Posts Tagged ‘website’
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: winksite.mobi/smslibrary/lc. 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: http://m.wrlc.org/index.php
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 http://snippetspace.com/projects/iwebkit/
Joel Shields gave some good advice when trying to create a mobile 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.
Enjoy and keep creating
The role of the school library website has evolved and it is no longer a static entity. I know that I am constantly updating and changing mine. I am in fact in the midst of doing so at the moment. I am constantly adding new content and deleting irrelevant and under-used content. Utilize the wonderful Web 2.0 technology coming out and embed content. Make your site mobile friendly, add plugins and apps. In a climate of cuts and lack of funding, websites are fabulous tool to showcase your relevancy and necessity.
Scrolling – One of my main goals is to limit the amount of scrolling that needs to be done to access the site. The area prior to scrolling is prime territory.
Add student content — whenever I can, I add content that the students have created. It is their space as well. Right now I have a student-created book trailer.
Shelfari – I have created a shelfari of all the books that I have read to students during the year. I add more books as they are read. Then the students have a record of the books we have enjoyed. You can embed bookshelves.
Catalog Link — even in elementary, I am encouraging them to use the catalog and even consult it prior to coming to library
Games — games are so important and parents love the fact that I have educational and age-appropriate games. I add more all the time and the students are constantly coming around to see what I have found. I also take suggestions. Again, this is the students’ space.
Organization — it is important to be organized with content and come up with a system that will work for you and the students. Information does us no good if we cannot access it.
Flexibility – be flexible as this is a constantly evolving medium. A library website and websites in general are constantly changing and we have to accept that. A static page is boring and does not give the students what they want.
Interactive – add plugins, comment boxes, and anything that will allow students to be interactive with the site. I am still working on implementation. However, I have comment boxes everywhere.
Update, Update, Update – a good website takes time, but it is well worth it and my students like that they have a portal to what they want to explore. It is important to update the site because the minute you stop those people using it will disappear.
Teacher resources — not only is the site for the students but it is also for the teachers. I find housing information on my website is so much easier than sending teachers out to various different websites. I might put interesting videos, links of interest, and pictures
Pictures, Pictures, Pictures — if your school allows, utlize pictures of students and school-wide events. Students love looking at themselves as do parents. Pictures are so important because they break up text.
Calendar – include upcoming events in the library and the school.
Have you ever wanted to post something but you ran out of space on your website, blog, etc.? Well I have. I recently discovered this website called Min.us which allows you to post anything and give you a link to it. This is especially helpful for images saved on your desktop.
I have used it several times in the past few days in WordPress in order to attach images and documents. It is an easy site that does not require a login. These are always nice when teaching. Something we can just go to and use without logging in.
I have yet to find a file that will not upload into Minus. Each file, once uploaded, will reside on the page. You can give the link to the site to anyone and they can access all the files uploaded. I do not believe the sites decay. See the picture below. That is all you see. Simplicity at its best.
I have used several free website creators over the years with students. However, the following are the ones that I would use again.
A flash based website creator with click and drop usability. The one feature that I really liked for elementary school students was the ability to have one account. I could have all students in that class login to the same account. Then I could go in later to edit and leave comments. No programming and search engine friendly.
As most things Google, this is a free option. I found this to be a bit complex for my needs at the elementary level. However, it is a good solution for older students. The ability to edit without first hand knowledge of programming and html is a huge plus. With more schools transitioning to Google Apps for education, this would be ideal.
A wiki creator. Wikis are a good solution for collaborative projects. I have used them for biography projects in particular. I wish users could simultaneously edit. Currently, this is not possible and in a school setting and working in a computer lab this was a challenge.
Much like wix.com this is a flash-based website creation tool. I prefer wix but weebly is a good option. It can be used to create a classroom website as well as student project portfolios.
A simple web creation tool and like many others it uses drag and drop. The product is intuitive, making it ideal for student use. Another good option for portfolio work. I really like this site builder because the Web Node does not add advertising to your site as so many do.