Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Final Reflection

I have learned so much and have really enjoyed this whole experience.  This class has really motivated me to incorporate technology into my class even more.  I love to use technology and I try to incorporate it as much as I can, but after this class I have many more ideas that I can't wait to try.

The tools I'm most excited to use are YouTube, Animoto, and QR codes.  I have already used these tools in my classroom, but now I have some new ideas to run with as well as great ideas of how to use them in the library. If I could, I would sit around all day and make book trailers on Animoto!

I also really see the value in podcasts and screencasts.  I recently attended an awesome training discussing the flipped classroom.  I would love to create podcasts and screencasts to get started on "flipping" my classroom next year.  I can see how students would love to create podcasts to show what they know about a topic or to give book reviews. 

I think the most difficult part of this class was the screencast assignment, only because Java was not my friend! :)  I was so frustrated that I didn't have a good experience with that assignment.  I had to get my tech support (my husband) to help me out on that one. I know these things happen when you are using technology, that's the real world.  It is just something you have to roll with when you use technology in the classroom as well.  Things usually don't go as planned every day!
I also had a hard time coming up with great ideas for using Instagram and Vine in the classroom.  I think I made it too hard.  I wanted students to be able to do projects and showcase them, but most of my ideas for Instragram revolved around the teacher sharing  student projects or events.  That's something I'm still brainstorming.

I think students will really benefit from all of these tools, but I know they will really get excited about cartoons and comics.  This year, my students were really obsessed with graphic novels.  This is the first year that I have noticed that!  They were constantly on the "wait list" to check out Smile, Sisters, and Drama by Raina Telgemeier. I know they will enjoy making their own comics and there are so many different ways to incorporate comics into lessons!

This was a great experience.  I learned a lot! I know I will use so much of this in the future.  I'm happy to have this blog as well to look back at all the ideas that I created or shared.

The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing

Purcell, K., Buchanan, J., Friedrich, L. (July 16, 2013). The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/07/16/the-impact-of-digital-tools-on-student-writing-and-how-writing-is-taught-in-schools/


The study discussed in this article states that digital technologies are changing student writing in different ways. The tools have become helpful for teaching writing to middle and high school students. Tools such as, social networking sites and cell phones and texting really help to generate personal expression and creativity.  These tools encourage teens to write more often and in different formats.

Even though these tools are great for expression, they are challenging because it encourages a more informal writing style.  Teachers in the study state that there is also a great need to better educate students on plagiarism and fair use.

Some of the benefits for digital technologies are:

*Allows students to share their work with a larger, differentiated audience

*Encourages greater collaboration among students

*Encourages creativity and personal expression


Some of the challenges of teaching writing in a digital environment are:

*Tendency to confuse formal and informal writing

*The need to educate students on using different voices and registers

*Truncated forms of expression are now changing student’s ability to write longer texts and to think critically

*Little knowledge of fair use/ plagiarism

*Lack of knowledge when citing sources

*Diminishing grammatical skills and vocabulary

Even though there are challenges to teaching in a time with digital technologies, 50% of the teachers in this study state that these tools make it easier for them to shape or improve student writing. Some of the examples mentioned were the use of collaborative tools that allow teachers to “see their students thinking” and allow teachers to work alongside students during the writing process. Digital tools are also thought to make students write well because they can easily revise their work. As a writing teacher myself, I really enjoy the ability that allows students to collaborate in a digital format as well as my ability as a teacher to see what they are working on and immediately give advice, guidance, and positive feedback before they get to the end product. I think it is a great way to be able to conference with every student and not miss a part of the process.

Although these technology tools are for the most part helpful, 94% of teachers encourage or require students to do some of their writing by hand. Several teachers in this study believe writing by hand has advantages because students will need to do handwritten work on standardized tests, in discourages the temptation to copy and paste others’ work, and it encourages active thinking, synthesizing and editing.

I also agree with having students do some of the process by hand.  It is a great way to brainstorm and activate creative thinking. I don’t think we should only rely on the digital tools especially when it comes to writing.  Paper and pencil activities are not wrong and shouldn’t go away completely.

What I found really interesting was the second part of this article that discusses how teachers and students define writing.  Most students stated that they define writing as something that teachers “make” them do.  Most teachers are requiring their students to write short essays or responses as well as journal. Many students use journals in class but do not see them as a form of blogging. This thought process might change as students begin blogging for classes. Blogging may become the more official writing in the future.  I think that is a great way to get students to buy in to the idea of journaling. I plan to create an area on my classroom blog that allows students to journal. I think it’s a great idea and a great way to look back at the events, activities, and thoughts for the school year.

Most teachers agree that social media and texting are very engaging for students and these formats give them a reason to write. Even though these are not traditional forms of formal writing, they can serve as a form of pre-writing. There are some limitations to social media, but the upside is that students are communicating and writing more than we ever did at that age. Due to all these social formats and technology tools, students are writing constantly. The value of writing lengthy papers is not as important as the content and quality of that writing. I have always thought the same thing and I tell my students that when I teach writing lessons.  I don’t want to see how much writing they have on their page, I want to see quality writing.  This is such a great thought!

When teachers were asked what they think students need for the future, at the top of list was judging the quality of information, writing effectively, and behaving responsibly online.  I was kind of surprised that writing effectively was second on this list and that the list automatically jumped to behaving responsibly online.  All of these ideas are important, but I think to be successful at any job, you have to be able to write effectively and communicate appropriately first.


(114 pages)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Tech Trends and Library Services in the Digital Age

Zickuhr, K. (May 10, 2013). Tech trends and library services in the digital age. Pew Research. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/05/10/tech-trends-and-library-services-in-the-digital-age/


This article mostly focuses on how teens and young adults find and share information in the digital age.  According to the study, 95% of teens use the internet 78% had a cell phone of those, 37% are smart phones.

The article states that 53% of Americans visit the library in person and 23% visit the website.  What was really interesting to me is how those people used the library when they visited. 73% borrowed books, 73% browsed the shelves, 54% research topics of interest, 50% get help from a librarian, and 31% read magazines or newspapers.  I was surprised by the number of people that really asked the library for help.  It was also interesting to see that the number of people who browse the shelves is also the same as the number of people who borrowed books. Most Americans say it is important for libraries to offer to help people and to allow patrons to borrow books.

The study also shows that e-reading is gaining popularity.  Libraries have seen a 16% rise in those who choose to read e-books. This was not too surprising to me. There are so many e-readers out there and now libraries are making it very easy for patrons to borrow e-books as well.

I was surprised to see the fact that 62% of Americans say they do not know if their library lends out e-books. I imagine if more patrons knew this there would be a huge rise in the amount of e-books borrowed.

This study also states that 49% of patrons sit, read, and study. This was not surprising to me, but I thought the fact that 41% of patrons are there for events for children and teens. I thought that statistic would be higher since libraries are constantly offering activities for children, teens, and families.

Because of the changing technology needs of patrons and the technology offered in libraries, the research shows that libraries will evolve. Libraries will have to not only provide the tools, but to also give guidance on how to use the tools and how to verify information.
(36 pages)

Teens, Social Media, and Privacy

Lenhart, A. (June 25, 2013). Teens, Social Media, and Privacy: reputation management, third party access, and exposure to advertising. Pew Research. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/06/25/teens-social-media-and-privacy-reputation-management-third-party-access-exposure-to-advertising/


This article from PEW Research, shows that teens are sharing more about themselves in social media profiles, but not many do it publicly. Teens show concern about their public reputations, but not about third party use of personal information or advertising.  Social networking for teens has grown from 55% in 2006 to 81% in 2012. The top social media outlets for teens are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Teens are posting more about themselves, such as photos, school names, city, email addresses, as well as cell phone numbers. Even though they seem to be sharing more information, the study shows that 60% of teens have set up strict privacy settings on Facebook. 25% are partially private and 14% have public settings. Twitter is a little bit different, 64% of teens have public tweets and 24% of teens have private tweets.

I think it’s very interesting that teens are now more concerned about their privacy settings, yet they are posting more personal information and photos of themselves.  I would think if they were so concerned they might not want to share their personal information as much.

To manage their reputations, teens are deleting or editing their own posts, deleting comments that others make, un-tagging photos, or just deleting their accounts. Teens are also taking steps to protect themselves by deleting or blocking people.  74% have deleted people from their network and 58% have blocked people.

Something that was discussed in this study that I hadn’t thought about was how teens share inside jokes or coded messages on social media as well as post fake information.  I guess this is another way of protecting themselves from other people on social media, or even from their parents who might see what they post.

The study shows that teens are not concerned over third party access to their personal information, but parents are very concerned.  The top concerns with parents is interaction with strangers online and reputation management. As a parent, I can completely relate to these concerns.  I know I can’t shelter my kids from the outside world completely, so I try to constantly remind them of the dangers of social media and I require them to talk to me first before downloading and using certain apps. We sit together and go through the privacy settings.  I also tell my kids that I will be checking in on these apps frequently!  It’s a scary world out there!


(24 pages)

Instagram and Vine

I always take photos of students and activities throughout the school year so I can share them with students and parents, but using Instagram and Vine is a great classroom tool for the students as well.

Take a look at a few Instagram examples of how I want to use it in the classroom.

Highlight a field trip or cultural activity at your school.
A photo posted by @jenwagner50 on

Showcase student artwork.
A photo posted by @jenwagner50 on

Capture special school activities and events.
A photo posted by @jenwagner50 on

Students can highlight what they are reading with a quick review of the book.
A photo posted by @jenwagner50 on

Let students interview a friend for a beginning of the year activity.  

A photo posted by @jenwagner50 on

Here are a few quick examples of how I want to use Vine in the classroom.
Create a word family video.

Create a rhyming word sort video.

Illustrate a unit of study or process.

There are so many ways to use Instagram and Vine in the classroom.  They are both quick and easy tools to showcase what students are doing and for them to show what they know...and it's fun!


Today I took some time to play around with screencasts. I used two sites to create two different screencasts for my students.

The first site I tried was Screencast-O-Matic. This program was really easy to use. I really liked the visual of the yellow circle to show what area I was discussing during the screencast. It really makes it easy for everyone to see what you are discussing and want them to be looking at during that time.  It was also easy to download and save the file.

I created this example to show my student how to get started with Edmodo at the beginning of the year.

The next site I visited was Screenr. Screenr was also very easy to use, once I was able to use it!  I had to update Java and change my security settings to be able to use Screenr...that took some time to figure out!  After that was all sorted out, I was able to easily create a screencast.  The format is very similar to Screencast-o-matic. One difference I noticed was that Screenr does not have the yellow circle showing where your mouse is on the screen.  Screenr also allows you to easily download and save the video as well.
I created this example to explain how to use Padlet this year with our school book club students.


I also tried using Jing to create a screencast.  I thought Jing was a little more difficult. It has a few more steps after you complete your video. It doesn't allow you to easily download and save the screencast. You can also use Jing to take a screen shot as well, that is what I used for the picture below. I created a short example to show my students how to search on World Book Online.


I found all the programs to be very similar and very easy to use.  I think I really liked Screencast-o-matic the best, just because I could see the yellow circle around the area of what you are pointing to with the mouse. I think that would be better if you are creating something for younger students to follow. I also liked it because I could easily download and save the screencast.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Cartoons and Comics

I think every kids loves cartoons and comics, and creating your own is even better!  I reviewed three free sites that allow children (and adults!) to create their own comics.

ToonDoo is the first place I went to explore. This site makes it fairly easy to add objects and speech bubbles. The objects are easy to manipulate and move. There was a good amount of characters and objects to choose from, some of them were a little crazy though, so it was hard to choose which character or object might be best. When I was finished, I didn't see an option to download the comic.  It simply saves the comic to your gallery or you can print it out.  I saved it and then took a screen shot of it so I could have a digital copy. ToonDoo is pretty straight forward, so I think kids would be able to very easily use it on their own.
I created a quick example as an introduction for my students on the first day of school.  I thought they could do the same to introduce themselves to the class as well.

Another great site that I tested was Pixton. This site has a unique option that allows you to register as an educator and create lesson assignments with example comics for your students.  There are also many pre-made lesson ideas and examples that you can choose from to use in your own class.  If you create a lesson of your own, you can choose to share it with others as well.  With this registration, you can also add your students and then assign these activities for them to complete. This registration is a monthly registration that is $8.99 and allows you to register up to 200 students. Your school can also register for an account as well.  (I signed up for the free trial teacher account.)

Creating the comics was pretty straight forward.  They give you the option of creating one as a beginner or more advanced.  I chose beginner.  It was very quick and easy to get started.  They have prepared settings and characters.  You can choose the positions and type of body you want for your characters. You can move the speech bubbles and type in them very easily.  It also allows you to add more panels to your comics.  It was very quick and easy to use!  There are many options when you are ready to publish your comic.  This site allows you to tweet, embed, email, or download and save your comic!  I thought that was awesome!

I created this quick example to use when discussing character traits. I plan to have the kids create their own comics demonstrating different character traits. We can then share our comics and discuss which traits they are trying to portray.

Another free site is MakebeliefsComix. You don't have to register for this site. You can just get on and get started right away, which makes it nice to use in the classroom.  You don't have to worry about getting a username and password out to the students.  The site itself is a little busy with lots of writing everywhere and adds on the side, so using it with younger students might be frustrating.  Also, I found the tools for creating the comic were not very user friendly. They were kind of confusing at first and didn't make it easy to maneuver the objects and speech bubbles.  To publish the comics, you can print, email it to yourself, or even download it and save it.  That's a great thing!

I made a quick example to use as a book review. I thought I might have students use comics to create book reviews. I want to print them out and hang them up next to a picture of the book cover. I can't wait to try that out!  I think kids will love this!

Out of all the comic sites I reviewed, I really liked Pixton the best.  It was easy to use and has so many options for downloading and sharing.  There are so many great lesson ideas as well.

As I was researching comics, I came across so many great ideas of how to incorporate them into the classroom.  Here's a list of my favorites!

1. Autobiography: On the first day of school, students can introduce themselves in a comic!
2. Vocabulary Practice: Use new vocabulary words in sentences in the comic.
3. Social Skills/ Rules: The first week of school students can create a comic that explains the rules for the classroom/school.
4. Conflict/Resolution Situations: This can also be done the first week of school!
5. Reflection Tool: I LOVE this idea!  Students can create a comic that describes something new that we learned, or how they felt about something. This can be the new "exit ticket!"
6. Book Reviews
7.  Instruction Manuals
8. Interview: Another great idea for the first week of school. Students can interview a classmate to introduce them and create a comic about it.  They could also interview staff members!
9. Write a Sequel/New Ending: I was thinking this would be great when studying fairytales!
10. Empty Comics: The teacher creates a comic with characters and settings, but leaves the speech bubbles empty.  Students have to make inferences to fill in the speech bubbles!

There are SO many great ideas out there. I know students will love ALL of them.  If you are looking for some more ideas, you should check out this article.  There is a lot of great information about other comic tools as well as other ideas about how to use them in the classroom.

26 Ways to use Comics in the Classroom and 5 Free Tools for Creating Comics
Another great option is to use the Tellagami app.  My students love this app!  We use it a lot throughout the year from interviewing and introducing our friends on the first day of school, to creating a final research project.  It's so easy to use and so much fun.  Here's my example of how you can use it for a book review!

Online Book Communities

When investigating online book communities, I discovered many that I had never heard of before!  I took some time to look at a few of them today to see what would work best for me as well as my students.

The first one I visited was Goodreads.  I was familiar with Goodreads because that is a site that I often visit for book reviews or read-alike lists, but I have never created my own account and set up my bookshelves until today.

I discovered that Goodreads is very easy to set up and use. It has a basic visual for bookshelves. It allows you to set up shelves of books that you have read, want to read, and are currently reading.  You can also create your own specific shelves. This is a great place for book reviews, recommendations, and following friends.
I think most young adults might gravitate towards this book community because it is so popular and many people are familiar with this site.  Students could connect with their friends and get recommendations and follow what they are reading.

Here's an example of the options you have when adding a book to your shelf.

Here's what my profile looks like after creating my bookshelves.
Another book community is LibraryThing. This site was new to me and I had to study it a little bit to see how to set up my bookshelves. I didn't find it as visually appealing as the other sites I visited and it was not really as user friendly.  It does give you many more options to customize and set up your shelves and your profile. One thing I did like about this site was the read-alike lists that you can easily access as you add books to your shelves.

Here's an example of my profile after setting up my bookshelves.

Shelfari is another site that was new to me.  I set up an account and explored quickly.  This site was very quick and easy for me to set up because it is part of Amazon. I'm an Amazon Prime member, so this was great news for me! The bookshelves are very visually pleasing and very organized. Books were very easy to find, bookmark, and organize.

Here's a snapshot of my bookshelves in Shelfari. The tabs on the side allow you to choose the bookshelves you want to see. 

Next up was BookLikes.  Booklikes also allowed you to quickly create bookshelves. It was set up more like a blog so you can create posts about what you are reading and add a review, or what you want to read, etc.  When I was searching for books to add to my blog, I did have some trouble finding certain titles.  I wasn't able to find titles that are scheduled to be released that I wanted to add to my to read list.  This was kind of a problem for me! If you like blogging and seeing information in that format, then this might be the site you would like best.
Here's an example of my completed bookshelves.  As you can see, it looks similar to posting a status or a blog post here.

The last site I visited was Biblionasium. This site was very different from the others I researched.  It was mostly geared towards teachers, students, and parents.  It allows you to set up a class account as a teacher and create a class group.  You can add students names and create passwords for them to get into the site as well.  As a teacher, you can set reading levels for each student, make recommended reading lists, required reading lists, and view reports.  Students can view your reading list, book trailers, and book reviews, as well write their own book reviews to add to the site. Another fun option is to assign reading challenges to the students. You can also get parents involved by sending home the notes that are already created for you.  It gives them information on the site and how it will be used. This is a great tool for teachers to really get kids involved and keep track of their reading.  It is very user friendly and easy to use and set up. It's also visually pleasing in a kid friendly way.

This is an example of one of my bookshelves created for my students. You can see the tabs on the left that allow you to see your options of resources, groups, and challenges.


After reviewing all of these sites, I decided that I really liked Shelfari the best.  The advantage is that it is linked with Amazon and it is also so easy to use.  I really loved the visual of the bookshelves.  I think I will be using that site as my personal book community.

As a teacher and librarian, I would really love to try out Biblionasium. I was really impressed with all the options that allow you to interact with students and parents.  I really liked that there were already book trailers and resources there for you. I think students will get really excited to see what books and challenges you post for them, as well as writing a book review for their friends. I'm excited to try this out!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Podcasts in the Classroom or Library

Podcasts are digital audio files that are posted on the internet and are usually part of a series.
 After doing some research, I found a lot of great ideas to implement podcasting into the classroom or library setting.

Here are a few of my favorites!

1. Students can create "show what you know" podcasts to highlight the big ideas of a lesson.

2. You can "Flip your classroom" by creating podcasts with content information that students can watch outside of the classroom. 

3. Record directions and important information from class. If students are absent or need a repeat of the directions, they can easily access the podcast.

4. Create book review podcasts.  Students, teachers, and librarians can get involved.

5. School News Report

6. Word of the Day: Students listen, spell, define the word, use the word in a sentence.

7. Joke of the Day! Add this to a classroom blog or other school social media site.

8. Interviews: Interview the teacher, school staff, friends, members of the community, school visitors.

9. Published stories: Students can record their published writing.

I found so many great ideas out there and I can't wait to get started with podcasting.  Visit the sites below to see some more excellent ideas to help you get started!

(10 Podcasting Projects Teachers Should Try in the Classroom)
(Printable resources to use for book review podcasts)
(Teacher's guide to podcasting)

There are a lot of great resources out there to help you create a podcast. Here are just a few:

I use DropVox in my classroom to create podcasts. This app can be found on iTunes.  It is really easy for the kids to use.  It is very basic, so if you want to add music to your podcast, you would have to add the recording to another program to do that.  I also like that DropVox automatically drops my recorded file into Dropbox. I have Dropbox set up on every computer and iPad in my classroom so students can easily add their files and I can easily access them as well!
One idea for podcasting that I really love is having students create book reviews.  Here's an example book review podcast from a 3rd grader.
This is a book review for the book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Teens and Mobile Apps Privacy

Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Cortesi, S., Gasser, U. (August 22,2015). Teens and Mobile Apps Privacy. Pew Research Center, Retrieved June 14, 2015 from http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/08/22/teens-and-mobile-apps-privacy/

Many teens have taken steps to uninstall or avoid apps out of concern about their privacy. Location information is a great concern to teen girls and many have taken steps to disable the tracking features on cell phones and in apps.

The article states that 58% of all teens have downloaded apps to their phones, tablets, or computers and 51% avoid certain apps due to privacy concerns. Girls are more likely than boys to disable location tracking features.

Most teens state that they download social media or gaming apps and often choose the free apps to use. Most teens don’t need permission from parents to download the free apps. If the app is free and they don't like it, they don't feel bad about deleting the app.

About 46% of teens have turned off the location information on their phone or in apps because they are worried about others having access to that information.  Some of the people they are concerned about are their own parents.  Parents state they use the phone to monitor their child’s location in some way.

Teens have asked for help concerning location services.  Those that have asked, have mostly turned off the location services after receiving advice.

I was surprised to see how many teens were worried about the location information.  I assumed that if teens wanted an app, they would just download it and use it without being concerned about the location information. I think that it is possible that with all the social media lessons being taught in schools and by parents, that teens are really beginning to take note of what’s out there and the possible dangers of social media.
This article is a good reminder to teens, parents, and teachers, to be aware of what you are downloading and how you are using the app.  I think it reinforces that we need to continue to teach teens about how to manage social media in a safe way.


(3 pages)


Videos and QR Codes in the Library

There are a lot of librarians out there using videos and YouTube to not only get kids interested in the library, but to reinforce library lessons and get important information out there to everyone.

The Norman High School Library YouTube channel is a great one to follow.
Here's a great video that I think would get kids excited about coming to the library.  It shows what the library has to offer in a very fun way.

Another great video that gives important information about the library is this orientation video.

The Unquiet Library is another YouTube channel with some great videos. Here's an example of how this library shares new arrivals to their library collection.  I think students would really like to see this. It's a quick look at what's new to get them interested in the library.

This YouTube channel has a lot of great video tutorials for students that cover how to use research databases, copyright material, and embedding files. Here's an example of a powerpoint tutorial.  I think all of these are so helpful to students. They can access them at any time.

Pikesville High School Library also has a YouTube channel that has some great examples of how you can use videos in your library.  One example is how they showcase what is going on in their library.  I think students would like to see the pictures and videos of events that they were involved in throughout the year.  Here's one example:

This library also posts videos that are informational for students, such as course advisement and registration.  I also really liked that they posted introduction videos for teachers with information about their courses. 

BBMSMEDIA is another amazing YouTube channel to pay attention to.  There are some very creative and fun videos to view here.  I'm sure students would love all of the videos, but here is one that I thought was fun.

Here's an example of a video tutorial that this library posted to help students with GoAnimate and Glogster. This is a great way to make sure students have easy access to information to complete final projects.

All of these examples are great ways to get students interested in the library and excited about the events going  on there.  There are also so many great tutorials that students can access at any time to help them with research and projects. It's a great way to get information out there to everyone. 

In my library, I would like to create book trailers to get students excited about what's new in the library or to highlight a certain author. I would use the videos to  create tutorials to show students how to access and use the library page, search for books, and how to use our research sources. There are so many topics to cover when creating videos for the library.

Here's my first example!  A book trailer for the book The Testing, by Joelle Charbonneau. I made this book trailer to get kids excited about this trilogy.  It's a story that takes place in a dystopian society in the future.  This genre is very popular right now.

It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.
Scan the QR code to view my book trailer for The Testing!
I found some great ideas of how to use QR codes in the library.  Here are a few of my favorites that I am so excited to try out in my own library!
1. QR codes can be made for a direct link to online databases such as dictionaries and encyclopedias.  Place the QR code right on the shelf in the reference section.  View this site to learn more and see an example!
2. Add QR codes to a display of what's new and hot in the library. The QR codes can link to book trailers!  Check out this blog to see some great ideas!
3. Let students record a book review!  Connect the audio recording to a QR code and attach to the spine of books.  There's an example at this site to get you started!
4.  Create a GIANT QR code to place in a big window in front of the school.  Link the QR code to the library webpage.  Visit this site to see a library that is already doing this!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Blogs and Blog Readers

Today I was exploring several blog readers to see what I liked best and what I thought would really work for me. I  explored these blog readers:
After taking some time see how they all worked, I decided that I really wanted to use Feedly.  I liked the ease of use and the way it is organized.  It just made sense to me.  What really sold me on using Feedly was when I saw that little button that said save into One Note!  I was so excited about that!  I love One Note so much.  I use it every day for EVERYTHING!  It is my filing cabinet for all things professional and personal.  I also loved the Feedly app.  It is so easy to use and just makes it easier to access at anytime anywhere.  Perfect for me!
After setting up my Feedly account, it was time to start exploring!  I came across so many great blogs and began following them right away!  Here are a few of my favorites:
This librarian, Gwyneth Jones, posts about what she is doing in her library.  She shares ideas, photos, and links to resources.  I really started reading her blog because she was posting so many great ideas about makerspaces.  That is something I am very interested in. I also saw great ideas for book studies, videos and mystery Skype lessons.  I just really couldn't stop reading this blog!
Tiffany Whitehead is a librarian at a middle school in Louisiana.  Through her blog, she shares ideas for library activities, tech tools, as well as how to be a professional development leader.  I was interested in her blog because she shared videos, slides, presentations, and complete ideas that can be adapted and used in my own library. She is a great leader to follow.
Shannon Miller is the author of The Library Voice. I was able to be part of a Google Hangout session with Shannon Miller last year.  After that session, I have been following her on Facebook, Twitter, and through this blog.  She is a great resource for all librarians and anyone interested in educational technology.  I really like how she highlights technology on her blog and shares her ideas that she is using in her own library. She is also a great resource for makerspace ideas!
Matthew Winner is an elementary school librarian.  He is the host of the Let's Get Busy podcast series.  The podcasts consist of him interviewing authors and illustrators of popular new books. He also has podcasts for The Best Books Ever (This Week).  I thought this was a great blog to follow because all the podcasts are posted there for you. It's a great resource to share in your library as book talks to get kids excited about books. He also has Vine video links as well as a Pinterest link to his pins. 
This is a great blog to follow for elementary school library lesson ideas. She shares her lessons and links to Teachers pay Teachers for any materials you might need for the lessons.  I love how her ideas are all put together with the book titles and lesson materials and links all together.  She also gives step-by-step directions for you to easily follow. She also had a lot of great ideas and resources for getting a makerspace started in your library. 
Here's a link to my Tumblr, where I share quotes, photos, and links to websites.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Teens and Facebook

Madden, M. (August 15, 2013). Teens Haven’t Abandoned Facebook (Yet). Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/08/15/teens-havent-abandoned-facebook-yet/

This article from the PEW Research Center discusses the evolution of different social media outlets for teens, especially Facebook. The research indicates that teens are not giving up on Facebook, but their use of it is changing. Many teens in the research group indicated that they may be moving away from Facebook due to a more adult presence, negative interactions from other users, and unhappiness about friends who share too much. Despite these complaints, few teens have closed down their Facebook accounts.
Teens also stated that most of their social media interactions are not negative and that the receive support from other peers on social media. Even though teens are moving on to use other social media platforms, they are not abandoning Facebook.  They are spreading out their social media interactions among several platforms.
I think it's interesting that even though teens have some negative attitudes towards Facebook, they still continue to use the social media platform.  In fact, the article states that their data shows that very few teens have abandoned Facebook. The article also says that teens spread out their social media presence among several spaces.  Teens say that they can share pictures and thoughts on Facebook, yet they still use several different platforms to share large amounts of information. It's a lot of busy work to be a teen today!
(1 page read)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Technology Leaders to Follow on Twitter

Twitter is a great platform to share new and interesting information to so many followers.  As an educator, it is a great way to quickly find great resources and ideas to get you planning creative lessons. Following other educators, technology leaders, and librarians is a great way to stay on top of what's new and relevant in education today.  It's a quick resource that everyone can easily be a part of.

These technology leaders have some very helpful and interesting information to share.  This is what I really took notice of when checking out these amazing leaders...

Jim Lerman

Many of Mr. Lerman's tweets have links to great resources that you can download for free.  I checked out SEVERAL of his links and downloaded lots of  free resources! This is just one of the great resources I checked out. It's a free ebook with dozens of story starters to use in your classroom.  I think it can be adapted for any level.  Great find!

Gwyneth Jones
Ms. Jones does a great job of showcasing what is going on in her library by tweeting instagram pictures of what the students are doing.  I am very interested in makerspaces, and she had several tweets highlighting what she has going on at her makerspace right now.  Here's one great example of a duct tape makerspace.  Such a great idea!


Buffy Hamilton
After checking out Ms. Hamilton's tweets, I decided she just gets straight to the point of what she is thinking about and shares her thoughts about newest trends in the library in an honest and up-front way.  You really don't have to wonder what she is thinking about the trends of today. In this tweet, she responds to an article about "library pods." A new way of thinking where they now have 6 small grade level library pods instead of one large library.

Tony Vincent

Mr. Vincent tweets about what's new in educational technology. Focusing on new apps, websites, and resources for teachers! This is a great resource to favorite and go back to when you are searching for something new to motivate you and your students.

Linda Braun

Ms.Braun works in a public library and tweets about a broad range of topics that influence young adults, parents, and educators.  She shares the latest news for technology, education, and libraries.  I loved this tweet that is a great reminder about the use of technology.

Kathy Schrock

Ms. Schrock tweets about new products, programs, and tech ideas being used in education today. I found her tweet about a great TabDub video that I thought was so amazing. My students would love to do something like this!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Facebook for the School Library

How are libraries using Facebook?
After doing a quick search on Facebook, I discovered MANY schools that had active Facebook pages.  Many of the schools had a large amount of followers with very high ratings.  I took some time to preview some of the posts from several different library pages. I noticed that there were several "likes" for many of the posts, but very few comments on the posts. I also noticed that most of the library pages had frequent and up to date posts.
WHAT are libraries posting?
*Book reviews
*Pictures and comments detailing what is happening in the library. (special guests, special events, classes)
*Links to other blogs or websites with important information on books and curriculum
*Updates on upcoming events (book fairs, parent involvement nights)
*Posting throughout the summer with summer reading book lists and activities
*Downloads of reading handouts

ADVANTAGES of having a library Facebook page:
*Facebook is EVERYWHERE! It's a familiar tool. Most parents and a lot of students are on Facebook.  Having a Facebook page for your library is a great way to get everyone more involved in what is happening in the library.  It is easy to get information out there in a quick and easy way. 
*Easily accessible and convenient for patrons to check daily
*Constant positive communication with parents and students
*Allows you to share new books and materials quickly
*Gets students excited about new book arrivals, or positive book reviews that interest them
*Students can get involved and write their own book reviews

DISADVANTAGES of having a library Facebook page:
*Monitoring the comments and possible other posts that could be tagged to the library could be daunting.  Making sure the comments are positive and appropriate is a must.
*Keeping up with the content you add, the need to post frequently
*Possibly limits face-to-face communication with students and parents
*Keeping up to date with security settings that change frequently
*Making sure when posting pictures and activities in the library that students are allowed to be photographed and parents are ok with adding the pictures to social media

My thoughts...
Having a Facebook page for your library might be a little daunting at times, but I think the rewards could also be amazing. I think keeping in touch with parents and students and sharing the positive things going on in the library is a great way to stay connected and get others more involved.