Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Change is Everywhere

  • Ambiguity
  • Motivation
  • Exploration
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
via CC license:
What do these all have in common? Beyond the fact that I've written or talked about all of them in the context of library instruction, they might also be seen as central aspects of everyday life, and more to the point, in being a successful lifelong learner.

It's really all about recognizing and dealing with change. Change of tool sets. Change of environment. Change of focus. Change of perspective. Change of culture. Culminating in a change in how we react to or even instigate change. Several recent readings have brought home to me the centrality and importance of this in my own work with library instruction and information literacy:
  • Pegasus Librarian: Focal Flexibility "It hadn’t occurred to me before that moment how important focal flexibility is — the ability to see a given work in all its richness and unpackable complexity, and also see it as one of a constellation of other works — to be able to plot it dispassionately amongst its peers, and also gaze at its internal universes."
  • Wired: Tim O’Reilly’s Key to Creating the Next Big Thing "Yes, founder Jen Pahlka figured that instead of talking about how government should change, you have to demonstrate how to do it. The key output of Code for America is not apps, it’s culture change."
  • Attempting Elegance: Plant your Flag "You need to know where you stand so you can plant your feet and lean into the change rather than be knocked over by it."
  • Lifehacker: Ask Naive Questions to Spark Creativity "When you're stuck on a big problem, it's easy to pound your head against the wall trying to solve it. However, it might be best to step away for a little while and look at the problem from a different perspective."
All of the above discuss, albeit in very different contexts, the importance of recognizing and dealing effectively with change. 

I've written about change literacy before. I've written about dealing with ambiguity. I've talked about motivation. I've talked about fostering a sense of creativity and exploration in our students. I've written about transliteracy. And I certainly try in practice to (subtly) stress that being agile as you engage in the research process (your topic may change as you read the literature; searching is an evolutionary process of trial and error; every search tool has different features and labels, but look for the commonalities; become familiar with all the different information types; style guides can't cover every eventuality, so you may need to adapt what is in hand to available examples).

Now I wonder if we can tackle the idea of change and recognizing and teaching our students (and ourselves) how to effectively deal with it, more directly...