Ideas for Using AASL Best Websites: Media History Digital Library December 9, 2014Posted by Heather Moorefield-Lang in Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Technology.
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Are you a fan of old movies? Are you curious about the early days of radio and television? Are you interested in pop culture? Are you studying Film or Media Studies? Even if you are none of the above, you will find that just a short guided tour of the Media History Digital Library (follow the link below) will entice you to delve deeper into the exploration of this vast and amazing collection of documents detailing the early days of film, television, and radio.
The Media History Digital Library is a non-profit project dedicated to digitizing collections of classic media periodicals that belong in the public domain for full public access. The current collection includes more than 1.3 million scanned pages from books and magazines relating to the history of film, radio and television. Users may read material online, download in PDF, or visit the Internet Archive, where you will also find cataloging information and additional download options.
Lantern, the search platform, is the way to visualize and explore the collections of the Media History Digital Library. This open access project, a co-production of the Media History Digital Library and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Communication Arts, is directed by David Pierce and Eric Hoyt, and supported by owners of materials who loan them for scanning, as well as and donors who contribute funds to cover the cost of scanning. On Lantern you can find critiques and commentary about movies, books, yearbooks and playbills, as well as many periodicals about the movie, television, and radio industries. Initial searches can be refined by date, language, and publication type. You can also browse through collections curated by MHDL.
The Media History Digital Library is an excellent way for students, film buffs and just those people curious enough to wonder about the “early days” of broadcast to access rare and previously unavailable historical materials.
Take a look…Heather Moorefield Lang, Chair of the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee will take you on a short guided tour of the Media History Digital Library.
Best Websites for Teaching and Learning – Committee Member
Ideas for Using AASL Best Websites: Canva November 25, 2014Posted by Heather Moorefield-Lang in Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Technology.
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While these days we are blessed with a variety of excellent web-based graphics tools, Canva.com, one of AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning for 2014, definitely stands out from the crowd. It has become my first choice stop when I need to create an original graphic, even with Photoshop Elements installed on my computer. You will want to use it yourself and also encourage your students and teacher colleague teachers to as well.
Here are some reasons why:
- It’s free.
- It is completely web-based and platform independent.
- It is super easy to use.
- It offers a huge collection of vibrant backgrounds, shapes, and graphics, and also allows you to upload your own.
- Along with the free graphics, you can opt for a large collection of paid options, each of which is just $1.00.
- It has 21 pre-sized templates – for example: presentations (1024px x 768px), Instagram (640px x 640px), and more – but also allows you to create a custom-sized graphic. And for all graphics, you can design a single image, or multiple pages.
- Created graphics can be shared directly to Twitter or Facebook, downloaded as pdfs or png files, or shared with either a read-only or even editable link. (The person receiving the link needs to open a Canva account to view and edit the image.) And, all your creations remain available for further editing on the Canva site.
- The help information is extensive, and, in addition, Canva’s “Design School” includes both lessons and interactive tutorials on principles of design you can use on your own and share with students. You can even subscribe to the tutorials and get weekly design lessons via email.
To get started using Canva, open a free account. Then, you can just dive in, start with one of the tutorials (such as this lesson, which can also serve as a class lesson), or check out this great screencast on Heather Moorefield-Lang’s TechFifteen YouTube channel recently made by Meg Coker.
A good activity for using Canva with your students might be for an assignment creating an infographic. Canva offers a ton of attractive images for infographics. Just use the Search box to search for “infographics” as a keyword. Look on the left of this screenshot to see some of the infographic symbols available:
For some examples of infographics made with Canva, watch California School Library Association’s new film, “Does Your School Have a Teacher Librarian?” All the infographics were made by Karen Morgenstern, the film producer, using Canva. The title screen was also created with Canva:
You might also want to encourage students to create class slide presentations using Canva. While using this Canva, they can take advantage of the extensive built-in design elements and the design tutorial assistance to improve the visual quality of their presentations. Canva lacks the real time collaboration option of Google Slides/Presentations, but the link sharing feature will allow for asynchronous editing. Students could also create graphics in Canva and import them into Google Slides.
Just two caveats to remember when using Canva. First, it does require establishing a free account, and users must be 13 or older. And, second, If you pay for one or more $1 stock media items as part of one of your designs, you can only use that stock media in one of your Canva designs and you’re not allowed to later edit the PDFs or PNGs or give others permission to use them. I personally avoid using the paid media items for my educational creations, not because of the cost, which is so reasonable at $1 a piece, but because I can’t then assign the material containing the design a Creative Commons license to pass the rights to use it on to others.
And, some great news: Canva is now also an iPad app. Check out the either the web-based version or the app today!
Jane Lofton: AASL Best Websites Committee Member
Ideas for Using AASL Best Websites: Vocabulary.com October 17, 2014Posted by Heather Moorefield-Lang in Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Hot Topics, Technology.
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Gone are the days of old-fashioned vocabulary flash cards!Â Vocabulary.com, one of AASLâ€™s 2014 Best Websites, combines proprietary technology and an advanced digital dictionary in this game-like learning resource. One of the factors that makes this website stand out from other digital vocabulary sites is its technology â€“ Adaptive Vocabulary Instruction (AVI). AVIâ€™s algorithm monitors studentsâ€™ responses to provide words and exercises on a studentâ€™s learning level, thus avoiding spending time on words too easy or too hard. This adaptive technology supports differentiated instruction in the classroom allowing all students to learn.
Signing up to create an account is easy and free.
Vocabulary.com is comprised of three sections â€“ The Challenge, Dictionary, and Vocabulary Lists. After creating an account, students can immediately begin playing the Challengeâ€™s interactive game to build knowledge and create a learning environment on their level. The Dictionary offers basic and advanced searches going beyond just definitions. Explanations and usage examples taken from current publications and classic literature provide a fuller context that helps fortify studentsâ€™ understanding. Thousands of word lists are available in the Vocabulary Lists section which also lets teachers and students create their own word lists based on assignments and personal interests.
Here is a short video that shows an overview of the site and is a good tool for acquainting students with the siteâ€™s features.
The siteâ€™s gaming environment enables students to earn points as they respond with correct answers and master words. As points are accumulated, students earn achievement badges representing their levels. Also, overall achievement for each student can be seen by clicking on the My Progress tab to see various progress charts.
Show students this video to motivate them to set personal learning goals, earn achievement badges, and see how they rank with other students on the siteâ€™s leaderboardsâ€“
School pride and competing with other schools can be great motivators for students! Be sure to have students include their schoolâ€™s name on their profile pages. This way your school can compete for a cool banner awarded to the school that masters the most words each month. Also, your school can enter the siteâ€™s Vocabulary Bowl that recognizes the school that masters the most words for the year, along with the top achieving students.
There are lots of ways teachers can use Vocabulary.com in the classroom..
- Teachers can create word lists from a designated text for a pre-reading activity using the copy and paste feature in the Vocabulary Lists section.
- Students can curate personalized word lists based on their individual reading and interests. These words can be used in journal assignments, creative writing exercises, and class discussions.
- The siteâ€™s use of contextualized word items can help ESL students strengthen their understanding of words, better relate to words and actively use them.
Vocabulary.com recommends the site for grades 5 through college and adults. Through my experience I would highly recommend it for middle and high school students. The site also offers a subscription-based Education Edition.
Elizabeth P. Dumas
AASL Best Websites Committee member
AASL Best Websites: Coming Soon to ALA Annual! June 10, 2014Posted by Heather Moorefield-Lang in ALA Annual Conference, Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Technology.
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As you may know the American Association of School Librarian Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee produces a list of recognized websites every year. What you may not know is that this the committeeâ€™s sixth year and we will be presenting our 150th site this month at ALA Annual in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 28th. Follow along on Twitter with the hashtagÂ #aaslbestlist.
Everyone on the Best Websites Committee has been working hard throughout the year and is really excited to share this yearâ€™s list. We feel that we have a great list for you here in 2014 full of strong online tools in the categories of Media Sharing, Digital Storytelling, Social Networking and Communication, and more.
This is the committeeâ€™s last blog post until September. In the fall we will be bringing you more blog postings on how to use the AASL Best Websites in your schools, libraries, and classrooms as we have in the past. We will have a whole new list to share and will be super excited to offer up new ideas and sites. As always if there is ever a Best Websites online tool that you would like for us to write about, just comment below.
The Best Websites Committee hopes to see you at ALA. If you canâ€™t make it follow us on Twitter or check out our website: http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards-guidelines/best-websites on June 28th to see all of the new sites, resources, presentations, and freebies.
Heather Moorefield-Lang: AASL Best Websites Committee Chair
Ideas for Using AASL Best Websites: Blendspace April 10, 2014Posted by Heather Moorefield-Lang in Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Technology.
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Blendspace, one of AASLâ€™s 2013 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning in the Manage and Organize category, offers both teachers and librarians a very intuitive, option-rich environment for sharing content online with students and other teachers. With Blendspace, you can:
build a simple â€œplaylistâ€ of websites, videos, images, and text you can share in a presentation or live lesson
embed a playlist in a website or blog to share resources online
create flipped or blended lessons that have students watch videos, visit websites, and respond to short quizzes to monitor participation and comprehension
Blendspace first came to life in 2012 as Edcanvas, offering an easy way for educators to blend Â â€œmaterials together from all over the web into beautiful lessons,â€ as described in the Blendspace blog.
My first exposure to this tool was at the 2013 CUE (Computer Using Educators) Conference where Brian Bridges from California Learning Resources Network (CLRN) used it to share â€œ50 free online ready reference works and web 2.0 tools for lifelong learnersâ€ (bit.ly/clrnfun). Â Edcanvas served both as part of his presentation platform and as a way of providing links to the 50 tools participants could access afterwards.
In a similar way, the AASL Best Websites Committee used Edcanvas for the session announcing and showcasing the 25 best sites for 2013 at the June 2013 ALA Conference.
It allowed the committee to include links to each of the 25 sites, as well as to images of the sites, examples, video interviews with the site creators, and more. And, once the session was over, both the live participants and others who werenâ€™t able to attend could visit the Edcanvas playlist to easily access this series of site links and related materials.
Thanks to its attractive interface, ease of assembling through drop and drag, and embedding option, it has recently become one of my own tools of choice for curating online content for my teachers and students. For example, when I needed to provide one of my classes with a selection of sites for creating online vocabulary games and quizzes, I used it to quickly assemble site links and examples I shared during class and also embedded in a webpage for later reference:
I also used it to share digital storytelling tools, creative writing tools, and Twitter resources.
The Blendspace blog posting last August 24 explained that the creators wanted to provide more than just â€œa space where you put digital content.â€ This led to the transition from Edcanvas to Blendspace, with the goal of making the site â€œinto a suite of tools where you can measure your studentsâ€™ understanding of material and track their progress.â€ In addition to finding and including weblinks, it now allows teachers to set up classes and assign lessons to students in those classes, embed short quizzes in with the other digital content, and track student participation. It allows students to create lessons as well, and users can search the gallery for lessons and playlists created by others. Check the site Resources page for lots of ideas and tips on how to use Blendspace.
As with many free sites, there is also now a paid account you can upgrade to for more options. The upgraded accounts allow for real-time collaboration on lessons and voice annotations. The team is also planning a new Blendspace for Schools option, which will become available this Fall.
Do add Blendspace to your toolkit for flipped or blended lessons, curation, and more.
Â Submitted by Jane Lofton: AASL Best Websites Committee Member
Ideas for Using AASL Best Websites: Animoto and Wordle March 2, 2014Posted by Heather Moorefield-Lang in Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Hot Topics, Technology.
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Have you ever wanted to breathe new life into boring, traditional assignments? Animoto and Wordle, both 2009 recipients of the BWTL, are favorite go-to ideas when I’m brainstorming with teachers for new projects. Often they are unaware of the programs, or worse, aware but don’t see the tie-in to their curriculum content. As teacher librarians we are always on the look out for activities, ideas, or projects that allow students an interesting way to demonstrate concept mastery. Tried and true paper-writing becomes mundane and boring, both for the student and the teacher. Providing teachers a tool for their teacher toolbox and giving students a unique avenue to show they have researched, read, or learned a required standard can be a catalyst for re-engaging students in the learning process.
One of my teachers each semester assigns one written book report. Often times the type of required book changes by either genre or type. In a collaborative session with her, I introduced her to Wordle and Animoto. The library has a digital frame on the circulation desk, and often we create visuals to promote ongoing initiatives, including things like contests, upcoming events, new books, what’s popular, really almost anything. Having the digital frame made me realize it was the perfect avenue to showcase student work as well. I approached my collaborating teacher with an idea that her students books reports could be improved by adding a visual route, and a digital project was born. Over the years it has taken many twists and turns, and in its current state, it has grown to students creating a book review for our Destiny Quest, a digital product for the digital frame, and that same digital product added to the Destiny Record. Because our Destiny program is open to the public via the world wide web, anyone who looks for books through our catalog may come across Animoto videos, book posters that have included wordles, and student reviews. My collaborating teacher has maintained a written portion to the project, requiring the students to write the review and citations. Citations are for pictures used in their projects and for their print book reviewed in a strict MLA format, and this is a part of the rubric we use, where students are assessed. The rubric assesses the following: MLA Review, MLA Citations, minimum of five pictures related to the story or the books content in a visual, minimum of five uses of text in visual, and an oral presentation to class using the student created visual.
The students are much more engaged in all facets of the project knowing their end product potentially has a global audience. They are also excited at the prospect of our using their work in our digital frame for promoting a print resource they used from the library. My collaborating teacher frequently tells her students the skill set they develop from these projects can be used in other classes. I know our students have done this, particularly with our Animoto Accounts because the Educator accounts we use with the students have many works finished and/or in progress in there. I used to download them and then delete them until recently a student came in the library hysterical because her project (one from some time ago) was missing. I had deleted it thinking it was so old we didn’t need to keep it. This student had actually used the embed feature, and my deleting it caused her work to be missing in another digital avenue. Lesson learned–leave the students previous or other work in my accounts.
Here are a few samples of students past projects from the class I described above. They are embedded in our Destiny catalog and used to advertise or highlight books in the library as well.
Sample Student Visual Book Reports using a mashup of pictures and an overlay of a Wordle.
Sample Animoto Student Projects
Blog Cross Post from Cathy Jo Nelson: AASL Best Websites Committee Member
Ideas for Using AASL Best Websites: LitPick February 20, 2014Posted by Heather Moorefield-Lang in Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Hot Topics, Technology.
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Empower Your Students with LitPick.com
Ideas for Using AASL Best Websites: Codecademy January 21, 2014Posted by Heather Moorefield-Lang in Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Hot Topics, Technology.
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Codecademy Wants to Teach the World to Code
2013 might be called â€œThe Year of Code.â€ The popularity of events such as the Hour of Code campaign, part of Computer Science Education Week, encouraged school librarians and K-12 students all over the United States to explore computer programming, discovering how much fun and rewarding it is in the process.Â Did you know that according to Code.org, over 1 million jobs in coding, engineering and data mining are projected to be available in the United States by 2020? Did you know that according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, starting salaries for 2013 computer science majors averaged $65,000 and are projected to increase at a rate of 5% per year? And finally, did you know that MIT researchers identified coding as an â€œaspect of fluency in the 21st centuryâ€ that teaches problem-solving, collaboration and communication
As an instructional technology and school library media professor, I have been able to introduce coding and basic computer programming to my students, most of whom are classroom teachers and future school librarians. At first, the idea of coding seems mysterious and overwhelming, but once they begin, many of these teachers find that coding is engaging and much easier than they expected. They also share with me that they enjoy integrating coding exercises into their classrooms and library programs. Much of the positive experience we have with coding I attribute to Codecademy, part of AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning 2013 list under the â€œContent Resourcesâ€ section.
The website offers a free After-School Programming Kit to any K-12 educator who would like to start a coding club because â€œby learning to program, kids can have a say in how software shapes their world.â€ What a wonderful philosophy! I encourage you to explore Codecademyâ€™s wealth of resources. Integrate coding into your school library program and help your students develop into 21st century digital citizens who shape their own future. For the latest updates and information on this resource, follow the Codecademy Blog, â€œlikeâ€ Codecademy on Facebook and/ or follow them on Twitter.
Dr. Lucy Santos Green
2013-14 AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee
Ideas for AASL Best Websites: BiblioNasium December 30, 2013Posted by Heather Moorefield-Lang in Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Technology.
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BiblioNasiumâ€¦.A Fun Social Network For Our Young Readers To Flex Their Reading Muscles
Being a teacher librarian and part of the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee, I spend a lot of time trying out all of wonderful websites on these lists each year. Â I was especially excited to see BiblioNasium as part of the 2013 list under the â€œManage & Organizeâ€ section. Â My students, teachers, and families have been using BiblioNasium for over a year now and we all love what this free, safe, and secure social networking reading website has brought to the young readers within our school community.
We love how it connects young readers to their reading interests and friends; gives librarians, teachers, and parents a place to explore; Â lets them share book reviews and recommendations; and Â how students use BiblioNasium to â€œflex their reading musclesâ€ as they connect to a large variety of good books to read.
â€œMarjan and her kids realized they needed a digital solution to organize the information, keep track of their own favorite books, and connected a new generation of digital kids. Â Part kids social network, part parentâ€™s guide, part teachersâ€™s tool, BiblioNasium blends technology with personal connection to create a supportive, engaging space for reading success.â€
What a great idea! Â I couldnâ€™t wait to get our students using BiblioNasium and even more excited about reading!
I started using it with our 3rd through 5th grade last year by introducing it as their own â€œvirtual readingâ€ space. Â We talk a lot about social networking and digital citizneship throughout the year and by using BiblioNasium it has given us a chance to have great conversations about being resonsible and respectful online with others in these types of networks. This fall our students in grades 2nd through 6th grade are using BiblioNasium, while our younger and older ones will too second semester.
Once in BiblioNasium, students can search for books, including titles that are just the â€œright fitâ€ by getting the reading level information for any title; mark, favorite, and review books; place books on their very own shelves; create reading challenges; log their reading minutes; and recommend books to others within their class. Â Teachers enjoy it for many reasons, especially how they can track students reading through the logs and recommendations. Â And as a parent, I really love looking at what my 8-year-old Hagan enjoys reading and what he looks forward to read too.
As part of sharing BiblioNasium , I also asked Marjan to share a few thoughts.
Marjan stated in an email to me,
â€œWithin BiblioNasium, there are over half a million books that are shelved by our students on their virtual bookshelves and we are growing at the rate of about 1000 new students a week. Â
Second, I think its so important to mention over and over that we support “independent reading” which is the best predictor of a child’s reading comprehension and reading fluency achievement. (Independent reading in our definition means reading that is usually done outside of the classroom setting, at home, on the weekends, breaks, summers …) Â We are also agnostic to the format or content that they read. Â We want them to track, record and get credit for reading print books as well as ebooks, Â fiction books as well as comic books, what ever excites them to read.
Third, we are strong believers that when educators and parents collaborate, Â the kids can get the most gains. Therefore we support and encourage the connection between the school and the home. Â
Fourth , we have been very responsive to the feedback from our librarian community and they have helped shape and directed the many new features that are now on the platform. Â
Finally, we want to make reading fun!!!!! Â :))”
As you can see BiblioNasium is a place for students to fall in love with reading and books over and over. Â It is a social network that we can encourage our little ones to connect and collaborate with others through reading and writing. I just know you and your students will love it as much as we do within my school community and home.
You can connect with BiblioNasium on Facebook and on Twitter at @BiblioNasium.
Shannon McClintock Miller Â @shannonmmiller
2013-14 AASL Best Websites For Teaching and Learning Committee
Ideas for Using AASL Best Websites: ScienceNetLinks November 14, 2013Posted by Heather Moorefield-Lang in Best Websites for Teaching and Learning.
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ScienceNetLinks is one of the many great sites on the 2013 AASLâ€™s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning list under the Content Resources category. Produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a member of the Thinkfinity/Verizon Foundation family, this dynamic site is a treasure trove of standards-aligned STEM resources for K-12 educators, students, and parents.
The website is comprised of five major sections:
- Lessons â€“ searchable by topic, grade level, theme, and format
- Tools â€“ quality online resources including websites, downloadable apps, and interactives with suggestions for classroom integration
- Collections â€“ groups of lessons, tools, Science Updates, and other resources centered on a specific topic
- Afterschool -Â informal hands-on activities with printable pages for students and tips for facilitators
- Science News â€“ up-to-date science news on the â€œToday in Scienceâ€ and â€œScience Updateâ€ page.
This well-organized website provides a multitude of resources supporting many of the cross-curricular goals of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The siteâ€™s up-to-date information reflecting current national and international events supports the Common Coreâ€™s intent to prepare students for real world problems. The Collections section even offers resources for applying the CCSS into STEM classrooms under the topic â€œSTEM and the Common Core.â€
While ScienceNetLinks obviously targets science educators, other busy content-area teachers can also benefit from this website.
- In support of Novemberâ€™s Native American Heritage Month celebration, multi-level resources are available that include the science of linguistics through endangered languages and how the relationships of technology, culture, and environment can help us understand the progression of communities, such as the Chumash people.
- â€œPoetry Across the Sciencesâ€ is a compilation of K-12 teaching strategies and materials utilizing poetry to enhance science instruction.
- The siteâ€™s Science Updates section offers numerous podcasts about current science research involving music, such as â€œBrowsing Music,â€ â€œDriving Music,â€ â€œMusic and IQ,â€ â€œStone Age Tunes,â€ â€œPerfect Pitch,â€ and others. These short, student-friendly podcasts are good resources for flipped classrooms.
- Lessons about studying giant trees and how the worldâ€™s weather is connected, as well as other materials, are available to educators in support of Geography Awareness Week 2013 held November 17-23.
- The American Association for the Advancement of Science annually recognizes the best in science writing and illustration for children and young adults. Previous yearâ€™s winning books and the 2014 finalists are available on the site, along with lessons, podcasts, and videos developed for use in STEM classrooms. These books for students K-12 are excellent resources for introducing and building STEM concepts and vocabulary while reading complex texts â€“ another Common Core goal.
Be sure to check out ScienceNetLinks for wonderful resources for your schoolâ€™s teachers and students. With new content added regularly, this vibrant website can benefit K-12 classrooms across the curriculum.
Elizabeth P. Dumas
AASL Best Website for Teaching and Learning