Welcome to the dHL ‘Tips for Teachers’ Page!
The BIG idea is let student inquiry drive the need for connections with dHL Experts. Connecting with an Expert is an opportunity to engage and support students as they inquire about the curriculum, and every connection is an opportunity to teach students how to network – one of the most important life skill sets of today. Building relationships with others online helps students develop new literacy skills, global competencies, and the social “soft” skills they need to be successful. These connections-based learning experiences also build character, citizenship, and provide the foundation for students to begin building their own professional learning networks.
Our passion is helping students and teachers connect with the right Experts in meaningful, educational, interactive, and engaging ways. Below you will find tips and information about how to get the most from your Digital Human Library experience.
Permission/ Letter Home for Families
First and foremost it is the classroom teacher’s responsibility to ensure that students have permission to appear on camera during a video conference. Although these sessions are not typically recorded, screenshots and video clips may be taken by the classroom teacher and/or the expert to share and celebrate the experience with others online. Please refer to your School Board’s Administrative Procedures/ Policies with regards to internet use, social media use, photographing/ videotaping of students, etc. We do offer an information letter that you can adapt and send home to families explaining why and how students will be connecting with experts using Digital Human Library. Please note this is not a permission form, however the letter invites parents to contact you if they have any questions or concerns.
Dealing with Unforeseen Issues
What would you do if something went wrong during your video conference/ live streaming program?
Student safety is a priority. Although every effort is made to ensure our dHL Experts engage with students appropriately, unforeseen things can happen. We believe it’s helpful to make sure you have taken a moment to think about how you would respond if something did go wrong. Please read the following section on safety so you are prepared to deal with any situation if one should arise.
Ways to Engage Students
We believe that student inquiry should be the driving force behind the connections that are made Digital Human Library Experts. There are a variety of ways that students can make connections with dHL Experts (even though the request must be submitted by the teacher) and learn some of the foundational skills of networking:
- Teacher logs into Digital Human Library and students search for experts by keyword(s) based on their inquiry needs/ curriculum/ area of study
- Students engage in a shared writing activity/ independently draft an email to the Expert requesting a video conference; teacher sends the email (see Contacting dHL Experts below for information to include in an introductory email to Experts)
- Students draft all remaining emails to finish scheduling the video conference with the Expert
- Students tryout the video conferencing platform in preparation for the video conference
- Students conduct research online to learn more about the Expert and his/ her area(s) of expertise
- Students prepare their questions for the video conference based on their inquiry needs
- One or more students take on the responsibility of introducing and thanking the Expert
- Students take turns interacting with the Expert during the video conference (e.g asking questions)
- Teacher helps facilitate the discussion and documents the video conference
Note: We are currently working towards providing secondary students with access to dHL Experts. More information coming soon!
Looking for suggestions you can offer the dHL Expert to make the video conference as interactive and engaging as possible? See more Ways to Engage Students.
Matching dHL Experts with the Curriculum
Although some connections between the curriculum and dHL Experts might be obvious (Art = Artist), if you take some time to search dHL you might be surprised who you find (Art = Robotic Art Teacher)?! With this in mind, searching dHL by keyword(s) is the best way to connect with the right Experts.
Contacting dHL Experts – Let the Collaboration Begin
Please remember to send your requests to dHL Experts well in advance, and remember that they may not always be available when requested. The more advance notice you give each dHL Expert, the better your chances are of booking a video conference. Once you and your students have found the Expert you want to connect with, please include the following information in your introductory email:
- your class name (e.g. Mrs. Cassell’s Grade 2)
- your school, grade taught, age and number of students in the class
- curriculum subject area
- video conference topic and learning goals (What are your students’ learning needs? goals?)
- possible formats for the video conference (presentation, interview, activity, Q&A, etc)
- possible dates and times for the video conference
Note: It is the teacher’s responsibility to help prepare the dHL Expert for the video conference.
dHL Expert Introductions
The teacher and/or students may want to prepare a brief introduction for the dHL Expert. Preparing an introduction requires students to learn more about the Expert prior to the video conference which is an important part of the networking process -background research. Some Experts may prefer to provide you with an introduction they have written themselves, however they are not required to do so. Every introduction has three goals: get attention, spark interest, and build anticipation. Please see dHL Expert Introductions for ideas!
Video Conferencing/ Live Streaming Program Tips and Teacher Checklist
There are a number of things to consider when planning for a video conference or live streaming event. For example, how will the format of the video conference (presentation, Q&A, demonstration, activity…) or the live streaming event inform your classroom set up? Will students gather around a computer, or will the Expert be projected on a SMARTBoard or big screen? Where will students stand or sit so they can be seen and heard? Please refer to the Teacher Checklist to help you plan your program!
Download your dHL Teacher Badge
Download your dHL Teacher Badge and add it to your website, social media channel or blog! Posting the dHL Teacher Badge helps us spread the word and results in even more connections-based learning opportunities for students across Canada.
This post is also available in: French