Library pedagogy in the era of Big Data


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Professor Erica McWilliam, keynote at ASLA XXIII Biennial Conference
The burgeoning volume, variety, velocity and veracity of the data that is shaping our social world means that we cannot hope to teach the next generation of young people what they need to know to live, learn and earn well. What we can and must do is to build young people's capacity to manage their own learning in such a way that they can engage meaningfully and ethically with a world replete with uncertain data and unfamiliar concepts and processes. In the era of Big Data, much of the information that young people encounter is fictitious or misleading. Given this, our pedagogy needs to assist young people to transcend a 'type and pray' approach to investigating information. Erica's presentation explores the challenges of pedagogy in the era of Big Data, and how we might respond more realistically in our libraries and classrooms.

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Library pedagogy in the era of Big Data

  1. 1. Library Pedagogy in the Era of Big Data Erica McWilliam ASLA Conference, Hobart, Sept-Oct, 2013
  2. 2. What does it mean to connect, integrate and lead in the era of Big Data?
  3. 3. “Here’s looking at you, kid!”
  4. 4. “My sex appeal gets his undivided attention!!”
  5. 5. “See, it’s called a prostate, not a prostrate”
  6. 6. A prostrate patient
  7. 7. The patient dies but the case can live on
  8. 8. Relationship is with Data
  9. 9. Anya, 19 years • Born in 1994, same year as the internet • 1996: Hotmail • 1998: Google • 1999: Napster • 2000: DVD mass market in Aust • 2001: iPod and xBox • 2007: iPhone and Playstation3 and Tumblr • 2008: Facebook, Twitter and iPad • 2010: Youtube is primary source of info – Anya has never watched the news on free to air TV - the world looks like Youtube to Anya. • + instagram, snapchat, google glasses etc etc
  10. 10. What does it mean to design an integrated curriculum experience with and for Anya?
  11. 11. “No Child Left Untableted” /no-child-left- untableted.html?pagewanted=7&_r=3&hp&
  12. 12. Dubious Habits on the Rise? • ‘an inch deep, a mile wide’ engagement • the overvaluing of technology and the undervaluing of people • the displacement of face-to-face interaction by virtual connection • the tendency to turn to the market to address social problems • the recasting of citizenship and inner life as a commodified data profile
  13. 13. Profiling the Tableted Child • Games that know what a student has read (the tablet’s library will contain 1,000 books) strategically sprinkle a particular word in her path based on how many times the research says she needs to see a new word in order to learn it. • “Gaze tracking” and measurement of pupil dilation will revolutionize the gauging of cognitive response by making it possible to determine exactly what students are reacting to on the screen. • A growing stream of information, which can be analyzed down to individual keystrokes, will yields a picture that will eventually progress in complexity from a list of words a student looks up to a full-blown portrait of a developing mind. • In theory, each student will generate the intellectual equivalent of a fantastically detailed medical chart.
  14. 14. The Research Evidence •Technology not shown as decisive in effective school studies. •For technology to make a difference, needs a strong organization dedicated to improving teaching and where kids closely engage with teachers and one another. •Devices that enhance such interactions are useful but not if kids focus on the device as isolated individuals – as ‘alone together’. Greg Anrig: “Beyond the Education Wars, April, 2013
  15. 15. Teacher’s Future • Will work as architects/designers of the real/virtual learning environment rather than as knowers and tellers • Will have too much data about students rather than too little • Will need better tools for processing/ interpreting all the additional information they will have to handle – ie, will need to find the Signal amid the Noise
  16. 16. Drowning in Big Data • Signal - A significant fact or idea we want and need • Noise - All the rest – extraneous, impeding and misleading information
  17. 17. Eager-and-sceptical trumps conformist-and-consistent.
  18. 18.
  19. 19. Brian Mull: Strategic Scepticism G: Go E: Explore T: this Topic Raising yellow and red flags R – Read the url (net? org? edu?) E – Examine contents by skimming and scanning A: Ask about the Author L: Who are they linked to?
  20. 20. Leadership: Fox or Hedgehog? “The fox knows many little things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Archilochus
  21. 21. Hedgehogs Foxes • One big idea • Specialised • Stalwart • Stubborn • Order-seeking • Confident • Ideological • Weak forecasters • Get worse at predicting over time • Lots of little ideas • Multidisciplinary • Adaptable • Self-critical • Tolerant of complexity • Cautious • Empirical • Better forecasters • Get better at predicting with experience
  22. 22. Foxy Library Leadership • ‘the future is blended’ • getting a workable and sustainable ‘mix’ of the virtual and the physical in the collection and the pedagogy • making smart choices about how to engage a new generation of ‘tableted’ learners – ‘foxy’ identities • designing spaces as Learning Commons or Research Centre or Monastery or Classroom or Café or…. • creating a hub of modern design that embraces people, inclusion, culture and experimentation
  23. 23. Foxy Zoning • For Learning (research; digital literacy; skilling) • For Sharing (video-conferencing; connecting; collaborative projects) • For Reading (borrowing; downloading; reading support; recommended reading; clubs) • For Musing (creative thought; solitary reflection; concentration and planning)
  24. 24. sage on the stage guide on the side meddler in the middle ‘Foxy’ Teaching
  25. 25. ‘He’ll come round – he’s just seen next year’s library budget cuts…’
  26. 26. Email: Website: