it starts at 6pm UK time): Addressing the Social-Emotional Needs of Remote Learners "With the rapid switch to providing education in a fully remote format, teachers need to be proactive in making sure that students are getting the social-emotional support they need. This can be challenging. In this webinar, our panel of experts will provide best practices on how you can best meet the needs of your students." go to
JISC, which supports use of technology in UK tertiary education, is running a blog with material aimed to support staff in the current crisis. Recent posts include Assistive Technology For All and Problems with home Wi-Fi? Go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: white cherry blossom, March 2020

Tuesday, March 31, 2020


I completely missed the European AllDigital week, which was last week. However, there is a website with some resources, so you many still find it interesting even though the events are past. There is a Stay at home digital toolkit, with some useful links related to digital and media literacy and also a resource list with some links to sources of training, teaching ideas etc.
Home page is
Photo by Sheila Webber, taken at the VWBPE conference, in Second Life, March 2020.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Webinar: Killer Commands for Effective Information Retrieval

Experienced search expert Karen Blakeman will be presenting a webinar Killer Commands for Effective Information Retrieval at 12.30 UK time on 22 April 2020. It is organised by UKeiG, the UK e-information Group. It is free to all UKeiG and CILIP members. It costs £25 to others.
"The increasing use of AI by the search engines does not always generate better results. This presentation will look at the key commands that are needed to improve relevance, what is still available in the major search tools, and how to use the commands for more effective information retrieval."
To book your place, go to:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Cherry Branches, March 2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Effective Professional Development #VWBPE

Another liveblog from the Vitual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference taking place in the 3D VW, Second Life. Becky Adams, University of New Mexico (Elli Pinion in Second Life) talked about You Don’t Have To Go To Space for Effective PD! [Professional Development]. After an introduction, she described her research about professional development for school teachers, which had helped them develop the principles for PD in the photo below. They ran a part-time course, and researched the teachers' perceptions of its impact. The data they collected consisted of interviews, focus groups, reflective journals kept by the teachers and VLE logs.
The results were positive: "There was a significant change in attitude about PD “I find online professional development to be socially engaging,” and “I believe this learning opportunity has affected my classroom” and they reported they spent more time than they had anticipated." The course sounded well-designed, and the students were sharing their experiences and ideas, and trying things out in their work as they went along. Important was that "the PD was meaningful to them, and had continuity; It was convenient, they could do it around their schedules and responsibilities". Having an engaged leader who set the agenda as regards "timing, responsibilities, deadlines and motivation for follow through" was important to the teachers.
Adams also talked about setting up a Community of Practice approach in her university, to develop their ability to teach online. The effective approach was inviting people personally to talk about their experience on a specific theme for 5 minutes. This brought people along and they sometimes brought a friend. She also talked about how they got faculty to engage with a rubric for online courses, by instituting an award for Online Course Best Practices which counted in their yearly evaluations.
Adams identified the key principles for PD on the slide I've posted above, and said how they'd applied them to a course about teaching online: the course was online; "It happened over time [6 weeks], so they could reflect and revisit concepts"; it was interactive; "we had them build their first few modules as they took the class, so they applied what they were learning"; it was meaningful because they were applying what they learned at once; there was just one synchrnous session, so they could plan the learning conveniently to them and they had a tutor who led the class and modeled online teaching.
The recording of her talk is here:

Friday, March 27, 2020

#VWBPE - education & civic engagement; virtual conferences and social responsibility

I'm currently attending a conference that's going ahead exactly as scheduled - the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference, taking place in 3D virtual worlds, particularly Second Life. It's free: participants need to create an avatar and download the Second Life browser (as it doesn't use an ordinary web browser. The conference venues are space-themed (in a virtual world you can fly and defy gravity!) and the first picture is of the main auditorium.
However, you can also watch many of the sessions by following the links from here: It continues tomorrow.
This is the 13th VWBPE. I don't usually liveblog it, since it is about education rather than information literacy, but under the current circumstances I would blog a couple of sessions today and tomorrow.The 2nd, appropriately, is on virtual conferences,
Firstly, though, today's keynote was from Professor Michael Thomas, Liverpool John Moores University on Virtual Worlds and Social Justice: An Impact and Civic Engagement Agenda. His abstract is here. The recording is embedded below. Thomas wanted to make us to become more aware of critical and historical perspectives on learning technologies. He identified some of the issues in higher education, such as marketisation and causalisation, that have had an impact on the online learning agenda.
Thomas highlighted the Guinevere and Camelot projects (on language learning in virtual worlds) as focusing on pedagogies and teachers (rather than technology). He cited Stephen Bax as positioning online educators as difficultators, which encourages educators to take a critiquing approach, rather than accepting that education has become a "product". The current crisis (with educators suddenly forced to go online) can be seen a an opportunity to reflect as well as to act. We can question things we have taken for granted (e.g. travelling to work) and look at education through lenses such as sustainability and inclusivity.
Thomas talked about the current requirement for "social distancing" which means physical social distancing. Those in tertiary education could be said to already practice social distancing, in being removed from civic engagement: when they are engaged, there is often a focus on economic benefits. He also mentioned a recent call for papers on virtual worlds and impact which had disappointingly few proposals to do with civic impact. Thomas referred to the discussion around MOOCs, which had initially been talked up as a way of reaching less advantaged people, but the statistics showed MOOCs were used extensively by those with existing qualifications etc. The way in which computers have been used in classrooms has also been critiqued, as have generalisations about "digital natives" who, in fact, vary in their economic and social ability to participate in the digital.
He quoted Jody Greene as saying " Teaching center staff who have been shouting into the wind about the benefits of learning communities can’t help but smile as the entire collegiate instructional workforce scrambles to find the nearest Hangout or Zoom teaching happy hour.”
Now that a lot of resistence to online working has, in the current crisis, been swept away, it is important to look at the implications for pedagogy, and develop pedagogy critically. He referred to Higgins et al.s' (2012) metanalayis which reveals what is familiar to me from other systematic or insightful research i.e. that the "success" of online teaching and learning is not a matter of receipes but depends on the nature of teachers, learners, context and pedagogy.
Thomas referenced Giroux in warning against having online learning appropriated by a neoliberalist agenda. He felt that there were signs of hope e.g. suggesting that ranking universities in terms of how they meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Thomas challenged delegates to reflect on virtual worlds education in relation to civic engagement and sustainable development. He further posed teh questions "Given the recent embrace of ‘online learning’, how will (VW) education change as a result? Will it revert to what it was before? (students and teachers may perceive the recent online turn as a failure). Or will it be changed by the experience?" His talked was followed by a lively discussion in text chat and voice.

Linda Wylie, with her talk Virtual conferences and social responsibility, was addressing the issue of face to face conferences and social responsibility, and in particular talked about the Virtual International Day of the Midwife, a virtual conference she is involved with.
She started by talking about the various studies that have revealed the carbon footprint of universities in terms of international travel. Wylie felt that, yes, this was socially irresponsible and inequitable. She, like the previous speaker, identified that the current situation may be changing people's minds about virtaul working and conferencing. However there may be "professional fear" of virtual working that persists despite this, including in her own area, the health sector.
Wylie mentioned lack of social interaction and networking being seen as barriers to virtual interaction, but she pointed out that this interaction does not always happen at face to face conferences either. There was agreement from those in the audience that virtual conferences can also provide opportunities to get to know people (particularly in 3D worlds where you can express your personality via your avatar). Wylie emphasised that virtual conferences can reduce the carbon footprint, although f2f conferences themselves could be made more sustainable (e.g. more regional conferences, streaming in remote presenters, thinking about the sustainability of refreshments, accompanying virtual communities, having less swag - though the library world isn't exactly heavy on swag, I think the healthcare one may still be).
Wylie then went on to talk about the Virtual International Day of the Midwife online conference. The event is a 24 hour event (on 5 May 2020), so it is celebrated worldwide, with a simple approach so that it is accessible to those with low tech. It includes a student stream. They use BigBlueButton as a platform and support novice online presenters - Wylie stressed how this can still be scarey for people who aren't used to it.
The link to her talk is here

New articles: Students friending lecturers; Gender equality; SEO and news media

Available in both Spanish and English, the open access journal Comunicar has published its latest issue, vol 63, no 2, 2020. It includes:
Ser o no ser amigos de los profesores en redes sociales: Las perspectivas de los estudiantes universitarios/ To-friend or not-to-friend with teachers on SNSs: University students' perspectives by Zeynep Turan, Erzurum (Turkey), Levent Durdu, Kocaeli (Turkey) & Yuksel Goktas, Erzurum (Turkey). "The most prominent finding is that the students were mostly opposed to their teachers’ sharing their political and religious views; however, they were in favour of teachers sharing information about their personal life. Despite some students displaying some hesitation, especially concerning the level of respect between them, the majority of students had a positive outlook towards teacher-student friendships. The students indicated that being friends on SNSs would increase their motivation towards the course."

SEO y cibermedios: De la empresa a las aulas/ SEO and the digital news media: From the workplace to the classroom by Carlos Lopezosa, Barcelona (Spain), Lluís Codina, Barcelona (España), Javier Díaz-Noci, Barcelona (Spain) & José-Antonio Ontalba, Valencia (Spain). "this study explores perceptions and applications of search engine optimization (SEO) in the online news media and identifies the future training needs of journalists in this sector."

Igualdad de género y TIC en contextos educativos formales: Una revisión sistemática/ Gender equality and ICT in the context of formal education: A systematic review by María-Paz Prendes-Espinosa, Murcia (Spain), Pedro-Antonio García-Tudela, Murcia (Spain) & Isabel-María Solano-Fernández, Murcia (Spain). "Among the main results, we highlight that most of the good practices in the different educational levels are related to the use of web 2.0. and STEM competences. Finally, we recommend the design of proposals that work on gender through ICTs, with the “smart classroom" as an interesting suggestion that is part of the emerging pedagogies."
Photo by Sheila Webber: a shy violet in the curb, March 2020

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Call for proposals: Wikipedia and Academic Libraries: A Global Project

There's a call for Proposals for an open access book project Wikipedia and Academic Libraries: A Global Project. The editors are Laurie M. Bridges, Raymond Pun and Roberto A. Arteaga, and the publisher will be Maize Books, an imprint of Michigan Publishing. Proposals are due by June 1 2020.
"This open access edited volume will be a collection of approximately 20 chapters authored by academic library workers and faculty, Library and Information Science (LIS) faculty, and disciplinary faculty from around the globe that highlights engagement with Wikimedia-related projects and activities. This volume will be divided into two sections, and possibly a third: The first section will include real-world examples of activities and approaches to working with Wikipedia. The second section will focus on the theories and underlying concepts required for the development of pedagogical approaches to teaching with and within Wikipedia. A third thematic section may be added, depending on the breadth and number of submissions, for example, a section related specifically to WikiData."
Suggested topics include: Case studies of Wikipedia in information literacy instruction; Student researchers in Wikipedia; The role of Wikimedians/Wikipedians in Residence;
Collaborating with university faculty in the classroom; Edit-a-thon pedagogy and practice; Critical Librarianship and Wikipedia; Wikipedia's fight against misinformation and "fake news"; Use of Wikibooks in classes; Wikidata visualizations for education; Addressing gaps in Wikipedia, such as gender, LGBTQ+, racial, linguistic, regional, etc.
The full call for proposals is here:
Photo by Sheila Webber: cherry blossom, March 2020

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Virtual libraries, taking libraries online - tweet chat #uklibchat on April 6th

The next regular #uklibchat Twitter chat is on April 6th at 7pm UK time with the topic of Virtual libraries, taking libraries online. Just use the hashtag #uklibchat to chat.
Add your questions to the Virtual Libraries #uklibchat agenda at
The starter post on the blog is here

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Links for librarians working from home; Doing meetings online

The Australian library association, ALIA, has made the latest addition of its professional development newsletter, PD Postings free to everyone. It has links aimed at helping librarians work from home (links to resources, podcasts, advice, webinars etc.)

One of the resources they highlight is the set of material from the UK's association, CILIP, on Doing webinars and online meetings

Going beyond Google

Some people are posting material that would have been presented at conferences. Search expert Marydee Ojala was going to present at the Computers in Libraries conference is one of these. This is a short and informative article about search sources, mostly other than Google (e.g. the Chrome extension for finding free versions of articles)
Ojala, M. (2020, March 17). Going beyond Google. Information Today.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Charlton Park, last week

Monday, March 23, 2020

Webinar: Flip the deficit script! How to build strengths-based information literacy instruction and programs

On March 26 2020 at 1.30 US Eastern time (which is 5.30pm UK time) there is a free webinar Flip the deficit script! How to build strengths-based information literacy instruction and programs. "We have an exciting group of scholar-librarians addressing this question: What if we made students' life-research experiences the focus of curriculum design for information literacy? Panelists: Liz Kocevar-Weidinger, Head of Research & Instruction Services at Virginia Military Institute. Mark Lenker, Teaching and Learning Librarian at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Tatiana Pashkova-Balkenhol, Undergraduate Research and Instruction Librarian at Millersville University, PA. Emily Cox, Collections and Research Librarian for Humanities, Social Sciences, and Digital Media at NC State University. The panel will discuss strengths-based strategies they’ve developed and integrated into their learning environments. They’ll also present their findings about teaching research skills to students and the connections between students’ real world information-seeking experiences and academic research. " Register at
It is organised by Ithaka "a not-for-profit organization helping the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways."
Photo by Sheila Webber: tulips, today

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Recordings of ACRL webcasts about moving information literacy education online #teachonline

There are free recordings of the webinars that ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) streamed last week. They are:
- Information Literacy Instruction at a (Social) Distance: Strategies for Moving Online (webcast on March 17)
- Pandemic Pedagogy: Resources for Library Instruction at a Distance (webcast on March 18)
- Copyright for Campus Closures: Exploring the Copyright Issues around Moving Instruction and Reference Online (webcast on March 20)
Photo by Sheila Webber - Cherry blossom in Second Life, March 2020

Friday, March 20, 2020

Tools, Strategies, and Pedagogy for Distance Learning - Tweetchat #teachonline

There is a special edition #DLFteach Twitter chat on Tools, Strategies, and Pedagogy for Distance Learning on March 25, at 2 p.m. USA Eastern time (which is e.g. 6pm UK time). DLF is the Digital Library Federation. "This #DLFteach Twitter chat is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the global challenges that higher educational and cultural institutions are facing, we would like to have a conversation about best practices, methods, and opportunities to support our users and learners with using digital library technology and resources in distance learning. The aim is to support each other in brainstorming and sharing strategies & tools. Co-hosts are Sarah Moazeni (@sarahmoazeni) and Daria Hafner (@dhhafner). To join this conversation, follow and participate on Twitter using the #DLFteach hashtag. Chat questions will be tweeted from the @CLIRDLF handle.
Discussion questions are:
Q1: What opportunities or advantages has teaching online afforded you, your faculty, and your students?
Q2: What role do you think digital library technologies can and should play in a distance learning situation?
Q3: What digital library tools, resources, or platforms are you using to engage in distance learning? How are you using them?
Q4: How are you changing your support methods and channels for faculty and students using digital library tools in light of social distancing?
Q5: How might your learning outcomes change when teaching students about digital library collections and technologies when learning occurs online, or asynchronously?"
Archives of their tweet chats are available afterwards on their wiki:
Thanks to Esther Grassian for the alert
Photo by Sheila Webber: memories of the strike, view from the cafe I used to go to after being on the picket line (in the days before social distancing). 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Information Literacy education at a distance & Covid-19 resources

This post highlights a resource-sharing initiative and a blog about resources. As you may gather, I'm focusing on making posts related to the issues around the current crisis. I have been physically relocating myself, but when I am sorted out I intend to do some blogs with perspectives of my own.
Firstly, the Californian association for information literacy, LILi, has set up a page for sharing resources about teaching IL online. "Inspired by CCC COVID-19 Website Google Doc, Lifelong Information Literacy (LILi) created this blog post to collect online instruction information from all libraries in California. Please share in the form or comment below for discussions. The LILi Web Committee will summarize important information and resources in this blog as the situation evolves." This is at
Secondly, on the Information Literacy Group's website there's a blog post COVID-19: seeking reliable information in difficult times by David Bedford, Academic Support Librarian at the Hall Library, Universities at Medway, highlighting "key sources of reliable information"
Photo by Sheila Webber: forsythia, March 2020

Webinar today 19 March: Yes, You Can! Tips for Moving Online at Short Notice

This webinar organised by ALISE (US library educators association) is today (March 19) at 2pm US Eastern time (which is, e.g., 6pm UK time - time differences from the US are 1 hour different from usual at the moment in many countries). Yes, You Can! Tips for Moving Online at Short Notice is presented by Laura Saunders, Associate Professor at Simmons University SLIS and Melissa A. Wong, Instructor in the School of Information Sciences at the University at Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Even for veteran online teachers, moving a face-to-face course to an online format with only a week or two notice is daunting, but it can be done. In this workshop, seasoned online instructors will share ideas for getting your course up and running quickly, including: • Taking stock, re-purposing existing materials, and deciding on formats (synchronous vs asynchronous); • Keeping students engaged; • Reviewing best practices for both synchronous and asynchronous sessions; • Planning for flexibility for you and your students" Go to