Comments on the second thread: Knowledge Creation

I enjoyed this thread more than the last because I found I could relate to it on a more personal level.   In the section on conversants, when reading about how one can converse with oneself through internal dialog, I immediately thought of Hamlet’s famous “To Be or Not to Be” speech and other Shakespearean soliloquies, and how they serve as a prime example of internal dialog and  someone trying to reach an agreement with himself or herself.  Thus I found it very amusing that Lankes mentioned Hamlet and Shakespeare in the very next paragraph (Lankes, 2011, p. 32).

The discussion of the different levels of language used in learning really made sense to me (Lankes, 2011, p. 33-34).  I feel like I am often functioning at the most basic level of language (L0) when I am feeling frustrated or unsure of myself – I’m getting by in a conversation as opposed to really adding to it.  This basic, directional level of language is something I am quite familiar with when starting a new school year with my preschool class – it is necessary to function at this level when they are first learning the routines and schedule of their day.  It also comes out more frequently during mealtimes when we need something passed across the table or they need something opened.  At that time our focus is not on having a conversation, but absorbed in the process of eating and nourishing our bodies.  However, I can now sympathize with my preschoolers – their following the steps of hanging up their backpack or hat in the morning, signing in, and washing their hands must have felt as strenuous the first time  as it did for me in learning how to search databases or create a webpage for this class.  For the html assignment especially, I had to have a friend explain some of the basics to me in a step-by-step order.  I also felt that I was at the most basic level of language with first starting to use the online catalog at my local library a few years ago to look for picture books to supplement the themes I was teaching my preschool class – I was more at a “what?” level, as in “What books will work for this theme?” Then, as time progressed and I got more used to using the system, I became more selective and was able to ask deeper questions, such as “Why will this book work better than the one I used last year?”  (Lankes, 2011, p.34).

I agree with Barry Schwartz’s Paradox of Choice, especially in regards to companies like iTunes or or Netflix (as cited by Lankes, 2011, p. 43).  However, I feel it doesn’t really take into account the factor of pure laziness, which I feel is common in Americans especially when they are searching for something for pleasure or for their own regard, and not as part of a task assigned by someone else.  Honestly, I don’t use iTunes that much because I feel like there are too many options, and I don’t check one of my e-mail accounts that often anymore because there are too many coupons and local newsletters I’ve signed up for, and don’t want to bother to sift through them all.   But on the other hand, I’m also too lazy to unsubscribe from them, because what if that really great deal comes along one day, or that event I really will want to go to?  So my e-mails sit unread, more because I’m being lazy and unorganized than because I feel like I might make a wrong choice or be unsatisfied.

The section on Scapes (Lankes, 2011, p.53-60) really intrigued me, as I have never used a Scape before.  The option of being able to talk/chat with someone online and include them as part of your search, and then save the whole process for someone else’s reference seems like a great interactive approach, and a wonderful way of collaborating with various people and organizations on bigger issues, like fundraising for a nonprofit (something I’m really interested in learning more about for my own center) or understanding why a school district is failing (an ongoing dilemma where I live).

Although I have really enjoyed reading the Atlas so far, I have to say my one criticism of it is the graphics and figures.  The text seems so rich and detailed it takes me a long time to read and ponder it, which I actually enjoy.  However, sometimes the figures are too simplified for me to understand, like in the case of Figures 35 and 36 on p.61 (Lankes, 2011) – I don’t fully understand the point the author is trying to make with them, as they are simply icons with little labeling and don’t give me enough context.  On the other hand, I find the graphics at the beginning of each thread to have too much going on (e.g. Figure 12 on p.30) – I know they serve as sort of a graphic preview or table of contents for what is going on in the thread but I feel there are too many circles for me to read and the font for the connectors is really small – I feel overwhelmed.  That being said, I would rather have some graphics than none at all as I am a very visual learner.

Reference

Lankes, R.D. (2011).  The Atlas of New Librarianship.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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