November 24, 2017

Findaway Expands Preloaded Launchpad Tablet Line to Teens and Adults

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

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

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.

The Human Connection | The Digital Shift 2015

Libraries may be going digital, but librarians still bring—and need—that personal touch. On October 14, Library Journal and School Library Journal’s virtual conference, The Digital Shift, Libraries Connecting Communities, aptly demonstrated this in a wide range of offerings throughout the day-long event.

Game Design Proves Popular at Orange County Center

Since its grand opening in February 2014, the Orange County Library System’s (OCLS) Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation, and Creativity has offered patrons access to high-tech tools ranging from 3-D printers to flight simulators. In the past year and a half, the center, located in the library’s central branch in Orlando, FL, has become a locus of creativity within the community, helping patrons connect and collaborate with others who share their interests. Ormilla Vengersammy, Melrose Center manager and Technology and Education Department Head for OCLS, described the center’s growing video game design program as one such example.

Gale’s Career Online High School Offers a Fresh Start (and Cheerleaders)

When Gale, part of Cengage Learning, announced in January 2014 that it would offer Career Online High School (COHS) through public libraries, the response was enthusiastic. The program, developed by Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE), a Florida-based distance learning company, offers a high school diploma accredited by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission and a career certificate in one of eight specialized areas of study through participating public libraries. Students apply for scholarships and, if accepted, have up to 18 months to complete the program—at their own pace, on their own schedule, from any computer with a broadband connection.

Educational Technology on Trial | From the Bell Tower

Educators continue to debate whether educational technology makes a difference. Are academic librarian-educators getting the results they want from ed tech or should we give it a rest?

Students, Faculty Engage with Streaming Video | ALA Annual 2015

The use of video in higher education isn’t new, but the delivery method is changing. Streaming video offers access to important content and cutting-edge issues, and is easy to integrate into online courses. However, its recent popularity in the classroom—both on campus and for distance education—requires faculty, librarians, and distributors alike to learn a new set of rules. The American Library Association’s (ALA) Video Round Table hosted a session at the ALA Annual Conference to examine student and faculty engagement with streaming video, and the concerns surrounding it.

OITP Hacks the Culture of Learning in the Library | ALA Annual 2015

While the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) is largely concerned with policy on the legislative level, an OITP-sponsored program at ALA’s 2015 annual conference, Hacking the Culture of Learning in the Library, focused on what libraries themselves need to know to function as outside-the-school-walls learning zones. Moderator Christopher Harris, school library system director at Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and ALA OITP Fellow for Program on Youth and Technology Policy, began the interactive session by noting that public, school, and academic libraries have a great opportunity to frame a common theme to work around—Libraries Are Education—and set about exploring some of the issues at stake.

ProQuest Acquires SIPX

ProQuest, through its affiliate Bowker, on April 8 acquired SIPX, the creator of a cloud-based digital course materials solution designed to eliminate redundant spending and address copyright concerns for universities and academic libraries. SIPX co-founder Franny Lee will continue to lead the company, reporting to ProQuest Senior VP for Strategy and Business Development Ben Lewis. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.