Tag Archives: App

AASL Recommended App: Books: Heuristic Shakespeare – The Tempest

This summer, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) announced their Best Apps for Teaching and Learning 2017. The apps encourage qualities such as creativity and collaboration, and encourage discovery and curiosity.

Heuristic Shakespeare: The Tempest is the product of Sir Ian McKellen and Professor Sir Jonathan Bate working together to bring the plays of Shakespeare to life. “Shakespeare wrote his plays to be seen and heard, not read. Heuristic Shakespeare apps put you face to face with his characters at the heart of each play. It makes his language and references easily accessible and helps you understand each play from the inside out.” The app includes in-depth notes on the text, the history of The Tempest, and historical background on Shakespeare.

This review of the app from PC Mag gives an overview of the app as well as a pro/con list.

Level: Middle School
Platform: iOS
Cost: $5.99

Watch a behind-the-scenes video of the app being created here:


Check out some fun library apps: Boopsie, Gabbie, and Remind

Technology is even better when it can help you and your library! We are investigating three apps that are supposed to support communication with patrons, promote your library, and connect your services with the community.

boopsieBoopsie for Libraries is probably the most well-known library app, and is useful for all types of libraries, from K-12 to Special Libraries. According to their site, the app has been downloaded 3.4 million times, with 500,000 app users per month. The app enables libraries to provide patrons with constant access to digital and print collections and services. It also features a “Library locator” to help users find a location close to them. The app can connect patrons with their library’s social media and event calendar. Click here for more information on Boopsie.

gabbie-redNext up is Gabbie, which is a two-way texting app with auto-commands. Some of the features are providing patrons with free texts for overdues and reserves, the ability to add an “Ask a Librarian” link to your website or newsletters, and a console to communicate with patrons with visual and audio alerts. For some examples, check out these libraries in Iowa that have taken advantage of the Gabbie app: the Wilton Public Library and the Earlham Public Library. For more information on how to get Gabbie for your library, click here.

remindFinally, Remind is an app that was included in the 2015 AASL Best Apps for Teaching & Learning. It’s a messaging app that allows schools or libraries to communicate with large groups or just an individual. It also allows you to set reminders. To see how it can be helpful for libraries, check out this free webinar from AASL. If you don’t want to watch a whole webinar, the presentation slides are also available.

Do you use any of these apps in your libraries, or do you have other ones that you have found helpful? Share your experience with us!


Learn to build your own Android app

Look how cute he is! Let’s build an app!

There are many interesting apps available for library use, and we are looking at some of them this week. But what if you want something that is unique to the special needs of your library? What if you want to stretch yourself and your tech skills by trying something new? What if you just don’t want to pay for an app??

You might be the perfect audience for this (free!) Udacity class!

Android Development for Beginners How to Make an Android App gives you some training in Java and programming for Android. “This course is designed for students who are new to programming, and want to learn how to build Android apps. You don’t need any programming experience to take this course. If you’ve been using a smartphone to surf the web and chat with friends, then you’re our perfect target student!”

Your library may want to reach out to patrons in a way that works for them, and speaks to them with tools they are already using. “Android powers over 80 percent of the world’s smartphones, and represents an incredible opportunity for developers everywhere. The next billion people coming online will interact with the internet for the very first time on a mobile device. Building for Android gives you the best opportunity to reach these users and make an impact — both in your community, and on the world.”

You may not need to connect to everyone in the world – but you do want to connect with as many of your potential users as possible; and an app you create may be one tool to help make that happen!


Pokeman Go and Libraries

By Sadie Hernandez [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The odds are pretty good that this past summer you witnessed (or participated in!) the craze of Pokemon Go. The free app took off with incredible popularity, and had people of all ages wandering their communities in search of Pokemon. (Personally, I’ve never played, but while visiting a friend, I heard all about Pokestops, the frustration of running out of Pokeballs, and the excitement of catching a water Pokemon). Luckily, while people were out and about in search of Pokemon, their quest often brought them to their local library!

In this blog post from ALSC, librarian Sarah Bean Thompson does a great job of explaining the logical partnership of libraries with Pokemon Go. The author shares how libraries can use the popularity of the game to get more people to come to the library, especially since so many libraries are already Pokestops. Her library offered a “life size game day” and featured activities like decorating Pokeballs and having players share on wall displays what Pokemons they have caught at the library. Library staff also used that time to promote their summer reading program.

Thompson has written another article that mentions several other libraries that have incorporated programs like “Pokemon Go Safaris” and activities like Pokemon trail walks, all taking place under adult supervision. Within this same article, she describes an additional advantage of the collaboration between Pokemon Go and libraries, which is the opportunity it offers to  families to learn about digital citizenship and online safety.



AASL Recommended App: Skitch

skitchThe American Association of School Librarians (AASL) issues their 25 Best Apps for Teaching & Learning each year. The apps were chosen because they foster innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration.

This week we highlight Skitch, an app that “helps you communicate visually with friends, co-workers, and the world.” Taking images, you can have students label or markup them. Adding text, highlights, blur, arrows, or stickers are easy for anyone!

The app is now only available for Mac downloads – read this article for more information on the change and find out how to download the app.

Watch this video to see how to use Skitch with PDFs: