Differentiated instruction (differentiated learning) involves providing students with different avenues to acquiring content; to processing, constructing, or making sense of ideas; and to developing teaching materials so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of differences in ability. Wikipedia This doesn’t just apply to school libraries – Any libraries where instruction is a part of your mission, you need to learn to differentiate learning. “DEVELOPING TEACHING MATERIALS SO THAT ALL STUDENTS WITHIN A CLASSROOM CAN LEARN EFFECTIVELY” This includes teaching patrons how to best use the resources that we offer them.
Before you even get started: We live in an age that says that user manuals are for suckers But they are produced for a reason In that poorly written book (or website), is a world of knowledge that you may need to know – and you don’t want to be flipping through for it later. Read everything you can About your services that you offer About the devices that can be used About other libraries that have used the same system!
Once you’ve read everything practice with whatever you have at hand. You don’t need lots of fancy devices to see how it works. You don’t need to try every type of book with every device Share what you’ve learned with others and they’ll share with you … practice, practice, practice With books from every resource With every format With every device that you can
These are one of the most common types of instruction available to libraries. Classes come in two (2) types: Interactive and Lecture Interactive Pros Great if you have a computer lab Great if you have devices to share People are more engaged and learn better if they can follow Cons Not everyone starts at the same level It’s hard to follow along and work at the same time Be prepared for chaos Lecture Pros Easy to control No extra technology necessary Cons 1. Some patrons won’t learn as well
Have you considered one-on-ones? Pros Patrons with laptops walk away with everything downloaded Everything is customized to the patron – mac/pc, you can add linked bookmarks You get to go at the patron’s pace Everything is hands on Patrons feel special Great for patrons who are not good with computers They help patrons to get to know staff one-on-one – creating bonds and more engaged library users Cons This takes a lot of staff time and energy Staff have to be prepared to deal with anything, including computers and devices that they have never seen
These are some of the most common tools that you’re find. They can be handed to patrons – no extra help needed They can be posted online They can be given out in classes - You can have one type of print tool or many, for one resource, or them all put together
I tend to pish-posh the materials given to me by the manufacturer of my digital resources Cons They’re not customized to your library They don’t always work well for patrons Pros But they are a valuable tool If nothing else, they are a place to start And for libraries that don’t have the time or staff to create their own materials, these can be invaluable They also come in handouts, multimedia, sometimes pre-created presentations
I’ve put together a small list of sample handouts from different public and university libraries in Michigan: Check out what other libraries have done: Baldwin NYPL Kent District Library Wayne State University * Ferris Michigan State University (this does not denote an endorsement of this University) Baldwin, if you check does, three double-sided sheets, each with step-by-step instructions for doing a specific task (downloading an eBook, an eAudiobook, or downloading to a mobile device) Special props to Wayne State University - they do something different. They do a packet which answers a variety of questions about eBrary using screenshots and instructions. Both are valid ways to present instructions, and both work for different reasons. The way that you find out how things will work for you is….
By whom will this guide be used? Do I want to break-up materials: eBooks vs. eAudiobooks NetLibrary vs. eBrary Sony Reader vs. Barnes and Noble Nook How long do I want the guide to be? How am I planning upon distributing my guide? Is it a supplement to a class? Will any patron be able to use it to accomplish the task – i.e. someone with no experience? Do you want to includes visuals? How specific do you need this to be?
Once you’ve answer these questions, you need to go back at look at the handouts that you’ve seen from other libraries. Some handouts that you thought were great, might not be what your library needs For example, I started working on something like what Wayne State has, but realized that we needed to be able to hand these items to our patrons, and we don’t have the resources to print them a book So I had to tone it down
Draft! Give yourself a deadline – even if there is no deadline in the foreseeable future. The sooner that you can produce quality materials the better
(For a public library) I would normally give it to two people: A person who is good with computers A person who is terrible with computers People most often go looking for handouts like these when they’ve never done something before, or even more likely, when they’ve tried to do something and failed. The best way to ensure success is to test it with people with a wide range of technological literacy
You can do a formal feedback process, “After you try this, can you please fill out this evaluation”. Or you can do an informal feedback process. I would start by asking the question, “Did this work”.
Use the feedback to revise
Then, just around the same moment that you’ve finally created a quality product, your user interface will change or your eResources will start to work with a new type of technology
And you’ll have to revise again.
Continue to re-draft and re-evaluate. Technology is malleable, so our training materials also have to be malleable.
Seriously. Everywhere! It’s a safety net for patrons who have a hard time. You can put your main library phone number or email, or your direct line and email. It doesn’t matter. Even if patrons never use it, they’ll thank you for it. There is nothing more frustrating than becoming overwhelmed by something, and then not being able to find someone who can help
College students and senior citizens (generally) have different needs when it comes to technology. If you have to create materials for a variety of types of users, bear that in mind when creating them. It might be worth having several different types of materials (even if all you do is create on that is Large Print). We are starting to see more and more elderly, computer-illiterate people taking our eBooks classes. Because with new eReaders – they have eInk (easy on the eyes) and ePub books have changeable font sizes (great is you need large print). Their kids will buy them the reader, and then they have to figure out how to use them. They’re on fixed incomes so they need the library books. Help! In this case, we often get any local relatives involved. We’ll teach you both together, and then you can work with one another to get what you need.
Technology changes fast! Throw out your handouts once a year. One year is enough time … for technology is change considerably (for example – all of your NetLibrary handouts will have to go soon, as EBSCO takes over NetLibrary) … to get good feedback on any materials that you’ve created You don’t have to scrap them completely, but some years you might want to.
Non-Print would include videos, screencaptures, podcasts, and so much more! Start with whatever is given to you by your publisher/aggregator Check out what other libraries have done: Try this playlist for ideas: http://www.youtube.com/user/kathrynabergeron#grid/user/74E9117DBE13F511 Don’t be afraid to try something new http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9x4JpgoO4I A work in progress These work great for patrons who don’t learn well from print materials. Screenshot Video Tools Snagit Jing Camstudio Copernicus
Moreso than patrons, staff need to understand and feel comfortable using eBooks Train staff! Create a mandatory eBooks class for staff Create training materials just for staff Set goals for staff Download three books this week Download a book every month These have to be set by, and enforced by management. It is the single most effective way to create a happy and helpful atmosphere around your eBooks. If staff feel comfortable, then patrons feel comfortable. If staff complain about how hard it is, and they get passed to three staff members before their question is answered, you will not instill confidence in your patrons.
This is largely the bane of the existence of every librarian that I have met with eBooks. You don’t have access to every device Often you can’t see what problem the patron is having (they’re on the phone or talking to you after the face) It’s a tear your hair out moment
First-off: There are not eBook Technical professionals in libraries. If you are the person who knows eBooks or if you have a person who knows eBooks, this is exactly what they do. Mouseover: “Hey Megan, it’s your father. How do I print a flowchart?”
Things to get from a patron (stolen from Overdrive, but honestly, the best list I’ve seen) Patron’s Library Card Number/ID/Other Login Information Title and format of problem media Patron’s Operating System Patron’s Browser and Version Number Device that the patron is using Text of any error messages
Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair Keep a list of problem questions and answers for patrons: Ex: My audiobook won’t download (On Overdrive): Did you perform the Windows Media Player Security Upgrade? Ex: My audiobook won’t transfer to my iPod (On Overdrive): Did you check manually manage music? Double check everything: What website are they on? (This is a multi-part question and essential to good What format is the book? What type of device are they using? Have they done all of the necessary steps to set-up their software/device?
All these things are your friends - Google - Your vendor’s help site - Forums (*gasp*) - Coworkers - Your vendor’s help site/email - Your actual friends
Do your best to do every step with them the computer in front of you When you’re unsure as to what they are seeing, ask them to identify three things on the webpage that they’re on, and make sure you’re on the same page/piece of software Let them do the talking, you do the instructing Don’t be afraid to tell them that you can’t help them over the phone, but be prepared to tell them when you will be able to help them.
Don’t be afraid to admit defeat. Get the patron’s contact information and call them back As a co-worker first, sometimes you just need a new perspective on a persistent problem Every vendor has a support site, and they have more experience with complicated problems Has your library/consortium considered creating troubleshooting tools? Create a wiki for when you have problems. What about discussing books at your next staff meeting or consortium meeting?
Make it known that you’ll take donations of other technology Early adopters move on quickly, the iPhone 3GS might be old to them, but it will work perfectly for you. Do not be afraid. It takes a lot to break a computer or an eReader Ask for help When you need it, ask for help!
Facilitating User Access
Facilitating User Access
Taken with permission from the Blue Skunk Blog: http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/blue-skunk-blog/2011/3/22/differentiated-instruction-libraries-invented-it.html