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TL Blogging Challenge #3 – I ♥ LibGuides February 8, 2014

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Fun Stuff, Reviews, Tech Tips.
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TL Blogging Challenge #3 – Write about a Website You Can’t Live Without.


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Choosing a favorite website is like choosing a favorite book.  It’s not a fair comparison, and there are just too many to choose from.

If forced to choose something for this school year at least, I would say LibGuides is my most used website that I rely on every day to run the school library.  I have the school library website hosted there, which also means we have a web-based “app.”  I’m using it to embed instructional videos to promote library services to parents.  I’m even trying to publish and curate student writing this year using LibGuides.

What I love most about LibGuides:

  • A mobile website for a mobile world!
  • I don’t have to code in HTML or use tables to make a website look great (though I can if I want to fix or tweak something).
  • I can embed almost anything: videos, photos, animated GIFs, search widgets, website links, documents in almost any file format…almost anything!
  • Reusable boxes and pages means crowd-sourcing the work of website creation.
  • A box on every page reminding users that a real person (your librarian) put time and energy into selecting, curating, and creating this resource = Instant advocacy!
  • No advertising.
  • The design is reminiscent of Pinterest…and I love Pinterest!

Runners-up to LibGuides as my favorite or most used website:

  1. Pinterest because I get so many great idea for teaching students and managing the library space, and…
  2. Feedly because while I don’t love it, it has an Android app for my phone (which I use almost exclusively to read my RSS feed).

The blogging challenge is from Cybrarian Jen at Where Books and Technology Meet.  I’m going to try it out, but instead of daily posts, I’m going to try for 1-2 posts a week.  Follow and learn with us!  The participating blogs are listed in the comments of her post.

Connected Educator Month Reflections November 4, 2013

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Reflections, Tech Tips.
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This post was more or less an assignment from my district to write about how I connect with other educators during Connected Educator Month (CEM).  I feel it’s important to acknowledge the limited time librarians and other educators are given to do our jobs.  Even when we spend hours working after school and in the evening, it seems were always being asked to do more and more.  As a limited human being with limited time (not to mention a family that is always a higher priority than work), the post below is one way of expressing how I integrate technology.

“Making Technology Click” or “How to Drink from a Firehose”
Using any technology can seem daunting and unrealistic in the face of numerous added responsibilities each school year. The trick, I’ve found, is to find the right technology tools that “click” for you and the students you teach. Let me explain…
Pennsylvania school librarians have an e-mail listserv that any member can post questions to, and we all help answer each others’ questions. The first time I asked about resources on a certain topic, within 10 minutes several librarians offered websites, books, and advice, all in 10 minutes! That was powerful, and that’s when it “clicked” for me! Since then, I’ve become more active in answering other librarians’ questions and in asking for advice/ideas on the listserv.
When I first started teaching in 2006, blogs and RSS readers clicked for me when I realized I could read all my blogs in one place. Currently I am using Feedly to collect all the blogs that I follow so I can read them at a time when it suits my schedule.
A few years later, creating my own professional blog (the one you’re reading) clicked when I realized there weren’t nearly as many elementary librarian blogs in existence versus secondary librarian blogs, and I wanted to help other elementary librarians succeed. Since then, I’ve shared my Nook e-reader program (and other resources) with over 200 educators, many of whom are practicing librarians.
Last school year, Pinterest clicked for me when I found out it wasn’t just recipes and craft projects, but also a visual search engine for practical teaching ideas from real practicing teachers. And while it’s occasionally a black hole for my time, pinning has become an enjoyable way to connect with other educators through their blogs and TeachersPayTeachers products.
Despite having a Twitter account for over a year now, Twitter finally clicked for me this school year when I wanted to start a makerspace, something that I don’t believe anyone else is doing at Wilson. By tweeting with the #makered and #makerlib tags, I connected with four other teacherlibrarians who have makerspaces, and I benefited from their expertise and experience.
Technology can often feel overwhelming and “just one more thing” on a teachers’ to-do list, so I really encourage teachers to learn about ONE useful tech tool at a time! Just one. And if you aren’t sure which tool would best suit your students’ needs, ask your librarian! I am absolutely convinced that finding the right tool and making it “click” has enriched my teaching practice by connecting me with incredibly talented, creative educators, and modern tech tools have the power to do the same for every educator.
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