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Staying Current

Among the AASL’s best websites for teaching and learning of 2017, I found some sites that I can’t wait to explore and try out in the classroom and the library. Best of all, they are all free!

ClassHook: ClassHook uses current popular media clips that are already edited for classroom use. Using clips from current films and television shows can help increase media literacy and analysis skills in students, and help them to relate concepts from classes to aspects of their lives. It’s helpful for teachers and librarians to have pre-cut and screened videos so they don’t have to search for clips from a particular scene or episode.

Spreaker: Spreaker is a website that allows teachers and students to record and create their own podcasts. This tool would be great to advertise to students both in the classroom and in a library makerspace, to encourage students to utilize technology in projects and explore their own creative interests. The library could also host an after school student run radio broadcast, as Spreaker allows users to record live broadcasts online as well!

OER Commons: I was so happy to see the OER (Open Educational Resources) Commons on this list, because I wasn’t able to attend the session on it at Summer Institute, and I felt like I missed out! OER is a digital library of resources for schools and teachers, where educators can package and post lesson and curriculum plans online for others to access and use, for free! While I love supporting other teachers on sites like TeachersPayTeachers, I think that having a resource like OER will open collaboration across the world for educators- and it means that as both teacher librarians and classroom teachers, we aren’t constantly reinventing the wheel.

Blog- The Daring Librarian: I chose to follow Gwyneth Jones at The Daring Librarian. She caught my attention last week, when Twitter suggested that I follow her (I assume because I followed a bunch of other librarians during Summer Institute, not because someone at Twitter has gained the ability to predict the future…). Her blog is both on the cutting edge of technology and full of really interesting and insightful suggestions. The first post that caught my eye was on adding a Chrome extension for Bitmoji. While this might seem a little silly on the surface level, I think it’s a great way for teachers and librarians to be able to connect with students- and it has the potential to be educational as well! Imagine students being able to summarize a story or reenact a scene with pictures from Bitmoji. Integrating tech that students are familiar with already, instead of expecting them to seamlessly pick up every single new tech tool we come across, is really important. Jones does such a great job of this, and offers teachers and librarians so many ways to connect and get more plugged in alongside our 21st century learners!

I would absolutely recommend checking out all of these tools, plus some! The AASL’s Best Websites of 2017 is full of fantastic options- and if you can’t find one that makes your life easier, maybe that’s just a call for you to make your own!

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