In the 2020-21 school year, I utilized technology more than ever–from Zoom to Canvas to all Google products. Some technology tools were used for teacher or library use while others were used to engage students. Of all the tools used, the following three tools have risen to the top as my favorite go-to tools.
Canva is a graphic design tool that provides templates, fonts, and graphics to enhance your poster, brochure, Instagram post, and more. This past year, Canva has been important in providing information to our community through the online newsletter, library website, and our social media posts. The templates provided were a time saver–I was not worried about font style or color since all the fancy layouts were decided.
When I think of a project, I usually start with Google Slides. It is more than just a presentation tool. From interactive notebooks to storybooks, Google Slides allows more creativity without the constraints found in a typical Google Doc. A slide deck can be embedded in a webpage and when updated, the slides automatically update on the website.
Bitmoji Bookshelf: I created a Bitmoji room with common book titles. Each cover has a link to the library catalog. The slide was embedded on the book page of my library website.
Instructional/Guide: I embedded a step-by-step guide for using a research tool on our research website. Using screenshots and the shape tools, I was able to show students the various steps for navigating the site.
Infographic/Library Report: For our library reports, I utilized slides to display information in an infographic format. The shape and text box tools can be maneuvered to any location on the slide. The formatting tools aid in changing colors, size, and placement.
Digital Breakouts/Escape Rooms
In virtual, hybrid, or in-person mode, classroom teachers were craving interactive activities for students. We have used the Breakout boxes with clues, locks, flashlights, and other tools for students to work together to open the locks in the past. This year, we utilized digital breakouts–the same clues and lock combinations, but all aspects digital. Students could access with their computers, use Zoom’s breakout rooms, and collaborate to “escape” the digital room.
There are two tools to create digital breakouts. A Breakout Edu subscription provides a digital breakout tool where you can search for premade digital breakouts or create your own breakouts. A free version is available using Google Forms.
Digital Breakout Room/Escape Room Resources:
“Ed Tech: Digital Breakout Room Using Google Forms” video: This 9-minute video explains the process of creating a digital breakout in Google Forms.
“How to Build a Digital Escape Room Using Google Forms” blog post: This post details the process of creating a digital escape room using Google Forms and provides an example using Google Forms.
Breakout Edu: This website lists tools to create a breakout room.
Canva, Google Slides, and Digital Breakout are consistently my favorite go-to technology tools. What are your favorite technology tools?
Author: Becca Munson
Becca Munson, Librarian, is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 24 years of experience in education. Becca is the Coordinator for Library Systems in the Blue Valley School District. Previously, she was school librarian at Blue Valley West High School. She opened two buildings in Blue Valley and spent some time as an Ed Tech Specialist before returning to libraries. Becca supports over 45 librarians and support staff as they work to fulfill the mission of flexible scheduling, collaboration, and literacy.