Walsh, Andrew (2009) If they won’t turn them off, we might as well use them: Using mobile 'phones in information skills sessions. In: LILAC 2009, 30th March - 1st April 2009, Cardiff. (Unpublished)

Librarians have often been enthusiastic users of web 2.0 technologies as they’ve been introduced, though there seem to be more web 2.0 librarians around than web 2.0 libraries! Many of these technologies, including social networking sites and blogs are easy to post to via mobiles, but the mobile libraries (m-libraries) concept seems at present to be biased towards mobile technologies that need high end mobiles or PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) to work or are part of research projects that have required significant time and funding to set up.
As mobile phone usage approaches 90% (87.7% of over 15s – Mintel, October 2007) with more than 116.5 ‘phones per 100 people in the UK at the end of 2007 (http://www.cellular-news.com/story/30548.php) it seems a waste not to take advantage of some of the most basic and ubiquitous features of these ‘phones – voice calls and text messaging (SMS). Most users are happy using these basic services whereas fewer use the mobile internet, email or MMS services that most m-libraries ideas utilise (99% make calls, 95% send texts, 35% mobile internet, 18% use email, 47% MMS – Mintel, October 2007). Calls and text messaging are normally covered by set amounts of “free” minutes and texts for contract (rather than pay as you go) users, making calls and texting a cheap and attractive way of using mobiles in our teaching.
This session will cover services including Moblog (a mobile blogging service), Twitter (a microblogging service) and Gabcast (a social broadcasting / podcasting / audioblogging platform) that can use text messaging or voice calls and can be used to aid discussion or feedback in information skills sessions. The talk will include practical examples of how the speaker has used these at the University of Huddersfield and give an opportunity for attendees to try out at least one of these services. Mobile ‘phone use will be encouraged in the session (signal strength permitting!) and attendees may be asked to register for one or more of the services beforehand.

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