August 17, 2017

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Orientation Inspiration 2017

In years past, I’ve written about orientation and strategies for opening the school year. Check out Orientation Inspiration (2013) and Orientation Attitude (2016). This year, I asked folks in my network about their plans on this Padlet and I scanned the blogs I regularly follow. This year, a couple of very clear trends emerged. Engagement. […]

Google AutoDraw

What Auto-Tune does for singers, Google’s AutoDraw AI experiment now does for those of us with limited visual talent. I’ve just discovered this handy tool and considering its power in demonstrating AI, as well as its affordances for so many everyday tasks. AutoDraw got its start as Quick Draw  a Google game/experiment in which when you drew on your […]

Anchor: for painless podcasts

If you’ve been reluctant to attempt podcasting for yourself or for your students, Anchor, just might be your solution. Available free at either the App Store or Google Play or at Anchor.fm, Anchor makes podcasting from your phone or iPad or Chromebook a breeze. It also makes podcasting a social media event.  And there’s virtually no learning curve […]

Amazon Inspire’s relaunch

Following a year of retooling, the Amazon Inspire digital library reopened in public Beta this week. Offering a familiar, filtered Amazon search/shopping interface, Inspire allows educators to discover, download, curate and share Open Educational Resources (OER). Over the past year, Amazon Education has been working with groups of educators, including the Maryland State Department of Education and the […]

Nine Chrome Extensions (and a Google Add-On) too good to miss

Over the course of the past couple of years, I’ve become particularly fond of a few Chrome tools that I consider too good to miss.  These would be handy across the board, but especially in Google Classroom and Chromebook environments. Here’s a rundown of nine of my favorite discoveries in no particular order: 1. Google Keep is […]

Natural Reader and other free text-to-speech tools

I’ve been working on gathering resources on for our new Emerging Literacies course and wanted to share some of the resources/app lists I’ve gathered for learners with special needs. Among the tools I am discovering are a few free resources for supporting text-to-speech. These resources are so handy for struggling readers, for ESL students, for […]

Informing your PD efforts: New ISTE Standards for Educators and Future Ready Frameworks

As the 2017/2018 school year approaches, it would be good to know about a couple of documents/frameworks that will be influencing the ways we teach with, learn with and support our classroom educator and coach partners. First ISTE’s refresh of its Standards for Educators impacts our practice as educators as well as the practice of our […]

Plotagon now free for educators

A couple of years back I was thrilled to discover Plotagon and posted about it here. Today, I was thrilled to discover that free one-year teacher licenses are now available at Plotagon Education. (Currently, students may sign up for 30-day trials.) Reminiscent of Xtranormal, Plotagon encourages writing skills as users craft professional-looking animated movies. Plotagon movies […]

Collections by Destiny

It is quite possible that your catalog is the most expensive piece of software in your building. Are you leveraging it to its fullest potential? Follett is about to launch an add-on to its Destiny’s 15.0 release that might just make you and your community appreciate your OPAC in a very new way. Collections by […]

Curation Situations: Let us count the ways

What’s curation? Curation is a funny word. When my colleagues and I wrote our Social Media Curation Library Technology Report for ALA, we struggled with a definition. The folks we interviewed across library land curated in several different ways and we used the term curation differently depending on current community needs or where they were in any […]

AASL Best Apps and Best Websites

On Saturday, AASL committee members announced the 2017 Best Websites and 2017 Best Apps for Teaching & Learning at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. In case you missed those big reveals, no worries!  Actually, worry–big time. You are in for a serious summer rabbit hole adventure. Now in its ninth year, The 2017 Best Websites for Teaching and […]

More News from ALA Annual 2017:

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#notatISTE (or ALA)

Because of a family health issue, for the first time in forever, I won’t be traveling to ALA or ISTE this year. I am finding ways to contribute to my committees remotely and will do a panel from home on Tuesday. But, ya know, it’s not quite the same and I will be missing special […]

Didn’t you get my message? (Or I don’t know what’s ringing, beeping, pinging anymore!)

One morning when I thought I was on top of everything, a friend emailed me to ask, “Didn’t you get my Voxer message?” Lately I am having trouble communicating. Every device I have seems to be ringing or beeping or pinging on an increasing number of platforms. My son who works abroad uses WhatsApp. Some […]

New Creative Commons image search in beta

I am a little late to the table in discovering Creative Commons’ new search tool.  But if you are late like me, you’ll want to update your links to include this important resource. Creative Commons, of course, offers alternate copyright licenses that allow creators to decide how and if they want their work to be attributed, […]

Keep school libraries weird

A couple of weeks back I presented at a conference about the value of out-of -the-box thinking. On a whim I included a slide that read: “Keep School Libraries Weird.” I’ve been doing a little thinking about why, like Austin, we might want to keep school libraries a little weird. Interestingly, it was Austin Community College […]

News for Padlet fans and newbies

If you’re like me, Padlet has been a go-to tool for brainstorming, back channeling, collaborating, collecting ideas and media and even for portfolio building–well, forever. Over the past few weeks one of our favorite platforms added some features that make it an even more powerful teaching and learning tool. 1. Formats  In addition to Wall, […]

Check123 Video Encyclopedia

Sometimes you just need a little video to act as a hook, to activate prior learning, to get kiddos up to speed, to engage. You search the usual video platforms and sift through lists of noisy results. Check123 Video Encyclopedia is a promising solution. The social video platform curates more than 20,000 from all over […]

SLJ’s Innovator Basecamp

I am just home from Boston where I attended SLJ’s inaugural Innovator Basecamp. Don’t get me wrong. I love attending conferences where I see my dear friends, some of whom I grew up with as a baby librarian. But yesterday, when I asked how many of the participants in my morning session were new librarians, nearly […]

Canva: Those templates rock!

My buddies know that Canva is one of my true desert-island digital tools. I’ve long loved the tutorials, the photo editor, the color palette generator, the font combinations matchmaker, and all those lovely images and templates for banners and that staggeringly huge library of graphic elements. And while I’ve use so many of those millions […]

Battle summer slump with two programs: Summer Sparks and SYNC

Looking for a way to beat the summer reading slump?  Check out these two programs to help kids of all ages keep their reading going all summer long.   1. Summer Sparks Classroom teachers and librarians are invited to join our friends Buncee and Capstone Publishing in their first Summer Sparks Reading Contest designed to […]