Hints and tips

Ideas for getting the most out of your free trials...

1.    Share the free trial details with relevant members of staff including, for instance, the Head of Curriculum, the Head of Sixth Form – and especially the budget holder!

2.    Provide a brief summary of the content they will find in the resources.

3.    Mention the educational benefits of resources from trusted sources – using information from academic publications instead of the open web will help improve the quality of students’ work and should improve their grades!

4.    Demonstrate their value for money eg number of books/ journals and shelf space you’d need to provide the same amount of reference material.

5    Librarians...

  • grab teachers when they’re visiting the library and show them one or two of the features to catch their interest.
  • offer them a cup of tea (and biscuit) in return for 5 minutes of their time to look at the resource.
  • show the resource(s) to students when they’re in the library. If they’re enthusiastic encourage them to tell their teachers how good they are.

6.    Follow up with staff and request feedback – a short questionnaire may help.

Hints and tips for promoting your online resources...

Subscribing to online resources is just the start. In order to ensure they are fully embedded within the teaching and learning of your institution you will need to actively and regularly promote them to both teachers and students.

Be strategic about your promotion and develop a campaign for individual resources targeting the relevant department(s). Develop a mini plan around some key of the questions: Why? When? What? Who to? How? This approach might look to be a lot of work but a little bit of forward planning will actually save time and will ensure your activities are much more effective.

1. Why are you doing this? Be clear about your end goal. What is it that you want to achieve? What is it that you want to change? If you don’t specify your goal you won’t know if your plan achieves its objectives.

2. When? It’s important to get the timing right when introducing new resources so teachers have time to familiarise themselves with them and use them within their plans. Depending on your institution’s timetable, it could be:

  • the start of a new term
  • the start or end of a new financial year when the budgets have been allocated
  • during exam time when teachers have more time to trial resources
  • prior to planning coursework or the extended projects
  • at the end of a term when teachers can explore them over the  holidays.
  • Develop a timeline so you can measure the impact of your efforts.

3. What? If you have subscribed to several resources, unless they are all for the same subject, you might find it best to focus on one resource at a time. Before you start:

  • ensure links to the resources are highly visible on the VLE. Links can be placed on the home page, relevant subject pages as well as on the library page.
  • make sure you are fully familiar with the resource.

4. Who to? Who needs to know about the new resource? Target relevant teachers and departments and make the communication relevant and timely. A link to a specific piece of information/ journal article/image that’s needed that particular week could be all that’s needed to show the value of the resource. Show students the resources, they are digital natives and will be excellent evaluators. It is also worth involving IT, the Head of Learning, and definitely any budget holders!

5. How? Review the term’s timetable to identify key opportunities and meetings. Plan to use a range of approaches but make sure they’re appropriate for your target audience.

  • Promoting by word of mouth is extremely effective.
  • Use events/meetings such as:
    • enrichment and NQT training days
    • departmental meetings (especially for subject-specific resources)
    • staff meetings
    • parent evenings (shows parents range of resources their child can draw on)
    • governor meetings
    • Inset days
  • Find some champions from amongst staff and students to help showcase the resource.
  • Encourage groups of students to tell other groups.
  • Include information and a link to the resource on the school’s electronic notice board
  • Put up posters – many of the publishers offer marketing materials from their website, or create your own bespoke poster.
  • Illustrate a few topical examples to subject leaders
  • Share information in a school assembly
  • If you’re the librarian, refer students to them when they visit the library for research:
    • have the resources readily available on the library computers and other devices
    • apply QR code stickers on the hard copies of journals to link directly to the online version. This shows students there are other ways of accessing the same and further information.
    • provide a digital ‘book box’ to teachers of links to relevant sections in the resources
    • do a 10 minute demo the resource to a class of students
    • provide a short quiz for students to get them using the new resource
  • If you’re a teacher or head of department:
    • make sure you tell your students about the new resource(s) and where they can find the link on the VLE.
    • require them to include in their assignments at least three entries from trusted online sources rather than using an internet search engine.
  • Provide short training sessions using searches relevant to the term’s teaching plans.
  • Send short but regular emails with something new about the resource each time.
  • Submit an ‘advert’ to the school’s newsletter.
  • Make sure Ofsted inspectors are aware of your developing digital library

Finally, assess the success of your activities and how well you have achieved your goal with a short questionnaire to the relevant ‘participants’. Hopefully, you will now start to see an increase in usage statistics but regular reminders about the resource(s) will always be important.