There are a few things lately that have been consuming me for a while that I'm really excited to share with teachers! Chances are if you pay attention at all to Twitter, you might already know about these crazes; however, I hope I can conglomerate some resources for you here or maybe introduce a new idea or two.
If you are not already, follow Leslie Fisher on Twitter and through her webpage. She has an excellent overall tutorial on what exactly Merge Cube is HERE, as well as some of the inside scoop from Merge VP's. She mentioned just the other day that she spoke for some VP's at Merge Cube and couldn't mention details but was VERY excited about Merge Cube of the future. Merge Cubes are not going away, but they will go away at the $1 price point. Grab them while you can!
Another really good blog post to read regarding Merge Cubes would be THIS ONE from Michael Fricano. It generally goes over the Merge Cube as well as highlights some good apps to explore.
I found I had to go off of school wifi and onto my cellular data in order to make the videos run smoothly around the globe. Our wifi just simply is not capable, not even our private staff wifi. My plan is to eventually buy a hotspot for our library in order to run projects that require this kind of heavier bandwidth to secure that these types of programs run smoothly.
CHALKBOARD AND HAND LETTERING
There have been many physical changes to the library space lately, but one of my very favorites is what I've done to the display shelves up front. First, take a look at those shelves before. . . . .
How attractive is this? A bunch of Contemporary Literary Criticism books gathering dust at the front of the library right by the circulation desk. We now have all of these resources online through Artemis Literary Criticism published by Gale. So how useful are these books now? If the internet went out or funding suddenly disappeared for them, they could prove to be useful. As of right now, not much. So I did not decide to get rid of these books. Rather, I decided to store them. They now take up multiple cabinets in the back of the library in case of a dark day when they're needed. (This also required me to get rid of a GRAVEYARD of old technology in those storage cabinets!)
The result paints a very different picture. . . . .
How much more fun is this?! I wanted to create something that would be more of a mini-display and not too much work to change out. Therefore, I came up with the idea of these small chalkboards in order to have small mini-displays I could change out every now and then. I also wanted to create displays where it didn't really matter what books were in there. Easily switched in and out as books get checked out.
Of course, me being me had to kind of go all out and work on my hand lettering (a 2018 New Year's resolution for me!) to create something I liked to look at. However, I feel I could quickly change some of these now in a less artistic way if I felt the need. When it comes time to erase that stormtrooper though, I will be very sad. I'm proud of him. ;-)
How exactly did I do this? First, I took some old shelves that we weren't using anymore and attached them to bookends using some super sticky foam tape. Then I put chalkboard contact paper on them to create the final product. Then it was just fun with chalkboard pens to create the displays!
I have so much more display space now that I need to order more wire book holders! Not a bad thing, in my personal opinion! I'm excited to engage more students with this display instead of those dusty old reference books!
BRINGING VR TO MY SCHOOL
It's about time someone started using the power of Google Expeditions and VR on my campus, and I am determined to bring it to my campus. This will be a multi-step process, but I believe the end result will be all worth it. In order to fund everything I want to do, I will be writing any and all grants I can get my hands on! First, I need to bring devices into the library. What exactly does this look like? Older model Andriod phones. These devices will be in order for me to replace our old aging FLIP cameras for students to video record but also to be used in VR settings as well. At first I thought I would simply want to purchase 6 or 7 in order to replace the FLIP cameras, but the more I talk about it, the more I want to get as many as I possibly can. While I can use student devices with VR, it might be best to have closer to a class set (or at least enough for pairs) in order to set up the devices ahead of time and mitigate any issues or problems.
#3: Excellent price point - $15.99 is an excellent price point for this headset. Not too expensive, but you get a great bang for your buck that will last a long time.
#4: Phone case on - I can only truly speak for my phone, but I can fit my phone with the case on into this headset. I know this won't work for every phone case, but I was pretty impressed I did not have to take off the case for my Google Pixel 2.
#4: Protection - By completely enclosing the phone, you can be sure that student devices won't fall out and become damaged, unlike other headsets.
The focal lenses it provides worked okay for me, but overall, I found once I had all the setting right, it worked great and didn't need any further focusing.
Note - There is no QR code to scan for this headset. However, if you put your setting to "Cardboard v1" viewer in the cardboard app, you should be good to go with this headset.
So those are my current crazes right now! In between teaching health classes this month, I'll put doing more chalkboard art, writing grants for VR headsets, devices, and more, as well as playing with my Merge Cube! More details on my Merge Cubes and grant writing process as I go along! Happy Friday everyone!
Jennifer Zimny has been a teacher librarian at Ponderosa High School for the past five years and previous to that, she was the drama teacher for 9 years. She holds a BA in Theatre from CSUS, a teaching credential in English, and a teaching credential in Library Media Services from Azusa Pacific University
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