Archive of ‘Professional Development’ category

Social Media Learning Design

Social Media ButterfliesCreative Commons LicenseBlogtrepreneur via Compfight

I am continuing with my professional development. This week’s topic is learning design. Here is a draft of an activity that I would like to implement using the social media tool VoiceThread.

Course Name: School Librarianship

Audience: Graduate Students

Course Type: Online

Social Media Tool:

  • VoiceThread: A tool that will allow students have conversations in the cloud.

Activity Description:

  • In the activity, students will discuss trends in school librarianship.


  • The instructor will provide the students with a rubric that will be used to grade the assignment.
  • Peer review will be included to provide each student with feedback on their comments.
  • The student will be asked to provide a self-assessment of their performance on the activity.

Learning Objective:

  • At the end of this activity, students should be able to identify current trends in school librarianship.

Situational Factors:

  • 20 students
  • Students will need to set up an account.
  • The tool is fairly easy to use.
  • Prior knowledge needs include how to use a microphone or webcam.

Course Goal/Outcome:

  • Voicethread affords the opportunity for an asynchronous discussion with an audio conversation. Students will be able to leave messages for each other and hear their classmate’s voices. This will make the conversation seem more authentic for the students.
  • This activity will support course goals by encouraging discussion on trends, facilitating the development of communication skills, and helping students to use a variety of formats to communicate information.


  • This assignment requires Internet access, a VoiceThread account and a web camera or microphone.
  • The link will be embedded in the course website. However, an app is available if students wish to download it.

Instructional Strategy:

  • Direct instruction will be used at the beginning of the VoiceThread presentation to provide students of an example of a topic that is a current trend and to let them see the expectations for the assignment.
  • A discussion format will be used. Each student will answer individually.
  • This activity meets all learning styles. Based on their learning style, students may decide to choose the type of resource that they share with the class during the discussion.


  • While the instructor will set up the initial VoiceThread, the students will be responsible for adding content to the presentation and discussion.
  • Beyond the instructor’s initial comments on the first slide, students will provife the content. Students will be responsible for identifying a trend, sharing a resource, and making a comment about why the identified trend is relevant.


  • VoiceThread works with all operating systems for computers and tablets.
  • The content will reside on the VoiceThread website until it is complete. A link will be added to the course and the VoiceThread presentation will be embedded in the course so that students can easily find it.
  • When the discussion is over, the VoiceThread presentation will be shared on the course website. Students will be able to download the presentation using a private Vimeo.


Cooking Up Communication with

This is another post for my professional development. Today, I am reviewing I rather like because it is a quick way for me to create virtual handouts for my presentations. When a handout is requested, I post a draft. Then I continue to edit it if needed. The link does not change.

I think is a great way to quickly share information. For example, it is easy to email a poster (or newsletter) to a group of people. A link can be embedded on a website or the poster can embedded. If you are teaching online, provides an alternative format for providing information.

Access: There are free and paid versions of  It is accessible for Windows and Mac users. It works with various tablet browsers. The time that a Smore poster takes to load depends on how much information is embedded in it. Text loads quickly. Videos and extensive graphics may take longer.

Usability: An account is needed to create a poster.  However, once the account is created, it is easy to make a poster. Software does not need to be downloaded. In fact, I switched from another poster maker to this one because I can create posters quicker with The time needed to create a polished product is important to me. While the site is primarily self-explanatory, there is a help section built into the website. I have been able to view, edit, and publish posters with my tablet without downloading an App.

Privacy and Intellectual Property: If a poster is made with a  paid account, it can be downloaded as an image or a PDF. Posters can be made public or private. If they are private, one must share the link for them to be viewed. If an educator uses the classroom setting, student posters are private and only shared with the instructor. Because the classroom setting is primarily for K-12 students, this means that posters created with student accounts cannot be shared on social media.

I always add a copyright statement to the work that I want to retain the rights to. Information about intellectual property rights and terms of service are on this page: The agreement includes the following statements. “Our service is designed to give you as much control and ownership over what goes on your flyers as possible and encourage you to express yourself freely.” “By submitting Content to Fireplace for inclusion on your Website, you grant Fireplace a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your flyer.”

Workload and Time Management: Smore posters can be embedded in a course management system website such as Blackboard. On the contrary, the tool itself exists outside of the course management system. I was not able to find evidence of a RSS feed option. Readers can decide to subscribe to updates.

Fun Factor: If one finds curating and sharing information fun, they are likely to enjoy using Smore. Individuals with advanced graphic design skills might prefer using an infographics tool instead. Smore allows subscribers to embed various elements such as videos, graphics, and text. Social media buttons and contact information can be shared as well.

Overall, I believe that offers a great tool. I don’t have criticisms. The website does what it states it will do. This activity prompted me to think about ways to use Smore to increase collaboration in class.  Although students should have separate accounts, collaboration can be achieved by having students to work together to decide about the elements that can be placed on a poster.

I think that students enjoy being able to access a poster created by the instructor that can be printed later. They can also share the information quickly with a link. Here is an example of a poster that I created for a presentation: .  Enjoy!

Professional Development: My Philosophy of Social Media for Online Education

My current adventure in professional development has me exploring social media and its educational benefits. As such, I am sharing my philosophy of social media for online education. It is as follows.

Social media can increase social capital.

Social media is a way to connect students with the broader context of the world. Education should not just encompass the theoretical perspective of a profession’s foundational concepts. During their education, students should connect with the professional community that they would like to join. This ability to connect reflects a student’s social capital. Social capital can be essential for developing, maintaining, and growing a career. Social capitalist theorists have indicated that social media is a means for developing and utilizing connections for career advancement (Benson, Morgan, & Filippaios, 2014). To this end, I believe it is beneficial for students to be proactive by practicing the effective use of social media for branding their identities.

The use of social media is an information literacy skill.

I teach librarians. I can also take this a step further. I also teach educators. My students are school librarians or they may be academic librarians. This depends on the courses that I am teaching or a students’ desire to take my instructional design course.

Many librarians are educators; whether they choose to believe this or not. We offer programs that educate our stakeholders. Being an educator means one has the responsibility of updating their skills.

Recently, I read an article by Vanwynsberghe, Vanderlinde, Georges, and Verdegem (2015) that reported the results of a study that examined public librarians’ readiness for using social media to promote library services. They determined that the use of social media is an information literacy skill that is needed for exhibiting best practices in libraries.  Hence it is suggested that social media is a competency that all librarians need to master.

Social media has educational benefits. However, it must be used carefully.

Gurcan (2015) notes that the benefits of social media for education include:

  • A cost-effective option for communication
  • A decrease in isolation
  • The development of tolerance and cultural understanding
  • The expansion the classroom beyond the physical environment

Still, when freedom of speech occurs online, it has a much broader audience. If social media is to be used with students, there should be a clear policy about what constitutes acceptable behavior. Instructors need to lead by example. Students need to understand that they have a digital footprint that cannot be erased. Yet, if used properly for branding, exhibiting skills, and benefiting from common knowledge, social media presents students and educators with vast opportunities. What are your thoughts on using social media for online education?


Benson, V., Morgan, S., & Filippaios, F. (2014). Social career management: Social media and employability skills gap. Computers in Human Behavior, 30, 519-525.

Gurcan, H. I. (2015). Contribution of social media to the students’ academic development. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 5(12), 965-968.

Vanwynsberghe, H., Vanderlinde, R., Georges, A., & Verdegem, P. (2015). The librarian 2.0: Identifying a typology of librarians’ social media literacy. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 47(4), 283-293.


The Future Ready Librarian in Practice

I have gathered the June 2017 professional development for you. Speaking of professional development, earlier this month I attended a session offered by Shawna Ford about what it means to be a Future Ready Librarian. Ms. Ford is the Future… Read More ›

Source: The Future Ready Librarian in Practice | Knowledge Quest

Therapy on a Page: Bibliotherapy Resources for School Librarians 

My mother always tells me that I should write a book about my life. Why? Because I have experienced a great deal in a very brief amount of time. In this post, I share one of my experiences with you…. Read More ›

Source: Therapy on a Page: Bibliotherapy Resources for School Librarians | Knowledge Quest

Challenges and Censorship in the School Library

Last month I did a presentation in San Antonio about censorship and challenges in school libraries. I prepared a handout with some resources and suggestions. I find the statistics about why books are banned intriguing. One of the best ways to be proactive about challenges in the school library is to have a policy in place.


Resources for Building Leadership and Resiliency Skills

This week I will be doing a presentation on developing leadership and resiliency skills. One of my favorite tools for assessing my leadership skills is the Leadership Practices Inventory. I will be talking about it during the presentation. Here is the handout for my presentation.

Julie Todaro & February 2016 Professional Development Opportunities

It has definitely been awhile since I have posted something. I think that am doing pretty good if I have to post once a month. Here are the school professional development opportunities that I posted on the Knowledge Quest (KQ) blog for next month: You Are the Expert! February 2016 Professional Development Opportunities | Knowledge Quest.

Todaro Teaches 2Last month, in an auditorium in Little Rock, Arkansas, I listened to Dr. Julie Todaro welcome enthusiastic University of North Texas graduates to librarianship. Going into the event, I was excited that our ELMS (Educating Librarians in the Middle South) cohort would have the opportunity to meet such an esteemed guest. Not only is Dr. Todaro an agent of change seasoned in working with most facets of libraries, but as you probably know, she is also our incoming ALA president.

As I listened to Dr. Todaro’s speech, I wished that I had been able to record it. I think that you would have thoroughly enjoyed it. There were so many points in the speech that emphasized why our job is crucial, and sometimes it helps to hear it from someone else. All is not lost, however, for I have a few notes to share with you.

As Dr. Todaro spoke, she reminded the audience that librarianship is characterized as a supporting profession. Yet, librarians also provide valuable, critical services and need to assume leadership roles, as well as take the initiative to identify what those roles entail. Given our impact upon society, we should always endeavor to know what is trending out there, and part of knowing that is understanding where to get information.

That part of her speech was what I absolutely loved, for it is something that many of us forget. In Dr. Todaro’s words, “You are the expert in the room. From Day 1 in graduate school, you began to build your portfolio of expertise. Now, you need to let others know. Credential yourself. Position yourself. Be proactive about what you offer, what you are there for, and how you can help. Explain how you make a difference.”

I hope that you find this advice to be as reinvigorating as I did. Do you know what’s trending out there right now? How will you show your community that you’re an expert? To get started, here are some professional development opportunities for February 2016. As always, please contact me if you have suggestions for a professional development opportunity.

Title: STEM, STEAM, and STREAM… What Do They Have in Common? Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

  • Organization:
  • Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EST
  • Description: As school librarians you, too, have to learn to think, act and learn to teach information literacy within the STEM, STEAM, and STREAM context. In this webinar, Terry Young, a veteran librarian and science educator, will take us on a STEMulating discovery of STEM and NGSS. He will field questions from attendees during this live, interactive event. Librarians and teachers as well as school and curriculum administrators are invited to join in the conversation!
  • Link:

Title: Social Media and Volunteer Engagement

  • Organization:
  • Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 @ 2:00pm – 3:00pm EST
  • Description: Volunteer engagement is changing. What do you need to know about social media as a volunteer program manager? How can you use social media to promote your volunteer opportunities and recruit volunteers? This webinar will offer an introduction to including social media in your volunteer recruitment and retention plans. You’ll see examples of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as blogs that have been used to successfully draw attention to organizations and volunteer opportunities. 
  • Link:

Title: Enhancing Your Library’s Web Presence with WordPress

Title: Innovation with Gamification Level Up Your Learning!

Title: Earning Respect from Administrators

  • Organization:
  • Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm EST
  • Description: In September of 2015, shared strategies to earn respect from students, parents, and colleagues. Webinar attendees had one driving question after the presentation – how do we earn respect from our administrators? Join middle school administrator Shannon Holden as he shares strategies that novices can use to earn respect from their administration.
  • Link:

Title: Developing a Leadership Culture

  • Organization: Info2Go
  • Date: Monday, February 8, 2016 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm MT
  • Description: Info2Go! offers monthly webinars featuring experts discussing current library trends with a focus on providing a platform for sharing knowledge and getting questions answered.
  • Link:

Title: Awesome Apps for Education from Google

Title: Easy Book Report Alternatives

Title: Using Technology to Engage the Reluctant Reader

  • Organization: School Library Journal
  • Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST
  • Description: In this free, resource-rich presentation, you’ll learn how to use online tools to instill a love of literature in new and reluctant readers. From virtual book clubs to the creative use of Instagram and Pinterest, this program will show how students can find the right book, share it with their peers, and expand their writing skills. An expert on the intersection of technology and literacy, Valerie Shinas, will provide added insight.
  • Link:

Title: Curation, Revisited: Aggregating Resources in 2016

  • Organization:
  • Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm EST
  • Description: In this session, the presenter (Michelle Luhtala) will share an array of curation solutions, their strengths and limitations, and strategies to morph tools and create workarounds where services still need work. This webinar will benefit grades 3-12 school librarians, classroom teachers, curriculum leaders, and public librarians.
  • Link:

Title: Tips and Tricks for Using Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS

  • Organization: Simple K12
  • Date: Thursday, February 18, 2016 @ 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST
  • Description: Would you like to learn some amazing tips and tricks for using Microsoft Office on your Mac or iOS device and become more productive? Join Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Josh Davis as he shares tips and tricks for using Microsoft Office more efficiently on your Apple devices so that you can save time and spend the time you have on what matters the most – your students!
  • Link:

Title: Digital Storytelling on ANY Device with Sway

  • Organization: Simple K12
  • Date: Thursday, February 18, 2016 @ 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm EST
  • Description: Want to help students develop their most creative and innovative abilities? Introduce them to digital storytelling, regardless of their digital device! Students can use digital tools to create and share their own stories or experiences, or reflect on what they’ve learned. Join Robyn Hrivnatz as she discusses how digital storytelling can be used in the classroom. She will include information about how you can use Sway, a NEW innovative web-based learning tool that can be used on any device.
  • Link:

Title: Visible Thinking Routines and Primary Sources

  • Organization: Library of Congress
  • Date: Thursday, February 18, 2016 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EST
  • Description: Education experts will model how to use visible thinking strategies to enhance the power of primary sources. A wide variety of easy-to-use routines will be introduced. Participants will learn how to use the Library of Congress’ digitized collections to meet content and standards across the curriculum.
  • Link:

Title: Male Call: Bringing Boys to Books and Writing

  • Organization:
  • Date: Thursday, February 18, 2016 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EST
  • Description: International test results in 31 countries showed females outperformed males in reading, and concluded that boys are “the new disadvantaged.” In this webinar, discover why “gross engrosses,” the importance of using humor with boys, and book titles boys will love to read. Motivation (versus direct instruction) as a key to get students to learn will be an overarching theme in this webinar. Examples of books that engage male students will be shown and discussed, as well as how to use books as a springboard to get male students excited about writing.
  • Link:

Title: Flipping Your Classroom Using Free Resources

Title: Easy Book Report Alternatives

Title: Flipping Your Classroom Using Free Resources

  • Organization:
  • Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm EST
  • Description: The practice of flipping classrooms is becoming mainstream now – so much so that several online platforms have been constructed to help teachers with this process. Join educational tech enthusiast Shannon Holden as he reveals several free tools to help teachers (including teachers with no technological skills) deliver digital lessons to students.
  • Link:

Title: Clear and to the Point: The Importance of Using Plain Language in Your Communications

  • Organization: Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  • Date: Friday, February 26, 2016 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am CST
  • Description: Technology is pervasive. It has even become part of our daily apparel. Your shirt can sense the presence of another of its kind. Your watch can track your vital signs. Your shoes can keep track of your pace. Your undergarments can track your heart rate. In this episode of Tech Trends with Tine, Tine Walczyk, independent library technology consultant with Trainers-R-Us, will expand your knowledge of smart accessories.
  • Link: