Wisc-Online

Wisc-onlineAre your patrons looking for a free, self-guided, basic computer skills course?

Basic computer skills are just some of the offerings of Wisc-Online, a digital library of Web-based learning resources called "learning objects" developed primarily by faculty from the Wisconsin Technical College System.

The Basic Computer Skills course requires a sign-in (anyone may register for an account, or log in using their social media account), and covers these topics: 

  • using a mouse and keyboardWisc-online_word
  • navigating an operating system
  • creating documents using word processing software (Microsoft Word)
  • demonstrating basic email functions
  • performing basic file management techniques
  • using the internet
  • exploring social media
  • managing personal dataWisc-online_filebackup

Each learning activity ranges from about 10 to 30 minutes long and includes narrated video and interactive exercises.

2017 Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference

Looking for a great January conference you can attend from your warm office while drinking hot chocolate and watching the cold winds blow?

The Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference is a state-wide virtual conference developed by the Nicolet Federated Library System and supported by 15 other library systems in Wisconsin. Several 60-minute web presentations focusing on public libraries will be given over three blustery days in January. This year it is being held January 24-26. Some of the "tech-y" topics include web trends, free online tools, coding, and makerspaces. Wisconsin in January... brrrr!

Anyone, in any library, of any size, is welcome to participate!

You can find more information about the sessions here. Sessions will be recorded for those who can't attend online.

Snapchat

SnapchatHave you used Snapchat? Pictures, short videos, captions, and filters for fun/silly pictures make it great for keeping in touch with friends and family.  It's especially helpful for keeping up with a teenager I know who isn't so keen on TALKING, but who is very willing to send me quick snaps of her pets and recent activities. 

As a slightly-older-than-teenager adult, Snapchat was not intuitive to me. I had to have a lesson from the silent teenager's older sister, but how glad am I that I did -- it's a fun little program!

In August, I told you about TechBoomers.com, a free educational website that teaches people how to use popular websites and apps. This recent TechSoup for Libraries post discusses using TechBoomers as resource for library staff and patrons to quickly learn how to use things like Snapchat, Vine*, Pinterest, and Instagram. The full list of TechBoomers' social media courses can be found here. All of the TechBoomers content is Creative Commons licensed, and you are free to reuse it in your own technology training for patrons or staff.
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*Did you hear the news? Twitter has announced it will be shutting down Vine in upcoming months.

Office 365 Contact Lists and Groups Explained

Within Office 365 there are two items found within the People section that I'd like to explain as they are a little confusing. The two items I'm talking about are "Contact lists" and "Groups".  The part that I've found confusing is knowing which one to use when you want to send an email out to a lot of people.  Both of these differ from a patron email list in the fact that an email from it shows that it came from the name of the patron email list and only the list administrators can send out emails to the list.  Whereas email from a "Contact list" or "Group" shows that it came from your personal email address and anyone can send out emails to the list by using Reply All.  So when you're emailing patrons it is best to use an email list.

So what is a "Contact list?"  
A "Contact list" (formerly called a distribution list) allows you to send an email message to all the email addresses in the list at once.  That way you don't need to enter every email address every time you need to send an email to the same group of people. The really important thing about a contact list is that it allows you to send emails to people that are not within your organization's Office 365.

So what is a "Group?"
A "Group" has the same features as a "Contact list" but the key difference is that it only allows you to send emails to people that are within your organization's Office 365.  The reason for this is that it was designed by Microsoft to be used for team collaboration within an organization.

I hope this clears up any confusion, but if not you can feel free to give me a call at the Help Desk.

Gail's Toolkit for technology training

What do you get when very motivated librarians teaching lots of technology courses wants to standardize their course templates to make life easier for everyone (and have a grant to do it)?
Gail's Toolkit, built by staff at the Gail Borden Public Library.

From their website:  "Gail's Toolkit is a project funded by an American Library Association Publishing Carnegie-Whitney Grant that runs from 4/1/15 through 3/30/17. This free, online portal—sponsored by the Reaching Across Illinois Library System—offers lesson plans, presentations, handouts, and surveys that librarians can use to teach classes ranging from Microsoft Word to LinkedIn. The portal also offers an online bibliography of training resources for those who want to learn more about instruction."

I heard about Gail's Toolkit at WiLSWorld this year (presentation, handout), and I thought it had a lot of potential to help libraries everywhere with technology training. The Gail Borden Public Library staff have already developed a collection of courses that are free for anyone to use. For those interested in developing their own courses, the course templates are designed to make the courses so standardized that in the case of staff illness or other unexpected changes, any staff person could step in and cover the class.

GailsToolkit

Tracks & Classes: http://www.gailstoolkit.com/tracks-classes (templates to design your own classes are also included on this page)

As of September, there are already-developed classes for computer and internet basics, Microsoft programs, Google tools, resumes, and LinkedIn. Not a bad start!

New & Improved Wisconsin's Digital Library Coming Soon

WIDigitalLibraryIn case you missed last week's announcement, Wisconsin's Digital Library is getting an upgrade. According to OverDrive, the new site will be faster and easier to use. You can see a preview of the site here.

The process will take place over a month or so and you can preview the new site and participate in training webinars. Barring any complications, the new site is scheduled to go live on November 7.

There will be several opportunities to participate in training webinars. Register for the date and time that works best for you - or watch for the recordings on that will posted here when available.

General OverDrive Training:

OverDrive Training on Wisconsin's Digital Library Site:

Because of the upgrade to Wisconsin's Digital Library, I've rescheduled the OverDrive Support Course to begin on November 14. There are a few spots left and you can register here.

Tips and Tools for Teaching Older Adults Technology

TechSoup for Libraries hosted a webinar in May on teaching older adults technology at the library. The webinar featured two guest speakers: Steve Black, the founder of TechBoomers, who shared information about this free resource for technology training, and Kathy Faubion, a computer class instructor from the St. Mary's County Library in Maryland who shared how she teaches technology to the older adults in her community.

I hadn't heard of TechBoomers prior to the webinar, so it was a nice introduction to another resource for basic technology and internet tutorials and documentation. TechBoomers was launched with the mission to "improve the quality of lives of older adults by empowering them to learn how to use technology," and offers over 80 free courses, 1,000+ videos, and article tutorials, with plans to add more in the future. Steve suggested many ways libraries can incorporate the free TechBoomers materials to teach digital literacy.

Kathy had lots of tips and suggestions to improve attendance, make lesson planning easier, and tailor training for older adults.

Watch the webinar, or read about the highlights in this TechSoup for Libraries blog post. Lots of good ideas!

Coding in Libraries

Have you ever found yourself thinking about coding in libraries and wondering,

  • "What role does the public library have in learning and use of computational thinking?"
  • "What resources are available to libraries?"
  • "Are there nearby community organizations and/or schools that are doing similar projects or have resources libraries can use through partnerships?"

If so, take a peek at this post from WI Libraries: "Coding Initiative in Wisconsin Public Libraries - Update."

The official roll out of the Coding Initiative in Wisconsin Public Libraries will begin fall 2016, and will kick off with a screening of the documentary film CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap at 20 public libraries around the state.

The initiative is a DPI-managed project using LSTA funds. You can find out more about it in the blog post and on the webpage where they will be posting updates and information in the next couple of months.

How to view multiple worksheets from the same workbook

I recently attended a class entitled "Advanced Microsoft Excel Techniques".  In this class I learned a lot of things that Excel can do that I never knew it could.  One of these things is the ability to view multiple worksheets, side-by-side, from the same workbook in the same Excel window.  Here's how you do it:

  1. Open the desired workbook
  2. Click the View tab
  3. Click New Window
  4. Click Arrange All on the View tab
  5. Click Vertical or Horizontal
  6. Check the checkbox in front of "Windows of active workbook
  7. Click OK

Voila!  You now have two worksheets open side-by-side.

2016 Technology Day

Tech Day 2016 - Digitization ProjectsThis year's focus for Tech Day is digitization projects!

At Tech Day on May 20th, we'll hear from Emily Pfotenhauer from WiLS about digitization, Recollection Wisconsin, and DPLA. The afternoon will feature a panel of your colleagues sharing their experiences of going through a digitization project. We'll finish up the day with an update from the SCLS Tech Team.

Full agenda and event registration can be found here.