As I update my own library website, I continue to review websites on the School Library Websites wiki. In addition to looking for their targeted audience, I also focussed on the platform used in creating the websites to see if I may want to change from WordPress. Dr. Charles Best Secondary library uses a blog format
which I quite liked. Instead of having separate pages, the sidebars contain links to the resources students need. Many of the library websites, like the Acadia Library/Learning Commons, are wikis which allow collaboration and the addition
of as much information as you want. However, I found that the format makes it unclear where to find specific information. Horseheads High School’s Library Media Centre acts as an online catalogue for library resources, but I want my website to offer more than that.
For my own website, I decided to stick with WordPress, not only because it will save me from having to completely reinvent it, but I like the format. I like having a blog to highlight things happening in the library, as well as pages for more permanent information. I find pages make it easier to organize that information for easy retrieval.
Changes I have made to my website:
- The theme – I switched from the Coralline theme to the Adventure Journal theme. I find the new theme more visually appealing and complementary to my vision for my website.
- Blog page – I figured out how to embed my Animoto video into the page instead of just having the link. I added a Twitter feed, and Goodreads to showcase recommended books.
- About Your Library page – I made an iMovie of the original pictures, created a Vimeo account to upload the movie and then embed it into WordPress.
- Research Tools – I included links (with graphics) for the Works Consulted page, and Publishing Your Work page. For Wikipedia 101 I learned how to create an instructional video using Quicktime Player, which I then uploaded to Vimeo and embedded it on the page. I linked the Plagiarism page to an online tutorial. I shortened the Five Ws (and one H) of Cyberspace and linked to some websites as a starting point for creating a lesson for students.
- EAL Resources – I created a Parents and Students page with some useful links for resources outside the school community.
- Teachers – I added a Visual Literacy page with a link to my Evernote notebook listing picture books that can be used to support content at the high school level. This list was my final project for LLED 446.
I am happy with the changes I have made so far, and think I have a pretty good start on what I eventually want my library website to look like.
There have been many challenges the last couple of weeks as I have updated my website. The first being just getting used to using WordPress again to create/edit a website. Because I switched themes I had to reorganize a few things, and I figured out how to reorder my pages to create a menu I liked, not just the default, alphabetical one WordPress put them in. Another challenge was embedding my Vimeo videos onto my pages. The instructions on WordPress didn’t work for me, but looking online I found other instructions that helped. However, I have to say my biggest challenge with technology was making my Wikipedia tutorial.
Creating the tutorial took me outside my comfort zone as I have never done one before and though I am comfortable teaching in front of a class, I have never really listened to myself speak. Plus the information I originally had on the page from Media Smarts seemed outdated, so I spent some time on the Wikipedia site, searching different topics and creating my own lesson of how to evaluate one of its pages. Once I figured out what I wanted to say, I searched the Internet for advice on making an instructional video and found a tutorial describing how to make screen recordings using QuickTime Player. As I have this on my computer I decided to try it first. After many hours I finally had my tutorial completed to my satisfaction (not completely happy, but satisfied). I lost track of how many screen recordings I attempted, though on the positive side I certainly got used to hearing my own voice.
The more I use technology, the more I realize that it is not as intimidating to use as I once thought. Online platforms make it easy to create and share your work and ideas, and if there are challenges, there is a lot of online help available. My own website will remain a work in progress, and I look forward to discovering new digital technologies to enhance the virtual space of my library.