I find myself sceptical about the benefits that applying digital game based learning (DGBL) or how virtual worlds, such as second life, can benefits libraries in the immediate circumstances, or even through their development or evolution in the future.  However, I do agree with Jenny Levine’s  point that librarians should at least try and get in on the ground floor to try and understand what they are and how people use them despite the hyperbolic comparison to the development of the internet. 

 

One suggestion that I liked was brought up in library journal by Kurt Squire & Constance Steinkuehler in which they described a form of virtual world wiki library where users make the major decisions about content and service.  It wouldn’t even be a bad idea to take the ideas that patrons put into such a virtual library into actual libraries.

 As for DGBL, I believe it’s still too in its infancy to comment with any confidence but I do like the idea brought up by David M. Antonacci and Nellie Modaress, that it encourages constructivist learning “where knowledge is constructed by the learners as they are actively problem solving in an authentic context”.  It will be interesting to see how things develop in these areas over the next 5-10 years down the road.

 The best reading from this week was clearly from Farkas, who really summed up the libraries and social networks (or Web 2.0 in general) situation:

 When you decide to put up a library profile on MySpace or Facebook, what is your goal? If it’s to look cool or to make students more aware of the library, don’t bother. A profile that offers nothing but a picture of the library, a blog post or two and a cutesy thing about how we won’t shush you just looks cheesy. I think there is a big difference between “being where our patrons are” and “being USEFUL to our patrons where they are.”

The point should be made while considering implementing and kind of program or service at the library whether or not it serves a specific purpose, and in the case of social networking it can.  I liked the example she brings up about The Crossett Library at Bennington College getting patrons to request items via Facebook, as I think many people would be unaware of acquisition request forms. 

I do agree with Helene Blowers point that Myspace is where “the kids” are these days and it does get a considerable amount of traffic but I don’t think that alone justifies a library getting a site.  Aaron Schmidt’s unqualified enthusiasm of Myspace, even expressing a desire that the ALA set up a site, is a bit premature.  While social networking may be here to stay Myspace could just as easily become the next Friendster, as could Facebook.  It’s like getting a puppy with diabetes, sure he’s cute and playful, but do you want to name him and get all attached?

UWO – Western community and live journal

This I think is a very good idea, though I think it would be good to have specific social networks based on subject of study, or issue (like housing or events on campus).  This particular community  is a little all over the place, and also is needs a needs a better colour scheme.  Students able to post their questions and ideas to others is a good idea but I can see that many of the problems that some students encounter may come up several times and a blog format like this doesn’t allow for good archiving.  Maybe if there was a wiki as well it may be as useful. 

My Space & Teens

 I think the big detraction from this is the lack of actual items on what practices are being employed in terms of libraries using My Space as well as why these libraries are using it and what makes them successful.  I think it is a good idea that libraries employing My Space network together to see how each of them employs it.

 My Own Cafe 

This I think is one of the best applications of anything from Web 2.0 in a library.  Maybe a little too much Harry Potter and Dance Dance Revolution stuff, but I guess that’s what the kids are into these days.  Having a something that allows people to network over specific common interests is best and this does that very well by allowing people to discuss their tastes in music and books.  However if it is a site for teens to connect to library services it may be best to emphasize the info centre section more, and perhaps drop the term “reference” for something more relatable.

 Libraries on Myspace 

I find this to be very poorly organized and difficult to navigate but that may be just the nature of Myspace and my lack of experience with it.  It does improve on the My Space & Teens by actually encouraging conversation and interaction on the topic itself though.

My own feelings towards social networking sites are ambiguous and for personal use they really aren’t my thing.  I find they create very skewed and bizarre new social practises and pressures that I can live without.  However, my personal bias would not stop me from considering the potential benefits that sites like these can have in a library setting.  I think it would be preaching to the choir though for me to discuss the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA), which seems more about pandering to the Republican party base than actually trying to protect children in a real way.

I think the article makes a good point by bringing up the issue of class and internet access and what DOPA would mean for them.  . “Already, you have a gap between kids who have 10 minutes of Internet access a day at the public library and kids who have 24-hour-a-day access at home.”  If there was real concern about predatory or bullying activities taking place via these networks then, as Henry Jenkins points out, there should be some commitment to educating youth on safe practices.

I like the idea brought up in the presentation that Facebook can be used to search a library’s OPAC as well as journal article databases and as a forum.  However, I am uncertain how patrons will embrace libraries on Facebook any more than students welcome the idea of professors on it, as brought up in the article by Anne Hewitt and Andrea Forte.  The study that the article undertook found that  “Many students indicated that the student/faculty relationship should remain professional and should not be familiar or sociable”.  Also Marco made a good point in his blog citing that that “people fit the technology in to their culture more than technology dominating culture.”  Though I disagree with the Wellman article’s assertion about the development with the superhighway and suburban sprawl.  While the development of sububrbia in the 1950s and 1960s had many interating factors mostly involving race and class, I think it was an example of a technological development that exacbated already existing social divisions and tensions.  Some highways were even purposefully designed to not allow busses from inner cities to travel on  them.  I’m not comparing super-highways to something as relatively innocuous as facebook, I just think that with each new technology we must understand what impacts they may have given the already existing social and economic dynamics of our society.