Thursday, February 16, 2017

Smashing Snapchat and eBooks

You never know what will inspire your next great idea.  For me that came from a reply to all from our secondary librarians' email group.  The message was short and simple.  
"We all know that kids don’t use QR code readers but you can use Snapchat as a QR code reader!"  
I already had QR eBook codes from Destiny Discover on display for an author visit and Blind Date With an eBook so I knew what my plans were for my 8th grade classes that would visit the following day.
As usual, the class began with a few library infomercials.  I then pulled up a 90 second student produced video demonstrating how to use Snapchat as a QR code reader. As the video was playing I pulled out my iPhone 7 plus, pulled up my Snapchat app, walked up to one of our eBook QR codes, and scanned the code as it was being described in the video.  It immediately went to a message to click here for the link and I was waving my phone screen for all to see the eBook in Destiny Discover.  I wish I could have captured the student reaction because it was priceless.  I can image what was going through their 8th grade minds.  First might have been, does this 37 year educator really have a Snapchat account? Or, did she really show me how to check out an eBook using Snapchat?

After the demonstration I released everyone to checkout books, eBooks, or whatever content they desired.  It was exciting to me to make this connection with a sometimes reluctant crowd and I was amazed to see the rush to scan our eBook QR codes.  The excitement from the students was well worth the demonstration.

Here's a photo of a student scanning our Blind Date With an eBook on display in the library windows.

Here you can see the link request on Snapchat on one phone and Destiny Discover on the other phone.

This photo captured some of the excitement that occurred during each class visit.

In reflection I ask myself did students really check out our eBooks after this demonstration? I can check my statistics but what was more important to me was making that connection with my students and building on our relationship.  As a veteran education I know all too well that our successes can be directly related to our relationships.

What did I love about this simple activity:

  1. I made a positive connection from their world to mine using a mutual tool
  2. Many of those enthused were our most reluctant readers
  3. I brings more options and choices to students
  4. Library day was a FUN day

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Blind Date With a Book or eBook

Every year during the month of February the library is transformed into a love to read world.  The students decorate with red, pink, and white hearts along with the many posters purchased for the festive occasion. Everyone is eager to participate in our Blind Date With a Book program that includes checking out wrapped books once back in the classroom.

Here's our display that was produced in Canva, my favorite graphic design tool,  and made into a large poster.  

This year I attended TCEA 2017 in early February and while gone my substitute and students wrapped books for our Blind Date With a Book program.  I picked up a new tip this year and added the first sentence of the book on the wrapping instead of a summary. That made the process easier.

The program is immensely popular and we encountered some problems as you can see with the empty cradles.  

I added a new twist to the program and used the QR codes embedded in Destiny Discover making these posters for Blind Date With an eBook.  When the QR codes are scanned with a smart device it takes the patron directly out to Destiny to check out the eBook.

We mixed the content on the display to include both books and eBooks.

I was able to produce an amazing Loupe collage with the pictures which made for a cool visual. Click here for the collage. Or, I can download the graphic as you can see below.

What did I love about this program:

  • The excitement it generated for both students and faculty
  • Opening up my students to new genre choices
  • Blending a program with both hardback books and our digital resources
  • Promoting the love of reading

Sunday, February 12, 2017

eBook Friday

As I continue the journey to market our digital content some ideas work wonderfully while other marketing techniques are not as successful. I declared last Friday as eBook Friday. First and foremost I want my students to have the choice in their content preferences. With many investing in digital content there is a desire to see returns in use and productivity of these resources. With that being said, here is a simple yet successful digital usage campaign that I implemented with my 6th grade class of about 325 students.   The entire process took roughly 10 minutes per period during a regular library day for 6th graders. 

  • Direct students to log into Destiny Discover or your school's online library catalog.  

  • Quickly demonstrate a variety of searches using vocabulary that coincides with the process and allow for quick questions. Our students have had many lessons on Destiny Discover so this was a review.  I may have as many as 40-50 students when modeling a lesson so the buddy system works wonderfully for many simple questions.
  • Set a timer for 5 minutes with instructions.  Search for digital content of your choice and check out the content.  Open the the digital content and read, listen, or explore the content until the time is up.  Raise your hand when interesting content is found and you will receive a cool bookmark.  It was amazing how much 5 minutes allowed me to monitor the group, answer questions, direct students who may have wondered off task, and compliment those that explored Destiny Discover beyond the initial request.
This student took the task beyond my expectations by listening to a book and browsing a graphic novel at the same time.

This student was able to find some interesting high interest nonfiction reading.

Other students started modifying options in Destiny to their reading preferences.

This student discovered the amazing world of digital graphic novels and was happy to verbally share with everyone!

Yes, we talked about downloading the APP on smart devices and you can get a glimpse of the cool bookmarks propped on the keyboard.

After the 5 minutes was called students were allowed to seek hardback books or continue reading their newly discovered digital content.  About 50% continued to read on Chromebooks while others wandered the shelves in search of hardback books.  
Here are the results of our eBook Friday with just our 6th grade class of roughly 325 students.  

You might be questioning the lesson at this point.  So do I demonstrate, allow time to explore, and reward them with a bookmark if successful? Yes, that's the lesson or marketing strategy.  Some may be questioning whether the students will return to and read the digital content.    My answer is the same for all items that  are checked out from the library.  How do we know if our students are reading?   Stop, talk, and discuss the books with them.

What do I love about this program:
  • It's simple
  • Students are allowed a choice
  • Our digital content is being accessed
  • Students are preparing for the future with a variety of content
  • Students are reading

The most important message here is to allow your students the choice.  It's important that we as #FutureReadyLibs guide our students with the knowledge of choice.  Getting our students ready for the future includes introducing them to a variety of formats and content.  The days of our libraries being filled with hardback books is over so have fun introducing your learning community to the world of digital content.  

Friday, December 9, 2016

New eBook Marketing

The simple answer to our successful eBook program is directly related to marketing.  It's like any other program in education one must present, present, and present again.  My latest marketing strategy came after seeing a tweet about Destiny Discover QR codes.  I was so interested I contacted Follett and started thinking of ideas to make this enhance our eBook collection usage. That's when I decided to make flyers around some of the most popular books circulated at our school.  With the Destiny Discover app already downloaded on my smartphone I scanned the QR codes and was directed to the actual eBook in Destiny Discover.  All one needed to do was log into their account and the eBook was checked out.  How easy to have these flyers displayed in the hallways, bathrooms, classrooms, and cafeteria.  They can also be easily shared on social media. It will be interesting to see if these visuals will make an impact on our circulation statistics.  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Gone Retro With the Help Desk

So how many of you remember from the retro days of a librarian sitting at the Help Desk when you were in college?  Yup, you just approached the desk and asked him/her a question and they were more than happy to help (well at least most of the time). I took an old desk removed the ancient desktop computer and made a Help Desk sign. I gave no instructions to my student aides and witnessed an intriguing outcome. They love to sit at the desk with their personal ChromeBooks and take on the help tasks. Whether it's distributing information on the Spelling Bee, giving out requested print jobs, searching for books in Destiny, or answering basic questions the library student aides love this prestigious position. Notice Helga (the decorated duster per student idea and design) in the photo who accompanies everyone at the Help Desk.  Sometimes those old concepts can find a place in our new diverse library environments. After all, we are all about helping.

Monday, October 24, 2016

October Book Trailers

With 3 years of promoting books using ThingLink presentations during the month of October, I thought it may help others to curate them in one location.  You can either show the book trailers on a large screen for the entire class to view or allow students to pull out their headphones and view only the trailers of interest.  Please feel free to use this in promoting books throughout the month of October.

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