June 22, 2017

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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 […]

ClassHook for finding that perfect clip in record time

I am always searching YouTube for that perfect clip to open a lesson or to illustrate a point in a presentation. And, if I remember a moment from a movie or a television show, searching for that video to cue that specific clip, if that video exists online, presents yet another challenge. Clip searching is a colossal […]

The New Google Earth 9

Google recently released a serious redesign of Google Earth for both Web (Chrome) and Android and it now packs even more learning punch. (Versions for iOS and other browsers are in the works.) Google Earth 9 invites users to explore stunning 3D maps of random and selected locations, view curated video content, and to choose […]

JSTOR Text Analyzer

JSTOR Labs recently announced Text Analyzer.  If you have access to the JSTOR database, you’ll want share this new search strategy with your students and faculty. Upload or drag a document–an article, a Google document, a paper you are writing, a PDF or even an image–into what JSTOR is calling its magic box, and Text Analyzer will analyze it to […]

HyperDocs and the teacher librarian

The concept of HyperDocs is spreading all over edtech land. HyperDocs are perfect opportunities to grow teacher librarian/ classroom teacher partnerships. A true extension of what TLs do or should be doing in a hyperlinked information landscape, HyperDocs are all about curation and collaboration,  instruction based on engaged inquiry, as well as our mission to […]

Kudos Wall: for building that first portfolio

We build portfolios in school. We use tools like Seesaw and Easy Portfolio.  And yet, the onus is usually on the teacher or the librarian to get the ball rolling and sustain the efforts across grade levels. I wonder if the kids themselves get invested in the importance of safely beginning to build a footprint.  […]

Launching #tlmatch: for connecting with that special other librarian

What if we considered some new equations? At a recent webinar the subject of opening our library walls came up. It often does. The subject of equations came up as well. I love the idea of considering our reach as librarians without borders. Of considering how we might connect our learners in meaningful inquiry beyond the […]

Unpaywall: Free, legal access to scholarly articles! (and a couple of other strategies)

Greetings from Computers in Libraries 2017  from which I’ll be sharing a few discoveries. One exciting share from yesterday was the limited release of Unpaywall.org.  (The official release date is April 4.) High school librarians and education researchers take note! Installed as a  free browser extension for Firefox or Chrome, Unpaywall allows searchers to legally access full-text research papers from its […]

Untethering the blocks: Building beyond walls and tables

Remember the scene in Singing in the Rain where Donald O’Connor magically dances on the walls?  Remember Fred Astaire’s famous ceiling dance in Royal Wedding?  Till now kids’ work with interlocking blocks has been bound to tables and floors and a few installations of LEGO walls. (See Diana Rendina’s epic instructions.) Till now blocks kinda […]

Spiral: Four Apps in One!

I recently discovered an incredibly versatile participation tool.  Spiral is a free suite of  four powerful apps that promote classroom engagement and collaboration.  It makes so much of what we already do so much easier and it is a must-have tool for 1:1 settings.  Students may login to lessons using Google, Facebook, Clever or Edmodo. […]

On student scrutiny: two strategies

We’re focusing a lot of attention these days of helping students determine credibility. For many of us, this is not a hot new topic. I dug around a bit and dusted off a couple of tools that, I think, stand the test of time.  You are welcome to make copies and retool them for you […]

360 Video Spotlight: National Geographic and The New York Times

Today, I came face to face with an elephant, accompanied Iraqi forces as they fought to retake Falluja, and I rode along with police officers in Flint, and I tended bar for Don Cheadle. Storytelling is evolving and thrilling and sometimes dizzying. National Geographic has been growing a very cool YouTube playlist of 360° Videos.  […]

Cool new Google Slides video functionality!

You’ll want to share these tips with both teachers and students.  Google Slides recently added some new functionality for working with video.  Slides has become my go-to presentation platform for the easy ability to collaborate and build with others and for its portability. If, like me, you regularly use Slides as a platform for presenting, […]