#CUE16 Conference

Last week I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the CUE (Computer Using Educators) Conference in Palm Springs. It is a huge conference, with approximately 7,000 enthusiastic educator attendees this year. As always, I came away charged with a wealth of new ideas, new information, new friends, and motivation to try new ways to make our library program better.

We were also so lucky to have Joyce Valenza as a spotlight speaker this year. She is a top leader in the school library field, my #1 role model for my work, and has so much to offer all the educators at CUE. I was able to attend two of her sessions, and, even though I regularly follow her blog and hear her at national library conferences, I still learned many new ideas from her. I was inspired by her presentation on all the important transliteracies we need to be teaching students today. She also did a great session on ways that we can be curating helpful sources for students and how we can teach them to curate their own research. Some of the other inspiring sessions for me were one by Anna Kozma on the ins and outs of using green screens for filmmaking and one by fellow teacher librarian Liz Dodds on ways students can building positive digital footprints by creating social media content.

To quickly share my CUE highlights and take-aways I’ll be taking advantage of in my library, I have assembled a “Storify” story using my tweets and those of others at the conference. I’ll also share my presentation slides below the story. Be sure to scroll to see the full story.

Here are the slides from Gail Desler’s and my “Can I Use That?” session (link). I share as much of this information as as I can when classes visit to work on projects that include use of images and sounds.

Here are the slides from my “Students Are Makers” session (link). You will see lots of photos of engaged Mira Costa students in it!

Obviously, sharing a slide show doesn’t really begin to convey what was said during a session. Please contact me for more information about the content of either of these sessions.

January 19 – February 12 Highlights

We had just 19 days of school from January 19 to February 12, and several of those days included semester finals and semester textbook checkouts and returns. Even so, the library was packed with activity! Here are some of the highlights.


Some of the class research visits included Stacy Cabrera’s 11th Grade English students working on group research projects completing a collaborative dossier based on author genre/theme/style groupings and Laura Clarke’s 10th Grade English students exploring a research topic that will lend background to their study of the Romantic period in literature. The classes had short lessons in research and took advantage of our subscription databases, including our two new video databases from InfoBase and Alexander Street, as well as evaluating open web sources for quality.

3D Design

Mr. Braskin and Mr. Brenan’s Computer Science students finished their 3D chess piece projects and created some very original and attractive pieces while learning about 3D design using Tinkercad and becoming astute with measurements and understanding what types of designs are feasible to print on our printers. Here’s a link to the assignment. Here are just a few examples of their work:

3D chess pieces

3D chess pieces

Kate Martin and Amber Dixon’s Art 2 students also visited the library for three days and worked on 3D design projects. I introduced them to how 3D printers and Tinkercad work, and then they had the choice of creating a 3D design starting with a sharpie drawing, using these directions (bit.ly/2Dto3Dprint), or creating designs from scratch in Tinkercad. We will be printing out their designs next week, so stand by for some photos.

Marisa Reichardt Author Visit

The library was honored to host debut author Marisa Reichardt on February 10. She spoke to groups of students during both AM and PM office hours and to Shannon Vaughan’s Creative Writing class about her new novel, Underwater and how she became a writer. Here are a couple of photos of her with students.

Marisa Reichardt and Students

Marisa Reichardt and StudentsThe library has copies of Underwater for students to borrow, and copies can also be purchased from {pages}, our local independent bookstore, either at the store or online at bit.ly/orderunderwater.

CSLA Conference

Doorways to Diversity

Jane Lofton presenting how to Become an Images Ninja with Google and Other Killer Web-Based Images Tools

I was in San Diego for California School Library Association’s annual conference on the theme of “Doorways to Diversity” February 3 – 7. I served as Social Media/Website chair for the conference, and I presented a workshop session on “Become an Images Ninja with Google and Other Killer Web-Based Apps” and a concurrent session on “Make Twitter Your Number #1 Tool for Building Your Personal Learning Network.” I also coordinated CSLA’s third annual “Unconference,” at which participants chose their own topics to discuss and shared great ideas with each other.

Here are my Images Ninja session slides:


I also recorded the session using Google Hangouts on Air:


Here are my Twitter session slides:

And, my Twitter session recording:

I also encouraged other presenters at the conference to take advantage of Google Hangouts on Air to easily record their sessions. Here’s a link to my personal blog with information about how to do that. The information applies equally well to recording class lessons to make them “re-windable.”

I came away from the conference with many wonderful new ideas of ways to build diversity into our library program and collection and how I can better serve both our students and faculty. I’ll be sharing more about the conference soon.

Great take-aways from the AASL Conference

My IdeaLab Presentation on Student BloggingFor a couple of years now, my “main” method of note-taking from conferences and other events has been tweeting and favoriting tweets by others attending the same event. Here’s my summary of my experiences and take-aways from last week’s amazing American Association of School Librarians’ conference, told through Twitter compiled with Storify, one of my favorite storytelling tools:


CSLA’s Centennial Conference

CSLA Centennial Celebration

I had a jam-packed four days of learning, sharing, and networking at the California School Library Association (CSLA) Centennial Conference February 5 – 8 at the Hyatt Regency, San Francisco Airport. I came away with:

  • Notes of many great new books to purchase for our library from Michael Cart’s workshop on “Best of the Best Young Adult Books”
  • New ideas of ways to help students become astute researchers and agents for change from author Paul Fleischman’s “Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines” workshop
  • Inspiration from opening Keynoter Michelle Luhtala to move more learning activities to where students love to be, on digital devices, and to make learning help available virtually on demand
  • Inspiration from closing keynoter Shannon Miller to implement more activities that break down the library and school walls and help students connect with the world
  • At least a year’s worth of lesson and program ideas and tools to engage students from so many talented colleagues whose sessions I attended and with whom I networked
  • Excited product purchase ideas from the many wonderful vendors who support school libraries and exhibited during the conference

I also did a lot of sharing at this conference. Here is information about my four presentations:

AASL's Best Websites

AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning: I presented this session with Sue Heraper. Here is a link to our slide deck.

Of all the sites we shared, I think our attendees especially liked the hands-on demos we did of how to use two of them, Kahoot and Socrative, to quiz or survey students during lessons.

Good Ideas!

Blogging, Digital Timelines, & More with Embedded Digital Citizenship: This was a short presentation I did to share the project for which I won a Good Ideas! Award. These awards are given for collaborative projects done by a teacher librarian and classroom teacher that can serve as a model for easy replication by our colleagues. The project I shared came from my collaborative work with Spanish Teacher Anita Rossell and her Spanish for Native Speakers Class. Here is the link to my slides for this talk. I will also be talking at more length about blogging at the CUE conference next month.

Going for Moonshot Thinking

Going for Moonshot Thinking: The Latest from Google from Two Googly Teachers: Amy McMillan, a middle school English teacher working on her teacher librarian credential, and I met at the Google Teacher Academy in Mountain View last summer. We co-presented this session to share some of our takeaways from the Academy and to encourage more teacher librarians to apply to attend future academies. As with almost every session I present, we learned so much more as we prepared and compared notes on our different practices. Here is a link to our slides. We also recorded this session using Google Hangouts on Air:

Make Twitter Your #1 Tool for Building a Personal Learning Network: Marie Slim and I prepared this session, an update of one we did last year. We are both passionate about the value of Twitter for learning and wanted to get more of our members on board using it at conferences and for learning and networking throughout the year. Unfortunately, Marie wasn’t able to be at the conference, so I did the presentation on my own. Here is a link to the session presentation Prezi. I also recorded this session with Google Hangouts on Air:

As Social Media/Website Chair for the conference, I did a lot of tweeting and encouraged tweeting by all our participants. In fact, I taught a four-week course on Twitter (which the presentation above was a short summary of) to help prepare more members to tweet during the conference. Although the course is now done, all the material is available to read and use on the course website. One great use of Twitter is to share highlights of conference sessions and events. Here is a Twitter summary of the conference, captured using Storify. You can see as you scroll through the tweets that, while we work very hard learning at conferences, we also have a lot of fun! This conference was CSLA’s Centennial, so it also included a wonderful Gala celebration of this amazing milestone.

I look forward to sharing great ideas from the conference with students and staff at Mira Costa.

School Library Journal Summit 2014

SLJ Summit 2014

I was very fortunate last week to attend School Library Journal’s annual invitational leadership summit. This year’s summit took place October 25 – 27 in St. Paul, MN. It was truly a teacher librarian’s dream come true. This mini-conference brings together approximately 200 of the most cutting edge, enthusiastic leaders in the school library field from across the nation. Had we simply gotten together for the weekend without any of the formal sessions, I would have come away with second-to-none new knowledge and ideas through the networking with friends from all over the country I have met before live or via my social media personal learning network (PLN) and new friends I made there for the first time. While the networking was incredible, we did, of course, also have an amazing collection of sessions that added to my expertise as a school librarian, inspired me to work smarter to better serve my students and staff, and supported our district’s top priority of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for professional development this year.

As a teacher librarian, I support the needs of CCSS  in many ways. Below are just a few of the key ways, along with some related takeaways from the summit.

Research Support

Although research is not isolated as its own topic in the CCSS, even a cursory reading makes clear that it is a key element in the Writing standards. In fact, research is one of the highest frequency words in all the standards. I help students learn good research skills every day through class lessons and one-on-one help on how to find, evaluate, cite, and use research sources; pathfinders I provide curating quality resources on topics being researched; and online tutorials on the library website.

One of the outstanding panels at the summit, the Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) group from North Carolina, led by Dr. Mark Edwards, National Superintendent of the Year, shared the district’s experience transitioning to a 1:1 laptop model. The librarians play a pivotal role in supporting this model. Five of the district’s eight librarians (the district has one credentialed librarian and one assistant at every school and two librarians at the high school) participated in the panel. We were all inspired hearing how they fulfill their “every child, every day” motto with engaging teaching, resources, and curriculum. I have ordered and plan to share Edwards’ book,  Every Child. Every Day: A Digital Conversion Model for Student Achievement, with our district. On the research topic, the librarians shared the importance of having a research method that is scaffolded from the early grades through high school. The research model MGSD uses is the extremely well-respected “Big 6” strategy. I actually implemented this model when I was a middle school teacher librarian in my previous district, and I continue to share elements of it with classes that visit the Mira Costa Library, but I have never felt like I have enough teaching time during class lessons to fully implement it at Mira Costa. Listening to the MGSD librarian panel is making me rethink my priorities; I want to move to implement it in a more formal, explicit way at Mira Costa to help students better understand research as a process of steps.

Another session at the summit, delivered by Jole Seroff and Tasha Bergson-Michelson, librarians at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, inspired us to ponder and get in touch with our own research techniques that we exercise tacitly, and to model those techniques for students. For example, when students begin research on a topic for which they have little or no background knowledge, we can help them build stepping stones to good search terms and questions by having them scan introductory texts to find keywords to search for and questions to explore as they move forward.

Reading and Reading Materials Support

Reading both informational and literary texts are important components of the CCSS. One vital role I play in the library is building a culture of reading. By developing a collection of quality literature and fiction, literary nonfiction, and informational text, I provide appropriate reading materials for our students curricular needs. And, equally important, I promote reading books students want to read, since I know that the more students read and get to read about what interests them, the better readers they become, and the more prior knowledge they will build and have available to apply to curricular texts.

I attended a pre-summit session led by Deborah Ford from Junior Library Guild that helped me not just with ideas for new titles to enrich our collection, but, more importantly for me, with strategies to weed the many old and outdated books our library owns. I have not been able to keep up with this very important task at Mira Costa. I plan to make this a priority this year and at least begin an extensive weeding project which will make the remaining newer books more visible and accessible to our students.

I also benefited from visiting with a variety of vendors that supply materials that could better support our collection. I am currently working on creating an order with Mackin, one of the vendors, to purchase digital, downloadable audiobooks for all our core English literature. I will also be taking advantage of exciting new offerings from some of the other vendors, and I appreciate discount opportunities for summit attendees provided by several of the vendors.

Supporting use of digital media

Students’ use of digital media plays another important role in the CCSS. I support our students by helping them use digital media appropriately and effectively to learn and to create products to demonstrate mastery. This Fall, we significantly increased our library’s digital offerings by adding EBSCO’s Academic ebook collection of more than 130,000 titles along with EBSCO’s Academic Search Premier database, giving us access to more than 4,600 academic journals. Another takeaway from the summit was ideas I can use for better promoting our new ebooks that are replacing outdated print titles. Some schools, for example, are using old VCR cases to “stand in” for ebooks on the library shelves. These cases include ebook titles and QR codes to allow students to access the ebooks. I will be working this year on a variety of strategies to promote the rich electronic sources we now have from EBSCO and other vendors.

And so much more

This is just a few of my early reflections of my experiences at the summit. I know I will be able to take advantage of many more of my experiences there to enhance the library program this year.

And, as I mentioned at the beginning of this posting, the networking was incredible. Here are just a few examples:

  • I got to see Michelle Luhtala and Shannon Miller, two members of our#SWVBC (Somewhat Virtual Book Club) and plan some strategies for our ongoing book club meetings.
  • I connected with Joyce Valenza, Andy Plemmons, and Deb Shorganizers of the Global TL network, and got to exchange ideas about building meaningful global connections for our students. At Joyce’s suggestion, I am considering submitting a proposal to present about the Somewhat Virtual Book Club at the Global Education Online Conference in November.
  • Andy was one of the people I recently got to know through my virtual PLN and had the pleasure of meeting in person for the first time at the summit. We also have in common that we both attended a Google Teacher Academy and became a Google Certified Teacher last summer, and we exchanged ideas about what we learned at our academies, his in Atlanta, and mine in Mountain View.
  • Another librarian I was honored to meet live for the first time at the summit was Michelle Colte, School Library Journal‘s School Librarian of the Year, coming all the way from Hawaii. During the weekend, she and Elissa Malespina, another PLN friend, filled me in on their Virtual Poetry Summit plans for National Poetry Month in April, and invited me to join. I plan to recruit Mira Costa students to participate.
  • Fellow California School Library Association friends Sue Heraper and Liz Dodds and I had a chance to connect live and exchange ideas we can use to enrich our association’s activities.

Here is a wonderful video created by Capstone, another of the vendors, we saw during the opening of the summit that shows the vital role of libraries and trained librarians supporting our students’ engaged learning:

Many thanks to School Library Journal and all the organizers, exhibitors, and presenters who made the summit possible.

American Library Association Conference

ALA books

Last month, I attended the American Library Association Conference in Las Vegas. In addition to the huge stack of free published books, advanced reader copies, and audiobooks you see above, I came away with an even bigger stack of new ideas and connections I’ll be implementing at our library and sharing with staff and students in the fall. Please read about my experiences in these two postings on my librarian blog:

Part 1

Part 2


CUE Conference 2014

CUE 2014

Last week I attended and presented at the CUE Conference in Palm Springs. The conference had record attendance of over 5,300 attendees as more and more educators see the benefit of this professional development opportunity. In fact, CUE previously was “shorthand” for “Computer Using Educators.” At this conference, the association announced a new logo, included in CUE’s Twitter header pictured above, and that the association name will now be simply CUE. “Computer Using Educators” will no longer be part of the name. The rationale? It used to be that teachers and other educators interested in computers and technology were in the minority. That’s no longer so. Now all educators need to be tech-savvy; they all need the kind of professional development that CUE offers.

Here are a few of my personal conference highlights and takeaways:

LeVar Burton, pictured in my screenshot of CUE’s new Twitter header above, was the Friday morning keynote speaker. Here are some of my Twitter “notes” from his inspiring session:  (Be sure to scroll this text box to see all the postings.)

digital citizenship logoAs part of the conference, California School Library Association presented a “Digital Citizenship Summit” on Saturday. We were very fortunate to have Gwyneth Jones, aka The Daring Librarian, a middle school librarian from Maryland, as our lead speaker. In her session on “Secrets of the Remix Mash Up YouTube Generation” she shared that “Everything is remix; use it for engagement.” We all learn by repeating; we can leverage that and help students to be respectful remixers by working with the tools they already love, sharing other engaging tools with them, and teaching them about Creative Commons and attribution. Here’s a tweet shared by teacher librarian Sharlene Paxton during Gwyneth’s session:

To engage students, we need to be using tools like YouTube and great YouTube channels like Horrible Histories and the History Teachers Channels, while also introducing innovative tools such as Scoop.it for curation, LessonPaths for online lesson playlists, and Flocabulary for engaging learning through rap music.

The Digital Citizenship Summit also included Pam Oehlman on “Teaching Digital Citizenship by Crafting Quick Flipped Tutorials and Using Existing Resources,” Glen Warren on “The Uncommon Core: New Standards, New Literacies, and Student Significance,” and my session on “”Inspiring Creativity While Respecting Copyright with Fair Use and Creative Commons.”

Pam shared an analogy comparing the pencil to digital citizenship instruction; our kids today need the same careful instruction on using devices as we use to teach kindergartners the safe use of pencils. She shared lots of great resources for digital citizenship instruction, and you can see them reviewed in her presentation file.

All too often in school, Glen shared during his session, we don’t ask kids what they want to learn. Instead, we just tell them what they have to learn. One the great things about school libraries, is that we ask them what they want to learn, and we help them connect that to the literacies, including those covered in the Common Core, that they need to learn. Here is a graphic showing how information literacy, which librarians teach, crosses all curricular areas, including personal interest:

Information Literacy

Glen advocated for giving students the same kind of 20 percent time  that Google provides, allowing them to pursue their own interests in that time. He also shared how he makes students accountable for their time and has them simultaneously learn and practice information literacy skills. He uses a Google Form to have them submit information about their work, including the questions they asked and the research they did.

In my session, I focused on teaching respect for intellectual property, on understanding copyright and fair use, and on taking advantage of using Creative Commons material to make that task easier. I also advocated for contributing to a creative society by licensing our own works with Creative Commons licenses and encouraging our students to do the same. Here is the presentation file:

If you haven’t already joined the Creative Commons community, please do so! By sharing, we all contribute to a more vibrant, creative world. Gwyneth Jones included this powerful message in one her slides from her Friday session on “Marketing Your Program Like Lady Gaga”:

creative commons message from gwyneth jones

I tweeted a photo of the slide during her session, and it clearly resonated with many people, since I got lots of retweets.

I was also proud to be a part of CSLA’s booth presence in the exhibit hall, promoting what teacher librarians do:

csla booth

Thanks to Sue Heraper for taking the photo of me (current Past President) with Janice Gilmore-See, current CSLA President, and Pam Oehlman, 2012-2013 President.

I came away from the conference bubbling with new ideas and some fun tech tips to share. Many of these are included in my Twitter feed (I’m @jane_librarian) from March 20-22, since Twitter has become my primary note-taking method during conferences. Also check the #CUE14 hashtag for a wealth of quotes from presenters, links to sessions and tools, and more. Thanks to all the presenters for their great ideas. I’ve captured only a fraction of them here. Also, thanks to CUE and Executive Director Mike Lawrence for enabling CSLA to present the Digital Citizenship Summit.



CSLA Conference Takeaways on Common Core, College & Career Readiness

I am still in the midst of processing all the great takeaways from an incredibly exhilarating California School Library Association Conference February 6 – 9. Please see my posting on my personal blog for a summary of some of the highlights, including the Unconference I organized and a session on Twitter as a professional development tool that I co-presented. The posting here focuses on several sessions related to Common Core and college and career readiness.

Kevin Baird Keynote

Kevin Baird, Chairman and Senior Faculty at the Curriculum Institute and the Center for College and Career Readiness, was our keynote speaker.  I have been finding lately that my best “notes” from a conference presentation are my tweets, so here they are, assembled using a new favorite tool called Storify, from his session:

Mr. Baird also helped me to better understand the need to help students stretch themselves to be able to read more complex texts. One of the points he shared is that many out-of-high school careers students may enter, such, for example, as law and public safety, actually require them to read more complex texts at higher lexile levels than college texts. That means that we do need to help students but providing more complex texts, but I also believe that the more pleasure reading they do, the better readers they will become, and the more able they will be to read complex material. So, I see my job in the library providing both stretch texts and engaging pleasure reading.

Mr. Baird also shared how the new standards include different depth of knowledge levels and advised us to work to become experts in supporting teaching at the needed level for each standard.

He was extremely generous with us as conference attendees, and provided us with free access to an online Depth of Knowledge guide, model performance tasks, and Common Core-aligned lesson plans that I will be able to study and share with my teachers and administration.

College Readiness-Related Concurrent Sessions

I also attended two concurrent sessions that dealt with preparing students to be college-ready. Sara Oremland, the Teacher Librarian at Albany High School, shared two videos that she produced, one for students and one for teachers, to share what she learned from interviewing college students, professors, and librarians sharing what high school research should be like to prepare for college research. Here is the student video, intended to motivate them to conduct effective research:

Here is the teacher video, intended to help high school teachers understand the benefits of Authentic Research projects:

In another concurrent session, Doug Achterman, Head Librarian at Gavilan College and a former high school teacher librarian, shared results of a series of interviews he conducted with community college instructors about their expectations around students’ reading, writing and research. Far too many students come to community college improperly prepared with the reading, writing, and research skills needed. He helped us explore the implications for supporting teachers and students through our library programs to better prepare students for community or other college expectations, which are in alignment with what we need to be teaching as part of Common Core.

I will be working to use and share this material throughout the rest of this school year and beyond.

AASL Conference Takeaways


I was so fortunate this month to attend the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National Conference in Hartford, CT, and to get to hear from, network with, and socialize with many of the 3,000+ teacher librarians attending. I came home with an overwhelming number of great new ideas and “to do’s.” As I process it all, I know I will be using and sharing what I learned with teachers, students, and other librarians throughout this school year and beyond. Here are just a few of my takeaways:

A few ideas for the Mira Costa Library:

  • Makerspace activities – There is a growing movement of “makerspaces” – places that allows for tinkering and experimenting, where students can think and learn, create and do, share, and grow. Schools, libraries, community centers, and other institutions are setting up such spaces, enabling students to learn through hands-on, participatory exploration. I attended a session presented by Teacher Librarian Leslie Preddy about how a makerspace can be a valuable addition to learning in a school library. I would like to experiment with some maker sessions in the Mira Costa Library and, if it generates interest from students, see if I can extend the model.
  • Libraries have actually been “flipping” instruction for a long time – providing video, visual, and textual tutorials for students to access online whenever they need help. The Mira Costa library site already has a number of tutorials, and I have been working to extend the offerings. Clearly, as Teacher Librarian Michelle Luhtala shared in one of the conference sessions, flipping material needs to engage and challenge; it can’t just be lecturing students online. At this conference, I got lots of ideas of how I can do that and extend what I offer both to students and teachers, providing engaging instruction at the point of need, whether that be when they are home, working on their own in the library, or as part of classroom activities. Flipping can also help students who missed a lesson due to absence. Teacher Librarian Nikki Robertson shared how she records all her lessons using Google + hangouts. Stand by as I try that at Mira Costa, and do plan to see a lot more tutorial content and recorded lessons on the library website this year!
  • I have always encouraged students to contact me by email when they need help with anything, but, clearly, email is not the communication tool of choice for most of our students. Michelle Luhtala shared how she has taken advantage of Google Voice to allow students to text requests for help. She sets her Google Voice number to be forwarded to her cell phone. She has seen a huge increase in the number of questions students send her using this method. I am going to set up a Google Voice number for our library and start publicizing it for library and tech support requests. (Stand by while I figure out how to add a second Google Voice forwarding number to my cell, since I already have a personal one I am forwarding.)

An idea for our school or district professional development days:

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 9.42.22 AM

  • One of the innovations at this conference was the Friday night “Unconference,” the brainchild of Teacher Librarian Joyce Valenza. Modeled on a number of Edcamps that have been taking place around the country, on  Friday night from 9 PM to Midnight, we participated in a program consisting of:
    • Two short time-slots for participant-driven small group discussions, with topics determined by submissions shortly before the event and some right at the event.
    • A rocks/sucks session in which we debated whether we agreed or disagreed with a given concept. This included a lively discussion of whether we should communicate with students on Facebook, whether we should re-organize our libraries by genre rather than Dewey, and more.
    • A Smackdown, in which all participants were invited up to the mic to share – in two minutes or less – some of their best recent discoveries or tips. The tip that I shared during the Smackdown was how to use the Google Research Tool in Google Presentations and Docs to find and give credit to Creative Commons-licensed images and other material.

I loved how the Unconference, even complete with “Unrules,” allowed participants, through crowd-sourcing, to determine their own topics discussion, and gave everyone a chance to take the mic and share their ideas with others. I could see all or part of this program as a great formula to use for some of our Mira Costa and/or District Professional Development days.

Tools we can all use:

My list of new-to-me online tools is a mile long. Here are just three that could be of interest to all our teachers:

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 9.44.21 AMScreen Shot 2013-11-25 at 9.44.33 AMScreen Shot 2013-11-25 at 9.44.58 AM

  • Canva.com. A new online presentation tool offering vibrant designs and graphic elements for creating documents, presentations, cards, or social media designs. The site and many of the graphics are free, but some of the graphics cost $1 a piece. To use them, you pay as you “check out” and publish your work as a PDF or PNG, or share it directly to Facebook or Twitter. Thanks to Joyce Valenza for sharing this tool. The site is currently in beta, but it took just a few hours to receive my account after I requested it. I also received 5 instant access account invitations I could share with any readers who contact me.
  • FatURL. This simple tool allows you to create one short URL bundling links to multiple websites. You can share just this one URL with your students, and thereby allow them to access multiple links. Thanks to Teacher Librarian Tiffany Whitehead for this one.
  • PBS LearningMedia. One of the exhibitors at the conference was PBS, sharing the organization’s new learning media resources. Here’s the description from the site: “PBS LearningMedia™ is your destination for direct access to thousands of classroom-ready, curriculum-targeted digital resources. PBS LearningMedia builds on the strength of public media and is designed to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Resources are aligned to Common Core and national standards and include videos and interactives, as well as audio, documents, and in-depth lesson plans. You can browse by standards, grade level, subject area, and special collections. You can also favorite, and share resources with your class and colleagues through folders and social media. Best of all, PBS LearningMedia’s basic service is free for PreK-12 educators.” Do check it out!

I also came away with some great ideas for effective advocacy. For any library friends reading this, I will be sharing a blog posting on my personal blog asap with some of those ideas.

I feel so fortunate that I was able to attend this conference. Getting to connect face-to-face with teacher librarian friends from around the country has immensely strengthened my existing personal learning network and will continue to enrich my work on an ongoing basis. I will also get even more from the conference over the coming weeks when videos of many of the sessions are posted for conference attendees and AASL members on AASL’s eCOLLAB.

2013-11-14 23.05.16
Visiting with Sara Kelly Johns, Doug Johnson, & Nikki Robertson, some of the star member of my PLN
2013-11-16 14.56.54
Wrapping up the conference with conference buddy Jessica Gillis

CUE Conference 2013

I just had the privilege of attending the annual CUE (Computering Using Educators) conference in Palms Springs, CA March 14-16. Every time I attend, I come away invigorated with new ideas I can implement in my practice and share with my students and co-workers. I also presented two sessions this year. I am embedding the Prezi.com presentation files for the two sessions at the bottom of this posting.

Here were just a few of the highlights of the conference sessions for me:

CLRN’s Brian Bridges fast-paced session on “50 Free Online  Ready Reference and Web 2.0 Tools for Life Long Learners” filled me in on a number of websites and apps that were new to me. Here’s the link to all his tools. He saved them in one of the tools he told us about, edcanvas.com.  One website, Jamendo.com, a source for Creative Commons-licensed music, was one I was able to share with the attendees at my own session the next hour! Another offering I have already checked out is Dropbox’s connection to Project Gutenberg. I knew about both tools, but not that they are now connected. Project Gutenberg is a collection of over 42,000 free ebooks that are in the public domain. When you find a free ebook in Project Gutenberg, you can save it to your Dropbox account in a “gutenberg” app folder. From there, I was able to open the file in my Kindle app on my iPad and iPhone.

At Google Search Educator Tasha Bergson-Michelson’s presentation on “Really, Really Simple Search: Developing Effective Search Education,” she had us work in groups to develop new ideas for teaching students the critical thinking skills they need to become more effective searchers and to evaluate the sources they find. Tasha had us record our conversations in a Google Doc, so we can all refer to them. Here’s a link to her materials.

I attended two sessions by Mark Hammons, Educational Technology Consultant for the Instructional Technology Services team at the Fresno County Office of Education, on iTunes U and on the Apple TV in Education. At the latter, I got some tips on new ways to use my Apple TV. In the former, I learned the basic steps to creating courses in iTunes U. iTunes U is becoming a popular platform for schools and universities to upload both self-paced and in-session courses. The courses are all free, and can be public or private. I am excited about drawing from and contributing to this free sharing community. I have set myself a goal to create a self-paced course on the topics I covered in my “Build Digital Citizenship Skills & Inspire Creativity with Creative Commons” presentation asap. The one drawback I see to iTunes U is that, while the courses can be developed on either Macs or PCs (with some browser limitations), they can only be delivered on iOS devices. I wish Apple would offer an option to deliver the courses on desktop and laptop computers and other types of mobile devices. Are you listening, Apple?

And, it was very interesting hearing my Principal Ben Dale and Vice-Principal Ian Drummond’s background thinking about the evolving iPad program at Mira Costa High School. Here’s a photo of them presenting:

Ben Dale (right) & Ian Drummond (left) presenting at CUE Conference
Ben Dale (right) & Ian Drummond (left) presenting on at CUE Conference on “High School iPad Implementation and the Student-Use Model”

You can see all the presentation files/handouts posted so far on the CUE Schedule at 2013.cue.org. When you click on any session, look for the “Presenter Resources” link. Since many presenters wait until after they present to submit these links, I would check back periodically for resources from sessions that interest you.  You can also find a lot of links to session materials in Twitter by searching for the hashtag #cue13.

Here are the presentation files for my own sessions, but do contact me for a “walkthrough,” since these show only the visuals, not what I said as I presented.

My concurrent session was on “Building Digital Citizenship Skills & Inspire Creativity with Creative Commons.” I shared how to teach students about these concepts, as well copyright, public domain, and fair use, and why they are so important. I also urged the attendees to join the “Commons” and share their own work with Creative Commons licenses so that we can all benefit from each others’ knowledge and creativity. Here is the presentation file:

(If this embedded file doesn’t display in your browser, you can access it at this link. Also please note that these files are graphics-intensive and may be slow to fully download on a mobile device. I would recommend viewing them on your computer.)

Pam Oehlman and I did a CUE Tip talk (informal 20-minute session) on “Free Web Tutorials for You and Your Students.” We walked the audience through five free, online, self-paced, reusable and remixable tutorial options available from CSLA (California School Library Association).

(If this embedded file doesn’t display in your browser, you can access it at this link.)

Finally, here’s Pam and me at our CUE Tip session:

Pam Oehlman & Jane Lofton presenting

We’re wearing our Avatar T-shirts from the November 2013 CSLA Conference, on theme since creating avatars is one of the activities in the tutorials we were promoting.

Here’s me at my concurrent session:


Presenting at CUE