23 Nov 2011

Information Literacy and the iPad

The academic library where I am currently employed in Sydney is trialling the iPad over the upcoming semester for use by its campus librarian and its liaison librarians for the purpose of aiding in information literacy. There are a few notable ways in which they hope the iPad can help to provide a better information literacy service:

Teachable Moments: The current generation of students have come to expect answers to their questions now, rather than in a few minutes once a PC has been found and loaded and information retrieved. The teaching and service done in  libraries often don’t happen at scheduled times. More likely they happen when the librarian is walking across the floor and a student asks for help. They can look on while the librarian accesses the information and they see how it’s done. If a librarian can answer a student’s question when and where it’s asked, then they can take advantage of that teachable moment. A tablet device is likely to become an essential tool of any roving reference service.

Exploiting the iPad's Camera: The iPad2 has a camera on it which can be used by the librarian to scan QR codes from around the library and very quickly get to content to help students. The benefits of this are not just in the speed of accessing content for students it is also in the demonstration of the Liaison Librarian making effective real world use of new technologies in a public space where other students can see this. It has the desired effect of showing students that librarians are approachable, can get your answer quickly, and know what they are doing with technology. An example of this would be firstly scanning the Library Guides QR codes on the end of the shelf bays to show a student the relevant subject guide and what they might find in this area.

Showcasing eBooks: The iPad make an ideal platform to showcase library eBooks to academics and students. Netlibrary titles and EBL titles both use Adobe DRM and can be showcased on the iPad. Ebrary titles can also be linked to and viewed on the iPad.

As iPads become increasingly used in higher education, one can only expect the use of them by information literacy librarians to increase.


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