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06

Nov
2014

In Redux

By Elizabeth Wroten

Notes From the Makerspace: Resources

On 06, Nov 2014 | In Redux | By Elizabeth Wroten

Below are a few resources you might find helpful in creating and maintaining a makerspace. I think I’ll add to this as I go along because I imagine I will come across more and more sites, ideas, and articles that will be worthwhile.

Start-up Resources

Makerspace Playbook: This is an awesome publication from Make Magazine’s makerspace arm. It will give you lists of supplies to consider, space considerations, set up considerations, etc. I read this when we were first doing planning and found it invaluable even if our makerspace ins’t run or structured exactly like the one they create in the playbook. Okay, so here’s where this gets hairy. Here is the link to request a free copy of the Playbook. When we were getting started a year ago I just printed it out from somewhere and here is a link to the pdf to print or save. I don’t know why I can’t find where to simply download a copy instead of requesting they send you one. I did find a direct link to the pdf, though, but am not sure if this is totally kosher to post it. I will, but if anyone thinks it’s unethical let me know.

Also check out the Makerspace Education Initiative. They have great resources.

I also highly recommend the book Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners by Lori Pickert if you are creating a makerspace for younger students. The learning space this book helps you create is essentially a makerspace. She also has great advice about how to help kids bring their own interests to the learning space and how not to step on their ideas or thinking.

 

Pedagogy Resources

I cannot encourage you enough to look into the Reggio Emilia approach to education. They are essentially the maker movement for kids (although they started right after WWII in Italy, long before the hipsters). Some of the core principles of a Reggio education are: student-/interest-led projects and learning, a belief in the capability of kids, the One Hundred Languages (which are essentially any media or material kids use to make their learning visible), detailed documentation of what students are doing that makes their thinking visible, provocations or set-ups that are thoughtfully created to entice children to play with them and tie in with some aspect of what they are learning about, and the environment as the third teacher (so the importance of setting up the learning space). If you want books I suggest Project-Based Homeschooling because this is closest to creating a makerspace (as opposed to an ECE classroom). There are a lot of great blogs out there, but for a good mix of pedagogy and projects (so that you aren’t stuck with tons of ideas for preschool art projects) try The Curious Kindergarten, Miss Reggio, and TransformED.

The San Francisco based Tinkering School has a blog just for educators. They have a great series going about tool training that is well worth reading, but they are sharing all kinds of stuff.

Diy.org: diy.org is a makerspace resource that gives out digital badges for mastery of a huge variety of hobbies. I would say you could use this as a curriculum of sorts. There are certainly tons and tons of choices for topics and activities here.

Ideas & Inspiration

The Show Me Librarian Makerspace post: Amy Koester, the Show Me Librarian, is all about STEAM programming in her library. She has tons of fabulous ideas and she supports making. This particular post pulls together a treasure trove of makerspace resources.

Wonderopolis: an awesome site that features a “wonder-why” style question every day which it goes on to answer.

Make: The website for the magazine. Has a HUGE selection of projects with step-by-step guides. They also have a store for purchasing supplies. It can’t hurt to have a couple copies of the magazine out in the makerspace for inspiration either.

How To Smile: Here’s a fantastic website that was put together by children’s science museums around the country (including the Exploratorium). The site features tons of STEM projects and experiments. It’s organized around various topics such as chemistry, math, energy, etc. It also has badges and points you can earn if you are so inclined.

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03

Nov
2014

In Redux

By Elizabeth Wroten

#weneeddiversebooks: The Wedding Week

On 03, Nov 2014 | In Redux | By Elizabeth Wroten

I came across a Kickstarter campaign through one of my non-library blogs. I’ll just quote you their about page, because they do a better job explaining their mission than I will:

“In one Lagos bookshop in 2008, there were no children’s books with African children on them.

I couldn’t believe it. At the time I was working for Tamarind Books, a bastion of multicultural children’s book publishing in the UK. Unfortunately their books weren’t reaching a global audience. Neither were many other great, high-quality multicultural and multilingual children’s books published by the best trade publishers. So I decided to join the dots.

Kio exists to serve schools, governments, charities and families with educational resources that reflect cultures and languages globally. At Kio, we believe education should reflect and celebrate the global village we live in.

Many organisations working in Africa, Asia, South America and beyond don’t know that there are resources which reflect the children they serve. As a consequence, those children grow up seeing images of success, opportunity and education that exclude them. By shopping with Kio, you are enabling us to change this.”

Here is the blog post I found them through: What If We Publish Children’s Books African Kids Could Relate To. This just hit home the point for me that we all need diverse books and that, sadly, the story of the whitewashing of US publishing is a story you can find all around the world.

Their Kickstarter campaign can be found here: The Wedding Week. It looks to publish a book called The Wedding Week which, led by gecko, takes you through a week of weddings all over the world. They chose weddings because they are a great entree into food, clothes, and culture. The collage/cut paper illustrations look beautiful. I gave 30 pounds, which is about $50. Please give if you can. They have about a week left and need about 2,000 pounds more. The money goes to paying the author and illustrator and to printing and distributing the book to African kids.

Update: 11/3/2014, 10:15 They just passed their initial funding goal!! Any additional money they raise now will go toward making the book into an interactive ebook with audio (read in the languages it is published in), extra content, and animation.

 

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25

Sep
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Late September

On 25, Sep 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

Since I have been plowing through all these novels lately I haven’t made much of an effort to read anything online. Now that I’m reading a bit less, though, I have come across a few articles I thought I would share here (both for others and to help me remember to refer back to them!).

First up is a blog post from Meredith Farkas about how important it is to understand where errors are coming from. I could not agree more with this and think it’s applicable to all levels of education and across all subjects. When I first started out after college I began tutoring and I had one student that was really struggling with math. She was trying to do pre-algebra and it just wasn’t clicking for her. She was bright and I was baffled. It took me awhile but I finally realized, based on some mistakes she made, that she didn’t have any basic math skills (like fourth and fifth grade math) or any understanding of how numbers worked. As soon as I discovered that, we went back and covered the basics. I even stopped working on her pre-algebra with her to get her up to speed, except to limp through her homework. After a few weeks and before we had even finished her crash course in basics she was already better understanding the harder mathematical concepts. That was a turning point for me. I realized how important it was not to just see that students make errors, but what those errors can tell you about gaps in their learning and understanding.

Last Friday I was listening to Science Friday and they had on some guests talking about science fairs. Personally I wish we did a lot more with science in our schools, but for those self-motivated enough these science fairs sounded amazing. One comment that was made that really stuck with me, though, was that working on science projects is a good way for kids to learn about failure. I think our current system of testing kids like crazy really doesn’t value failure and what it can teach us. It makes kids see failure as something to be afraid of and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Apparently David Truss also had failure on the brain, because I came across this post from his blog two days later. It’s short but has some great thoughts.

And I guess I’ll get on the Banned Books band wagon. I came across this post from Teen Librarian Toolbox about changing the discussion of banned books. It reminded me of one of my classes in library school. I can’t remember which one, but the professor gave us some tips for dealing with upset patrons that might object to a material in the library. The very first thing she told us to ask (after apologizing that they were offended) was, what was it you were looking for when you found this and can I help you locate what you were looking for? That always sounded to me like changing the subject to avoid conflict, but in light of this post from TLT I realized it can be more about redirecting the conversation and not validating their complaint. Not sure how I would actually handle this situation IRL, espeically if a patron was irate, but it’s definitely something to chew on.

Okay that’s it for the time being. I may have more in the next few weeks, but in the mean time enjoy the reviews. I have ton of them to write still!

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24

May
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Tweets Round Up

On 24, May 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

There wasn’t much this week:

Thank you Rita Meade for putting it so well.

Last week I participated in readers advisory chat on Twitter lead by Sophie and Kelly. It was a lot of fun and I got a few great ideas from some of the other participants.

 

Check out the awesome Pinterest board for movies to books! A really great use of a library’s Pinterest account.

 

I am so relieved to hear that Moonbird is still out there. I really loved this book that I read for The Hub Challenge.

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17

May
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Twitter

On 17, May 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

I’ve decided to do something a little different with these posts for the future. Now that I’m feeling more on top of following blogs and librarians on Twitter, I want to start actually tweeting more. To that end I am going to start actually tweeting the links I would normally include here. Then every Friday, I’ll aggregate them here for anyone who missed them or isn’t on Twitter. I can also add a little more detail to my thoughts on the articles.

Since most of the links I find to share are in blogs I follow, I tend to come across them on Thursdays when I read my blogs. I found a service that allows me to set up tweets in advance (Twuffer, a Twitter buffer) so that I don’t inundate my tweeps. Without further ado:

I agree so much with the idea here that customer service in libraries needs to be top notch and of a type that is more than pointing to the bathroom. I know added value is an irritating buzzword, but I think it’s still a relevant and necessary concept.


I have mixed feelings about this piece. I agree in so many ways, but I also think that undergrads (and other patrons like the general public and younger students) do not always approach librarians. It’s true that the results they get from new fangled, improved search interfaces may not be the best, but are they better than what they got before? I don’t really know the answer to that. I think the issue lies more with marketing reference services and getting students to the reference desk (virtual, real or otherwise). However, I hadn’t really thought of those types of tools in regard to writing librarians out of reference. I think this underscores the importance of digital/information literacy skills.

I didn’t work with these types of teens, but as a new parent I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to be a single, teen parent. The sentiment is really sweet and I think the ideas are really awesome.


I think a lot of people believe technology is some sort of silver bullet. That you can just take a new technology and use it the same way in every situation. But that just isn’t true. As with any program or tool you need to know your culture in order to know if it’s right and how it should be implemented. I’m going to address this topic in more depth next week.

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08

Feb
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Miscellany

On 08, Feb 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

Just a few links this week to share.

This one from Stephen’s Lighthouse is a pyramid of learning showing how much students retain of a lesson depending on how you present it. I think this is informative and bears remembering when you are doing lesson planning. I think the point is not to discourage you from ever lecturing or stopping required reading so much as encouragement to be sure you are using a broad range of teaching methods.

While I am not a writer and never will be, I found this response to Philip Roth telling an aspiring writer not to bother very inspiring and humorous. I think the underlying message is good no matter what you do: you have to try and if it’s between giving up and doing something you are passionate about then go for the passion.

I came across this article in the class I’m taking through ALSC on information literacy. I thought it was very interesting that they used anthropologists to help create and execute the study. Their findings that students aren’t nearly as research savvy as we like to think is also very interesting. I can’t say I’m surprised having seen what skills high schools students in an elite prep school come away with (or don’t). The findings also remind me that kids always seem to be a lot more tech savvy than they really are.

 

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01

Feb
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Blog Post Edition

On 01, Feb 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

I guess this week I was really drawn to some blog posts I read. Here’s a list of a few that I found particularly relevant and interesting:

From the Censored Genius on what Apple can teach libraries. Think customer service. It’s very tongue in cheek, but under it all there’s a good point that libraries are ultimately in customer service and should act like it.

Funny video about QR Codes. Because they suck and need to go away.

Excellent advice about creating good displays. Enough with the tschotskes. Found this one through Twitter.

I agree with Andy Woodworth about why blog. I also think that one of things he says, about wanting to say bold things even if others don’t agree, fits in with my desire to call people out on their shenanigans this year. I’m tired of putting up with not calling spades spades and I appreciate that Andy does that on his blog.

Just as a little added piece here at the end I found this through Sue Polanka (I think) about EasyBib adding a new learning module of sorts. It could be interesting/useful. I would like to come back to it and look at it more in depth, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Research Ready.

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25

Jan
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Mixed Bag

On 25, Jan 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

I’ve been collecting up links over the last two weeks, since last week I decided to go with a job hunting theme. Hope there’s something here for everyone.

Here’s a neat tool for augmenting videos. Popcorn from Mozilla allows you to add links, pop-up comments, Twitter feeds, definitions, etc. I could definitely see applicability with the flipped classroom and with library instruction that isn’t boring. On the other hand, if you have too much going on it gets to be distracting and detracts from actually watching the video. Less is more. Less is more.

From Walking Paper, a piece about getting out of the library to evaluate user experience. I think this is a great idea, not only because we can end up so engrossed in our own libraries and library land, but also because it makes us look at good experiences and see how they can apply to our situations. I should add that I love this blog. He always has great ideas about user experience, something I am particularly interested in and find important.

Corin the Librarian has a podcast called Library Chat. It is available through iTunes. It sounds very interesting and he kicks it off with Jenica Rogers. He is also going to interview Rivkah Sass of my hometown library, Sacramento Public Library.

I recently joined CUE (Computer Using Educators). They’re a great source for professional development including online webinars. The nice thing for me is that they hold a conference just over in American Canyon (near Napa). I like it when there is professional development that doesn’t involve major travel.

Here is a very interesting response to the second portion of Forbes’s articles on libraries and ebooks. This has less to do with ebooks and more to do with taking issue with what the author, David Vinjamuri, told librarians they should be doing. The really interesting thing here is that Vinjamuir actually commented and Kristi Chadwik then responded.

I really enjoyed this piece about school libraries becoming learning commons. I do think libraries need to think about making collaborative spaces more prominent. I also think it’s important to know your community’s culture before making  a leap like this. I also don’t think books need to go, but we offer a lot of other services besides books. And when it comes to book I prefer the “just in time” model to the “just in case” one. I may use this as a jumping off point for another post.

Here is a really interesting piece from the New York Times about “conditional stupidity”, or feeling smarter or dumber based on social situations and factors. I got the link from a tweet by The Unquiet Librarian (Buffy Hamilton) who made a good point asking if there are implications of this in education. I certainly think there are.

I wish I read faster. I think a lot of librarians wish they do. :) Here is a technique from Bill Cosby of all people to help with that. From Brain Pickings this week.

From The New York Review of Books, what will the Library of Congress do with all those tweets they are archiving? A good question.

And finally, for anyone who was a fan of Arrested Development (if you aren’t you need to be). It’s apparently The Brothers Karamazov updated and set in LA. I always knew there was something to that show. :)

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18

Jan
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Job Hunting Edition

On 18, Jan 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

It is no secret that I am currently home with my daughter because it was cheaper for me to quit my job than pay for good child care. That being said, though, I don’t think I’ll be home forever. There are days I am very glad to be home and then there are times I miss being in the library and miss teaching.

In the meantime I am blogging, updating my resume, doing some personal branding, attending conferences and professional development courses, and trying to find the time to become more involved in professional associations. All this in an attempt to keep in touch with Libraryland (for my own personal gratification as well as for professional reasons).

It was nice this week to watch the lastes installment of AL Live which was all about landing your ideal library job. Ultimately it was a lot of practical advice for landing any job (ideal or otherwise). I highly recommend watching it if you missed it. I’ll post a link below. I also have come across two articles about interview questions, both of which are helpful. And an article about cover letters.

I have to thank one of my LIS professors (although I am sorry I don’t remember which one!) here. She had us write practice cover letters and resumes in our final semester of library school and then everyone in class critiqued everyone else’s. It was imensly helpful even if my letters and resumes have improved, the exercise got me thinking about it.

AL Live: How to Land Your Ideal Library Job

How to Answer the Top 10 Interview Questions

Questions to Ask Your Interviewers

The Torment of Terrible Cover Letters

And finally, a piece from Bohyun Kim, one of the AL Live presenters. It’s just a bit of optimism about misconceptions of the library job  hunt.

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11

Jan
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Happy New Year

On 11, Jan 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

Here are a few links to interesting articles and the like that I have come across over the past week and a half.

Social Media Plan: Found this one through Twitter. I really agree that there is a time and place for a plan and that time and place is usually when you need something big picture, not minutiae like using social media. That doesn’t, as Troy Swanson says, preclude having policies that set tone, etc. but overthinking really does kill spontaneity.

Learning Theories for the time-strapped librarian: You’ve probably figured out that I really like Stephen’s Lighthouse. He’s always got something that resonates with me each week. I totally agree with him that it is important for librarians, especially those working with students on an academic level, to understand how people learn and learning theories. This helpful little infographic does a decent job of distilling some of it down. I can’t say how complete it is, but it can’t hurt to review it.

Shallow Research: From the SLJ monthly (?) newsletter. I seem to like the topics and opinions of the Guybrarian and his Gal. I agree students can do a lot of shallow research. We need to work on improving that, but also remember not to be rabid about promoting over-researching (and overthinking!) topics. Sometimes you just need a quick tip on how to remove a stain. (I’ve got a 16 month old, stains are my life right now.)

I’m not sure, at this point, where I’ll end up when I go back to work but I’m hoping its to a school library or at least to children’s/youth services. To that end I’m trying to keep up with school related news, including the new Common Core Standards that everyone is talking about. I came across this archive of a webcast from SLJ that discusses how they relate to libraries. I’m hoping to make some time to watch this.

Finally, this is so true and also extremely funny. Calling librarians the original search engine is like calling astronomers the original telescope. Too funny!

Enjoy the links. Hope you find something interesting.

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