Wednesday, January 07, 2009

creativity in libraries

Ken Robinson's TED talk on creativity in education -- his main point being that creativity ought to be encouraged and valued as much as literacy in our schools -- has got me thinking how I can bring student/patron creativity to our library literacy sessions.  Again.  

I've made an important shift in my bibliographical instructionating in the last year.  Used to be (and this is mainly what I inherited when I joined the library subculture at the particular place I work -- though it's got roots in Air Force culture too) I did more of a 'presentation' style -- here is the database location, here is the search interface, here are the limiters, here is the syntax, here is a sample article, here is how you print it, here is how you e-mail it, et.c.  The shift has been towards more student participation and involvement in 'the presentation' -- I have always been open to questions during the instruction, but the 'shift' has made the whole affair more Q&A than Speech.  My instruction sessions are, like, 30% presentation, now, and 70% hands-on and questions.  I kinda knew there were multiple learning styles, but it's only in the last 3 years that I've seen this clearly enough in action to start changing my own actions in the instruction sessions.

So.  Taking it further, how to encourage the 'mistakes and gaffes' necessary for real understanding within the alotted hour?

A shift to 20% presentation, 80% hands-on?  A purely (annoyingly) Socratic approach?  More 'treasure hunt' and 'activities' and 'games' built-in?

Small teams working to find things, then presenting what they found to the whole class seems to be a really workable and useful format -- it lets the performers perform, the shy ones receed and watch, the leaders lead, and they're all on the spot and they all have something at stake because they know they've got to stand before the class and prof and librarian.  That tends to keen up the mind.

Classes will begin to roll into our library within 3 weeks.  I want to keep an open mind, and watch for what works.

Anyway, watch this:


Spencer said...

Be careful when you shake the bedrock of the profession... blue haired crabs will crawl out and defend themselves with proactive attacks!

Still working on a game for this, but economy has stalled it out for the moment.

WE said...

I guess you mean 'blue haired old' and not 'blue haired millenial'?

Hmm,, either way: best not to attack. Crab claws are sharp. I know, I got scars.

Rather, how to make crabs irrelevant?

(I could really go for some spider-roll right now, come to think of it... Somebody get the oil hot.)

WE said...

For my 'old' or 'punk' readers, just to clarify: 'crab' doesn't mean old or punk. It means crab. If you're a crabby git, then yes, the comment was pointed at you.

If you're just old or punk, then hey. I'm a little of both myself.