Keeping Your Library Relevant When Your School Goes 1:1 (part 2): Helping Teachers Facilitate a Digital Classroom

This post is Part 2 of Making Your Library Relevant When Your School Goes 1:1 (see first post here).  So, why do we as librarians need to know about tools like these? They are going to help us have staying power with our staff and students when all students have their own devices and may not be coming into the library as much. This is especially true for me; last year (and the years before it), my library had 48 laptops that my teachers and students could use for testing, printing, researching, working, and studying. We were constantly booked for end-of-quarter testing, essay writing, research classes, and more.

With 1:1, we no longer have 48 laptops, but rather a laptop cart that has 30 computers in it to be used as needed. I’m not convinced these laptops are going to be used for anything other than printing since students will have their own laptops but don’t have access to the school printers (only our library laptops do). Teachers will no longer be booking the library as a computer lab for essay writing or end-of-unit testing; they can do both of those in their classrooms. However, when our schools go 1:1, we as librarians are in a great position: it’s a virtual unknown to shift from a traditional classroom to a primarily digital environment, and they need resources. They need ideas. They need support. Umm, isn’t this what we do as librarians? We give resources, ideas, AND support, no matter the person, situation, or resource.

So how does the library stay relevant? What do we do to make sure we’re still consistently booked, and actually being used for instruction? We show off professional resources, like the two tools below, to our teachers. We give them specific examples of how to use them in their classrooms. We offer to model the tools for them by teaching their students. These tools will help our teachers to incorporate student devices in a meaningful way, in ways that wouldn’t be possible without technology. Without further adieu, here are the two resources I am going to show my staff first this year:



I appreciate thinglink (it’s supposed to be lowercase) because of its interactivity. So, is a site where you can upload an image and then place “tags” on it to make it interactive. You can pick a spot on the image and ask a question, give more information about whatever is in that spot of the image, or provide a website for students to research more about that object. It is free to use, although there is an option for a paid subscription. When I first tried it out, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to use. It was very user friendly; the only difficult part was deciding which image to use!

I went with a photo from the Civil Rights Movement that I have used with a Creative Writing class to learn about how to use primary sources to spark historical fiction writing. The tags I chose to use were spots that either I pointed out to the students or the students pointed out in class.I also linked to the site where I got the image that gives more info about it, including the date it was taken and more details about the people in the picture. Now, could my original lesson still work? Of course! It was a highly successful lesson. But what about kids who are absent? What if the teacher has to be out that day? What if kids want to go back and review what we talked about? This still gives students the guidance for learning the same skills, just in more of a personalized learning environment. Here (and below) is the thinglink I created.

So, how else could you use thinglink? What about…

  • interactive diagrams in science, for things like parts of the cell or an image of the solar system with tags on each of the planets?
  • world languages, to make tags on objects with new vocabulary words, or to identify parts of a city?
  • math, labeling parts of a graph or having an image of many kinds of graphs and tagging important parts of each graph, along with showing its name?
  • history, on a timeline, and use tags to give links for more information about some of the events on the timeline?
  • getting to know an author? Check out this one about Laurie Halse Anderson.
  • giving a quiz or review content, based on a photo or diagram?

There are SO many examples online! Google thinglink examples, click on images, and go to town. Also, check out this link for ways to use it in the secondary classroom, and this link for elementary classrooms. They are so easy to make. All you need to do when you are done is give the students the link to view it!


HyperDocs with bulb2

I was fascinated when the technology specialist at my school recently introduced me to these. Found at, these are great, FREE templates that have already been created for teacher and student use. They are designed to be used with Google Docs, and are interactive documents to be sure students stay on track with digital lessons. On the site, click on Resources and Templates to see the ones that have already been created. At their core, hyperdocs are just documents with hyperlinks in them (hence, hyperlink + document = hyperdoc), linking to websites, other documents, etc. For us librarians, this is essentially another way to make interactive pathfinders, or to help teachers set up the steps for their students to complete a research project. Take a look at this link to see how one teacher uses hyperdocs in her classroom.

Here is an example of a hyperdoc I found on Twitter by @MrMoseleyPHMS that he created to have his students work more with Digital Citizenship. What a great way to keep kids on track and keep it interactive, as well! I think my teachers will be very excited about using hyperdocs in their classroom, because they lay out nicely expectations and resources. There’s also nothing for them to physically lose, since it’s in their Google Classroom or linked from their classroom website, and all the due dates/information is all in one spot.

To be fair, I haven’t created any of my own yet, mostly because I learned about hyperdocs only a few weeks ago and it’s still summer for me. However, I have plans to create at least two by the end of first quarter. I think one is going to be civics related about election resources and the other is still TBD. 🙂 

This post has been so long. Sorry! Here’s to hoping that you can use either one or both of these tools with your teachers. They’re both really simple and easy to use, and they’ll make classes easier to manage when used consistently. Stay tuned for the last installment of this series, which talks about why helping our teachers and students in a 1:1 school really matters.

Happy almost September!


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