Module 7 Task – Video Tutorial with Screencast-O-Matic

Well, this has been an interesting experience. I’m a little late getting to this module due to some health issues, and when I finally did I discovered that my old Logitech Mic/Headphones won’t work with my new Windows 10 computer. I had to quickly get a new set through Amazon. (I love free next-day delivery!)

I’ve done screen-casting in the past and find it a valuable teaching method for showing students and teachers how to use various types of software, both desktop and online. I also used it quite a lot to produce narrated videos of my animated PowerPoint presentations for Library Lessons. (Once MS upgraded Office with the ability to send a PPT directly to video, I didn’t have to do that anymore.) There is a distinct advantage to engaging students with a narrated, animated PPT video rather than a static presentation through something like SlideShare. Although I’m retired I plan to produce some online lessons and will again be using screen-casting software of some kind for teaching both concepts and technology.

In the past I used Jing for screen-casting but don’t have it on my new computer yet, so thought I’d go ahead and give Screencast-O-Matic a try. Before I had a chance, I saw a post about using Screencastify with Google Chrome and decided to try that to just record the tabbed window I wanted to use. When I viewed the results it was excellent quality, but didn’t show the entire browser window—which I needed for my instructions—so had to go with Screencast-O-Matic after all. I used the quick online version, but I’m not terribly impressed with the visual quality. I may download the desktop version to see if it improves the visual quality; if not, I’ll go ahead and download Jing.

For the specific tech skill I chose to demonstrate, I decided that because a few folks in our course had had some trouble with WordPress, I’d show a couple quick ways to log in and access the utilities of the site. I hope it will help future classes. You can see it embedded below.

(I also finally finished the “Working with WordPress #2” PDF guide and uploaded it to the JumpStart files page. I hope it helps folks better understand the way Pages and Menus/Categories are set up for this course.)

Module Task 6 – Please take my online Survey about School Libraries!

Decisions, decisions; which tool to choose?

As a former science and social studies teacher I can appreciate the value of flashcards. I’ve always believed that the best flashcards are the ones students create because their creation reinforces the concepts on the cards. I do see the value in online flashcards because students with a smart phone could review while waiting for something, like mom to pick them up from school or an activity. As a school librarian, though, I can’t think of much use for flashcards.

I’ve used mindmaps for more than 20 years, both as a teacher and as a librarian, however, I’m not impressed with the online versions—they’re basically the same as an outline or organization chart, whereas a true mindmap is a reflection of a student’s understanding, containing random and unique images, text, and connections. (The latest catchphrase is “sketchnoting” but it’s the same thing as a mindmap). Consequently, the online mindmaps seem to me more useful for a teacher to prepare for students, rather than for students to generate as they are taking notes. As far as a digital mindmap tool for students, I’ve used “Inspiration” very successfully with students.

So, that leaves the survey tools. We Librarians LOVE surveys—we can get valuable feedback on a myriad of topics from students, teachers, other librarians, and the community, in order to be sure we are serving the needs of our patrons. I’ve had a Survey Monkey account for many years, but I was very impressed with all three of the tools we were presented, especially Typeform for student engagement. I chose, however, to use PollDaddy since it’s coordinated with WordPress, and will be a valuable addition for both my blogs.

I find the most difficult part of a survey is coming up with good questions. Knowing what you need and deriving questions that will get that the most accurate information which will display as data is the real challenge. In this case, I wanted something that would get a broad spectrum of responses from our class participants regarding their knowledge about school libraries, and I used some research studies as my guide for the questions.

Having created online surveys, it wasn’t at all hard to create my PollDaddy survey. I misunderstood the “3 different question types” so I had to quickly add the third ‘text’ response at the end. I’d have liked to include, instead, a matrix set of questions, but my brain is taxed enough lately!

I invite you to CLICK HERE to take my “DO YOU KNOW? School Library Survey.”
Below is a preview of the first 2 questions to entice you!


Module 5 Task – Social media

Obviously I’m on Facebook already and use it every day. (I had a Facebook page for my library, too.) You will NEVER see me on Instagram or SnapChat, not even for this Module. (I’m not photogenic—somehow a camera captures my worst features glaringly well.) However, I can see wonderful benefits of using Instagram and/or SnapChat for the library to promote reading and record student activities. (In fact, if I’d had a smartphone back then, I’d have taken a lot more library pics than I did!) So that means I chose Twitter for this Module’s task.

I’ve had a Twitter account for a couple years but never did anything with it. Honestly, I just didn’t “get it.” To explore it for this Module, I used Jennifer’s “Twitter for Teachers and Students” course in Blended Education that I’d purchased for my summer learning before I found out about this course. It sure was valuable for this module, and I now see the advantages of Twitter.

I’ve already benefited from using Twitter by discovering and following many education- and library-related Tweeters, including those whose blogs I already subscribe to—they tweet great ideas and websites not in their blogs. I really like the currency of Twitter, especially tweets when an educational conference is happening!

One of Jennifer’s comments in the Teacher’s Guide really stuck with me, about using social media “to make relevant curricular connections. Any time you can connect your content to social media concepts, you’re helping students learn it better.” (p184) Many of our students are more adept at typing on phones than on keyboards, so for over-age-13 students, Twitter would be a great way to have them respond to lessons and assignments, especially through a chat. I appreciated Jenn’s suggestion to use TweetChat which would make responses move more quickly. (I’ve tried to follow my Texas librarians Twitter chats in the past with little success and this tool will make it so much easier for me to be involved.)

I look forward to hearing what the rest of my JumpStart classmates have to say about using social media tools in the classroom, although as a middle school librarian I’d probably only be able to use them with 8th graders. (When I was still working, my school district had a wonderful email & social media service to use with under-age-13 students in grades K-7; just before I retired they’d adapted it to iPads, so I wonder if now they’ve added phone apps for their Twitter-like tools.)

Twitter is very seductive and I let it consume way too much of my time—like it’s taken 4 hours just to write these paragraphs because I kept switching over to Twitter to see what was happening and then got distracted reading the tweet recommendations!

The link to my Twitter page is and below are screenshots of what I practiced.

An original tweet from me.


Retweeting someone else’s content.


Replying to someone’s tweet.

The tweet window.

The view in my Tweets and Replies tab.

I decided to set up a new Twitter account just for educational uses and keep barupatx for personal use. My new Twitter page—which I’m just starting to develop—is

Module 4 Task – SlideShare embed

SlideShare is an online tool that allows you to upload slide presentations, infographics, documents, and videos to share so others can view your work. I’ve actually had a SlideShare account for quite awhile, but hadn’t uploaded anything because my slideshow presentations are full of animations, media, and narration which don’t work with the SlideShow tool.

I hate long slideshows! If a slideshow has more than about 20 slides, I won’t even look at it—and I sure won’t subject kids to it—so when I couldn’t find a decent SlideShare slideshow to embed, I decided to modify one of my own—one of the few that’s not animated—and upload it to my Slideshare account under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

Content Reading in Middle School Social Studies” slideshow highlights the Special Collections I created in my Library to support the Content Area Reading Initiative begun by our district’s Social Studies department a few years ago. The slideshow  introduces the program, shows images of stickers that identify books in the collections, and how students can record the books, and suggested supplemental magazines, they read. At each library visit I show the Learning Target slide, the Benefits slide, and then only the program slides pertaining to that particular grade level—3 more for 6g, 4 for 7g, and 5 for 8g—so each slideshow is less than 10 slides, giving students plenty of time to browse for and check out books.

I think SlideShow is OK for static slide or document presentations, and it does provide an online storage platform for videos, to which I could convert my animated slideshows; however, it doesn’t seem to me to have enough interactivity to make it a very engaging teaching tool. I can see how it would be a good beginning experience for students in online sharing of simple documents they create.

Module 4 Task – embed Vimeo video

Vimeo is an ad-free source of videos to view, share, or download, and a storage platform to upload your own videos. The account is free and accommodates a number of video formats (converted online at upload), but limits uploads to 500mb/wk and 25gb/yr, which seems like quite a bit unless you’re planning to use it to share/store a lot of student-created videos, each of which could be 25-50mb for a 2-5 minute video!

DPR_19 My School Library from Mackin Educational Resources on Vimeo.

“My School Library” is a 1-minute excerpt of a longer (30-min) interview with author Matt de la Pena and illustrator Christian Robinson about their picture book, Last Stop on Market Street, winner of the Newbery Medal, the Caldecott Honor, and the Corette Scott King Honor. Creator of this video is Mackin Educational Resources, a major vendor of school library materials, and this video is one of many on their Vimeo channel. They allow the viewer to download the video, as well as share and add it to their own collections.

I decided to go ahead and join Vimeo with a Basic membership to have a platform for my self-created school library instructional videos in addition to YouTube, so my videos are available to librarians whose schools block YouTube. I uploaded 2 previously created videos: “How to Choose a Book” (also used for my ThingLink task) and “Sight-Site-Cite” which I decided to embed here in addition to the one above. I like that Vimeo includes the citation information as part of the embed code.

Sight-Site-Cite from barupa on Vimeo.

One of the things I like about Vimeo is the high quality of the video, the fact that there is no advertising—making this a better vehicle for school use than YouTube—and the ability to create a collection of other people’s videos as valuable additions to the lessons I will share.

Module 4– ThingLink Interactive Infographic

ThingLink is an online app that allows you to upload an image and then add clickable icons in various locations on the image for text, image, audio, and video comments. The great part of this service is that, even though I’m retired, I could still get the educator’s account for a mere $35/year! The bonuses are worth it.

As I prepared for this post I thought, ‘Why use someone else’s ThingLink image when I can create one for myself?’ so that’s what I did. I uploaded a graphic map of my school library that I’d personally created (with Inspiration), then added icon links to give students text or photo info about that section. I even added a video link to help students learn how to choose a good book and also a SoundCloud link to an image with my voice about checking out their materials!

Creating the Our School Library” ThingLink Interactive Image was a great learning experience for me!

I can see multiple uses in the library for this type of tool. It’s a great way to promote books: take a picture of a group of books, add a clickable icon on each book to a podcast or book trailer about it, then upload the ThingLink image to the school library homepage. It would also be good for introducing an online library resource: upload a screenshot of the online service’s homepage, add clickable icons for various menu items with incorporated text excerpts, images, and links to pages related to the class assignment, do a quick show & tell for students, then add it to the lesson library in our student learning system so students could access it as a WebQuest during the class.