New Words and Workstation Lockdown

Library 2.0, the New Coke? In this discussion about Library 2.0 and branding, satirical or not, I want to point to one of Bruce Sterling’s talks about the naming of things and his new word spime. Worth a read, if you haven’t seen it already.

There’s an interesting discussion going on about the use of software to control student computers in the comments section of this post on Information Literacy and Instruction at Information Wants to be Free. I’ve taught both with and without that type of software, and I was happy when we reconfigured the classroom where I work to allow me the option to choose if I wanted to lock student workstations during a presentation or not. Originally we just had software that would broadcast what was happening on the instructor’s screen to the student workstations. We didn’t have a projector and screen in the room, so using the software was my only option if I wanted to demonstrate any of the library databases. Since I have the option of using a projector now, I only tend to use the lockdown software at the beginning of class. I don’t care if students surf the web if they come to the library a couple minutes early, so taking over the students computers is a quick way of focusing attention and announcing that class is going to start. Then I’ll tend to point out a few features on the library web page and then release the computers when I start to show students the library databases. I like to incorporate as much hands-on time as possible in my library classes, so mostly I prefer to use the projector so students can follow along with what I’m doing or try their own searches. There’s enough room that I can walk around to see what students are doing, and I don’t need to take over the computers to keep people on task. I can see how the lockdown software would come in handy if your classroom is configured in a way that makes it very difficult to walk around, or if you need to do more of a straight lecture with less hands-on time. I like having both options.