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Online Northwest 2009 Wrap-up

February 17, 2009

So I’m back at work and into the rountine now and I’m prepping for my next class. But I thought I should give a wrap-up, summary, last thoughts about Online Northwest 2009 before going back to Waki Librarian Land of fun and frolic. 

I thought that Online Northwest 2009 was a great conference. I really enjoy smaller conferences because they somehow make me feel more comfortable talking to people. The keynote speaker, BJ Fogg, was amazing which set a great tone for the conference. And, most importantly, I have to give props to the technology help guru that managed to hook up the projector to my mini-laptop when the conference laptop decided to freeze 5 minutes before my presentation. And thanks to everyone who came to my presentation and also asked great questions! I’m so glad that I didn’t seem to bore anyone to tears or put anyone to sleep.

I highly recommend Online Northwest as a conference for any librarian that is looking for concrete examples and tips for integrating or improving technology use and resources in libraries. I loved the useful tips ( Google Custom Search Engines anyone?) that I can implement in the library without spending money and without having to be the world’s best programmer. 

The only downside to the entire conference was the drive up on I-5. There was a chain control checkpoint past Redding which added 3 extra hours to my drive. But Shasta and the surrounding area looked beautiful under fresh snow. Here’s a picture I snapped while making a pitstop in Weed: 

 

View of Mountains from Weed, California

View of Mountains from Weed, California

So onward to other news that pertains to libraries, learning and teaching. 

Here is an article on how students use laptops during class lectures. This is so frustrating as an instructor when the students are paying more attention to their Facebook page than the lecture. I don’t mind students having laptops to take notes, goodness knows I do it at conferences when I’m live blogging a session. What I do mind is when students aren’t paying attention in class. I am a firm believer that whether a student engages with the class is his/her own choice, but I object to the distraction it causes for other students and the lack of respect it conveys when the student is clearly not paying attention at all to the lecture/class discussion. If they really care that little, don’t come to class.

This article also reminds me about a previous article I wrote about that considers the ability to concentrate the key attribute of successful people. There is so much competing for our attention, even in the classroom, that the ability to tune out distractions and actually get work accomplished is now a rare gift. How many of us know others that fritter away the day hopping from email to phone call to Twitter to Facebook without ever accomplishing work, only to become panicked and stay late to finish a task that should have only taken an hour? Remember, as Lifehacker says, geek to live, don’t live to geek and unplug yourself from distractions, even if your students are unable to.

One other thing that I completely adored about Online Northwest was the opportunity to chat with other people who fully embrace open source. I think open source rocks and was so excited to see this from a LibrarianinBlack post: Open Source Living. This is a wonderful collection/archives of open source resources. Yay, open source!

And, lastly, a funny look at the burden of trying to be involved in all things Web 2.0. So for everyone who feels a little bit guilty about not being an obsessive status updater on Twitter or Facebook, take heart–you are not alone. And like I always say, play with technology, test it and if it doesn’t fit in with your life or workflow, get rid of it.

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