Monday, November 24, 2014


Happy Turkey Week!!

We at DELRT hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We are very thankful for each and every one of you.

Today I'd like to share with you a site called  It is a great way to make quick little infographics that can be shown in presentation form as well as an image.

There are several templates to choose from or you can create your own from scratch.  My college is currently working on creating a new QEP.  I've used these piktocharts to provide visual representations for our initiatives and goals.

Here is a ready-made Thanksgiving graphic that is available from the site.  Leave a comment to let us know your thoughts and how you can see this implemented.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DocsTeach is a website from the National Archives.  Some of you may be very familiar with it but for those who aren’t, I’d like to take a minute to share a great educational resource.

The National Archives has digitized quite a few items and made them available online.  There are written letters, newspaper clippings, videos, photographs, charts, etc. from different points in American history.  They have sectioned the documents by time period and you can see the main page for that here.

Drawing for a Washing Machine


Records of the Patent and Trademark Office

National Archives Identifier: 595451

This is the printed patent drawing for a washing machine invented by Oliver B. Wright.
But they haven’t stopped there.  They have also created a program that will help you develop lessons to teach using the documents and provide you with tips to teaching students about primary sources and how to use them.  You can find that are here.  There is also a section where you can browse through lessons to use with your students.  Those are located here.

This is a fantastic source, not only for history lessons, but for any research lesson.  One of the hardest things for students to do with regards to research is understand the difference between primary and secondary sources and then find primary sources.  This site helps tackle both of those problems.   

Go check it out and let us know how you or your coworkers were able to implement this treasure.

First Report of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, From Gen. Alfred H. Terry, Montana, to Assistant Adjutant General R.C. Drum, Chicago


Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands

National Archives Identifier: 301976

Monday, September 15, 2014


ComicMaster can help you create visually attractive, comic style flyers that can help you spread the news about upcoming programming or introduce new lesson.  Super heroes are huge right now so why not use that to the library’s advantage.  

The navigation is quite tricky and it does take a minute to get familiar with how to set it up.  It isn’t the best user interface but once you get the hang of how it works it's actually fun!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t allow you to save it to a program outside of ComicMaster, meaning you can’t save it to your computer or a flash drive.  Your only option is to print it which is fine if you are making a physical flyer to post somewhere.  I was looking for something I can post digitally.  So, I clicked “Print to PDF” and was then able to save the PDF to my computer.  I was then able to save it as a JPEG image which is what you see here.

I’m sure that you creative folks out there can make some of these that are much more interesting than this one.  When you do, we would love to see it.  Please share it in our comments section.  I hope you can find some great ways to use this tool and show the world how “SUPER” your library is.

Monday, August 18, 2014


We are beginning the fall semester and that may mean some budget cuts for your library.  In case you had to cut your screen capturing software from this year’s budget, you can still make awesome videos for your library. 

Jing is a free screen capturing software that is very easy to use.  You can create videos up to 5 minutes long and save them to your computer or share them with social media.  These videos upload very easily into LibGuides.

You can also capture images with Jing.  One great use for this would be messaging with patrons.  If your library uses a chat option, you can capture an image, save it to a Jing friendly website (, and send the automatically generated link to the patron in the chat box.

There are also video tutorials to walk you through the process of capturing and customizing the features so learning how to navigate the software is very easy.

If you create a lot of video tutorials and need a free way to do it, Jing is a great option.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


PowToon is a video creation website that has you create short videos to explain your ideas rather than creating slide shows.  It is billed as an alternative to boring slide shows.  You create an account for free or you can “upgrade” to the Business or Pro versions to access more content. 

To get started you choose the type of template you would like to use.  There are some pre-made templates that you can select and then edit the content or you can start from scratch to create your video.     

Then you add people or characters, backgrounds, shapes, items, and transitions.  The editing screen is set up similar to PowerPoint so it has a familiar feel and is easy to navigate.  You can also add music to your video from their collection or you can upload your own.  You also have the option to add a voice over. 

When inserting images, you can choose your own or search the web.   The site will only allow you to search for Creative Commons images when searching the web.  Great for avoiding copyright infringement!

With the free version, your only option for the completed video is to export it to YouTube. If you purchase one of the paid plans then you are able to download the videos so you can present them anyway you like. 

While these short videos aren’t the best way to present all information, they are a great way to give a little more life to dry presentations. 
Give it a try and share your creations with us in the comments!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Socrative is a student response system that allows students to use their own devices.  Teachers can create quizzes that the students answer in real time.  On the webpage you can choose to create an account with Socrative 1.0 or 2.0.  They offer the same features but the layout of 2.0 is more compact.
Socrative 1.0                                                                                             Socrative 2.0

The teacher begins by creating an account and that will create a “Room Number”.  It’s going to be some dreadful number that you won’t be able to remember but you can edit it by going to “My Profile” using the “Menu” button at the top of the page. 

Once you have created an account, there are four options:
·         Start Quiz
·         Quick Question
·         Space Race
·         Exit Ticket
·         Manage Quizzes

At the end of each of these the teacher is provided a report of the results from each activity including a grade for everyone who participated as well has what their responses were.  These reports can be downloaded into an Excel document, emailed, or (if you linked your Google account with it) sent to your Google Drive.  The reports are also stored in the “Reports” section under “Manage Quizzes”.

Start Quiz

This allows you to administer quizzes that have be created ahead of time.  You can have questions that are multiple choice, true or false, and short answer.  You are not limited to one format when creating your quiz.  If you want 3 true or false questions, 2 multiple choice questions, and one short answer then you can make it so.  You can require that they enter their names before answering and you can randomize questions and/or answers.  You can also have questions progress at the student’s pace or at the teacher’s pace.

Quick Question

You can create quizzes ahead of time to administer during class or you can use the “Quick Question” option to have students respond to a verbal question.  If you just want to find out if your students’ understand what you are talking about but you are worried that some of them are relying on others to answer verbally, then “Quick Question” can help with that.  You can simply have students log-in with your “Room Number” and they can answer your verbal question.  This has the same format as the quizzes, multiple choice, true or false, and short answer.  You can have students respond anonymously or require they enter their name.  You can also limit it so they can only respond once if you want.

Space Race

You can use your premade quizzes to create a “Space Race”.  Students can be set in teams (up to 15) by choosing or being assigned a color and they answer the questions for the quiz as their “spaceship” races across the teacher’s screen.  If a correct answer is given then the ship moves forward, if an incorrect answer is given then the ship does not progress.  When an incorrect answer is given the students receive a message saying it is wrong and telling them the correct answer.  You might wish to project the “race” on the board for the class to see. 

Exit Ticket

The “Exit Ticket” is a set of three questions that are generated by the software to assess how a student perceived the class.  They are asked how well they understood, they must type something they learned, and they answer a question posed by the teacher.

Manage Quizzes

This is where you create new quizzes, import quizzes from others using the provided code, edit, duplicate, or delete your quizzes, and view past reports.

Student Log-In

Student visit the site for Socrative 1.0 or for Socrative 2.0

This tool provides teachers an ability to assess students in a more interactive way so instruction can be tailored when needed rather than after the major test.  It provides data to support the class and grades the quizzes for you.  This is a fantastic idea to see what is happening with students’ learning in a real-time environment.  It could even be used to assess the service or performance of the library, you would simply provide patrons with the “Room Number” and ask they to answer the survey on their device.
Hope you can find create ways to use this at your institution.  Please share your thoughts and ideas below.  We would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Today's nifty, free little tool is Remind101.  This allows you to text students without revealing your personal number.  You simply provide your name, email, and create a password.  You give your "class" (or library) a name and the site gives you a number and a code to give your students. 

Some cool features:
  • you can create multiple classes
  • you can remove the classes (i.e. at the end of the semester)
  • you can determine what name appears for you on the text
  • provides embedding codes so you can add it to your blog or webpage
  • students can't text back
  • there is an app in the App Store and Google Play to manage the system on the go
  • you can add attachments
  • you can schedule texts to be sent at a later date so you can schedule reminders when events are scheduled so you don't have to remember to send a reminder, Remind101 will do it for you!
  • the site provides you with a PDF handout for students about signing-up
  • you can request an email of the "message history" to see what has been sent and when
  • students can receive the massages as e-mails if they don't have texting
You aren't limited to the number of students who can receive the texts so this is a great way to remind students of events happening in the library.  You can also use it with groups such as book clubs or to send information to co-workers or work studies.  If you are working with classes you can remind them about what you will be doing or what they will need for class.

A few things to keep in mind:
  • you can only text 140 characters
  • it is tailored to K-12 teachers so it will not allow you to message individual students
  • it will warn you if you are trying to text Monday-Friday 8PM-7AM or Sat.-Sun. 8PM-9AM, you can click past the warning and send it anyway if you would like
This service has a great many possibilities. I'm sure you have a million ideas as to how to use this, please share those with us in the comments below.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Glogster is a free platform for creating digital multimedia papers or posters.  It is great tool that allows users to build interactive displays.  Users can attach graphic and even video as well as audio into their presentations.  The electronic resource gives users the ability to add their own text and even paint on their creations, opening up creative options that are not found in most electronic presentation platforms.  Glogster also allows users to collaborate making building of multimedia items or posters a snap.  Creators can link out to websites and other content from the internet easily using the tool.  It is a great platform that will give patrons especially children and young adults a web accessible presentation utility that can be used anywhere there is an internet connection.

The interface is very easy to use unlike most graphic programs like Photoshop or Gimp giving users a quick way to build material for multimedia presentations.  It is great for a library that needs free presentation tools for children or young adults.  Anyone is allowed to create a free account.  Just go to the right hand side of the screen and select the area that says go to Once you have setup your account on Glogster you are ready to go.  You can either create your own presentation, or use templates.  The templates option is great for first time users and can really speed up the process for building a Glog!  Check Glogster out it is a tool that can benefit your patrons and add value to your library.

The content of this post was created with the help of the UTPA Writing Center.

Monday, March 31, 2014 is a free set of templates that allow educators and other users to create interactive learning content.  It is a web based tool where librarians and teachers can build educational video games and faux social media pages to go along with assignments or presentations. is totally free.  There is a premium option that includes several additional features including ad free access.  

Probably one of the more exciting features is the ability to create a virtual treasure hunt using the educational site in conjunction with Google Maps.  Users can also create QR code assignments.  This is a very versatile set of tools especially for individuals looking to build interactive educational games and other out of the box learning experiences.  

For librarians it represents a chance to add games and other non-traditional content to webpages and instruction sessions.  Teachers will find it useful for building lessons using media that kids and adolescents respond to.  The free version of the site is very busy with numerous ads and constantly changing windows but despite this is very easy to navigate.  Also the templates themselves are simple to use allowing librarians, teachers and other educators to create content very quickly.  This website is a great tool to add to your distance learning arsenal and even though it is geared toward a younger audience it can be useful for older students.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


WiseMapping is a free web based tool that can be used for developing concepts for projects or papers.  Based on the idea of diagraming or what is known as a spidergramming or spidergraphing.  Individuals can link concepts or words in order to create a map or framework to facilitate thoughts or planning.  This tool is a great way to brainstorm, problem solve, or organize information without developing restrictive hierarchies. 

For librarians WiseMapping can be a useful tool to show patrons.  It is web based and free so access will not be a problem.  For students it presents an interesting way to organize papers or projects.   They can also easily use it to brainstorm.  Patrons interested in writing will find it useful for developing ideas for fiction and non-fiction stories.  WiseMapping can even be used to develop simple horizontal family trees for libraries that have stakeholders interested in genealogy.

This tool offers the ability to collaborate.  Users can share mind maps and even allow others to edit their creations.  The mind maps can be exported into blogs, power points, word documents, etc…   Also you can publish or make public the diagrams you create on WiseMapping.  Mind maps can be printed directly from the tool as well, making it useful for students and teachers.

It is easy to set up.   Users first have to make an account, once that is accomplished they can immediately start creating mind maps in WiseMapping.  It has tutorials available for individuals using the web based tool for the first time.  Also users can get help by selecting the Contact Us link at the bottom of the WiseMapping website.   

This is a very powerful free web based tool.  WiseMapping is a great addition to any librarian’s education arsenal.  I encourage everyone to check it out and leave a comment about this tool. 

Mind Map

Friday, January 24, 2014

Khan Academy

In my blog today I am going to discuss Khan Academy.  This is a website based learning tool that offers tutorials and exercises on a number of different topics.  The electronic resource is free to use and has lessons in math, science, economics/finance, and history/civics.  It represents a self-paced tool that anyone with an internet connection can use.  One of the unique features of this site is that they have partnered with several education institutions including the Getty Museum and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Khan Academy represents an amazing resource that can be used by school libraries and can be leveraged by public and academic libraries as well, to the benefit of their patrons. 

Its biggest advantage is that the electronic resource represents a way to offer tutoring to patrons both young and old without expending excessive resources.   One of the critical shortages that libraries face is a lack of personnel.   Khan Academy has many easy to use self-paced tutorials so that there is no need for an organization to hire tutors or use staff in order to provide educational help to patrons.  The other major problem libraries and many educational institutions are facing is deficient funding.   Khan Academy is free.  All you need in order to use this electronic resource is an internet connected computer and a working email.  Patrons can just register and right away they can begin using the program within most libraries.  Khan Academy is a great tool that has many great features and can help users reach their educational goals.