Top Tech Design Tools & Tips I Learned at TLA!

Lorelei Scanlan is the proud librarian of Martin Middle School. This is her fifth year as an Eagle and has been in education for twelve years. Lorelei enjoys camping, listening to Taylor Swift, watching reality tv, and of course reading!
Follow the Martin Middle School Library Twitter: @MartinMSLibrary

After a year hiatus (Thanks, Covid…) I’m back with the latest installment of Top Tech Design Tools & Tips I Learned at TLA. This year, the Texas Library Association (TLA) conference came at the perfect time. After an unconventional year of virtual/hybrid/concurrent teaching, a lot of us librarians have been feeling burnt out with the monster that the device manager role has become this school year. Feeling less like a librarian this year, it was so wonderful to spend 3 days fully immersing myself in the world of libraries and beginning to plan for next year. 

And here’s what you’ve been waiting for….Top Tech Design Tools & Tips I Learned at TLA! 

  • Virtual conferences are the way to go! Not only is it a treat to be able to attend in your PJs or with your dog curled up in your lap, but TLA is posting all of the recorded sessions in the participant portal until mid June. There’s so many times that I am having to make a tough decision about which session I want to attend, but with virtual conferences that’s a thing of the past! 
  • Use what the kids are into and make it a way for them to respond to their readings. #BookTok is HUGE right now on TikTok. Have the students record a response in the TikTok format and post on a BLEND discussion board. Have the students use Google Slides to create a “Book Snap” where they digitally create a visual representation to annotate and share reflections on a text they’ve read–much like a Snapchat picture. 
  • Book Creator looks like a really cool website to use for reading responses. I haven’t had a chance to play around with it, but I’m excited to! 
  • Synth is a free Podcasting app for education. I’m starting to think of ideas for podcasting at my school for next year. I think students would really enjoy it as an after school club or even an alternative to traditionally written assignments. 
  • Austin ISD is so lucky to have access to MackinVIA & ComicsPlus through the portal. There are so many great resources at our fingertips that other districts aren’t as lucky to have. 
  • Teaching Books is such an underutilized resource. I am always amazed by what is on there & wish I had known about it when I was a classroom teacher. 
  • Sharing resources is so important! As librarians, we know about so many resources that we have available, but sometimes we can get busy in the day-to-day shuffle and forget to share it with you. Our District Professional Librarian does a great job sharing weekly in their Quick Curriculum guides. (Don’t worry if you’re just hearing about them–all of the back issues are stored in this Smore!)
  • Matthew Mcconaughey is an amazing story teller & it’s pretty cool when your library conference has him as one of the highlighted speakers. 
  • “If you’re not teaching to create progress, what are you teaching for?”–Frederick Joseph author of The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person

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