Friday, September 30, 2011

New York Times on Banned Sites

If you haven't read it, check out The New York Times article on Banned Sites Awareness Day -- it quotes several librarians, including our very own Judy Gressel!

And thank you to all of the teachers and advisors who graciously encouraged their students and advisees to participate in our Banned Sites Day survey. With their help, we were able to gather responses (almost 400!) from over 10% of the student body at the Winnetka campus and to also roughly reflect our population by gender, grade and sending school.
We truly appreciated the students' participation; hopefully it was a small step in helping raise awareness at other schools where students find that many sites are blocked. Overall, it was a great opportunity to add to a dialogue about technology, to simply teach students about QR codes, and to encourage all of us to think about censorship in its many forms.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

More on Vizualize Me!

I wrote to the Vizualize blog suggesting that this would be a great educational app for historical figures and here is the (prompt!) reply:

Iris Van Kerckhove just commented on the post " Featured on BBC News" on's Blog

Hi Judy. You can now log in without LinkedIn and create your visual resume by filling everything out manually. Let us know how your historical character resume goes! Sounds like an awesome teaching tool.

That's what I love about social awesome! We do learn better by crowdsourcing. I did discover that their "timeline" for education/jobs, etc does not go back before 1950 which is unfortunate.

Give it a try:

Kindle Fire on Order

Read the commentary by Business Week:

Seems Like QR Codes are Still Alive and Well, developed by Wikipedia, is a QR code creation service that lets smart phone users snap a picture of a QR code and be automatically directed to a linked mobile Wikipedia entry in whatever written language their phone uses.

QRpedia also allows you also to generate a QR code from a wikipedia url.
Here is one I made from the wikipedia article on Banned Books week:

Want Your Resume to Pop? Try

1. Step one - update your Linkedin Resume
2. Login to  -- a new web app that creates an infographic visualization of your LinkedIn profile’s data. 
3. In just a click, import your Linkedin resume information and it transforms into an infographic.

As an education app, it would be great if students could set up a Linkedin resume for a historical character and create the infographic to share in a class presentation! However, the current Linkedin user agreement policy prohibits misrepresenting your identity.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Are QR Codes obsolete with the new Google Wallet?

Few consumers are actually using QR codes.  According to a recent study: from digital analyst comScore, " a measly 6 percent of mobile subscribers currently use the technology. That 6 percent tends to be male, white and wealthy".

NFC or near field communication could replace QR codes. Last week Google launched its first NFC app, called Google wallet which could bypass QR codes altogether.  Read the story at NPR.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Kindle Downloads and Returns on Overdrive

At some point our library may consider loaning books out to Kindles via Overdrive. Read more about the deal recently reached with Overdrive at the website.
Here's a video from a library which is already doing this:

Teaches you to download Overdrive titles to your Kindle. From the High Plains Library District

Read Bobbie Newman's  thoughtful post about what libraries may not be getting as a result of the Overdrive deal with Amazon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Few Tools Shared at NICE: Or Why You Should Attend Next Month

Thank you to MaryAnn Apple who shared her notes from her ipad with the Noterize (document app)
Some tools shared at the NICE meeting which are helpful for sharing/gathering information:

1. Kwout


3. How educators use QR Codes
5. Flipboard - an ipad app you will really enjoy as you flip through your favorite sources

Kindle Books from your local library

Amazon announced yesterday (9/21) that Kindle and Kindle app customers can now borrow books from more than 11,000 local libraries in the United States.

According to the press release:

"Customers will use their local library's website to search for and select a book to borrow. Once they choose a book, customers can choose to "Send to Kindle" and will be redirected to to login to their account and the book will be delivered to the device they select via Wi-Fi, or can be transferred via USB. Customers can check out a Kindle book from their local library and start reading on any generation Kindle device or free Kindle app for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry or Windows Phone, as well as in their web browser with Kindle Cloud Reader....

When borrowing a Kindle book from their local library, customers can take advantage of all of the unique features of Kindle books, including:

  • Whispersync technology wirelessly sync your books, notes, highlights, and last page read across Kindle and free Kindle reading apps
  • Real Page Numbers let you easily reference passages with page numbers that correspond to actual print editions
  • Facebook and Twitter integration makes it easy to share favorite passages with your social networks
  • Popular Highlights show you what our community of millions of Kindle readers think are the most interesting passages in your books
  • Public Notes allow you to share your notes and see what others are saying about Kindle book"

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thinglink - an interactive graphic tool to enhance blogging

A Thinglink is an interactive hotspot you define inside an image, from a thing (an object, a person, or a place) to a link (a shop, a blog post, or anywhere you like). You insert the widget for the correct blog software,e.g. Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, and other platforms. You may also tag a single image or import images from Flickr, if you cannot add Thinglink to your site. Supported browsers include Mozilla Firefox 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0, Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 and 8, Apple Safari 5 and Google Chrome (newest version).

Watch this short video to get a sense of how Thinglink works:

From the Help section of the Thinglink website, I discovered these common sense tips:

5 Tips for Tagging Images with Thinglink

1. Make Tags Engaging - engage readers with fun, interesting links

2. Tell a Story - Uncover the hidden and explain the non-obvious

3. Place Tags Tastefully -if you tag a person, don’t cover her face

4. More Than One, Less Than Twenty - 3 to 5 tags make it interesting and fun

5. Direct Links - provide info by adding accurate links

View an example:
Image from the Facebook website.

Some PREZI tips

As librarians we usually are not given time to show students how to maximize the use of PREZI for class presentations. This should help!

Recently shared by Tom Barrett:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Watch the video and learn how may change your workflow and simplify sharing. Hyperlink everything in a flash.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Teacher Librarian Virtual Cafe for September 12

Back to School Special: nearly 100 participants from around the nation
A casual discussion to generate ideas on how to build school allies, support new teachers & become indispensable to admin & staff at the beginning of every school year. Featuring how Google tools (forms, docs, & presentation, and more!) can supercharge the library program & classroom throughout the school year. For Teacher Librarians, 
How to connect with students and your community:  tips for sharing with your staff
See the Back to School Special Wikispaces page

Ideas from Gwyneth Jones-- aka The Daring Librarian, a middle school teacher librarian, an award winning bloggr and one of Library Journal's Movers & Shakers 2011: 

  • Quick animation on Go Animate! for library orientation.
  • Community Crowdsourcing with Google Forms
  • Student produced book reviews - on Google forms which is published on a wiki
  • Trouble shooting wiki - to help students with "how do I...." frequently asked questions
  • Library blog:  use of Edublogs; see the Daring Librarian Blog - share with students, parents & librarians
  • Like us on Facebook even if your school blocks Facebook
  • Twitter style book reviews with 140 characters which can also be posted to a Google form
  • Stay up on pop culture, e.g. Angry Birds, Glee, etc so you can stay relevant with students
  • Create give-aways for your teachers: e.g. PPT with homemade graphics to give to teachers to customize to make their own back-to-school PPT
  • Parents please scan me - put a QR code out their to your resources on parent night
  • How-to-tutorials:
Tiffany Whitehead - librarian from Baton Rouge
  • We have to change the perception of the librarian
  • Create a welcoming space in the library; students need to feel comfortable
  • You can do a lot with a little
  • Bring in lots of toys; students love to play, e.g. puzzles, rubric cubes
  • Engage students: Destiny Quest - interactive library catalog; let your students interact
  • Use Google docs for scheduling classes in the library - meet each teacher where they are
  • Offer help on Windows 7 - use of a wiki for help
  • Tech Tuesday videos - 5 min video tutorials that teachers can use on her own YouTube channel
  • Make parents an ally 
  • Facebook page - fight for a fan page with the parent organization & update it with important information for parents.  If there is a will there is a way!
  • Connect with grandparents as volunteers
  • Comic Life - Jing -Screen shot videos for Tech Tuesday tutorials.  Go Animate - Promotional videos. These are tools to create your library presence. 
Crowdsourcing:  Open Mike Night coming up, led by Joyce Valenza.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Teaching Sept 11 ideas from Teachers

Today, we wanted to share some ideas from teachers around the country:
Resources like this are continuously being added to our libguide on Sept. 11. And this post builds upon earlier ones related to Sept. 11:
If you have more ideas to suggest, please post a comment below.