Mobile Technologies and Libraries

Library in your pocketAccording to the 2011 Horizon Report, mobile technologies are one of the emerging technologies likely to be in widespread use within the year, and already “mobile computing has become an indispensable part of day-to-day life in the workforce.” The  mobilization of information in our society is impossible to ignore, and the proliferation of mobile devices has brought with it an ease of instant access to the internet. For the connected community we have become, this is increasingly mandatory.

Here in Brisbane last week, I attended the 3rd International M-Libraries Conference, along with university and public librarians from around the world. Students constantly engage in an online environment where they expect to discover anything they need to know and access it immediately and if  we, as information specialists, cannot deliver the information our clients demand when they want it, they may well decide we are irrelevant to their needs. While a growing number of university libraries recognise the imperative for them to offer new content or enhance existing services seamlessly via mobile devices, many are still grappling with the logistics of  how to achieve this, in addition to upskilling their stafff to cope with a massive shift in the provision of traditional library services.

Stephen Abrams, author of Stephen’s Lighthouse blog, was a keynote speaker who examined the profound shift in human behaviour that is happening with mobile technologies. He reiterated that libraries are social institutions, connecting people with people and people with information.  While librarians are at the heart of our learning communities, and are still needed as high-end professionals to help students make sense of the digital world, libraries are increasingly no longer just physical places.  He challenged the audience that “as technology advances emboldened librarians hold the key.”

Does this hold true for teacher librarians as well?  We have a more captive and less mobile audience in our schools than universities do, but does that make it any less imperative for us to be providing services via mobile technologies?  I believe not. I believe that schools in general, and teacher librarians in particular, should also be looking forward into the future and tailoring our services towards an increasingly mobile clientele.

To see what some university libraries are already doing with mobile technologies, visit the following sites:

University of Bedfordshire Libraries

North Carolina State University Libraries

Bavarian State Library – Famous Books App and Oriental Books App

Mobile Apps for Libraries – Libraryland Roundup

M-Libraries Wiki

Library Anywhere


Images from http://www.flickr.com/photos/sukisuki/ and http://lrweb.beds.ac.uk/libraryservices/whoweare/apps

iTunesU – Free Educational Resources

iTunesU - teacher

With the rapidly escalating pace of technological innovation, it is becoming increasingly important that educational institutions keep up-to-date with ways of connecting students to information wherever they are, whenever they need it, at any time of the day. One of the ways that many universities are now using to provide information which is easily accessible via computers, iphones, ipods and ipads is iTunesU, an area of the Apple iTunes Store that was launched in May 2007, and which is devoted to free educational resources.

iTunes users now have access to over 350,000 audio and video files from educational institutions around the world. Universities and colleges are making information available on events such as lectures, sporting highlights, lab demonstrations, language lessons, and virtual campus tours, in a variety of formats such as slideshows, PDFs, films, exhibit tours and audiobooks.iTunesU - girl In the ‘Beyond Campus’ section of iTunes U, students can also access a wealth of content from places such as MoMA, the New York Public Library and Public Radio International.

An article in the International Business Times in August this year stated that over 300 million downloads have now been recorded from 800 universities which make their content publicly available at  iTunesU.  Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, Stanford, Yale, UC Berkeley, University of Melbourne and Université de Montréal are just some of the universities using this method of staying in touch with users.

The Top 10 categories of content available are:  business, engineering, fine arts, health and medicine, history, humanities, language, literature, mathematics, science, social science, society, teaching and education.

A study by Heller and Underwood in 2008 looked at whether or not iTunesU helped students’ learning, and they concluded that as long as students take notes on the podcasts, the advantage is that they can use the podcasts to listen a number of times to a lecture, thus picking up concepts they may have missed if they just attend a face-to-face lecture. iTunesU - K-12

In 2008 Apple also released iTunesU – K-12, a space where schools can publish information for their students, searchable and accessible via the iTunes app on their phones. Catholic Network Australia, the Western Australian Department of Education and Learning, Perth PLC and Scotch College in Melbourne have all taken advantage of this format for keeping in touch with their students and wider communities.

With the rapidly escalating pace of technological innovation, it is important that educational institutions  keep up to date with methods of disseminating information to students. One of the ways that many universities are currently looking at is to provide information which is easily accessible viacomputers,  iphones, ipods and ipads from the iTunesU website.

An article in the International Business Times in August this year stated that over 300 million downloads have now been recorded from 800 universities which make their content publicly available at  iTunesU.  Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, Stanford, University of Melbourne and Université de Montréal are just some of the universities using this methos of staying in touch with users.

iTunes users now have access to ‘over 350,000 audio and video files from educational institutions around the globe’ as well as

iTunesU Intro by psicorcb

Images from:

http://www.apple.com/education/itunes-u/profiles.html
http://www.ipad.net/ipad-news-class-is-in-session-at-itunes-u.html
http://gigaom.com/apple/itunesu-k12/

YouTube-EDU

YouTube-EDU

On March 26 Google launched YouTube-EDU, a website which features videos from over 100 different colleges and universities. Unfortunately, at this stage Australian content is distinctly lacking, but this is likely to change very quickly as universities from around the world realise the potential of the site.

According to Andrew LaVallee “YouTube Edu lets viewers sort clips by school or number of views, and the schools offer content ranging from complete courses to campus events to information for prospective students.”   Michael Arrington of TechCrunch says  “The site is aggregating videos from dozens of colleges and universities, ranging from lectures to student films to athletic events. Some of this stuff is solid gold (the Stanford and MIT lectures are really good). Other content, not so interesting.”

Despite its limitations, the site is a good option for students to search when looking for video clips to further their knowledge and enhance their presentations. The clip below is from UCTV, the television channel of the University of California.