March 25, 2017

AR, VR Lead Top Tech Trends Discussion | ALA Midwinter 2017

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The LITA Top Tech Trends panel at ALA Midwinter covered augmented reality, virtual reality, trends in teaching and technology, gamification, community driven technology innovation, and more.

The Future of Learning | Designing the Future

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“We have to focus on a deeper understanding of the relational nature of learning” says Brigid Barron, associate professor at the school of education at California’s Stanford University. A faculty colead of the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) center, Barron and her colleagues explore the importance of social learning environments through the National Science Foundation–funded project.

University of Oklahoma Expands Networked Virtual Reality Lab

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Developed by the University of Oklahoma Libraries’ Innovation @ the Edge staff and launched early this year, the new Oklahoma Virtual Academic Laboratory (OVAL) is already hosting interactive coursework for students enrolled in architecture, interior design, chemistry and biochemistry, art history, English, journalism, and library and information science classes.

Flipped Classroom Tech Teaching | Field Reports

Allyson Coan

A few weeks ago, the Skokie Public Library (SPL) finished its four-week “Cracking the HTML Code: Build Your Own Website” program using a MOOC/flipped classroom mashup. Now in its fourth iteration, this class has had successes, failures, and everything in between. Needless to say, we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

Koha Klassmates Adopted by 20 Library Schools

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Twenty library and information science programs, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Washington, Rutgers University, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), and the University of Pittsburgh, have begun using free hosted instances of the Koha open-source integrated library system (ILS) as an instructional resource via the Koha Klassmates program launched by ByWater Solutions last fall.

ALA, Google Launch “Libraries Ready to Code”

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On April 13, the American Library Association (ALA) and Google announced the “Libraries Ready to Code” project, which will investigate the current status of computer programming activities in U.S. public and K–12 libraries with the goal of ultimately broadening the reach and scope of these coding programs. The project will include an environmental scan, practitioner interviews, focus groups, and site visits, and particular attention will be focused on opportunities that libraries are providing to minorities, girls, and other groups that are currently underrepresented in computer science and related fields, according to an announcement. The results of the project will be used to further engagement by ALA, and to inform a computer science policy agenda as part of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy’s (OITP) Youth and Technology program.

Follett Acquires Baker & Taylor

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In a move that creates the world’s largest single distributor of curated content for librarians and educators with $3.6 billion in combined annual sales, Follett Corporation on April 18 announced the acquisition of Baker & Taylor from private equity firm Castle Harlan Partners. Baker & Taylor will continue to operate as before, retaining its existing management team and Charlotte, NC headquarters. George F. Coe, Baker & Taylor’s President and CEO, will continue to lead the division with the new title Follett Group President, Baker & Taylor and Follett School Solutions, reporting to Follett President and CEO Ray A. Griffith.

Findaway Expands Preloaded Launchpad Tablet Line to Teens and Adults

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Digital technology solutions provider Findaway has announced the debut of the Playaway Launchpad tablet for teens and adults, featuring a selection of pre-loaded interactive learning apps, brain games, comics, and casual games. The new line of pre-loaded tablets was developed with feedback from librarians following the success of the original Playaway Launchpad for children, which debuted in April 2015. Findaway founder and CEO Mitch Kroll noted that the tablets, which start at $99, could help libraries bridge the digital divide.

Knight News Challenge Winners to Develop Open Data Training Program

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Anne Neville knows the value of open data. Neville, director of the California Research Bureau at the California State Library, has spent the last six years directing the State Broadband Initiative at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in Washington, DC. She’s passionate about digital equity, and supporting the critical work public libraries do to make information accessible to communities.

Make Your Own | Field Reports

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Can I take this home? is a question I would hear every day while in the Hotspot at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s (FLP) Village of Arts and Humanities. The “thing” in question was a MaKey MaKey, and the answer was always, “No, but you can take home what you are plugging it into!” Working with youth aged seven to 18 years old we were creating computer-connected mazes with Play-Doh, homemade Dance Dance Revolution dance-pads using copper tape, and novel game controllers operated by licking ice cream.