I write my reflection between conference sessions at the American Library Association Convention 2013 in Chicago. Traveling yesterday was grueling due to traffic jams, flight delays, crowded elevators, and confusing bus shuttles. I finally made it to my hotel, extremely hungry and exhausted. As I turned on my digital device to check the #clmooc, I realized how easy it is to learn through online virtual connectivity. Although I enjoy attending and presenting at conferences where I can network with colleagues face-to-face, the rising costs of travel make it difficult and I spend hours and hours to get to a session where I listen to a colleague thinking I should get the name so we can connect online.
I started thinking of the inevitability of virtual connected learning due to the
1. Cost effectiveness
2. Time saving
3. Personal intense learning
4. Global connections
5. Efficient (No sore feet from walking miles and miles through a convention center. I say that as someone who loves hiking.)
So now, in a beautiful ballroom at the convention, I sit anxiously awaiting a speaker who is “the father of virtual reality”- Jaron Lanier. I will revisit this post after his speech. Lanier wrote “You are Not a Gadget” which is on my list of cyborgs-beware reading (along with Nicholas Carr, Sherry Turkle and others). While I embrace a positive attitude toward the future, I have uneasy feelings about our rush to plunge into digital culture without the skills needed to survive.
Perhaps a metaphor I could use as an information literacy librarian would be my role as “deep sea diving trainer”. Surviving the sea of chaos requires some life-saving skills.