Staff Training the Wiki Wacky Way!


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This presentation was given at the Virginia Library Association conference on 10/24/2008. It describes the Roanoke Public Libraries' use of the social web service Wetpaint to facilitate staff technology training in a "sandbox"; a fun, closed, interactive environment that allows users to learn about Web 2.0 tools by using them to communicate with their fellow staff.

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Staff Training the Wiki Wacky Way!

  1. 1. Staff Training the Wiki Wacky Way! Nathan Flinchum Roanoke Public Libraries Community Technology Center Librarian [email_address] Wendy Allen Roanoke Public Libraries Head of Public Services [email_address] Virginia Library Association Conference Friday, October 24, 2008 1:45 – 2:30pm
  2. 2. <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>Wendy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Become Head of Circulation March 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Circulation/Reference merged in August 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Had an opening in Reference – position that taught computer classes. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nathan: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fall 2007 Attending Syracuse University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Class Requirement - Work with a library and complete a project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project - Streamline and organize patron computer classes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>During our discussions, staff training topic came up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>January 2008 – Reference position posted/Nathan hired </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>February 2008 – Nathan started the staff computer classes </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Reasons for Staff Training Focus <ul><li>Basic Skills – such as Microsoft Office, Scanning </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 – such as RSS feeds, Social Bookmarking </li></ul><ul><li>Improve staff’s skills and knowledge relating to technology </li></ul><ul><li>Increase staff’s comfort level in assisting patrons with computers </li></ul><ul><li>Build a strong library staff community </li></ul>
  4. 4. Our Ideal Staff Training Program <ul><li>Easy to Use </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Must include classroom setting – especially for non-techie staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offer web-based option </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Review for those who attended the staff class </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Materials stand alone for staff members unable to attend class </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Clearinghouse of training Information for new staff, future patron classes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Practice Area </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide a closed online atmosphere to allow staff to practice Web 2.0 skills </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fun </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We wanted to make the training as fun as possible in order to encourage staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Program is voluntary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get buy-in from staff and managers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cheap </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No funds for training – so software had to be cheap </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Prospective Web Services Moodle ( ) Online classroom tool (like Blackboard) Pros Powerful Classroom Tools Some Users Will Be Familiar with Format Application Geared Towards Education ***Not Blocked by City Network Cons More Complicated to Create and Maintain Can be Intimidating to New Users Does Not Allow for Much Practice with Web 2.0 Tools
  6. 6. Prospective Web Services Ning ( ) Create your own social network! Pros Lots of Social Networking Features Forums, Video and Picture Sharing Community and Personal Profile Pages Allows for Easy Growth of Site Attractive Layout and Theme Choices Cons Lack of flexibility - layout Page creation not intuitive for non-techies Some features still in beta/not functional ***Blocked by City network
  7. 7. Prospective Web Services Wetpaint ( ) Marketed for Primarily Fansites Pros Simple Page Creation and Editing Easy to Find Navigation Tools Compatible with other Web Services *** NOT Blocked by City network Cons Lack of flexibility - layout No Community pages/Interlinked Groups Some tools (Discussion Forum) not prominent
  8. 8. Decision Wetpaint won out because: Easier to create and edit content Provides Opportunities for Practice with the Social Web Better support and development community NOT BLOCKED on Staff Computers!
  9. 9. Wetpaint Features More than just a wiki!
  10. 10. How We Did It Created Pages for Each Class Typical Page Contains Materials from Physical Class (Slideshow, Talking Points) Additional Materials (More Text, Links, “Assignments”) Participation and Discussion Links Additional Pages Tutorials Tips and Tricks Web 2.0 in the News Polls and Feedback Discussion Items
  11. 11. How We Did It (Continued) Classes were given (usually) twice a month; two classes a month Some classes are both online and physical; others only online Participants can choose whether to participate online, in class, or both. All classes are voluntary!
  12. 12. Types of Classes Intro to WetPaint How to Use the Tool Promote the New Staff Training All Accounts Premade to Make Startup Easier Web 2.0 Series of 14+ Classes Microsoft Office Tutorials Computer Troubleshooting Printing, Scanning iPage/Midwest Tapes Library Databases
  13. 13. What We Learned A Beginning Tutorial is a Must! Originally created for Web 2.0/Tech Training Now Using it for Other Functions Most Popular – RSS Feeds; Microsoft Office Strong Support from Administration Now Known as the Tech Guy Questions from Staff Generate Future Content On Several Committees as Tech Liaison
  14. 14. <ul><li>Use Past Classes for New Staff Orientation </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain Clearinghouse of Materials for Staff Review </li></ul><ul><li>Develop other non-tech classes such as: “Story Time Tricks & Tips” “Collection Development” “Reader’s Guidance” “Intro to Reference” </li></ul><ul><li>Improve communication and promotion of classes to staff & supervisors </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a similar site for patrons </li></ul>Our Future Plans
  15. 15. Nathan Flinchum Roanoke Public Libraries Community Technology Center Librarian [email_address] Wendy Allen Roanoke Public Libraries Head of Public Services [email_address] All of the Classes from our Private Site! Web 2.0 Microsoft Office Tips Gale Information Presentations Become a Member of the Public site Feel Free to Use Any of our Handouts for your Staff/Patrons