Welcome to the dHL ‘Tips for Teachers’ Page!

The BIG idea is not only to connect teachers and students with the right Experts, but to make these video conferences as interactive and engaging as possible. Below are some suggestions to help get you started.

Student Safety

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 teachers can adapt and send home to families explaining why and how students will be connecting with experts using the 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 distance learning program?

Student safety is a priority. Although every effort is made to ensure our dHL Experts engage with our students appropriately, unforeseen things can happen.  I 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 should one arise.

Supporting Student Inquiry

We believe that student inquiry should be the driving force behind the connections that are made within the Digital Human Library. There are a variety of ways that students can make connections with dHL Experts even though (currently) the request must be submitted by the teacher:

  • Student(s) draft an email to the Expert they want to connect with and the teacher submits their email
  • Teacher logs into the Digital Human Library and searches the library in a way that is visible to students. Students choose keywords to search based on the expert they want to contact. Students engage in a shared writing activity and draft an email to the Expert that is then submitted by the teacher.
  • Your ideas here!

NOTE: We are currently working towards providing students with access to dHL Experts. More information coming soon!

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 the dHL you might be surprised who you find (Art = Robotic Art Teacher)?! With this in mind, searching the dHL by keywords 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 advanced notice you give each dHL Expert, the better your chances are of booking a session. Once you have found the Expert you’d like to contact, please include the following information in your introductory email:

  • your name
  • your school, grade taught, age and number of students in your class
  • curriculum subject area
  • distance learning topic and learning goals (What do you want your students to learn?)
  • possible formats for the distance learning program (presentation, interview, demonstration, activity, Q&A, etc)
  • possible dates and times for the distance learning program

NOTE:  It is your responsibility to help prepare the dHL Expert for the video conference.

Ways to Engage Students

This may be understood, but the more the dHL Expert engages your students the better. Here are some suggestions you can discuss with the dHL Expert to make the virtual visit as interactive as possible. See Ways to Engage Students

dHL Expert Introductions

The teacher and/or students may want to prepare a brief introduction for the dHL Expert.  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!

The Distance Learning Program

There are so many things to consider when planning your distance learning program.  Will students gather around a computer, or will the dHL Expert be projected on a SMARTBoard or big screen? Where will kids stand or sit so they can be seen and heard?  What is the format for the distance learning program (presentation, Q&A, demonstration, activity, etc)?  Please refer to the Teacher Checklist to help you get started!.

Download your dHL Teacher Badge

Download your dHL Teacher Badge and post it on your website or blog! Help spread the word to bring even more connections-based learning opportunities to kids across Canada.


This post is also available in: French