When David first contacted me, his course syllabus wasn't posted yet. What I knew was his students were expected to "learn about digital literacy by exercising digital literacy".
About 20 emails later, David and I settled on these points for my talk:
- My personal reasons for blogging
- My thoughts on the event to introduce senior citizens to blogging
- The digital/ Web 2.0. experiments my librarian colleagues and I have experimented with in trying to reach and engage the younger generation
The third point's quite straight-forward. I share about the NLB blogs, online chat sessions for teens like this and this one, or via videoconferencing, or getting teens to express themselves via digital mediums.
For the first point, David elaborated that I could share how I used my blogs (in his words) "as a portal to [my] professional life" -- how I've used it to advertise events about the library, get feedback, and network professionally.
Here's a possible discussion topic -- I was thinking that all this "Web 2.0." stuff seems to lead us towards an inevitable meshing of our personal and professional lives. From my perspective, if we intend to use social networking platforms for professional work, it's not 100% possible (or desirable) to keep our personal lives completely removed from the professional domain. But it doesn't mean we lose total privacy either.
My main premise is that effective social networking requires us to reveal some parts of the Person, and not just the Employee. But I need to think about this further. Need to think of some concrete examples to share.
For the second point on senior citizens and blogs, David remembered a blog post on how Chun See and I introduced blogging to senior citizens in 2006. He also had an impression that that the idea of using blogs to capture the stories of senior citizens came from the prime minister of Singapore.
After some digging around, I realised David was referring to PM Lee Hsien Loong's 2006 National Day Rally speech. Specifically, on page 21, para 4:
"The young, even children, have blogs and some of the blogs are quite good. ... ... Old people also put up blogs. This one is called Bullockcartwater, ngau che soi (牛车水). So writing about the neighbourhood, festivals, food, the people, the activities, the place, the ties that bind us to Singapore."David's main idea was to use this point to introduce the idea of "cultural differences" online.
He explained that it was difficult for a 20 year-old USF student (or anyone else) to imagine what it was like "to use Facebook as a Brazilian, or blog as a disabled person, or email as an Australian". But there were observable differences between the online
activities and comfort levels between a 20 year-old and a 70 year-old for instance.
In addition, he has hopes that his younger students might one day plan for a similar talk or workshop, using blogs or digital media to bridge the generation gap. For this part, I hope to get inputs from people like Chun See and Wee Kiat, and the folks at Yesterday.SG.
I appreciate David taking time to exchange ideas on the content of my session. There are clear goals in terms of the talk should achieve.
David has advised me to plan for a 45 minute talk and leave time for Q&A. I've chunked my content into these main segments:
- My perspective on using new media for personal & professional work (15% of my talk)
- How the Public Libraries in Singapore are using new media to target the children, teens, adults and senior adults (30%)
- Context of Senior Citizens in Singapore; Using digital media to reach this group; Issues, challenges, opportunities (30%)
- "Putting it all together" - Senior Citizens in Singapore, Digital Media, Role of Public Libraries (25%)
Maybe David's students would find their way to this post and leave comments -- on what they'd like to know, what they already know, questions or comments from what they have already heard from other speakers etc. It might help me refine the talk so that they'll get more out of it.
Anyway, my sense is that a good talk is not in the amount of information conveyed. It's how the speaker makes meaning for the audience, from all the information gathered and presented.
That is the hard part (but also the most fun, for me).
[Continued: Part 3]