Next session: Fandom During/After COVID
“Reaching Fans Through Deeper Interaction: The Case of Concerts Through Games and Interactive Spaces”
4 cases of concerts in games and interactive spaces: Fortnite is mostly a business approach.
Case 2: Adventure Quest 3D: Fan connection through gameplay
Porter Robinson: Secret Spy more about connecting fans through virtual spaces, chat, avatars, VR
Case 4: Concerts organized by Wave. Real-time motion capture. Trying to create interaction between artist and fans.
Key takeaways: new ways for fans to connect, artists found new ways to interact. "What is the impact of the fan persona?"
Talking about how stage musicals in China are thriving while Broadway is not - uses the closing of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway as an example.
First key to success is the introduction of the immersive theater genre. Special environments and audience participation.
Immersive theater's smaller audience size is good during pandemic
2nd key: Embracing idol fandom. Free drawing for idol performer cards. Exploiting fan labor for marketing.
Fan-made souvenirs, fan photography.
Key #3: Let's queer the theatres. All-male cast, cross-dressing, queer-baiting. These all appeal to female gaze. ([@KimberlyHirsh](https://micro.blog/KimberlyHirsh): How is Takarazuka doing? Could be a cool transnational study.)
"the pleasure obtained from face-to-face interaction is irreplaceable"
All previous Eva Liu tweets are from @EvaLiu1996
“Podficcing in the Pandemic” Key terms: Accessibility, Identity, Experience, Creating, Consuming, Socializing
Podfic is fanfiction recorded aloud and shared as audiopods online. Some people never thought of it as accessible while other people, esp with print disability, used it. ([@KimberlyHirsh](https://micro.blog/KimberlyHirsh): like fanfiction audiobooks)
Some fans used time they would otherwise have gone out to socialize to record podfic. Others experienced trauma and/or just felt pandemic didn't give them more time to create.
Listening to human voices made people feel less alone, but people who lost their commute or had more other people at home listened to less podfic.
Podfic community was an important social activity for some participants.
“‘Are We Friends or Opponents?’ Fans’ Relationship Changes from Online To Offline” with Yuhang Zheng
In idol fans pre-COVID there was a hierarchy where offline fans were considered "core fans" and online fans were more peripheral, but as idols moved activities online during COVID-19, this dynamic changed.
More affordable to attend signings, don't have to navigate physical distance
Change of fan space made it more equitable, less hierarchical. Will the old patterns resurface? How do these patterns work in fandoms surrounding fictional works/characters?
with Dina Rasolofoarison: “Where Is roundtables Fandom Acted Out in 2022? An Update on Places of Fan Practices”
inclusive definition of fandom - not just cult media, but specific nations/cultures, cooking, and more
2 dimensions of places: 1. places have functions, 2. places of substitute consumption - driven by restrictions of time, money, or place
There's lots of great conversation happening in this session but I got distracted and am a little overwhelmed, sorry.
Eva talked about my question about Takarazuka, pointing out that while Takarazuka (Japanese all-women musical theater) has a strict division between otokoyaku (performers who always play men) and musumeyaku (performers who always play women) 1/2
...Chinese and South Korean immersive theaters that feature all-male casts might have a performer play a man in one production and a woman in another.
introducing the panel "The New Bedroom Cultures"
“The Growth of Fangirls and Fanfiction During the COVID-19 Lockdown” "A bit of an accidental autoethnographic activity"
Dissertation focused on Harley Quinn and her relationship with her fangirls. Argued that Harley moved from sexualized object of the male gaze to reclaimed character, and credits fanfiction with this move.
Interested in the transition of fans from producers to consumers.
Fell down a fanfiction rabbithole on TikTok.
Sociology theory about bedroom culture highlights bedroom as a sacred space for adolescent girls, originally considered bedroom as consumer space but more recent scholarship argues that bedroom culture includes production
The transition from consumer to producer was pressurized during lockdown, which led to a boom of fan engagement.
Discusses fannish bedroom cultures during the lockdown, fanfiction as a bedroom ritual. Presentation draws on interviews conducted during Master's.
Title of talk is “A Fandom of One’s Own: Fanfiction as a Bedroom Ritual During COVID-19”
Fanfiction is defined by intimacy, both in its topics and in the spaces it exists in.
Participants could personalize emotion via tags: hurt/comfort, enemies-to-loves, fluff...
"reception on a loop" You experience the original media, seek out fan-created media, engage in fan practices regularly, which drives you to seek out the next piece of new media.
Reading fanfiction is a personal ritual, "alone time"
Socialization in digital spaces allowed fans to maintain kinship and community.
notes that @andolfi_lea mentioned parasocial relationships which probably all of them have something to say about
Dr. Welsh-Burke's talk is “‘I Am on My KNEES’: TikTok as a New Site of Adolescent Sexual Desire”
looking at experience of female fans as producers and fans
Noticed enthusiastic display of sexual desire in caption of fan vid on TikTok, liked it and started to get more recs for things where people have "extreme affective responses"
This content on TikTok was a positive reclamation of the stereotype of fangirls as only interested in certain topics (e.g. sexy topics)
TikTok is an especially bedroom-y media space in terms of both creation and consumption.
presenting “Bedroom Cultures but Make It Enby Cottage Core: Reading Shakespeare as a Disabled Trans Fan”
warning: going to discuss bigotry, esp. transphobia, and safety
Discussing reading Shakespeare's "As You Like It" as a trans text. Rosalind & Celia live a queer-utopian cottagecore life in the Forest of Arden.
IRL when marginalized people meet each other it's not always self. There's bigotry related to different combos of marginalization.
In The Forest of Arden, it feels as if everyone is safe.
"If all those queer people running around in the forest are the monsters, then we have nothing to fear. Everyone is safe."
In the Forest of Arden, "everyone is always possibly polyamorous." It's bittersweet to contrast this with spaces in real life.
This contrast is more pronounced when the person doing the looking/reading is trans & disabled.
Anecdote about harassment at a coffee shop that ended with Dean feeling the owners of the shop would blame Dean for being a magnet for harassment if a similar incident happened again.
The "depressing, gray" bedroom experience is attractive because there aren't a lot of people that can harass you there.
There's an interesting relationship between trans' people's experience of being expected not to even exist outside and these fantasies of the cottagecore forest (and other safe spaces) inside.
In some fandoms, e.g. superhero and Star Wars, other people in fandoms perceive the source material as "serious" and were worried fangirls would "drag it down" because fangirls are interested in "silly things"
The discussion is getting really good but I'm struggling to keep up with tweets, sorry!
Saw Twitter thread about how there used to be no women in nerdy spaces and, of course, there were and many people argued against OP but sadly lots of people were also agreeing.
There's a similar phenomenon where people claim there weren't trans people in fan spaces in the past, which is patently untrue.
"It's interesting to think about the multiplicities of bedroom cultures that are getting made" - referring to a statement @DeanLeetal made about how different people need different forms of escape.
We need art of everyone in their own bedrooms engaging with their own bedroom cultures.
Creator of that original video on TikTok shut down their account. This leads to loss of a lot of born-digital stuff that it would be good to capture for methodology. (Come to our #FanLIS session and talk to us about born-digital preservation!)
As fans we have to do that work of archiving. ([@KimberlyHirsh](https://micro.blog/KimberlyHirsh): shout-out to @De_Kosnik's book Rogue Archives)
It's also an ethical question - if we've preserved something, do we keep studying it even after the creator has taken it down?
When fanfiction is brought up to creators/actors, it's often in a degrading way.
There's also an issue of consent with actors, who might not want to hear about what their characters get up to in fanfiction.
In chat, Erin Lee Mock points out "For many people, COVID lockdown was not an experience of isolation, but of greater carework obligations, etc. Is there space within discussion of "bedroom cultures" for these individuals, especially as relates to fan production?"
Talking about how even as teens, girls often have more caregiving responsibilities so in that sense bedroom cultures still works.
Points out that home is not always a safe space, especially for multiply marginalized people.
Luisa de Mesquita asks "I was wondering if there are any significant differences in engagement with fandom and fannish practices between those who were already 'established' fans and those who became fans during the pandemic?"
speculating that it will vary - some people will have come to fandom during the pandemic and stay in it for life, but others as they are less isolated will engage with fandom less
Kirsten Crowe asks "I wonder about the experience of college aged people returning to their childhood bedrooms and how that shaped fannish experiences in terms of bedroom culture during the pandemic"
Yes, thanks to pandemic I finished my MSc in my childhood bedroom, will finish my PhD in childhood bedroom, doing this from childhood bedroom 😄
It's really interesting to return to your childhood bedroom and engage with fandom on a new platform when you engaged with fandom there years ago.
It's interesting to note that we're in our bedrooms studying other people in their bedrooms.
Coburn, C. E., & Penuel, W. R. (2016). Research-practice partnerships in education: Outcomes, dynamics, and open questions. Educational Researcher, 45(1), 48.
Coburn and Penuel review evidence of the outcomes and dynamics of research-practice partnerships in a variety of fields and then articulate a research agenda for exploring these outcomes and dynamics in the field of education.
Research-practice partnerships “are long -term collaborations between practitioners and researchers that are organized to investigate problems of practice and solutions for improving schools and school districts” (p. 1). “…research on the impact of RPPs in education is sparse and focused on a narrow range of outcomes” (p. 2).
Extant research focuses on the challenges of RPPs, not on the designs or strategies participants in the partnerships use to address those challenges.
Key characteristics of research-practice partnerships: they are long-term, involving a shared, “open-ended commitment to build and sustain a working collaboration over multiple projects” (p. 3) “they focus on problems of practice: key dilemmas and challenges that practitioners face” (p. 3) they are mutualistic, with researchers and practitioners sharing authority and jointly negotiating the direction of the work “they involve original analysis of data,” in which participants collect and analyze their own data along with analyzing existing administrative data, answering key questions (in the case of education, these are usually questions posed by the school district)
Most research in a variety of fields focuses on the impact of interventions that are themselves outcomes of RPPs, rather than on the impact of the RPPs themselves.
Much research points to positive outcomes from RPP-developed interventions, but a lot of RPPs are not subject to any systematic inquiry and thus it isn’t apparent whether or not the success of the interventions is due to their creation as part of an RPP. “…these studies do not address the value of the partnerships themselves, above and beyond the particular innovations they produce” (p. 7)
Evidence suggests that participation in research-practice partnerships leads to greater access to research, but mixed evidence suggests that it is not clear whether greater access to research necessarily leads to greater use of research in decision-making.
Little systematic research investigates the influence of co-design on intervention uptake, or whether participating in RPPs “builds a deeper understanding of the research process or research findings, an appreciation for the value of research to inform decision-making, or capacity to engage in research-informed practices and policies or use research as part of continuous improvement efforts” (p. 8). There is also scant research about unintended outcomes of RPPs.
Most research on the dynamics of RPPs, “how they actually work and the mechanisms by which they foster educational improvement,” relies on first-person reflections of researchers involved in the work written after-the-fact, rather than systematic inquiry conducted simultaneously with RPPs themselves by outside investigators.
What research there is conducted by outside investigators focuses primarily on the challenges participants in RPPs face, including difficulties in communication and expectations, limitations imposed by the organizational realities of school systems, and the politicized environment present in educational organizations.
This research rarely illuminates strategies RPPs use to address these challenges, and almost never addresses both dynamics and outcomes simultaneously.
Coburn and Penuel suggest the following elements of a research agenda for studying RPPs in education:
- Outcomes: consequences of RPPs for students, individual & organizational change, use of research, spread & scale of innovation, negative/unintended outcomes, whether RPPS influence the wider field, failed partnerships
- Comparative studies: how varying designs & contexts impact outcomes
- Targeted studies of specific strategies: tools, strategies, and routines for addressing challenges
- Political dimensions of partnerships: whether politics gets in the way of research use, strategies for navigating politicized environments
“With a broader evidence base in both the dynamics and outcomes of RPPs, we can develop a better sense of whether, when, and how RPPs are a viable and effective way for research to support broad and sustainable improvements to educational systems.” (p. 15)
I didn’t get to liveblog/tweet this session because I was co-facilitating it, but I’m jotting down a few takeaways and a list of resources/links in hopes they will be of use to folks.
Our panelists were:
- Julie Stivers, middle school librarian at Mt. Vernon Middle School in Raleigh, NC
- Miles, a rising high school junior and former student of Julie’s
- Kym Powe, Children and YA Consultant, Connecticut State Library
- Juan Rubio, Digital Media and Learning Program Manager, Seattle Public Library
- Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science
We opened by asking the panelists to share their broad perspectives on creating equitable and inclusive library perspectives.
Connected Learning Lab Senior Research Manager Amanda Wortman took awesome notes on these. Here are some big ideas:
- Hold onto why you do the work.
- Recognize structural aspects of fostering equity and inclusion and simultaneously equip library staff to take individual action.
- Center the voices and experiences of youth themselves.
We then launched into some questions based on our work in the Transforming Teen Services for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion project. I basically acted as a clueless, well-intentioned librarian asking for help.
How do I know if I’m actually creating an inclusive space?
You might not be able to tell, but if your love for the work shines through, you’re moving in the right direction. When your space starts to feel like a living room and a community hub, keep doing what you’re doing and grow more in the same vein. Look at yourself and your colleagues; what unstated or invisible expectations are you communicating? They might be making the space less inclusive.
I think I’m creating inclusive spaces but people aren’t actually coming into them. What should I do?
LEAVE THE BUILDING. There are a lot of reasons people might not come. Go to where they already are. Consider not just your own actions, but those of your colleagues. Are other people in the space making it less equitable and inclusive? Build authentic relationships, in or out of the library. The relationship with the person is more important than the presence of the physical space. Change the power structures in the space; design with youth rather than for them.
I know I need to leave the building but I’m overwhelmed. How do I start?
You start by starting. Team up with a friend. Build on the work of a colleague near or far who has already gone out; learn from their experiences. Don’t stop going out after one attempt doesn’t work. Move on to the next potential place or partner. Keep trying. You’ll eventually find the right fit.
Okay I’m ready! But I talked to my supervisor and they said I can’t leave the building. What’s my next step?
Relationships are important here, too. Build a relationship with your supervisor. Help them understand the value of the work you’re doing and why it’s important to go into the community. Write a formal proposal for the supervisor. Include outcomes and impact. Make it clear it won’t take you out of the building for a whole day at a time.
How can school and public librarians think beyond just going into each others’ spaces? How can we get to places that don’t have library or school vibes?
Go to where they spend time outside of school. If you’re partnering with a school, think about going to extracurricular events that don’t feel so formal and school-y. Recognize that what matters most is that youth get what they need, not who provides it or where.
I want to learn more! What should I do next?
- Attend events like the Connected Learning Summit.
- Look for free professional development like Project READY.
- Talk to your state library.
- YALSA Article describing #LibFive
- Images of Practice: #LibFive at Mount Vernon Middle School (featuring youth researchers!)
- #LibFive Infographic
- VRtality website
- Article in American Libraries about VRtality
- “From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces”
- Project READY: Reimagining Equity & Access for Diverse Youth
- GELS: Growing Equitable Library Services
- Equity Literacy Institute
- Project ENABLE (one of the models for Project READY!)
- Radical Hospitality
- Racial Equity Institute
My Notes from #CLS2022: OPENING PLENARY - Staying Connected, Fueling Innovation, Affirming Core Values: Three Learning Organizations Carrying Lessons Forward from the Twin Pandemics
Getting today's plenary started - Staying Connected, Fueling Innovation, Affirming Core Values: Three Learning Organizations Carrying Lessons Forward from the Twin Pandemics
is moderator, beginning the panel. Talking about carrying forward lessons from pandemic crisis into "neverending pandemic."
invites attendees to share something good that came out of the pandemic for them. There are too many to share all here! But big themes are family time, taking breaks, conversations about accessibility.
Jessica, let's start with you. We think of a library as a physical space where people go. What happened with your library during the pandemic? What can other people, in a library or otherwise, learn from your experiences?
works with Cloud901, a teen learning lab in Memphis Public Libraries, work with STEM/STEAM, project-based learning, and connected learning.
Closed for about a month, partnered with other city divisions & community organizations. Metropolitan Interfaith Association - library staff boxed food, were drivers, were able to get into community with access to library materials, worked with p
Worked with Parks & Rec and other divisions to disseminate information about social services. A great opportunity to get out and reach out to communities who were underserved or couldn't readily come to the library.
Previously divisions were siloed but now they can connect to serve the community.
Shifted to online programming. With that program, they touched people in communities across the country, not just Memphis.
Able to work with people who wouldn't normally come to the library for a myriad of reasons - anxiety in social settings, other reasons - able to access library programming at a comfort level that worked best for them.
A lot more families at online programming. A lot of parents working alongside kids during camps. Opportunity for family to get together & bond and parents became library advocates.
Understanding & seeing that library staff need to recognize in every aspect where barriers are, even when we don't readily see them.
Online programming was wonderful, but what about people without home internet? What about requiring supplies for a program?
What barriers are out there? How can we break those down? Wifi hot spots, takeaway supplies. Producing programs that only use things readily available at home or brick & mortar store.
With population 30-40% below the poverty line, people have to choose - do they send their kids to an enrichment opportunity, or do they feed them?
Really promising: holistic vision of youth & families & what they need. Intersection of innovation and equity. "We can't do this for everybody, so we're not going to do it at all." So iterate to make it accessible for more people.
runs a clubhouse that had to move online. It was a challenge. Hearing some commonalities between ListoAmerica, an afterschool program that serves primarily Mexican community, and library already.
ListoAmerica is part of The Computer Clubhouse, a network. Had to shut down physical space, but within about 2 - 3 weeks, UCI PhDs were able to support creating the clubhouse online for the same hours online.
Tried to replicate as much as possible the pre-pandemic experience but had to be innovative. Started member-to-member meetups because new members would be isolated.
Members are youth. Usually middle school & high school. Connected new members with mentors.
Created hybrid programs. Created pick-up point for materials to pick up at one time and conduct sessions later on.
People would make themselves available in online community at specific time so other people could come discuss with them.
Temptation is to just learn the technology and gain skills, but goal of ListoAmerica is to support creation, not just skill building. Connect people with interests - for example music-interested youth and video-interested youth collaborate on music video.
Mexican culture is important. Mentors were almost all Mexican. Mexican American members often had parents who were undocumented and thus didn't want to come in. Mentor created entire Discord channel in Spanish and invite family members in.
works in Tacoma school district in Washington State. Fortunate to have a school board and superintendent who embraced pandemic as a community with grace and empathy.
In March 2020 decided to be as pro-active as possible. Set up design around an online school that they expected to have about 400 kids, ended up with about 5000 out of 30000 who wanted an online experience.
over 250 staff members, community eager to keep students safe in the online world. Quickly shifted gears into evolving into high quality. It was difficult because staff hadn't been trained in online teaching.
Grace for staff and students formed a community. While other districts are sprinting back to "normal," Tacoma has moved toward redefining and reimagining new normal.
Online school is now a fully-functional school with about 2000 students. Tacoma is also introducing a flex program to allow students to experience both face-to-face and online learning, which allows flexibility in their schedules.
Tacoma's been working on a whole student initiative and this moved them toward a whole community perspective.
When is an online environment better than an in-person environment? When is it a weak facsimile of a personal environment?
Didn't think online clubhouse would work, for example "creative collision" in small space where people would bump into each other and notice each others' work and ask about it.
Somehow, with the hybrid model, it worked. Occasionally, we would get together in very careful (socially distanced, masked) groups, and were able to go global. Connected with clubhouse in Mexico City. Never were able to do that before.
That enhanced the cultural background, that it's okay to be Mexican in the United States, it's something to be proud of. Opened Mexican American citizens' eyes to what it's like to be in Mexico and what technology is like there.
Able to connect online with people from all over. Were able to ask colleges to send virtual tours for them to share with people who couldn't travel to visit.
This summer, they started back in person with summer camp. Every camp this year people have come back with people they met in camp and they've continued to work together. This didn't happen before.
It's a "Yes, and." Redefined understanding of connected. Multitiered opportunities to connect with adult learners, assessing online experiences combined with occasional face-to-face meetings led to some simple tech innovation.
Kindergarteners took a field trip to the zoo, some in person, but many remotely who were working in teams and engaging during chat because the schools had taught that school. Recorded the session and now it can be reused with different groups.
Online learning is not the best path for every kid, but it very well could be for some.
Teachers were not only livecasting, but were interacting with students online. Students could see their own teacher.
Was the number of participants the same, larger, smaller, different people in online programs versus face to face?
Old members already had established connections. New members would introduce themselves and old members would connect with them.
Scale expanded going remotely. The question now is should we go back to some form of physical?
It depended on the program. Camps were larger than we anticipated. Some other programs like college virtual tours were huge numbers. Some programs just had 2 to 3 people in them. We counted it as a win whatever it was.
Club and extended learning opportunities tended to grow online.
Transitioning to online was already a struggle, so any number of kids we counted as a win.
We've gone back to in-person but there will always be some kind of hybrid component to a good bit of our programs.
We didn't have multiple-hour programs. They were very short, intensive. We would talk, but the staff made a lot of video work that youth could not only watch, but reference.
Having videos to reference helped kids who fell behind or missed sessions. We shared it with other library systems in Tennessee.
Have there been opportunities to connect and collaborate with parents and other community organizations?
We had existing partnerships and it was exciting to see those partners pivot with us.
One thing that's worked for us is other non-profit engagement. We got a call from an organization in another county that wants to open up a clubhouse and a remote clubhouse working with us.
What we have found is that for us, there's no "getting back to normal." There's working to address the shift in our youth. We've seen a number of youth ask for programming and services around mental health, being engaged with social & economic issues.
We're shifting and rebuilding in some areas with how we continue to service our youth. What we did before for branding & strategic planning can stay in place but we recognize that the way we were doing it needs to shift.
A young lady who started with us in middle school and is now at Cal State University Fullerton, whose world was a 2-mile radius when she started with us, now has a global perspective and spent a semester in South Korea.
It's a vulnerable celebration of acknowledging that we don't know what we don't know. Adam Grant: "We live in a rapidly changing world where we need to spend as much time rethinking as we do thinking."
Deciding when to drop a paper: Rethinking my lit review about tabletop RPGs and identity development
I’ve been sitting on a paper that was “accepted with revisions” for more than 3 years. I have poked at it sometimes and worked hard on it others, sometimes hated the revision process and sometimes enjoyed it.
The purpose of submitting this paper was not actually to get it published. It was to get it submitted so I met the requirement of having submitted 2 items for peer review before my comps. Also, it’s not original research. It’s a literature review.
My assistantships in my first 4 years of the PhD put me in a situation where my colleagues and I weren’t publishing much in scholarly journals. The first year, I helped with a lit review that I think was for a popular publication. The next three years, I worked on an immense professional development project. I’m very proud of the curriculum we created and did get some trade publication out of that but again, not scholarly publication.
So it wasn’t until my last 2 years of my PhD that I was working with other scholars on papers, most of which are currently in submission or revision. All my work for scholarly publication before that had to be solo-authored and, quite frankly, what I wrote was Not Good. It wasn’t BAD but it needed so much revision.
By the time this accepted-with-revisions lit review came back to me from the journal (it had gone to a third reviewer because one reviewer was like “Accept! Minimal revisions!” and one was like “R&R… Maybe.” Reviewer 3 basically said “Accept but with heavy revision”), I was 3 years out from the original class paper it was based on. I had barely rewritten it from that for submission because, again, I just needed to move past a PhD milestone.
I was very excited when it came back accepted with revisions, but I was also in the middle of a very stressful house-buying process, writing my comps, and only had half-time childcare, so I couldn’t make it a priority.
Also I was, understandably, hurt by some of Reviewer 2’s pointed and accurate statements, so I set it aside for a while.
I picked it back up and made a revision plan, drawing on Wendy Belcher and Raul Pacheco-Vega’s advice on how to deal with revisions but as I sorted through these changes, I began to realize that NONE of them were small. They were all large changes. Here’s the kind of thing I mean:
- Elaborate on places where I cited multiple sources and be more explicit about what they say and how they’re in conversation with one another. (This is a very reasonable suggestion, and the one I’ve been working on this whole time.)
- Completely re-organize the literature review based on insights hinted at in the conclusion.
- VAGUELY CONTRADICTORY SUGGESTIONS FROM THE SAME REVIEWER: broaden the scope to include more scholarly research; narrow the scope to focus on only one of three areas addressed in the lit review.
- Find criticism that contrasted with the positive sources cited and described in the paper. (There wasn’t enough literature for that to really be a thing.)
- Completely restructure the paper based on one of the developmental frameworks I drew on.
This is daunting as all get out, especially alone, especially when dissertating AND working (because I didn’t have a dissertation fellowship, I was also conducting research and writing as part of an assistantship my final year), and there’s a pandemic on (that wasn’t until a year after the paper was “accepted” but still) and you’re a parent of a young child and you have limited childcare.
But y’all, the shame I placed on myself for not revising this paper.
I’m absolutely still excited by the central ideas of this paper:
- Teen library programming should support teens’ identity development.
- Teen library programming around TRPGs should go beyond the idea of engagement and actually reach a level of impact where teens get to try on new personas, take imaginary risks, and figure out their own moral beliefs through pretending to be other people.
But oh my goodness I do not want to work on this paper anymore. This iteration of this set of ideas does not bring me joy.
And after yesterday’s Connected Learning Summit panel on post-pandemic burnout with multiple panelists talking about the importance of centering work that feeds and serves you, I am ready to let go of tinkering with this six-year-old literature review for publication in a journal that honestly deserves a more insightful set of arguments around these ideas.
On the other hand, I’ve worked hard on this thing for a few years and don’t want it to sit in my Google Drive collecting dust and being of no use to other people. And my colleague Maria Alberto said it was “absolutely interesting and useful.”
So I’m going to read through it one more time and make sure it makes sense, and then I’m going to publish it effectively as a pre-print/author paper here on my website and in a couple of pre-print archives as well, so it can get out there as it is.
THEN I’m going to do two more things with it:
- Use it as the foundation for some public writing. If you know of an outlet where a paper about how TRPGs support identity development would be a good fit, please let me know.
- I’m going to pocket it to support some original research, if I end up in a situation to actually collect data on the relationship between TRPGs and identity development.
Huge thanks to Sandra Hughes-Hassell for her feedback on this, the folks at JRLYA who gave me feedback, and Maria for validating me. Also to Katy Rose Guest Pryal for her advice on how to deal with research in The Freelance Academic, and yesterday’s panelists for talking about doing research that resonates with your soul.
My Notes from #CLS2022: Rising Scholars - Post-Pandemic Life: Recovering From Burnout and Finding Motivation
Introducing the next Rising Scholars session: Post-Pandemic Life: Recovering From Burnout and Finding Motivation
About to start as Asst Prof of learning sciences @ Univ of Buffalo, working on the ways crafting/art-making/design activities can interact with & enhance learning equity in both formal & informal spaces.
Spending a few weeks with family moving into the new position has been a good boost at this point in the pandemic.
Dr. Mackey is a postdoc scholar w/Equitable Futures Innovation Network @ Rutgers but is based in Colorado (hello fellow remote postdoc), co-founder & ED of Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Action. Mother & partner.
Whatever I'm engaging in & whoever I'm engaging with must honor that my soul has to be connected to the work.
My wellness matters, especially for me to be a mom, which is my legacy, my most important work. (Dr. Mackey is speaking to my heart.) Putting transition time in between meetings. Doing phone calls instead of Zoom in order to b
Doing phone calls instead of Zoom in order to move away from the desk. Quoting Toni Morrison: "The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work." Dr. Mackey is refuting whiteness and focusing on Black fine
Dr. Tanksley is an Asst Prof at UC Boulder & also faculty fellow at UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, working on critical race in education, sociotechnical infrastructure impacting youth.
Dr. Tanksley lives in LA and works digitally, always working with Youth of Color in urban settings.
Dr. Tanksley builds a schedule based on healing: sleeping in, daily getting an "overpriced, decadent-ass coffee" at a BIPOC, queer coffee shop and writing there. Nap, administrative work in the evening.
This is how Dr. Tanksley deals with the multiple pandemics and "the constant fuckery of the US." Asks: what can I do to make my life joyful?
Working with Black youth laughing and cutting up is healing, too.
BTW if you're near me in Durham, NC check out Rofhiwa Book Café for your own decadent-ass BIPOC queer coffee shop coffee. (I have bought books from them but haven't been in yet.)
What are some other things the panelists are doing like Dr. Tanksley talked about?
Reading for pleasure.
Being careful about who I work with, what contracts I take.
Eased into reading for pleasure with audiobooks.
Returning to things I loved.
It doesn't seem like there's an end in sight but we'll make it.
Mentor said "You're not going to be able to read for pleasure in grad school" but I do it just to prove her wrong. Peloton has gotten me through a lot of this.
How have you maintained community during the pandemic?
My group chats flourished.
Virtual game nights didn't work for me - we were using the same platform I was using for work. Some of my friends have developed a really helpful way of saying what we need in a moment. "I need to vent. I'm not looking for solutions."
I have so many chats. Also Netflix. We were watching shows together and would pause and reflect on certain episodes, epiphanies, hot messes that happened. Collaborative healing sessions. Created in a digital space for youth after the killing of George Floy
Collaborative healing sessions. Created in a digital space for youth after the killing of George Floyd. Not for consumption; anyone in the space, including adults, had to be there for healing, not observing.
Building community for the purpose of connecting and healing.
It sounds like we're engaging in a lot of the same healing practices and communal practices.
Extraverted friends adopt me. These two colleagues with me at Boulder, we FaceTime almost every night. We'll call because something devastating happened and within ten minutes we'll be cracking up.
There's the healing you do in therapy, the healing you do on your own, and the healing you do with your friends. Sharing memes, talking shit.
Re: a paper that grew out of racism: "We're here because of sisterhood."
Laughing is a strategy we can use to get us centered.
I joined a virtual writing group specifically for Black women and that has been my saving grace.
How do you maintain motivation to push through your work during the pandemic?
I'm on leave right now. It's my second year on the tenure track. There was a lot of talk like "You don't need to take a break right now. You just started." In order for me to continue this abolitionist project, because it is a lifelong project, I
In order for me to continue this abolitionist project, because it is a lifelong project, I needed to take a break from the institution.
It's actually very common for people to take breaks in those first six years before tenure. They won't tell you that, but you're well within your rights to do that.
My work is soul work. It is tied to my community. It is tied to my deep-set dreams for emancipation. There's always motivation to do the work. It's about finding time to do the different pieces of the work. Every day is not. writing day.
Sometimes I read Twitter threads and that's my contribution for the day. There are pieces that we don't consider the work that are very important.
You have to think through "What am I motivated to do today?" even if it's taking a nap. That's part of the work, too. We're already talking about rest is resistance.
The faculty & institution are often going to make you feel like you don't have time for breaks, it's not possible, but it's important to stand firm in what you need.
It's okay to reconsider, make sure you see a path forward. Sometimes it's finish this dissertation and then figure out what's after that. Sometimes it's take a break from this dissertation.
I defended on March 12, 2020. I was anxious about the world and I had revisions. I took a break. I took a couple months.
The feeling is valid and whatever ways you need to manage that are also valid.
When I came into grad school, it was already a lot of unhealthy hustle culture. I'm going into tech. I don't have to hustle during a pandemic to write all these papers. I don't have the energy to think beyond this coursework and my research.
My energy tanks at certain parts, have some things that are research tasks, even if they're small, where I'm moving this thing forward even if it doesn't feel like a huge chunk of work.
If any of the panelists want to share how therapy have helped them manage anxiety, stress, all the things that have come up during the pandemic.
I have a life coach. He is always like, "What is going to make Janiece well?"
My life coach walks me through the saboteur voice, because I have assumptions. I'll say, "So and so might think this," and he'll say, "Okay, well even if they think that, why do YOU think that?" Being able to identify, name, & pivot away from that voice.
Also to delegate, because I tend to hold on to things that I shouldn't.
Mindfulness and yoga have helped me be mindful of what I'm holding onto physically.
I have been to therapy and I thought that it was helpful. In all kinds of communities, we don't talk about mental health.
Sometimes we get these messages that something has to be terribly wrong to go to therapy, and that might be true, but it also might not be.
Sometimes it takes time to find the right kind of therapy or the right kind of therapist.
There are resources online for folks who have had trouble finding a therapist. Finding a good therapist is hard.
If you feel at the end of the day you didn't do enough writing, rethink what writing looks like.
How do you all deal with pushback when taking breaks and doing things to help with burnout?
I tell people I can't pour from an empty cup. Either way the work isn't gonna get done, so I might as well pour into myself.
I go to therapy. I'm the caretaker of my family. I financially support multiple people, I caretake for my father who has a mental disability, I'm constantly the Strong Black Woman and I feel very uncomfortable unloading onto other folks who I caretake for s
I'm constantly the Strong Black Woman and I feel very uncomfortable unloading onto other folks who I caretake for because then I end up caretaking again. It's good to have somebody who it's low risk for me to give everything to.
I check my therapist sometimes because sometimes she'll say stuff and I'll say "What you're saying is wild and here's how you need to be caretaking for me."
When I say I need a break, I'm telling you. I'm not asking for a break. "You can tell me all the reasons it's not poppin', and I'm gonna say that sounds like a personal problem. Respectfully, I'm gonna tell you, I'm gonna take this motherfuckin' break."
It's not a common practice for them to just fire you because you want to take a break.
If I don't break, I'm going to break.
Any last thoughts or pieces of advice you have for people who are trying to recover from and/or manage their pandemic burnout?
Where is pushback coming from? Make sure it's not yourself. Find spaces and sources that replenish you. For me it was the water. I play my cello. Just to replenish my soul.
Say no a lot.
Not "No, because x, y, and z" but "No. Because I said so." We hear it all the time, but then it's really hard to do.
I haven't had repercussions for saying no beyond the awkwardness of saying no.
If you want to say yes but you don't have the capacity, find another way or delegate to someone who does. Be unapologetic. You know your limitations.
Self-care has been commercialized, but I really Dr. Tanksley's approach around finding little moments of joy. I want to echo that. My last apartment had a beautiful tub and I started taking baths, I was like, "This is a mood."
We have to rethink these norms that we've put around things around taking care of ourselves and finding joy.
Don't overthink self-care.
Not feeling pressured to answer a text or a message if you're up and on your phone.
introducing the panel Exploring Pathways: Finding Your Place of Impact
is a UX researcher at Google, place of impact with users in studies at work
UX researcher at Duolingo with ABC app focused on kids' reading in their native language, impact is with learners, kids, families, parents, teachers, and the product itself
works for Utah State University but lives in Long Beach, CA, does curriculum design, teacher education, and research, always exploring new pathways for impact
based in Bogota, Colombia, Associate Professor at Universidad Javeriana, research center in Colombia, and Berkman at Harvard. Impact follows a winding and networked pathway. Part of the Digital Media & Learning Initiative since the beginning.
I (Kimberly) love hearing how varied Andres's pathway has been! Focuses on projects & collaborations as much as positions/institutions. <3!
UX Researcher at YouTube working on fan-funding, also instructor and affiliated researcher at universities
What strategies/values/criteria did you use to navigate your own process of finding your place of impact? What helped ground you? What did you prioritize?
Find the heart of who you are and what you want to do and keep it at the center as you try a bunch of different things.
is knitting right now. I'm (Kimberly) crocheting right now!
goal was to support youth across their lives & now does so through curriculum design, teacher education, research.
Be open to relationships and opportunities. Sometimes you feel like you're pushing against a wall. Take a break from pushing against the wall and look for what's already open.
Making connections across spaces (eg families & institutions, communities & workspace) is the heart of Debbie's work. Allowing parts of life outside research to come through in research life.
Impact is a moving target in the face of change. Be attuned to your context. Grasp opportunities as they appear.
Pay attention to communities and mentors who give you space to join your interests.
It takes energy to keep finding projects, grow, connect, build communities.
Searching for the intersections where your impact will be takes time and work. Think about the types of impact you want your work to have, what outcomes do you want your work to have? Who do you want to be affected? In what ways?
YouTube team leveraged specific work from Jen's dissertation to impact product development and that was really exciting.
tried a lot of things out in grad school. Academic research, contributing to academic community & body of knowledge, direct impact on kids in classrooms, volunteered at conferences, TAed, volunteered in early childhood classroom, internships.
Applied to lots of different jobs, teaching postdocs at liberal arts, faculty at R1, UX at big tech company, research scientist at non-profit. Paid attention to what held a draw.
Started @ Joan Ganz Cooney Center impacting policy from 30,000 feet view, wanted next to get experience working on a specific project. Important to recognize that whatever you're trying now isn't something your locked into forever.
Any standout moments that led to the work you're doing now?
The interview process gave specific signal into whether community was energizing.
Unsuccessful job search led to postdoc with mentor Yasmin Kafai on e-textiles grants. Didn't get job at Cooney Center that Kiley did but DID get work from them doing a lit review with a colleague from a different grad school.
Sometimes saying NO is what leads you to your impact.
Echoes Wendy's point. Saying no clarifies priorities: I want to live in a particular place, I don't want to live away from my partner. Also echoes Kiley's point about gut checks.
How would you suggest going about finding opportunities to explore places of potential impact?
Try & apply to different things. Doing an internship during PhD program in a crisis led to connecting with a community of mentors and peers encouraging a networked, omnivorous mindset.
You need a lot of luck. The more that you try, the more opportunities you'll be able to grasp.
Sometimes the closed doors are powerful in opening up new opportunities.
Apply to jobs in places you might not have thought you would end up.
You might need to be more assertive than you would normally be, introduce yourself to people whose work you admire.
Relationships are important even if you have to foster them yourself.
Academic mentors are good at academia but you might have to look outside academia for people who can mentor you in other areas.
If you're following up on a connection, you may need to remind them how you connected before. You don't know where relationships will lead.
It might not be someone who is already in a position more advanced than yours. Might be another student or someone you met when you were both students.
How important were relationships to finding your opportunities? How did you navigate the awkwardness of asking for referrals or help finding positions? How did someone else extend an opportunity for you in a way that felt graceful?
Make connections BEFORE the exact opportunity is available. Don't wait until you see a particular job. Build relationships with people who are making the kind of impact you want. That feels more genuine.
Relationships start early and you don't know where they will lead.
Maintain connections with people mentors introduce you to.
Sometimes you connect over hobbies - people just approach me because I knit publicly.
Approach people with deep respect.
For Andres: How do you make an impact in the diverse Colombian context? How do you meet the expectations of your boss and your own expectations?
There is a shortage of resources in Colombia. It can be difficult to find research funding. At universities you need to start negotiating your agenda as a researcher and balance it with the teaching aspects. The emphasis here is more on teaching.
If you can create your own non-profit/institution, you will have more control over your own priorities because there's not a boss to tell you no.
What last thoughts or pieces of advice do you have for people wanting to find their place of impact?
Be open to new opportunities. Find ways to blend and combine your multiple interests. Carve out space to have more exploratory or informational conversations with people.
Reaching out early sets you up for having relationships and networks later.
Find the heart that keeps you going. You will have to do things that aren't part of your passion. You will find places where your passion stretches out beyond your job. You can't predict where things will happen.
Protect that heart. Find ways that feel authentic to you. Be open to places that will connect with it that you didn't expect.
Find communities whose interests and heart resonate with yours. As you join them and exchange ideas, you may find the pathway that connects your personal interests with the places that you can have an impact.
Be open to learning through the experience. Through the experience of getting somewhere you might find what fulfills you in an unexpected way.
Things will change and that's okay.
What's one thing you're looking forward to continuing or trying new as you navigate your path?
Supporting and studying K-12 computer science teachers without having prior experience in K-12. Advocating for them through publications and academia. Find ways to support them, their creativity & impact on students.
Alexis worked on hackathons including the Make the Breast Pump Not Suck hackathon (love it!) and others to bring people together to hack policy, services, & norms related to postpartum experience.
loves Alexis's work. Breast pumps are awful! Jean is director of CompSci equity project at UCLA. Jean taught high school & middle school English and social studies and got excited about critical pedagogy & addressing systemic issues.
Jean's research focuses on equity issues in computer science education.
Jean's recent research tries to elevate the voices of youth who have been pushed out of the world of computing and are experiencing their first computing class in high school.
How can we push the tech industry to recognize that they are responsible for the ethical implications of what they create? How can we get involved in changing this? Jean wrote a graphic novel called Power On about teens + CS & CS heroes addressing inequity.
Cliff works in teacher education and the same project as Jean, also with YR Media where youth produce and create media.
Cliff's work is at the intersection of computational thinking, critical pedagogy, and creative arts expression.
Marisa shares about porous authorship structures as opposed to the black box model of academic publishing.
Co-design process is reciprocal, traditional publishing is extractive.
Takeaways: Who are you trying to reach? Why now? Who is the right person to distribute the info? What kind of media does your audience consume? When?
Santiago asks what resources were helpful to panelists in beginning sharing beyond academia.
All the work from YR media is meant to be shared with the public. Research focuses on pedagogy, curriculum, and process.
Cliff makes it a point to present to educators, publish op eds, trade pubs.
It's important to consider the writing style in trade publishing & for non-academic audiences to make it readable, break the mold grad school may have pushed you into.
Have conversations about your work with people outside of your work and relationships and partnerships can develop. "Academia's not necessarily meant to get you to be a public intellectual." Read more journalistic writing, academics who write trade books
"Academia's not necessarily meant to get you to be a public intellectual." Read more journalistic writing, academics who write trade books.
Think about who surrounds you. Are you only talking to other academics? Don't drop your non-academic friends & family. Meet people outside academia.
Jean was an avid reader of graphic novels & manga but hadn't written one before and had to learn to write a comic script instead of description.
"Graphic Novel Writing for Dummies"-type resources can be helpful to learn how experts in the medium work (like Neil Gaiman or Superman writers).
Academic publishers often do a small run like 400 copies. Other outlets have wider reach.
Popular media is a lot of eyes if the people who you're trying to reach consume that outlet. "Where are people's eyeballs?"
There's value in directly impacting fewer people, too.
There's the question of impact and the question of scale and how you should negotiate that depends on the project and your goals.
For the Breast Pump hackathon, the goal was to change the narrative of breastfeeding from personal choice to structural one (importance of employment policies, healthcare) and prepped for communicating with the media.
Another goal was to change the culture of the media lab because the breastpump project wasn't future-focused enough or was too weird; deliberately targeted academic publishing as well to push back against that perception.
How do you balance the output demands & needs of academia/academic publishing with these non-traditional forms of sharing your work? How do you communicate the impact and value of this work within the academic context? How do we move past the h-index?
Why should I spend so much time on the peer review process? How deep is that impact? It can feel hard to justify but toggling or balancing and using academic vocabulary with peers can sharpen our thinking about those issues.
You can increase citations to underrepresented scholars and include voices from outside academia when you author academic work.
"Balance doesn't exist in my life right now... COVID has made things work."
Jean has an academic position as a researcher but steps of advancement aren't tied to tenure because the work is grant-based. Getting academic AND non-academic audiences excited about a graphic novel because it's based on research & translating research is important.
Getting academic AND non-academic audiences excited about a graphic novel because it's based on research & translating research is important.
I'm excited that my first, maybe only book, is a graphic novel because the kids in my family are reading it.
It's a graphic novel published by an academic publisher (MIT press).
We need to speak to academic audiences AND other audiences. Be intentional and strategic.
Being at a liberal arts institution is different than being at an R1. What department, school, or college you're in will affect what kind of output is considered as impact.
Some institutions will value podcasts and other media.
published an academic paper about the breastpump hackathon and followed that with a toolkit for people who want to host hackathons. It can be helpful to think through things as you write academic work and then leverage that thought process when writing popular work.
It can be helpful to think through things as you write academic work and then leverage that thought process when writing popular work.
What advice would you give to early career scholars who want to pursue academic careers and also sharpen their skills for creating art/writing outside academia?
You panelists are inspiring. Who inspired you?
Mike Rose from UCLA. Both Cliff & Jean had him as a professor. He translated academic knowledge to a mainstream audience. Cliff learned about the writing process from him.
How do I convey through storytelling the same message as research, but in a powerful, motivating, engaging way?
Mike was always practicing the art of beautiful writing. Every day he was writing on a yellow notepad with a pencil. It wasn't an egotistical, egocentric practice. He was thinking deeply about the people he had met & trying to convey their stories.
Artists we enjoy like David Bowie, Yayoi Kusama. Re-read books like you want to write - Jean re-read the March trilogy. Be inspired by the different ways a story can be told.
Catherine D'Ignazio (<3 Data Feminism)
Mitch Resnick & Natalie Rusk
Get in the habit of doing primary ethnography, engage with real people in real life that you're accountable to, transcribe your conversations with them, it's transformative for you as a speaker & them as a listener.
The Shakers thought about rendering their own religious views through arts, which is close to the practice of making public scholarship.
Ethan Zuckerman had students practice non-academic writing
Sarah Pink's Sensory Ethnography
The chat runs by much too quickly to scroll with it while presenting but I love the vibrance of #FanLIS2022 chat so I wanted to go through and respond to people’s comments from my presentation, in addition to answering direct questions. So here we go!
procrastination and indecision then instantaneous dissertation topic is such an adhd mood
I’m not diagnosed, but you’re not wrong.
YES. More studies on how fans express their fandom with their bodies, please.
I’m kind of curious to see how many Cosplayers base their information process on others'.
This is a great question. I only got at individual practices and how others' shared resources are an influence, not shared process, but I did have 2 participants collaborating on an epic Yuri On Ice wedding cosplay who used similar curation methods. I wonder if groups that frequently collaborate have more commonalities in their information practices.
I feel there is some modesty that comes with cosplayers and that would refrain them to define as creators
I think that’s right. They don’t necessarily identify as creators, though I did have 2 participants refer to themselves as “makers.” But whether they’d use the term or not, the position they put themselves in with both trial-and-error and documentation of their construction processes is information creators.
I was able to recover my Noter Live log, yay! I’ll go back and collect the tweets from after my reboot later.
has been joined by a cat. This is the most important thing to know about the FanLIS Symposium.
Every technology/platform seems to impose a taxonomy because you have to for organization.
sharing about visual/material design of fan-bound texts. I'm ([@KimberlyHirsh](https://micro.blog/KimberlyHirsh)) obsessed with the desire to make them look like books from a particular era (pulp, 80s or 90s mass market) and even distress them so they look used.
Fanbinders learn so many different skills related to design and craft.
In case it would help other people, here’s how I did it. I would have something that looked like this:
00:00:36.900 –> 00:00:40.560
Kimberly Hirsh (she/her): Do you agree to participate in the study and to have the interview audio recorded?
- Open the VTT file in my advanced text editor.
- Use the find and replace feature.
- For the thing to be replaced I use the regular expression
^[(\d|\n)].*$. You don’t need to know what a regular expression is. Just copy and paste that little code bit into the “Find” box.
- Make sure either “Regular expression” or “GREP” is selected.
- Click “Replace” to test it once and be sure if it works.
- If it works, click “Replace all.”
^\s*?\rin the “Find” box.
- Make sure the replace box is empty.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6.
7. Then switch so that “Extended” is selected instead of “Regular expression” or “GREP.”
\r\n\r\n in the “Find” box.
9. Put a single space in the replace box.
10. Repeat steps 5 and 6.
I hope this is helpful!
Fostering Information Literacy Through Autonomy and Guidance in the Inquiry and Maker Learning Environments - Koh et al, 2020
Koh, K., Ge, X., Lee, L., Lewis, K. R., Simmons, S., & Nelson, L. (2020). Fostering Information Literacy Through Autonomy and Guidance in the Inquiry and Maker Learning Environments. In J. H. Kalir & D. Filipiak (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2019 Connected Learning Summit (pp. 94–101). ETC Press.
This is a quick note that I’m really excited about this conference paper I found that builds a bridge between connected learning (my broad research interest) and information literacy (my specific disciplinary interest). I’m going to explore it more and dig into the connection later, but I’m psyched to find a new paper on this.
As we work on the Transforming Teen Services for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion project, one thing I have to be reminded frequently is that creating Connected Learning programming does not require providing for all three spheres: interests, relationships, and opportunities. Frameworks like Connected Learning begin as more descriptive than prescriptive: they say, “This is what’s been happening,” not “This is the only way to make it happen.” People like myself latch onto the aspirational qualities of this description and feel that if they can’t create a Connected Learning experience that encompasses the whole model, we shouldn’t even bother trying.
WE ARE WRONG.
Interests are the sine qua non of Connected Learning, so if librarians or educators start there by genuinely figuring out what youth are interested in and building their programming around that, they’ve gotten started in that direction. When CL happens spontaneously, the relationships and opportunities often come about through the course of the activity. When I started doing community theater as a teenager, I built relationships with peers and adult mentors and I had opportunities to learn things about theater production, to serve on non-profit boards, to act as a stage manager and a publicist. These aspects were not built into the environment explicitly for my benefit; they were natural byproducts of me participating in my interest.
So if you’re a librarian or educator considering implementing Connected Learning, please don’t be overwhelmed by the multiple spheres and various possibilities. If you’re building from youth interests, you can bring in the other components over time.
The creators of Project READY had the same problem: we shared frameworks that it’s easy to feel you must implement perfectly or not at all. We discussed Dr. James A. Banks’s framework for multicultural education, which has four levels of integration, ranging from the contributions approach (what we sometimes call the “heroes and holidays” approach to culture) all the way to the social action approach, in which students actually work to solve social issues. It can be easy to see models where youth contact government officials and make social change and think, “Well, I don’t have what I need to do that, so this model has nothing for me.” But there are two other levels in the model, the additive approach incorporating new multicultural content without changing curricular structure and the transformation approach which involves reshaping curriculum to center multiculturalism rather than adding it on. If your current approach is at the contributions level, moving to the additive approach is preferable to giving up on the whole framework.
As with improving the nutritional quality of your diet, adding more movement into your day, or any habit change, moving in the right direction is preferable to not moving at all. For example, if you learn you have some youth at your library interested in cosplay, maybe you start by hosting some simple no-sew project events. Then over time you can find out if there is a cosplay charity organization in your area and find out if any of those cosplayers would be interested in sharing their expertise, and the youth might build relationships with them as well as each other. And those cosplayers might then introduce the youth to opportunities like participating in contests or engaging in charitable cosplay themselves. You didn’t start with all three parts, but you moved in the direction of Connected Learning at each stage.
An undergrad sent me a message thanking me for my post A Start-to-Finish Literature Review Workflow and asked the question:
Is there an exhaustive way of making sure that the literature gap you have identified is genuinely a gap?
The short answer is, no. There isn’t. But there are ways to get close.
In my experience, the best way to begin is with a specific research topic in mind, but before you have fully developed a question. You get familiar with the literature using the tips from step 4 in my workflow: Identify potential literature.
- Consult with a trusted colleague.
- Search databases.
- Search Google Scholar.
- Follow citations backwards.
- Follow citations forwards.
After you look at the abstracts for these and eliminate the ones that are outside the scope of your topic, pay close attention when you’re doing your Abstract-Introduction-Conclusion extraction reading to suggestions for future research. In my experience, this is the most fruitful way to find gaps. Both my Master’s paper and dissertation research questions were suggested in the future research section of other scholars’ work.
As H. L. Goodall says in Writing the New Ethnography,
To locate a gap in any scholarly literature requires that you read a lot. (emphasis original)
Goodall offers some more specific advice as well:
- Start with the most recent literature.
- Notice which things are referenced repeatedly - the references all the most recent work has in common.
- Make a chart of names, relationships to institutions, and arguments.
- Look for patterns of citations, themes, and topics.
I don’t think I can give better advice than that. I’ll close out with more from Goodall:
You are reading for the storyline. You may not be sure what you are using it for, at least not yet. But that is all right. Be patient. Ideas, and uses for them, often take time.
You are also reading to find out what is collectively written about an idea, what individual voices have to say about that collective idea, and for an opening that you can address.
There’s no shortcut, I’m afraid. You have to jump into the literature before you know what the gap is. When everything you’ve read is referencing everything else, it’s safe to trust you’ve got a good sense of the topic and know where the gaps are.
More than a little psyched about Emily Vardell & Sarah Beth Nelson’s paper Teaching Reference Interview Skills with Improv.
How are you doing, Internet? I’m obviously Not Okay, with my mom having leukemia and all, but I’m trying to do things besides worry about her anyway. I’m doing pretty well at that.
Have we talked about how much I love working for the Connected Learning Lab? Maybe we have. I’ll say a little more about it anyway. I styled myself for this type of position throughout my PhD program, in spite of having no expectation that such a position would be available. I always live a better life when I just do whatever is interesting or exciting to me and let professional opportunities arise as they may. (Woo-woo types would say this is because my Human Design type is Projector and I would not argue with them.)
My job is to read about what’s making it hard for teen librarians to support connected learning in their libraries, interview them about it, analyze a bunch of data from my reading and interviews, and work with a team to develop tools to help teen librarians with this. It is dreamy as can be. Teen librarians (and librarians who serve teens and others as well) tend to be pretty awesome, based on my encounters with them. On their best days, they want to make space for what lights teens up. (On their worst days, I would guess they probably just want to go home. Being a school or public librarian is really hard as well as being rewarding.)
I do feel a need to figure out what’s next, which is why I’m doing Jen Polk’s PhD Career Clarity program. I wouldn’t have been able to pay for this as a student, but my consulting/content development work with Quirkos paid enough that I could actually afford it. Yay!
My previous explorations with ImaginePhD have indicated that writing, publishing, and editing is a good career family given my skills and interests, and I don’t disagree. I still find myself attracted to the idea of being a freelancer, so I’m doing some thinking and planning and learning about what that would look like. The ideal situation for me would either be enough consulting to cover the bills paired with writing as a creative outlet, or some sort of dream job instead of the consulting. I don’t think I want to depend on freelance writing for my income, but I do think I want to get words out of me and in front of human people.
Blogging even on days when I don’t have A Topic in mind is a gesture toward that. So is doing Morning Pages, and the Artist’s Way more broadly. (I’m still doing that at my very glacial pace.)
I’m reading through Joanna Penn’s Author 2.0 Blueprint and the posts and books she mentions in it. I’ll probably pick Bird by Bird up soon. I thought I’d read it before, but it’s not on my list of books I’ve read. I know I have a paperback copy somewhere but I think it’s lost in a pile of stuff in the attic, so I’m going to buy the ebook for my Kobo, too.
I definitely idealize writing as an art form. I don’t know a way around that, and I’m not sure I want to. I don’t have this idea of a person who spends all their time sitting in a garret writing, because as I learned when I was doing improv, you have to go experience life if you want to make art about it. (You could make art about sitting in a garret, I suppose.) When I watched Hamilton, the thing that stood out for me that for some reason had eluded me in listening was writing as a throughline in the whole story. The lyrics “I wrote my way out” and “Why do you write like you’re running out of time?” had made an impression, of course, but something about seeing it brought it out as bigger than a leitmotif. What’s bigger than a leitmotif? I don’t know. Something really big.
There was some other art that I was thinking about that has contributed to this idealization, but I don’t know what it is. Definitely the story of Donna Tartt spending so much time on her writing at Bennington College was part of it.
Anyway. I am unapologetically romantic about writing as art and craft, but very realistic about the ways in which it can be a career.
How are things going for you?
🔖 Read As We May Think by Vannevar Bush
This 1945 essay by Vannebar Bush is one of the first texts they had us read when I got my MS in Library Science.
Notes and highlights
A record if it is to be useful to science, must be continuously extended, it must be stored, and above all it must be consulted.
one needs not only to make and store a record but also be able to consult it,
every time one combines and records facts in accordance with established logical processes, the creative aspect of thinking is concerned only with the selection of the data and the process to be employed and the manipulation thereafter is repetitive in nature and hence a fit matter to be relegated to the machine
Whenever logical processes of thought are employed—that is, whenever thought for a time runs along an accepted groove—there is an opportunity for the machine.
There may be millions of fine thoughts, and the account of the experience on which they are based, all encased within stone walls of acceptable architectural form; but if the scholar can get at only one a week by diligent search, his syntheses are not likely to keep up with the current scene.
The human mind does not work that way. It operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain. It has other characteristics, of course; trails that are not frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not fully permanent, memory is transitory. Yet the speed of action, the intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring beyond all else in nature.
Bush points out that indexing systems and rules do not duplicate the human mind - we must convert our own mental associations to a form we can use to search them - but that the human mind works by association. I extrapolate from this the idea of hypertext as a model of how the mind works. I’m going to keep an eye out for other instances of this idea.
if the user inserted 5000 pages of material a day it would take him hundreds of years to fill the repository, so he can be profligate and enter material freely.
How many people use Evernote as a Memex?
When the user is building a trail, he names it, inserts the name in his code book, and taps it out on his keyboard. Before him are the two items to be joined, projected onto adjacent viewing positions. At the bottom of each there are a number of blank code spaces, and a pointer is set to indicate one of these on each item. The user taps a single key, and the items are permanently joined. In each code space appears the code word.
This is tagging.
There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record.
It me! This is kinda what people who operate as web librarians do. Web librarian isn’t my job title or description, but it’s just kind of who I am.
His excursions may be more enjoyable if he can reacquire the privilege of forgetting the manifold things he does not need to have immediately at hand, with some assurance that he can find them again if they prove important.
This is one of my difficulties. I put a lot of stuff in my blog-as-memex but don’t have a good way of surfacing them again. Theoretically I could do this with categories, but that gets overwhelming fast. This is why I’m thinking about using a blog and a wiki together for this purpose.
He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that record for his true good.
I fear this is so.
This is the fourth post in a series contextualizing my position as a researcher of connected learning.
Here are all the posts published so far:
- What Is Connected Learning?
- How Connected Learning Happens in Libraries
- Connected Learning in Libraries: Changes and Challenges
There are a number of opportunities for connected learning to grow in libraries. Here I’ll discuss some of them, beginning with the one most relevant to my current work.
Research-Practice Partnerships Research-Practice Partnerships allow library professionals to develop connected learning environments and programs in collaboration with researchers of learning and information sciences. The project I’m working on, Transforming and Scaling Teen Services for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (TS4EDI) is one such partnership. Myself and other researchers at the Connected Learning Lab, including PI Vera Michalchik and Research Manager Amanda Wortman, are working with state librarians in Rhode Island and Washington first to identify barriers and challenges to libraries creating CL environments and programs and then to develop resources to help library professionals overcome those barriers and challenges. The state librarians will recruit local public librarians in their state to be part of this partnership, and those public librarians will recruit youth to participate, as well. Other examples include the ConnectedLib project and the Capturing Connected Learning in Libraries project.
Brokering Youth Opportunities in Libraries Connected learning research over the past 10 years has highlighted the importance of caring adults or peers as brokers or sponsors for youth as they build their networks surrounding an interest. These brokers/sponsors can connect youth with other people and resources to help them expand their network and identify opportunities for learning and achievement related to their interest. Current research literature doesn’t explicitly offer guidance on brokering as a distinct activity, investigate the extent to which librarians currently act as brokers, or illuminate how youth may serve as peer brokers in the library setting. Research-practice partnerships and library professional-led professional development could address these questions.
Bringing Connected Learning to School and Academic Libraries So far, connected learning has been documented mostly in informal settings. A few studies have looked at connected learning in formal settings, but those tend to be individual classrooms rather than school or academic libraries. One area that offers potential for CL in these settings is the connection between interests and information literacy. This was the focus of my dissertation, in which I examined the information literacy practices of cosplayers. Cosplayers engage in connected learning as they learn about their interest, build relationships with each other, and find opportunities to contribute to the cosplay community or even become professional cosplayers. Throughout these elements of connected learning, cosplayers engage in information literacy, identifying resources, evaluating them, and even creating new resources. Because school and academic libraries are the primary center for information literacy education in their institutions and because they are not tied to a specific academic discipline, they have the potential to create opportunities for connected learning as learners build their information literacy practices.
That’s all for this series of blog posts, but I expect to write a lot more about connected learning through the course of my work at the Connected Learning Lab, so if you find this interesting, stay tuned!
This is the third post in a series contextualizing my position as a researcher of connected learning. Here are all the posts published so far:
- What Is Connected Learning?
- How Connected Learning Happens in Libraries
- Connected Learning in Libraries: Changes and Challenges
While libraries are poised to be environments conducive to connected learning, they may need to undergo further shifts to expand their support for connected learning. This involves a number of considerations:
Resources. Library professionals must consider not only physical and digital resources, but human resources as well - using “resource” to describe a person the same way we might use it to describe a book or a website. Library professionals can serve as a point of connection between learners, mentors, and other people in the environment beyond the specific context of the connected learning activities.
Technology and space. Current library policies may need to be updated to enable learners to engage in shared practices, socializing, collaborating, and publishing their work online.
Evaluation. Libraries have traditionally focused on quantitative measures of impact, such as how many people attended a particular program. These measures may not be sufficient to capture the impact of connected learning. Measures of connected learning need to capture the way learners move with their learning across settings beyond spaces controlled by the library; identifying specific desired outcomes can facilitate capturing evidence of and communicating the impact of a program. Qualitative data such as interviews or open-ended survey questions may capture this impact better than or alongside quantitative measures.
Role of library professionals. Library professionals must learn to consider themselves as sponsors and brokers of youth learning rather than mentors or authority figures. This means helping youth find other people and communities to support their learning and focusing on enhancing learning rather than enforcing behavior-based policies.
Program design. To create programming that fosters connected learning, library professionals may need to co-design with youth rather than deciding programming in advance and offering it to youth without their early input.
Competencies. The creators of the ConnectedLib project identified the following necessary competencies for library professionals to support youth’s connected learning:
- …they must be ready and willing to transition from expert to facilitator…
- …[they] need to apply interdisciplinary approaches to establish equal partnership and learning opportunities that facilitate discovery and use of digital media…
- …they should be able to develop dynamic partnerships and collaborations that reach beyond the library into their communities…
- …they should be able to evaluate connected learning programs and utilize the evaluation results to strengthen learning in libraries… (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 19)
Professional development. Library professionals often will not have been trained in these competencies during their education, so they may need to continue their own learning via in-house professional development, programs provided by professional organizations, open online learning resources, and formal educational experiences. The ConnectedLib toolkit is one example of an open online learning resource directed at meeting this need, while the University of Maryland’s Youth Experience In-Service Training is an example of a formal educational experience designed to build these competencies.
I identified these potential shifts to library practices in response to a number of challenges libraries face in developing and implementing connected learning programming, including:
Attracting teens to skill-building programming. For some advanced interest-based experiences, youth need a foundational set of knowledge. For example, to create a sophisticated video game, a teen would first need a foundational understanding of game design and computer programming. It is a challenge to attract novice learners to this kind of programming.
Working with technology. Library professionals may lack the digital tools they need due to library policy, may know how to design or facilitate technology-focused or -infused programming, or may not feel comfortable acting as effective digital media mentors.
Unfamiliarity with the Connected Learning model. Library professionals may struggle with integrating all the different spheres and elements of the model. They may not have the knowledge, skills, or training they need to successfully implement the model.
Culture clashes. Teen culture may sometimes clash with library culture, requiring library professionals to negotiate these conflicting cultures to create programming that has a strong impact in teens’ lives.
The next and, I think, final post in this series will address future directions for connected learning in libraries.
This is the second post in a series contextualizing my position as a researcher of connected learning. Here are all the posts published so far:
- What Is Connected Learning?
- How Connected Learning Happens in Libraries
The first element of connected learning is interest. Libraries explicitly support the exploration of personal interests in both their collections and their programming. The second element is relationships. Libraries are intergenerational spaces that can be (but aren’t always) inclusive of people from nondominant groups. Libraries can serve as a bridge that connects formal and informal learning. Libraries are increasingly spaces where youth can have shared experiences creating new knowledge. They are third places, neither school nor home, where youth can gather, connect around their shared interests, and meet adult mentors and sponsors who can help them leverage a variety of resources in pursuing those interests.
A note about third places in the time of COVID-19: For many of us (the luckiest among us, I would argue), there is only one place: home, which is also work, which is sometimes also school, which is also where we do whatever social activity we do. This is certainly true for me. That said, online library programming can act as a virtual third space, a place to go for something that isn’t all about home or work responsibilities. I’ll be interested to see how scholarship around this shift evolves. A quick search for “‘third places’ COVID” on Google Scholar demonstrates that scholars are already thinking about this, including in the specific context of public libraries. I am exercising extreme restraint to not jump down a rabbit hole of exploring that research right now.
There are some examples of connected learning happening in both public and school library spaces. If you’d like to explore them, here are some links:
- YOUmedia Chicago
- Young Urban Scholars book club
- An afterschool program for inner city, middle school students to imagine STEM’s relevance in their lives
- Hack the Evening
- Publications from ConnectedLib
The next post in this series will discuss some of the challenges of creating connected learning experiences in libraries and some shifts libraries may need to undergo to provide more connected learning experiences.
I start working remotely for the Connected Learning Lab tomorrow and while a lot of people are excited for me, most of them don’t actually understand what I’m going to be doing. So I’m writing a blog series that I hope will explain that somewhat, and this is the first post. If you’ve read my comps chapter on Connected Learning or seen my Connected Learning and the IndieWeb talk, some of this will be familiar.
Connected learning can be conceived of in three ways: as a type of learning experience that occurs spontaneously, as an empirically-derived framework for describing that type of experience, and as a research and design agenda aimed at expanding access to that type of learning experience. My brother-in-law, P., is actually a phenomenal example of a Connected Learner.
In high school and college, P. was interested in playing guitar. He started hanging out at a local guitar shop, connecting with a community there of peers and mentors. Through the connections he made, he was offered the opportunity to be lead guitarist for a tribute band, and that job took him all over the world. He has since embarked on a different but related career, working in media law. This area of law might not have been of interest to him if he hadn’t had experience working in the music industry.
That’s an example of a spontaneously occurring connected learning experience. From experiences like this, scholars have created a model to describe connected learning. This model includes three elements of connected learning: interests, relationships, and opportunities. P. was interested in music, built relationships at the guitar shop, and it led him to opportunities to perform as part of a working band and become a lawyer.
Image Source: The Connected Learning Alliance
This type of experience is easier to access with more financial and temporal support; the research and design agenda surrounding connected learning is an equity agenda that aims to broaden the availability of this kind of experience, making it possible for nondominant youth who might require additional support to access connected learning. One way to do that is to bring this kind of experience into public spaces serving nondominant youth - public spaces like libraries.
(1) the challenges library staff face in designing and implementing CL programming for underserved teens and the means for overcoming these challenges, (2) ways library staff can use evaluative approaches to understand youth needs in CL programming, and (3) the means of demonstrating the value of CL programs and building stakeholder support for increasing their scope and scale, particularly to serve equity goals.
The products of this research will include
training modules, guidebooks, mentoring supports, case studies, videos, practice briefs, topical papers, and blogs.
These are some of my favorite kinds of things to create, so I’m extra excited.
My next post in this series will talk about how Connected Learning is already happening in libraries, with some examples from actual libraries.
Thanks to Jennifer Polk’s co-working session, I made big progress on a paper revision today. 📝
I am making a few notes here now that I hope to turn into a longer post later. As I scrolled Twitter and read there what some colleagues have been working on, I started to feel my current post-PhD existential crisis take a new and unexpected shape: the shape of wishing I knew a way to stay in academia.
Here are the things that have kept me from pursuing an academic career after graduation:
- watching tenure-track colleagues be miserable
- lack of mobility (it would be very challenging to find a position, even tenure-track, that would be worth uprooting my family for, and I refuse to live apart from my family)
- being a mother (I also refuse to prioritize career over family)
- being chronically ill/variably disabled (I also refuse to prioritize career over health)
Here are the things that today appeal to me about academia:
- pursuing a research agenda that I design
That’s actually about it, and as a freelance academic/independent researcher, I can probably work out a way to do that but today it feels like it’s in conflict with everything else I’ve got going on.
Which is why I’m going to dive into the #motherscholar literature.
More on that later.
Meet the Southern librarians fighting for racial justice and truth-telling â Scalawag scalawagmagazine.org.
Read this because it’s on Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom’s Human-Information Interaction syllabus for this semester. (I like to look at updated syllabi for classes I’ve already taken to see what I might have missed recently.) Going to pull out a couple of quotes that stuck with me. I hope in time I’ll write a more robust response to this article.
The public rarely sees the many processes that happen behind the scenes at librariesâwhich cultural priorities inform decisions of what to include in a collection, or to digitize; which books to display; which films or speakers wind up on the calendarâall of these choices are determined by the priorities designated by the library leadership. And, of course, their biases play a part.
The ALA isn’t a worker’s union. It’s an association that includes everyone from paraprofessionals to directors of large systems. Several people told me that as library workers, they didn’t feel represented by the organizationâfar from it.