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Librarians During Lockdown – Learning to use EdTech effectively in FE Libraries

Category: Librarians During Lockdown

This blog post is part of Librarians During Lockdown, a series highlighting the work that librarians in Scotland have been doing during the COVID-19 pandemic when library services have had to move online. It was written by Joy McLean, Senior Librarian at West College Scotland.

Joy McLean is now a Wakelet Community Leader

Throughout Lockdown, I have undertaken a lot of CPD. This began with attending webinars to help make sense of the situation and provide remote services from home. I wanted to learn as much as I could to ensure that we were providing the best service possible despite being unable to access our physical premises. At West College Scotland, our main priorities were to ensure that students and staff were able to access digital resources and to provide an effective enquiry service.

Over the past few months, I have found myself developing new interests and skills inspired by webinars I have attended, specifically the College Development Network (CDN) and JISC’s Virtual Bridge sessions. These sessions focus primarily on how Colleges are adapting to remote teaching and learning by discussing pedagogy and the use of educational technology or EdTech to enhance delivery. CDN also held their annual Expo virtually, showcasing work and developments in Scotland’s colleges. As a result, my interest in EdTech has grown and I have developed my knowledge and skills of platforms including Wakelet and Adobe Spark. I have also become a member of a growing community of educators and library practitioners who are using these tools to benefit both their communities and their own practice.

As a curation tool, I began using Wakelet to bookmark and organise online content but soon realised that I could use it to create and share subject guides to help students make best use of our digital resources. The ability to create, share and collaborate make Wakelet an effective tool for this purpose. The WCS Libraries Team have collaborated on subject guides bringing together links to ebooks, videos, journals and useful resources tailored to specific departments. The visual appearance of collections and the ability to embed these into other platforms, including Moodle and Microsoft Teams, make Wakelet the ideal tool for this. The Wakelet team also facilitate a range of CPD and learning opportunities from the wider community. I have recently become a Wakelet Community Leader, sharing my experience of using the platform with others and have contributed to CDN’s Virtual Bridge sessions, my first experience of delivering my own webinar! Absolutely terrifying, and getting to grips with screen-sharing on Zoom was interesting (?), but a valuable experience nonetheless.

My experience of using Adobe Spark was a direct result of a recent competition, jointly held by Wakelet and Adobe. Educators were invited to submit their responses to as many challenges as possible using Adobe Spark to create their submissions. Challenges included creating a ghost story, a personal portfolio and your own logo. This was an enjoyable way to learn how to use Adobe Spark to create graphics, videos and portfolios. I loved the creative nature of the challenges which reinforced how important creativity is to teaching and learning, and enjoyed seeing the different interpretations of each challenge. I managed to complete 15 of 24 challenges before the deadline. However, I’m planning to go back and attempt the challenges that I didn’t manage to complete. I have also recently earned my Level 1 Adobe Creative Educator Badge.

Learning about EdTech has been rewarding, inspiring me to think differently about how I approach my role as Senior Librarian and how WCS Libraries can promote and facilitate access to resources. Most valuable has been learning with, and from, a wider community, not least how to appsmash, create a Bitmoji scene and develop our own library app (a work in progress).

Virtual Bridge Sessions on YouTube:

WCS Libraries on Wakelet:

Adobe Spark creations:

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