Learn More About Libraries, Students, and Evernote

I want to thank Ron Toledo and the wonderful people at Evernote for giving me an opportunity to share how I’m teaching students about Evernote and how my students are using this tool for learning.   You can check out my guest post on the Evernote blog right here!


The Importance of Fine Print and TeacherTube

Tonight as I was working on a resource page for an upcoming webinar, I was browsing YouTube for videos on using PollEverywhere.  To my surprise, I was a bit shocked to see a video I had uploaded a year ago to my TeacherTube account on the YouTube channel for “teachertubetutorials”.   Not only do I identify myself at the beginning of the video, but if you’ve heard me speak, you will know from the accent that the voice is clearly mine.  Why was I surprised?  To the best of my knowledge, TeacherTube made no effort to notify me that they were moving my video to their YouTube Channel, nor did they bother to give me any credit in the description of the video or at the very least, a link back to my original upload on TeacherTube.

Now I will be the first to tell you I was wrong to not read the Terms of Use/Service more closely when I registered the account a few years ago, but in researching that information this evening, I am more than a bit disturbed by the liberal use TeacherTube claims in using YOUR content that you are uploading to your TeacherTube account; in section 5b, “User Submissions”, TeacherTube says:

For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions. However, by submitting the User Submissions to TeacherTube, you hereby grant TeacherTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the TeacherTube Website and TeacherTube’s (and its successor’s) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the TeacherTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.

I take full responsibility for not reading this section of the Terms of Use/Service more closely, and after seeing this information, I will be deleting all content and my account with TeacherTube as soon as possible because I do not agree to these terms and do not want any of my future content appearing somewhere without my knowledge or explicit permission.  I am sharing this information with you in this space as a reminder of how important it is we all read those terms of service very carefully, particularly if you are someone creating original content and want to retain control over where it appears and to make sure you receive credit for your original works.

I hope TeacherTube will rethink these Terms of Use/Service because for many educators, this channel is the only video sharing space educators can use for their students since YouTube, Vimeo, SchoolTube, and other video sharing sites are often blocked.    Quite frankly, I have never been a fan since it normally takes at least a day to get an upload approved and viewable, and there are limits on the size of the videos that can be uploaded.  In addition,  the quality of the video often seems compromised to me on TeacherTube compared to my uploads on YouTube.  However, because YouTube is still blocked for students in my district, I have used it to embed tutorial videos for students in the past to put on my LibGuides pages.

If I am misreading the Terms of Use/Service, I gladly welcome any clarification, but at the end of the day, this experience has soured me from ever using TeacherTube again.  Although they are within their rights to use my video on their YouTube channel according to the Terms of Use/Service, I am beyond disappointed that they are not modeling ethical digital citizenship by at least linking  back to the original video and providing some type of attribution.  In the meantime, I chalk this up as a valuable lesson learned that I will long remember and will be re-evaluating the terms of use/service for many of my cloud computing tools I use while I am off for the winter holidays  later this month.

Top Ten Reasons I Love LibGuides

Over the last few months, I have received quite a few inquiries as to why I love LibGuides so much, so I thought it might be helpful to share a brief post highlighting my ten favorite features.

In no particular order, here is why I invest in LibGuides for The Unquiet Library:

1.  The ease and flexibility of creating guides: LibGuides makes it super easy to add RSS feeds, embed videos, embed an endless range of HTML or script codes (great for widgets and embedding and content), lists of links, feature books from the catalog (which could be print books, Google Books I like, or eBooks from our virtual collection), document widgets, a timeline widget, assorted Google Searches, and various polls.  While I have utilized the user link submission feature on a limited basis, I plan to incorporate it more after being inspired by friend and fellow librarian Elisabeth Abarbanel’s recent blog post, “LibGuides:  Collaborative Aspects”. Because it is so easy to add content and widgets for traditional and emerging sources of authoritative information ( social scholarship) , LibGuides is an essential tool for supporting my information literacy instruction and supporting technology integration into my library program; I can also seamlessly push my students to other library streams of information, including our blog, our databases, and other essential library resources.

In addition, if I need to create multiple guides on a similar topic for different teachers with slight variations, I can easily copy the original guide and then add/take away guide elements or I can create a new guide and add existing elements from other subject guides I’ve created using the “copy from another guide” feature.  As if that isn’t enough, I can also use and modify templates for guides (67,000 plus and growing!) created by other library professionals in the LibGuides community.  These features of LibGuides make it easy for me to generate research pathfinders efficiently, quickly, and dynamically.

2.  Social Media Integration:  my students can capture RSS feeds for guides or use the built-in “Add This” sharing feature that allows my students to easily bookmark or post a guide to a diverse range of cloud computing/social media tools.    Students and teachers can also sign up for email notification when a new guide is posted, and this email registration can be customized by tags or keywords.

3.  Subject Guide Organization and Tagging: I can create and organize my subject guide categories however I choose, and I can also tag my guides with essential keywords.    These are features that allow me to “catalog” my guides!

4.  Usage and Statistical Reports: you can choose to create a general summary report, homepage hits, or overall guide hits; you can even view a guide hit report for a specific subject guide.  I will soon be incorporating this data into my monthly and annual reports.  The reports can be generated in standard (best for viewing your browser), plain (best for copying and pasting into another application, or Excel (spreadsheet) format, too!

5.  Widgets: I love that I can create and customize my widgets to focus on one particular subject guide OR I can create a more generic widget to direct my students to our general LibGuides home page while featuring new or popular guides.  The code is incredibly easy to generate and can be placed on virtually any web platform.

6.  Superb Stability: in the fourteen months I have been a subscriber, I have experienced only one minor service outage.  I can count on the platform to be up and running without worrying about frequent outages.

7.  Customer Service and Tech Support: I have only had to call upon tech support once in the 14 months I have been a user, but when I did, they were most helpful.  The individuals in customer service are also wonderfully responsive and gracious as well!    You can also join (at no charge) The Springshare Lounge, a free network for discussions about Springshare products, including LibGuides.  The support blog , Springshare Twitter feed, and LibGuides FAQ Twitter feed also help me keep up with the latest new features and product news.  As if that is not enough, you can also participate in product webinars!

8.  Multiple Editors: if you work in a library setting in which you have a team (library professionals, students, or teachers) who may need some access to creating and editing guides, you can add multiple users and establish their editing/access rights to invite participation while protecting the integrity of your overall platform.

9.   Multiple Uses for the Platform: While I primarily use LibGuides for generating subject guides/research pathfinders, I am now using LibGuides to create organic, dynamic, and multimedia monthly reports that help me better tell the story of my library program in a transparent and effective manner.  I also love how this high school is using LibGuides as a medium for paperless monthly library newsletters!

10.  More Than Reasonable Pricing and a Product Worth Its Weight in Gold:  if you are someone like me who generates a large number of subject guides and integrates your virtual resources heavily into library instruction, then LibGuides is truly your best friend.  The price point, in my opinion, is more than reasonable for a K12 institution, and I get more than my money’s worth in terms of the value the product has in terms of helping me be an effective librarian and the way it impacts the library experience for my students (and teachers, too!).   While there may be other similar products out there for less or free, I have yet to see anything with the “horsepower” and reliability of LibGuides.   After only six months of use, I renewed my subscription for two more years—given my generally conservative bent  in purchasing any online product too far in advance, this should indicate to you how much I love and how heavily I reply on this service/product!

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, my investment in LibGuides is an investment in my library program.    I feel that the integration of LibGuides into my library program since February 2009 has played a major role in improving the quality of my library instruction and service.  I am empowered to integrate a diverse range of information sources and instructional support materials in an organized manner that works for my students and makes it easy for them to navigate the broad range of resources I can provide for a collaboratively designed research project.

If you are a LibGuides user, what are some of your favorite features?

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Supporting Transliteracy with Evernote: Evernote for Every Literacy

Transliteracy is the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.

Today I am excited to finally introduce Evernote to my 10th grade students who are part of the Media 21 project.  I feel this social bookmarking and notetaking tool will be a powerful tool for supporting their multigenre research into veterans’ issues. In this new project, students are engaging in multiple ways of discovering, creating, and sharing information and knowledge:

  • Creating a traditional text narrative in the I-Search format
  • Creating individual Netvibes information portals that reflect the information sources and learning tools they are using to support their research of their selected veterans’ issues
  • Creating four multigenre artifacts that tap into many formats of knowledge representation, including art, music, digital creations
  • Blogging their lit circle reading journals (see below)
  • Blogging their research reflections
  • Maintaining a learning portfolio using Google Sites (5th period and 7th period)
  • Students will once again engage in our presentation zen style presentations on their topics
  • Creating videos to tell the story of their overall research experience (late April/early May), including how they have used their learning tools to create and cultivate a meaningful personal learning environment.

Information sources we are using in our research and learning how to better evaluate as authoritative sources include:

  • Interviews With Veterans or Experts On a Veterans’ Issue: this may be done face to face, via Skype, or via email with guided assistance from Ms. Lester and/or me.
  • Database Resources: may include journal articles, news articles, magazine articles, reference articles, podcasts, images, and/or videos.
  • Video Resources:  from established news outlet video channels or YouTube
  • Social  Media Resources: Twitter feeds or blogs
  • Books: print, ebooks, or digital (Google Books)

In addition to the research, students are working in small literature circles reading fiction or nonfiction texts related to specific wars or books that share the experiences of veterans.  Students are blogging their reading journals as well as commenting their lit circle teammates’ blog posts.

As you can see, students are indeed using a range of platforms for accessing information as well as recreating and interpreting it and the knowledge they are gleaning from their learning experiences.

Please check out my slidedeck below that outlines just a few of the ways Evernote can support transliteracy in your library and instruction:

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Creating and Sharing Collection Development Lists with Evernote

Evernote is a web-based service that allows you to bookmark your favorite resources and organize those resources into a notebook about a particular topic.   What makes Evernote unique is that you can also import documents, scans, and photos; you can even download the mobile phone app and import photos, text notes, or voice memos.  Like other social bookmarking services, you can add tags and organize your “notes” to your heart’s desire.

While Evernote is not new and many people have found clever and innovative uses for it, I have been half-heartedly fumbling with it for a few months.  I finally decided a week ago to commit more time to playing with it and exploring it so I could decide if this would be a tool not only to add to my personal information management arsenal, but also to decide how I might pilot it with students via library instruction.

My first major project I started this evening is using Evernote for organizing and sharing my Spring-Summer 2010 collection development wish list.  Although I will probably not know until late May or early June what next year’s budget will be (if there is any money from the state), I thought it would be fun and useful to use Evernote to start collecting “clippings” on items I’d like to purchase over the summer.  While I primarily order print materials through Titlewave, those lists are available for public sharing at this time; in addition, I thought it would be cool to use a tool like Evernote not only to share the library “wish” list for print books, but for other purchases as well, such as more Flip video cameras.  By choosing to make my list public, I can share the list via a link or grab the RSS feed and embed that feed in my library blog or Libguides page! [see screenshots below]

Another advantage to Evernote is that I could use my mobile phone app to capture requests on the fly.  For example, I can snap photos of the latest and best-selling titles in the teen section at places like Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, or Target and import those book photos into my collection wish list notebook.  It would also be fun to scan in hand-written student requests or even record voice memos from teachers and students for items they might like the library to purchase over the summer.  I hope to hit a bookstore this weekend; if I do, I will make a video and post it here on the blog so you can see me Evernoting away as I add materials I’d like for next year to my list using my Evernote iPhone app.

Of course, what would be super-cool is if there could be a way to import the Evernote notebook into my Titlewave account.  At this time, I don’t think this cloud computing fantasy can come true, but I can always suggest it as an enhancement to both vendors!

I have created a brief 6 minute screencast on how I can use my Google Chrome Evernote extension (this extension is available for other browsers, too) to “clip” webpages and to share my lists publicly.

If you are interested in learning more about Evernote, I recommend their video tutorials page–here you will find helpful and easy to follow tutorials on how to use Evernote.  I’m looking forward to exploring and playing more with Evernote!

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