Everyone’s Talking about AI, chatbots and ChatGPT. What does it mean for school libraries?
It’s everywhere on my socials and in my inbox at the moment – Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPD. We’ve been told for years that technology is changing and will have big impacts on the world, jobs and education. We’ve gone from fearing AI to encountering it on a daily basis (and possibly still fearing it). These past few weeks seemed to have reignited a focus on what AI and chatbots can do and how they are set to impact our lives. As a teacher librarian, I know I need to up-skill and learn about this area, as it is set to impact how student search, research, write, edit and submit their work. It will change how teachers prepare lessons, mark, how we check for plagiarism and how we teach students about AI.
If you, like me, need to read up in this area, I’ve collated a few of my favourite articles and courses that I’ve found in the past few days. Most come from a teacher or library perspective.
Canva for School Library Staff – Getting Started
Working in a school library is busy. Never a dull moment and a job that can see you doing everything from sharing the new resources you’ve just catalogued, writing a newsletter, posting to social media or creating displays. To get everything done, we need great tools to help. If you are looking for an online tool that will help you manage all the above plus so, so, so much more then you need Canva in your life.
What is Canva?
It might be easier to tell you what Canva isn’t than what it is because it does so much! Every time I use it, I learn about a new tool or feature. But basically, Canva is an online graphic design platform. Using the online platform, you can create anything, with templates for everything from social media graphics to resumes, posters and websites. Canva is also a publishing tool – it allows you to plan and post content to social media channels, share with others for online collaboration or will print products for you. Did you know that Canva was started by two Australian design students? Their goal was to make design easy and accessible for everyone. You can learn more about Canva here.
If you work in a school library like I do, you are probably always on the look out for tools and software that make your life easier. When I am limited in time but want to achieve big things, I need great resources to help me get things done. That’s why I jumped at the chance to trial and review Visme. I was provided with four months access to a business account in exchange for an honest review. I’ve looked at this platform from a school library staff member’s perspective.
What is Visme?
Visme is an online platform for creating graphic designs, presentations, documents, charts and survey results, videos and anything where you need to combine great design with visual communication. You can find out more about Visme here.
Using VR in the School Library
Have you ever used virtual reality? I have and it’s lots of fun. It’s also a fun way of bringing technology into the school library, connecting history and literature, health, geography or basically any subject and bringing it to life.
Idea Makers: 15 Fearless Female Entrepreneurs
– Lowey Bundy Sichol –
Chicago Review Press
Published 15 February 2022
15 stories of bold and imaginative female entrepreneurs. Along with a few snippets of female entrepreneurs from throughout history, this book presents the stories of 15 modern women and the ideas they made into reality.
Each and every woman included in this story is inspiring. It was amazing to experience their journeys from the initial idea to making it a reality. Each chapter explores the background story, the entrepreneur’s first jobs, the idea, how the idea was grown and where the business or entrepreneur is today. Each chapter also includes links to the business and entrepreneur’s websites and social media accounts.
SuperSight: What Augmented Reality Means for Our Lives, Our Work and the Way We Imagine the Future
– David Rose –
Published 9 November 2021
In SuperSight, author David Rose paints for readers an image of the not-too-distant future. What will this future look like? It’s more about how we will look at that future – through AI and AR enhanced vision.
SuperSight begins with an introduction where the technology behind the concept of the book is introduced. This might be future technology for some of us but David Rose explains that is very much real and happening now. Throughout the book he provides examples of the current prototypes and technology being designed by the big names we all recognise.
This Vicious Cure – Emily Suvada – This Mortal Coil #3 – Simon Pulse – Published 21 January 2020
Cat’s hacking skills weren’t enough to keep her from losing everything—her identity, her past, and now her freedom. She’s trapped and alone, but she’s survived this long, and she’s not giving up without a fight.
Though the outbreak has been contained, a new threat has emerged—one that’s taken the world to the brink of a devastating war. With genetic technology that promises not just a cure for the plague, but a way to prevent death itself, both sides will stop at nothing to seize control of humanity’s future.
Facing her smartest, most devastating enemy yet, Cat must race against the clock to protect her friends and save the lives of millions on the planet’s surface. No matter the outcome, humanity will never be the same.
And this time, Cat can’t afford to let anything, or anyone, stand in her way.
This Vicious Cure is the eagerly awaited third and final book in the This Mortal Coil series. I was a little delaying in picking up this third book after it’s publication (or one of the other librarians gave it to a student before I could read it!) so it was during the height of the first wave of COVID-19 that I was reading this conclusion to a series about a serious virus that kills and dramatically alters society. It’s surprising how many books there are bout deadly plagues and virus, but I think the This Moral Coil series is one of my absolute favs and is always one I love recommending to students.
This Vicious Cure follows on from the conclusion of the second book. The characters (and readers) have been through so much since the first book. Honestly, a happy ending seems a little unlikely. The action starts up again almost instantly. Please be aware this review may contain spoilers for the first and second book. You should read the series in series order. This Mortal Coil is perfect for fans of science fiction, dystopian novels, action, a touch of romance, strong female lead characters, coding, technology and the absolute terror of humans and society.
Renegades – Marissa Meyer – Renegades #1 – Feiwel and Friends – Published 7 November 2017
The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew.
Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.
Well. This. Was. AWESOME. Seriously, how have I not read this before? I love superhero novels but I’m really picky and struggle to find good ones. This was just fabulous from beginning to startling end.
Nova is a villain. Has been ever since her uncle, Ace Anarchy took her in when her family was murdered and the Renegades – superheroes- did nothing to save them. When Nova’s attempt on the life of the head superhero, Captain Chromium goes awry, she has to take a new tact for taking down the Renegades – this time from the inside.
Nova is just the kind of character I love. Conflicted, hiding multiple secrets and secret identities, trying to be moral and do the right thing bust also working on the “bad guys” team, industrious and clever and also slightly sarcastic.
Our second main character is Adrian. He is a Renegade Team Captain, adoptive son to the two lead superheroes and a believer in the Renegade justice system. He is also hiding a secret. His prodigy power, to bring anything he draws into reality, has allowed him to create an extra superhero identity. Adrian is the perfect offset to Nova. And they connect almost straight away, after fighting each other in their other identities, of course. As Nova works her way into the Renegade program and onto Adrian’s team, she gathers a lot more information about the Renegades. Maybe they are not all bad, but she is determined to get revenge for her family’s deaths.
Turing Tumble Review
I had seen the Turing Tumble on Twitter before and I was intrigued but didn’t investigate further until our library purchased 6 to use in our makerspace. I took one home over the school holidays to build, learn and play. Here’s what I discovered.
What is the Turing Tumble?
Designed from Alan Turing’s Turing Machine, the Turing Tumble is a computer. Using switches and marbles you can actually build a mechanical computer and solve problems, and run calculations. It also lets you see how a computer codes. You are coding and learning about computers at the same time.
You can find a lot more information, videos, background story, Kickstarter campaign and how-tos on the Turing Tumble website, so I won’t duplicate that here.
Rogue Princess – B.R. Myers – Swoon Reads – Published 21 January 2020
Princess Delia knows her duty: She must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. Yet she secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. Determined to chart her own course, she steals a spaceship to avoid the marriage, only to discover a handsome stowaway.
All Aidan wanted was to “borrow” a few palace trinkets to help him get off the planet. Okay, so maybe escaping on a royal ship wasn’t the smartest plan, but he never expected to be kidnapped by a runaway princess!
Sparks fly as this headstrong princess and clever thief battle wits, but everything changes when they inadvertently uncover a rebel conspiracy that could destroy their planet forever.
I love fairytale retelling and Rogue Princess was such a wonderful surprise. It’s fresh, clever, unique, romantic and has such a fantastic cast of strong, diverse characters.
Princess Delia knows her duty. Choose a husband that will benefit the kingdom. That doesn’t mean her heart doesn’t long for a love match. Determined to find another way to secure the energy source her planet needs, she attempts to steal a space ship and broker a deal. Aidan wants to find a better life away from the control of his stepfather and step brothers. Stealing items while working at the palace has enabled him to secure a new future for himself. But when he steals a valuable item from a prince he must run, and finds himself on Delia’s spaceship. The two don’t make it far, intercepted by pirates. Delia must return to the palace and face the wrath of the queen, Aidan to his stepfather. But the two have a connection and together begin to uncover a plot to over throw the monarchy.
Rogue Princess is a sci-fi romantic adventure, with themes of sustainability issues and equality. Advanced technology means there are servant androids and mini personal flying craft, spaceships and mentions of other planets, but the story remains firmly grounded on Delia’s home planet.