Notes from WILU 2012

Last week, I attended my first Workshop for Instruction in Library Use (WILU) conference at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton. So, I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite take-aways here.

There were lots of great sessions, ranging from very practical case studies to broader theoretical approaches to information literacy instruction. A number of my favorite sessions took a practical look at the use of technology in the classroom (an important focus for us at OISE) and provided some great ideas that I hope to incorporate in my own practice:

Engaging the Hopelessly Distracted: Using Mobile ARS in the Classroom
Presenters Christina Hwang, Tatiana Usova, and Denis Lacroix (UofA) proposed that instead of telling students to turn their devices off, we should encourage students to use them in the classroom! In particular, they looked at how mobile devices can be used to provide classroom feedback using Audience Response Systems (ARS) like Poll Everywhere as an alternative to proprietary tools like iClickers. Poll Everywhere can be used to collect student feedback via web, text, or Twitter. I’m going to experiment with the free version to see whether/how it impacts student engagement and how it might work for classroom feedback.

Academic Uses of Google Earth and Google Maps in a Library Setting
Presenters Andrew Nicholson (UTM) and Eva Dodsworth (Waterloo) surveyed and discussed some of the really creative ways that academic librarians are using Google Earth and Google Maps for library instruction and research. These ranged from class projects where students mapped archival photos to the use of maps as effective presentations tools in the classroom. I’m inspired to find out more about how OISE faculty and students are using geospatial data and to find ways to incorporate Google Maps and Google Earth as visual presentation tools in my own teaching and research guides. Eva has also recently published a book titled Getting Started With GIS: A LITA Guide that will likely be helpful.

There were also some inspiring sessions that more broadly addressed approaches to IL instruction:

Developing Dispositions for Inquiry: Librarians and Faculty Working Together
In this session, Jo-Anne Naslund (UBC) talked about how, in the context of departmental and curriculum changes, she worked with faculty in the UBC Teacher Education Program to re-shape the information literacy program to enhance the problem-based learning curriculum. Her work is impressive in the way she connects deeply with the curriculum and engages with pedagogical approaches used by her library constituents to develop a better understanding of her own teaching and to advance the learning of students at UBC’s education program. Jo-Ann provided a great bibliography as well.

A few other favorites were Using Our Voice: Bringing a Socially Conscious Approach to Information Literacy Practice and Massive! Open! Online!: Understanding MOOCs and Their Impact on Library Instruction and Services.

I’d certainly recommend attending WILU. It’s a small, focused conference and a great way to engage with colleagues from across Canada and the US. I’m happy to share any of the handouts and bibliographies I collected, or, you can search #wilu2012 for the Twitter discussion and some presentation links.

WILU 2013 is at UNB in Frederickton!

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