Saturday, February 06, 2016

Makerspaces in Libraries

Here’s a picture of several New Trier students having fun working on a puzzle in the Library:
This all started for us last December when we decided to offer some “de-stress” activities during the lunch periods in the week before finals.  We had a variety games (and participation from our Gaming Club – thank you!), coloring and drawing, puzzles and even hot chocolate. Plus, we had visits from Comfort Dogs (thank you to that club, too!) and Haven Youth and Family Services who demonstrated yoga for interested students and faculty. 

When we returned to school in January, students asked right away about where the chess set was and we ended up creating a space to house games, Legos, craft supplies, and puzzles.  While we haven’t yet incorporated all of the hand-on activities that many other libraries have (there is a 3-D printer elsewhere in the building), we are excited by the student interest…. The puzzle in that picture? It was brought from home. And we are still actively seeking donations, particularly for Legos. It is great to see our students feel so comfortable and “at home” in the library, to be spending time talking to each other face-to-face and not on screens, and to simply be taking a break from the stresses of their day. 

It is exciting to see that colleges are also exploring this trend, as profiled in this recent article from Mind/Shift and from The New York Times: “Wood Shop Enters the Age of High-Tech”.   For more ideas on makerspaces in high school libraries, see a recent series of articles in School Library Journal. Two librarians who strongly advocate this work are Kristin Fontichiaro (University of Michigan) and Michelle Luhtala (who created this 5 minute video on makerspaces), although there are many, many more. A long list of resources is available from the Renovated Learning blog as well as more background information from the Institute of Museums and Library Services.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Digital Resources from NYPL via " NewsHour Shares"

Just this past week in its NewsHour Shares, PBS mentioned the New York Public Library and its collection of digitized materials:

Not only are these 180,000 public domain digital resources available; the NYPL also has a searchable database of several hundred thousand resources.  Scroll down that page to see links for collections related to diverse topics like Fashion, Posters, and New York City. One can narrow the search to a specific time period or ask for a particular geographic location.  Many of the materials are photographs and postcards, giving a glimpse of everyday life.

Additional NewsHour Shares are archived here.  One I hope that they add soon is the way that Intel recently used programming, lights and music to simultaneously manipulate 100 drones, setting a record:

A longer video with more information on how Intel engineers created this project is available here.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Primary Sources, apps, and more ...

Recently, we have had classes in the library who were looking for primary sources, particularly related to waves of immigration.  We also had several classes who are writing letters from the time of the Civil War.  They, too, used primary sources and found documents compiled by Gilder-Lehrman to be especially helpful.  In working with these classes, I came across several useful resources to share.  One is the Blog from the National Archives which includes information on their catalog, transcription, and Docs Teach, an online tool for teaching with documents.
Another is an app which is listed as one of 10 best apps from SLJ for 2015.  Described as "mining resources from a range of cultural institutions, The New Immigrants NYC 1880–1924 (Vangard Direct, Gr 4 Up) presents a curated collection of 100-plus primary and secondary sources, from historical essays and oral histories to archival photos and video clips related to the second wave of U.S. immigration."  This was designed with an intended audience of New York City classrooms, but the varied primary sources will certainly be of interest to those studying this topic from an historical perspective and in relation to the present day's on-going national conversation.  

Here are two additional app lists which may be of interest to you, originally brought to my attention by Nicole Hennig:  
If you have more ideas to share on apps or primary sources, please let us know.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Great Thanksgiving Listen

StoryCorps is appealing to high school students and teachers to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans over a single holiday weekend.

Learn more about the Great Thanksgiving Day Listen  It is an ambitious attempt to collect stories from around the country and across generations. That site has links to a downloadable pdf with lesson plans and suggestions for student discussion.

In addition, the main StoryCorps site suggests numerous Questions for student interviewers to use as well as links to many, many stories already recorded. Several print collections (such as Listening is an Act of Love) published by StoryCorps are available for checkout from the New Trier library.

Added 11/18: This morning, Geoffrey A. Fowler wrote about the StoryCorps project and App in The Wall Street Journal, "Make Family History with an App from StoryCorps."  He says, this is "about more than recording history.  It's about listening more intensely than our busy lives usually allow." Here is a short video as he explains how it works:

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Connected Educator Month and other Professional Development

October (Connected Educator Month) is always a busy time and this year is no exception.  Be sure to take advantage of the many professional opportunities.  Here are just a few:

Digital Shift -- This event will be held on Wed. October 14 from 9am to 4pm, Central time. 
Digital Shift is a virtual conference that is free and always full of great resources.  For example, Follett is one of the gold sponsors and Library Journal recently interviewed Nader Qaimari, their Senior Vice President of Content Solutions and Services, who shared some thoughts on user interface and library resources like eBooks. Even if you cannot make the entire day, register to be able to access the archives.

        Library 2.0 - This is the fifth annual Library2.0 worldwide event, another virtual conference to be held on October 20 from 9am until 10pm, Central time.  

        Family Action Network Speakers –a local opportunity featuring a truly impressive array of speakers and well worth investigating if you are in the area.  On Friday, October 9th Sherry Turkle will be speaking at the Skokie School in Winnetka.  If you missed her recent New York Times Op-ed piece, “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk,” do look for it and we will be adding a review on her forthcoming book, Reclaiming Conversation, to our book blog soon. The following Monday, October 12th, Anne-Marie Slaughter will be speaking at the Cornog.  She gained attention from a piece in The Atlantic a few years ago and also has a new book, Unfinished Business, about work/life balance which we reviewed in more detail here. Then on Wednesday, October 14, Julie Lythcott-Haims will give a talk at Glenbrook North High School. Her new book, How to Raise an Adult, was one that I purchased and forwarded to advisor chairs earlier this summer. (And that is just the FAN speakers for October!)

 If you have other professional development ideas to suggest, please let us know.