ASU and the 4Cs of social media

INF506, Module 4, OLJ question:
Write a critical evaluation on ASU Libraries? use of these platforms to achieve the 4Cs of social media – collaboration, conversation, community & content creation:

Arizona State University’s (ASU) library has certainly been one to embrace the power of social media. Even having their own “library channel,” containing icons linking to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and RSS to name a few. Paul Miller (2005) describes the emergence of such web-based programs as being an inexpensive and easy way to connect with students.

Social media also has the added bonus of being able to present information in a way that is meaningful to today’s students. Marc Prensky (2006) highlights that nowadays students have virtually grown up in a digital age, seeing them most at ease with email, social media and other online formats. He calls them “digital natives” and contrasts them with earlier generations, something educators of today must acknowledge.

Judy O’Connell (2008) agrees that we must educate using the digital formats our students most embrace. She goes on to point out the advantages of moving from a mentality of restrictive learning spaces, to the broader, more creative opportunities of social networking environments.

However, in making things as familiar as possible to students, we don’t also want to rob them of exposure to other powerful online tools. It is vital students have the awareness and skills to use a school library’s own software. Judy O’Connell (2008) reminds us that teacher-librarians must develop the library catalogue and other online systems so that students can properly use them to find the information they seek.

It would be possible to argue that ASU has somewhat overlooked this, with its strong focus and usage of social media. However, if you delve deeper into how they have actually used social media I believe that argument diminishes. For example, they have been particularly active with video streaming sites Vimeo and YouTube. Using these services, they have uploaded a number of minute-long videos introducing viewers to various library services. This includes library software. While you can’t fully explain everything in a minute, such videos do alert students to what’s available and how to find out more about it. We must not neglect to educate our students on the availability and use of tools that allow them to find information only findable by more direct search procedures (Turner, 2006).

ASU’s library website is certainly one where collaboration, conversation, community and content creation is there for all to see; to participate in; and to utilise according to their own needs.

References:

Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new library. Ariadne, 45. Retrieved from http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue45/miller

O’Connell, J. (2008). School library 2.0: new skills, new knowledge, new futures. In P. Godwin & J. Parker (Eds.), Information literacy meets Library 2.0 (pp. 51-62). London: Facet Publishing.

Prensky, M. (2006). Listen to the natives. Educational Leadership, 63(4), p.8-13. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/authors/ed_lead/el200512_prensky.html

Turner, L. (2006). Delving into the deep end of the web. Techlearning. Retrieved from www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=181503756

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