Saturday, April 12, 2014

"Learning hAPPens in the Library" with Lori Heaton

IT Specialist Lori Heaton
TLA 2014, San Antonio
This past week at the Texas Library Association conference, I attended a session titled “Learning hAPPens in Libraries,” intended for school librarians but I think some of what I learned could be tweaked for a public library. The presenter, Lori Heaton, is a former school librarian currently working as an Instructional Technology Specialist in Arlington ISD.

DoodleBuddy/Doodle Monkey 
Lori showed how a whiteboard app like Doodle Buddy can be used to demonstrate knowledge of the parts of a book. In this picture, a student took a picture of a book's cover on the iPad and uploaded it into Doodle Buddy. The student then labeled the parts of the book - T for the title, A for the author, I for the illustrator, C for the cover, and S for the spine.
iTune lists Doodle Buddy for ages 4 and up. However, Lori recommends Doodle Monkey for preschool-aged children. Doodle Monkey is also listed as ages 4 and up on iTunes. I recommend playing with both and figuring out which one would be easier for your audience to navigate. 

Bluster! is a free educational app from McGraw-Hill that helps kids build vocabulary skills. Children can choose to play by themselves or against one or more challengers, as shown on the left. The free version of Bluster! has three categories to choose from - prefixes, rhyming words, and synonyms. I think rhyming words would be to use in a Mother Goose story time. If you are using Bluster! as part of a public library story time for pre-readers, I recommend using the single player mode and having the caregiver read the words out loud to the child. Let the child and caregiver play around with the app during story time and encourage them to explore it more at home. 

For school librarians, this would be fun to demonstrate to families during a literacy night. 

HaikuDeck is one of my favorite presentation tools on the iPad. Lori modeled using HaikuDeck to create visual representations of healthy recipes.  I can't remember whether Lori mentioned this in her presentation, but the slides from HaikuDeck could be uploaded into Doodle Buddy and/or Doodle Monkey. Children can then be recorded as they explain the recipe's ingredients and how to make it.

I love Lori's suggestion for Wordsalad, a word cloud app for the iPad and iPhone. She uses word clouds to work on inferencing skills with students. Can you guess the name of the book in this picture?

Yes, there is an unattractive looking watermark in the background. I think it's because Lori uses the free version of WordSalad, but the paid version for $2.99 should remove the watermark.

This app would be another great one to use during literacy night. Children and caregivers could create their own word clouds based on a book, then share with others.

Note: There are several word cloud apps for the iPad and iPhone. For little ones, I suggest the free word cloud app.

This is another interactive whiteboard app for the iPad, except this one allows two or more users to collaborate. Lori explained how she uses BaiBoard to show pictures of animals to a group of children, who had to think of a book with that animal in it. Adults create a passcode that allows others to join the collaborative session.

The creator of BaiBoard says it's for ages four and up, but it really depends on a child's familiarity and comfort with technology whether he or she can use independently.

Trading Cards
Trading Cards is a free app from for the iPad. This would be a fun way to get children to focus on character traits as they read. Public librarians could use this as part of story time by having children and caregivers create a card for either a child's favorite character following the read aloud. School-aged children could also use it to create trading cards for book characters, biographies of historical people, or important events in history.

Story Dice
Story Dice is a paid app from Thinkamingo for the iPhone and iPad. The app preview on iTunes has several tips on how to use it. Since I am in a school library, my first instinct is to use it as a creative writing tool for students if you are a school librarian or teacher. But it could also be used as a writing tool for public libraries that have writing clubs, or a story starter for a storytelling guild.

I left Lori's presentation with lots of ideas for my school library program. Thankfully she put together an edshelf of the apps she shared during the session. Some of the apps included in the edshelf have video demonstrations to help get you started.

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