Tuesday, April 30, 2013

SMORE - Make online flyers for your library for free!

I just discovered SMORE today.  WOW.  You can easily create an online flyer for free.  Of course, like most online services, you can upgrade, but I think my flyer looks great with the free options.   After signing up you are encouraged to try your first flyer- here is what I did, step by step.

I chose the Event flyer.  Then I was prompted to fill in a Title:

 After I filled out the title, subtitle, wrote a short paragraph and added pictures, I deleted the other options and had the option to add the following:

You can see the flexibility of your choices.  I opted to add a video to my online flyer.  When you click on the flyer below - you can scroll through my whole flyer with the scrolling tab on the right side.

Here are some other examples of flyers that I was able to embed from the SMORE website.

I see SMORE as a great way to embed flyers on your blogs and webpages; as well as, mass emailing a flyer to people.  When you finish your flyer, you are given an option to share by emailing, tweeting, posting on Face Book, etc.  What other ways do you see using SMORE?

Please note:  I wish R. J. Palacio was returning to the valley, but I just made up the flyer that she was returning to use pictures and video that I already had access to!

Monday, April 29, 2013

THINGLINK has some new features!

Cindy and I have been using THINGLINK for a while now and I just realized that they have added some new features that they didn't have before.  It was always possible to include video and links to make your images interactive, but now you can add sound and even a polling option.  Scroll your mouse over the images below and see all the ways you can make your images interactive.

I would like to thank all the creators of these interactive images: Heather Hiser, Agustin, ThingLink front and J Kern.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Revisiting VINE

I love twitter and vine.  The fact that you are forced to summarize a thought into 140 characters or 6 seconds of video is the perfect way to get students to get to the point.  I look at creative experts that I follow and see how they really have to find a beginning, middle, and end to their outcome.  I wait patiently for the following #vine posts daily.......

Here are some book trailers I have created and that are only six seconds long.

Here is a six second video of an art exhibit I went to...

Getting students to think about what they put on social networks is a daunting task. Giving them a purpose for their posts, makes them think, plan and organize their thoughts.  Right now educators host educational chats using twitter.  When using vine educators might ask students to summarize a book, create a book trailer, show how their science experiment works, create a historical timeline, or develop a step by step art project video.

 How can you implement this into the curriculum you teach?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Broadcast your Google Hangout on YouTube

Google Hangouts are a great way to meet with your contacts, in fact, you can host up to ten people when you hangout.  I tried it out a couple of times with my daughter just to see how it all worked.  The first thing you need is a Google+ account if you don't already have one.  After you have created your Google+ account, you will need to find others who have a Google+ account so that you begin creating a contact list.

When you get to your home page on Google+, you will see options on the left side that you can choose from.

 You can see the highlighted Hangout in yellow in the photo below and the red Start a Hangout in the top right corner.

When you click on Start a Hangout, you are given an option to enable hangouts on air, if you select this, your hangout is no longer private, but allows you to broadcast your hangout on YouTube for an audience to see.  You can see that a pop up making sure that you want this session to be broadcast and not private requires you to click your decision.  You are also asked to name your hangout, maybe Author Visit with John Green or April Library Meeting.

The person or people that you are asking to join your Hangout Session will be notified in their Google+ account on the top right corner.  Once they click to accept that they are joining the session, all parties in the Hangout will appear on the bottom.  Again, you can have up to 10 people in the Hangout and the person talking will be the one that appears in the large screen.  The microphone detects the speaker and displays them for all to see.

As I presented this to the library coordinators at their monthly Region One meeting, I had the camera focused on them, so when they spoke, you would see them on the screen.

There are a lot of options you have access to during the hangout like chatting between participants that displays on the side, sound effects and even props that you can use in a more relaxed environment.  My daughter was putting eye patches on me and a tiara on her.  

How is this all different than Skype and Face Time?  For one, the sheer number of participants allows it to be more conducive to conferencing than the other two.  Of course the best part is the broadcasting you can do.  Imagine having an author visit with schools across your district and being able to broadcast it for parents or others.  As I brainstormed ways Google Hangouts can be used, these things popped into my head: Authors, graduations, professional development and even tutorials with students that would give them the capability to come back and review the whole session on your YouTube channel.  I saw these examples on twitter today....

And this video of an Atlanta Zoo Hangout....

And information about a Hangout with Atlanta Zoo's Ivan the Gorilla....

Are the wheels in your brain turning yet?  How can you use Google Hangouts?

Friday, April 19, 2013

App of the Week: Follett Destiny UPDATE

I feel I need to post an update on my last app review

In that post, I stated that the app did not continue to work after leaving it, unless it was completely closed and relaunched.  

After another week of using it, I finally recognized MY user error.  I was failing to clear user data (simple tap on red X) to change patrons, and the system was searching for books while I was wanting a patron.  

It was all me... the app clearly stated it was searching for items, not patrons.  So I am happy to report it is working quite well.  

In fact, I just used it to check in and check out books to an entire class.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

App of the Week: Follett Destiny

I frequently use Destiny Quest on my iPad to access our catalog while I am in the stacks with students.  It's just so.... portable... convenient... and easy. 

I love the feature that provides suggested titles - a life saver when the requested title is already checked out or has been mis-shelved.  

The idea of an app for the circulation side of things has been on my wish list for quite sometime.  Just think... book check-out IN the stacks, IN the hallways or staff rooms, IN the classroom... everywhere things change hands.

Follett Destiny

In all honesty, it is a little embarrassing to be so late to the table with this post, but I was so thrilled to finally discover this app existed, I just had to share... 

The Follett Destiny app was first released last September, and while I am not sure how I missed the news, I know I am not the only librarian who was busy starting a new school year, settling into a new role, learning hundreds of new things each day.  If there were blog posts, LM_Net discussions, or Tweets about the release, I missed them all.

Until last week...

I stumbled upon this app while reading what's new in the recent upgrade to Destiny 11.0.

While still somewhat limited, the Follett Destiny app does the basics beautifully.  You can:
  • Check books in and out by keying in or scanning barcodes
  • Find patrons by scanning library card OR searching by name or id #
  • Check patron status
  • Check item status

This is not an app to replace the traditional platform of computer and barcode scanner.  When checking out multiple books, one must tap on "scan" for each book.  Tap, scan, tap, scan.  Not really a problem, but an extra step I am not used to doing.  Completing checkout for an entire class of students with multiple books each will obviously take longer than our existing circ desk approach, but scanning the odd book outside of the library has become much, much more convenient.

Another thing I have found is that I need to close the app when I leave it.  If I return to Follett Destiny without relaunching, some of the features do not work.  Closing and relaunching solves this.
After more use of the app, I realized the problem was me, not the app.  You must clear patrons (one tap) between individuals, otherwise it thinks you are searching books.

I read in the app store reviews that some users would like an inventory tab.  While this would be a nice feature, bear in mind that items "checked in" during an inventory will be marked "found"... which makes it possible to inventory via the app.  However, you will have to tap "scan" between items, and there will be no beeps to alert you when a book is misshelved.

Have you used this app?  What do you think of it?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

27 things your Teacher Librarian does!

I saw this infographic on What Librarians Do and I absolutely love it.  With a little over a month left before school gets out and with the task of beginning an end of the year inventory - I challenge you to look at one box a day and reflect on that one thing.  For example: Day One :Teaches - how many students were you able to reach via classes or in the library setting to see that they could locate and share information.  Or, Day Two: Tweets - do you tweet and post events on twitter?

How many of these things can you honestly say you do?  If you find yourself saying,  "I want to do this more," take the time to make a calendar of those things.  I found that if I make year long plan, I can plug in new things with the old things and I won't forget.  (I have to give Cindy credit for getting me to make this year long calendar  - she was the perfect partner!)

 I would like to thank Mia MacMeekin for having it available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Apps of the Week

I have tried a few new apps recently, but I have not found one that proved to be an indispensible tool for a while....
and then I stumbled across the lists below 
from Silvia Rosental Tolisano on Langwitches blog.

I can already spy half a dozen I want to check out immediately.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Look at Buffy Hamilton's - Librarianship of the People, For the People and By the People

I love twitter and follow the wonderful Buffy Hamilton.  She posted a link of her Iowa Association of School Librarians Spring Conference 2013 presentation and after reading it; I asked her if I could share it on my blog.  Her response: 

Her presentation makes you think about where you are as a librarian.  I fear there are librarians out there that are living the status quo and not working to keep up with technology and change.  Key words Buffy uses like: innovator, linchpin, partner, and mentor - this is the type of librarian all schools should be afforded.

She also addresses the building communities in our schools.  How do we do that?  We can target student and teacher passions and interests as a start.   I invite you to peruse through this inspiring presentation and to take it all in.

Culture: Librarianship of the People, For the People, By the People

People, Partnerships, and Participatory Culture: Librarianship of the People, For the People, By the People from Buffy Hamilton

So, to conclude this post, I am going to use one of Buffy's slides.  Think about it.  I think this is where all librarians are at, and if they aren't, maybe they should be.

How are you collaborating with teachers and students?  Are they part of the library or just a visitor?  How can you take some of these ideas and implement them where you are?  But, most importantly, how can you share what you are learning with other librarians that may not be where they need to be?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Social Media Influence

I ran across this infographic on social media influence. How much social media are you using? Are you using professionally and/or personally? I read an article today by Mashable that stated an employee who actively uses 5 social networks is a better employee. "That's one conclusion that can be drawn from new data on the workplace by Evolv, a startup that monitors hundreds of metrics from Fortune 500 companies. Not only has Evolv determined that hourly employees who use social networks are more productive in general, but it seems the more social networks you use, the more productive you are,"according to Chris Taylor. Interesting information to say the least - I wonder if employers will agree!
  Influence and Social Media - Infographic
DashBurst – Your Guide to the Web & Social Media

Sources Cited:

Taylor, Chris. "Use 5 or More Social Networks? You're a Better Employee." MASHABLE. 03 Apr 2013: n. page. Web. 8 Apr. 2013. <http://mashable.com/2013/04/02/social-networks-workplace-study/>.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

YAPP - App Yourself!

Yapp is an app that you can use to create events, then share with a group of people via web or tablet.  
Yapp gives you a variety of options to choose from when choosing themes....

Once you have chosen a theme - you can personalize your YAPP with a photo like below:

Then you add invitation information and twitter feed hashtags like: #clockworkprincessbookclub

Then you can add group photos, book cover photos or any other photos you choose:

And last, but not least - you have the ability to add personalized pages:

Once you publish your YAPP -  you can share with other via email or URL.  If you want to customize your URL - you can do so for $5.00.  There might be benefits for that but I am not willing to pay $5.00!

I see so many uses for this app - don't you? Think about it - group meetings, book clubs, vacations, hangouts, and sports events - a lot of ways you can utilize YAPP.  Let me know what you use it for!