I work at a relatively large high school with about 3,000 students and over 200 staff members. I also only have a part-time library aide and we work on three different bell schedules to accommodate student lunches. So although I am a librarian who truly believes in collaborating with teachers, co-teaching, and providing professional development to staff, my challenge was how do I reach such a large community with such little time and assistance?
I jump at the chance to attend any PLC or department meetings and always bring something to offer my teachers whether it’s simply explaining the library services we provide or curating a list of resources for their students. However, when I cannot physically be somewhere I have found making videos on important information is helpful and effective. For example, in January we had a staff development day in which each department was given time for planning. I was scheduled to be at the district library meeting; since I couldn’t be on campus that day to meet with each department, I created a Google Slides presentation introducing all of the new resources and services the library had to offer. I then used Screencast-o-matic to narrate the presentation as I would if I had been giving the presentation in the classroom with the teachers. I sent the video out to all department chairs and asked if they would take a little time out of their planning that day to share the video with their teachers.
The teachers were thrilled with the video and some asked if I could make one geared towards students that they could share during their classes. The video was a great way to reach dozens of classes and I saw an immediate impact on the number of students coming down to the library asking about the reading challenge and the personal book shopping service I had described in the video. Similarly, using Screencast-o-matic I created a video for juniors on how they can link their PSAT scores to Khan Academy to receive customized test practice. The counseling department loved the step-by-step tutorial and even sent it out to all 11th-grade parents.
One day two of my English language arts teachers came down before school asking how their students can access the literary databases. I had already provided them with a list of the literary databases available to them, but they were unfamiliar on how to get to the databases. If I had a full-time library aide who could monitor the students already studying in the library, I would have gladly offered to come down to their classrooms and show the students in person! However, due to my limitations I walked them through the steps on my computer, but I also created a quick tutorial video that they could share with their classes. I also took the opportunity not only to share how to access the databases, but also the tools within the databases such as highlighting and annotating, saving the article to their Google Drive, and the citation tool.
A few tips I have found while creating these videos:
- Have a script ready….even though you may know what you want to say, I have found a simple flub and I have to start all over again.
- Try out the sites you want to share before filming…some you may need an account for and you don’t want to waste video time filling out your information.
- You can stop the video and pick up later…so if you reached a website and had to create an account just pause the video, create your account, and start the video again; it will pick up where you left off.
- Save the video as a file and as a link…sometimes the only way to share the video is by link. See if your school has a school YouTube account and save it as “unlisted” so only people with the link can view the video.
Again, this is not my ideal way to reach students and teachers but if you are limited like me, this is an option to continue to help your students and staff. Another upside is you can save these videos and refer back to them, so can teachers! If you have a library blog, you can share them or if your school uses a learning management system like Canvas, you can upload the videos for student access.