The GLEAN Revolution Continues
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New GLEAN UI: Skillport 8

The GLEAN revolution continues on July 14, 2014. With a redesigned modern user interface, GLEAN will provide streamlined access to courses, books, and videos, tablet optimization so you can learn on the go, and improved community functionality for interacting with your colleagues. Register today and step into the future. The new frontier in library learning awaits.

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COSLA Receives Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Award for Continuing Education (CE) Connector Project
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Lexington, KY – The Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) recently received a grant award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the Continuing Education (CE) Connector Project. This project has two goals: greater shared development and delivery of CE more ยป

It’s Gonna Be May
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I can't resist a good meme.  Yes, I'm late, but that's the story of my life.  Anyhow, on to the goods.  

May is always a busy time for public libraries.  For some of us, activities related to closing out the fiscal year loom ominously around the corner.  Others among us find their hands trembling with fear and excitement as they gear up for summer reading programs.  More still are taking stock of their continuing education and crunching the numbers to see if they have enough contact hours to renew their librarian certification.  Even though right now you May not (lame pun intended, thank you very much) have time to scour through the awesome entirety of GLEAN's catalog to find resources that fit your fancy, we’re leveraging the wisdom of crowd to give you a short list of programs that you can access to continue learning and growing.  

What’s New in GLEAN?

In the Recently Added folder (Catalog–>Just for Libraries–>Recently Added), you’ll find six new webinar archives from our partners over at InfoPeople:

 

Top Lynda Courses

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GLEAN Goes Mobile; Oil Change Optional
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Kia_Sedona_LX_SWBThis past Saturday, I found myself stuck at the car dealership.  My wife’s van was several hundred miles overdue for an oil change, the breaks were squealing, and starting about a month ago, we noticed that the transmission was occasionally hard shifting.  I met with a service advisor upon arrival, and after explaining the situation to him, he escorted me to the customer lounge.  As he turned to leave, I noticed him shake his head ever-so-slightly, his body language communicating what his mouth could not: “Dude, it’s the busiest day of the week.  You’re going to be here for a while.”  To say that I had a little extra time on my hands would be an understatement.
 

There are a few things I never leave home without: my wallet, my keys, and my portable devices.  Armed with my Lumia 820 (I happen to really like Windows Phone 8, thank you very much), iPad, and an unhealthy addiction to learning and information, I’m never afraid of idle time.  Bring it.  Naturally, with a couple of hours to kill at the dealership, I immediately hopped into learning mode.  What do I feel like exploring today?  It’s always the first question into my guided inquiry for constructively beating boredom.

GLEAN

That was the answer.  I wanted to take the upgraded version of GLEAN for a spin, and thanks to the mobile compatibility introduced with the Skillport 7.3 upgrade two weeks ago, I could now do that from a portable device.  For clarification, Skillport is the name of the learning management system that serves as the backbone of GLEAN.

I first tried accessing GLEAN from my Lumia via Internet Explorer.  It didn’t work.  However, when I attempted to log in from my iPad via Safari, I was taken to an aesthetically pleasing, albeit minimalistic mobile log in screen.  After entering my user name, password, and allowing pop ups, I was in Skillport Mobile.  I absolutely had a geek moment in the customer lounge, nerd laughing out loud and excitedly explaining to woman sitting next me that I was learning on the go.  She kind of smiled and nodded and went back to watching the X Games.

 

SearchSearch screen in Skillport Mobile.  It's a little naked.

The first thing I noticed was how bare it all was.  There is a search bar along the top and icons for Search, My Feed, My Plan, and My Progress along the bottom.  The rest of the screen is empty real estate to ensure fast operation.  With there being no option to browse the catalog from here, I entered in a test search term, marketing.  Even on a somewhat sluggish wifi connection, the 4624 results came back quickly.  Most importantly, the books, courses, briefs, and videos that the search retrieved are mobile-compatible by default.  If you want to see all of the content that fits your search – both mobile and non-mobile ready – just hit the Actions button and then Show All.  I went from having 4624 results to 5062.

Search ResultsMuch of GLEAN's content has been optimized for mobile; just look at all of those search results.

Accessing content was also simple.  For example, I was interested in trying out a course to see how it would behave on my iPad.  I expanded Courses from my results list and selected Marketing Essentials: Marketing and Ethics.  At the course overview screen, I was greeted with a description and also given the options to view course topics (called Section Hits), add it to My Plan, or play the course.  I decided to push play.  The class loaded into a sleek player that filled my screen when in landscape mode.  Although the course is the exact same version that you’ll get by using GLEAN on a desktop computer, I found that it just looks better and feels more intuitive on my iPad. 

Course PlayerDear Course Player: We like big buttons and we cannot lie.

Watching a video and reading a book were child’s play, because of the unified interface of Skillport Mobile.  Books 24×7 content is folded so neatly into the mobile experience that if you’re not a frequent GLEAN user, you might think that Books 24×7 was gone completely.  This is because you can view a book or video through Skillport Mobile without having to access Books 24×7 separately.  The players for videos and books are not as sleek as the course player, but they are functional and work flawlessly with touch.  You can even listen to audio books now without having to download them to a computer first.  Just do a search for “audio edition”, find something to listen to, and stream away.

Book The book viewer is woven seamlessly into the mobile interface.  

The three hours I spent waiting for my wife’s van to be serviced flew by.  I finished half of Marketing Essentials: Marketing and EthicsI listened to chapter one of Breaking Out: How to Build Influence in a World of Competing Ideas.  I even learned about AirDrop for iOS 7.  I was so stoked from geeking out on GLEAN’s newest feature that I forgot to feed myself before going home.  My wife couldn’t figure out why I was so happy when I walked in the house, but it didn’t take her long to realize why.  A few minutes later, she comes into the kitchen to discover me with my 15 month-old son on my lap holding my iPad.

“OK, son, you gotta check this out.  GLEAN is freaking awesome.”

Have you had an opportunity to try GLEAN on an iPad, Android device, or Blackberry?  If you need help, download the quick start guides for using Skillport Mobile on a tablet or smartphone.  What has been your experience?  How do you plan on taking advantage of learning on the go?

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A Novella for November
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Hello, strangers.  It’s been a while since my last update.   Between any of my four kids getting sick, aggravating my sciatica, and visiting individual library systems to present at staff development days, having a moment to sit down and write has been impossible.  However, I’ve decided to make it a priority today to fill you in on a few GLEAN updates that excite me.  My selfish hope is that my learning geekdom is as contagious as my baby’s cold, and will spread on to you.  You know I like giving stuff away.

I’ll start by celebrating our early success with GLEAN.  October was our busiest month to date bringing in over 4,000 logins, 350+ course completions, and bumping our year-to-date cumulative system usage to over 1,400 hours of learning, which does not include Lynda.com use, or time I spend administering the system.  I’ve seen some successful e-learning program launches during my career, but ours is by far the strongest yet.  I admit that I’m biased, but the reality is that Georgia libraries have staffs that not only promote lifelong learning, but also practice what they preach.  We also opened up GLEAN to others in the library community during October, and I’m happy to see our K-12 library peeps, academic library staffers, and our partners at GALILEO coming on board.

November brings along even more changes.  The Skillport learning management system (georgialibraries.skillport.com), which is the backbone of GLEAN will be getting an upgrade before the end of the month.  While the end user interface will not change much, major improvements are being made to the backend that will enhance the system’s functionality.  Primary among these enhancement will be that the Skillport 7.3 upgrade will bring mobile optimization to the site.  I won’t go into all of the details here, but be on the lookout for me to host a few online overviews of the enhancements in the upcoming weeks.

We also have some updates to courses in our catalog.  First and foremost, I have finally fixed the ABLE courses the Idaho Commission for Libraries, so that they report completions properly.  If you are unfamiliar, these are excellent primers for people who are new to libraries or who have not attended library school, and the courses cover technical servicescollection development, and public services.  I’ve emailed the 400+ people who were enrolled in the problematic ABLE courses earlier today with instructions on how to rectify their completion statuses. 

I have also listened to an excellent suggestion from a colleague of mine at the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.  She asked if it was possible for GLEAN users to receive notification of new “just for libraries” learning assets that have been inserted to the catalog.  While I currently do not have that capability, I have created a Recently Added folder to the Just for Libraries portion of the catalog, so that you can see only items that have been placed in GLEAN during the last 30 days.  New to the catalog this month with more to be added in the upcoming days are select sessions from the Library 2.013 Conference and a Carterette Series Webinar hosted by the Georgia Library Association.  These sessions are:

Librarians in the 21st Century (60 minutes)

Best Practices for Serving Non-English Speaking Hispanics in the Public Library Setting (41 minutes)

7 Ways Public Libraries Can Impact Student Learning (30 minutes)

Leveraging Visual Literacy for Communication (60 minutes)

I’ll end on a personal note by sharing my current Lynda.com playlist devoted to creating interactive e-books.  As a content creator (course developer, aspiring videographer, and web design tinkerer), I’m always looking for new ways to share ideas and promote learning without boring the crap out of people.  Interactive e-books have been on my radar for some time, and now that we have access to Lynda.com, why not turn interest into action?

So ends my novella for November.  Back to adding courses to GLEAN.   

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Getting Started With GLEAN
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This presentation provides an overview to using GLEAN, the Georgia Library Education Access Network, for Georgia's library staff. Learn what you can expect to find in GLEAN, how to use portions of the system to manage your learning, how to contribute to community discussions, and how to take your learning on the go. 



Presentation developed by Karen Douglas from original source files created by Jay Turner.
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BOGO
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GLEAN for the Masses!
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GLEAN login 3_veatch_edits061213

You may have heard the buzz surrounding GLEAN — the Georgia Library Education Access Network — Georgia Public Library Service’s one-stop shop for continuing education and training, launched to public library staff across the state in July and offering self-paced courses, professional development ebooks, instructional videos, library-specific content, and a social networking utility for library staff to learn from, and with, each other.   Beginning October 10, 2013, GPLS invites all active staff of Georgia’s K-12 public school libraries, academic libraries serving Georgia’s not-for-profit colleges and universities, and employees of GALILEO to engage with Georgia’s public library staff by joining the GLEAN community!

To get in on the fun, beginning October 10th, just visit the CE page on GPLS’s website at georgialibraries.org/cetraining/ and click the “Request an Account” link under the Access GLEAN heading.  Be sure to browse the blog posts  while you’re there for the latest and greatest news in library learning.  There is even a GLEAN preview while you can watch while waiting for access to open on October 10th.  You may also see the GLEAN FAQ for more details about all GLEAN has to offer. 

I will be presenting an informative session, GLEANing the Riches of Continuing Education with GPLS at COMO on October 10 at 2:30pm.   Consider attending my presentation to learn the myriad ways you can use GLEAN to support your personal and professional development goals.

Hope to see you at COMO – or in GLEAN – on October 10th.

 

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Finally, A Date With Lynda
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You know you've been eagerly anticipating this moment with baited breath for several months; now, that moment is almost here.

But first, the bad news.

The bad news is that I can't promise you a hot date with a woman named Lynda.  

The good news, however, is that I can do something even better.  GPLS is going to hook you up with the highly-acclaimed, smoldering Lynda.com library for the low-low price of free ninety-nine  That's right, beginning September 26, 2013, free access to Lynda.com will become available to public library staff with “active” GLEAN accounts.  

Active GLEAN users will be invited by email to accept a license to Lynda.com, which will give learners the ability to take more than 2,000 courses and 100,000 videos on a broad range of subjects, including business skills, photography, design, music and video, home computing, animation, and web design and development. New courses are added every week.

Log in to the Lynda.com library 24/7—even from your iPhone, iPad, Android device, or mobile phone—and watch entire courses or single tutorial videos as you need them. Exercise files let you follow along with the instruction as you learn, and bookmarks help you keep track of what you’d like to watch.

Learn something new or brush up on essential skills with Lynda.com, the latest addition to GLEAN!

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In the Future, I Will Have a Mind-Controlled Tail, I Won’t Own My Data, Robots Will Have Rights, and I Will Admit Myself to Detox Regularly
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOK, so maybe all of those things won't happen, but according to Stacey Aldrich, Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Education Office of Commonwealth Libraries – and futurist to boot! – these are areas that we library folks should be watching (with the Google Glasses none of us can afford).  I recently had an opportuity to hear the effervescent Aldirch deliver an amazing keynote address to state library CE coordinators from across the country and in her thought-provoking discourse, entitled Future Forward, she offered a glimpse into early signals that we are seeing now that may intimate sweeping changes to come.  After beginning her speech with an assumption-challenging and somewhat eerie story that paints a vignette of a possible future, Aldrich mapped out four areas she believes that libraries should be closely monitoring, as they may have implications for our future.  These four areas are:

1.  Wearable Technology: Wearable tech has been on an upswing in recent years, as devices have become more comfortable to wear and less distracting to the fashion-focused among us.  While Google Glasses might not be in the immediate future for many of us, we see people rocking a Fit Bit all the time or have seen commercials for a certain insurance company that might be able to lower your insurance rate if you provide a thirty-day snapshot of your driving habits.  Aldrich believes that while wearable tech can give us large amounts of relevant data about our behaviors – and can ultimately help us change our behaviors by having an instant feedback loop – there will be significant issues in the future related to privacy and who owns the data.

2.  Robots:  Robots have been working alongside man for decades, but rapid advances in computing are enabling robots to perform more cognitive tasks that previously could only be done by humans.  Humans are offloading a range of tasks to robotic assistants, ranging from using robots to sort, shelve, and retrieve books to serving as highly specialized operating aids in the surgery suite.  Aldrich believes that the game changer will be the realization of artificially intelligent machines, although that time may be decades away.  Can we say robot rights, everyone?

3.  Transhumanism:  This is the intersection of man and machine, in which mechanical parts are used to replace or enhance human organs or appendages.  Advances in science and engineering have brought about better prosthetics and even the ability to 3D print a human ear.  Along with the improvements, however, has come debate surrounding the morality of engineering people and heated discourse in some communities surrounding the possibility that prosthetic limbs may produce a competitive advantage.  According to Aldrich, there may come a time in the not-so-distant future when people will be able to choose the installation of augmented body parts for personal gain.  As an aside, if you’re thinking about what to get me for my birthday, I’ll take a Shippo, please.

4.  Tech Detox:  There is a wave of people who are electing to temporarily disconnect and unplug from technology in an attempt to better manage information overload or to reconnect to important people in their lives.  Cottage industries are popping up because of this, such as secluded retreats that bill themselves as tech detox zones.  Libraries of the future might have tech free areas in the building that promote self-reflection or face-to-face communication with others. 

This quick summary does no justice to Aldrich’s exceptional keynote address; however, as a total dork with an interest in technology and a love of libraries, I thought I’d share.  What signals are you seeing on the horizon that may have implications for libraries?  I’d love to hear them.

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