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  • Writer's pictureBrandi Prater

My Digital Tech Journey


Learning is a powerful thing as it’s all about feeding your curiosity and giving you insight into the world around you. Learning is also a crucial part of growing both professionally and personally. I’ve always considered myself pretty tech savvy, but I always need to know more. As a result, I seek any opportunity I can to develop new skills. Once I realized that this course is geared around exploring new tools and ways to use them in the library/classroom, I was excited about the journey. What I discovered along the way is that these tools offer me a way to be creative in the classroom in a way that I haven’t been able to explore in a long time. It really has confirmed that transitioning into the role of teacher librarian will truly allow me to integrate all of my strengths and roles that I love in education: teacher, researcher, advocate, and artist.


Blog Readers

This tool allows users to collect all of your news, daily emails, subscriptions, and social media posts in one spot. The RSS reader talks to your favorite websites and some of them allow you to organize your email newsletters, Facebook pages, Twitter searches, podcasts, and more.




Social Media

Social media has been an ever-growing part of people's lives. It is an inevitable part of all businesses across every sector. According to statistics on Forbes, 43% of consumers are using social media to discover new brands, so why not use it in the library to share information and create immediate interactions with library users. Libraries services can use social media platforms to post insights into specific materials and collections, to educate as well as promote what is available. What I learned through research in



Infographics

Infographics were the 3rd most used content type in 2021. This solution keeps information concise and presents it in an appealing way and can sustain the attention of the reader while improving understanding and concentration during the learning session. With tools like Canva making things as simple as drag/drop, infographics are a great fit to deliver information for both students and administration. This was one of my favorite assignments and it has great value. However, the biggest challenge was finding the right template for the job at hand. Of course, once you find a template that works or customize one to your needs, editing the information is fairly simple.



Videos in the Library

Web-based programs like Animoto or Canva include easy-to-use templates for users to easily create dynamic promotional videos. I submitted my book trailer from this assignment to the broadcast team, and we used it to promote a book that’s available in print and on SORA. It played this week and timed out perfectly to coincide with our Book Fair. What book also happened to be in the Book Fair collection? The one from the trailer! This was by far my favorite project and I can see this being a tool that I used frequently!


These tools would also allow me to connect with my school community and quickly promoting events or create video newsletters that I could publish on our website. With a free account, you can add technology to the classroom tailored to any lesson, teach copyright and fair use, and provide students with resources they’re sure to remember.



QR Codes

Libraries are often understaffed and can be uninviting to students. QR codes offer fun ways for both library promotion and student engagement. It is also easier than ever to share links from OverDrive with users to promote your digital collection. With QR codes, you can link to titles, genres, or collections and if you market your library collection, QR codes make it actionable and trackable.



Cartoons & Comics

Outside our basic need to communicate, comics in the classroom are an excellent tool used to engage students in meaningful learning experiences. Students are motivated to learn through visuals and educators can “sneak” in literacy skills that include reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking.

This platform was the most difficult for me to navigate since most of the tools had limited features. The ones that had better tools and products frequently cost money, which could be a barrier for libraries with limited funding. However, they could still provide valuable learning opportunities for students and there is an increased benefit in having students create their own comics. As students build their story, they get to practice key thinking skills when they decide what their characters will say through using limited text and putting panel breaks on the page. This process develops stronger storytellers with the ability to think critically and develop more effective communication skills.




Podcasts

In a tech driven world, where students and parents are inundated with information and juggling busy schedules, podcasts can be an excellent tool for processing knowledge and providing information. For our students, creating podcasts in the classroom offers them an opportunity to both learn & problem solve. This assignment was not one that I thought I’d enjoy because I hate hearing my recorded voice, but it ended up being a lot of fun. I found a video on how to produce engaging podcasts and once we had the outline developed, it was just having a conversation with a friend. It helps that I have a husband that uses pro-Adobe tools and could help with audio edits, but it’s not necessary. I could see this being a platform that I would use in lieu of blogging.


Plotagon is another tool that you can use for digital storytelling. There seems to be a few glitches in this one, but I think that students would get a kick out of creating their own stories and avatars. Take a look at one way I'll be using of few of these digital tools in the library classroom!




By providing activities with the latest digital tools, librarians can help improve student engagement and increase success rates. To do this, we need to make learning a more engaging experience for students. This type of learning, using digital tools, allows students to work independently or with their peers and allows their instructor to reinforce learning and help students achieve success. By sharing these digital resources and tools, we can support teachers’ classroom instruction and alleviate some of the burdens that they are facing as increasingly more is demanded from them.


 

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