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Archive for the ‘Teaching Technologies’ Category

Using Padlet as an Engagement Tool – Write on my Wall

Monday, October 5th, 2015

I have posted about Padlet before, but I wanted to revisit the tool because…I like it! Here’s a video to get you started:

You can write on my wall (it’s anonymous). Here’s a Padlet I made to crowd source a question. Double click to contribute now.

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015
top-100-tools-for-learning-2015-1-638NTC staff follow a number of blogs, online forums, listservs, and Twitter feeds related to learning and instruction. Jane Hart is a well-regarded international speaker and writer on modern approaches to workplace learning. Jane is the also the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT), one of the world’s most visited learning sites on the Web, where she also compiles the very popular annual Top 100 Tools for Learning list from the votes of learning professionals worldwide.  Her blog, Learning in the Social Workplace, was recently rated top of the 50 most socially shared Learning and Development blogs.

Recently, the blog published the Top 100 Tools for Learning for 2015. For the seventh year running Twitter is the Number 1 tool on the list, although this year it is very closely followed by YouTube, and, once again, the list is dominated by free online tools and services. Jane observes, “I can also see some interesting new trends in the tools that are being used for both personal learning and for creating learning content and experiences for others.”

Some “Big Movers” on the 2015 list – moved up sixteen or more places – including Skype, OneNote, SharePoint, and Kahoot. To read the full blog post, including the complete presentation of the 2015 list, visit:Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015.

2015 Horizon Report – Library Edition

Friday, September 4th, 2015

If you are interested in the trends accelerating technology adoption in academic and research libraries, challenges impeding technology adoption in academic and research libraries, and important developments in technology for academic and research libraries, check out the 2015 Library edition of the Horizon Report.

The report seeks to answer questions such as: What is on the five-year horizon for academic and research libraries worldwide? Which trends and technologies will drive change? What are the challenges that we consider as solvable or difficult to overcome, and how can we strategize effective solutions? These questions and similar inquiries regarding technology adoption and transforming teaching and learning steered the collaborative research and discussions of a body of 53 experts to produce the NMC [New Media Consortium] Horizon Report: 2015 Library Edition.
Read about what the experts consider to be the long-term trends and challenges that will likely impact changes in libraries around the world for the next five years.

Back to the past with Plickers

Monday, August 10th, 2015

I recently attended a conference called the Summer Institute of Distance Learning and Instructional Technology (SIDLIT…pronounced Side Light). In years gone by I have been a fan of using clickers in the classroom as a way to engage and assess students, but you have to have the devices and they cost money.  Enter Plickers or paper clickers. Plickers work with a free app on your iPhone or Android smart phone. Print the cards, hand them out to students and then display your question to the class. Students hold up the paper card with the letter of their answer on top. I was student #18 and I answered C in the image below. Then, the instructor walks around the class scanning the cards. This works best with a small group and goes quite fast. Real-time results are displayed to the class.

Find more information here:


Paper Clickers AKA Plickers

Do you Annotate?

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

If you have videos that you’ve made and uploaded to your YouTube account, then you have access to the annotation tool. Here is a 5 minute video that demonstrates how to add annotations, speech bubbles, callouts and links to other videos from within your completed video.

Do You Padlet?

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Padlet is a cool tool that can be used for instruction. Basically, it is a blank wall and you can decide what you want to “hang” on it. You can use Padlet to: take notes, solicit feedback, as a discussion board or any other thing where you want some sort of input from others.

I made two Padlets to demonstrate different uses. Here’s a padlet that I used as a forum for people to introduce themselves: Here’s another Padlet I made based on the video in this post. If you don’t like the chaos of letting people write anywhere they want on the wall, you can make columns, as seen here: Here is the 4 minute video that shows you how to make columns in Padlet:

You can find Padlet here: It’s free!

Periodic Table of iPad Apps

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Here’s a fun graphic of iPad apps for teaching and learning. The apps are categorized in areas such as creativity, productivity, interactivity, and sharing and I’ve already found a few I’ve used and few more I want to try out. What looks interesting to you?

Easy Interactive Tutorials

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Have you ever tried to follow steps for using a website or database, but had to keep switching back-and-forth between the instruction screen or video and site you were trying to use? The University of Arizona libraries developed an open-source tool called Guide on the Side for creating interactive tutorials that helps alleviate this problem for users. The left frame of the screen contains instructions and can also have quizzes or links to other information, and the larger, right side has the live website to interact with, without losing your place in the tutorial.

Guide on the Side is an open source PHP and MySQL program and needs to be installed on a server. The program requires a handful of common PHP packages enabled. The full requirements can be found at Once installed, it is very easy for someone without programming experience to create interactive tutorials. One of my favorite aspects is that it can be very easily updated if the interface of the database or other web resource your teaching about changes — no re-recording of audio-visual tutorials!

You can see examples of our Guide on the Side tutorials or those from McGoogan Medical Library at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (thanks to Heather Brown for sharing).

Top Teaching and Learning Tools: Part 2

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Last week I shared with you a list of Top 100 Tools for Learning from the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies and how we at the NTC take advantage of the top 5 tools. This week, I’ll continue to share some of the technologies on the list and ideas for how you might use them in your own teaching and learning. Of course, we welcome your feedback and ideas for additional ways to take advantage of what the technologies offer.

phone with generic app icons

6. Evernote: Evernote is a tool I use daily in my work environment, but not one that the NTC “officially” uses. I keep short-term and long-term to do lists (I love the checkboxes), a list of books to read, and a standard packing list in Evernote. I use it to take and organize notes at meetings and conferences. One feature I really like is that I can take a picture with my tablet or phone and embed the picture in my Evernote note. This is especially useful if you just took a bunch of notes on a whiteboard and want to capture them for later. Your notes synch across your devices, so you always have them available.

7. Dropbox: Dropbox is a file storage tool that synchs across platforms and can be great for collaborating. When we travel for classes, I keep a copy of class materials in Dropbox just in case I have trouble accessing any of the other 3 locations where I have them stored. You can share files and folders without having to email them back and forth.

8. WordPress: You’re seeing our version of WordPress right now! We use WordPress as our webpage, the home page of which functions as a blog. While the content of the home page changes regularly, we keep semi-static pages as well. Do you use a blog in your own teaching or work? We’ve worked with one librarian who created a blog for a group of pediatric residents and posted any of their presentations from Grand Rounds so they would have them all in one place and could also use commenting features to ask questions. She also posted reference questions and resources to the blog as well.

9. Facebook: Are you following us on Facebook? We post our blog content on Facebook, as well as advertise new classes, post photos from our in-person classes and occasionally post a survey. Do you use Facebook in a teaching or learning capacity? We’ve heard of libraries and librarians that answer basic and reference questions on Facebook, but let us know how you use it!

10. Google+/Hangouts: The NTC doesn’t have Google+ account, but I’ve used the hangout feature for a larger group meeting (7 or 8 people), and it seemed to work well. It allows you to take advantage of webcams and you can share screen as well. Have you used hangouts?

11. Moodle: Moodle is the NTC’s course management system, so if you’ve ever taken a class with us, you’ve used Moodle. Moodle is a pretty versatile platform – we can create quizzes, have a discussion forum, share videos and tutorials, and many other types of content. It’s free, and open-source which gives it a little extra appeal. You can try out Moodle’s demo site as well.

Share with us on Facebook or Twitter how you use these tools!


Top Learning and Teaching Tools: Part 1

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

In September 2013, the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies released a list of the Top 100 Tools for Learning. The list is the result of a survey of more than 500 learning professionals in 48 countries. You can click on each item in the list to see comments from the survey participants and how they use the tool in teaching and learning. Today, I thought I’d share with you how I use the top 5 tools both professionally and personally.


  1.  Twitter: The NTC has a Twitter account (@nnlmntc) that we use to send out news about our classes, changes to PubMed, TOXNET, and other NLM databases, share teaching or presentation tips and tricks, and ask questions of our followers. We follow health sciences libraries, health care agencies, government agencies, and teaching or training organizations to learn about new developments and what they’re sharing. Twitter can be a great way to learn about new resources or generate ideas. I also use Twitter personally. I find great information and conversation from following other librarians and non-librarians. I find it’s a great way to keep up with topics that interest me. There’s even a hashtag for medical librarians – #medlibs.

  3. Google Drive/Docs: The NTC does not use Google Docs formally, as we have other shared, collaborative spaces. However, we have heard from participants in our classes that have used it in their teaching. You can create a form or survey to have students respond to during a class or as an evaluation at the end of the class. You can also use it as a collaborative space for students to share ideas or questions.

  5. YouTube: While most folks have enjoyed watching a silly or amazing video on YouTube, how many of us have used it in teaching or learning? I frequently use YouTube both in my work and at home to figure out how to do things either with technology or around the house. The NTC has a YouTube channel where we aggregate the various tutorials we have created for our classes so they can be viewed at any time. We know many users prefer to learn from a video, so we plan to expand the video offerings here. What about you? Do you post videos on how to accomplish common tasks at your library, or videos to answer FAQs? Do you have a video tour of your library?

  7. Google Search: This one’s really evident, right? We know it’s not the be-all and end-all of searching, but tor everything from “who was that guy in that movie?” to “What’s the weather in Chicago?” Google search can come in handy. But what about as a teaching or learning tool? Some librarians in our classes have mentioned that they like to have students compare results in Google to search results in more specialized databases to see what the advantages or disadvantages of each might be. For your own learning, you can also set up a search alert for topics you’re interested in.

  9. PowerPoint: The NTC regularly uses PowerPoint to create presentations for our classes. We collaborate with NLM regularly and this is an easy-to-use tool that both organizations have access to. It’s a simple way to share images with an audience, and it can be used to create some interactive elements as well.

I invite you also to let us know on Facebook or Twitter (@nnlmntc) how you use these tools so we can learn from you as well. I’ll return next week with some additional tools and how we use them.