Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Moving Toward a Tech-Rich Library

We have been working to create a tech-rich library at our K-5 school. During the first year as a librarian, we wrote a district grant to put laptops in the library.  Access to these all day has made a huge difference for our kids.  Last year, we received cameras, flip video cameras, and ipods. We also have a projector, a document camera and gigantic speakers. We have set the stage to use all these well and students are beginning to see so many possibilities. With the big things in place, I think it is the little things that will support students in using the tools for creativity, collaboration and communication.

One of the things we are doing this year is moving the SMART BOARD to the other side of the room. I believe STRONGLY that Smartboards should almost never be in the center of a room.  The message a Smartboard gives in the center is that it is a place for one person to talk and teach and for others to listen. l  Instead, I want the Smartboard to be a tool for collaboration-one that can be used no matter what else is going on in the room.  I saw amazing things last year when students used the Smartboard to create music on Garageband, edit in iMovie, to tell stories with original illustrations, etc.  I think the Smartboard really invites a collaboration that is pretty amazing--kids talking and creating together in a way that isn't quite possible with the other tools. So, the Smartboard is being moved to a space where it can be used with a whole class, a small group, or an individual child.   Our Smartboard Team should get to work right away in September thinking through more possibilities for our students.

We also have some great Flip Video Tripods that were not very accessible to kids last year. This year, they will be in the project area for kids to use as needed (and they come in lots of fun colors!).  They are a great tool and at a great price!

I purchased two new things that I am VERY excited about. I purchased a pair of iHome Speakers and plan to purchase one more set for the library.  Although we have a huge set of speakers in the library, these iHome speakers are much more portable and seem easier for elementary students to use. They are perfect for a classroom size presentation. Even when a few kids are sharing something they've created on a laptop, it is often difficult for even a small group to hear the audio.  I hope these speakers will invite more sharing between students--both formal and informal.

I learned about the Belkin RockStar 5-Way Headphone splitter from @KathyCassidy following her presentation at BLC10.  I have been looking for a way to better utilize the iPods for young children and to have more opportunities for audio books, songs, etc.  for our students. These headphone splitters will allow for that as well as more sharing of student-created projects. 5 sets of headphones can be connected! For the price (less than $10 each), these are my most exciting purchase of the summer!


  1. Thanks for the iHome speakers tip!! I just went into school today to find a new Mac desktop in my classroom. I'm most excited because it is nearly as big as the television so if I get it put in the right place I think large groups of kids will be able to view it. If I add speakers I think it will allow me to do some things I have been unable to do without easy access to a projector. Speakers will be the perfect touch!

  2. I love all of these things and think I stumbled on your blog post at just the right time because I am working on a grant for some new tech pieces to assist in literacy development. I really want to get some iPads. We'll see.

    :-) Susan


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