Michelle Griffith

Lists For Transformation: Lists and Apps

I love lists! I make one every night before I go to bed of the things I want to do the next day. I have lists for every aspect of my life – home, grocery, errands, school, district, personal, etc…..

Sometimes I look at these lists and think, “Holy Smokes! I’ll never get all this done!” But it makes you feel good to mark those things off your list.  Have you ever added things to your list just to mark them off?  We all have!

Sometimes it is better to concentrate on Just One Thing from your list. The one thing that is the most important.  So rank order that list.  As long as you get the one thing done, “The rest is gravy,” as my grandmother would say!

I wanted to share with you my lists for apps that I use to keep my library organized and curated. Apps that keep students engaged and increase communication with the faculty, parents and students.

Many you may know about already, so choose Just One Thing from the list to try out. These are apps that have transformed my library and many of our district libraries.

Today we are going to start with Communication Apps.

1. Bluebeam iBeacon – This app and the Bluebeam iBeacon allows you to push information to anyone who comes near the beacon. When I first contacted the company, they didn’t see a market for this at an elementary school. Its original intent was at public libraries and High School libraries. Places where folks had devices ready to receive. Not many elementary kiddos have phones! (Although you’d be surprised!) We actually put the beam on the rolling white board we take out to the circle drives during drop off and pick up. Parents simply drive through the line and information is pushed to them. We have one as well in the front hallways. So when they walk in – same thing – information is pushed to them. They do have to download the app. We made a contest that they could only receive the information about through the app.

2. Remind – This app allows you to send out text messages about things going on in your library. Students and parents sign up for your messages and then once again you can push things to them. Students and parents can also respond to messages, ask questions, and stay engaged in not only “what’s happening” but also the learning environment. Post mystery questions, send out reminders, ask for feedback. Many different ways to “Remind.”

3. Snapchat – SnapChat is where it is at with your students. Especially in secondary. You have to reach students where they are. In the airport the other day some teenagers were talking about social media – “Facebook is for parents and grandparents now, I am so over Twitter!”  So I asked them, where do you connect with your friends then?  They all replied Snapchat. I have a good friend who showed me the other day how to download My Story to your phone each day so you have a running record of the pictures you took.  She creates a short video of the snaps and uploads it to her YouTube Channel. What a great way to share a day in the life of your library!

3. BlogTouch Pro – This app allows you to update your blog on the go.  I love the versatility of this app and the fact that I can now update my fledgeling blog wherever I am. The free version of this app is not that great as most of the features aren’t there, however, $4.99 doesn’t seem that expensive for what it does.

4. Padlet – Padlet is a great tool for collaboration, student engagement, and communication. The new app lets you access it on mobile devices. It allows you to post a question that students, or parents, can answer, organize comments and share ideas.  We have used it as a way for students across our district to do a book review of the Texas Bluebonnet Books. We created one Padlet for each book, then the students could review the book after they read it, ask questions of each other, and have some real conversation about what they were reading.  Very powerful!  We have also used it to showcase student work and  videos that can easily be shared with parents, grandparents, anyone with a link.

5. Twitter and Facebook – It seems no communication list would be complete without the powerhouse two! Even if they are for “parents and grandparents,” they are still a great way to get information out to people who need to see it.  Students may say they are passé, but we know they are still using them! So keep posting and tweeting. Anything to get your message out about what you are doing or what you need.

I hope this first list isn’t too overwhelming.  Remember choose Just One Thing to start with. It can transform your life and your library.

Author Info

Michelle Griffith

Lead Media Specialist, Teacher Librarian and Technology Enthusiast


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