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  1. Mind-Blowing Digital Literacy Integration Part 5

    April 11, 2018 by 2TechSavvyLibrarians

    Curiosity is what powers discovery. – Stephen Magee

    Merge Cube

    Merge Holo Cube is definitely a mind-blowing learning opportunity for you and your students!  Using augmented reality and virtual reality technology, Merge Holo Cube is a hand-held soft cube that is a discovery phenomenon!  Various apps are available for download to use with the Cube.  Students can learn about the solar system, the human body, play music, play games and much more. In addition, students can use their skills to become content creators for Merge Cube, developing new ideas and games.  Device required for this experience is a smart phone or tablet.  A VR Headset is available but not necessary.

    What about using Merge Holo Cube in the Classroom?  This is new technology, so we are discovering uses together.  There are some offerings in Teachers Pay Teachers.  However, I feel that blogging, reflection and vocabulary connections are good starting points.  Although the gaming apps require a student to be 13 years or older, I believe that the learning lessons available in other apps are easily accessible to students, with the teacher login.  Using this combination of AR/VR will get your students excited about learning no matter what the content.  Our students need to become versed in AR/VR and MR (Mixed Reality) in order to be competitive in a global society.

    Finally, these cubes are easily and cheaply available at Amazon and Walmart (possibly $1 each).  So, what are you waiting for….go get a class set of Merge Holo Cubes!


    How are you using Merge Cubes?

    TechSavvyLibrarian Jan







  2. Mind-Blowing Digital Literacy Integration Part 4

    April 10, 2018 by 2TechSavvyLibrarians

    There’s so much more to a book than just the reading. – Maurice Sendak


    Used in over 400,000+ K-12 classrooms worldwide, Storybird allows students to write books they will always remember by starting with the pictures first.  These images evoke ideas and thoughts which translate into personalized sequenced events, transforming the student to the author. Storybird is a fabulous tool to encourage student voice and creativity as they author and publish their own books online.  Picture books, chapter books and poetry books are easily created in a clickable format.  According to Storybird, “Schools have seen as much as 3-grade level jumps in literacy when using Storybird throughout the year.”  Other great features are the fact that Storybird is free in the educational setting and is also accessible on any device.  Here are some classroom uses for Storybird:

    Younger Students:

    Share what they are passionate about.

    Create a book to show they know.

    Increase language acquisition by writing.

    Problem-solve and synthesize their thoughts for a final product.

    Create an original story about a favorite anything or holiday.

    Create an original story about family.

    Older Students:

    Put Shakesperian sonnets into modern day language.  Thanks to @BLDGBookLove for these great ideas for olders.

    Use the five forms of imagery to create a story.

    Narrate concepts learned in class.

    Use as a tool to teach satire.

    Any Students:

    Have an afterschool event to celebrate student authors.

    Buddy up to create a book together.


    How are you using Storybird?

    TechSavvyLibrarian Jan


  3. Mind-Blowing Digital Literacy Integration Part 3

    April 9, 2018 by 2TechSavvyLibrarians

    Technology is best when it brings people together. – Matt Mullenberg


    Drum Roll Please…..And now, everyone can be an artist!  Thanks to Google Creative Lab and their Quick Draw experience, Autodraw is the answer to every stick figure artist’s dream!  After making a few scribbles, Autodraw predicts your intent and provides example choices using Artificial Intelligence.  No more embarrassing almost drawings, this is an absolute must!  Check out this video from Teachers.Tech:

    How can we use this amazing tool in the classroom?  Here are some of my ideas:

    *Create Coloring Books – Easily create a coloring book that you can reproduce for your class.  Because you control the content, you could put together a coloring book that would be unit-specific.

    *Create Vocabulary Flash Cards – Teacher or students use or create a word list and use Autodraw to produce the visuals.

    *Mood Barometer – Have students use Autodraw to create emoticons that show their current mood.  This may be used at preset times during the day, or as needed to communicate when verbal communication is hard for the student.

    *Sketchnoting – Use Autodraw to chronicle your reflections and/or ideas.

    *Games – Students secretly create an object drawing and after they are printed, a different drawing is attached with tape to their back.  Each student must mingle with their classmates to ask questions about the object on their back.  Purpose of the game is to problem-solve and discover the correct object drawing on their back without peeking.

    *Storyboarding – Students can use Autodraw to sequence their stories into small chunks to promote understanding at higher levels.

    *Advertisement/Flyer – Students can easily create an advertisement/flyer for a business they would like to run.  After they create the drawing, there are coloring options available in Autodraw.

    *Alphabet Tiles – Create each letter of the alphabet and a corresponding object with the same letter as signage in the classroom.  This would be especially good for the youngest grades and in Language Acquisition Classes.



    The possibilities are endless….How are you using Autodraw?

    TechSavvyLibrarian Jan

  4. Mind-Blowing Digital Literacy Integration Part 2

    April 8, 2018 by 2TechSavvyLibrarians

    Technology makes the world a new place. – Shoshana Zuboff


    Overdrive is the premier provider of digital ebook, audiobook and video content for over 30,000 libraries in more than 40 countries.  Public libraries and School Libraries are using Overdrive’s collection of over 2 million titles for learning, discovery and enjoyment.  If you have a public library card, check to see if your library has Overdrive for free access to current popular titles as well as standards.  Many school districts have Overdrive as well, offering the most up-to-date, available titles in an easy-to-use format. School Librarians are able to connect patrons with print, audio and digital information. Here are some digital literacy integrations that are easily accomplished with Overdrive:

    *Students can easily read anywhere allowing them to be more mobile and creative – Titles can be checked out, downloaded, or accessed in the Browser instantly (Overdrive Read/Overdrive Listen).

    *Book Clubs – Students can access free ebooks and audiobooks, then share their reflections on a selected title in an afterschool format or an online format such as Flipgrid (See previous post).

    *Classroom Learning – Teachers can assign a title to a student for reading.  A student can read the book and create notes, highlight important phrases, manipulate the text size and background, and even put the book on a sleep timer to end after a certain period of time.  The notes/reflection that a student creates can be easily saved to their Google Drive for submission to the teacher.  In addition, the student can speed up or slow down the audio book delivery as needed.  Finally, students can check word meanings by just clicking on the unknown word (

    *Number of Minutes Read – Overdrive keeps track of how many minutes a title was read and/or accessed.  There is also a feature for estimating how long the book will take to read at the rate the student is currently reading.  This can be very helpful to a teacher in some situations.

    *Libby – This is the upscale downloadable app for Overdrive.  It is much more sleek and user-friendly than the original Overdrive app.  Continual improvement is a standard at Overdrive; a new app called Soria will be replacing Libby sometime this summer.  Check out Overdrive – You won’t be disappointed!


    How are you using Overdrive?

    TechSavvyLibrarian Jan



  5. Mind-Blowing Digital Literacy Integration Part 1

    April 7, 2018 by 2TechSavvyLibrarians

    Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories. – Laurie Anderson

    Whether you are a teacher or student, becoming digitally literate is a valuable life skill and a necessity in our global economy.  We must all continue to want to learn, being open to new ideas and possibilities in order to be successful in a digital society.  Like many other states, my state of Texas now has a Teacher Evaluation System called T-TESS which is a technology integration rubric.  Texas Teachers are expected to facilitate student-driven learning with technology at the highest levels.  Therefore, I will be sharing several blog posts about how various digital literacy integrations can be fabulous teaching tools and time-savers as well.


    You may have already heard of Flipgrid or are the Flipgrid Guru by now.  Flipgrid is a fabulous tool to access student voice in a very easy, user friendly way.  And, Flipgrid is free if you use it in the manner they suggest.  So, what can you do with Flipgrid?  As a teacher, you can create a Flipgrid that is basically a grid with your proposed question or activity.  Your students can then easily upload a short video of their response that will populate grid-style.  You can use Flipgrid to:

    *Create Book Talks – Have students talk up a great book and encourage others to read it as well.

    *Show Your Genius – Have students share a short tutorial on something they enjoy and have mastered.

    *Living Library – Have students tell their story so that others can check out (view) as a Library Book.  Teacher can assign X number of checkouts.

    *Virtual Poetry Slam – Students read their favorite poem and/or read an original poem.  Class selects favorites via secret ballot or Google Form.

    *Who Am I? – After researching a character, student uses costumes, props and any type of support to present their learning – other students try to discover who is being portrayed  (You could also do What Am I? or Where Am I?).

    *Do Class Introductions – This is great for getting to know everyone at the first of the year, or beginning of a course.

    *Reflections/Exit Tickets – Recap the learning and/or allow students to own their learning.

    Use the Topic Discovery Library to access fabulous ideas already created!

    Feel free to share even more great ideas!  How are you using Flipgrid?

    TechSavvyLibrarian Jan

  6. My #oneword2016 is Opportunity

    January 1, 2016 by 2TechSavvyLibrarians

    Opportunity-is-missed-by-most Edison


    If you are on #Twitter, you have heard about #oneword2016, the one word that you choose to be your focus for the year.  This is my first time to participate & blog about this, so the word I choose really makes sense, and that is OPPORTUNITY.  I am taking the opportunity to share a little of my journey.  As a District Library Media Specialist, I am very busy with being the Librarian of Record for 10 Campuses.  Many times, I get to feeling with so many ideas and so many to reach, that my job is impossible. That is outdated thinking.  We all have programs, projects & snippets of ideas in constant flux.  Instead of worrying about how everything will get done, I want to look at my year as a year of opportunity by seeing the glass half-full.  I will say yes to exciting ideas and figure out how to get it done later, if necessary.  Believing that I do have something to offer (an idea that I have had to work on for awhile) puts me in a better position to see the opportunities that are available outside my own head.  If you haven’t figured out that you have something to share that others would want to know about, then get busy, you do!  Tweeting and blogging will definitely have a life-changing effect on you first, then so many others.  As you share, you begin to make new connections, friends and the opportunities start piling in.  The #Twitter Educational Community is #beyondFabulous for support.  There are chats of all types 24/7 that you can lurk to get your feet wet, then participate.  Here are a few:  #txlchat, #tlchat, #txeduchat, #txed, #kylchat and many more! I am embracing the Opportunity mindset because it promotes positive expectations, hopes & goals.  For me, setting the bar high is necessary for any progress to occur. I want to Enjoy the Journey this year and I hope You Will Too!

    TechSavvyLibrarian Jan



  7. Hour of Code #Rocks at Crowley ISD

    December 16, 2015 by 2TechSavvyLibrarians

    HOC 9HOC 3HOC 4






    Hour Of Code #Rocked at Crowley ISD!  Our Elementary, Intermediate and Middle School Campuses had a blast coding with tutorials.  We were also excited to have the CISD Computer Science Club under the direction of Lynne Ryan (CISD Computer Science Instructor) @MsGLRyan teach the Elementary Students how to program Finch Robots.  These students visited 5 Elementary campuses during the week of Hour of Code and did a fabulous job!  One teacher was so excited to hear about the tutorials (Minecraft) that she immediately put a student on the site, thinking that this might be a pathway for success.  And, she was right!  The Hour of Code was also supported by Michelle Bothel (Elementary Instructional Technologist) @bothel_michelle and Carol Hafer (District Secondary Library Media Specialist) @hafer_carol.  We look forward to an even better hour of Code next year!

    HOC 5HOC 7

    TechSavvyLibrarian Jan

  8. Fabulous First Year!

    February 6, 2015 by 2TechSavvyLibrarians

    Many Thanks to Everyone who has helped to make our first blogging year a HUGE success!  We were honored and humbled to be nominated for an Edublog Award recently.  But to actually be an Edublog Finalist for Best New Blog was totally beyond belief!   Congratulations to all the Edublog Finalists as well.  Let me encourage you, if you are not currently blogging, to start.  As an awesome Teacher Librarian friend @NancyJoLambert says, “Tell Your Library Story.” Publicizing what you are doing can only help and encourage others to do the same.   Our Libraries have fabulous Media Specialists that are a big part of our success.  Here are some of us pictured below at our Holiday Gathering.  Thanks again everyone for the great support, honor and fun!

    media specialist holiday pic

    TechSavvyLibrarian Jan

  9. Thoughts about our YA eReading habits

    January 20, 2015 by 2TechSavvyLibrarians

    I took some time a few days ago to look at reports from our digital library for the last six months. It is interesting, but not surprising to see that most of the top 15 books that were checked out are now (or will soon be) movies.  I think that says a lot.  First, our students are aware that there is a book version – though many think the book came after the movie.  Second, the students want to read the book version. Some may read to find that the book has differences from the movie.  Some may read to find that the movie has differences from the book.  Either way, those students are using some higher level thinking skills as they compare and contrast the two.  Then third, it says that YA fiction is attractive to many – not just YA.  People of all ages are going to see the movies and many of them are aware that there is a book with the same title as the movie… and many of them are not aware that the book came first.  The whole thing is very intriguing. Please plan to read a few of these, even if you don’t see the movie (I rarely do).   Anyway here is the list:

    1.  The Fault in Our Stars – Green
    2.  The Maze Runner – Dashner
    3. The Giver – Lowry
    4. Divergent – Roth
    5. The Lightning Thief – Riordan
    6. Fallen – Kate
    7. Gone –  Grant
    8. Insurgent – Roth
    9. Lies – Grant
    10. Mockingjay – Collins
    11. Looking for Alaska – Green
    12. Ask the Passengers – King
    13. Prodigy –  Lu
    14. The Angel Experiment: Maximum Ride series – Patterson
    15. If I Stay – Forman
    16. The 5th Wave – Yancy  (I included this because the movie is in production.)


    TechSavvyLibrarian Carol

  10. Deer Creek Elem Library & Crowley Public Library Begin Exciting Pilot With Wandoo Reader!!

    November 24, 2014 by 2TechSavvyLibrarians

    wandoo cpl pic 5wandoo cp1 pic 1

    wandoo cpl pic 6

    At Deer Creek Elementary in Crowley ISD,  we are excited to be chosen by Wandoo Reader to pilot the program with Crowley Public Library!  We have always had a good relationship with the Public Library.  In 2013, we were able to partner with them when we were chosen to host the Overdrive Digital Bookmobile.  But now, we are taking our collaboration to the next level with Wandoo Reader.  We are very fortunate to be working with Lindsey Hill @theLindseyHill from Evanced Solutions in this historic effort.  As you can see from our Kickoff photos, everyone is having a blast! The event was held at the Crowley Public Library from 3-6 pm on a day which the Library was normally closed.  CPL Director Cristina Winner @seeawinner offered the Library in this way to target the Wandoo Reader Audience.   This worked very well.  As bright-eyed elementary students came into the library, they were greeted by a very cute robot & a several wonderful centers with the Robot theme.  All the students easily began reading books of their choice and acquiring parts to build their robot at the Wandoo Reader site.  They also were able to make robot vests, masks & finger puppets to remember their experience thanks to Glenda Jordan of the Crowley Public Library.  She is pictured offering a student a bag of “Nuts & Bolts”(i.e. pretzels and m&m’s) as a robot treat.  Finally, students were able to have a photo op with the cool robot.  Some of them even hugged the robot!  Parents were able to create their child an account in Wandoo Reader and sign up for a Crowley Public Library card, as well. This was a win-win event all around.  Thanks to Library Director, Cristina Winner, for being willing to try something new and different for the sake of the kids.   Also, I am especially appreciative of the Crowley Public Library Staff: Glenda, Teresa, Sandy, Carmela & Drew for all they ways they enfolded the students into the reading community.  Last but not least, I must commend Lindsey Hill & Evanced Solutions for Wandoo Reader.  This is an #awesome student interest-driven program with immediate rewards.  If you have not seen it, check it out here at   The Wandoo Reader event has brought a new level of collaboration, trust and united effort between Crowley ISD Libraries & the Crowley Public Library.  Be looking for more posts about our historic partnership journey in the weeks to come!

    TechSavvyLibrarian Jan


    wandoo cpl pic 2wandoo cpl pic 3



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