Saturday, June 22, 2019

The 2019 AASL Best Apps Are Here...Check Them Out, Friends!

Today, the ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC, the AASL Best Apps and Best Websites were announced.  This is always one of my favorite events of the year. 

The apps and websites that were announced as winners today were incredible.  Congrats to all of the winners and the people who create, support and show us how to use them.  
For the last several years, I have served on the AASL Best Websites and Apps Committees.  The last two years, I have been part of the amazing Best Apps Committee, along with our chair, Mary Morgan Ryan and other awesome friends listed above. 
As shared on this slide, Our charge is to develop an annual list of top apps that AASL will recognize as being the best of the best for teaching and learning. 
When making our selections we connected them to the AASL Shared Foundations which I find so helpful in not only evaluating the apps, but thinking of ways I will use them in my practice as a teacher and librarian.

Let's get right to the point! 
Here are the....

2019 AASL 20 Best Apps For Teaching and Learning, friends!
I also put together a few places you can go to and find all fo the AASL Best Apps curated together in one spot.  These are terrific to share in the fall with teachers and students as you share the apps and websites with them too.

There is the AASL 2019 Best Apps Collection by Destiny
AASL 2019 Best Apps Symbaloo and...
AASL 2019 Best Apps Wakelet Collection, which by the way...Wakelet was one of our winners this year!
You will also find the Google Slides presentation that we put together for todays celebration here.
The new 2019 Best Apps and Websites will join the ones of the AASL site here soon.  

Again, congrats to all of the winners!  Thank you for creating such special places for our students and teachers to explore, create, inquire, curate, collaborate and engage in learning and teaching.  You are all making a difference in libraries, education and within the lives of our kids. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

PLAYLISTS....A Total Game Changer On How Resources Are Shared In Collections By Destiny

Yesterday I had a collaboration meeting with my friends and colleagues, Megan and Quin, as we talked and brainstormed about the instructional technology plans for the upcoming school year.  We are excited to work on this throughout the summer and roll it out to our teachers during back-to-school time in August.

A big part of this plan is the way we will be curating and sharing the different instructional technology tools, apps, resources and project ideas.  We want to build a place that is easy for everyone to use and robust enough to bring everything together in one spot.
As we build this out, Collections by Follett Destiny will be a big part of this work.

Last year within Collections, I created a Collection Set of Resources For Van Meter of lots of different Collections that held resources including Comic Creators and Resources, Digital Storytelling Tools and Resources, Fonts and Lettering, and Creating Animated GIF's. 

When we go to present these to our staff, and even our students, Follett has added something recently that will make this super easy and awesome!

They are called....
Let me show you how to create a Playlist! 
In a Collection, you click on the brownish orange circle with the + sign in the right hand corner.  It is circled in the picture above too.
You then click on Playlist and...
 ...add a title for your Playlist. 
 It lets you drag....
 ...or select the items to add to the Playlist. 
 They fill in the Playlist as you move them.
 You can also edit and even.... on the three little dots to...
 ...make a Copy, Delete or Play.  This is the button you click on to actually Play the Collection.
So, with the Digital Storytelling Tools and Resources Collection Playlist, you will find every site, library book or eResource, database, OER resource, or other online resource that I find, on this site and ready to share within our community.
When I click on Play, it brings up the screen above and lets me click through all 8 of the resources that I have added to the Playlist. 
The Playlist is then stored in that specific Collection,
which I can access anytime and refer anyone to as well.  

As you can see, Playlists are a game changer for what we do as Future Ready Librarians as we curate resources, empower students as creators, lead from the library and so many other things.  

Give Playlists a try...I know you will see them as a game changer within your library, classrooms and school community too! 

Immersive Reader from Microsoft Comes To Buncee & Many Others Today! Check It Out, Friends!

I have been waiting for this awesome news that Buncee and Microsoft shared today.  It is one of the best announcements and integrations yet! 

Today, we’re thrilled to announce Immersive Reader will now be available as an Azure Cognitive Service, allowing third party apps and partners to add Immersive Reader right into their products, starting with the partners below. The Immersive Reader helps people of all abilities, including dyslexia, ADHD, emerging readers, non-native speakers, people with visual impairments. If there’s an app you love to use in your classroom and you would love to see an Immersive Reader icon show up there soon, let them know. We’ve made it easier than ever, you might even call it Literacy as a Service!

The Immersive Reader is part of Microsoft's suite of Learning Tools that brings accessibility to all readers through the following features....
  • Enhanced dictation: Improves authoring text
  • Focus mode: Sustains attention and improves reading speed
  • Immersive reading:  Improves comprehension and sustains attention
  • Font spacing and short lines:  Improve reading speed by addressing “visual crowding”
  • Parts of speech:  Supports instruction and improves writing quality
  • Syllabification:  Improves word recognition
  • Comprehension mode:  Improves comprehension by an average of 10% 
  • Translate Text: Choose from over 60+ languages 
This is their first wave of partners. Over the last few months, Immersive Reader was enabled in these programs to give students and teachers a chance to try this early integration.  

I was asked to give Immersive Reader a try with the integration with Buncee.  This is the feedback that I gave mentioned in the above Microsoft article

Shannon McClintock Miller,  K-12 district teacher librarian at Van Meter Community School in Van Meter, Iowa - "Wow!  I am so excited about finding the Immersive Reader from Microsoft in Buncee now. This will bring Buncee's to life for our readers and learners as they now can listen to the digital stories and projects they create and write.  This is truly a game changer for Buncee!"
And today, this integration with Buncee is LIVE for everyone to use and as I said, it is going to be a huge game changer for not only Buncee but all of the students and teachers that use it every single day. 

In this new post, from the Buncee blog, they shared,

We’re so excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Microsoft Education in a special private release to bring Immersive Reader to your classroom! With this new integration, we’re taking another stance for the inclusive classroom. Together, we want to ensure that we empower learners of all ages and abilities. For students learning a new language or struggling with text comprehension, this integration will not only teach students how to read and write but also nurture a love for it. Here’s what you can expect with this new feature in Buncee:
  • Increase fluency for English language learners or readers of other languages
  • Help build confidence for emerging readers learning to read at higher levels
  • Offer text decoding solutions for students with learning differences such as dyslexia
Watch this video to see how Immersive Reader works within Buncee and... can also check out this How To article at the Buncee Help Center here

I couldn't wait to give Immersive Reader a try again in a few of the Buncee's that we created last year with our students at Van Meter.  Let me show you a few things too! 
You will find the Immersive Reader icon at the top of your Buncee by the Clipping feature.  
It looks like this.  When you click on the icon, it takes you...
 ...into the Immersive Reader giving you three different options in the right hand corner.
 You will find Text Preferences, 
 Grammer Options and...
 ...Reading Preferences.  In addition to offering over +60 different languages,
 it also offers the Picture Dictionary. When this is turned on,
students can click on the words in the sentences to find pictures of many of the words. 
At the bottom of the page, they will find Voice Settings button which includes Voice Speed and Voice Selection to be changed, along with the Play button. 

I can't wait to start using this with our students in the fall.  For now, a few of the ideas I have are: 

Using it as a way for students to listen and speak to Spanish.  All of our elementary students have Spanish every day, so this is a great way for them to practice and become more fluent.  

Create ebooks for others to listen to.  This will be a great project to do across grade levels as our school serves kindergarten through 12th grade. 

Serve as a tool to support all readers, especially those who are beginning and struggling readers. 

Create flashcards of sight words to help our youngest readers learn these important words. 

The possibilities are truly endless with this integration and that within other platforms, such as Flipgrid and Follett too.  I can't wait to see what we do at Van Meter with Immersive Reader and we can't wait to learn and follow all of your ideas too!