New ResearchReady Platform Developments

If you haven’t heard, the creators of EasyBib recently released a new product, ResearchReady, to help educators and librarians teach their students important information literacy and critical thinking skills. My colleague, Emily Gover, who developed the curriculum for ResearchReady, spoke about the product’s launch here.

ResearchReady is currently in beta until June, so our development team is constantly working to improve the platform and the content based on the feedback we hear from librarians, educators, and students.

This week, our content developers can give different schools/groups new courses and lessons. This will allow the ResearchReady team to create courses that are specific to younger or older students, or for certain subject areas for interested schools and institutions. It also means that we can help educators and librarians create courses that are specific to your school and share them with all your classes.

It also means that when we are updating content in the platform on end, like making sure that our assessment examples and links are current, you won’t have to see it until it’s finished!

Based on some of the comments made by our educator and student users, we have also made some style changes so that there is less scrolling on each of our content pages. This will help us make sure that students are not missing important content “below the fold,” and makes the overall user experience more enjoyable.

Please contact me if you have any questions about these new developments or are interested in learning more about ResearchReady. We would be happy to set you up with a free trial or a webinar!

Caity Selleck is an in-house librarian for EasyBib and ResearchReady. You can find her on Twitter, @Caity_EasyBib, or posting news you can use at the EasyBib Librarians Facebook page.

Librarian Profile: Shannon Miller

Shannon Miller

Teacher Librarian and Technology Integrationist
Van Meter Schools, IA

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If you’re looking for a librarian who leverages technology and social media for both students and professional development, look no further than Shannon Miller. If you’ve searched for anything library-related on Twitter, chances are she’s popped up on your feed–with over 20,000 followers and 45,000 tweets, she’s hard to miss. Shannon and I caught up about what led her to librarianship, how she uses online media in the classroom and research struggles her students face.

Shannon graduated from the University of Northern Iowa, where she attended for both her Bachelor’s (Design and Elementary Education) and her Master’s (School Library Studies). While a at UNI, she worked as a student youth librarian for a couple of years and loved being in the library. “I have a love for creativity, art and technology, so school librarianship was a good fit,” Shan said. “I sort of jumped into it all at once.”

How does she encourage her students from using search engines for school research? It’s tough, she says, because that habit is ingrained from a young age — “Even the little ones say, ‘We can just Google that!’” Using Finding Dulcinea and SweetSearch helps, but she still experiences the struggle of directing her students to research. Shannon also has people come to the classroom — both physically and digitally — to teach her kids about research. Last year, I Skyped with Shannon and some of her students about how EasyBib can alleviate their research woes.

I wanted to pick her brain about social networking — in just a few years, Shannon has made a huge name for herself using social media. So, how does she do it? “Um… I don’t sleep a lot?” Shannon said, jokingly. She sang praises about Twitter, her primary form of professional communication online. “All these people are using great new tools, and we have the power to share them with others.”

“Every week, my goal is to find a handful of new tools, and I always write about it–showing how it connects to core curricula, how these tools are relevant, and how they can make a difference with kids. It gives other people ideas on how they can use them in their classroom.” In addition to Twitter, Shan maintains the Van Meter Library Voice, an award-winning blog about her teaching (and learning) experiences as a teacher librarian and technology integrationist.

“I don’t see being a librarian and a technology integrationist as two separate things,” she said, “Eventually, every librarian is going to have to do technology integration, and understand that it’s part of the job.”

Emily Gover is the in-house librarian for EasyBib and ResearchReady. She recently enjoyed the most delicious grilled cheese of her life and is still savoring the experience (yeah, it was that good). You can find her on Twitter, @Emily_EasyBib, or posting news you can use at the EasyBib Librarians Facebook page.

Information Literacy: Transitioning from High School to College

Even 12 years later, I still remember the anxiety I felt walking into my college library or finding sources for my research projects. As a graduate of a pretty good, but very rural, high school I hadn’t had that much exposure to electronic databases or overwhelmingly large library collections. And Inter-Library loan? Forget about it. Despite my slightly better than average grades, I don’t think I got over this anxiety until Junior year when I had a wonderfully helpful professor who made us all go to a one-shot instruction class. Twice actually.

As a MLIS and an EasyBib librarian, I now read study after study about students who feel the same anxiety that I did. But many of them are even worse off than I was. I graduated high school before standardized testing cut into time for self-guided learning. I also went to college before everyone was constantly inundated with online content, user-generated or otherwise, through social media, and our constant dependence and connection to our devices. My flip-phone also had better reception and a longer battery life. :)

But how can we as librarians and information professionals help students overcome their academic research anxiety? First-year experience programs are popping up all over the place. Librarians are developing comic books and scavenger hunts. The ACRL now has a first-year experience list-serv full of strategies for acclimating college freshman to academic research.

But it also helps if both academic librarians and high school one thing we can do is be aware of and sensitive to the problems students face and recognize the support that graduating high school seniors and first-year college students will need.

My colleague Emily and I will be talking about the transition years for students and their information literacy skills via webinar on Tuesday, April 2nd at 3pm EST and on Wednesday, April 3rd at 12pm EST. You can register for those webinars below. If you’re reading this after the fact, we’d be happy to provide you with a recording.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 3:00 pmRegister

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 12:00 pmRegister

Thanks, and happy researching!


Caity Selleck is the in-house librarian for EasyBib and ResearchReady. You can find her on Twitter, @Caity_EasyBib, or posting news you can use at the EasyBib Librarians Facebook page.

Mobile App Review: ShowMe, personalized video tutorials

I presented a webinar with the OCLC last week on Web 2.0 resources and mobile apps that can be incorporated into or improve your library classroom instruction. We covered all sorts of technology, from OPAC apps to screencasting software, and received great feedback from our participants. Thanks to all who attended!

There’s nothing like discovering a new app that you know will bear a permanent location on your favorite device’s screen, am I right? Sometimes it’s as silly as an addictive word game, but discovering something practical, useful and educational is even better. Which is why I want to fill you in on ShowMe.

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Launched in Summer 2011, ShowMe is a free iPad app that has already grown to hundreds of thousands of users. Co-founded by San Kim, a Columbia University graduate and longtime tutor, he developed ShowMe as a way to make education available to all students.

“While I was tutoring, I started to get the feeling that I was part of the problem, not the solution,” he said. “The kids I was tutoring came from privileged backgrounds and got the best education money could buy, while those who needed education the most wasn’t getting access to it. This was one of the catalysts to starting ShowMe.”

With ShowMe, educators and students alike can make visually stimulating videos with the touch of a finger. Teachers can create “how-to” videos about specific topics, and students can creatively demonstrate newly acquired skills or knowledge. “There’s an awesome lesson on the water cycle made by this kid named Alessandro–I think he’s in elementary school,” San said. “For me, this is a great example of what some call ‘learning by teaching.’ One thing I realized from my experience is that teaching something is the best way to learn it, and it’s awesome to see that happening on ShowMe.” For those of you with iPad classrooms or BYOD initiatives at your school, incorporating ShowMe into instructional lessons will make it more appealing, engaging and interactive for your students.

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The app is dead easy to use. Simply download it from the App Store, open up the whiteboard space, and start teaching! Use multiple colors or add photos from your device. Once you’ve figured out how you want to explain your topic using the whiteboard, record it straight from the iPad. Then, share it with people you know, or make it public for the world to see on ShowMe. You can also watch video tutorials created by others on ShowMe.com

ShowMe’s popularity has grown organically since its inception, which speaks volumes. “Teachers have been evangelizing ShowMe from the beginning,” San said. “We don’t spend a ton of money or advertising or marketing, and depend on our community to spread the word about ShowMe. They deserve all the credit.”

Learn more about the ShowMe story and make sure to check out their website.

Emily Gover is the in-house librarian for EasyBib and ResearchReady. You can find her on Twitter, @Emily_EasyBib, or posting news you can use at the EasyBib Librarians Facebook page.

Librarian Profile: Mary Broussard

Mary-Broussard

Mary Broussard
Instructional Services Librarian and Coordinator of Reference and Assessment
Lycoming College – Williamsport, PA
EasyBib subscriber since: August 2012

You never know where life can take you, and that was certainly the case for Mary. As a French and German major, she had hoped to work with international non-profit organizations, but was unable to find a job that fit. Librarianship wasn’t even on her mind until a fateful trip to a friend’s college alma malter. “I saw a sign for the library school [on campus] and right then and there said, ‘That’s what I want to do.’” She enrolled at that school–Indiana University–and earned her Master’s in Library Science.

DSC_0155Since then Mary has found her niche as as a librarian at Lycoming College. “I love the intellectual challenges that happen everyday and I enjoy working with students. We have a lot fun and there is opportunity for creativity. For example, yesterday we dressed up as Charlie’s Angels for a marketing poster. A theater student came in to do our faces and there’s nothing quite like being in the make-up chair when the provost walks through! Thankfully, he has a sense of humor.”

Mary is also busy presenting and publishing on topics such as plagiarism prevention and gaming in library instruction. Her current article, “Using Games to Make Formative Assessment Fun in an Academic Library,” will be printed within the next few months in The Journal of Academic Librarianship, one of the biggest journals for academic librarians. I caught up with Mary to learn a little more about formative assessment and her experiences with EasyBib.

What is formative assessment?
They are “in-the-process-of-learning” assessments, not like tests which happen at the end. Formative assessments are usually little, frequent and informal but happen while students are still learning and the teacher is still teaching.

The easiest example of formative assessment is a discussion. When you facilitate a discussion in class you get a sense of where there’s a problem and it can be immediately addressed, or if students are more advanced, the lesson can move on to another topic. This is especially important for librarians who can use this to inform how they teach unfamiliar students as a class progresses.

I understand that EasyBib helped you write your journal article.
It was instrumental in wrapping my brain around how to organize the information, and using the Notebook feature helped get my notes into outline format. It also saved me on the bibliography. The Journal of Academic Librarianship used Chicago-style endnotes for a long time. After my article was approved, I received an email saying it needed to be reformatted for APA and parenthetical citations. I nearly died. But I had everything in EasyBib, so it made the bibliography a little easier to edit.

I’m also using EasyBib to help with other projects and am loving the share feature. I led a webinar and was trying to think of a way to share recommended readings and the resources I cited in my presentation. EasyBib let me set those aside, then just provide a short link in my presentation. In addition, I am now beginning a book manuscript and have been tracking my readings in EasyBib. I have been able to share what I’ve done so far with my co-authors, who have started adding additional resources.

Has EasyBib helped your students, as well?
We’ve only had OCLC-EasyBib Library Edition since last August, so awareness of our EasyBib subscription is building up slowly. There was a freshman composition class last semester where the professor required the use of EasyBib. I came in and showed the students how EasyBib worked and they took off with it! Students figured things out without additional instruction.

This professor was actually raving about EasyBib the other day at a faculty gathering that focused on sharing tips for becoming better teachers, stating that students invest in fine-tuning citations instead of spending all the time on how to do them in the first place. Now she has more time to teach students when citations belong in their papers, critical thinking skills, and have them focus on the bigger picture. She said the bibliographies have never looked so good.

I’ve also shown EasyBib to the writing center tutors. These are excellent students and once I got to the Notebook feature they got really excited. I’ve heard the tutors now choose to use EasyBib for their own research and are starting to suggest it to students.

Did you use EasyBib as a student, too, or when did you first hear about it?
I heard about EasyBib from librarian friend. I don’t know how it popped into her head but we were in the vendor room at the ALA annual conference in Anaheim and she grabbed my arm and said, “You have to go meet these people. It’s the coolest software ever.”

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A huge thanks to Mary for taking the time out of her busy schedule to chat about life, librarianship, and EasyBib. If you’d like to be featured as part of EasyBib’s Customer Profile series, please fill out this form. We are looking for librarians from all types of schools and locations. We’d love to hear from you!

meet-wendyWendy Ikemoto is a Library Marketing and Outreach Associate at EasyBib. Harking back to her public librarian roots, Wendy is  sometimes seen volunteering at and skipping about the local children’s library.  Find more library and EasyBib news you can use on the EasyBib Librarians Facebook page.

Open Access: Making Use of the Creative Commons License

Last week my colleague Emily Gover co-hosted a webinar with Creative Commons’ Director of Global Learning, Dr. Cable Green.  I had the privilege of listening to Cable make his case for Open Educational Resources (OER) as a business model and, of course, for the benefit of education.

If you’d like to receive a recording of this webinar, you can e-mail me here.

Cable also gave a wonderful shout-out to librarians and the work that they do bringing information to users and supporting resource-based learning. But he also asked what can librarians do to promote and use open access, or Open Educational Resources.

Well the answer is… a lot!  Cable mentioned a couple of easy ways you can find open access materials to use in your research, classroom, and with your students.

  • Flickr has a section where you can search for images that are shared under Creative Commons licenses.  The cool thing about this page is that it teaches you a little bit about the different kinds of licenses, so you can easily find out how you can use these images.
  • Use Google’s advanced search option to search for sources by their usage license. If you like, you can limit your results to free sources that you can modify and share.  This is really an incredible searching option that I didn’t know existed until this webinar!
  • Use proudly borrowed content in your classroom (you’ll notice that all of our student guides, lesson plans and popular handouts are listed under a Creative Commons license) and use and adapt it!  Your colleagues may have shared their classroom exercises and put them under a Creative Commons license, as well. Use your networks to find quality material that you can adapt for your students.


But Open Access is a two-way street! If you are a librarian or educator, content you create might be of use to others as well. Put a Creative Commons license on guides, lesson plans, etc. that you’ve created for your students. Other teachers might be interested in using and adapting what you’ve created. We’re all in this together after all!

If you are interested in learning more about using and contributing to open access in education, the Creative Commons School of Open is launching its first set of courses during Open Education Week (March 11-15, 2013). You can sign up for courses for that week, or anytime after.  The School of Open is a community volunteers who run and create online courses teaching you how to use and contribute to “openness” of digital materials as an educator or any other creator and user of information.

To learn more about the School of Open, visit: https://p2pu.org/en/schools/school-of-open/

Caity Selleck is an in-house librarian and content developer for EasyBib and ResearchReady. This is her very first blog post! You can find her on Twitter, @Caity_EasyBib, or posting news you can use at the EasyBib Librarians Facebook page.

Introducing ResearchReady

Over the past year, the EasyBib team has been working diligently on a new product. Given our expertise in educational tools and our history with providing valuable resources to educators, we knew the next product had to be beneficial for both students and educators.

After months of planning, programming and revising, we are excited to announce the release of ResearchReady, a cloud-based online learning platform designed to teach fundamental research and information literacy skills.

Recent data confirms what many librarians, teachers, professors, and administrators already know: students lack the skills to conduct effective scholarly research, teachers focus more on source evaluation, and librarians play a key role in all of it:

  • Students are just as likely to use less-than-authoritative sites (e.g., user-generated websites, cheat sites) as credible sources.1
  • A Pew Internet report found that the “vast majority of…teachers say a top priority in today’s classrooms should be teaching students how to ‘judge the quality of online information.’”2
  • Full-time, certified librarians have a positive influence on student achievement with state assessments.3

The challenges involved with information literacy and research instruction are all too apparent to librarians, teachers and professors. Time constraints and limited budgets can make it difficult to develop a thorough research instruction curriculum. Our engaging, ready-to-use content can also easily be customized by librarians and teachers to meet classroom needs.

That’s where ResearchReady can help.

1. It’s “Future-Proof”

  • Updated and reviewed periodically by experienced librarians, i.e. up-to-date links and resources
  • Based in the cloud, it can be accessed from any device (even tablets)
  • Help students effectively navigate and parse information in a digital world

2. It’s Ready-Made & Convenient

  • The comprehensive curriculum is ready-made and can be used right away
  • Flexible customization allows educators to tailor lessons and assessments
  • Students can work at their own pace from home, freeing up classroom time to nurture research skills

3. It’s Fun & Interactive

  • We’ve developed an engaging storyline to provide context and keep students focused
  • Animated videos make learning educational and entertaining
  • Embedded videos, websites, and audio allow students to apply skills across different media

4. It’s Beneficial for Students

Learn More About ResearchReady!

If you’d like to learn more about how ResearchReady can improve instruction, save time, and bring fundamental research skills to your students, register for a one-on-one webinar:

Register for Webinar

ResearchReady was built by the EasyBib team, but not without your help! We conferred with many librarians and educators throughout the development of ResearchReady and are ecstatic to finally share the product with you.

Emily Gover is the in-house librarian for EasyBib and ResearchReady. She is counting down the days until “Sherlock” season three begins filming. You can find her on Twitter, @Emily_EasyBib, or posting news you can use at the EasyBib Librarians Facebook page.

Helping Schools Affected by Hurricane Sandy

Nothing is more rewarding than wrapping up the holidays with a bit of charity – especially for EasyBib!

As you know, Hurricane Sandy devastated communities all over the East Coast and the effects are sure to be felt for years. As a company that’s been supporting students and education for over 10 years, we wanted to step up and give back to schools affected by this tragedy.

On December 11th, EasyBib hosted the event “Rebuilding Our Schools: A Fundraiser for Schools Affected by Hurricane Sandy” and brought New York’s vibrant educational technology community together to help.

EasyBib graphic designer John Yue

Always on our minds were those schools in need. Through the coordination of the American Association of School Administrators, EasyBib was fortunate to be partnered with Long Island’s Long Beach Public Schools and Brooklyn’s PS 279 Herman Schreiber School.

Long Beach Public Schools was one of the hardest-hit districts in New York. Serving approximately 3,800 students grades pre-K to 12, it had to consolidate seven schools into three buildings and deal with mass displacement for all. “Hurricane Sandy had a devastating impact on the Long Beach community, the students, their families and our staff,” shared Long Beach Superintendent David Weiss. “The storm impacted nearly every home in the community through flooding. All the school facilities were damaged.” Despite this, staff and students continue to come to school, uplifting each other in the process.

The Herman Schreiber School is also no stranger to challenges. A horrifying six feet of flooding took out their boilers, transformers, and classrooms. Though back in their building, challenges are part of a daily routine. “We have no sprinkler system so our custodial staff must be on fire watch 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” the school said in a statement. “We have sink holes and crawl spaces that must be repaired. We have books, furniture and the various supplies that we lost that must be replaced.” As before, the staff and students of PS 279 are looking forward and giving their best every day.

Among those in attendance were notables such as CEO Bharani Rajakumar of LearnBop, CEO Payal Kadakia of Classtivity, and many more. As guests partied, they bid on silent auction items generously donated by New York-based businesses such as TastyBite (one of their founders, Hans Taparia, was also on scene).

We’re happy to report that the fundraiser was a complete success! Each institution received a generous donation and continue with their rebuilding. It is our hope that by sharing this with you all, you too will be inspired to give back to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Some members of the EasyBib team!

Some members of the EasyBib team!

Becoming a High Tech Super-Librarian

Are you leading the way with technology in your school? Today’s librarians are more important than ever as they set the tone for the way students use technology. According to School Library Journal’s 2012 School Technology Survey, 87% of librarians are in charge of decisions about their school’s learning technology; more than half said assisting with the school’s technology has made them more important in their administrator’s eyes. This is great news for school librarians, and is just another way for them to demonstrate how imperative their role is in the school community. Librarians, with their excellent research skills and technological know-how, are perfect for the role of a technology specialist. But what else can librarians do to keep abreast of new education technology and understand how to use this technology in the classroom?

Tablets in the classroom has soared in popularity over the past few years. Interestingly, the survey found a whopping 16% increase in tablet use over a one year period. Another growing trend in the education sphere–1:1 programs–increased 6%, to 27% from last year’s 21%. These statistics show that librarians are finding ways to incorporate technology into everyday visits to the library and understanding their students’ learning needs.

So how can you keep up in the digital age? Social media provides opportunities to interact with other professionals, but continuing education is an important factor, too. Today’s MLS and continuing education programs are reflecting these changes in their curriculum. For example, Rutgers University MLIS program offers courses that address the changing technologies librarians should embrace. Taught by award-winning faculty, such as Lilia Pavlovsky, who recently received the 2012 Library Journal teaching award, courses are also available on the Web through the fully online MLIS degree program.

Additional Reading
The League of Extraordinary Librarians: SLJ’s Latest Tech Survey Shows that Media Specialists are Leading the Way

Tell Us About Your EasyBib Presentations!

We’ve heard a lot of our subscribers are presenting about EasyBib at educational conferences all over the country. We love to hear when our fans spread the word about EasyBib with their fellow educators! We’d be super excited to see any and all presentations or testimonials from you too :). We would share them on our site with all of our followers and give you credit so that all your fellow educators know what rocks stars you are!

If you’re interested in sharing with us, please send relevant presentations and any testimonial quotes to kerry.kitka@imagineeasy.com. Don’t forget to include a picture of yourself too so we can put a face to your awesome name!

Our subscriber and enthusiastic user, Kim Weis, spoke at the Virginia Association of School Librarians Conference this year and encouraged everyone there to utilize EasyBib. In her presentation, she presented a screenshot of our home page to show everyone how user friendly our site is. Check it out:

EasyBib Presentation with Objectives by Kim Weis, from Hanover High School

“I explained that the video tutorials were so wonderful that if they had a question, it was probably covered in the tutorials. Sure enough…someone asked a question about students collaborating on projects and sharing notecards. I was not familiar with this aspect of the program and I said, ‘Well, let’s see if it is covered in the video tutorials and there it was! It was wonderful to pull up a 2 minute video that quickly explained this feature.”

Kim went on to talk about how the students at Hanover High School use EasyBib to organize their research projects, evaluate and cite sources, and create notecards. From these digital note cards, students can create and print outlines and their Works Cited page. If you didn’t know this before, now you know! Her presentation at VAASL went so well that she “overheard one of the administrators who was a former English teacher comment that after seeing the EasyBib program in action that it made her want to go back to English class and teach research papers all over again!” Thanks for spreading the word Kim!

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