Turning learning on its head.
As much as we all want to return to in-person learning, we are all preparing for a future of at least some distance learning. Many, many teachers still prefer some type of lecture, and this is something that we may need to change when designing online school. Some digital natives tune out the proverbial “sage on the stage.” Children’s attention spans are shorter because of child development. And the current generation prefers visual, interactive, and social media. I gained some useful teaching tips in a Medium marketing article entled “Why Generation Z Loves YouTube.” If you prefer scientific proof about long lectures, an empirical study of MOOC videos from researchers at MIT recommends formats that are most effective for video instruction. Additionally, the study finds that “median engagement time is at most 6 minutes, regardless of total video length.”
Collaborating was hard in person, but it is especially hard in the virtual world.
School librarians often lament the lack of collaboration with classroom teachers. And teachers go about doing their curriculum research and teaching students to research because they might not realize the incredible resource of a school librarian. Some colleagues may even see our offers of help as an affront to their own knowledge. How can a librarian help teachers without usurping their autonomy? Colleges and universities have a decade of experience in distance learning. So looking to see how academic librarians help in online courses might be helpful.
Here are some helpful resources from college and university librarians
Taking advice from unusual sources for distance learning.
What works in person may work in distance learning. One relationship at a time, one teacher at a time. One project at a time.
We could think of our distance learning work with teachers and administrators as long-distance relationships. Consider the article “10 Tips to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work” from Psychology Today. I am not suggesting that you date your teachers, but there are tips that may transfer, including “Make sure your goals — and potential endgames — are in the same ballpark.” and “Focus on quality communication.”
Other advice that can come from YouTube collaborators. From the video “6 Tips about Finding Collab Partners YouTuber,” Robert Blake asks, “Who Are My Friends? Who’s In The Same Boat as Me? And What Can This Person Offer My Audience?” These are all great questions that school librarians should be able to ask and answer when reaching out to collaborate with other teachers.
Finally, the big takeaway in the design process for both classroom teachers and school librarians is that this distance education is harder than it looks.
Author: Hannah Byrd Little
Hello, I am the Library Director at The Webb School of Bell Buckle. I use my past experience in college and university libraries to help my current students in school libraries transition into college, career, and life. I am currently the lead Senior Class Adviser for the Capstone Project. I also served at the state level with the Tennessee Association of School Librarians executive board from 2009-2013 and was the TASL president in 2012. I am certified as a Library Information Specialist for PreK-12th grade, have a BS in Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations, a BS in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Education and Information Systems and a Masters in Library and Information Science.