Thursday, September 15, 2016

Airtable: A Spreadsheet on Steroids!!!

Thanks to Debra Holberg, doc student in Special Education, I've fallen in love with a new app that will help organize my life on and off campus. For years now I have been trying to find a relational database that to easy to use, visually attractive, sharable and most of all inexpensive. Well, thanks to Debra, I have found it! The price couldn't be better - free (but as always you can upgrade to a pro version).

Airtable looks like a  spreadsheet but it is sooo much more. It certainly puts Google's spreadsheets to shame. Here's their promo:

Don't take my word for it here's what Debra has to say about it - "Seriously, it's pretty amazing... Ilove it because it's very flexible... it has simplified things for me immensely - and the fact that there's an app for my iPhone is a big plus as well!"

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Welcome Back!

So much happened here in the library while you all were away!

We've added a Technology Help Desk. Staff at the tech desk will assist faculty, staff, and students with equipment lending, work space design, program support, and much more.

We've acquired quite a lot of lendable equipment to support your creative endeavors. Check out the list of what is available to students, staff, and faculty here.

If you haven't guessed, we're accumulating cool technology & equipment for our future Maker Space. The Maker Space will be located on the 2nd floor near the CIMC. A Lego wall is already there!

Speaking of the CIMC, we've moved our Juvenile collection into our CIMC so it's now a one-stop-shop for curriculum and instruction materials. Take a few minutes to browse the collection and be sure to send me titles that need to be added to our CIMC. I love to hear from you all!
And if I haven't said it al
ready, Welcome back!  

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Google Slides Q&A

Hey all, 
My last post before you all go away from summer (lucky!) is about an enhancement to already well-known presentation tool. 

It's a pretty cool tool: students can use their smartphones to enter questions while you are presenting, and you can answer them when you are ready. Students can up-vote others' questions, too. Check out Google Slides Q&A:

I hope you all have a great summer vacation. See you in the fall.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New from the New York Times

Check out the email I just received from The New York Times about new resources added to their education section. And if you haven't registered for your free account, do it! Also register for The New York Times in Education section (instructions below). 

Dear Abby,

We are pleased to announce the addition of three new areas of study to The New York Times in Education - Biology, Campaigns & Elections, and Religious Studies. is a complimentary benefit to Academic Site License subscribers.  This site is designed to help both educators and students make the most of The New York Times.  And accessing these teaching resources is easy – simply visit, and click link “Register Now” at the upper right hand corner. From there, follow the instructions to create an account.

Please feel free to share this exciting news with faculty and staff.

Thank you.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Many Ways to Flip a Classroom with One App - Aurasma

I have been working with the elementary science methods classes this past week or so. A good portion of the session was devoted to various apps and gadgets. One in particular generated a lot of interest and excitement - Aurasma. It can be used in a variety of ways to enhance and extend instruction beyond the class. The problem with Aurasma, though, is it's very difficult to understand without seeing it in action. So I will try to briefly explain how it works and then you can take a look the resources I have collected.

Simply put Aurasma is an augmented reality (AR) tool. It's been around for a couple of years but has only recently found its way into the class room. It is both a mobile (iOS, Android) and desktop  (called Aurasma studio) application and can be described as a QR code on steroids. Instead of creating a black and white patterned square (QR code) one can use just about any picture. When the app scans the picture (also referred to as a target or marker in the AR world) it might take you to a website, play a video or music, display a map, just about anything you can do digitally. Download the app, its free, and point it at the back of a $1 or $20 bill and you will be amazed at what happens. 

So how can it be used to extend &/or enhance classroom instruction, let me count the ways. Oh, the number seems to be limited only by your imagination. Here's a video of how one teacher is using  Aurasma.

Here are a few more links to some other videos that demonstrate how it can be used.
These are specific examples but you can easily see how the tool can transform student work and classroom instruction. My favorite example I share with folks (but haven't be able to find the video) is a mother's day project. The teacher took pictures of each student in front of a specific background, then took a video of each one reading a poem they wrote for their mother in front of the same background. They uploaded both the pictures & videos to Aurasma and created their auras, which only takes a few minutes. Finally, they printed out the pictures and put them on magnets. The magnets went home and when the mother pointed the app at the magnet the video of the child reading the poem appeared, just like in the Hogwart's Daily Prophet. 

As I mentioned earlier, this tool is very difficult explain in writing. Obviously there is much more to be said and explain, but hopefully this will inspire you to investigate this amazing tool. If you have any questions or want to learn more, let me know. 

In closing here's a quick aura I created. Nothing spectacular but it will give you an idea of how basic it is. Download the app and point it at this target and see a simple science demo about Bernoulli's principle of lift.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Primary Resource Database Trials

Hi Everyone!

We have two new trials from Gale currently running.

Smithsonian Collections Online Evolution of Flight 1784-1991
"Drawing from the treasure trove of images, diaries, correspondence, scrapbooks, government documents, and other primary source materials available within the National Air and Space Museum Archives, the National Air and Space Museum Library, the Smithsonian Archives, and Smithsonian Libraries, this newest collection in the Smithsonian Collections Online series offers unparalleled insight into the era of aviation and its lasting impact on today’s society with content that spans more than two centuries, 1784-1991." 

Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity, Part 1: LGBTQ History and Culture
"With Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity, students, educators, and researchers can now engage with a vast resource that connects them to the rich history of sexuality and identity, enabling them to delve deeper and make new connections in subjects such as queer history and activism, cultural studies, psychology, sociology, health, political science, policy studies, human rights, gender studies and more. Selection of materials for this milestone digital program is guided by an advisory board consisting of leading scholars and librarians in sexuality and gender studies."

These trials will run until 4/29/2016.  Per library policy, they will not be available to access off campus.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


I’m presenting at a conference on Saturday - to school librarians around the region - and instead of using a simple Google Slide or PowerPoint presentation, I decided to explore other presentation tools. As you all know, there are some excellent free presentation tools on the web: Prezi, Emaze, Animoto, and PowToon are really cool examples that I’ve used for instruction, presentations, and in my own classes. But these tools just weren’t what I was looking for.

I’ve been curious for a while about infographics. I love the way an infographic often (and should) require visual literacy skills to interpret the information included in the final product. Since visual literacy is a 21st Century Skill that all students and teachers should possess, I decided to incorporate an infographic into my presentation. There are many free infographic tools on the web; I’d heard of both Piktochart and Canva, but there are many more. After short tutorials on both Piktochart and Canva, I decided to use Canva.

I’m not going to lie. Starting out was the hardest part, but I got the hang of it. Using Canva to create an infographic was very intuitive. Instead of creating my own right from the get-go, I used a template. There are all sorts of graphics and templates provided once you create a Canva account, even logos, which I needed to use.

I’m really happy with my final product. Soon I’ll try to create my own infographic, but it might take a few tries before I’m comfortable sharing them with the public. For now, I’ll continue to create infographics using Canva’s templates. And I intend to master Piktochart so I have options because options are important, don’t you think?

I’d love to hear about all of your experiences using infographics. Share some examples that you’re proud of! Here is mine: