Friday, 22 June 2012

Study Visit Participation

A poster detailing the visit
During May, I spent a week in Warsaw, Poland, on a Transversal study visit. The visit was funded by the EU and focused on ‘new media in education and theprofessional development of librarians’. Each year, hundreds of places are offered on study visits through the Ecorys / Transversal programme. To qualify, participants must live within an EU country and work in adult education. On this particular visit, there were 13 participants from Iceland, Spain, Italy, France, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Aruba, Bulgaria, Romania and the UK. The types of libraries represented included college, university, medical, school, public and national.

I was thrilled to discover my application had been successful, but as the time grew nearer I became increasingly nervous; being very under-travelled, I was worried about travelling alone with a language barrier.  A member of the college Estates department is Polish and gave me a basic language lesson which helped put me at ease.
During the visit, each participant gave a 30 minute presentation outlining the educational system in their home countries, as well as the organisation of libraries services. It was interesting and reassuring to realise that, despite living in different countries and working in different types of libraries, librarians throughout Europe face the same issues. We were able to exchange elements of good practice and useful connections were made.

We visited Warsaw University library, the National Library of Poland, a pedagogical library and a media/education library. Presentations we attended included innovative use of Moodle by the university library to offer a national, self-directed, online course in librarianship, the EU’s eTwinning project and asession from Poland’s professional association for librarians. The most valuable part of the week, for me, was the tour of the National Library. This included admission to the high security, restricted access area of the library’s digitisation programme, and in one of the reading rooms I even found copies of CILIP Update! On a more practical level, workshops were held which involved the creation of screencasts, interactive quizzes on Moodle and the use of digital storytelling software. I hope to apply these newly acquired skills to the library I work in, in order to create resources to embed into the library's blog.

In addition, we managed a little time for sight-seeing. We enjoyed a guidedtour of Warsaw’s beautiful Old Town district and another of
Łazienki Park, where wesaw the royal palace and the Chopin monument. In order toget a flavour of the vicinity, we used the local public transport network tonavigate the city and ate in a number of different eateries.

Overall, the study visit was very intense with the daily itinerary lasting from 9am – 10pm, but it was an amazing experience. I studied hard, learnt lots and laughed loads. During our farewell meal, I recall looking along the table at all these people who had come together from various nations and different backgrounds, all laughing and talking together with a common goal; it was a privilege to explore another country whilst spending time with people from different cultures, and it was an experience I shall long remember.

Before, during and after the study visit, we used a blog to communicate and post photos etc. This is the site to go to if you'd like to read about the study visit in more detail. 

If you've stuck it out and read this far - hurrah! - you are to be congratulated as the best is now to come: This short video was the result of a 30 minute workshop in using digital storytelling software. It is amateur-ish and amusing in its naffness, but it was fun to create and I'm pleased with it for a first attempt. (Please excuse the dialogue - being the only native English speaker on the visit meant having to speak more slowly than I usually would.)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cara

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