Digital Human Library Information for Members

Digital Human Library

What is the Digital Human Library?
The Digital Human Library (dHL) is a web-based library of members from local and global communities who have agreed to share their expertise, knowledge, skills and experiences while connecting with teachers and students in their classrooms using Skype (a free video calling software application).  dHL participants are people like you – parents, community members, and people around the world who are interested in making a difference in the lives of our students. 
Teachers will access the Digital Human Library and search for members like they would search for books in a library.  dHLmembers can then be “signed out” to collaborate with classroom teachers on an activity, lesson, or presentation, based on grade-specific curriculum expectations outlined by the classroom teacher, that will then be shared with the students at an agreed upon time using Skype.  So, in addition to the use of books and other classroom resources, students will now be able to engage with real people – like you, in real time, using video calling software to learn curriculum-based concepts and skills in new and exciting ways. The Digital Human Library brings the field trip experience into the classroom!
To learn more about the dHL, please visit my YouTube channel to watch a short video:
If I agree to become a member of the dHL, what does that mean?
If you agree to become a member of the dHL, you are agreeing to provide us with your contact information, as well as receive and respond to emails from classroom teachers in your community. It will be up to you to decide if you would like to work with those teachers.
What technology do I need to participate?
All you need is a computer, a webcam with a microphone, and a free Skype account.  If you know how to turn on a computer, access the internet, and log in to a website you have all the skills you need! 
What if I don’t have the technology (computer, webcam, or internet), but I want to participate?
No problem! We can help. We are also sourcing out access points throughout Avon Maitland to support our dHL members.  Living outside of the AMDSB? Contacting a friend or relative who could provide you access to the technology might be another option. 
How much time am I committing to this project if I agree to be a member? 
The amount of time you commit to this project is entirely up to you.  It is possible that you could receive upwards of 20 emails over 10 months (2 per month for example); however, you might only receive a few emails over the course of the entire school year. 
What are my responsibilities as a member of the dHL?
The teachers who contact you will provide you with the subject area, learning goals (the curriculum expectation being covered) and the material they would like you to help them present.  It is the responsibility of the classroom teacher to help you prepare for the virtual visit.  The classroom teacher will work with you to decide on the format for the video call, whether it’s an interview, a demonstration, presentation, or a lesson, as well as how to make the video call as interactive and engaging as possible.  Since you are the expert, you will decide on the amount of preparation required for the virtual visit.
How do I know if my knowledge and/or skills would be useful to share in the classroom?
EVERYONE has something valuable to contribute.  With such a broad range of topics across the grades and the curriculum, teachers will find connections between your area(s) of expertise and what the students are learning in the classroom. 
Why should I become a member of the dHL? 
Everyone in the community has a story to tell, skills that can be taught, and knowledge to pass on to our youth.    You are one of these people.  By agreeing to be a participant in the dHL, you are making a commitment to help educate our children, and strengthen the relationships between our communities and schools. 
Why do teachers and students need the dHL?
The “more opportunities students are given to relate their knowledge and skills in all subject areas to wider contexts, both across the curriculum and in the world beyond the school, the more students will be motivated to learn and to become lifelong learners” (Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum Documents, 1998-2009).
Preparing students to enter a global society is a challenging task for all teachers, but essential to student success.  As teachers learn new ways to build the meaningful use of technology into their classroom programs, they are also faced with the challenge of using that technology effectively to engage students, and further their academic progress.

By supporting the dHL either as a participant, or as a community member who is willing to share this idea and information with others, you are helping to provide students with 21st century learning opportunities that integrate information and communication technology into our classroom programs to improve educational achievement, enrich curriculum experiences, stimulate student interest and curiosity, and increase student engagement and participation.

Together we can to help students make connections across all areas of the curriculum, and to the world beyond the school, with a focus on how this knowledge will affect their lives in the future.  By bringing the local and global community into the classroom, we are not only strengthening the relationships between our communities and schools, but we are motivating our students to learn, which will improve student performance and academic achievement. 

Together we can provide teachers with a new instructional resource that will support their teaching in all areas of the curriculum, by offering students unlimited access to the real experts – access to people like you. We are looking for you to be the guest speakers, and the tour guides on virtual field trips to your places of work – places like museums, farms, art studios, and shops.  And without the added expense of transportation and admission costs, all students can experience these unique learning opportunities more than just a few times a year.  The possibilities are endless – and the opportunities are only limited to the number of people who get involved. 

Let’s work together to improve the classroom learning environment, promote greater enjoyment of academic learning, and improve academic success to establish a more inclusive and equitable learning and teaching experience for all.
If you would like more information about the Digital Human Library project, or you are interested in signing up to become a member, please visit my website, or contact me by email
Thank you for your interest in my project.  I am looking forward to seeing you in the classroom!
Leigh Cassell 
Elementary Teacher
Avon Maitland District School Board

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