New tech tools and apps are constantly coming out and it can be difficult to sift through the avalanche to determine what is simply “new and trendy” and what is truly useful and engaging. This year, the BELS annual spring workshop was held again in Bergen Community College in partnership with the Sidney Silverman library and our wonderful hosts provided for all our needs (fast WiFi! Great seating!). Our main presenter, Barbara DeSantis, the Technology Support Specialist from the Sayerville school district, guided participants through the apps she uses on a daily basis in her schools, demonstrating each application and discussing how it could be used in the classroom or library. Barbara was especially helpful in breaking down cost of the apps and the cheapest ways to make use of them. Plenty of time was built in to the session to not only navigate these exciting new programs but to actually create mini presentations while Barbara was on hand to troubleshoot. Barbara’s presentation was filled with humor and warmth and attendees were engaged and enlightened during this three hour session which equipped all our K-12 librarians with the skills to use fantastic tools including Aurasma, Animoto, Chatterpix, Littlebird Tales, Fakebook and more.
A tasty buffet style lunch was provided to those who stayed for the post-session with Courtney Weyers, our Gale representative, who sponsored the luncheon. Courtney demonstrated the new Gale eBook platform and showed participants all the new Google enhancements within the Gale product system to assist students with citation, bookmarking, and note-taking directly from within Gale databases and linked to their Google drives. It was a very informative session and we look forward to our continued relationship with Courtney, and the Gale team at large.