Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ears and Hands-On Learning

The Library iTour for Developmental Education Students

Candace Komlodi, a GateWay Community College reading instructor in Phoenix, Arizona, and GateWay librarian Lili Kang use Sansa Fuze media players with developmental education students. They have designed the iTour, an interactive library tour to introduce the library and build information literacy skills through hands-on activities. The tour is preloaded on the player and is used in combination with a printed worksheet.

The iTour offers an alternative, self-paced delivery method. A key goal is to reduce research anxiety. The worksheet incorporates basic reading and critical thinking components beyond information literacy. Some of the activities require summarization.

The iTour has been used with students in a number of classes, including ESL classes.

As the program was in the planning process, a couple of students volunteered to be recorded for the iTour and offered to contribute their sound editing skills.

The project was funded with an Innovation Grants mini-grant from the Title V Grant Administration. Lili developed the goal and objectives for the project, researched the players, collaborated with faculty, IT staff, and the students and staff who did the recording and editing.

iTours began during fall semester in 2010. Ten classes participated in the pilot -- six RDG, one CPD150, and two ENG091 classes were involved in the iTour as an outside classroom assignment. An ENG071 class comprised predominantly of ESL students completed the iTour during class time with the instructor and librarian to help.

The iTour offered a solution to the frustration students experienced when more than one of their developmental class instructors scheduled library introductions. Instructors agreed the iTour would take the place of a traditional introduction.

Lili visited classes during the final ten minutes to introduce the iTour using a Prezi presentation to minimize student anxiety about the assignment. Lili also has created an iTour page on the library's website. One student provided feedback saying he would have liked the tour to be more difficult. There were several positive comments.

Circulation staff at the library resisted this program because it added to their workload. Equipment needs to be checked out and in and charged to be ready for the next student.

Lessons learned:
  • Add a library jargon glossary.
  • Have two versions of the worksheet available to accommodate different student reading levels.
  • Order enough earbud covers. They are replaced for sanitary concerns. Students are encouraged to use their own earphones.
  • Increase communication with library colleagues to discuss the extra workload.
  • Offer handheld equipment assistance to ESL students.
In the future, Lili wants to expand the iTour to CPD/AAA students by collaborating with the counseling faculty. When the new library at GateWay opens, a video tour will be added.

Image: Amazon.com

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