Innovative Library Classroom Conference

In May, I attended and presented a lightning talk at The Innovative Library Classroom held at Radford University.  This is a brand new, small conference that focused on bringing innovative practices into both the physical and online classroom.

The keynote speaker encouraged us all to embrace design thinking and break away from the traditional models of teaching.  The basic principles of design thinking challenge you to ask yourself the following questions, and move forward based on the answers:

  • Why is it this way?
  • Who cares about this issue?
  • How can I make It better?

One thing I really liked about design thinking was the idea that failure is okay, even encouraged.  If you don’t fail and run into problems in the development stage of a project, it will be more difficult to fix them later.

A random tidbit I picked up from librarians at High Point University considers the use of the word “bias” when evaluating information.  “Bias” has a negative connotation – when you ask a student to identify bias in a piece of information, they will automatically start thinking more negatively about the information.  Instead, a more neutral word to use is “position.”  Asking students to identify or describe the “position” of the article will result in different responses than if you had asked students to identify or describe “bias” in an article.

One of the best presentations I attended was by librarians and grad students at UNC Chapel Hill.  They showed their concept based videos, and discussed how they can be used in developing active learning library sessions.  I really like the idea of creating more concept videos to work with our how-to videos, because concepts don’t change as much.  By creating tools that can introduce concepts outside of class, we can focus more on context and active learning in class.  Concept videos like this one on developing a topic can be used before a library session to teach the concepts, the librarian focuses on skills and practice in the session, and how-to online tools can be used after a session to supplement skills practiced in class, or help refresh students’ memories.  I hope to work on more on these in the future for our suite of online learning tools.

The most fun idea I am excited to try is based off of Old Dominion University’s “One Minute Tips” Series.  Most of these are quick how-to’s that are a great way to show common things that students need to know, such as how to print, using the self-check out, or getting started with Google Scholar.  Keeping these to one minute and promoting them that way may result in more visibility and impact amongst our students.

The one-day conference really did live up to its name and bring together quite a few innovative ideas to use inside and outside of the library classroom.  If you want to see more, the presentations, including my lightning talk, can be found online on the TILC website.



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