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Tuesday
Jul142009

Miles's Library - Part Two

I have been asked to write a chapter on "future libraries" for a book being put together by an Australian colleague. While I had meant to write a short scenario to introduce the chapter, the scenario took over.

Below is the second of several parts of what a school library might look like in 2025 - the approximate year my youngest grandson, Miles, will graduate from high school (assuming one still graduates at the traditonal age of 18 - a big assumption.)

The ideas here are a combination of extrapolation of current happenings, wishful thinking and maybe a little dread. Your comments are always welcome.

Miles’s Library: A Day in the Life, 2025 - Part Two

8:45 AM

“Hey, Juan. Hey, Liz,” Miles says with a wave as he plops down on one of the sofas occupied by his learning team. “Any word from Carlotta?”

“She’s having an emergency with some stuff at home and will be audio conferencing with us,” Juan reports. “Sounds like the emergency is a bad hair day.” And with that, Carlotta’s voice says, “I heard that. And just for your information, I never have a bad hair day! But I do have a little sister with the sniffles.”

“OK, OK, I’ve got lots to do today,” Liz chides. “I think at the last meeting we decided that our project was going to be looking at creating self-reporting devices for the green plants here in the library powered by the small voltage they themselves actually produce. Are we still agreed?” Heads nod. (85% of all energy needed to power the school is generated by projects designed by the students themselves over the past 15 years.)

“So, Miles, what did your search on similar projects turn up?”

“Yeah, your creepy Marian avatar dig anything up?” asked Juan. “Do you still have her affection module running so she calls you sweetie, sweetie?”

“She’s not creepy, just 20th century,” Miles replied. “She looks and sounds just like Shirley Jones’s character Marian in The Music Man. If you weren’t such a cultural Neanderthal, you’d appreciate the reference. As for her obvious and well-placed fondness for me, I’d say you’re just jealous.”

Carlotta laughed, saying, “Miles and Juan, if you weren’t such good friends, I’d say you couldn’t get along.”

Miles is the acknowledged expert at data acquisition in the group. Liz’s strength is in leadership, organization and historical knowledge; Juan’s visual communication and math skills are outstanding; and Carlotta’s interpersonal abilities keep the team moving and working well together – plus she is the acknowledged science whiz of the team. Miles considers each of these fellow students an integral part of his Personal Learning Network.

Miles himself does not conduct data searches – he programs bots that search for him. Ever since helping his older brother Paul create and modify creatures in the primitive simulation game Spore as a pre-schooler and later learning how to design custom Google Search engines in elementary school, Miles has been devising ever more sophisticated programs that help him meet his information needs. The librarians have been instrumental in helping Miles develop these skills, and several thousand other students – and adults - use some of the search bots Miles has created. Lately, he has been giving the bots physical form as avatars and personalities using code from a new bank of 20th century entertainer models.

“Marian found about 750 gig of materials related to using plants’ own electrical production properties to power sensors. I asked her to condense and audio-synth this data to five, ten and 15 minute summaries. I’ve sent the audio files of the three top reports to you. In my view, this project is increasingly doable…”

Encouraged by Miles’s findings, the group discusses next steps, creates a timeline, and debates the format of the final report on the project. Their next meeting on the coming Friday will be virtual using the library’s video portal.

 

To be continued...

Image under CC license at <http://www.flickr.com/photos/xploded/222036777/>
Monday
Jul132009

NECC session on copyright video available

Here is the video of my NECC presentation on July 1:

Too bad Mystery Science Theater 2000 3000 is no longer available to add commentary.

http://www.istevision.org/watch.php?vid=a851df1b674232783d9099f4a44dce71f71f236e

Monday
Jul132009

Miles's Library - Part One

I have been asked to write a chapter on "future libraries" for a book being put together by an Australian colleague. While I had meant to write a short scenario to introduce the chapter, the scenario took over.

Below is the first of several parts of what a school library might look like in 2025 - the approximate year my youngest grandson, Miles, will graduate from high school (assuming one still graduates at the traditonal age of 18 - a big assumption.)

The ideas here are a combination of extrapolation of current happenings, wishful thinking and maybe a little dread. Your comments are always welcome.

Miles’s Library: A Day in the Life, 2025 - Part One

7:00 AM

“Miles… Miles, honey, time to get up,” the librarian’s voice whispered softly in the still dark bedroom. Miles, a senior in the graduating high school class of 2025, slowly came awake.

“OK, OK, I’m awake, Marian. Schedule, please,” Miles requested using the auditory interface to his school library portal, accessed through a small device on his nightstand.

“You are meeting with your ecological science team F2F in Learning Space 17, Main Library at 8:45. Carlotta will be 15 minutes late. You’ve registered for “Advanced Semantic Web Searching” with Head Librarian Baxter from 9:30-11:00 in Seminar Room B of the Main Library. Your IEP Advisor, Dr. Li, wants to meet with you in her office at 1:00 about your senior project. And I have finalized the MUVE meeting schedule with Professor Shahada in Amman for 4:15 SLT this afternoon. Your lacrosse team practice has been cancelled, but time has been reserved in the simulation area of the gymnasium for team members wanting virtual practice.”

“Gee, that’s all?”

“No, Miles, dear. Your report on theologian Reinhold Niebuhr is due tomorrow. Would you like me to reserve a video rendering terminal in the library for you?”

“Marian, you are a slave driver!” Miles cried, slowly crawling out of bed.

________________________________

8:30 AM

“Looks like almost a full day in the library for me,” Miles tells his girlfriend Jennie as they walk from the bus stop up to the school. Jennie is one of the main reasons that Miles still goes to his neighborhood bricks and mortar school at least three days a week. “Let’s grab a cup of coffee there while we have time.”

“Seems like you’ve been living in the library this year,” observed Jennie. “They should be charging you rent!”

“Well my senior project, ‘Can sims be programmed to exhibit free will?’ has really been more involving than I thought. I mean, it is the perfect combination between my interest in religion and computer programming, but it’s been a lot more work than I thought. And the library has been my primary resource for this project.” Miles was embarrassed to admit that his presence in the school’s physical library was only a fraction of the time he spent in the library’s virtual spaces. “Just stamp ‘nerd’ on my forehead, I guess,” Miles sighed.

The library Miles and Jennie enter might look cavernous were it not for the low ceilings and dividers filled with green plants that break up the spaces into small, intimate work areas. A combination of soft seating and small, easily rearranged worktables in coordinated colors make the library look both work-like but comfortable. There is a low hum of conversation, especially near the entrance to the library where a small coffee shop is located, but noise-cancellation technologies keep the main part of the library surprisingly quiet – considering there are over 200 students working there. The perimeter of the library has doorways leading to small conference and seminar rooms, faculty offices (this location is in high demand), and technology labs filled with powerful, specialized computers. Student work is silently displayed throughout the library space on monitors of various sizes with small signs indicating the channel on which the audio is being broadcast.

Students and faculty alike carry a variety of small portable computing devices that automatically connect to the data network via library's portal interface.

Miles says goodbye to Jenny and heads toward Learning Space 17 for his meeting with his team meeting.

To be continued...

Image under CC license at <http://www.flickr.com/photos/xploded/222036777/>