Keeping Current

Our assignment this week is to select 3 of the many amazing websites from AASL’s 2015 Best List. I must say that I love how they have them broken down into categories: Media Sharing, Digital Storytelling, Manage & Organize, Social Networking & Communication, Content Resources, and Curriculum Collaboration.

Apps Bar – Appsbar is a free mobile app builder. All you have to do is create an account. The app builder is free to use, user friendly, includes video tutorials, and tech support. When you initially create your account it then takes you to a page that includes a variety of categories starting your app. The next step included a create with Facebook option and I chose create manually. You can customize your settings with an app name, picture, and options for pages. You can customize the information included in your app and publish it for others to view.

This is a technology that you don’t often hear about in school so it immediately sparked my interest. I can see kids coming up with amazing ideas for apps that they would like to create. You could certainly use this tool in the library or within the classroom. In the library you could have students create apps that relate to particular books or genres.

Bookopolis – This immediately caught my attention because it is like GoodReads but for younger children. Bookopolis is a fun and safe online community where kids can explore new books, create a bookshelf, share with friends, and earn points.

I could definitely see this being used in an elementary school library. Students love to see what their classmates and peers are reading and this is a great way to get and offer suggestions. Another incentive is that students can earn points for every book they put on their shelf they earn 5 points. Kids can also earn points for rating, reviewing, and book reporting.


Hour of Code CC by 2.0

Code – I feel that it is essential that we offer coding as part of our curriculum. Even if we just integrate the Hour of Code where students have the ability to play around with coding to see if it is something they are interested in. There are interactive videos and lessons included in this website to engage students and educators as well.


This would be a great program to implement in the elementary library where students could practice coding. It could certainly be added to makerspaces or through particular classrooms. The current Hour of Code is Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code where students learn to program droids or create their own galaxy. I think this is a super cool theme to get kids excited about coding. If they don’t like Star Wars there are options to also select Minecraft and Frozen. There are options to create your own game, use play lab to create a story or game, and draw cool pictures and designs.

It’s not just for elementary school students though there are also 20 hour courses for Computer Science Fundamentals and JavaScript Tools for High School. There are certainly a variety of lessons to choose from.

Staying Current

I’m choosing to follow – dangerously ! irrelevant blog. I really like the theme of this site – technology, leadership, and the future of schools. The site is very easy to read which I love! The owner of this blog is Scott McLeod who has won numerous awards for his work integrating technology and leadership in schools. He is considered a leading expert in the field and was a co-creator in the popular video series Did You Know? (Shift Happens).


Best Websites for Teaching & Learning 2015. (2015). Retrieved July 24, 2016, from

QR Codes and Augmented Reality

QR Codes



I created a QR Code using QRCode Monkey. I made a Voki and shared it so that I could copy and paste the link and put that in the QRCode generator. I changed the color using the drop down options and then downloaded the .png file. I then added the media here for your viewing pleasure.

We have used QR Codes in the library where I work for quite some time. We do something called Book in a Minute where students record a Photostory which is a picture of them and a voice recording of why the like the book and think others should read it. We then take the saved video, upload it to Dropbox, and share the video link to copy and paste the link into the QR Code generator. Once the code has been created we just copy and paste it to MS Word and adjust the size. We print the QR codes, have them laminated, and place them on the back of the books on the Book in a Minute shelf. The videos are shown on the morning announcements and they are also watched from the back of the book using a device that has a QR reader. This has been an excellent way to get kids to advertise books to their peers and share with others what they are reading. The Book in a Minute shelf is very popular!

Another way to use QR codes in the library is to have a scavenger hunt while students are learned the different locations of books within the library. You could create codes to see if they are on the right path where one clue leads to the next etc…An easy way to do this is to put students in groups and print the codes using colored paper so that each group only looks at codes printed on their paper. You could even hide them within a book to be sure they were able to locate it.

Augmented Reality

The TED Talk was very eye opening. The example with the newspaper being outdated as soon as you get it and being able to use your phone to click a picture and have a video open was something that may just keep newspapers in business. Holding your phone over something and getting video set up directions is amazing too. Already with the You Tube instructional videos we have fixed our washing machine which saved us >$100 on a service call. I can see the implications of this being huge! Aurasma has so many cool features with implications for the library and books in general. Adding video elements to books in your own library would be a benefit for students even when they check it out and take it home as long as they have a device. You could add material that is relevant to the book for additional information.

You could also find an online book review or author interview and create an Aurasma of it and attach that to the book for more interaction. Students would then have more information about a particular book or the author of that book.




3D Printing Model

We were asked to create a 3D Model that could be printed at our ODU Summer Institute next week. I used Tinkercad to create my model. I created an account and went through some of the initial lessons on how to use the program. I began creating my design with little effort until I tried to add what are called holes to my design. These holes allow you to delete space in your initial object. I put them in, used copy and paste, and they remained gray. I Googled how to get the shapes to appear transparent and learned that I just needed to group all of the objects together…seemed simple enough and it worked. Another issue I had was when I tried adding letters and they kept going underneath the shape. I couldn’t figure out how to keep them on top of the object. Once again back to Google. I found my answer right away and moved the shape, decreased the depth, put the letters on top, grouped it, and moved it back to the original location. Tinkercad does take some tinkering that’s for sure but you can get the hang of it as long as you allow yourself plenty of time and patience!

Here is my bookmark design:


It was created so that it would be like a paperclip on the pages of a book. I would love to see how it works if we could really print them. I have seen bracelets and other things created in the past that aren’t as durable as you think they should be especially when handled by kids.

3D Printing, Coding, & Robots

3D Printing

I was honestly first introduced to 3D Printing while watching Grey’s Anatomy when Dr. Christina Yang was working to print a portal vein. The theory then caught on and Dr. Meredith Grey was trying to 3D print a heart. During Christina’s research she visited a hospital in Switzerland that had 3D printers lined up printing all kinds of medical parts. The show completely captured my attention and had 3D printed hearts and livers while the doctors were trying to figure out how to use them in patients. It was certainly super cool technology!

At my previous school we purchased a Makerbot 3D printer. It was truly fascinating to set it up and watch it work. There are numerous ways that you can incorporate it into the curriculum but the time it takes to print one object is sometimes a tad hindering and it takes some strategic planning to figure out a timeframe.

The Virginia Beach Public Library has a 3D printer that they loaned to the librarian at Creeds Elementary School. The public library staff shared all kinds of figurines that they had printed and the students were thrilled to watch it work. The librarian showed classes a video of a 3D printed prosthetic leg for a dog and then tried to print something quickly so the students were able to observe. The technology is truly amazing and if budgets weren’t an issue I could see libraries having these for innovative curriculum related lessons.


The Hour of Code from are awesome initiatives to try and get people interested in learning how to computer code. There are many different levels from beginners to advanced coders. There are also numerous programs to try and make it somewhat easier for users to understand. The push for students to learn coding is important in my opinion because we need the next generation of coders. I feel that the more we expose students to different technologies they may find out what they interested in.



Pixabay CC by 2.0

Robots are fascinating technology because they have certainly come so far. Students love to see robots and the technology associated with them. Even if you only had the ability to Skype an engineer or organization that would be willing to share their experience or expertise with robots students would love it. Here’s a link to an article on Robots in elementary schools. There are some great links to different competitions and ways to incorporate the technology through Lego Leagues and more.




How Robotics is Transforming STEM in Elementary Schools – Getting Smart by Guest Author – coding, competitions, hour of code, robotics, STEM. (2016). Retrieved July 08, 2016, from

Presentation Tools

I selected tools that are completely new to me this week. The first one is Slidely. To add pictures to Slidely there is direct access to Facebook, Getty, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, and of course photos on your computer. There are options to create a show, collage, gallery, or mobile presentation. To create a show it is a simple as adding your photos, selecting music, save and publish. I found this to be more of a picture presentation tool and not for text. It’s great for using pictures to tell a story.

The second tool I chose was Pixton. To sign up for Pixton you have to put in all of your info and then they send you an email confirmation code. I hit resend twice and am still waiting……….and waiting…….so I’m giving up on this one for now.

The third tool I chose (which becomes the second for this assignment) is ThingLink. You create your account, add photos using your computer, Facebook, Flickr, or a web link.I added a few Creative Commons images of various libraries to get started. You can take one image and add text and website links. There is the ability to share the image 8 different ways: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Edmodo, Tackk, and Email.

Unfortunately, I don’t think WordPress likes the text and links from ThingLink. In the above photo I added text and a web link which did not embed using html code. I decided to share the photo to my email so let’s see if that will work instead. I did share it to my email and it worked there. It included an advertisement to ThinkLink but, no way to share it here.


Video is an extremely effective tool to capture your audiences attention if done correctly. I have certainly seen many that need more work and I find that can be one of the drawbacks. To make an amazing presentation it takes A LOT of time which is sometimes the one thing we don’t have enough of. We may have the skill but, lack the time it takes to make a good video presentation great.

I have used PowToon in the past when a teacher wanted to use a different presentation tool other than PowerPoint. Her students were creating the presentations so I taught them how to use PowToon. It was a very effective tool and was easy for students to sign up because they all had a school email account. They had to login the day of the presentation and show it directly from their account. The students really liked that it was different and quickly picked up how to use it because it is fairly simple to navigate. I logged back into my account and saw several samples that I made in 2014, it was fun to reminisce.

I used Jing in LIBS 605 when I worked with a teammate on the digital curation project. We used Prezi and Jing to show classmates about Edshelf. You do have to download the program to your computer but it is free and is fairly easy to use. It’s a great program to record tutorials on how to do something that you could share with others. It runs all the time behind the scenes and you just click on one of the capture buttons depending on if you are getting a screen shot or video recording. I think this would be an effective tool to use with students if you are showing them how to do a task on the computer. You could even record something and require them to watch it later.

I decided to make a Wideo and they do have several templates to choose from but of course you have a better selection if you have the paid for Pro version. The tool isn’t too difficult to maneuver but I had trouble editing the preset text. I opened the chat window to ask how to edit text (which should have been easier) and I got completely random answers that were obviously from some kind of automatic response system. I looked again and of course it was. I had to switch computers because I was working on my laptop and things didn’t go smooth. As soon as I switched to my desktop computer things got a little easier. I still could not edit the person that appeared in my video so after adding everything I ended up quitting that Wideo and moving on to using a different template that was a little more user friendly. Here is the result:  My Wideo I wanted to make some of the slides longer but, I got the message that I could only have a certain amount of time. I honestly wouldn’t use this tool with students. It’s neat but the free templates are limited and it is too frustrating. I’d choose PowToon over this most days! When I tried to download this so that I could put it on my Google Drive they wanted my credit card information and $49.00. I found that to be a little disheartening too…really, $49.00 for one download?!