June 22, 2016
This month I published an article in Principal magazine, “Fill Up Your Digital Toolbox.” Based on the idea that flipped learning requires digital tools to be used at home, the article begins with one key element: Evaluate your library program.
Better use of print and digital resources extends curriculum tools beyond the bricks and mortar. Certified library staff support the curriculum through the training of both students and teachers. The approach is cost effective and assists the community in the achievement of its goals.
From having enough staff and money to evaluating databases and whether teaching time is provided for their instruction, I think you’ll find the article to be a good talking tool for a conversation with your shareholders. The key to a good flipped learning program is not the tools themselves. It’s the outcome of using them. We shouldn’t use apps just to be using apps. Just like in the movies, what is our motivation? If you don’t have staff and resources to train your patrons or students, these amazing resources become under-utilized.
The article goes on to broach the subject of best instructional and informational resources. You’ll find these to be mostly-free and all vetted. I’ve included AASL’s Best Websites and Apps–look for the new winners to announced at ALA this weekend. Use these resources and the strategies for utilizing your own databases for gaining ground with your colleagues. I can’t tell you the number of times people have literally clapped when I demonstrated some of these resources. You can be the Super Hero of your institution in just a 5-minute demo. Ask your administration for 5 minutes at every staff meeting to share a tech tip. Give them one site or app and 4 ways to integrate it. Establish yourself as the go-to person for valuable resources and their integration. Perhaps you can make a screencast of what you do and build a YouTube channel. (Do it once and use it over and over.)
The article concludes with how to make better use of technology and how to make better use of what you have. Develop a plan for ways you can better curate your websites. How can you stretch your time? Maybe you can’t physically get to every student, but you can make a LiveBinder, a Symbaloo, or a screencast. Use technology to advertise what you do. Allow it to help you go beyond the bricks and mortar. Not for the sake of “I have it. I might as well use it,” but for the fact that today’s libraries are a different brand than your grandma’s. Not everyone knows that. It’s your job to tell them.
Let me know how you share the article with your administration. We’d love to know what your results are. Do tell.