April 15, 2014

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iPad Use and Babies: Throwing a Wrench in the Works

iPad Use and Babies: Throwing a Wrench in the Works

I think we all uttered a collective scream as one when news of this particular Fisher Price toy came to our attention this holiday season past: It’s called the Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat and out of curiosity I wondered if it was still on the market.  Indeed it is, and the comments on Amazon make for [...]

Google Docs adds add-ons

Google Docs adds add-ons

Google has launched add-ons–easily accessible tools created by Google’s developer partners that offer on-the-fly features for your documents and spreadsheets. for easy and adorable storytelling for easy and adorable storytelling

Buncee is “an easy fit for digital storytelling and scrapbooking, flipping, presenting, marketing, and for communicating with parents and community,” says Joyce Valenza.

Animation Made Easy: The best tools for student projects, from stop motion to GIFs


With accessible tools, you and your students can create your own simple animations to convey powerful ideas. Screencast tutorials will have you up and running with the latest “Cool Tools” from Richard Byrne, SLJ columnist and blogger at “Free Technology for Teachers.”

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Top ten tech trends (expanded)

Top ten tech trends (expanded)

A week ago I shared ten digital tech trends within the confines of a word count.  Here’s an expanded version with all the links and details. For a profession situated at the intersection of metaliteracy, education and emerging technologies, forecasting is kind of exciting. For a profession threatened by severe cuts in educational spending and [...]

Free-range scanning

Free-range scanning

The other day my desktop printer/scanner decided it would no longer scan. Panicked, I wondered if I could simply take a picture of the page I needed with my smartphone camera. That sorta worked, but the text didn’t look as clear as I hoped it would, so I searched the app store for options. That’s [...]

Selecting Apps for Babies; Is ‘Part-Time Indian’ Appropriate for Sixth Grade? | Feedback


Should babies be exposed to apps? Rachel Payne responds to a comment on her “Are Learning Apps Good for Babies?” piece. Is removing a book from a required reading list a form of censorship? One reader questions the inclusion of Sherman Alexie’sThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian on a sixth-grade reading list.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards; 2014 IRA Conference Program | News Bites

scholastic art and writing awards

The annual Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is accepting original works in 28 categories. Terri Soutor, former vice president at Lerner Publishing Group, a sister company to Brain Hive and a key player in the formation of the company, has been named Brain Hive’s president. Storybots founders Gregg and Evan Spiridellis launch Educade, a portal of free, ready to use lesson plans paired with learning tools. The International Reading Association has announced some of the renowned authors speaking at its 59th Annual Conference in May. Krup has announced a teacher’s lounge makeover contest.

QR Codes for (y)our Apps

QR Codes for (y)our Apps

I am on a serious mission to push our library out onto the platforms my kiddos love most–their phones, and to a lesser extent, their tablets.  I so want our library to be in the pockets. As I finished preparing our QR code handout, it occurred to me that most of the codes, in fact [...]

YALSA Teen Book Finder App, updated


YALSA’s Teen Book Finder is one of my favorite apps.  I recommend it to my high school students and I/we often take it to the shelves on our iPhones, iPods or iPads for inspiration connected to YALSA’s recommended titles.   Good news.  This week, YALSA launched an updated version of the free app that now includes titles [...]

Graphite: the new educator/consumer guide for ed tech tools

One of my favorite discoveries at ISTE was Graphite. Launched by Common Sense Media, the nonprofit known by parents, teachers and librarians for its high quality, nonpartisan reviews and its popular Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum, Graphite promises to be the go-to platform for helping teachers make sense of an exponentially evolving number of digital [...]

The Early Bird: How Sesame Workshop is adapting its revolutionary educational content for devices

A young tester puts an app through its paces at the offices of Sesame Workshop.

A peek behind the scenes of Sesame Workshop, which is negotiating the digital shift with care. The venerable brand has conducted more than 76 tests over two and a half years to understand how children, ages three to five, adopt and adapt to touch devices in their learning.

Best Websites for Teaching and Learning 2013


Here in Chicago, AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching & Learning Committee just released its standards-aligned 2013 list. (Don’t miss AASL’s inaugural, Best Apps For Teaching and Learning list, also just released at ALA!) Sites and tools are selected  because they engage users through innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration. Honored websites, tools, and resources will provide exceptional value [...]

National HIV Testing Day | Resources for You and Your Teens

NHTD poster

National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is June 27th . First established in 2005 by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, NHTD seeks to bring attention to the importance of HIV testing, and through its website, make resources readily available to those who are looking for testing locations, disease facts, and more.

Best of Apps & Enhanced Books | June 2013


From the “fierce and fascinating beauty of our natural world” to a huge, Alaska-size, floating garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean,” this month’s featured apps draw attention to both the wondrous and fragile state of our planet.

Review: Sticky Dot Comics

Sticky Dot Comics Free Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Recommended for ages 8 and up. At the end of February, Viz announced that it was launching a free all-ages app aimed at kids and families. The promise was to create an app where parents would feel comfortable allowing their children download and [...]

Best of Apps & Enhanced Books | April 2013


From stardust to remote galaxies, this month’s app standouts look toward the heavens.

Google Drive’s new very appy Create menu

Google Drive’s new very appy Create menu

It’s just a little easier to find your apps these days and to discover and connect to new ones. On Friday Google announced a new feature in its Drive interface.  The Create menu now expands to list a lovely variety of  third-party Drive-connected apps.  These apps may now be conveniently added to your Create menu [...]

Best of Apps & Enhanced Books | January 2013

Franklin Frog (Nosy Crow Ltd.) © by Barry Tranter.

Reviews in this column first appeared in SLJ’s column Touch and Go. Please note that later versions of some of these titles may now be available. Visit Touch and Go at under “Blogs & Columns” for additional reviews, commentary, and interviews with people in the field.

Get ready for the Smackdown!


On Monday, December 3rd at 8PM Eastern, TLCafé hosts our 2nd annual Smackdown/Open Mic night.  Please plan on visiting or participating! You don’t have to be a librarian to play.  We welcome classroom teachers, tech directors, administrators, enthusiastic partners of every persuasion! I’ll be sharing my trend list and some of my favorite discoveries and [...]