Jess Haigh, Subject Librarian for the University of Huddersfield’s School of Education and Professional Development, introduces TeachKits – packaged ideas and materials for academic skills and information literacy teaching – which she co-designed with fellow Huddersfield colleague and National Teaching Fellow, Andrew Walsh, and entered into LILAC 2017’s popular Lagadothon event.
The teaching packs for information literacy instruction idea came from two things; Story Sacks, and the growth in subscription-based posted packages of “stuff”, stationery or snacks for example. We thought that combining these product types would be a good way of sharing practical ideas for teaching information literacy, and disseminating learning resources themselves in a playful and exciting way.
Story sacks are commonly used by educators of young children to look at a book and think about themes surrounding it. They usually include a picture book and different props to initiate conversation about its themes. By incorporating the idea of a subscription service with looking at various “themes” within information literacy-for example, evaluating resources, we wanted to create a product that would be useful to librarians teaching the same learning aims across various levels, from School to University.
The aim of entering the project into the Lagadothon was to see if this was an idea people thought viable and would support, and if so, how much they would be willing to pay for it and what they would expect for that fee.
We put together a sample pack of resources around the Information Literacy theme of Evaluating Sources. These resources support learning activities we already frequently do in our own sessions, such as using card games, or cutting up journal articles to assist with finding the key parts, but we wanted to highlight that this project was aiming to inspire, not to dictate teaching. Although we included sample lesson plans, to give examples of how the activities could be used in the context of a longer session, each activity would be adaptable to however the librarian using it felt was necessary in accordance to their context.
Feedback from the very supportive and encouraging Lagadothon crowd was that, although they thought it a good idea, pricing would be an issue of concern. Some ideas included being able to submit resources yourself for a discount on subscription, and having the things that could be downloaded available online.
Since the Lagadothon, we ran a Kickstarter project to try to gauge interest in buying these sort of teaching packs. We named them TeachKits, hoping to have a range of them, with each TeachKit covering a different topic. Unfortunately, there weren’t sufficient backers to pay for the design and production of the first box-full of materials and the Kickstarter failed to reach its goal.
Some of the materials that would have gone into a TeachKit are now available to buy separately on the TeachKit website, including games and game-making kits. If we knew there was sufficient interest, we’d love to produce the full TeachKits, so please try to convince us there is a market out there big enough to recover our design and printing costs!
If you’d like any specific teaching materials produced, get in touch too and we’ll see if we can come up with something.
Find out more about Lagadothon and how to enter in 2018.
Over to you! What’s your favourite Teachkit idea? What Teachkits would you like to see produced?