Saturday, September 24, 2005

But how do we check out books?

I spent yesterday helping a school librarian get started with her new automation system. She and another school librarian spent summer '05 doing the hard work that it takes to become automated. The instructions that accompanied her system were pretty good and when I got there yesterday, things were really in place. Barcodes were on the books. Patron barcodes were ready to go. Policies were all set. BUT, when the librarians had finished following the steps in the set-up manuals, they were stumped. 'What next?' 'How do we actually get going with the system?'

The instruction materials did not include the big picture. The step-by-step instructions were easy to follow, but the librarians didn't really know what they were doing as they followed them. Yesterday, when I went down to help out, we basically did some role-playing. Here's what to do when a patron wants to check out a book. Here's what to do when a book is returned. Here's how we can place a hold. Here's how a teacher can place a hold. Etc.

The librarian and I also talked about how-to get the word out about the new system to the students, teachers, and administrators at the school. And we agreed, as her experience with the shortcomings of the vendor documentation demonstrated, that she should emphasize how the system would help them with their assignments and jobs FIRST and then give some basic instructions to help them get started.

Emphasizing the context and the big picture seems like such an obvious thing, but it's amazing how often we overlook it and how often vendor documentation overlooks it, too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Just Use It!

Drawing her inspiration from the Nike "Just do it" philosophy, Mary Burns has written a thought-provoking article about technology training.

Rather than focusing on clicks and steps, Burns suggests that "a better model for technology in professional development is one that employs a “just enough” approach, focusing not on skills training but on curriculum, instruction and collaboration".

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Idea Generation

Martin Leith has put together a webpage with various idea generation methods. Some of them are probably too complicated for a brief workshop, but others could potentially be fun.

If we're doing technology training "in context"... not just demonstrating steps and clicks, but really allowing participants to consider the technology in context, these types of idea generation activities could be useful.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Making a deck of cards

Poor ol' PowerPoint gets a bad rap, but I have to admit that it really can be useful for trainers. Here's a new use idea -- mix some PowerPoint magic and some Word action and 'presto!' -- you've got a deck of cards!

A customized deck of cards could be a great way to add interactivity to a training session. Forget "Go Fish" and try "Put together the URL!" or maybe "Sites to Evaluate". What are some other innovative ways that a customized deck of cards could be used?

Welcome to Librarians with Class. The purpose of this blog is to share ideas with librarians who are doing technology training classes. Thank you for visiting!