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Adding Spice to Library Instruction

July 25, 2011

Recently on the ILI-L, there was a thread about innovative ways to enliven library instruction sessions. I really enjoyed reading about what some librarians are doing to engage and motivate students during the usually short time that librarians have to show what the library has to offer and to teach and facilitate research skills.  Among the ideas offered in the postings, three in particular caught my interest: Animoto, Popplet, and Prezi.

Animoto  is a great tool for easily creating videos and presentations. Anyone can create a free 30-second video with an Animoto Lite account. There are three additional fee-based account types and a free iPad app, too.  Educators can apply for a free Animoto Plus account. On the ILI-L, one of the posters wrote about playing  an Animoto video while students arrive and get settled.  It sounded like a wonderful idea to add pizzazz and an upbeat tone to the library session before it actually begins.

I tried out the Lite account. Using Animoto’s stock video and music, I quickly created a video, “Getting Connected to the PSU Libraries” to show basic library contact information.  With the music,  graphics, and looping feature, I think the video will add spice to the session before it even begins. To view the quick and (very basic) video I created , follow the link below.

Popplet is another useful tool for creating visuals.  It’s a fast, easy, and free way to produce colorful diagrams/concept/mind maps using text, images, videos,  and links.  There is also a free Popplet app for the iPad.  To get a good idea of the various ways to use Popplet,  be sure to view the “Checkout our preview video” on Popplet’s homepage.

To become familiar with Popplet, I used it to create a basic visual diagram, “Steps for Writing a Research Paper.”   To see it, click the link below.

Prezi offers an innovative way to produce presentations that are very different from the typical PowerPoint presentation.  I would say a Prezi presentation is quite “action oriented” with its zooming and scaling features.  You can even import your current PowerPoint or Keynote slides and “Prezify” them.  There are three account types, and the middle one is available for free to educators.  I plan to work on my first Prezi presentation in the near future.  For a brief overview of Prezi,  check out the following:

What types of innovative tools do you use when conducting library instruction?  Has anyone used any of the above tools?  Would anyone like to share examples?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Amy Pajewski permalink
    July 25, 2011 9:01 pm

    I used Prezi for my instruction portion of my interview, and I love how it livens up instruction. However, I have found that it can make some people feel a little sick if you are constantly zooming and bouncing in and out of slides – so use it wisely! The tutorials on their website are fantastic.

  2. Paul Proces permalink
    July 25, 2011 10:13 pm

    I use Prezi in class and in training faculty, but the dizziness is an issue. Faculty frequently complain, but I have never had a student bat an eye (yet?). I had to stop using it with faculty. One of the best features for folks that use a lot of media is that it embeds YouTube videos and pictures really easily. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about losing the videos like you do in PowerPoint. No files, no disks, just need the URL.

  3. May 15, 2012 9:10 pm

    I love using Prezi. I was taught that it’s good presentation “etiquette” to remain on a slide for at least 45 seconds before moving on (otherwise your audience starts getting confused). This seems to translate well with Prezi, because the slower movement prevents dizziness.

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