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More Tools for Online Programming

My last TechBits post was about Interactive Tools for Virtual Meetings and Workshops. This time, I want to share a few physical tools that will help you host great online programs.

CookingClassThe inspiration for this topic came from a recent online cooking class I took. It was over Zoom and the presenter, Elyse Kopecky, wanted to be able to see all the participants cooking along with her. I was using my iPad Mini to attend and trying to find a place to put it so I could see Elyse, be seen, and cook was a challenge. As you can see in these photos, my first try was to use my cupboard and my second used a combination of books and storage containers.

If you are regularly presenting or hosting meetings, you may want to invest in a Ring light and a stand or tripod for your phone or camera. My colleague, Jamie Matczak from the Wisconsin Valley Library Service, recently added this Ring light and tripod to her equipment toolkit. There are lots of options out there so find one that works best for your needs. SCLS member libraries: if you need some advice, reach out to Craig Ellefson as he's helped many libraries with equipment needs this year.

Next, let's talk about sound. David Lee King recently tested a mobile friendly lavalier microphone. I like that this one is small and you don't have to wear a headset with a microphone to get good sound quality. On a similar topic, Richard Byrne from Practical Ed Tech recently covered Easy Ways to Sound Better in Virtual Meetings. He mentions a couple of microphones along with some tweaks you can make to Zoom to improve the audio quality. Again, there are lots of options for microphones so look for one that will work for you.

Lastly, attending this cooking class was a lot of fun! SCLS recently added a baking and cooking kit so you can host your own cooking show! Need some inspiration? Madison Public Library has a program called Cooking with Chef Lily and you can see the recordings here. Sun Prairie Public Library's program, Books and Cooks, features library director Svetha Hetzler cooking from a variety of cookbooks. And,I recently attended an event from Penguin Random House which featured a cooking demo with America's Test Kitchen Kids Editor in Chief, Molly Birnbaum.

SweetPotatoBiscuitsBy the way, I made Sweet Potato Biscuits and they were yummy! Happy Cooking!



Library Extension

Most of the time, when I'm interested in a book I'll head straight to LINKcat and do my searching there. Occasionally, though, I find myself on Amazon reading reviews of something I've heard about. In those cases, there is a handy browser extension that can quickly and easily tell me while I'm still on Amazon if the title is available in LINKcat or through Wisconsin's Digital Library (OverDrive) and provide links so I can hop over and place a hold. That extension is "Library Extension" and is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.


You can find more information about Library Extension here:

Library Extension and many other very cool tools were covered in the Tech Days 2020 "Productivity and Technology" session.  Recording, slides, and list of apps can be found here: https://techdayswisc.org/resources

Happy searching!

Interactive Tools for Virtual Meetings and Workshops

Like all of you, I've been attending and facilitating virtual meetings, webinars, and workshops a lot since March. I wanted to share with you a couple of the tools I've learned about that can make your virtual meetings and programs more interactive and fun.

First is Mentimeter. I'd seen this tool but not really explored it until now. I recently attended a fabulous Thoughtfully Fit Communications Masterclass with Darcy Luoma and Mentimeter was one of the tools used during the presentation. From live polling to creating word clouds, there are many ways you can use Mentimeter during your presentations or meetings. The free version allows up to two question slides and five quiz slides for an unlimited audience. You may see this in an upcoming meeting or workshop! I signed up for my free account today.

StickyNote4Next up is Google Jamboard. This is a virtual interactive whiteboard. I first heard about Jamboard from Richard Byrne of Free Tech for Teachers in this blog post from last May. Richard has a short video showing how to use Jamboard - it's really easy! Jamboard can be used to brainstorm and share ideas or even as a virtual icebreaker. That's one of the ways I've used it recently. My favorite question to ask at the beginning of a workshop is "What is making you happy this week" (which I borrowed from the podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour.) 

I set up a Jamboard for this Tech Bits post. Try it out and share what's making you happy this week. I started us off with the Great British Baking Show - Holiday Episodes. What's making you happy?