Thursday, September 29, 2011

All Ears

I thoroughly enjoyed exploring podcasts as a Learning 2.0 activity.  Embarrassing my generation, I have to admit that I’ve never used podcasts before.  I’ve been aware of them for years now and thought maybe I was missing out, but never listened to one.  I think I stayed away from them for fear it would be another entertainment/technology time-waster that I didn’t need and/or that they would take longer to download than my patience would be able to handle.  Plus, I figured anything they offered I could find in another form; magazine, paper, radio, television, newspaper, etc.  I was completely premature with that assumption.  The same is offered, but now I can access NPR news/ book reviews and New York Times book reviews that I would usually read online with so much more added to them.  Instead of just having a book review, the author might on discussing the themes in his/her book and telling of their real-life inspiration.  Podcasts will also give me the opportunity to explore topics that don’t appeal to me enough to read about but I would be open to listening about them.  As someone with many interests, I love that there’s a podcast for every topic and cannot wait to explore iTunes U fully!  Already, the topics in my podcast library range from book reviews, news shows, Zen/Buddhism, real food, advice, comedy, and so on.  I’ve even realized that some websites that I wish I had time to check out more regularly have podcasts which will make it so much easier for me to stay current.  My favorite podcast so far is TEDTalks.  Contrary to my previous beliefs, podcasts actually are not a time-waster but a time-saver.  Once they’re synced to my iPod, I’m able to listen to the news, book review, latest TED talk, etc. at my convenience while doing another activity such as driving or working out.  To my greatest pleasure though, they download quite fast.

Monday, September 19, 2011

175 years: Then and Now

Exploring Flickr was fun and relatively easy for me.  I think that’s mainly because I’ve used Snapfish and Facebook before to share pictures so I was familiar with the methods.  For my Photostream, I wanted to try to tell a story as much as an inexperienced photographer as myself could.  Since my office is at the Central Library and I have worked in that building for approximately a year and a half now, I’ve witnessed how funding cuts have affected the library.  In the beginning, there was a lot of talk and plans to close the second floor and then slowly I saw and heard of more and more people being laid off.  The closing of the second floor was scheduled to be finalized in the beginning of this year, but was not actually completed until this past month. Books were moved first into the closed stacks, and then eventually all the computers were relocated and the patrons had to find a new place in the library to work.  Some of the pictures show the now deserted second floor that once housed computers, rows of books, and groupings of people, from the job-seekers to teenager gamers.  Other pictures are of the signs telling the public that the section is now off-limits or promoting the library’s annual fundraiser that is planned to be held on the second floor in November. 

Along the stone walkway outside the library, there is a trio of decal images adverstising unique exhibits and information regarding the library.  This is a prime location and ideal place to show the people of Buffalo what’s happening at the library.  They have the “Lafayette Square: Then and Now” collection advertised, along with marketing for the Buffalo News sponsored Bucks for Books campaign ( and notice that the library has been serving Buffalo and Erie County for 175 years. 

I don’t think funding should be cut so severely from the library system and I was very disappointed when library hours were reduced and changes were launched, but I do understand that on some level the library system is shifting and becoming more and more technologically based and modifications need to be made. A defense made for the closing part of the library was because more and more information, book-reading, music, etc. is done electronically, so there is not a need to cover the costs for managing that area.  It saddens me that library hours are being shortened and the space is limited so people who don’t have book and/or computer resources at home will have a harder time gaining access to these.  With unemployment and illiteracy rates high, it seems that the community needs a place that they can obtain knowledge and information for free.  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seven and a Half Habits of Learning

As a former student of Adult Education, I am not new to term a lifelong learner that was used in the tutorial.  I particularly liked the part where it talked about successful lifelong learners and their beliefs that attitude was everything and that statements begin with “I will…,”  “I can…,” and “I do…”  I completely agree with this, and as important to lifelong learner it is it is also pertinent to all aspects of life.  Another aspect of the video that I think is worth mentioning is that it recognized that it’s never too soon or too late for learning.  I’ve always tried to follow this guiding rule and not let the fact that even if I’m coming into something later or more inexperienced than my counterparts prevent me from trying.  Likewise, as this slide acknowledged, learning can occur in many different environments; formal, informal, and non-formal.  Often, it’s the learning that transpires in an informal setting that allows for the most growth.  You just have to be open to it and be willing to reflect on the situation or experience at hand to truly benefit from the learning experience. 
As for the 7 ½ habits, the one that is most meaningful to me is number three, “view problems as challenges”.  I think this is an important habit in learning and life.  Problems are inevitable and it’s what we do with them or don’t do that shapes us as a person.  Working through problems in an academic or personal setting allows for growth in your character and increased knowledge.
One of the things I took away from the learning contract portion of the tutorial is to take an honest assessment of any obstacles that may impact your learning.  Being an adult with multiple responsibilities, I think this is of utmost importance so I can prepare myself for any hindrances before they may arise.  I can also modify my life somewhat throughout my learning venture to minimize the foreseeable obstacles as much as possible