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Teaching Tech to Patrons: The Current Landscape

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Staff have long served as technology instructors to our communities; what does that role look like in the year 2018 and beyond? This presentation will look at common topics, suggested curriculum, and best practices. A variety of approaches will be covered, including one-on-one, small group, drop-in, and passive instruction. With the right preparation, libraries can continue to help our patrons navigate the rapidly changing tech landscape!

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Teaching Tech to Patrons: The Current Landscape

  1. 1. TEACHING TECH TO PATRONS THE CURRENT L ANDSCAPE N I C K TA N Z I , A S S I S TA N T D I R E C T O R S O U T H H U N T I N G T O N P U B L I C L I B R A R Y
  2. 2. LIBRARIES HAVE LONG PROVIDED ESSENTIAL TECH HELP • Traditionally, this took place on library-owned resources. – Microfilm/microfiche machines – Access to word processors. – Computer/internet access & training – Classes on common software applications.
  3. 3. MORE RECENTLY, MOBILE DEVICES HAVE COME TO DOMINATE • Overwhelmingly, patrons are seeking help on devices they themselves own. – Smartphones – Tablets – eReaders • This presents its own challenges! – How do you train staff? – How do you prepare both parties?
  4. 4. THE CIRCLE OF TECH
  5. 5. AS MUCH AS THINGS CHANGE, THEY REMAIN THE SAME! Disruption occurs: new tech is prohibitively expensive, confusing to many people Library provides training and access to this new tech. Patrons become comfortable with the technology, price point drops, and the need for library-provided training/access subsides. New technology comes out!
  6. 6. SO HOW CAN LIBRARIES ASSIST PATRONS WITHIN THIS CYCLE? One-on-one help Small group instruction Drop-in assistance Passive approaches
  7. 7. ONE-ON-ONE TECH HELP
  8. 8. THE STRUCTURE OF A ONE-ON-ONE TECH APPOINTMENT • One instructor and one student. • Done by appointment on a specific concern. – Reference interview. – Intake form (Google Forms!) – Staff preparation. – Patron preparation too! • Generally lasts between 30 minutes and 1 hour. – Follow up!
  9. 9. COMMON TOPICS IN A ONE-ON-ONE TECH APPOINTMENT • Mobile devices – eReaders, smartphones, tablets • File management – iCloud, Google Drive • Photo/video editing • Social Media – Personal accounts – Business pages • Wordpress/Blogger • Digitization – Home movies – Photos
  10. 10. EMERGING TOPICS IN ONE-ON-ONE TECH APPOINTMENTS • Wearable tech – Smart watches – Fitbits • Smart speakers – Amazon Echo – Google Home • Privacy Concerns – Managing personal info – Password management
  11. 11. BEST PRACTICES IN SMALL-GROUP TECH INSTRUCTION • One instructor (plus assistant for hands-on classes) • Effective for topics where all students are on the same page. – Establish pre-requisites! • “must know how to…” • “Must bring…” • “Need to update…” • Follow up – One-on-one appointments – Related classes – Info on complimentary services.
  12. 12. COMMON TOPICS IN SMALL GROUP INSTRUCTION: • Mobile device classes – Intro to Android – iPad/iPhone basics – How to take/manage/edit photos & video • Chromebooks • Internet basics • Social media • Common software applications – Microsoft Office – Google Docs, Sheets • The digital library – eCollections – Online account management • Web design Help!
  13. 13. EMERGING TOPICS IN SMALL-GROUP INSTRUCTION • Cable cutting options • Artificial Intelligence • Blockchain • Virtual & Augmented Reality • Drones • 3D Printing • Video Games – What is Fortnite? • eCommerce – Side Hustle – eBay
  14. 14. 54%Percentage who carry a 2nd source of income out of necessity.
  15. 15. 35% Freelancing 7% Etsy Shop
  16. 16. PERCENTAGE OF MILLENNIALS WHO HAVE STARTED A SIDE-BUSINESS
  17. 17. TECH INSTRUCTION TO MATCH THIS TREND: • Setting up an online marketplace – Etsy – eBay – Facebook • Website Creation – Wix, Wordpress – SEO • Social media marketing – Electronic newsletters • Business-oriented software applications – Accounting/bookkeeping
  18. 18. DROP-IN INSTRUCTION
  19. 19. BEST PRACTICES FOR DROP-IN CLASSES: • Consider your ratio of staff to length of instruction. – Longer tasks = more staff needed. • Great volunteer opportunity! • Define the material covered • Define what the patron should bring! • Have readily available access to your ILS – Card lookup, troubleshooting
  20. 20. COMMON TOPICS IN A DROP-IN CLASS: • Using library digital services: – eBooks/audiobooks – Streaming movies & music • Bluetooth/smart speaker interfacing • Simple tech demonstrations: – AR/VR experiences – 3D Printer/scanner – Other library tech
  21. 21. EXAMINING SOME PASSIVE APPROACHES TO TECH INSTRUCTION Let’s examine things more closely...
  22. 22. DISPLAYS A good, interactive display can impart as much information as a standard class!
  23. 23. DEVICE LENDING • Lending tech ensures access & helps familiarize patrons with the unknown. • “Try before you buy!” • Incorporate library services when possible!
  24. 24. ONLINE LEARNING • Staff-drive • Blogging & social media – Adds immediacy to information! • Curation of online resources – Safe online shopping – How to spot fake news • Recorded classes – Maximizes your time spent! • Library-supported services – Lynda.com – Niche Academy • Don’t forget about the free ones! – Khan Academy – EdX Staff-driven 3rd Party
  25. 25. WHY TAKE A PASSIVE APPROACH? • Less labor intensive. • Learning takes place on patron’s timetable. • Ability to reach those who don’t like taking classes.
  26. 26. IN CONCLUSION: • There’s no one way to teach tech! • A multi-pronged approach offers the best way to reach different types of learners. • Do your homework ahead of time. • Don’t underestimate the importance of providing access to technology!
  27. 27. CONTACT Nick Tanzi ntanzi@communitylibrary.org (631) 399-1511 ext. 398 the-digital-librarian.com

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