A lost bet, winning ideas

Andrew McAfee lost a bet and is therefore twittering 100 times today. So far, I would say it’s a win for all of us! I was introduced to his tweets by a post from Tim O’Reilly and was enjoying the links to poetry, but really liked McAfee’s lessons learned from teaching and thought I would quote him here:
1. Don’t be afraid of silence in the classroom.
2. Ask clear questions.
3. Trust your students.
4. Be the person who most wants to be in the room.
5. Start on time, end on time.
6. Check your fly.
7. Be more concerned with the destination than the journey.
8. We get smarter via respectful disputation.
9. It’s better to be well rested than well prepared.
10. Most students appreciate being held to high standards.

I like them all, but the one that most captured my attention is #4. The times when I have been at my best in a teaching situation have fit that description. #6 is funny and I would add check your nose, your teeth, your shirtfront. I’m still thinking about #7.


Measure for Measure

I’m preparing for tomorrow’s MaintainIT Book Club discussion. This month we’re talking about the “Evaluations and Metrics” chapter from Planning for Success. I’m dorkishly excited about the topic and the discussion. One of the resources listed in the Cookbook chapter is E-Metrics, which provides free tutorials to help librarians learn how to gather and use statistics and measures in the library.

Trainers may be interested in knowing there are a few tutorials on the E-Metrics site that are specifically related to training, including:


Library Tech Training in Limerick

I’d like to start regularly highlighting examples of technology training classes happening in libraries. I’ll aim for once every week or two and see how that goes.

This week I’d like to share an example from across the pond. The Watch House Cross Community Library in Limerick City offers a variety of classes, including classes to help people learn to use text messaging (three levels of text messaging classes are being offered!). I really like that one of the workshop descriptions explicitly states, “The workshops will be jargon-free zones and will operate at a pace to suit the participants”.

Watch for more examples here in the weeks ahead. If you provide technology training in a library, send me a link to session descriptions please!



(cross-posted from the MaintainIT blog)

Today I played BINGO at work!

I attended this year’s Arizona Library Association conference (AzLA 2008) for MaintainIT. Kendra Morgan and I delivered a session called, “Taking on Technology”, during which we shared information and answered questions about the MaintainIT Project and WebJunction’s TechAtlas. We’ve delivered a similar presentation in other states and it always feels good to tell people about the free resources that are available.

Earlier in the day, Stephanie Gerding and I tried something new. We took content from the collaborative tools chapter in the latest MaintainIT Cookbook and hosted a 2.0 Bingo game. We recruited people on the fly and ended up with about 17 players, standing in a circle in the exhibit hall, defining and discussing 2.0 terms. Stephanie had used a free online tool to generate the Bingo cards, using terms from the Cookbook chapter. Stephanie and I took turns calling out terms. Individuals in the group then defined the term or talked about how they had used the tool. Someone in the group was able to define each of the terms. The only one that was new to all of the participants was Slideshare. Players marked the terms off on a card as they were defined, until finally someone filled a row and shouted, “Bingo!” We continued until the 3 prizes were given away (thank you to Kendra Morgan for donating the great prizes!). Everyone seemed to have fun and I think people learned new things, too. It’s definitely a technology learning technique I’ll use again.

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: http://www.slideshare.net/bckhough/accidental-trainer-presentation. 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!


Step right up!

This isn’t about training, but I like the idea so much that I’m posting it here. It’s not the topic (federated search) that is so interesting to me, but it’s this approach — encouraging “fresh voices” with an essay contest. I like it.

Encouraging fresh voices
Encouraging fresh voices

FEDERATED SEARCH BLOG ESSAY CONTEST:  Submission Deadline:  October 31,

As you may have read, the Federated Search Blog is sponsoring a writing
contest that asks entrants to predict the future of federated search. As
lead author of the blog, my goal for the contest is get our industry
creatively and purposefully thinking about our destiny… and I would love
to hear from fresh voices.

To that end, I’ve moved the deadline for the contest to October 31 so
that interested library students can participate.

We’re asking entrants to submit an original, unpublished essay in
English and of no more than 1,500 words. Entrants can comment about such
issues as the role of Google, the type of features federated search will
include, how the open source movement will impact the industry, whether
there will be an entirely new paradigm, or wherever their own
predictions take them.

Essays will be judged by a panel of noted industry experts including
Marshall Breeding, Roy Tennant, Miriam Drake, Carl Grant, Judy Luther,
and Peter Noerr. Essays will be evaluated based on writing quality,
originality, and vision.

We feel there’s a compelling reason to enter: in addition to cash
prizes of $500, $250 and $100 to the first, second and third place
winners, the first place essay will be published in *Computers in
Libraries* and the author will present the scenario at the Computers in
Libraries Conference in Spring 2009. Travel expenses will be paid by
Deep Web Technologies, who is also providing the cash prizes. It’s a
great way for newcomers to the industry to establish themselves (and a
great way to showcase your school’s talent).

For details on the contest visit *
http://federatedsearchblog.com/category/contest* or contact me
directly. I would love to hear from you.

Thanks. I look forward to reading entries from your students.

Sol Lederman

Federated Search Blog (www.federatedsearchblog.com)


The power of pictures

Take a dip into the libraries and librarians pool
Take a dip into the libraries and librarians pool

There’s a TechSoup online think-tank happening right now. The topic: “How can non-profits use Flickr?” Check out the socialmedia4change site for examples and watch the TechSoup site as that conversation develops, too.

I’m really intrigued by the potential images represent as a communication tool. PowerPoint has ruled the training and presentation world for years now, but even there, I think we’re seeing a move from “text-y” slides to slides that contain an image… something visually interesting… something that engages the brain rather than turns it off as a bulleted text list seems to do.

Do you use images in your training? Do you use Flickr for training purposes? I’m going to be hunting for examples of trainers doing exactly that and I’ll include them here, too.


Saved by the bell

Bell Work

My sister is a middle school teacher. I am a librarian. We hang out quite a bit, often with one another’s friends, so she hears a lot of library talk and I hear plenty of school talk, too. She thinks the idea of teaching adults is scary (“They don’t listen!”). I think facing one hundred 7th and 8th graders every day is… terrifying.

The other day I overheard her talking to another teacher about “bell work”. I asked what the term referred to and she told me it’s an activity that students begin as they enter the classroom. The idea is to engage them immediately.

I started thinking about training events and how there is that time before the workshop begins… people chat or wander or grab coffee and a cookie if that’s an option. I usually try to plan an icebreaker that gets things warmed up, sets a tone for the training. But I wonder if I could do something with that pre-workshop time. I’m not talking busy work. Something fun. Something relevant. Something that gets the participants thinking about and excited about the topic we’re there to cover. Warm-up for the brain….

Has anyone used “bell work” in their library trainings? I would love to hear your examples!