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Teaching With Technology: An Academic…

Teaching With Technology: An Academic Librarian's Guide (Information…

by M. Joe Williams

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Review also pending publication in the Journal Of Web Librarianship:

Technological know-how is essential for academic librarians, particularly those who want to be involved in successful instruction programs and to establish an effective library presence among students and faculty. Teaching with Technology: An Academic Librarian’s Guide presents the most up-to-date possibilities for technology use in libraries in easily digestible chapters. Blogs, wikis, podcasting, screencasting, virtual reference, mobile computing, learning spaces, and course management systems are among the topics addressed. The slim, easy to read volume provides clear and concise explanations of each.

The handbook’s more notable successes include how-to descriptions for developing RSS feeds, the description of various video tutorial programs and their functionalities, and a wonderful go-to chart correlating Net Gen traits, learning theory principles, learning space and IT applications in the chapter on optimizing spaces that every librarian and member of the teaching faculty should study.

Teaching with Technology and its usefulness as an on-hand reference for professionals would have benefited from some standardization of presentation – while the chapter addressing tutorials provides a wealth of information on the programs available and the functionalities of each, subsequent chapters spend less time on specific programs available and more time on the general gist of each technology and how it might be utilized in the instruction environment. Taken as a whole, however, the publisher meets its goal of providing practical and easy-to-read coverage on a variety of technologies for the busy academic librarian.

Though Teaching with Technology doesn’t break much new ground in the era of ‘technology in libraries’ books, it provides sound and concise explanations of the various technologies, examples of applications of each tool in a library instructional setting, and suggestions for how to utilize the technologies in innovative ways to capture the attention of active learners, impart essential information and enhance or develop library programs.

While brief, examples of how to use the technologies for library assignments, to increase the library’s presence on campus, supplement student coursework and faculty efforts provide good starting points for new librarians, or those embarking on these technologies as new additions to their instruction arsenal. The editors have done a fine job of parsing technologies into separate chapters, while recognizing that the dividing line is rarely so neat and concise in practice. Reference and instruction department heads should keep this volume around for the less technologically adept and those wanting a quick brush-up on what tools are available to develop their library presence.

The charm of this particular handbook is its size – it small and intended as a brief reference tool, as opposed to an authority on every technology. Each chapter is easily thumbed through at the time a librarian decides to incorporate it, to familiarize themselves with the basics before embarking on an actual project. Intended for practitioners who may have heard of wikis and podcasting but haven’t actually constructed one of their own (or are not sure how to start), this volume is extremely user-friendly.

In addition to being a useful addition to a reference and instruction staff’s collection, Teaching with Technology would be a useful point-of-need supplement to a more substantial text, such as Susan Sharpless Smith’s Web-Based Instruction: A Guide for Libraries, as well as a useful companion to graduate student texts in courses focused on library services and instruction.

- Colleen S. Harris ( )
  warmaiden | Nov 28, 2007 |
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