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"Laboratory" by tk-link via Flickr

As students practice inquiry-based learning, they are also learning to enter into the discourse of a new discipline. They learn to think like a scientist, or like a mathematician, or like a historian, as we read in this week’s chapter from How People Learn (2000). This book never ceases to thrill me with engaging snapshots of classrooms where teachers lead these forays into a new epistemology.

Yet the book’s emphasis on pedagogical content knowledge (p. 155) has me wondering what that looks like for librarians who teach.

In short, do we also want students to “think like a librarian” as they learn information literacy skills and dispositions? Why do I feel reluctant as I type that? Why does this phrase not carry the same cachet as learning to “think like a scientist”?

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"Drawbot Action" by Pete Prodoehl via Flickr

Good things happen when you get a bunch of sharp librarians-to-be together in a tiny conference room to hash out emerging trends in the profession.

Above all, I loved the variety and creativity of this week’s one-shot workshops, a collection of team-led 20-minute discussions on topics ranging from the Patriot Act’s implications for libraries, to the ethics of makerspaces, to libraries as third spaces.

Even better, I learned something.
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Our focus on ethics in class this week demonstrated to me how much I’ve benefited from being a part of the SI community as it hashes out current events and ethical dilemmas in the field of information work. I was also reflecting on the ways in which listservs and other online communication have opened up avenues for discussion.

I’m a longtime listserv and message board lurker, but I have been making an effort to become more involved in online discussion, which is getting easier as I gain more comfortability and expertise with information and library science-related topics. I joined Twitter earlier this year, and I’ve been pleasantly challenged by its format to produce thoughtful, concise commentary and discussion with peers and info professionals. Besides, it’s a fun exercise in brevity for me, a (somewhat rusty!) former headline writer.

Two SI listserv threads in particular came to mind this week as we discussed ethical standards in librarianship: one on the recent “homeless hotspot” controversy at SXSW, and one from a few weeks ago about a GPS mobile app that directs users to avoid specific walking routes based on crime statistics. The latter thread inspired a panel discussion this week at SI that I heard great things about! Unfortunately, I had to miss it due to work, but I participated in discussion via Twitter.

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Seattle Public Library by OzinOh via Flickr

OK, dumb question:

What does learning look like in the library?

I’m sitting in the Undergraduate Library as I write this, trying to gain a new perspective on a familiar place and feeling very much like Margaret Mead — if Margaret Mead were a librarian with a laptop.

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"Jell-O molds aplenty" by flyheatherfly via Flickr

Anytime I think I’ve gotten closer to defining “information literacy,” I realize how slippery this concept is. It feels a bit like sparring with a bowl of Jell-O.

Now there’s a metaphor for you. I almost said “Jell-O wrestling,” but I caught myself.

Inspired by the recent chatter among my colleagues taking a user experience research methods class this term, let’s play “personas and scenarios” for information literacy.

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Whiteboard notes on networks

"Groups and Networks" by Stephen Downes via Flickr

I’ve got lots of asterisks in my notes from this week’s class on expert and novice learners, and the potential (and pitfalls) of online learning tools and techniques. Asterisk = Blog about this later!

Some of the larger themes from this week’s class relate to big questions like values and skills: What are our professional and institutional values? How do those values inform our work as educators and community members?

I’ll do a fly-by of some ideas that got me thinking:

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