So, back in October we received a grant for our Roving Reference Librarian project. Our idea was that since so many students are using our databases and online tools that we could use the iPad “rove” around the library and help them without taking over their computers. We know as well as you do that truly no one likes someone leaning over their shoulder. We also are planning on using them to display our Gale eBook collections when they’re relevant to their research. Over the next year we’ll be implementing a unit to teach seniors on using online note-taking tools and organizational methods too. Students are struggling with the concept of Cloud storage and I think anything we can do help them out, the better!
Okay, that’s all big picture stuff. This week we’ve really just set them up and experimented with different apps to see what will be good for the students. They were set up by our tech department and work a little differently than a personal iPad. For example, we cannot connect them to our computers. All iPads are synced with one central computer in the IT department. The IT department also has developed a Self Service sort of “app portal” if you will. Apps purchased for the district can be accessed here. We use our personal Apple accounts. We purchased iTunes cards to use with apps we want to purchase for the library, but haven’t figured out how to use those later. Anyways, there’s a few of the logistics for districts brainstorming how to wrap their mind around apps, iPads, and personal Apple IDs.
So, here’s a shortlist of library apps I think are helpful! (in no particular order)
* Penultimate: Records writing, has multiple pages, easy to index.
* Sundry Notes: Another good tool for recording notes. Not quite as versatile as Penultimate.
* Evernote: Of course, a must have. Not only does it sync with everything else, it works with PDFs, allows collaborative notebooks and more! I’m a little bugged by the fact that you cannot annotate PDFs, but eh. You can’t have it all!
* Skitch: I’ve reviewed this before on my blog. This is a great app for annotating pictures or diagrams! For science or math I see this as a must have for students.
* Dragon: Use this to record lectures or conversations and have it immediately converted to text. Works much better than SIRI at translating the speaker.
* iTunes U: Tons of lectures and courses from high quality sources.
* Wikihood: This is the coolest. It finds where you are and shows Wikipedia articles that are sourced to nearby spots.
* Wolfram Alpha: The best math based search engine. I’m looking to develop a unit on this for our junior/senior level math students when they come in. So many uses…
* Gale Database App: This app far exceeds Gale’s segmented website. It’s so easy to navigate and find information. I can’t wait to start using this with classes! As long as your library/district/state subscribed to Gale, you should have access.
* Smithsonian: This app tricked me. It’s to watch their programs, but you have to be on at the time of the current program. In other words, it’s not On Demand.
* Wunderlist: Collaborative list making app. Great for organizing projects.
* Idea Sketch: I love the functionality of this app! It’s a brainstorming/mapping tool. Unlike most of these tools, you can export the map as a beautiful JPEG. Love it!
* Skype: I’m sure you’re familiar with it
Fellow librarians: What have you used to connect with your students? How are you using iPads in the library?