Let’s Empower Student Voice

Who can empower students’ voices? You can! Read the Entrsekt April 2016 article by Jennifer Snelling, “Empowering Student Voice: Students are now at the center of education transformation.” I truly believe this. As Glen Warren (Encinitas Union District Coordinator for Literacies, Outreach, and Libraries, VP of Government Relations for the California School Library Association, Chair of the Library Media Educator Network for CUE) says, “What matters to you (students) matters.”

At CUE in Palm Springs last month, I gave a talk as part of the CSLA Information Literacy Strand about students as social media content creators. (http://bit.ly/socialmediacontentcreators) The slide show is full of inspiring examples of students of all ages creating legitimate content on social media. We need to give students the opportunities to create content on social media, and we need to listen to students’ voices on social media and in real life.

Snelling credits ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) with doing a great job in listening to students.

Mentioned in the Snelling article:

#StuVoice on Twitter


TakingITGlobal (tigweb.org)

Future Friendly Schools

Angela Maiers and Choose2Matter

Thank you Jennifer Snelling and entrsekt, for giving us some examples and inspiration on this vital issue.


OUCRL Vanderbilt photo from Flickr.com https://flic.kr/p/dR7WCV



Students and Social Media Content Creation

10 Great Ways to Use Social Media in Classroom When you try to think of the favorite activity of today’s students, you’ll most probably come up with the obvious answer: social media. It seems like students of all ages are obsessed by it. These social media channels have mesmerizing power, so they can often become…

via 10 Great Ways to Use Social Media in Classroom — Teachers With Apps

Castle gives practical, logical, easy suggestions to try with your students. These ideas can not only familiarize them with social media tools from a “professional” perspective, they’ll also learn digital citizenship, and begin developing a positive digital tattoo.  Castle’s blog post is a good complement to a workshop I led recently at #CUE16 in Palm Springs,”25 Examples of Students as Social Media Content Creators K – Adult”  http://bit.ly/socialmediacontentcreators  In this slide show you’ll see examples of teachers implementing some of Castle’s suggestions. If you’re able to implement any of Castle’s ideas, you’ll see student engagement soar! Here’s an example with Dr. Brad Gustafson, “Pedagogy First” https://adjustingcourse.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/pedagogy-first-video/  

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Latest Apps that I like

Check out StoryCorps. You can record stories from loved ones and save them yourself or save them in the Library of Congress! Super easy! Living history! They give you prompts and everything. Could. not. be. easier.


Daily Wonder. Based on the book. Gives you an inspiring quote every day. Some great, some good.


Voter– who should I vote for? Start thinking about this now. Easy to swipe right or left depending on your answer to an opinion question: e.g., Drill for oil and gas in the US? If you need more info, press the “i.” It not only gives you more info, it tells you why you should vote yes and why you should vote no. You may also say how much the question matters to you- a Lil Bit, Normal, or Very. After you answer the questions, tinder-style, they tell you which US Presidential-candidate you match up best with.

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Cash. How to split the dinner bill using your phone. Easy! Thanks Maria P.!


PromptSmart. Ok the upgraded version costs almost $12 and this is a ridiculous amount to pay for an app. But…I did and I am SO GLAD! Upload your speech to your device or type it right on your device. The text of your speech will now scroll at your predetermined pace as you give your speech at that big gathering. OR, you can set it to scroll as the app listens to you and it knows automatically when to scroll. No printer needed! No turning pages. Absolutely worth it!





Computers are a tool, not a reward

We are almost (almost!) at the point where teachers can have a set of tablets in the classroom or bring their students to the library computers and have it be like a normal lesson. Almost. When computers were first introduced at school, there were so few they often only got used as game rewards or working on skill building. Now that we have more computers, teachers can expect students to view them as a tool for the lesson. It used to happen that teachers would book the library computer lab for a few sessions for “those students who don’t have a computer at home so that they can get the assignment done.” Then what would the others do? Waste time. But now, thanks to my district buying many computer tablets, the novelty of “oh we have computers today in our lesson, time for fun and games” has almost worn off in our school. The lesson that I hope finally sinks in is- when we’re at school we need to work during class time- whether that class time is in the library or in the classroom – whether the lesson involves pencil and paper or computers. Teacher have been working hard to make computers a part of everyday lessons.


They’ve also been very cognizant of students who don’t have computers at home and making sure they have time to visit the school or public library to use a computer. Many students have phones and teachers are encouraging students to use apps on their phones such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Our library has a few tablets for check out as well.



Useful book for Teachers and Librarians

I’m recommending Nicole Hennig’s Apps for Librarians: Using the Best Mobile Technology to Educate, Create, and Engage. She details the developer, version, platform, price, explanation of how it works and what it does, Audience, Examples, and Other Apps Worth Trying on several apps in several categories. The chapters include Apps for Research and Reference, Apps for Taking Notes and Writing, Apps for Communication, Apps for Reading, and many more. Because a book like this might have a short shelf-life (ha!) she also has a website http://nicolehennig.com/books/apps-librarians-book/ in which she writes about the changes made in some of the apps since the book was written. And she has a newsletter! http://nicolehennig.com/mobile-apps-news/

Check this all out if you’re a teacher librarian, a teacher, or a student and you love apps.


TRAILS is a great information literacy assessment

Thank you to everyone who has worked on TRAILS. It is awesome. Everyone should give this assesment in their school.

TRAILS (Tool for Real-time Assessment of Information Literacy Skills):

Welcome to the new school year!  TRAILS is an online tool for measuring your students’ understanding of information literacy. Last year TRAILS created new accounts for over 3,000 school librarians and teachers. Its information literacy assessments were administered to nearly 365,000 students.


TRAILS offers standards-based assessments at the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th grade levels. It continues to be available to school librarians and teachers at no charge. A free TRAILS account can be created at http://www.trails-9.org/.


TRAILS features include:

  • Freely available on the Web at: www.trails-9.org
  • Aligned to Common Core State Standards
  • Knowledge assessment of five categories comprising information literacy skills
  • Downloadable results at both class and student levels
  • Self-administered by the librarian
  • Assurance of student privacy


Reported top uses of TRAILS, based on the 2014 survey of users:

  1. Determine class understanding of information literacy (76%)
  2. Use as pre-test/post-test to measure change (81%)
  3. Obtain data to demonstrate student learning (57%)


Transitioning to College:

Are you working with high school students to prepare them for college? In addition to TRAILS-12, take a look at its companion site—Transitioning to College (http://libguides.library.kent.edu/t2c). T2C provides resources for both students and librarians that highlight the expectations of college level work and tips for doing research. Included in this brand-neutral site are video learning modules, sample syllabi, a glossary of college terms, and tips for educators.


TRAILS and T2C are services of Kent State University Libraries and have been funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the U.S. Dept. of Education, LSTA, and the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation.





Kenneth J. Burhanna
TRAILS Project Director
Assistant Dean for Engagement & Outreach
Associate Professor
Kent State University Libraries

Visit us on the web:

TRAILS:  http://www.trails-9.org/

Transitioning to College:  http://libguides.library.kent.edu/t2c

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