Thursday, August 29, 2013

Welcome Back

I did it! 

I finally produced my Library Media Centre orientation in video form this year.  The plan is to have advisory and home room teachers share it with students. Now EVERYONE will receive the information, whether their teachers bring them to the library or not, and my time, as the librarian for 14 grades and 770 students, will be used most effectively.

Here it is:

What I learned:


This was my first real experience with iMovie.  I have been a MovieMaker user for years, and while the programs are similar, I still had plenty to learn.  I found that with iMovie I could do so much more and my editing was more precise.  I used my in-house grade 7 student to teach me tips and tricks, such as the Ken Burns tool, and she shortened my learning curve considerably.

Garage Band  

I had never used Garage Band before, but after a quick tutorial from my grade 7 daughter, I used it for the voice over.  Quick, easy, and I was able to edit out where I stuttered and sputtered.


I create a couple of screencasts of online resources.  QuickTime allowed me to crop just the part of the screen I wanted to use.

Next time I will: 

Use more still photos.  The quality is better and by using Ken Burns to pan, the picture is more stable.

Coming Soon:

I was almost done when I realized I had barely skimmed over the library catalog (Destiny).  Rather than rewrite my script, I decided to create a follow-up video about using the catalog.  This led to the idea of creating a series of LMC videos to release every 2-3 weeks, highlighting databases, citing sources, new books, and special events.  If I cannot get the teachers to bring students to the library, I will take the library to them!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Digital Media Academy - Teaching Kids to Code

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the importance of teaching students how to program.  I was a CIS (Computer Information Systems) major in college before I decided to go into education.  As one who enjoyed programming, I believe it is beneficial for students and adults alike. So, I decided to expose my 13 year old son, Sebastian.  He attended the Digital Media Academy at the University of Texas this summer.  He spent 5 days learning to code with Unity3D.  His biggest take aways from the whole experience were:

  • Coding is a different language that forces you to thing logically
  • 3D figures require you to know density, height, width, length, etc.
  • Scripting - nothing moves in your game unless you have scripts
  • Making a game on unity requires you start out in a empty dimension. To actually make the game, you must know how to use an XYZ coordinate plane.  
  • When coding a script, titles and commands must be uniform throughout the program.

So what does coding with unity look like?  For each type of action, Sebastian had to compose different scripts.  See below:

After getting all the components together - he had enough elements for level 1.  According to him, it takes at least 30 levels to create a small game.  Here is some video of me trying to play his game and getting killed quickly:

Whether we are in the library or in the classroom, our job as librarians is to expose students to effective tools to help them learn.  Coding has so many benefits for students.  Maybe you can host a coding class in library or expose teachers to all the free resources available to students.  You can refer to my earlier blog about coding here: