Now that the school year’s under way, I need quick solutions to manage not just the library’s physical space, but also its virtual one. In any given day, I’m making resource lists or pathfinders for teachers, creating information literacy lessons, managing clubs, teaching students how to use the library, helping with book selection, and managing the circulation desk. Having the right content management systems is a start toward helping me keep everything straight. Blendspace and Google Classroom are two easy-to-use tools that I’ve been able to integrate into my library’s virtual space to create pathfinders, communicate with students, organize clubs, promote events, share important documents, and teach students how to use the library more effectively.
Blendspace is a tool to that helps to blend physical classroom space with digital resources. In the library, the most useful feature of Blendspace is the “Create a Lesson” feature. Lessons created in Blendspace are formatted like pathfinders — curated collections of digital resources from youtube, websites, Flickr, Educreations, Google Image search, Gooru, Dropbox, Google Drive or original media or text. It’s also possible to create classes or groups and digitally assess quizzes.
Lesson creation tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ_Mg3lSoew
Example Blendspace pathfinder: https://www.blendspace.com/lessons/AMXhYz40fDnptw/shakespeare-s-classical-influences
Suggestions for using Blendspace in the library
- Create pathfinders using the “Create a Lesson” feature
- Use for “flipped classroom” library instruction on using databases, library catalog or other information literacy skills
- Collaborate with another teacher on a lesson by adding multiple instructors
- Gather the most popular homework help sites or library-approved educational game sites into a lesson on Blendspace
Google Classroom is Google’s learning management system, introduced last year. In Google Classroom, librarians can lead groups of students in discussion, post useful resources, make announcements, and assess student work. Google Classroom also makes it easy to use Google Drive by allowing students to turn work from Drive directly to Classroom. While this tool has a lot of useful features and there are a number of ways it could also be used in the public library, the current downside is that it’s only offered to institutions already using Google Apps for Education.
Google Classroom tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=94&v=K26iyyQMp_g)
Suggestions for using Google Classroom in the library
- Collaborate with classroom teachers on a research assignment by being added as a co-instructor
- Host a virtual book club using GoogleClassroom’s discussion features
- Make separate “classrooms” for clubs that meet in the library so that students can remind each other about club business
- Create a professional development “classroom” to share lesson plans and resources with faculty
- Post videos for homework help and library tutorials (Ex. how to use the catalog, how to find a book, etc).