Category Archives: General

An Interview with Dr. Aisha M. Johnson, Advocate, Educator, & Scholar

When we think of leadership in professional development, we need to think about different approaches and styles, and how to grow as a leader in the library field over time. We spotlight professional development trainers and experts in librarianship to talk about their work. In this blog post, we interview Dr. Aisha Johnson for her thoughts on leadership and professional development.

Aisha Johnson

Dr. Aisha Johnson (she/her), Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Outreach at Georgia Institute of Technology Library, is a revelator of Southern library history, information access, and literacy. Formerly MLS Program Director for the School of Library and Information Sciences (LIS) at North Carolina Central University, continuing as adjunct, she stands on her commitment to enhancing LIS through service, practice, and curriculum to produce librarians and archivists who become scholar-practitioners and leaders.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Can you briefly tell us about your work as a library leader and your professional development interests?

Aisha: I’ve been working in libraries for since 2006, starting as a circulation assistant for a public library. I have worked in a variety of libraries/archives (and departments) including academic (public and private), federal, and public. More specifically, I have worked progressively in archives and library leadership for more than 10 years. In these different roles, I have experienced different styles of leadership, some I didn’t agree with and some I did. Oftentimes, I found myself in the position of not receiving the type of leadership I needed; people leadership. Those experiences helped me become the people-leader that I am today, with a toolbelt for situational leadership.

My style of leadership is strictly about people and professional development. As an educator, I always say I love to be the vehicle to someone’s epiphany, and I mean that for students and professionals. That’s my leadership! That is what I focus on, advocacy and professional development. When we better understand that people need to feel seen, valued, and heard for a true investment in the well-being of the organization, I think leaders – and those in managerial positions – will better understand emotional investments.  Currently serving as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Outreach at the Georgia Tech Library, I have been able to employ a variety of leadership skills from my toolbelt that has helped me be an inspiring leader and scholar-practitioner.

What do you think are the challenges in engaging library workers at all levels in leadership development activities?

Aisha: Organizations (and state politics) that restrict engagement with policy and funding. We know, everything DEI is under attack, but the reality is we have had to shift over the decades in a variety of ways due to political challenges. Our very core of intellectual freedom is challenged. But we are information professionals! We are and will continue to become more innovative in our approach to language concerning foundational activities and people. I encourage everyone to learn educational policy as it relates to your organization and follow the ink, if you will. Discuss it and see where it’s going so you are ready without surprise. Learn the policy, learn the game. We got this, for the communities we serve. They need us and we need them.

Also, people. People are a challenge, sometimes. The “we’ve always done it this way” people. A good leader seeks to bring everyone along. Sometimes, we only focus on new and/or mid-career professionals. And while it may be challenging, it is not fair to neglect your seasoned and veteran professionals. They have institutional and professional knowledge. While it may take some maneuvering, do it. You won’t regret it and they will appreciate it.

Challenges will always exist, and it is leadership’s job to curve the challenges so that your library workers have a smoother day serving the patrons. That’s leadership.

What are some trends or areas in the library leadership field that you are seeing?

Aisha: The leaders that are doing it right are invested in the development of their people…even if it means the person outgrowing the organization. Be invested in your people for the profession. We want to retain professionals for the LIS field, not just one organization. Bright minds should have bright futures.

I do not care for boxed-in departments, you know those that do not allow for the people to explore the work of others or engagement. I love when leaders are open and allow the natural curiosity of library workers to explore and engage. I think that is a wonderful “trend,” but really it should be the culture. It breaks down barriers on a variety of levels and builds understanding of how various parts of the big machine works. It gives way for empathy and appreciation of your colleagues.

Also, I wouldn’t call community engagement a trend. It’s a part of our core values; serving the community in social, recreational, and educational ways. I love that! It is one of the most exciting things when the library is meeting the community where they are in a fun and intriguing way.

What resources or opportunities would you like to share to highlight the people-leadership skills?

Aisha: Talk to people, communicate. Ask about experiences and seek guidance. This profession is filled with kind people who want new leaders to emerge and develop. No one will turn you away or not share their experiences. At least, I never do. The saying is “closed mouths don’t get fed,” and I have extended that to half open mouths don’t get full. Talk to people.

Invest in your own professional development. Seek leadership and management training through professional organizations like Association of College and Research Libraries, Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, American Library Association, Society of American Archivists, state library associations, etc. Even webinars and seminars provide helpful insight. You can learn leadership skills from a variety of places.

Get involved in the profession. Leadership needs to be seen. People need to get to know you and your platform. Seek to build partnerships and collaborations that add to the LIS platform of advocacy. Become scholar-practitioner. You have something to say, write about it. It helps build the LIS curriculum.

Get outside of yourself. Believe it or not, I am introvert. Yes, yes I am. But it was my passion and love for the profession that evolved me into the advocate that I am. I knew in order to get things done, I had to put the shyness to the side and build this platform. Not to say I do not get exhausted, but it does get easier. Now advocating – for libraries and archives, librarianship and archivists, leadership and professional development, representation, and inclusion – is my favorite thing. Advocate to the point that others are advocating for you and the platform. I’m really good at that and I only do what I am passionate about. It’s the easiest way to remain authentic. Also, when it gets to the most frustrating moments, it’s the simplest way to recall “the why.”

Leave. Sounds absurd, right?! But be ok leaving. First let’s be clear. People do not leave organizations; they leave leaders that are not invested in growing the individual. Always have a plan and be open to relocation. Especially early in your career, know that three to four years of impact is enough time for you to make a difference. Grow or Go. Be impactful for the profession, and sometimes (often times) that does not mean staying in the same location for 5-10+ years. As long as you are building on an impactful platform, this will not hurt your career.

Pay attention to the leaders of the field, look at those CVs and resumes. Build the path for you while learning from others. Have a goal that highlights and uplifts the profession.

Thank you for speaking with us! Anything else you’d like to share that we didn’t get to talk about?

Aisha: For library leaders, see your role beyond the library. The library is the soul of the schoolhouse, so commit to partnerships and collaborations across campus and community that highlight the services, collections, and people as resources. That’s how we remain relevant as a primary resource. It will only strengthen the advocacy for students, faculty, and the community. Talk to people.

For those who aspire, leadership goes beyond a title. Leadership is innate, but it is also a taught skill set refined with experience. Even if you do not hold a titled leadership role within your organization, you can get involved in the profession and develop as a leadership, mover, and shaker. Leadership is a life skill that is transferable.

Visiting a Library Series: A Middle School Library by CPDWL Advisor Ray Pun

library spaceAs part of this CPDWL blog series on visiting libraries, I wanted to highlight a middle school library visit (a library for students ages 11-13). Located in Palo Alto, California (USA), this middle school is called “Ellen Fletcher Middle School.” A mutual friend connected me to the teacher librarian, Ms. Lee, who was gracious to show me around and shared what she and her library assistant Ms. Arlana have been working on. We talked about school library advocacy work, embedding library collections into the curriculum, project-based learning, media literacy, honor books, short story dispenser and more!

The library space was very open and there weren’t many students at first since they were in class. It gave me an opportunity to explore the library’s collections and services. I’ll highlight a few unique features that this middle school library is doing to support the students here.

Library short story dispenser and a contest exhibit

On the left, it is a short story dispenser where this device can create and print out a 1, 3 or 5 minute-stories for students to take and read! It’s been popular in universities like in Penn State too. Ms. Lee received this opportunity through a partnership with the Palo Alto Public Library. Students could grab a short story to read as they go in or out of the library. In addition, the library hosted a contest for students to write a 1 minute story and these stories would be entered into the machine for other students to read. It was a nice way to engage with literacy and creativity.

Ms. Lee told me that the judges came from other school and public libraries and teachers too.

honor books on shelf

Afterwards we looked at the honor books on a shelf. Honor books are books that anyone can borrow without having to ask about it or be seen checking them out. The topics focus on teens, youths, and adolescent interests such as puberty, mental health issues, and more. It was a safe shelf for students to borrow a book and not have to talk to anyone about them.

Next, I noticed the book cart focused on sustainability topics and issues. It was very interesting to see how the books aligned with specific topics like climate, transportation, and other topics. Even the garbage bin was labeled with helpful information about landfill.

garbage bin label

books on shelf with labels

IFLA Spot Fake News StandWe also discussed collection development strategies and how they actively diversify the collection to reflect different voices and identities. I learned from Ms. Lee about how she as a teacher librarian, engages with the curriculum by collaborating with teachers on assignments such as an Ancient Egypt research project, having books ready on shelf on that topic. She was also ready to engage with students having to cite their sources. I also noticed the IFLA Spot a Fake News flyer in the library too, which is timely since California recently mandated a new media literacy curriculum in schools. Teacher librarians will be great collaborators on this issue.

3 people posing in a photo togetherMs. Lee also developed a lot of online resources such as research guides. You can learn more this library by visiting their website with extensive book recommendations to students. I also noticed there’s a focus on engaging teachers and students through learning technologies and resources developed by the library, such as online tools to help students cite their sources properly. 

It was evident that Ms. Lee and Ms. Arlana were striving to make this library into an inclusive and fun learning space. I appreciate visiting this library because I learned a lot about what our colleagues are doing and can better inform our work in the library field! I highly recommend visiting a school library and connecting with colleagues there!

Celebrating #InternationalVolunteersDay and Meme Contest Success By Helen Chan, IFLA CPDWL Section Chair

Celebrating Meme Contest WinnersCelebrating Volunteerism and Creativity in Librarianship

As we mark #InternationalVolunteersDay on December 5, 2023, we at the IFLA Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning (CPDWL) Section, along with the New Professionals Special Interest Group (NPSIG), extend our warmest regards and gratitude to our dedicated volunteers. Our volunteers are the backbone of our collective efforts, contributing to our library associations with innovative programs and invaluable resources.

A Tribute to Our Meme Contest Winners

The recently concluded Meme Contest was a resounding success, thanks to the creativity and enthusiasm of participants from around the globe. Congratulations to all who took part!

Applause for the Winners

We extend our heartiest congratulations to the top three memes that won our community’s hearts. Each winner has been awarded an eCertificate, meticulously designed by CPDWL Standing Committee Member Elena Corradini.

Here are the victors who managed to both amuse and enlighten us:


Mohamed Sherif Mahmoud (Egypt)


Hamid Sana (Pakistan)

Cat-aloging Napping my way past p.eriodical publications

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sywar Ayachi (Tunisia)

Gratitude to Our Jury and Advisors

A special thank you to our dedicated CPDWL jury members, a truly global panel that faced the challenging task of selecting the best from the best. Your discernment and commitment are greatly appreciated.

Furthermore, we thank the CPDWL advisors who participated in the voting process:

Ray Pun
Ulrike Lang
Monica Ertel
Edward Junhao Lim
Loida Garcia-Febo

Acknowledgement to Standing Committee Members and Volunteers

Our heartfelt appreciation goes to the CPDWL Standing Committee Members:

Helen Chan (Chair)
Jorun Systad (Secretary)
Joan Weeks (Information Coordinator)
Heba Ismail
Anne Reddacliff
Carmen Lei
Svetlana Gorokhova
Julia Gelfand

And a special mention to our volunteer:

Calista KY Lam

Join Us for Future Events

Your participation and contributions as IFLA volunteers empower our profession and create a vibrant community. We eagerly look forward to your involvement in the upcoming events brought to you by the IFLA’s CPDWL Section. Let’s continue to inspire and be inspired!

Thank you all once again for making a difference!

Visiting a New Library: Exploring the Community Impact in New and Familiar Ways by CPDWL Advisor Ray Pun

Main Library, South San Francisco Library

In late December, I visited the Main library of South San Francisco (a different system from San Francisco Public Library) called “Library |Parks and Recreation Center.” This library opened its doors back in October 28, 2023. In this post, I wanted to reflect on this experience and share what this library is offering to the community in South San Francisco. This library was very spacious and in a new land as I learned from a library staff.  There were programming and events listed for children, young adults, families, and adults. These activities included lego building events, book clubs, and story times for children in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Tagalog! Signage throughout the library was bilingual in English and in Spanish. In addition, a library wing was named after a dedicated library advocate and former U.S. representative for California’s 14th congressional district Jackie Speier.

Library Wing named after Jackie Speier

Here are some highlights from my visit:

Memory Activity Kits

Memory Activity Kits – According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease. “An estimated 6.7 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in 2023. Seventy-three percent are age 75 or older.”  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “currently more than 55 million people have dementia worldwide,” I saw there were “Memory Activity Kits” which is the library’s Mental Health Initiative, “funded in whole or in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provision of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, administered by the California State Librarian.” The kits support “caregivers and families in providing mental stimulation to members experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s.” I looked at the kits and they included jigsaw puzzles and card games as well as music and books for specific decades to help those experiencing memory loss.

Video game collections on display

Video Game Collections – Video games as library collections aren’t necessarily new to libraries (see Stanford University Libraries, 2023 and IFLA WLIC 2018 programme from Audiovisual and Multimedia Section joint with the Information Technology Section called “Video Games: Winning strategies for libraries“). But what made it interesting was that I was just looking up a couple of games on Twitch, an interactive live streaming service for gamers, and suddenly I see the games available to be borrowed. They were located in the youth section of the library. It reminded me of the importance of public libraries collecting and sharing resources beyond books. The American Library Association’s Games and Gaming Round Table offers more information about video game collections and community engagement with games

Veteran resource center

In addition to collections, this library had a  Veterans Resource Center and a MakerSpace. The Veterans Resource Center offers library and community resources supporting veterans. (For additional resources and ideas on libraries supporting veterans, see Libraries & Veterans: National Forum).

The MakerSpace in this library was very big and had different technologies such as sewing machines and printers. There were products on display ranging from small robot toys to miniature figures. (See IFLA Section’s Libraries for Children and Young Adults on “MakerSpaces: new tradition in context.”) Not all libraries can offer these MakerSpace resources and training since they can expensive but it was very good to see how this library’s MakerSpace support, engage, and transform their communities in different ways.

MakerSpace in the library

MakerSpace products on display

When you are a librarian, visiting other libraries, especially new ones, can offer new ideas and lens into how libraries serve and impact the local community. It’s important to document these experiences to show how we can learn from each other and better serve our communities. As you visit a library for the first time, observe the space and service points from signage to accessibility, it may help you understand how the library is set up to support all members of the community. I am inspired by visiting this new library and hope this blog post inspire you to visit libraries and offer you some ideas too!

Meet Our New CPDWL Standing Committee Members

We are thrilled to introduce you to the new members of the Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning (CPDWL) Standing Committee. Each member brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and commitment to lifelong learning in the library profession.

Helen Chan

Helen Chan, the current Chair of the Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning (CPDWL), is an accomplished academic and professional in the library and information science sector. Prior to her current role, she chaired the IFLA Professional Division Committee of Division F and the Action Plan Review Committee, which introduced the widely used ‘Infinity’ platform within IFLA at WLIC 2023. Helen’s strong academic background, including over a decade teaching the Master of Science in Library and Information Management (MsLIM) program at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), enriches her role in CPDWL. Her passion for accessible information led to the creation of a new course for Bachelor of Science in Information Management (BsIM) students at HKU. Beyond academia, Helen supports teacher-librarian training in Hong Kong and participates actively in local non-profit work, holding directorship roles in an educational fund and a local secondary school board.

Joan Weeks

Joan Weeks is the Head of the Near East Section and Turkish Specialist in the African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED) at the Library of Congress where she supervises a staff of seven, including Arab, Persian and Armenian specialists with responsibility to acquire, process, and serve the Near East Collections. Prior to this, she was a Sr. Instruction Librarian at the Library of Congress where she designed and taught courses on the Library computer systems to staff. Joan is an elected member-at-large of the American Library Association (ALA) Council, and chairs the Near East and Southeast Asian Committee of the International Relations Committee of ALA. In IFLA, she was the Information Coordinator for the Section on Education and Training (SET), promoting programs such as the webinar series for LIS students.  She has a strong interest in library professional development instruction, making her a valuable addition to the CPDWL as the newly appointed Information Coordinator.

Julia Gelfand 

Julia Gelfand, a staunch advocate for global communication and cooperation, has been a vibrant part of the ALA’s IRRT Roundtable throughout her career. Julia’s international experience, from Europe and Asia to the Middle East and Africa, has enriched her work with IFLA for over 30 years. She’s been a pivotal part of the Science & Technology Section, the Acquisitions & Collection Development Section, and has contributed to numerous engaging programs. Now joining the professional development section, Julia looks forward to addressing the vast changes in libraries and librarianship, from technology to open movements, in innovative ways.

Tina Yang

Having worked in the library and information industry across China, Australia, and Hong Kong for nearly three decades, Tina Yang now serves as the Associate Librarian at the University of Hong Kong Libraries. In her role, Tina leads a dynamic team in providing diverse information, learning, and research services. Tina has witnessed the transformative power of technology in libraries and emphasizes the importance of mindset and capabilities in embracing this digital shift. As a library manager, Tina values continuing education and is excited to join CPDWL, where she can collaborate with passionate professionals in fostering lifelong learning in the library profession. Tina has also served in various roles within the IFLA Regional Standing Committee of Asia and Oceania.

Jorun Systad

Jorun Systad, Library Director in Sunnfjord municipality, Norway, brings her experience from IFLA’s Libraries for Children and Young Adults section to her current role. She’s particularly interested in enhancing public library services for smaller municipalities, focusing on collaboration with local organizations. Jorun has previously worked as a reading-motivator for “Foreningen!Les” and is an active member in the Norwegian Library Association and National Library’ strategic committee for 2020-2023. Her work emphasizes the need for libraries to facilitate ongoing staff development and workplace training.

Tina Gorokhova

Svetlana Gorokhova

Svetlana Gorokhova, an active participant in IFLA since 1994, firmly believes in the importance of continuous learning within the library community. She is excited to join the CPDWL in providing a seamless space for professional development across all sectors of the library community.

Anna Reddacliff

Anne Reddacliff 

Anne Reddacliff began her rewarding library career in 2001 as a volunteer. Today, she contributes to the Australian Library and Information Association’s (ALIA) Rainbow and Sustainable Libraries groups, remaining connected and inspired. With a love for writing and meeting new people, Anne is excited to bring her skills to IFLA CPDWL, expanding her influence internationally. She eagerly anticipates making new connections and contributing to the profession on a global scale.

Mingyan Li

Mingyan Li

Mingyan Li serves as the Metadata Librarian and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. With over 15 years of diverse library experience, she specializes in metadata workflows. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Bradley University, Mingyan is dedicated to advancing metadata management through innovation and accessibility.

Susan Cherono

Susan Cherono

Susan Cherono, a Librarian at the United States International University-Africa, brings over 14 years of experience in the field of Librarianship to CPDWL. With her passion for innovation and learning, she looks forward to contributing to CPDWL meetings and trainings.

Florian Forestier

Florian Forestier is in charge of social innovation and diversity politics at the French National Library and is also the project manager for the creation of the research center. He is passionate about training and development of staff skills, particularly regarding preventing discrimination and changing managerial attitudes.

Simona Marilena Bursasiu

Simona Marilena Bursasiu

Simona Marilena Bursasiu is a librarian at the Politehnica University of Timișoara, Romania, and an associate lecturer in the field of library and information sciences. As a former president of the Education and Training section of the Romanian Library Association, she is committed to providing online training for librarians around the world through CPDWL.

We welcome a group of dedicated professionals to the Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning (CPDWL) Standing Committee. Each individual brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and a commitment to ongoing professional development within the library and information sector. We eagerly anticipate the valuable contributions and fresh insights they will undoubtedly bring in the coming years.

For those interested in learning more about our new members, stay tuned for the upcoming issues of the CPDWL Newsletter. We will be featuring self-introductions from different standing committee members, offering you an in-depth look at their professional journeys, their passions within the field, and the unique perspectives that they bring to our committee.

Watch out for these enlightening features, and please join us once again in extending a warm welcome to our new members of the CPDWL!

Stay tuned and connected with CPDWL!

ChatGPT and Library Instruction: An Interview with Rebecca Hastie, Academic Librarian, American University of Sharjah by Ray Pun, CPDWL Advisor

Rebecca Hastie

At a recent trip to the Sharjah International Library Conference in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, I had an opportunity to connect with Rebecca Hastie, and learned more about her work as an academic librarian incorporating generative artificial intelligence tools in library instruction. In this blog post, we focus on Rebecca’s work and how she engages with her learners in this new area! Our work in CPDWL Section focuses on professional development in the workplace, and we bring the professional development ideas to you!

Rebecca Hastie is an academic librarian currently based at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Specializing in information literacy, Rebecca is driven by her commitment to developing information literacy skills in students that will assist them not only in their academic lives but their personal lives as well. Her interests extend to exploring the influence of filter bubbles and algorithmic bias on information seeking behavior, and the potential of information evaluation methods to counter misinformation ‘rabbit holes’.

Can you tell us about you and your work in American University of Sharjah? 

Rebecca: I’m the Information Literacy Librarian at the American University of Sharjah, an American-style liberal arts education university in the United Arab Emirates. A major component of this role is creating and running information literacy (IL) workshops taught in three core writing courses in the General Education program. These IL workshops are scaffolded so that in their first year students will learn about the online information landscape and basic library database skills, followed by more advanced search and information evaluation skills in their second year. 

The high workload of teaching these workshops (last Spring semester saw 60 workshops delivered to 715 students) is managed by myself, my teaching assistant, and another full-time librarian. It’s crucial that the content not only resonates with all students across the courses but is also consistently deliverable by any one of us. To ensure that these sessions are as impactful as possible, I regularly update both the content and the exercises in these workshops. In addition to the General Education workshops I also run extra curricular IL-themed workshops and organize our student-focused events such as orientation, first year experience program, and activities to ‘de-stress’ over exam periods. Over this semester I’ve been incorporating AI into my work activities and learning as much as I can about AI to ensure that I can guide students in responsibly using these tools without neglecting traditional academic research methods.

What are your thoughts on generative artificial intelligence tools being used in libraries?

Rebecca: I think soon the ability to use generative AI for simple tasks will be as necessary as the ability to use email. Now that AI has entered the mainstream, as librarians it’s essential that we equip our patrons, and ourselves, with the ability to use these tools effectively and understand their capabilities and limitations. I find generative AI tools very helpful at speeding up tasks such as drafting content, creating presentations, and structuring lesson plans.

With AI-generated information increasing across the information landscape, I believe it is vital for libraries to expand information literacy objectives to include AI literacy. We must support our communities in having the skills to critically identify and evaluate AI-generated information, and understand how AI content is generated. AI literacy instruction needs to go beyond fact-checking and emphasize how historical and societal biases in AI training datasets can lead AI to reinforce and perpetuate inequality and oppressive perspectives. I also believe it to be more important now than ever for libraries to amplify underrepresented voices, original thought, and diverse perspectives, helping them to not be overshadowed by a flood of AI-produced content regurgitating old ideas. 

How have you taught generative AI tools in your workshops? What were the responses like?

Rebecca: In my General Education IL workshops, I’ve introduced prompts to use in ChatGPT to brainstorm keywords and search strategies for library databases. I’ve also overlaid a text box labeled “ChatGPT” onto a graphic I use to show the three layers of the internet, showing how both Google’s indexing and AI datasets consist of surface web data, emphasizing the importance of knowing how to use our library catalog and academic databases to access scholarly information. 

Additionally, I’ve recently finished running a four-part workshop series titled ‘AI Amplified’. The workshops were: Enhancing Research Skills with AI, Evaluating AI-Generated Content & Editing with AI, Creating Presentations using AI, and Using AI to Job Hunt. The series went beyond chatbots and also covered various generative AI tools including image generators, presentation creation tools, and AI-based recruitment scanners. The feedback to these workshops was really positive and I look forward to offering the series again in the upcoming Spring semester. 

One exercise that went really well was asking participants to critique the answers provided by ChatGPT and Google Bard to the same query about an historic event. I was impressed by the insights made without my prompting, with participants identifying issues such as a poor writing flow and structure, repetition, uneven weighting of influential factors, and noticing the dominant narrative. 

Due to how fast generative AI technology is moving I think it’s important to focus on teaching overarching AI skills rather than just techniques for using particular tools and I will revise this workshop series with this in mind to ensure longevity of the content. 

Anything else you like to share with us that we didn’t get to talk about?

Rebecca: As we all learn on the job and try to keep ahead of all the rapid advancements in AI, it’s impossible for anyone to keep up with everything single-handedly! I know that teamwork will be crucial for our shared success as information specialists so I would love to hear from other librarians working in this space and I would be very happy to share any of my materials with anyone who may be interested. 

Generative Artificial Intelligence Tools for Primary and Secondary School Educators? By Ray Pun, CPDWL Advisor

Children in a Classroom. In the back of a classroom, are children about 11 years old with a female teacher talking about the subject – If Someone in Your Family Has Cancer. Photographer Michael Anderson

With the rise of ChatGPT, Bard, and Bing, we are seeing many other tools emerging that serve different needs for specific audiences. In a previous CPDWL blog post, we discussed ChatGPT in academic libraries and higher education, and shared how other CPDWL members are thinking about this tool in their libraries. Most recently, a colleague shared with me some tools may be available for educators in primary and secondary education levels. This post will briefly cover these four tools and their potential impact.

DiFfit: https://beta.diffit.me/#topic – From the Netherlands, this website states that “teachers use Diffit to instantly get “just right” resources for any lesson, saving tons of time and helping all students to access grade level content.” There are features here that are free immediately to use. You can create a topic of interest such as something in history or sciences, or you can upload a document like a PDF text, or video and it can generate a summary of the topic/text, and create multiple choice questions, short questions and open ended prompts, etc for you to adapt. It can generate lessons to support a teacher’s work. Here’s a video review that you can see on YouTube.

Ethiqly: https://www.ethiqly.ai/ -From the United States, Ethiqly is “designed to inspire deeper learning. From assignment to assessment, Ethiqly supports students throughout the writing process to boost engagement.” For those struggling with writing, this website generates prompts for users to consider. A user can write or paste a draft of their work, and the tool will evaluate and assess the writing and provide thorough feedback, which can save time for a teacher who may be busy grading other assignments. Here is additional feedback on Ethiqly that you can read more on.

Khanmigo: https://www.khanacademy.org/khan-labs – From Khan Academy in the United States, “Khanmigo mimics a writing coach by giving prompts and suggestions to move students forward as they write, debate, and collaborate in exciting new ways.” For teachers and students, there are many activities built into this AI tool such as chatting with a personal AI tutor, creating lesson plans and summaries, or rubric/learning out or activity. As a teacher, you can see students’ learning progress through the app if assigned for them to use it. Similar to other chatbots, Khanmigo offers responses for lesson plans or activities based on a prompt. It can offer potentially useful responses for teachers as they are planning for their lessons. Here’s a video review that you can see on YouTube.

TeachFX: https://teachfx.com/ – From the United States, “TeachFX is an app for teachers that uses voice AI to measure the student engagement, the equity of voice, and the discourse patterns in a teacher’s virtual or in-person classroom. Like an instructional coach, the app provides teachers with targeted pedagogical feedback on their teaching practice.” You can use this tool on the phone, tablet, or laptop, this tool draws on the voice content in your classroom which can indicate how long you spoke in the classroom, how long your students spoke in the classroom, the silence in between, questions that were raised, common words coming out in the conversations, gaps in the learning opportunities, and the tool can suggest ways and examples to build student contributions based on the recorded data. Here’s a video review on how a teacher is using TeachFX that you can see on YouTube..

Most of these tools have some kind of subscription rate and you need to create an account for full access. You can request a trial or try the free version before committing. Using these tools will require practice, patience, and ethical considerations. Although the technologies will continue to evolve and enter in our professional and private lives, we need to remain vigilant on how it is impacting learning and our realities in different ways. It is inevitable to completely ban or ignore generative artificial tools but thinking about and piloting with these tools may offer us ways to complement our work or even help us understand how they shape teaching and learning in the classroom. 

If you have used any of these tools above, please share with us what your experiences have been like. If there are also other ones that you are seeing being used in primary and secondary education, please share with us in the chat box.