June 24, 2016

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Getting closer to campus: Virtual reality college tours

The online college tour can be a very important experience, influencing what might be the first critical decision a young adult makes. Virtual tours of colleges and universities have been around since the beginning of the Web. They were later enriched as multimedia experiences. The game has changed. The new tours are significantly more immersive, revealing and […]

PBS KIDS Video App

Chock full of quality children’s programs, the newly updated PBS KIDS Video App is an absolute no-brainer download for families, and for preschool and primary classrooms and libraries. The app is free, easy to navigate and available for both iOS (iPads & iPhones) and Android. The attractive, kid-friendly interface offers immediate access to such series […]

On innovative practice: There is no box!

A few years back, I was stuck in an airport on a long layover. I found myself chatting over dinner and wine with an extraordinary woman who excitedly described the new business empire she was building.  I said, “Wow, you sure think outside the box!”  She responded: “Joyce, what makes you think there’s a box?” […]

New Student Discovery Sets for Tablets from LOC

A couple of years ago, I wrote about the first six Student Discovery Sets published by the Library of Congress. The collection, now at 15 titles, covers so many of the themes studied in our school programs. This week, three new sets launched: Scientific Data: Observing, Recording, and Communicating Information Weather Forecasting The New Deal […]

MLA Style Center Launches with Sample Papers and a Practice Template

Back in April, I wrote about the publication of MLA’s 8th edition and its significant shift in focus (Shifting into 8th (On MLA’s new edition). The simplified approach is a response to the increasing mobility of digital texts and to what Tim Parks calls “an element of fetishism” that has “perhaps crept into what was […]

Adobe Spark: rebranded apps & a platform-agnostic website for free student creation

A little over a month ago, I posted about my affection for the growing Adobe suite of tools/apps in Smashing Adobe. A couple of years ago, I kinda raved about Adobe Voice in Adobe Voice: Elegant, easy(!) storytelling. This week Adobe announced an official smashing of its apps with its integrated Adobe Spark, designed as […]

Gboard: Don’t know how I lived without it

I am a bit mobile keyboard challenged. While I type like a maniac, I’m what anyone would call a slow texter.  I have trouble with tasks others find simple–finding the perfect emoji, as well as basics like copying and pasting.  So, for me Gboard is a major keyboard shift. Last week, the Official Google Blog […]

Tool literacy as a new process

I’ve been thinking a bit about the notion of app smashing and the way we introduce learning challenges in our classrooms and libraries.  And I am thinking there’s a thinking process going on that we’re not thinking about nearly enough. Introducing a tool and saying you are going to use this tool to tell this […]

Google Slides Q&A and the laser pointer

When you are presenting or teaching, it helps to know what your audience is thinking.  A little while back I gathered a little round-up of interactive presentation tools. This week, Google Slides announced a very handy new feature. Slides Q & A allows presenters to accept questions and vote them up or down during a […]

Literacy through the arts (and a mother’s digression)

“You don’t have to be an art teacher to include the arts in your classroom or to encourage children to think about the arts.” Emily Valenza believes there are many engaging ways all educators can make thinking visible, rethink assessment and critique, and make critical connections across artificial disciplinary boundaries. I am pretty darn excited […]

A letter of support

It’s hard to make sense of the current climate for school libraries. In some areas, school districts recognize our value and are struggling to find the best qualified, well-prepared professionals to fill multiple positions. I get letters and see postings seeking excellent candidates nearly every day.  In other areas, library programs are being cut because […]

Smore’s New Educator Hive

Many of us rely on Smore for student projects, for our flyers, announcements to parents, instruction and more.  Many of us love it for its super-low, truly accessible learning curve. This week, the folks at Smore introduced The Educator Hive.  The Hive currently features more than 450 flyer and newsletter templates shared by other educators […]

Act now: Important IAL funding news from the DOE!

An ALA District Dispatch post by Kevin Maher yesterday, shared an important clarification from the Department of Education regarding the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. The notice in the Federal Register shared that 50 percent of all grant funds, more than $13 million, are reserved for use by school libraries serving high need LEAs. […]

Shifting into 8th (On MLA’s new edition)

MLA just released the 8th Edition of its Handbook.  And, there are some key changes between MLA 7 and MLA 8 in this fresh look at documenting sources that you will need to note! I chatted with Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Associate Executive Director and Director of Scholarly Communications at MLA. She shared: Our hope for the […]

#READTransformed: remixing the celebrity poster

Perhaps it’s an inside librarian joke, but I so love this idea. I think it was Topeka Library that started the #READTransformed meme. If you’ve collected ALA’s Celebrity READ posters in your library, your students and faculty may just jump on board to help you reinterpret and remix these classics. So, pick a hero. Strike […]

On magazine covers and media literacy

Whether they are composed of photographs or illustrations, magazine covers are one of many examples of media offering candidates free coverage.  They are also carefully constructed media messages ripe for closer reading and deconstruction to further our students’ digital, visual and political literacies. In his recent article in MiddleWeb, media literacy expert and consultant Frank […]

It’s about time: a round-up of time-lining tools

Timelines are a perfect tool for inquiry projects. They force students to see contexts; to make critical decisions about relative importance; to make connections among people, events and movements; to visualize history and processes; to discover patterns and sequences; to examine cause and effect; and to juxtapose content from across disciplines and media. We now […]

I dare you NOT to share! (So many AASL School Library Month goodies!)

It’s just the beginning of School Library Month.  Tweet it out! If you happen to be struggling for a few new ways to celebrate, don’t worry.  AASL has been doing some seriously creative thinking about how we might use the month of April to celebrate the 2016 theme: the essential role that strong school library […]

Smashing Adobe

I’ve been doing a lot of app smashing these days, but I recently discovered that sometimes suites are just, well, sweet.  Even sweeter when they are free. A little over a year ago, I kinda fell in love with Adobe Voice, for its easy, elegant storytelling affordances.  Gather your images, hit the record button and […]

A belated confession

I’ve avoided writing this post for years.  But a couple of recent conference breakfasts and beverages, with librarians you all know well and admire, and a few questions from my grad students, pushed me into a reflective confession. I don’t think we can really rock every aspect of our jobs at once, however much we […]