I’m at IMLS’s WebWise conference this week and saw several interesting demonstrations yesterday that might be of interest to public librarians. If you aren’t linking to it already, the Encyclopedia of Life is a great resource to add to your recommended web sites. With over 250,000 pages all vetted by scientists, the site allows kids to add their own text, photos and even artwork. And there are teaching tools to engage students including a scavenger hunt.
I also saw demonstrations of SMART interactive whiteboards and the similar Promethean boards – a great way for instructors to increase participation. This modern version of the blackboard allows you to link to a computer, the web, a projector and a sound system. It uses touch screen technology or a digital pen and has remotes for students which gives the capability for interactive quizzes (it also compiles the results, saving teachers lots of time). I’m entranced by this cool tool for schools but I’m trying to think of library applications for it. I think there’d be a bit of a learning curve, so I’m not sure how useful it’d be for patron classes where you have a different audience each time. You could use it to highlight library events and resources on a big screen at your entrance… Do any of you have these in your libraries? If so, how are you using them?
By the way, the Promethean board has an online community where teachers can access over 17,000 lesson plans, videos and discussion groups (so this is another url to consider adding to your recommended Education sites).