Friday, October 24, 2014

J.K. Rowling Pens Original Short Fiction


In a special Halloween treat for Harry Potter fans, J.K. Rowling's website will post new original writing on October 31 about the witch and former Hogwarts professor Dolores Umbridge.  The character was first introduced to readers in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic. Umbridge is not only one of the most malicious "Potter" characters, she is the only person other than Lord Voldemort to leave a permanent physical scar on Harry.

The new exclusive J.K. Rowling content provides a rich, 1,700-word back story about Umbridge's life filled with many new details, as well as Rowling's revealing first-person thoughts and reflections about the character.

J.K. Rowling Pens Original Short Fiction is a post from: Good e-Reader

Use a survey to (en)gage your students

131404919Putting out a survey to your students is a great way to find out if they've used your digital library, but also a way to figure out how and why/why not. Lisa Guess at Smithville Middle School (MO) created a survey for her students and learned a lot more than just "Yes, I have read an eBook" or "No, I haven't." Asking the right questions is vital, and she sought to get answers for the following:

  1. "If you haven't read an eBook, please explain why."
    You can give a list of options or leave open-ended, but you might be surprised at some of the answers you get. The responses can help you determine how to try and increase your usage. If a lot of students are saying "I didn't know it existed" or "I haven't taken the time to try," then you might want to consider putting on training sessions inside the classrooms. We have a new feature called Simple Login that is really helpful for in-class trainings and is a great way to quickly and easily introduce students to your digital library (contact your Account Specialist for more information).
  2. "What titles would you like to see added to our digital library?"
    Students can use the recommend feature on your digital library website, but chances are you'll get a lot more recommendations from the survey. This is also a good opportunity to remind them that they can let you know what they'd like to read at any time, and gives them a sense of empowerment. When your collection reflects their interests, you'll see the impact in your circulation reports.
  3. "Briefly describe what you like and do not like about OverDrive."
    These were posed as two separate questions and can provide insight on how your students are using your digital titles. You can learn what devices they use and where/when they like to read, as well as discover areas where there could be improvements. We get some of our best feedback from hearing what people don't like, and that drives us to enhance the user experience and create new features.

No matter what questions you ask, a survey will unquestionably increase awareness of your digital library. A good way to measure the impact is to run the User Statistics reports in Marketplace. By comparing the results before and after the survey, you can see if there was in increase in how many students logged in for the first time, if your digital library saw an increase in visits and page views, and if more individual students are actually borrowing titles. Feel free to post any other good questions you have in the comments below, and create your survey today!

Scooter with blinkenlights

Alex Markley, a programmer, writer and comedian, has a young relative who, thanks to a Model A Raspberry Pi, some Adafruit Neopixels, some sensors and a scooter is currently the world’s happiest nine-year-old.

I asked Alex if he’s written the project up – he says he’s working on it. We’ll add a link to any build instructions he produces as soon as they’re available.