All posts by Michael Stephens

SLS TechSummit Class 5-19-04

Bob and I taught an afternoon session yesterday at the Surburban Library System headquarters for Jenny Levine. We had ten library folks from all different kinds of libraries in to talk about technology training. It was a blast! Bob and I play off each other well and I look forward to teaching with him again!

Jenny moblogged it here and here. Aaron worked the virtual Reference Desk and participated!

Our PPT is here!

Ten Tips for Technology Trainers in the Trenches

In honor of our program today at SLS, I’ve been pondering some trainer’s tips…

Be prepared! Prepare the training materials, such as updating notes, URLs and facts and remember how quickly things change in the technology world. Prepare the training space: set up computers, test equipment and test software. Get to know the room if it’s the first time you’ve been there.

Know your audience. Who are they? Plan for specific groups: Students, Faculty, Seniors, Novices or Teens. A class for seniors will be different than a class for your teen users. Check out all the stuff you can find about learning styles, presenting technology to various groups and successful program planning.

Know your training equipment. Understand the workings of the PC or Mac and the projector set up. Be wary of cool presentation technology JUST for the sake of technology. Your folks in class may just be confused about the sudden breakdown of a Bluetooth/USB/touch pad/smart board/wifi.MP3/whoosits in the middle of class.

But – don’t miss a chance to show off new technologies. Adding circulating MP3 players to your library? Host “Meet the MP3” night at your library and give folks a chance for hands on contact and time for questions. Do the same for a new wifi initiative. Use your wifi savvy staffer who can explain such technology to folks and bill it as “The WiFi Wonder” will be available for support and questions in the library computer lab on Wednesday night” — a darn nice thing to do to promote such a service.

Enjoy what you do! Have fun with teaching and bring your interests & life to the class. Do you collect Fiestaware gravy boats by buying on eBay? The group will love to hear about it. Enjoy training and don’t sweat the glitches with technology…it’ll always be something!

Rehearse and know your outline but don’t just read the script. No one wants to see you standing stiffly and hiding behind notes. We want to engage learners with an easy style, patience for snafus and an environement that does not threaten the technoterrified. Be comfortable with the topic so you don’t seem nervous.

Know your topic well or find a staff member, faculty member, volunteer or contractor who does. Assign the class to someone with an affinity for the subject — your staff eBay guru can teach the auction class! Embrace new technologies like Digital cameras, PDAs and MP3 players. Farm out stuff that you just don’t have time to master. Photoshop class?? Find a consultant that teaches such and work out a deal!

Feel out of the know? Read blogs, monitor RSS and seek out anything in the media that covers the tech world. It’ll filter into your training soon enough. I always grab USA TODAY when they have an extra TECH section!

Promote your classes: Use your library’s Web site & blog, e-notification and RSS feeds, create fliers and brochures, and alert the news media.

Listen to your audience. What classes do they want? What are they asking about? Ask, take note of trends and develop new and exciting training sessions as the technology world grows ever bigger!

Bonus: I repeat: HAVE FUN!

Rosenbaum on New Technologies

Using a PowerBook (YES!), Dr. Rosenbaum took us through a review of a similar talk he gave 6 years ago and then looked to the future.

“Trendspotting: Libraries & Technology (or what do I have to learn now?)

Librarians getting together — “Community of Practice” – Shared work practices

Six years ago:

The web is becoming a community
Digital Neighborhoods and virtual communities
Chat Rooms

Current Technical Trends:

*Wireless Libraries – Bluetooth/ 802.11g

*PDAs, Tablets, Cell Phones – Cheaper, more common, wireless and net access. Libraries need to think about a new range of services that serve these devices. Developing web interfaces for devices

*RFID – Making its way into libraries via retail

*Security – Hardware firewalls, Libraries need people who really know what they are doing when setting up security. This will be increasingly important.

*DRM – Controlling content

*Web Services – Standard means of operating amongst different platforms, W3C

*Semantic Web – Interoperable, sharing of information. Agents do things for us: auctions, tickets, etc

*Blogs – used in education, media and business

*RSS – Content delivery

Current Social Trends:

*Security – Preventing and detecting unauthorized use of a computer

*Spam – could clog the e-mail system in the future

What do I have to learn now? A lot – quickly – we have a sociotechnical environment that is changing quickly! What does the future hold?

Developing digital reference services
Developing and managing digital libraries
Creation of complex database driven web sites
Understand and negotiate DRM
Creating & updating a library blog with an RSS Feed
Being able to lock down your library’s network
Delivering a range of library services through a wireless network (and to a wrist phone)

Indiana Online Users Group Meeting

Got Questions? – Serving Up a Glass of New Technology
The Indiana Online Users Group Spring 2004 Program was yesterday at the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library in Plainfield, Indiana, on the west side of Indianapolis.

Here’s the blurb for the day: “The world of library technology is constantly changing. Reading about those changes is good, but hearing how your colleagues are using new technology is better. Take advantage of this chance to ask questions and learn from others during the IOLUG Spring Program. Howard Rosenbaum of IU SLIS will give us an overview of new trends in the library world. The remainder of the day will include fellow librarians from Indiana covering a wide variety of topics. There is sure to be something to quench everyone?s thirst for more information.”

What a great day! I got to see old friends, colleagues, new friends and discuss some cool stuff happening in libraries. A highlight was introducing myself to Howard Rosenbaum, who I have heard great things about. His talk was wonderful! (I have notes I’ll post next)

I did an expanded and updated version of my blogging program from the Indiana Library Federation meeting in April.

The presentation is here.