November 24, 2015

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MakerSpace: Unconventional Printing

Look, we all know that I am obsessed with photo apps and pictures of my kids. But it’s not just for me, it’s for the teens – I swear. One of my favorite teen programs I have ever done – and I have repeated it several times – is a program called Renovate Your Room. […]

Sphero Goes Crystal Clear with SPRK, a New Version of the Programmable Robot


SLJ reviews the 2.0 version of Sphero, one of the maker movement’s “robotic darlings,” writes Wendy Stephens, who takes the new, clear skinned SPRK through its paces.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

New Ideas for Better STEAM Programs


Two experts in the maker movement, Allison Vannatta and Nick Taylor, shared hard-won secrets during SLJ’s online Maker Workshop.

Three Maker Apps to Spark Young Imaginations


Apps that foster creative tinkering while enabling tweens and teens to grasp a new skill, from 3-D modeling to game design.

This article was published in School Library Journal's May 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

A Thematic Approach to Planning Your Maker Space


Tips from Laura Fleming, author of “Best Practices for Establishing a Makerspace at Your School.”

Fantasy Geopolitics

Developed by Minnesota high school social studies teacher Eric Nelson, Fantasy Geopolitics is an easy, fun and social way to get learners thinking about our flattened world.  Nelson began the game in 2009 as a strategy to engage his own students at North Lakes Charter School. Leveraging the popularity and competition of fantasy sports, this […]

Using Pear Deck and Nearpod for Individual and Collaborative Learning | Tech Tidbits


Teacher librarian Phil Goerner highlights two digital tools, Pear Deck and Nearpod, which educators can use to enhance individual and collaborative learning in the classroom.

“iBiomes—Wetlands” | Touch and Go

Screen from iBiome ( )

A cheery professor guides students through “iBiome-Wetland,” an app designed to teach students about biodiversity through a series of gamelike activities featuring a fresh water marsh, a salt water marsh, and a mangrove swamp.

A Well Connected Lineup at The Digital Shift


School Library Journal and Library Journal presented The Digital Shift on October 14, our sixth annual virtual conference examining the challenges and opportunities that the digital landscape presents for libraries and their communities. Archived content will be available.

Skill Building with “Fiete” Apps | Touch and Go


A cheerful sailor named Fiete invites children to join him on a number of his daily activities in a series of colorful apps produced by Ahoiii Entertainment. The apps will have kids flexing their pre- reading and numeracy skills and challenging their memories.

How to host a hackathon (on the #sljhackathon breakfast)

I’ve been to nearly all of them, but for me, this year’s 11th Annual SLJ Leadership Summit may have been the best ever.  The speakers were inspiring. The crowd buzzed with energy. The panels were engaging and interactive.  The mix of practitioners included a wide range of ages. A youth presence was obvious! When SLJ […]

Work Smarter Through “Extreme Listening” | SLJ Summit 2015


CEO of Caravan Studios Marnie Webb unpacked design thinking in her SLJ Summit keynote, providing a model for developing projects, from idea to prototype, through deep, empathetic listening.

App Review & Blended Pic Tutorial: Fused (with an assist from the Silhouette app)

Monday my co-blogger Heather Booth sent me a text that said,” you might really like this app called Fused.” She had no idea what she was starting as I quickly became obsessed, for the MakerSpace and my teens of course! Using the app I was able to create these images: Now I have been seeing […]

“Hatch” Library Maker Space in a Mall Draws DIYers, Students, and Entrepreneurs


No library card is required to use the tools at the Hatch maker space, located near Dunkin’ Donuts in a mall in Watertown, MA, and launched by the Watertown Free Public Library with diverse community funding.

A Librarian’s Guide to OER in the Maker Space


Open educational resources (OER) are a boon to maker activities, according to library media specialist Laura Fleming, who provides related tips and links to fun, cost-effective projects.

Teach More, Librarian Less, Say SLJ Leadership Summit Panelists


How can teacher librarians reimagine their positions to meet strategic student learning needs? That question was the main focus of the SLJ Leadership Summit panel “Become Essential.”

Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” on the iPad | Touch and Go


Our reviewer Pam Schembri cites the performers’ commentary as one of the strengths of this production, and calls it “a treasure for both professionals, students of music, and dabblers.”

Meet the Recipients of the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award

Diana Rendina, media specialist at the Stewart Middle School library in Tampa, FL.
    Stewart Middle School photos by Mark Arbeit

Read about the winner, first runner-up, and editor’s choice for SLJ’s 2015 Build Something Bold Award, honoring creativity in school library programming that incorporates hands-on learning led by the librarian or media specialist.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Google’s Expeditions Pioneer Program takes the road!

The Google Expeditions Pioneer Program launched today. In an email update this morning, the team shared: Expeditions is hitting the road! Expeditions teams will visit selected schools around the world, starting with The United States, Australia, New Zealand, The United Kingdom, and Brazil. Each team will bring a complete Expeditions kit with everything the teachers […]

App Review: Aviary (The quest for the perfect photo app continues)

Last week we got the final approval to make some big changes at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH) where I am working as the YA Services Coordinator. Namely, my proposal to move the YA fiction collection out of an enclosed space to a new location and to turn that enclosed […]