My AVL Story Video Contest

The Alabama Virtual Library Executive Council announces the “My AVL Story” video contest! Library patrons of all ages and from all geographic locations within the state are invited to participate in this simple campaign, in which we gather brief video stories about how the AVL has impacted Alabamians. Prizes for winners include GoPro cameras, Chromebooks, iPad, gift certificates, and more! See for all details. The deadline for entries is March 13, 2015 at midnight. 

This is a great opportunity for teachers, librarians, parents, and students to tell how the Alabama Virtual Library has helped YOU! Every resident within the state of Alabama is eligible. Click over to the contest guidelines and start working on your AVL story TODAY! 

Technology: How has it changed us?

"Technology" can feel like a vague term these days, given our pervasive use of and dependence upon it. Check out the video below (may the mercies of your district's internet filtering allow it through), and consider discussing some of these questions with your kiddos:

  • Can you imagine your life without any technology at all?
  • How has technology changed us as a society?
  • 1657 was an especially relevant year in this clip; what OTHER years include the most defining moments of modern tech use? Why?
  • What is the most important tchnological advance or discovery in the 1950s? What about 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s?  

Rockstar PD Resources

Blogging Challenge for School Librarians, Day 18

What is your favorite professional development resource? Webinars? In person? Social media?

I think there is a time and place for all of these resources. My personal favorite is social media...specifically, blogs and the Twitterverse. I follow scores of school librarians and ed-tech people for that very reason. My whole Twitter world and the bulk of my Feedly reserves are dedicated to learning about trends and issues in the library and educational technology world. My favorite aspect of social media is that you get exactly as much as you want and can currently handle. On overwhelming days, I just "mark all as read." No guilt, no condemnation, just click it and walk away. 

I value Twitter as the most efficient place to get tech support, but thanks to changes in our district's filtering I can no longer access it (and no cell signal in my area) during the school day. That has been quite a blow. If anyone has suggestions for third-party apps that may get me around this, I welcome them! (Though many are also blocked.)

Webinars are my favorite for district level meetings, but I prefer the flipped method of receiving information ahead of time via PPT, links to blogs, or videos, and having the ability to think about it and make a list of questions to ask in corporate/virtual assembly. 

Face to face meetings are becoming a thing of the past, but I value this with our district and state groups of librarians, especially. 


Tech Tip #4

Blogging Challenge for School Librarians, Day 16 

Share a tech tip for your fellow librarians or teachers. How do you use this resource? How does it simplify your life?

For my last Tech Tip, I wanted to share about a new software that I have just begun to learn about and use in my school library. Nearpod is an app-based software that educators can use to promote student engagement and collective valuable formative/summative assessment data from each lesson. 

Though there are free trials available, you don't have access to all Nearpod's bells and whistles unless you pay for a subscription to the service. In it, teachers can upload and integrate all kinds of, PPT slides, surveys, quick polls, quizzes, videos, open-ended questioning, etc.  in order to involve students in the instruction. 

iPhone screenshot of what students would see when launching the Nearpod device

iPhone screenshot of what students would see when launching the Nearpod device

Once they create the presentation (or upload something already created to their Nearpod library), teachers will get an ID number for that lesson. Students open the Nearpod app, type in the ID number, and suddenly the teacher can control their device. He or she can send out quiz questions, have students respond to a math problem or label parts of an animal cell and submit that back to the teacher. I am talking mind-blowingly cool stuff here. There is a teacher-directed option which is to be used when the teacher wants to control the student's pace as well as a homework-type option that teachers can send out for students to complete at their own pace...excellent for flipped instruction! 

The best part is that even though we aren't set for school-wide BYOD quite yet, Nearpod can be used on our library's set of 30 Nooks. 

We're flat broke, so I wrote a grant for 5 teachers accounts for my school. I recently demonstrated it during a PD session on another topic (VAL-Ed assessment for instructional leaders), and had-with one exception- really positive feedback from teachers on how much they liked being able to use the software. Implementing that first with teachers gave me some solid feedback on how to best use it with kids. My next goal, of course, beyond using this in my own lessons with students, is to see it used in classrooms throughout the building. 

So if you have money to burn (hysterical, I know) or if you're looking for an idea for a tech-based grant, give Nearpod a look! Contact me here if you'd like to hear more about using this with your students and teachers. 

*Not a sponsored post, by the way. I'm not into that sort of thing. 

Social Media for "In the Library"

Blogging Challenge for School Librarians, Day 13

Share all of your professional social media contact info and links. How do you engage in social media for professional learning?

Twitter: I rely on Twitter a lot in making connections with other school librarians and edtech thinkers as well as for networking with colleagues through scheduled Twitter chats or event backchanneling. 

Pinterest: I use Pinterest as a method of curating ideas for applications, lessons, instructional resources, and display ideas. 

Tumblr: I have all my wheels and channels posting to Tumblr, but never really as a primary network. I'm intrigued by the community of "Tumblarians" out there and would likely fall into the "Tumblarianwannabe" category. I check that feed occasionally, but don't rely upon it as a primary method of gleaning the best information out there. 

Feedly is my RSS/blog reading tool of choice. I remain embittered that Google killed Reader. It was by far the most simplistic and useful out there. 

Diigo: This is my social bookmarking tool, and what I'd really love is for Diigo and Feedly to get married so that every time I click "Save for Later" in Feedly, it is auto-bookmarked into my Diigo collection. That would make my life SO MUCH EASIER. What I like about Diigo is that when I go here to find a resource, I know that it has already been evaluated and found useful by someone else pretty close to my position. 

Goodreads: I track most of my books read on this readers' networking tool and also connect with other readers to book suggestions and reviews. The ISBN scanning feature is a huge timesaver when I actually have three seconds to browse in a library or bookstore...all I have to do is scan the barcode and add it to my "to-read" list. Very helpful for keeping track of everything you want to read. I also love the special interest groups for school librarians...much of the cutting edge info on authors and new books can be found first on Goodreads!