posted July 4, 2013 9:26 AM by Julie Steenson
I wish I could join my peers in talking about trips to Europe or ALA in Chicago, but alas, my summer is being spent working and taking two classes. The rain has washed away many of my herb plantings, but at least the cabbage and onion plants seem happy...as do the weeds. All the warnings that two summer classes would make for an intense experience were true!
In my first semester (Jan 2012), I took Technology for Information Professionals (LIS 488) which was initially intimidating and ultimately empowering for a middle-aged career changer like myself. I was a regular user of computers at home, but new advances and I were strangers. In that class, my professor gave us some good advice that I recently shared and used in another class. He encouraged us to use every presentation as an opportunity to try out a new technology.
This past weekend, I had to give a presentation in one of my summer classes, User Instruction (LIS 408). I shared this advice with my class as an introduction to the animated cartoon I made and linked in what would otherwise have been a boring PowerPoint. I had never tried animation software before and I spent a lot of time trying out different online offerings for making and using cartoons as a teaching tool. I worried a bit that it might not be well-received. A cartoon could be fun and engaging, or it could be childish filler. I hoped mine would be the former.
Phew! The cartoon illustrated my points and engaged the class. It all turned out great, although I did see ways I could have improved it. But the bigger lesson here for me was that risk-taking is good, and my peers provide an emotionally safe environment. We are all trying out new things, especially in this class where we hope to become better library instructors by trying out new teaching techniques and new technologies, and learning from each other's successes and mistakes.
So, the sage advice: Try something new. Take risks. Go out on the proverbial limb and see what happens. Whether it is a fabulous success or a miserable flop, you will learn something.