Archive for the ‘Librarians’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Google Shortcuts

Google Shortcuts

Google has created lots of shortcuts to help us search more effectively.  It has also included a research tool within Google Docs that has me giddy with glee.  It can autocite resources using MLA, Chicago, and APA.  Although it is not entirely accurate it is a good first step in trying to help students remember to source.  All of the information needed to source the information appears within the document once a cite button is pressed within the Research Window.

Above you will see the PDF I created on some of the shortcuts and helpful hits that I have come across in the past few months.  I thought I would share it with everyone.

Searching Do’s:

  1. Do Search by Reading Level
  2. Do clarify your image search by color, size, type, etc.
  3. Do Autocite citations and information using the Research Bar in Docs
  4. Do search by a Translated Language this will give students the opportunity to see other perspectives on a topic
  5. Do search for an image using an already saved image! (No more forgetting to cite images!)
  6. Do search Full-text of Books and utilize portions of books you have not purchased

Google Shortcuts:

  • Filetype:
  • Time
  • Weather
  • Define:
  • Translate
  • allintext:
  • allintitle:
  • ~ = Related Search Terms
  • phonebook:
  • bphonebook:
  • inurl:
  • daterange:
  • movie:
  • view:timeline
  • cache:website address
  • site:




PostHeaderIcon Meograph: New Face of Timelines




Timelines are a staple in social studies and ela.  They help students keep track of dates and facts.  I have been searching for a good online-timeline creator for a while.  I have tried dipity which is good but I find that it is very slow to load and is limited to the number you can create and information mediums.  So I searched and searched for an alternative and lo and behold I found Meograph.  Not only is it free (YAY!) it can embed videos, text, audio, and uses Google Maps.  I was in heaven.  I did this with a class and it went smoothly.  Well almost smoothly (internet went down once).


As you can see at the left you can add an event, then a when (date), where (location), link (with more information).  You can also add a photo, youtube video, and even narration.  The narration online is limited to 30 secs.  However, you can upload unlimited audio.  I used audacity (remember you need the LAME encoder to save as MP3) and had the students record and publish as a MP3.

A note on location:  You must use the current name of the city or town.  Therefore if you are talking about Ancient Persia you need to find the modern country.



PostHeaderIcon Mobility and the Library: Creating a Mobile Library Site

Hello Everyone,

So sorry for the lack of updates in quite some time.  I can only say time flies in a Middle School Library and especially during your first year in one.  I have been working on so much and the students are really enjoying the space.  In fact, students decorated the library windows with holiday messages written with window markers (a very excellent investment might I add).

I have currently been looking into Mobile options for my site.  So, whenever I am looking to do something, I begin researching what others have done.  It is a lot easier to edit than to create from scratch.  There are many options out there: template, free, paid, and coding from scratch.  Now my comfort level at some of the information needed to create from scratch was lacking, so I decided I had to find something that had already been created that I could edit.  I am pretty good at understanding content and editing it somewhat.

For a quick and easy solution, I used winksite to create a mobile site:  It does serve its purpose, but I have to admit that I want a site that is a little bit cleaner.  It was much more flexible than many of the sites I tried.

There are of course many paid possibilities, however, saving money is key in a library.  If we do not have to spend that money, why do it?

In my quest for a free option, I came across Washington Research Library Consortium which has created a mobile site resembling many apps used today.  They have really taken the idea of the mobile site to heart and realized that it is not a replacement for the website.  It is merely another access portal.  It does not try to be everything but whittles down the site to three components that patrons would want to view on the go.  View the site here:

WRLC used the iWebKit and with a bit of CSS, HTML, and time was able to create something truly professional and stunning.  I emailed the creator on the site and the Systems Librarian gave me all the information on the mobile sites creation via Google Doc of course :)  That sent me to iWebKit which I am really excited about.  I have not delved too deeply into the kit but thus far I am impressed and feel I can use it to create a really customized mobile site.  As long as you are not a commercial enterprise, it is freely available at 

Joel Shields gave some good advice when trying to create a mobile site:

“A few things to keep in mind when designing your site:
- Brevity is the soul of mobile design.
- Make the URL familiar and easy to type for a mobile device.
- Don’t overdo it.
- Make it a personal experience for the user.
- Mobile is a supplement, not a replacement.
- It is OK to leave things out.
- Make it look good.
- Plan for the future. Leave yourself room for growth.
- Track usage.
- Advertise.”

Enjoy and keep creating :)

PostHeaderIcon Flashcard Creators

Flashcard Creators & Student Technology Skills

So many students come in the library asking for index cards.  Well today I had run out for the millionth time and decided to open my students minds a little bit.  I said, why don’t we try to do it online?  The two students were agreeable.  So I found in a quick Google search.  We quickly signed them up for accounts and they were typing.

What is great about this site in particular is that you can use the site to review the flashcards, send to your iDevice, and even print them.  These students were still stuck in the paper mode and immediately wanted to print them out which I helped them with.  There appears to be an assumption that students automatically think digital when working on projects.  They do not, in my experience, for two reasons.  1. Their teachers do not tell them it is an option 2. So much of what we do in education is paper-based, so it is not modeled

Students know how to play games and they play a lot of them.  But for most students, they know very little about what many adults would consider basic desktop publishing skills.  I told one student (7th grade) to change the margins and they looked at me like I had 3 heads.  It is so easy to include the basics in a way that is relevant to students.  They have to make the connection between what they do in school and in the rest of their life.

Check out the following free Flashcard Creators

PostHeaderIcon Death to Powerpoint

There are many presentation options in the cloud.  Powerpoint is not always the best choice when creating a presentation.  Depending on where the presentation will be shared and presented, I have found better options.  Cloud computing is helpful when you do not know where you will be presenting or if the machine you will use is a mac or pc.  However, keep in mind if the location you are presenting does not have internet access cloud options are not ideal.  Keep in mind the criteria Sliderocket writes about in their blog.


Pros:   This option reminds me of keynote in its end product.  The graphics and functionality are seamless and professional.  I really liked the user interface for editing and adding content.  You can easily embed any presentation into your website.  You can also export the presentation as a PDF (But you must be in presentation mode in order to do this).  Adding charts, media, and forms/polls is easy and integrated.  There are a lot of cool effects that you can use during the presentation.  Not to mention the ability to create your own theme.  It also allows you to add music to your slides that will auto play.

Cons:  You have to purchase a subscription to export your presentation as an editable presentation.  Flash-based utility (no iOS)


Pros:  Easy embedding into any site.  Also easy import of YouTube videos by merely pasting in the URL for the video.  I really like Prezi for an interest catcher.

Cons:  It is easy to overuse the zooming effects and some listeners to your presentations might become motion sick.  Be careful when using the zoom feature.  Limited background but this can be remedied with importing images.  It is flash-based so viewing on iDevices is out.  Hopefully they will come up with a HTML5 version soon.

280 Slides

Pros:  Very easy to use and embedding, downloading, and sharing of all kinds is easy to use.  One does not have to create an account which is nice in a school (but you cannot save to the site without a login).  The site is free and exporting in Powerpoint 2007 is very easy to do.  The user can import media and pictures.

Cons:  The user is very limited in terms of backgrounds.  Although you can import a picture as a background this is not as convenient as creating a theme.  This is a very stripped down version of powerpoint.  Flash-based utility (no iOS)


Pros:  Very easy to use, however, it is a unique presentation tool.  Instead of creating slides from original data, this product takes pictures, audio, video, and urls located online to create a stack of information.  An interesting idea and a new way to think about presentations.  The embed code is listed on the website and it can easily be posted to twitter and Facebook.

Cons:  If the data required is not online,  this solution would not be ideal.

Google Docs Presentation

Pros:  User friendly and connected to the users Google Account.  Another login is not necessary.  Product functions very similar to powerpoint.  Adding speaker’s notes is easy and any presentation can be shared and collaborated on in realtime.  Exporting can be accomplished from a PDF, text, and Powerpoint file.  Importing media and pictures is clear and understandable.

Cons:  Limited amount of fonts to choose from.  There are no layouts to choose from.  Objects cannot be rotated.






PostHeaderIcon Year End Reports & Assessments

If you are in education, you have a personal relationship with assessments.  During the last month or so I was in the midst of assessments and end of the year reports at my elementary library.  I completed inventory and all those wonderful things that occur at the end of the year in a school library.  Therefore….little time was left for this blog.  So sorry readers, but I am back and refreshed.

Quiz Creator

I looked many places for an assessment tool for my third grade students and I try to share as many free options as I can.  There are free quiz creators and assessment creators out there.  However, I needed the ability to have a click map which google forms, survey monkey, and a vast number of others could not provide me.  Therefore I tried out Quiz Creator by Wondershare.  When I say that I needed a click map that means I needed the ability to upload a picture and have students/assessment takes click the correct portion of the picture.  Such as “Where do you click to check the spelling of a document.”  If you want to see a Quiz in action please go to (login: test password: test).  The program is a download and is extremely easy to use.  You can also record questions.  Adding media, pictures, and text is all self explanatory and user-friendly.  Even though I downloaded the program for free the technical support was prompt and extremely helpful.  I have not yet tried the Quiz Management System (an additional cost), however, I think I might this year due to the amount of time I have spent on tabulating results from individual quizzes.

Year-End Report

In addition, I completed my year end report for the elementary library.  It is always amazing to me the amount of projects, events, and changes I am able to accomplish in a year.  I like giving such a report to my administrators but it is also such a great way for me to assess and end the year.  You can see my report on Slideshare which is a favorite site of mine to embed and share documents.  On a side note: I have tried several sites and slideshare tends not to be blocked.  Although unblocking items is not difficult it is an extra step and when there are so many sites to accomplish said goal I try to limit my emails to the tech dept. I decided to use Word 2007 for my report.  I tried to use several free and open source options but I was not happy with the result.  I was writing a traditional academic report with pictures and I like the options of inserting pictures in Word 2007.   On further inspection I think I might try to do a movie/animoto as an addition to the report to show the highlights.

PostHeaderIcon EasyBib App

EasyBib is my first review of an app.  I have not reviewed very many apps because I have yet to procure a iPad or iTouch of my very own.  I have been able to borrow them from my local BOCES (School Library System).  I found it extremely exciting.  However, I wanted to share with you a wonderful app for all those research papers that librarians have to help with.  Bibliographies and giving credit is a big problem for students.  It is imperative for us, as teacher librarians, to instill in students an understanding of digital ownership.  If we are going to go to Google Images use  Okay, I am off my soapbox.

EasyBib is an app that takes the wonderful free citation creator website and repackages it as an app.  You can keep track of your bibliography and email it to yourself.  Three styles are included on the site: MLA, APA, and Chicago/Turabian (however to use all the types you have to pay).  (From Appstore: Create accurate MLA, APA, and Chicago style citations in seconds by scanning a book bar code or by typing the name of a book. Build and manage your works cited. Once done, email your citations and then export your citations to’s popular bibliography management service.)  The scanning of the barcode is exciting to me.

It is also a GoogleApp.  Your Google Administrator can add it to your Google Apps account.  The App is free and have MLA styling.

If you are using the internet it is just as easy to use a free option:  Oregon School Library Information System (OSLIS) Citation Maker

April 2014
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