How the program works
This learning program is designed to be followed at your own pace. It covers 12 different online Web 2.0 tools in 12 learning modules. The modules and tasks are designed to be completed in order, to progressively build your skills and comfort level with new tools. Each module explains what the tool is and why it is important. They show you how to sign up for the tool and outline some tasks to do once you are set up. At the end of each module there is an opportunity to “take it further”. This section provides you with some optional ways you can deepen your understanding and increase your experience of a particular tool.
Time and pacing: This program was developed on the basis of a commitment to the personal and professional development of public library staff, and recognizes that this process takes time. The program is intended to be completed in a series of 30 minute sessions. Most modules are designed to be completed in one 30 minute session. More time-consuming modules are broken into ‘parts,’ that should be able to be completed in 30 minutes. Due to the nature and complexity of some of the tools, you may not be able to complete the module or module part in 30 minutes. If so, just pick up where you left off at your next session. The program is self-directed and the pace at which you complete the modules is up to you. The goal here is not to obtain perfection with each tool, but rather a better understanding of them. We hope you will be inspired to continue learning more about these tools and share your knowledge in the work place with colleagues and patrons alike.
Blog to share and reflect: An important component of the learning program is blogging. The very first module will show you how to set up and use a WordPress blog. After completing each successive learning module, it is important to blog about your experience. Blogging allows us to reflect on what we are learning and solidify new understanding. It lets us share our successes and struggles with others and ask for the support we need. We can also use our blogs to share new ideas, resources, tips and tricks with our colleagues and grow ourselves and our library. Through blogs we can create our own personal learning network.
Why these 12 tools?
The Web 2.0 tools covered by the Learning Program were chosen for several reasons. First, these are all popular online tools that many of our colleagues and patrons already know about and use at the library. Patrons may need help getting signed up or troubleshooting problems. Facebook and Twitter, for example, are popular topics for one-on-one computer help sessions. Libraries are taking a larger role in bridging the digital divide, so we as library workers need to be prepared to assist our patrons in engaging them in these technologies.
Second, these tools cover a range of technology skill levels, which reflect the diversity of skill levels exhibited by our colleagues and patrons. Sometimes we are confronted by the most basic questions, like how to operate a mouse, and other times patrons need more advanced troubleshooting, or they are looking to take their digital experiences a step further. By expanding our own knowledge base, we can make key recommendations for helpful tools that can enhance their experiences and success. In the learning program we cover easy beginner tools like Skype to intermediate tools like Facebook and Twitter, as well as more advanced tools like Storify and GoAnimate.
Third, these tools cover the four principle C’s of web 2.0 technologies: Creation, Collaboration, Communication, and Curation. (Many tools actually use more than one “C”). Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Layar and Skpye are examples of communication tools; Prezi, GoAnimate, and WordPress are creation tools; Pinterest, Storify, Feedly and BiblioCommons are curation tools; and Doodle is a collaboration tool.
Last, many of these tools can be used in the creation or enhancement of your Personal Learning Network, so that you can continue to engage with others about professional life, using social media or other Web 2.0 tools to engage in conversations about subjects that are important to our jobs. It is our hope that at least some of these tools will plug you into resources and networks that will help engage you as a life-long learner.
There are three learning goals for participants of this program:
- To gain knowledge of Web 2.0.
- To share this knowledge with colleagues and customers.
- To use these modules as a foundation for ongoing learning and professional development.
These are the learning objectives we hope this program will meet:
- Participants will develop basic skill and comfort using 12 different Web 2.0 tools.
- Participants will be able to demonstrate to library patrons how to sign up for and use these tools.
- Participants will use these tools to reflect on their learning, support other staff, and share information and ideas.
- Participants will experience greater comfort learning about unfamiliar tools and demonstrate enthusiasm about new tools not covered in this program.
The outcome of these learning objectives can be measured
through staff surveys and comments, patron feedback forms and comments, evaluation of staff-patron online chat interactions, and content of staff blog posts.
Getting Help: Remember, you are never alone
Some of these tools will be familiar to you, and you will breeze right through them. Others may be more challenging. The wonderful thing about Web 2.0 technology is that it helps to connect us together. You have both online and offline supports if you get stuck on any of these steps. Don’t hesitate to ask for help, we are all learning together.
Your supports include:
- Your co-workers.
- Help pages — most of these tools include a help section, and sometime you can find help for problems in online help forums.
- Peer coaches — other who have already completed the program. They’ve been through the same challenges and are ready to help.
- This project blog — feel free to discuss your problems in a comment on a relevant posts.