Digital Literacy for Everyone: Going from Tech Averse to Tech Savvy #arsl2014

September 5, 2014


Crystal Schimpf and Kieran Hixon – Kixal 

Training Consultants like to talk about Digital Literacy


Kieran – from a small town in Florence, CO.  Used to work at library there.  Had a flood of people coming into library to fill out applications for Dollar General store and realized they didn’t have enough computers for the influx of people coming in to fill out apps.  Also realized they didn’t have skills to fill out online app.  Tried to partner with Dollar Store Manager.  Realized he failed his library/community by doing all of the tech stuff himself and not sharing knowledge.  Understands now that it’s important to teach digital literacy and how much not teaching them hurts our community and neighbors.  It’s the patrons, the staff, and the whole community.  Some of the challenges he faced, similar to ours.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to helping your staff and patrons learn new technology?  (asked audience)

  • Getting staff up to speed to helping others with technology
  • Motivation
  • Recognizing there is something they don’t know
  • Vocabulary… terms.  Starting at lowest level of knowledge – time consuming
  • Language barriers, anxiety and not being to learn things fast enough

5 Common Challenges

  • Time for learning – hard to find time in the day to keep up with technology
  • Fear of new technology
  • Reluctance to learn  – stubbornness
  • Feeling overwhelmed – number of devices, always changing
  • Lack of training resources –

Come up with solutions to make it easier and meet those challenges


  • Learn as community – can learn more and faster when we work together
  • Make it Fun – how can we motivate people?

Parts of the process

  • Identify proficiencies needed
  • Set goals
  • Identify resources
  • Create a system – you can make it a process… a thing that always happens


  • Social Networking:  Familiar with social networking tools, understand privacy issues, edit options and settings, upload content such as photos and videos
  • Don’t have to know in depth, just have to know in general.  Have to know general concepts, not everything about it.  Help break it down.  Would never tell a patron you won’t help them find a book…should be the same with technology.

Goal Setting

  • Goal isn’t so overwhelming, when broken down into parts.  Set a goal.  Break it up into little chunks.  Each part can be a goal. Not scary or overwhelming.  Accomplishing things makes you feel better…  Make a list so you can cross it off.  Being done with something makes us feel good about accomplishing the next bunch of stuff.


  • Digital Learn – 3 parts.  You can learn things from it.  eModules.  Little modules that go through basic and some advanced stuff.  Already set out for you.  Also a teaching section for this. Community Section.
  • Onguard Online – What is safe?  How to avoid scams
  • – can remote into computers or screencasting, screen sharing.
  • Storybird – Powerful tool to take an adult that can type and a kid that has a story to work together on creating a story.  Social… fun… Can share stories.

Create a System:

  • If you make it a system or habit it will become easier.  Will be easier to find time for it.
  • Activity Card Example
    • I will learn this skill
    • I will learn this by…
    • I will use these learning resources
    • I will share what I learned by…
      • don’t have to share with a big group
      • Sharing is sometimes the more important part.
      • Don’t have to be an expert to teach a class to the public.
      • When you teach someone else something… you learn it better.

How can we make learning/new technology more fun

  • Tech Petting Zoo
  • Tech Tuesday & Walk in Wednesday – bring in devices and ask questions
  • Scavenger Hunt – have to find the answer somewhere on the internet
  • Give staff badges/stickers when they help patron answer a certain type of question
  • Give people time off or helping patrons
  • iPhone support group (expert support group)
  • Virtual trip through Google Earth
  • Chocolate
  • Tie it to personal interest
  • Giveaways/Reward

What comes next??

  • Share these ideas
  • Try something new – could even do this yourself if the whole org doesn’t.
  • Develop a process – maybe just start one part
  • Make learning fun

Make a pledge…

  • What will you do at your library?  What struck you as something you should do right now at your library?  Big or small?







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