Teaching is an intensive process. Between planning lessons, preparing assignments, and grading, there is no shortage of hours spent behind the scenes for an hour of class time. Thankfully there are some tech solutions that might help enhance all that effort and bolster your lessons.
Nearpod is a slideshow application that allows the audience to follow along with you and interact with your presentation. You can embed questions they can answer or links for them to follow. It facilitates instructive lessons where a bit of hands-on practice is best.
When following a conference on Twitter last week, one attendee tweeted about Unpaywall. It was the first time they had heard of it, which surprised me at first. I was equally surprised that the Open Access Button had not been mentioned at the same time. I realize now that I have had the benefit of attending OpenCon and following many people active in Open for a while now. Below I will list some of the open tools and resources, which hopefully, someone will find useful. Continue reading “Open Access Tools & Resources”→
The tools I’m going to share with you in this post are some of my favorite to tinker with and explore. I’ll call this the “fun segment” of this three part series. We don’t really have a budget for marketing at my library (and I’m guessing a lot of you probably don’t either), but that doesn’t mean we can’t have great looking materials to distribute on our website and in print. Anything you present to your patrons will be a reflection of your library and will contribute to the overall user experience. Remember UX from last time? Everything from your website, to your signage, to your program flyers are part of telling your story. And let’s face it, you don’t want your story to be clipart and Microsoft Paint, so let’s jump right in.
Canva is probably the best thing I’ve ever stumbled upon. I use it A LOT, both for work and for personal use. It’s another tool that I have a hard time believing it’s free. I’m not a graphic designer. Design elements don’t exactly come intuitively to me, which means Canva is the perfect tool for me to make great looking graphics for our website and marketing materials.
When I was in the Army, there was a surprising amount of focus on the presentation of the intelligence we gathered. In the beginning, I was frustrated. I was young and could not imagine why it mattered so much that our presentation to the higher-ups had to be as clear and simplified as possible. It seemed like a waste of valuable time. I remained skeptical until I started comparing our work to that of some of the other units. It became blatantly obvious how well-manicured presentation of information can help inform the reader quickly and effectively. Since then, I fell in love with the process of synthesizing information into presentable formats.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I had a baby in October and as expected, I’m on a different, much busier schedule these days! The day before my little one was born, I presented at my state library association’s conference for the first time. It was a fun experience, and I hope I get to do it again (though maybe in a bit more comfortable circumstances). The theme of our conference was “Tell Your Story.” I chose to talk about some of my favorite online tools to make telling your story easy and effective. Some have been mentioned on the blog before. However, I thought it might be nice to share my thoughts and some of my favorite online tools that I find myself coming back to over and over, as well as a few that are just neat and worth mentioning.
The tools mentioned here are some you can use in your own libraries to help market the library and its services to your patrons, regardless of library type. All of the tools and websites listed have free options, though some may have additional perks if you want to purchase packages. I will say, I have not purchased a single upgrade, and they have all met the needs of my university library well. I am not an expert at using any of these, but I’d love to hear some feedback from readers on how any of you are currently using or plan to use these tools.
I’ve broken the tools down into three broad categories: usability and user experience, very basic graphic design, and things to make your patrons’ lives and your jobs easier. Some tools will work for multiple categories. I’m going to cover these tools in three posts to break it up a bit, so for now let’s jump into user experience and usability. Continue reading “Dee’s Favorites (Part 1 of 3): UX & Usability”→
Tech-life balance is not a new catchphrase, and it is at times used as an extension of work-life balance. However, it differs in that finding a balance between the tech in our lives and living our lives extends beyond work. This idea comes to mind lately because of two books I’m reading: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timingand Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World(book review links not sponsored ones). The former helps you consider the best times to do certain sorts of tasks while the latter discusses the importance of distraction-free work time.
I am definitely a lark with a tendency to–SQUIRREL! Needlesstosay, I’m working to optimize my work patterns and make more progress on projects in my off-time. So what this amounts to is restructuring my life to regulate the times spent on what Cal Newport (Deep Work) calls shallow work out of my peak work time, which for me is about four hours from 9-1. It is not easy. Continue reading “Tech-Life Balance”→