Friday, November 30, 2007

Carroll County's 23 Things Experience

After reading all the other thoughtful posts, I'm not sure what new things to add!

Our story: 144 of our 250 staff members signed up, and 102 finished by today. We gave prizes to all completers, and sent the weekly encouraging emails. We didn't hold any formal kick-off or catch-up sessions, but most folks who needed help found someone to give it. In fact, watching folks compare experiences and share tips and tricks was especially rewarding--people created their own learning communities.

Of course, it was fun to see who really took to the 'things' and found them an outlet for their creativity. One memorable example was that of a Bookmobile Clerical Assistant who previously would never have considered herself a 'techie'. She posted a YouTube video that showed how to back the vehicle out of the garage (a notoriously difficult move). Later, when she accompanied other staff on the trip to take delivery of the new bookmobile, she posted videos and photos of it so that everyone 'back home' could see that it was, in fact, real. Another staff member used what she learned to make documents easily available to be edited by several teleworkers. Everyone is thinking of ways to integrate web 2.0 technologies into both program content and delivery. And most notably, our Children's staff are actively using a wiki to support the emergent literacy peer coaching project--they found it a good way to archive content, and to interact with other coaches around the system.

What was different: We invited our partners, the media specialists at Carroll County Public Schools, to join us. They designated a pilot team to evaluate the program for their own use, and just working on the project together created more camaraderie. (And no, we did not count them in our 'completers'!)

In short: Were we overwhelmed and sometimes frustrated? Yes. Was there enough time? No. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat.

Thanks, Nini, team, DLDS--for taking this statewide!

Gail Griffith, Carroll County Public Library

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