Category Archives: culture

Final App smash project and reflection

Above is the link to my final app smash assignment. For my final project, I created a blendspace embedded into a blog ( The blendspace mashed together YouTube videos, Google images, weblinks, Flickr images, and a link to an original Voicethread recording of myself explaining the blendspace.

The goal of my appsmash was to allow novice children’s librarians the chance to digitally plan a multi-age story time that involves many different components (books,  songs, finger plays, digital apps, crafts, etc.) as possible. Because I know that children’s librarians love to share ideas and resources from a lot of different curated sites (pinterest, librarian blogs, YouTube, etc.), I knew that I needed the primary platform to be something that brings together a variety of different digital platforms in one place. I thought about Thinglink, but while you were able to embed a lot of different media from a lot of different sites in one place, this platform didn’t help you clearly organize your thoughts as the hotspots appear scattered across the page. I thought about using snapguide, but that app was almost too rigid as your resources had to be listed in a sequential order or a series of steps, which is not really how you should think of a storytime. I decided on Blendspace because it allows you to share resources in one place in a very visual way and it also enables you to move your media around, reordering your resources until you get them in the order you feel most comfortable using for your story time.

I also liked that you were able to add your own written instructional text in between boxes with digital content. From the instructor end, I was able to write steps and tips for how to build a multi-age story time and intersperse these throughout the sample content I curated. The beginning librarians would be able to use the text feature to write in their own literacy tips that they hoped to share with the caregivers during the story time. This satisfied one of the objectives of the ALSC standards, which was “Integrates literacy-development techniques in program design and delivery, engaging and empowering caregivers in a culturally competent way.” Forcing beginning children’s librarians to type their literacy tips for caregivers into the blendspace lineup makes the beginning librarian more mindful of how they are going to incorporate these tips into their actual storytime.

Blendspace also helps librarians fulfill another ALSC standard, “Integrates appropriate technology in program design and delivery” by enabling librarians to link to their favorite digital apps that they wish to incorporate into their story times.

The most challenging part of this appsmashing project was figuring out an appropriate app to use for explaining the blendspace to my novice librarian audience. I first recorded myself giving instructions in Voki and Tellagami; however, I really felt that the cartoonish feel of these apps really undermined the importance of the message I was trying to convey in my introductory segment. So instead, I decided to record myself talking in Voicethread and used a picture of myself holding my favorite storytime puppet, Oliver. I felt this really made me feel more approachable and connected to my trainees as I was showing them that I am also a children’s storyteller and like to have fun with puppets too; I hoped this introductory overview would put them at ease and let them know story times really aren’t that intimidating to plan and are really a lot of fun! I loved how easy it was to embed this Voicethread clip into a link on my first block in my blendspace. I wish I could have imported the Voicethread instead of embedding it in a link so that everyone could see me and my rabbit in the first square of the blendspace instead of having to click on the link.

Finally, I decided to embed my completed blendspace in a blog because I wanted to encourage my novice librarians to not only use this planning exercise as a tool to help themselves, but as an original creation which they should eagerly share with other colleagues. Blogs are a ubiquitous  and easy-to-use idea sharing tool in the youth services librarian world. By encouraging them to create a blog for this story time planning exercise, I hoped they will also be encouraged to continue building their blog with other chidren’s librarian content in the future. I didn’t do much to personalize my children’s librarian blog, but they certainly could to make it their own.

I felt my creativity was supported through this appsmash project, even more so than in previous assignments this semester. You weren’t as limited to using one image or creating one video of a certain length as you were in the digital storytelling assignment. You also could combine the concept of digital curation, as we practiced in our first modules, without being tied to using a content curation specific tool (like learnist, pinterest, etc.). And because you could smash so many apps together, the end product is certainly an interactive digital experience, as was the interactive poster assignment.

I was most proud of my decision to embed a Voicethread into the blendspace of me explaining blendspace . I think it really helped make my overall product and instructional plans come to life. In terms of my instructional goals, I think it was ideal that the workshop was designed around building a digital organization tool (blendspace) as I guided the amateur novice librarians through the process of curating content to create a story time. It was really important the the 2 hour workshop be really hands-on and interactive, so dividing each 30 minute segment of the workshop into 10 minutes of instruction and 20 minutes of them exploring the digital tools on their own would really help them learn what I was trying to teach them in an interactive way.  I was most proud of my instructional decision to have them cull through their own curated list of books, songs, crafts,  and apps, and have them select their best two from each category to leave in the blendspace that they would actually share in a blog with other children’s librarians. This really gave them an opportunity to think critically about the resources they were selecting to make sure they were sharing the best ones appropriate for a multi-age story time. Instructionally, this also fulfilled the ALSC goal which was, “Designs, promotes, presents, and evaluates a variety of programs for children, with consideration of developmental stages and the needs, interests, and goals of all children, their caregivers, and educators in the community.” I didn’t have to change any of my instructional plans as my appsmash worked nicely with what I described in my original blog.

In addition to using this instruction for a group of beginning children’s librarians at a public library, I could also integrate this instructional lesson around teaching elementary school librarians how to lead a 45 minute, digitally interactive story time for kindergartners. As a school media specialist trainer, I could hold a training at a county wide elementary school librarian meeting in a media center or I could teach this as a professional development lesson at a school librarian conference to those elementary media specialists who would like to attend. This would require the same amount of technology (access to a laptop or iPad) as would my original public library presentation.

Overall, I’m very pleased with my appsmash and the way it fulfills my instructional goals for teaching novice librarians how to build and plan a multi-age story time for the first time.


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Blendspace first draft

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App smashing instructional component

I would teach lessons to all of the new Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library children’s librarians, a group of approximately 10 people. These librarians are all adults and are relatively inexperienced story time presenters, although they all have the aptitude for effectively leading a story time. These learners will need access to the internet to be able to view and create a blendspace and blog. Ideally, they would have access to an ipad or smartphone to be able to try out the apps on their device. Upon implementing this story time at their library, they will also need a smart board or at least a screen and projector.  Additionally, they will need access to books, puppets, flannels, and other story time materials to make this lesson possible. Children’s librarians need to understand how to effectively engage multi-age audiences with their story presentations, which is often times far more challenging than catering to a particular age group.

By the end of the lesson, learners will be able to:

  • identify and curate appropriate resources, including stories, songs, fingerplays, and digital apps based around a theme
  • utilize blendspace to structure a multi-age story time from beginning to end, including stories, songs, finger plays, and digital apps
  • embed the blendspace into a blog to share with other children’s librarians
  • To assess their proficiency, it’s important that the youth services librarians demonstrate evidence of curating resources in a blendspace and sharing it with other children’s librarians (such as myself)

The ALSC standards being taught include:

  • Designs, promotes, presents, and evaluates a variety of programs for children, with consideration of developmental stages and the needs, interests, and goals of all children, their caregivers, and educators in the community.
  • Acknowledges the importance of physical space to engage and foster learning, and establishes appropriate environments for programs that respond to developmental needs and abilities.
  • Integrates appropriate technology in program design and delivery.
  • Integrates literacy-development techniques in program design and delivery, engaging and empowering caregivers in a culturally competent way.

Teaching timeline

  • This would be a two hour workshop.
  • I would break the workshop into four 30 minute segments. For the first 10 minutes I would teach a skill and for the last 20 minutes I would encourage them to give it a try. For instance, I might talk through why I would or would not choose certain books to use for a multi-age story time about winter. Then during the last 20 minutes, I would encourage them to pick their own theme and search the web (using their I-pads) for books they felt were appropriate for a multi-age story time. For the next half hour, I would use this same structure for discussing possible songs and finger plays and allowing them to find their own. And for the last half hour, I would encourage them to find digital apps and crafts to complement their theme.
  • During each 30 minute session, I would encourage them to curate their initial findings in Pinterest or another digital tool of their choice. I would also connect early literacy tips to the resources I pulled during the first 10 minutes of each session and explain how they could convey these early literacy tips to parents during the story time.
  • During the last 30 minutes, I’d have them select two of the best examples from each of their curated lists (books, songs, apps, etc.) to include in a blendspace lesson that showcases the order and structure of their multi-age story time. I’d them walk them through how to embed their blendspace in a blog to share with other children’s services librarians.
  • I would conclude the workshop by leading the youth services librarians in a half hour multi-age story time I had prepared (they would pretend to be the kids and I am the librarian). They would then critique different aspects of my presentation. I would leave time at the end for them to discuss ideas they are hoping to implement from the resources they curated during the workshop.

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Blog 1 app smashing project

I am creating a blend space to teach youth services librarians how to put together an effective winter story time for preschoolers and their parents using stories, songs, finger plays, crafts, and technology apps. It’s very important that youth services librarians know how to not only put together a well balanced story time appropriate for the age of their attendees, but it’s especially important that they know how to lead a story time in ways that teaches the parents early literacy skills to try with their children at home. Using a blend space, I will be able to combine resources curated from a variety of sites which story time presenters can draw from in creating their own plan, including: YouTube videos of songs and finger plays, Pinterest examples of crafts and books to read, various librarians and parents’ blogs with suggestions and ideas and more. My biggest concern is finding enough information on this topic to curate together.

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TEDEd lessons

Here are the TEDEd lessons I tried:

How animals communicate –

How to make a mummy –

Why do we have museums? –

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App Smashing tech tasks

I played around with my own app smashing using Voki and Tellagmi. Both were pretty similar in that you created your own avatar to do the talking for you. While it was a cute idea, I thought the avatars were pretty annoying and because the people were so big, it made it seem like there was more emphasis on the avatars than on the message you were trying to convey. I guess it worked well for my app smashes since I was talking about a rather light topic – the Halloween Family Story Time at Davidson Public Library. If I had been talking about anything anymore serious, the frivolity of the avatars would have really undermined my message. Nevertheless, they were both really easy to put together. Just upload one original picture, record a 30 second (tellagmi) or 60 second (Voki) message, and then build your avatar as you’d like and you’re done. I wish you could have recorded longer messages for each. Because of the brevity of each, I highly doubt I’ll be using this for my final app smashing project.

Here’s my Voki

Here’s my Tellagami

I also created a couple app smashes in Thinglink, also inspired from the Halloween family story time. No one thought to video tape my performance of Humbug Witch nor the process for how to make slime. So I decided to smash together an image of me doing these things with a video describing how someone else did the same thing.

Here’s my Thinglink for Humbug Witch 

Here’s my Thinglink for making slime 

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Digital Storytelling reflection – Blog post 2

Here’s a link to my final digital storywalk project in Voice Thread:

Voice Thread

My storytelling process was pretty stream lined and didn’t deviate much from what I had originally proposed in the first blog post. I used the same picture that I had originally picked out of my former supervisor taking a group of daycare kids through a Story Walk at the Ashe County Park. While I really liked this picture because it showed the interaction between kids, librarian, and a Story Walk board, I really wish I could have used more than one picture; I would have included another picture showing a close-up of one of the Story Walk panels and a third picture showing an overall shot of all the Story Walk stands. However, I feel like the picture I chose did the best job at showing patron interaction with the project; that was key for me as my audience was intended to be parents, caregivers and teachers, and it’s important for them to see how they’re supposed to interact with the kids and the Story Walk.

I began by writing out my script in sections. I used categories such as “Opener,” “Segway to Story Walks,” and “Tying it back to the EQ” to break my script into parts.  I basically just framed my concern for wanting to find a more modern approach to story times, briefly went over the process of how to create a Story Walk, proposed a new idea for incorporating a digital element, and tied it all back to my essential question in my conclusion. Since I wasn’t talking about some kind of vague librarianship philosophy or personal belief, it seemed rather easy to craft the story with a clear beginning middle, and end.

After writing my script, I then timed myself reading each of the sections and recorded how long it took to read each part. As is typically the case with me, I had written about five minutes’ worth of text. So I then read back over each section I had written and looked for places to tighten the text.  I then rerecorded the entire script in Voice Thread, edited some more and rerecorded until I whittled the text down to exactly 2 minutes. I decided to use Voice Thread initially just because I had already used that program to record an audio tour of a school for another class. While it might have been nice to include music, I felt like that really would have taken away from the narration, plus it was hard enough for me to fit in just the talking. I also would have liked to have zoomed in on the Story Walk; however, I didn’t really have a picture that I felt would have allowed me to clearly zoom in.

Just for fun, I also decided to experiment with We Video. It reminded me a lot of a different software I used called Camtasia to create a database online tutorial for my reference instruction class last year. It seemed to have more sophisticated features that allowed you to cut and splice together segments of video, audio, and images to create a more customized presentation with the ability to fade and incorporate other special effects. I liked this system okay, but was unable to figure out how to turn off the video portion of the webcam to be able to record only my voice. Even when I tried to place the image layer over top of the video/audio layer, the picture of myself in the video was slightly wider than the photo I had selected to use. The only thing I could figure to do was to hold my finger over the webcam as I recorded myself talking so that the video would just show a black screen and the audio could still be heard. That way the Story Walk image would be framed by a black screen instead of seeing fringes of myself on video peeking out from behind the image.

I decided to use the Voice Thread presentation as my final product; I was most pleased with the professionalism of this digital tool. Once I had the narration to the right length, I practiced recording it a couple times to make sure everything was said with the right inflection. As mentioned, about the only thing I would do differently going forward would be to include more pictures if possible as it’s really hard to explain my idea using only words and one picture.  But overall I was pleased with pretty much the entire process and end product; digital storytelling with a single image seemed to be pretty easy and straight forward.


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