Many librarians teach technology in public libraries – you might be teaching technology whether you realize it or not. Technology instruction comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors.
- Group classes: anything from computer basics to specific software like Word or Excel to social media.
- Group classes or one-on-one sessions: you might focus on library resources, or teaching patrons how to use databases or download e-books to their own devices.
- Informal one-on-one teaching, i.e. the reference interview. Maybe you don’t have a formal instruction program, but you’ve certainly gotten questions about technology at the reference desk before.
So, we’re all already teaching technology, to some extent. But how do we know whether we’re teaching effectively? Assessment/evaluation is the piece that often gets lost. As important as our teaching efforts are, it’s also important to try to measure the outcomes of our classes and one-on-one work.
Anecdotal feedback can be lovely: perhaps a patron stops by the desk to thank you for helping her download an audiobook last week, or maybe a patron e-mails to say he’s been using the Ancestry database successfully now that you’ve showed him how. But it’s hard to measure these things, and hard to know what to change in order to improve based on anecdotal evidence alone.
During the March meeting of the Teaching Technology Interest Group, we did a lot of brainstorming around the topic of assessment and evaluation. The presentation is available below; blue text indicates content that was added during our meeting.
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What does technology instruction look like at your library? How do you assess and evaluate your teaching?