Blog Archives


By now you’ve probably seen an infographic or two – they are popping up everywhere. Infographics are an interesting way to display statistics for the media center, whether to administrators or to teachers and students. I also think this has tremendous potential in the classroom as a meaningful way for students to represent information. However, they are not easy to create for those of us who are not graphic designers. That’s where Piktochartcomes in handy!

I’ve played around with and it’s easy enough to use that I’ve recommended it to one of my teachers that is willing to try new web tools with her students. After creating an account, Piktochart provides 5 templates to choose from. (Think making a brochure with Publisher.) Our plan is to have kids use piktochart to represent each time period in American Lit. Last year she said her students had trouble connecting one time period to the next, so we’ll be sure to include that as a requirement in the infographic (i.e. What were the people in this time period reacting to from the previous time period?)  We’ll print them and use them in the classroom as a refresher before tests.

I’ll try to remember to update this post after we complete the project. In the meantime, I wish everyone the best for a happy and productive school year!

~Holly Frilot, CHHS Media Center

Senior Presentation Tools

Over the past two years I have worked with the Senior Language Arts teacher to change the “Senior Memory Book Project” into a digital “Senior Portfolio.” Different teachers have varations of the requirements, but basically it includes selections from personal writings they have completed over the year, thoughtful answers to cumulative questions, and illustrations of some kind (pictures, videos, etc.).

Talking about presentations tools with students is one of my favorite things to do. We’ve been working with Prezi, Popplet, SlideRocket, and Mixbook. All of these tools offer something a little different, but they also allow a student to share a link with a teacher. This is important for us, since many teachers want to have something they can refer back to when grading without having to deal with knowing student log-ins and passwords. However, I do warn students to be careful with the personal information they post, as most of the “free” tools are public.

If you know of any other free, student-friendly presentation tools, please comment!

Holly Frilot

Being There: Attending the ALA Youth Media Awards

No, I didn’t don a full-length gown and gloves for what some call “The Oscars of Children’s Literature.” I hadn’t packed festive attire for the occasion since I was supposed to be home in Atlanta before the big announcements. But, thanks to the southern snow and ice, I was stranded in San Diego long enough to see the ALA Youth Media Awards a couple of weeks ago. It turned out to be a good thing that I wasn’t wearing a gown, since I ended up sitting on the floor of a crowded ballroom along with scores of other youth librarians and literature lovers.

You can check out the full list of winners here, and reactions to the awards by avid children’s literature aficionados are scattered across the web. For this post, I wanted to share the experience of attending the awards in person. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be very exciting. In past years, I have listened to the announcements online or watched the twitter stream, so I knew how the program would go. But from the moment I sat down on the ballroom floor and started listening to and tweeting the awards I realized that participating virtually, while wonderful, could not convey the electricity in the room.

It is amazing to be surrounded by people who are deeply committed to youth, libraries, and literacy. Clearly, many in the room had read lots of this year’s potential honorees. The whispers and murmurs (and sometimes squeals and screams) gave the event such an air of excitement. There were books that were clearly loved and celebrated by many, and honored books that many people had not heard of (yet). The winners were greeted with warm admiration.

Each award is selected through the work of a dedicated committee. Being at this event, where the committee is recognized after each award is announced, rekindled my interest in serving on one of these committees one day.  Have any of you ever served on an award committee? Do you hope to serve in the future? Which award would you choose? Two of my recent favorites are the Geisel Award (likely because my youngest child is learning to read so I read a LOT of beginning reader books) and the Schneider Family Book Awards. I reference these lists in my literacy courses often. I hope you’ll share your thoughts on the awards and the committees you’d love to work with in the comments.

As for the awards announcement, it was an energizing experience. I think we all left with good memories, not to mention longer reading lists. It will be wonderful to roll out the red carpet for the Youth Media Awards when ALA’s Midwinter Meeting is held in Atlanta in 2017. (Yes, it’s a ways off, but plenty of time to save up for that Oscar-worthy outfit!)

Beth Friese

Ph. D. Student

Department of Language and Literacy Education

University of Georgia

School Library Journal Resource and Spending Survey Needs Your Participation

LMC Resource and Spending Survey via kwout

All school libraries are encouraged to participate in the annual School Library Journal Library Media Center Resource and Spending Survey.  Not only will your participation help provide a fuller data set, but you will also have an opportunity to win an iPad!

Here are the survey instructions (click here to access the survey):

This survey is designed to provide information about resources and expenditures in your school library media center (LMC). For some questions we have asked you to provide figures. If you do not have exact figures, approximations may be substituted. All questions are to be answered only in terms of one school (the largest school you work in, if you work in more than one). All information should be from last year, the 2009-2010 school year. Private schools should note N/A wherever relevant. All individual responses are confidential. A complete report will be published in an upcoming issue of School Library Journal.

Please respond by December 23, 2010 and encourage your colleagues to participate.

Buffy Hamilton
GLMA Communications Coordinator


More on Web 2.0

In my summer school class this year my students worked in learning teams, with one learning team for each of AASL’s Standards for the 21st Century Learner. Each team needed to create a matrix to show how their standard aligned with the ISTE NETS and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning MILE Guide.

Each team’s main responsibility was to create a resource guide that identified a wide range of Web 2.0 tools that can be used to help students learn these 21st century skills. Resources are provided in many different formats, from articles to blog posts to videos. Each learning team was challenged to use the assignment to extend their own use of different Web 2.0 tools so you’ll see lots of different tools in action.

Our program at Georgia Southern is 100% online so the learning teams had to find ways to use technology to work collaboratively. As long as I’ve been a school library educator (which is a pretty long time) I’ve heard the same issue about collaboration with teachers–nobody has time to meet. Today we have some easy-to-use tools right at our fingertips that can make collaboration easy and fun. But as media specialists, we have to do our homework and make sure that we know how to use the tools ourselves. In my July blog post I shared that we were going to experiment with using Twitter to discuss an article collaboratively. It might have been just bad luck that this coincided with the World Cup, which seems to have been a big twitter event, but this didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped. That doesn’t mean I won’t try it again but I know some more work/research is needed on my end.

In his book Better, Atul Gawande talks about how we should never settle for good enough and makes the point that in medicine we could make huge differences in people’s lives using technology we already have on hand. Larry Arvan takes that book and applies the same experience, experiment, reflection, experiment cycle to education.  That’s a powerful idea from a book that might change the way you think about lots of things!

We all hope you find this work useful!

Judi Repman

Georgia Southern University