Resources for Trainers, Train the trainer opportunities

Let’s “Play, Learn, Innovate”

A few of us are going to get together at NEKLS on Tuesday, June 7th, to participate in the free OCLC symposium, “Play, Learn Innovate”. If you’re nearby, you’re welcome to join us (bring your lunch – we’re doing this brown bag style).

Looking at the title of this symposium and the descriptions of the sessions, I feel happy. I know it’s going to be interesting and probably inspiring. It makes me feel good to think about it. As a creator of learning opportunities, I am going to try to remember this feeling and to make it a goal to inspire it in people who are attending workshops, trainings, and meetings that I help coordinate. If play is the way to the future, then the learning opportunities that help prepare us for that future should be enjoyable, too!

Active Learning, Active Training, game theory, Resources for Trainers

Book Review: A New Culture of Learning

Last week I spent 4 hours standing in a line at the airport, only to not be able to fly out at all. Thank goodness I had my Nook with me and made lots of progress on Hunger Games. Thanks to Heather Braum, I also had A New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown with me and was able to read it, too. At only 137 pages, it was a quick read, but very affirming. If you’re a trainer or an educator and you’re thinking about the future, I recommend this book.

If travel plans had gone as scheduled, I was on my way to Houston to deliver a workshop on technology training. The workshop was created in collaboration with Stephanie Gerding, my friend and the author of The Accidental Technology Trainer. Stephanie and I have known each other for a long time now and our approach to training is very similar. The ideas in the New Culture of Learning really fit with the active approach to technology training that we discuss. Many of the ideas in the book were not new to me, however, the final chapter covered Game Theory and I realized this is something about which I would like to learn more (it also had me thinking about starting to play World of Warcraft!!). If you have resource suggestions for reading more on this, I’d love to hear them.


A New Culture of Learning website

Resources for Trainers

Be a star!

…or at least a great webinar facilitator 🙂

Kami Griffiths and Chris Peters have written an excellent, comprehensive article about the ins and outs of putting together a webinar. Check out their article! With 10 tips, a handy chart, and good advice based on experience, this article will help you know where to start if you’re new to putting together webinars. If you’re an experienced webinar producer, I guarantee you’ll find some new ideas, too.

Resources for Trainers

No Mouse Grabbing

Thanks to Chris Peters for sharing this link with me. It’s a list of tips written by Phil Agre, titled, “How to help someone use a computer.” If you’ve been doing technology training for a while, I think you’ll nod your head as you read the list. It’s a great one to share with people who are either new to helping people use computers or who aren’t “natural” teacher/trainer types.

The tip I would add to the list (and I think it fits with Agre’s, “Never do something for someone that they are capable of doing for themselves”) is try not to take control of someone’s mouse unless absolutely necessary and only then after asking permission.

What’s on your list? Best piece of advice for helping people use computers?

Resources for Trainers

Duct Tape: a light side and a dark side, and it binds the galaxy together

I delivered a presentation yesterday at the Calif Lib Assoc annual conference, “Not on Oprah’s List” — all about  the MaintainIT Technology Book Club discussions we have been hosting. It made me even more excited about a book club approach to technology learning, so I’m going to be seeking out examples of technology-related things that others are doing with book clubs, too.

Reading through blogs this morning, Betha’s post on CE Buzz led me to Ellie’s post on In the Library with the Leadpipe (love the blog name!), which discusses a book by Chip Heath called Made to Stick. It’s a book I have not read, but have heard others refer to. Ellie takes the material and points out what is relevant for library instruction. It’s a great post and in it she says, “I hope that I’ve inspired you to pick up a copy of Made to Stick, read through it yourself and look for ways to apply some of the ideas it explains.” Mission accomplished, Ellie – I’m requesting it now.

Library staff development, Resources for Trainers

Tech Static

I want to help spread the word about the all new resource, Tech Static. Stephanie did such a nice job writing about it over on the MaintainIT blog that I’m just going to copy and share that here.


Re-posted from:

The Tech Static, a new collection development resource for technology titles, published its inaugural issue today. Included in this first issue was an announcement regarding the new MaintainIT Cookbook, Joy of Computing – Planning for Success. Hooray!

The amazing Rachel Singer Gordon, The Tech Static’s creator, was the columnist forLibrary Journal’s “Computer Media” review column since 2002, until the column was recently discontinued. This left a large gap in library literature: no other librarian-targeted publication currently reviews computer books on a regular basis. To fill that gap, Singer Gordon created The Tech Static, a new resource for librarians focusing on reviewing technology-related books.

The Tech Static assists librarians with technology-related collection development. To this end, it contains:

  • Reviews of current computer books
  • Reviews of technology-related titles targeted at librarians
  • Collection development articles (weeding, “must-haves,” balancing a computer book collection)
  • Prepublication alerts
  • Publisher press releases
  • DVD and ebook reviews
  • Announcements
  • … and more!

“I’m pleased to continue providing — and expanding on! — coverage of technology titles,” said Singer Gordon. “Anyone involved with collection development in this area is invited to subscribe to this new free resource.” The Tech Static is available online at; readers can also subscribe via RSS or email.

The Tech Static is also currently seeking writers for technology-related collection development articles.

Contact Rachel Singer Gordon with any questions or comments at

Resources for Trainers

Presenting Effectively

Provide chocolate

Aaron Schmidt and Peter Bromberg posted recently about delivering effective presentations and I’ve been thinking about the topic, too. I second the great ideas they share and would like to add a couple of ideas, too. I do more small group workshops than large group presentations, but I think there’s a great deal of overlap in ways to be effective.

  • Two voices are better than one. I love to partner with someone to train or present. I think the back and forth of two voices, two personalities, can make a session so much more interactive and energized. It takes some behind-the-scenes discussion about who will do what and when, but it’s so worth it.
  • Be interactive. I think you can do this when talking to a group of 5 or when talking to a group of 500. Ask questions. Poll the audience. Get people thinking about what you’re saying and how it relates to their own experience. Someone smart once told me, if you could walk into a room and deliver your presentation without the audience being there, don’t do it. Getting them involved is imperative.
  • If possible, make a connection before the session. Can you send a “pre-mail” to people, asking them to think about certain things or to bring an example from their library, or just to introduce yourself and what you will be talking about during the actual session?
  • And then, after the session, can you check-in with participants somehow? …with a follow-up email maybe (a great way to more completely respond to questions from the session or to refer people to specific resources, etc)? I have been sending follow-up postcards lately.  I ask participants to self-address the postcard during the session. I sometimes have them write a goal they would like to accomplish in the next 6 weeks or I ask them to use the postcard as a review card: what would they like to remember 6 weeks from now? I will then often add a little note to the postcard, too, and send them out 6 weeks after the session.

I plan to think about this some more and may post again, but I’m curious to know what others think. The golden rule of presenting is to do onto others what you would like to have done to you. From a participant perspective, what works?

Resources for Trainers, Train the trainer opportunities, Uncategorized

Good bye Monterey!

Every time I go to Monterey for the Internet Librarian conference, I decide I am going to find a way to live at the water again. And someday I probably will. For now, I am in San Francisco for work for a couple of days before I return home to Kansas City.

The pre-conference workshop went well. Stephanie is one of my favorite people with whom I get to work. Our slides are available here: The participants in the workshop were great, from really varied work environments, but sharing many similar concerns. It was highly interactive and we even did some speed dating… (I’ll have to post about that training technique here on the blog soon).

I did spend some time on the water, too. Even though there was talk of Great Whites and whales being around, I only got up close and personal with seals, sea lions, and gulls, too.  The water was calm and the sun was shining. Steinbeck’s ghost told us all about the sardine industry in days gone by.

It was my best Internet Librarian yet, I think because so many friends were there. My Kansas, my Minnesota, and my Seattle worlds converged and I got to spend time with Stephanie, Ruth, Sharon, Chris, Brian, Michael, Scott, Michele, Charlene, David, Sam, and more.  I went to a couple of sessions that I plan to post about over the next few days, but for now just wanted to share the pre-conference slides and wave good-bye down Hwy 101. Until next year!

Active Learning, Resources for Trainers, Train the trainer opportunities

Pre-conference at Internet Librarian

One week from today, Stephanie Gerding and I will be presenting a preconference at Internet Librarian in Monterey. The session is called “The Accidental Trainer”.


If you are like most “accidental” library technology trainers, you are expected to take on computer training in your library, often with little or no previous experience or instruction. This workshop addresses the most common concerns of newly minted technology trainers, recommends great tools and techniques, and shares helpful advice from many years of coordinating and providing training for libraries of all types around the country. If you are responsible for technology training — whether in computer labs, classrooms, or one-on-one with library users or staff — join us for this workshop. You will learn why learning styles are important, how to create a learning community, strategies for communicating about technology, techniques for using activities, storytelling, and case studies to increase learning and retention.

Can’t wait to be in Monterey, to work with Stephanie, and to see other friends, too. Plus OCEAN!

Resources for Trainers, Train the trainer opportunities

Stories and technology training

“Do you tell stories?”

Every month MaintainIT conducts a train-the-trainer webinar, where we talk about using MaintainIT resources in the technology training you are doing. We also share training tips and techniques with one another. This month we’re going to focus on stories as a technology training device. You’re welcome to register and participate in the webinar . If you have any thoughts or examples regarding stories as a technology training device, I’d love to hear them so I can share them with the group. Please share them here in the comments!