Building a Lending Library - Part 1 of MDUSD's Journey

One of the frustrations about attending exciting professional development is that often there isn't money to purchase the engaging items used by the presenters. On occasion, the items are purchased, but there isn't enough support or professional development to help the teachers implement the products in their classrooms, and the boxes sit on shelves and in storerooms. CUE has a lending library, but many of the items are already reserved into next year.

The Tesoro Corporation (@TesoroCorp) sponsored the 2016 STEM & EdTech Symposium (@MDUSDSymposium) in February. The Symposium expenses were less than budgeted. Fourth grade teacher Craig Yen (@craigyen) proposed using the balance of the money to purchase STEM tools that the Symposium attendees had seen and used at the Symposium. These would be made available to all teachers in MDUSD on a check-out basis, and would influence future purchasing decisions for teachers and staff at sites. Materials for different grade level groups would be purchased. Patty Deutsche, Community Affairs representative from Tesoro, supported the idea, and MDUSD's STEM Lending Library was born.

In April, the library team of Craig Yen, Karly Moura (Elementary TOSA, @KarlyMoura), and Shauna Hawes (Middle School Tech Teacher, @ShaunaHawes) started meeting and reaching out to colleagues to gather and share information and recommendations.

Assistant Superintendent Jonathan Eagan (@coacheagan) and Sandy Barnhardt placed the orders as fast as they were submitted. Boxes poured in to Valley View, filled with Linkbots, Spheros, Osmobots, Osmo Coding and other Osmo games, Raspberry Pis, cameras, virtual reality goggles, and 3D printers.

All suggested purchases couldn't be made. Some of the items can only be controlled using iPads, and actually require one iPad per device. The committee decided that it was up to the school to provide the iPads or computers, since most of the schools have them already. The committee also purchased some older model cell phones to use in the virtual reality goggles so that teachers wouldn't have to provide their own phones for student use.

Some teachers have started trying out items during the summer, and have been able to see them during some of MDUSD's summer institutes. More teachers will begin the pilot after school begins. Pilot teachers will be helping to gather resources and to write "getting started" basic instructions.

There are many more procedures to be established. However, when lending library items were on display at the recent Ed Camp East Bay, the teachers were very excited at the opportunity to play and just try the items. There will be an Open House in mid-August at Willow Creek.

While this library will directly benefit MDUSD staff and students, it is hoped that by sharing information, other districts and groups will be able to start their own lending libraries more easily.