The Digital Human Library (dHL) was founded by Leigh Cassell in 2011 to address the urban and rural gap in education through the curation of volunteer human resources (experts) that are catalogued and available for loan virtually to teachers, students, and librarians. With a special focus on connecting students who attend school in rural and remote areas of Canada, our connections-based learning approach focuses on building relationships and partnerships between students, teachers, families, libraries, experts, and organizations. By leveraging digital technologies, students learn to question, connect, collaborate and cultivate partnerships that will empower them to be leaders in their own learning and become digitally literate contributing global citizens.
In January 2016 Leigh Cassell incorporated Digital Human Library as a not-for-profit organization in order to create and offer even more authentic experiential learning programs, connections, resources and educational experiences for Canadian teachers and students.
Today industry leaders and experts around the world are sharing their educational programs, knowledge, skills and experiences with students to help enrich our classroom programs and provide support for teachers. Field trips and guest speakers are expensive, and in many cases the distances are far too great for students to travel. As a result, teachers can offer only a few of these unique learning experiences over the course of the school year. Digital Human Library is a resource that provides teachers and students with unlimited access to engaging connections-based learning experiences anytime, anywhere.
Digital Human Library creates opportunities for teachers and students to meet new people, visit new places, and learn with the world. What’s more, dHL partnerships support and further student inquiry, build citizenship and character, as well as incorporate next generation learning skills, global perspectives, content, resources, and technologies into our classroom programs to create learning opportunities for students that are relevant, current, accessible and inclusive. Connections-based learning is about supporting students so they can experience the curriculum globally, with a focus on how this knowledge will affect their lives now, and in the future, further strengthening relationships within, and between our communities.
Today there are hundreds of Digital Human Library Experts offering free educational programs that can be shared with teachers and students in their classrooms using video conferencing and live streaming technology. And every week thousands of Canadian teachers are using the Digital Human Library to bring the field trip experience into their classrooms. As the Digital Human Library continues to grow, and connect more Canadian teachers and students with experts around the world, we hope to inspire other teachers to think differently about how they engage their students with the curriculum.
Geography should not be a barrier to great conversations and meaningful experiences for all students. We believe in using simple and easily available technologies to create global connections for today’s learners. We believe all students should have the opportunity to experience the world of learning that exists beyond the walls of the classroom. And we believe that when relationships are strengthened between communities and schools, students are empowered to make a difference in the world.
“We always talk about how we need to make the world better for our kids. We also need to make the kids better for our world.” ~ Martin Molata
For more information about how you can get involved to help shape the future of education through connections-based learning, please contact us.
I hope to see you in the classroom,
Founder & President, Digital Human Library
This post is also available in: French