March 24, 2017

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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, […]

UNESCO Launches Five Laws of Media and Information Literacy (MIL)

This week UNESCO launched a framework illustrating its Five Laws of Media and Information Literacy (MIL). This global strategy marries the large, but often separated, disciplines of information literacy and media literacy and creates a common vocabulary for folks in multiple areas of knowledge to engage in conversation. It also positions these critical literacies as […]

Allsides: Curating diverse perspectives (or looking at news from most sides now)

Free people from filter bubbles so they can better understand the world and each other. AllSides.com mission It’s a search tool. It’s a conversation opener. It’s a bubble burster. Though I just discovered it, the news aggregator AllSides has been around for around four years as a platform that curates and uses crowd-sourcing technology to […]

YALSA Teen Book Finder Database launches!

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) just launched its new Teen Book Finder Database.  Like the Teen Bookfinder App, the database provides recommendations from YALSA’s annual book awards and selected book and media lists going back to 1988.  Award winners were selected for young adults–ages 12 to 18–and span a broad range of reading […]

Get out your color pencils, crayons, markers: #colorourcollections comes back.

Confession: I don’t know that I completely get the coloring craze. I recognize the value of stress reduction and mindfulness. I know there’s a certain nostalgia associated with coloring.  Last year, however, I did get super excited about one particular coloring project: #colorourcollections or #colourourcollections week! And her it comes again! Organized by the New […]

MySimpleShow for explaining (and my first story)

Looking for a simple (and free) explainer video creator?  One of my recent discoveries is MySimpleShow. Write a script or upload a little PowerPoint (up to 20 slides) and tell your story cut-out, explainer style. This is an effective tool for writing across the curriculum as well as creating instruction. MySimpleShow offers writers a range […]

Toontastic 3D: New and free from Google Education

Check out Toontastic 3D, a wonderful, free, open-ended digital storytelling app just launched by Google Education for tablet, phone and Chromebook. You may be familiar with Toontastic launched in 2011 or Toontastic Jr. Now, with the help of Google, the platform is impressively redesigned for Android, iPad and iPhone.  The new app allows students to […]

Explore Primary Sources in Free Program Series

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The Presidential Primary Source Project presents free, live-streamed programs for middle and high school students. Covering “Culture, Society, and Presidential Decision-Making,” the presentations run through March 2017.

This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Announcing Flipgrid One (free and fabulous)

Today, one of my favorite communication/creativity platforms shared some major enhancements and a commitment to equity. I have been a devoted fan of Flipgrid since the beginning. For me it’s one of those wifi desert island web tools. Created by LT Media Lab at the University of Minnesota, Flipgrid is a simple and elegant video-based discussion platform […]

Introduce myShakespeare to your students!

Fun fact: You may know I was an English major. You may not know that my serious focus was 16th century poetry and drama. My favorite course ever was Shakespeare’s Problem Plays. Not every student I’ve met over the years felt the same draw to Shakespeare. The play is just not every kid’s thing. The […]

On “poetical science” and making beyond the “space”

In his history of the digital revolution, The Innovators, Walter Isaacson reveals Ada Lovelace’s significant legacy–that the humanities and technology could happily coexist as a poetical science. This particular coexistence, he notes, does not usually exist in our schools. Many people who celebrate the arts and the humanities, who applaud vigorously the tributes to their […]

Apps: a call for nominations and a round-up of review ources

I am a proud member of AASL’s Best Apps for Teaching and Learning Committee.  And we need your help.  You’ve been exploring apps with your students and faculty over the course of the year, now’s the time to nominate your faves! But while you wait for the completion of the nomination process and our always […]

Presidential Primary Sources Project: Free interactive videoconferencing

The National Park Service, U.S Presidential Libraries, and Museums, the Internet2 community, and cultural and historic organizations nationwide recently announced the schedule for their annual Presidential Primary Source Project (PPSP).  This is a perfect opportunity for librarians to connect teachers and students to memorable experiences that will make history and Presidential politics come alive. This […]

Libraries Ready to Code!

The library is a great place to introduce the ready to code concept because we’re public, we’re free, we’re easily accessible. After School Services Manager (Queens, New York) It’s really not just coding. It is a way of thinking and perceiving and problem-solving. Teacher Librarian (Norman, Oklahoma) When I’m coding… I really feel like I […]

PhotoScan for no-glare, super easy archiving of your old pics!

Okay, this one may not be for school, but it sure is handy and I will use it to death. I just discovered Google Photo’s new PhotoScan app.  If, like me, you’ve got thousands of family photos in albums in your basement or attic, this may be the perfect holiday activity for the gang. The […]

Truth, truthiness, triangulation and the librarian way: A news literacy toolkit for a “post-truth” world

We were guaranteed a free press,  We were not guaranteed a neutral or a true press. We can celebrate the journalistic freedom to publish without interference from the state.  We can also celebrate our freedom to share multiple stories through multiple lenses. But it has always been up to the reader or viewer to make […]