Future of Education Blog-Reflection Week 1

by Rebecca Stuhr

As a librarian who works with students on a more or less anonymous basis–one stop classroom appearances, chat reference–they see my name I don’t necessarily see theirs–, one time appointments, emails (names no faces)–I am always thinking about how to better connect and how to share information in a way that is engaging and that stays between the ears, rather than the old in one ear out the other. My first very exciting learning moment was my first year of college. We read a book by a couple of Americans who, as I remember (distant past now) were caught in the re-education process in Maoist China. We read the book and the authors came to a special session of our class. I remember being wildly exhilarated because I had had the opportunity to ask all the questions I wanted–questions that built on the information I was acquiring through my own previous questions and the questions of others. We were a small group, the authors were completely open and I was gaining understanding. I remember going right back to my dorm room and writing to one of my high school teachers about the experience. Poor learning experiences are unfortunately all too frequent. The Webinar a number one culprit. I seem to always be optimistic–signing up once again for a promising sounding hour. There are so many things we need to keep up with as librarians, sadly, many of the webinars are little more than infommercials–too specific, with too little broader application; they are “power points” that I could have saved precious time by reading myself rather than listening to someone read it; they are “bandwagonish”: providing too little food for thought and too much of what has been gleaned already from superficial investigation.

In addition, I’d like to comment on the lecture. A good lecture is a wonderful experience just as a well led discussion is completely exhilarating. There are just too many lectures where the speaker’s head is in his or her notes, too little vocal inflection, perhaps too late in the afternoon, and it becomes very hard too follow. But the lecture is not an inherent evil. A good lecturer leaves you wiser than you were before, ready to find out more, and grateful for the experience.