Digital Media Workshop

I am looking into creating digital media workshops for kids and have put together a few examples of the sort of finished products that I think would interest them. These examples were created with my own kids so I know they would work for 8-12 year olds. In the first one, myself and Zoe worked with a poem that she brought home from school. She searched through the images on Storybird until she found the ones that matched the poem. This was in our pre-audio era so it was just done as an exercise in matching images with text. She placed the images onto the storyboard and then added the text herself. As far as digital literacy goes she had a number of different layout options to play with e.g. full-page images, right/left and top/bottom alignments.

With the next one, I added audio into the project. At the time, I recorded Zoe on a camera, ripped the audio off it, edited it on Audacity and then added it to the Storybird images in Windows Movie Maker. It was still a roundabout way of doing things but it was a learning process. I was learning how to use Audacity and also getting used to organising, moving and converting different files. I think these are the sort of digital skills that would help kids as they move into post-primary school.

The next time we used Zoes’ own pictures. This is called Narrated Art and it is a good way to get younger kids thinking about creating their own content and amplifying it. Again, it is about learning how to edit images on a timeline to match audio.

This radio show was recorded on a smart phone. It was created just as an example to show what could be done by an eight year old and a twelve year old. I didn’t even clean up the audio. With a project like this, you could have a group of kids brainstorm different sections for a radio show or class podcast, research their topics, write up a script, rehearse, select background audio, record the sections and add in bumpers just as if it was their own radio show. When this sort of digital project is combined with curriculum topics, I imagine it would be a good way of deepening the level of learning.
I did the editing and production myself, but I see no reason why it could not be taken onboard by young people who were enthusiastic about it.

It would be really helpful for me if I could get some feedback from any other information professionals/teachers out there about this sort of work.


Blog Award

This blog has been nominated for a Liebster Award courtesy of Helen kielt. Part one of that means that I have to answer a few questions.

1. How do you think blogging has benefited your personal/professional development?

This blog started as part of a digimedia course in university and I am really surprised that it is still going. I thought that I had no interest in blogging. I didn’t think that the world needed another one. I have three other blogs on the go but this is the most consistent. I did not mean it to be. I was using it as a reflective tool when I left college and I kept on running up against new platforms and tools that I needed to get my head around. That is still my main reason for blogging today. Along with reflection, I find the blog very good for networking with others in the information profession. I tend to blog about stuff which interests me but which does not fit in with the work or studies that I do. From connecting with other bloggers I began to see patterns and communities that opened up new areas for me. For instance, I never heard of digital storytelling until some of my blogposts started to get picked up by that community.

2. What is the most recent book you have read?

I read lots of non-fiction but I don’t consider that reading. That would be just looking for information. The last time I was in the library I probably picked up an archaeology book, a dummies guide to digital photography and a recipe book, because that is what I normally do. The last fiction book I remember reading was probably City of Bohane by Kevin Barry and it was wonderful. I really miss lying on a couch with a book and just feeling the world within the book settle down around my consciousness. I find it hard to read fiction in fits and starts, so I don’t bother unless I can be uninterrupted. This means that I don’t read much fiction anymore and that is ok because I spent enough of my youth lying on couches. When I am old and no longer need to know how to fix and explain things, I will catch up on all the cool books I am missing now.


3. Describe yourself in three words.
reliable, pleasant, calm.

4. Who inspires you (in library land or otherwise)?

I recently watched a two hour video lecture on information by a teacher called Michael Wesch. I cannot believe that I sat through it. He had some very interesting things to say about information and he finished by talking about love as a method of teaching digital literacy.

5. Quote a line from a piece of prose/poetry that you love.

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different. – Kurt Vonnegut

6. If you could live for a time within any novel which would it be?

I would love to have lived in Tortilla Flats, the wine-drenched Californian peso community written about by John Steinbeck. They just lay about and cheated as much as they could, but in a very principled and honest way. Otherwise, for a change of pace, any dystopian science fiction novel would be fun for a while.

7. What is your biggest ambition?

To live by the sea.

8. Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Hugh Laurie

9. What song(s) would be on the soundtrack to that movie?

For the night travel scenes, anything from Music for a Jilted Generation by the Prodigy. In the bit where I learn how to send an email, anything by Underworld apart from Born Slippy. The rest of the movie soundtrack would be taken care of by Esbjorn Svennson Trio except for the slo-mo sad bit which would have a classic 50s doowop girl band in the background and which would be rereleased to great success, albeit too late for the girls.

10. Where are you most likely to be found on a day off?

Sitting on a surfboard in the west of Ireland if I could, but most likely sorting out the wash basket upstairs.

11. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard?

Do what you say you will do

Chocolate Picnic

All roads led to Dublin two weeks ago for Irelands first library unconference. An unconference is the collective term for a gathering of librarians let loose from their normal workplaces. It was also Badass Librarian Day, which was another first for me.


The venue was unusual. A chocolate factory that no longer makes chocolate, taken over by cake-eaters. The room was sparse and cleverly designed by @LAICDGroup and @ASLIBRARIES. It had columns which symbolised the 7 pillars of information literacy. In the corners were piles of random objects, cordoned off from the main area with danger tape. Collections Management librarians circled these areas with a wistful look in their eyes. One lone book shelf stood along the back wall with random objects placed on it to represent the library profession – a row of identical books, a profile picture of a stern looking woman and what looked like a scrubbing brush. On one of the pillars hung a medieval looking door. A staircase went nowhere. In a corner was a free-standing aluminium sink with an industrial shower head. Upstairs was a bongo band and an urban garden which I assume represented the changing nature of library spaces. In the midst of it all, librarians mingled.

First we had the speed networking.
This was surprisingly fun. I met students with interesting capstones and cataloguing people that helped me get over my fear of acronyms. AACR2,RDA and FRBR give me the heebie jeebies. I imagine that cataloguing is like surfing. One day I will just do it and go oh my god why did I not do this earlier. Until then I shall stand on the shore looking at the waves and the cataloguers bobbing up and down in the distance like seal-people and I will shake my head and go for an ice-cream and collect random pebbles to bring home and put on the bathroom shelf.

The journal pitch was facilitated by Mish Dalton (@mishdalton) and Jane Burns (@JMBurns99). I view journal articles as online insects that scurry about in the academic world. They have bodies, heads, footnotes and identifiable DNA codes that show their evolution. My view, as usual, was back-to-front and focused on the end product. Articles start with people and their questions. I have to say, I missed that side of it. That is why I like unconferences. I am the sort that needs to hear twenty different viewpoints before I understand what one person is talking about. Both Jane and Mish were able to bring it back to the human picture, Jane by talking about a colleague who gathered newspaper clipping as a research method and Mish by coming up with this concept of having our very own research journal. And why not? Somebody has to figure out why Game of Throne-heads upload their responses to character deaths onto YouTube.

Next pitch was facilitated by Helen Kielt (@HelenKielt) who was talking about Health in Mind NI, a Northern Ireland lottery-funded initiative which links mental health charities with public libraries. Claire Mckeown (@Mckeonbear) spoke about her positive experience hosting the initiative in her library.The project also promotes laughter yoga, mindfulness, reading aloud groups and knitting circles. We discussed how our own employers look after mental health. I used to work in a place where we did Tai Chi every day before work. I miss that. There was talk about walking lunches, work choirs and foodie fridays. All examples of employers promoting a sense of well-being among workers. Why should a library be any different? The discussion moved on to ways of attracting men to libraries (Makerspaces and Mens Sheds) and the information needs of people with mental health difficulties.

All in all, an interesting afternoon. I met lots of nice folk and stayed away from the brownies.