Keeping up with digital technology

In this week’s Reflective Writing Club post for @One, I reflect on the use of digital technology throughout my career and how it has impacted my professional life.

Fire up the Tardis…
photo of the Tardis (blue photo booth) from Dr. Who
Tardis by Zir is licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

My first professional library job was clipping print newspaper articles and filing them in manila folders by subject. At this  same job, I was also dialing in to large databases like Lexis/Nexis, Dow Jones and Dialog,  the “keepers” of information pre-internet.  It was a strange juxtaposition of duties, but we were not very trustful of the online retrieval business yet, ergo the clippings!  Also searching online at that time was stressful because you were being charged for every minute you were logged in and it was not surprising to run up a $200 bill in a few minutes. Because of this unique skill, I was hired on at several corporations to work in their competitive intelligence / market research libraries.

Then came the internet

Many of the third-party vendors that acted as middlemen went out of business. The  original content generators (newspapers, government agencies, companies) were now publishing the content on their own and didn’t need an intermediary to sell their content on the web. Companies decided they didn’t need librarians; analysts could do it themselves and so corporate libraries were closed. In time, some companies realized they did need specialists to critically evaluate information and make informed decisions on what content to share with the decision-makers. Some organizations brought back their corporate research teams, while others contracted out to consulting firms.

But I digress

I landed at a company that valued the corporate librarian and I learned how to use Dreamweaver and Photoshop. I was put in charge of the company’s market research web site in the mid 1990s- 2002.  Several years later I landed in academic librarianship and took classes with @One (their homepage from 2010!) on how to create movies with iMovie and  store them at 3C Media Solutions then link to them from my Angel LMS course. It was my first attempt to connect to students outside of the textual world.  Then, suddenly we had YouTube and smartphones and the world of digital technology suddenly seemed to expand amazingly fast.

Making the connection with students

I flirted with podcasting in 2008, but it was a very time consuming venture (at least then).  My greatest success was using Screencast-O-Matic to record my feedback to students’ assignments.  There was an amazing turnaround in my success rates when I actually showed students on the screen where they needed to make corrections.  Sometimes I added my live image in the corner (as long as my background was tidy).  Now that we are using Canvas, the ability to give video feedback is built in!  With Zoom, I conducted a synchronous online library orientation with an Art History class that was recorded and saved for future classes. I hope to do more of those in the future.

The effect on me

I believe I have become a more empathetic online instructor. Connecting to students via Zoom or YouTube has opened up a line of communication that I never had with an online student until I started using these tools. For them to hear my intonation and see my facial expressions allows my humanity to come through and seeing students respond in a reciprocal way–whether that is with voice or video–shows that a connection has been made.  To paraphrase from Michael Stephens of SJSU’s iSchool, we’ve been hyperlinked through the nurturing of connections and conversations as well as the embracing of participatory learning, transparency and change.

There is so much to learn and to share.  I’m glad to have the opportunity to learn from all of you in this unique PLN.  I just have one question: can someone please tell me if it is easier to create podcasts now than it was in 2008? 🙂



7 Replies to “Keeping up with digital technology”

  1. Maryanne — It seems we always come back to relationships, as you did: “For them to hear my intonation and see my facial expressions allows my humanity to come through and seeing students respond in a reciprocal way–whether that is with voice or video–shows that a connection has been made.” However we can bring a connectedness to our classrooms with our students, that improves both teaching and learning.

    As for podcasting… you sent me on a search for information. I think a professional podcast still requires tools and equipment, but it’s easier to create. Garageband, however, took “podcast” out of their choices, although “Voice” is still there. Audacity seems to be the app of choice for editing. But there are many apps available like Podbean and TwistedWave. A while ago I was helping someone trying to blog from their phone using Edublogs, and in that post, I wrote also about podcasting. a href=””>iPhone Edublogs and Podcasting It links to this post of iPad apps. iPadable Podcasts

    It’s also very easy for a simple audio podcast: just use Online Voice Recorder [free]
    Just record, clip, download, and upload into your blog media file. Very simple.

    Now, let’s see what you do! Thanks for the reflection on your tech history — such leap from the past to today! ~Sheri

    1. Wow, Sheri, thank you for sharing your experiences with podcasting and all these different apps. You did the research for the librarian! Actually you are so on top of the technology, I am considering your blog as one of my go-to resources for the future. I’m so glad I joined the Reflective Writing Club and “met” you. OK, so now on to deciding what podcast app to use…. Thanks again! #CCCWrite

  2. Hi Maryanne. Thanks for sharing with us. I see many similarities between our experiences. I too have become much more empathetic towards my students after teaching online and connecting with them through video technologies. And that wayback machine shot of the @ONE website — you know the website virtually looked the same way until December when we launched our new one, right? I click on the Building Online Community with Social Media course in that wayback link and it showed me as the instructor. Good times. 🙂

    1. I was trying for about a half hour to find the @One workshop for the iMovie workshop I attended on the wayback machine as a graphic and decided to go with that particular link,and yes, you were already showing us how to get social back then 🙂 Good times for sure! Your preso at the Online Teaching Conference in 2016 is really what got me to use more video. I saw the positive change in my student interaction right away! #CCCWrite

  3. Maryanne, I found another podcast app: Anchor for all devices. I have not used it, and I don’t know if the user audio can be downloaded and transferred if needed. But a friend has been using it and loves it. So, another app to try. I’m curious though, since a feature is that it can record phone conversations… hmmm. So much to think about. Also [although I’m not a fan of FB, there is a podcast group here Thanks again for getting me started.

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