Keeping the Library Relevant When Your School Goes 1:1

This coming school year (2016-2017), my school’s region was fortunate to be selected by our county to pilot a 1:1 rollout. This means that all 1300 of my 7th and 8th graders will be provided with a laptop to carry to all classes. With this kind of announcement, several emotions and questions most likely go through a librarian’s brain.


Emojis of 1 to 1

  1. Excitement: Hooray! Constant competition for computer labs is over!
  2. Creativity/Wonder: How many possible opportunities does this create? The sky’s the limit!
  3. Hesitancy: Will the kids ever look up from them?
  4. Uncertainty: How will this affect my current collaborations with my teachers?
  5. Concern: Will I get need to get involved if something gets broken/goes missing?
  6. Dread: How can I keep the library popular when they don’t need our computers anymore?

I think every single one of these emotions is fair game for the 1:1 arena. It’s a lot of new possibilities, but also a lot of extra work and adjustment, not only for us as librarians, but also for teachers, who are used to the way they have taught for however many years (or even just a few years but are now settled into their rhythm). This is a big deal! This post is going to stick to answering question 6 in this list: How to keep the library popular in this very digital age.

Fortunately, I happen to LOVE tech and I think there are a lot of ways for not only the library to stay current with 1:1 but also to help the adjustment of tech-tolerant but not inspired teachers a bit easier. In the spirit of 2016’s Create & Share extravaganza, I’m sharing 2 solid sites that will help you, your staff, and your students be more productive in a 1:1 (or tech-heavy) environment.

Lesson Paths Logo

I love because it makes super friendly what we already do. It’s essentially an online pathfinders site, but I love it because you can specifically organize the steps in which you want the students to visit those sites into what is known as a playlist. You can include videos, websites, upload documents, and include pop quizzes – for free! This is a great site for teachers interested in doing flipped classroom things, too! When I was teaching 8th grade English, I used a flipped classroom model to review parts of speech. Here is a lesson I did for my students on prepositions and prepositional phrases.

There are so many playlists that are already done that you can share with your teachers! All you have to do is browse playlists and search for whatever terms or curriculum you’re looking for. It is definitely a user-friendly site, and this would be a great place to curate some research sites OR to do some kind of Guided Inquiry project. Check out the video that I created on how to create a LessonPath:

I found this one about habitats & ecosystems, this one that a library did as a summer reading list, and this one about Colonial America.  This seems like a great site to ignite lots of learning – while focusing students on the specific content & resources they need.


I love because it is essentially a brainstorming tool but can also be a great way for students to digitize/curate information themselves. Often seen as a virtual sticky note board, you can upload documents, links, videos and images – for free! They do offer a premium plan, but the free version works just fine with what I use it for. While somewhat lengthy (13 mins), this video is an awesome resource to fully understand the ins and outs of Padlet. They recently went through some layout changes, so this is good to get a feel for how to use just about everything:

 I love that there are different settings for how others can interact with the Padlet: anyone can comment/post instantly, posts can be moderated, or Padlets can be set just to view the information and no one can make changes but the owner. Whichever the setting, owners can delete any posts on the board if needed. This gives the owner a lot of power in terms of how they want their users to interact with the content. And for free! Gotta love it in a budget-tight world. 🙂

Padlet can be used for a zillion things.Teachers can open a Padlet, give students the link to open on their computer (or even have it be the first link in their LessonPath playlist), and have students contribute ideas to a discussion/new concept – in real time. By showing the Padlet on a screen, students can see both on their computers and on the screen when their classmates are typing. This can be used as a way to start discussions but can also provide a safe place for all students – both the ones who don’t enjoy speaking out but have great ideas and also the ones who have a zillion ideas – to contribute their thoughts. I presented this site recently at a conference to a group of visiting overseas secondary teachers. We also created a Padlet during the session with their thoughts on how to use this in their classrooms.

It could even be designated as a “parking lot” for students to leave their feedback after a particular unit or lesson – what they liked, didn’t like, etc. Finally, students can create these themselves after a particular unit. The 7th grade social studies team used Padlet for their students to choose an invention/event/person from 1877-1910 and discuss its impact on that time, the present, and 50 years from now. Here are links to great examples – in a Padlet! Students created their own projects and the only thing they submitted to the teacher was the link! (It was super easy grading, too – in May!) Some teachers created a place for students to submit their links so that their classmates could view all the Padlets and give feedback. It was a great way for students to show off what they learned in a comfortable environment. (How did I help, as the librarian, with this? I showed the staff how to use Padlet, did a screencast for students showing them how to use it and the importance of including citations/avoiding plagiarism, and helped with creating the rubric of the project, to include citations. It was awesome!)

Finally, as a librarian, you can use Padlet for a bunch of things. Here are some of my ideas for how I want to use it this year:

  • Showcase photos, videos, and write ups from our new makerspace (!)
  • Curate all the photos from all/most of our events. Maybe just “Library Happenings in 2016-2017”?
  • Have my library helpers write book reviews of popular books or simply include the images of new books that we have received.
  • Curating materials, but materials that don’t necessarily need step-by-step, like Lesson Paths. Maybe resources on important events, like the upcoming election in November or as a place to collect lots of sites teachers can use for 1:1?

Here are some other suggestions for how to use Padlet in a library. What ideas do you have for how to include Padlet as an extension of the library?

Stay tuned for a new post next week about 2 new sites to use for 1:1! So, what do you think? Do you see these helping you, your staff, and your students? I think they both have so many possibilities that it’ll help make 1:1 what it should be: productive learning in a digital environment. And really, it is our responsibility as librarians to provide access to and help our users be effective users of ideas and information – whatever that looks like. This is just digital information, and probably sites they don’t have time to find with everything else that’s going on – especially during a new roll out! Hopefully you can stick these two (and the next two!) in your digital arsenal to show off how awesome and tech-friendly you and your library are. Your staff will love you for it!


One thought on “Keeping the Library Relevant When Your School Goes 1:1

  1. Pingback: Keeping Your Library Relevant When Your School Goes 1:1 (part 2): Helping Teachers Facilitate a Digital Classroom – Grover's Corner of the Library

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