Hello, it’s Mike again and my how time flies–seems like it was last week but it’s been a month since I’ve written on the blog about the Zinio handouts I’ve created for our library. In that post I mentioned my experience with Overdrive and how that got me away from using videos to teach patrons and in to the teaching 1.0 world of paper handouts.
The real crux of the problem with creating videos for using Overdrive wasn’t that I couldn’t do it–all it takes is a little (ok, maybe a lot) of time and free software like Camtasia. The real problem was that after all the blood, sweat and tears that went in to creating the video I was left with something noone was using. The Overdrive videos I had created for a previous employer had over 50,000 hits; the videos I created for my current employer were getting 5 or 10 hits a week. The requests for one-on-one help kept streaming in and I was ready to tear my hair out after having spent so much time creating videos nobody used.
It was time to stop worrying and love the handouts.
I realize now that my previous employer’s community was filled with tech-savvy people who were early adopters of technology. Even before libraries had eBooks (and before some librarians even knew what they were) we had patrons asking for them. My current community, while filled with people who are tech savvy and want to get eBooks (and magazines, and newspapers, and music, etc.) from the library, wouldn’t necessarily be considered an early adopter community.
So what happened when I made the videos was that I was making them for people who weren’t necessarily aware of what YouTube was; they weren’t going to use the service to watch a reaction to Charlie biting fingers and certainly weren’t going there to watch a video about Overdrive.
Again–it was time to stop worrying and love the handouts.
Why don’t I like handouts? Because they’re time consuming, you have to take a ton of screenshots, edit a lot of pictures, write in detail about each step, and then update them all over again five minutes later when the interface or steps change. They’re also a lot like trying to write out instructions for your grandparents’ DVD/TV/surround sound system remotes–you have to write in a manner that anyone (and I mean anyone) can understand while still conveying a complex idea.
But handouts are a major way that people learn and it’s something they’ve come to expect. They’re visual (hence the screenshots and editing a lot of pictures), detailed (hopefully in just the right way) and people can happily walk out the door with one when they ask you how to do something.
So, with that, I give you my handouts. As always, feel free to use them in any way you feel fit for your patrons. And please, provide examples of handouts that you’ve used or tips you’ve found helpful for handouts!