Category Archives: Pretty Sweet Tech

Make ‘n’ Take Circuit Kits: Brown Dog Gadgets

I know summer reading is taking the world by storm right now, but kids still want some circuit goodness even during the summer! If you’re looking for some quick and easy projects you can do right out of the box, try the circuit kits from Brown Dog Gadgets!

Their Sewing Circuits, Micro:bit rover kits, Solar kits, Origami Circuits, and a lot more are a level above the other kits I’ve tried. Here’s why:

  • Excellent instructions
  • Well packaged for individual or large group use, depending on the kind you buy
  • High-quality parts that actually work
  • Easy online ordering & tracking
  • Try before you buy- order a sample pack
  • Nylon conductive tape is safer and easier to use
  • Crazy Circuits system is better for little fingers

Nylon Conductive Tape: For those who have used circuit kits before, I want to clarify those last two items. Traditionally conductive tape is metal and can be pretty sharp. I’ve walked away with far too many cuts on my fingertips after the old paper circuits. Brown Dog uses nylon conductive tape that feels like fabric. It’s durable, but can be repositioned on your project without losing stickiness. They sell their tape separately, so even if you have a bunch of paper circuit supplies already, it’s worth it just to gleefully throw out your old, metal, finger-hating, conductive tape.

Crazy Circuits: Their Crazy Circuits components make it easier to grip and work with LED lights and other small components. Traditionally, LED lights have two small wires and you have to figure out which side is the positive side, and which is the negative side, then make sure the tape makes contact with the right side. Crazy Circuits components are connected to a little circuit board and are easy to grip. So you can tape directly to the board, or use their conductive thread to build a circuit. The large holes also work with Lego bricks so you can make more cool creations.

Pre-packaged kits or individual components: Brown Dog’s pre-packaged kits are great for Code Clubs, make ‘n’ take kits to send home, makerspace activities, or anything your librarian heart desires. Some of their kits use their custom Crazy Circuits system, others use regular LEDs and traditional components. So you have your choice.

Check out Brown Dog Gadgets for quick and easy projects you can order online. They’re geared more towards K-8, but who doesn’t love to sew felt creations that can actually light up with joy? Stock up and pull them out on a rainy day.

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech: Computers in Libraries 2024 Highlights & Trends

Highlights and Trends from Computers in Libraries 2024 will be shared on next week’s ‘Pretty Sweet Tech’ NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, March 27 at 10am CT.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Computers in Libraries is the world’s leading technology and innovation conference for librarians! In this session I will cover come of the awesome ideas, tools, tips and tricks of the trade I picked up while in D.C. this year.

I hope to see you there! As a side note, if you’re looking for more emerging tech trends in the library, check out Computers in Libraries magazine.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • April 3 – Improving the Quality of Childcare Through STREAM
  • April 10 – Program Planning with a Marketing Mindset

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website.

The show is presented online using the GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech: Evolve Project: Shaping the Libraries of the Future

Brian Pichman of the Evolve Project will be Amanda’s guest on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, February 28, at 10am CT.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Brian Pichman of the Evolve Project is the man behind the scenes, transforming how libraries engage with technology. Here at the Commission, he helped a lot with the Tech Kits Through the Mail. If you’ve gotten a kit from us, it’s because he tracks tech trends, works with tech gadget startups, and helps build solid strategies to connect communities with transformative technology.

Honestly, he’s helped me a lot over the years. But I can’t be selfish. I decided to share his expertise with you all! Turns out Brian does way more than I ever knew possible.

In this session we will get Brian talking about all the cool things he has going on:

  • Explore how his pilot programs of new games & gadgets are shaping the future of libraries through makerspaces, innovation spaces, and leading edge programming
  • Learn how Brian helps libraries embrace AI, VR and AR to revolutionize library services and enhance accessibility and engagement for all.
  • Discover his passion for open-source solutions to drive positive change, and his recent endeavors with ByWater Solutions, a leading provider of open-source library software.
  • Dig into his work with libchalk, a web hosting platform designed specifically to help libraries host digital content, websites, courses, and online resource libraries.

The real question is, what doesn’t he do? He can help your library too. Find out how.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • March 13 – Winning Grants for Your Library Programming
  • March 27 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • April 3 – Improving the Quality of Childcare Through STREAM

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website.

The show is presented online using the GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Computers in Libraries 2024 (March 12- March 14)

I do an overview session of the Computers in Libraries (CIL) conference every year on NCompass Live sharing all the latest trends, tools, and techy tips. This year I remembered to tell you about the conference ahead of time! If you’re wondering, CIL is a magical time of year where libraries come together to talk about all things technology.

This year (March 12-14) there are tons of sessions on AI in the library, website re-design, next-level makerspaces, building knowledge hubs, cybersecurity, creative partnerships, tech for marketing, innovation spaces, and everything your techy little heart desires. It’s my happy place. I’ll also be doing two sessions and a workshop if you’re interested.

The Nebraska Library Commission offers discounted rates for CIL registration. If it’s not in the cards for you this year, tune into my NCompass overview session on April 24, 2024. Or do both, it’s hard to catch everything.

Learn more about the Computers in Libraries Conference, or register on their website. It’s always in Crystal City, VA, a short train ride from the Smithsonian museums and all the attractions in D.C. if you want to multitask. Remember to grab the Commission’s discount code first!

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech: New Tech Kits Through the Mail Options!

That’s right, you heard it here first, the Tech Kits Through the Mail service has some new tech kits available! Learn all about them on next week’s ‘Pretty Sweet Tech’ NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, December 27 at 10am CT.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

For anyone new to the Tech Kits, the Nebraska Library Commission circulates drones, robotics, circuit kits, virtual reality headsets, and more! The kits are designed to introduce communities to the Industry 4.0 technologies that are changing the way we all live, work and interact with one another. Attend this session to:

  • Learn about the newly added kits.
  • Explore updated resources & activities.
  • Learn how the service works.
  • Explore practical ways Industry 4.0 tech is being used to solve real problems.

I hope to see you there as you follow the tech kit saga! If you’re not in Nebraska, you can still access the supplementary resources, and gather ideas for which tech kits you want in your own library!

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Jan. 3, 2024 – Meet the NLC, Part 1
  • Jan. 10, 2024 – Meet the NLC, Part 2
  • Jan. 17, 2024 – Auditing Library Websites
  • Jan. 24, 2024 – Best New Teen Reads of 2023
  • Jan. 31, 2024 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Feb. 14, 2024 – ConnectEd Nebraska: Bridging the Digital Divide through Innovative eduroam Expansion
  • Feb. 21, 2024 – Using Creativity to Grow & Develop

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website.

The show is presented online using the GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Holiday & Winter Tech Kit Activities

Most of you probably know we offer Tech Kits Through the Mail to school and public libraries in Nebraska. But did you know that many of those kits have really fun holiday and winter themed activities? Check out a kit and try one one or all of these activity ideas this winter:

  • Dash & Dot Winter Activities (age 6+): Design your own winter parade floats and program them around a parade obstacle, record your own winter theme song, challenge your friends to a snowball fight, and more!
  • Finch 2.0 Robot Winter (age 6+): Turn your robot into a snowplow, build a holiday parade and add a green screen backdrop if you’re feeling fancy, or create a fun winter window display.
  • Hummingbird Bit Premium (age 8+): Take your winter window display up a notch, craft and program an interactive winter story scene, or add a moving background to your winter parade video!
  • Ozobot Evo Robot (age 4+): Design a Winter Wonderland and challenge others to navigate your creation, create a fun snow maze, use the plow attachment to clean the streets, or use your imagination to visit Narnia!
  • Micro:bit (age 8+): Make an LED snow globe animation using the built-in display, blow out an LED candle or program your micro:bit to let you know when the sun is finally out again.

Find a full list of kits, or check out a Tech Kit Through the Mail using this link. Here are the loan program details:

  • Kits can be checked out for 30 days at a time.
  • You can check out multiple kits at once.
  • Kits are shipped to you for free, and use of the kits is free.
  • You only pay return shipping. (Some library systems may help offset these costs. Ask your system director if this is an option near you.)
  • Check out the Tech Kit Loan Policy for more details.

I hope you have some winter wonderland fun with the Tech Kits Through the Mail!

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech: Internet Librarian 2023 Highlights

Highlights from Internet Librarian 2023 will be shared on next week’s Pretty Sweet Tech NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, November 29 at 10am CT.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Just in case you missed it, this Pretty Sweet Tech will offer some highlights from Internet Librarian 2023 that ran from October 17-19. Internet Librarian is a great big tech conference for librarians. If you’ve attended one of these recaps before, you know that I love to choose some major themes and pluck out the sessions that really stood out to me for various reasons. Here are this year’s themes, as chosen by me, not the conference coordinators:

  • AI, XR & Emerging Tech: Explore how emerging tech is shaping our world, and how the library can not only keep up, but set the stage for the future of tech in our communities
  • Digital Presence: Tips and tricks for improving digital materials, going all digital, or connecting with your community online. This trend is here to stay.
  • Handling Change: The world is just going to keep moving faster, so these sessions covered some tips and techniques to help both individuals and libraries adapt and thrive.
  • Tech Tools, Resources & Gadgets: As always there were a motley assortment of helpful tools, services, resources & gadgets. I will share my highlights here.

As always, I couldn’t make it to every session, but these are the ones I caught or heard about after the fact. There’s only so much time in the day, so I did my best!

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Dec. 6 – Using Creativity to Grow & Develop
  • Dec. 13 – Canvaholic
  • Dec. 20 – Summer Reading Program 2024: Adventure Begins at Your Library
  • Jan. 17, 2024 – Auditing Library Websites
  • Jan. 24, 2024 – Best New Teen Reads of 2023

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website.

The show is presented online using the GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Prairie STEM Library Pack Raffle!

The Nebraska Library Commission partnered with Prairie STEM to raffle off 42 STEM Library Packs! Each Library Pack comes with 12 individual kits that have instructions, career exploration information, and all the materials you need for assembly. Some of the design-related activities can be enhanced by items you have laying around the library.

About Prairie STEM

Prairie STEM is an Omaha-based nonprofit that offers STEM kits, educator training, and outreach programs in the Omaha area and beyond. They’ve partnered with various schools, libraries and educational institutions across the state, including virtual reality, drone, and smart garden programs.

Need Kits Right Away?

Through this partnership, you also have the option to purchase kits directly from Prairie STEM. You can get Classroom Packs of 12 or 24 of any or all of these types of kits:

  • Cell Building Innovation
  • Environmental Challenge
  • Pendulum Painting
  • Toothpaste Challenge
  • Blood Model Innovation
  • Design a Glider Innovation
  • Quick Escape Challenge

Purchase kits directly at this link: https://stem-kits-nebraska-library-commission.cheddarup.com

Feel free to contact Prairie STEM to ask about partnering on any programming, custom kits, or educator/ facilitator training in your community.

Enter the Raffle!

Fill out this quick form to enter the raffle and be 1 of 42 libraries to win a STEM Pack! All the details are in the flyer below:

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Pretty Sweet Tech: CyberPatriot’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition

Cybersecurity is one of the top growing tech careers in the nation. The Air Force Association started their CyberPatriot’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition to help middle and high school students explore cybersecurity careers by taking on the role of a cybersecurity systems administrator, working to prevent and address cyber threats to a small business. CyberPatriots is now the world’s largest cybersecurity competition!

Eligibility: The competition is open to all schools and approved youth organizations, including Boys & Girl Scout troops, STEM groups, libraries, and homeschool groups. School and public libraries are encouraged to apply!

Learn more about the competition structure, team member requirements, costs, and tech requirements on the CyberPatriot website.

Registration is due by October 3, 2023 so start planning now!

While you’re on the site, check out the Air Force’s other cybersecurity resources for senior citizens:

  • CyberGenerations: This pre-packaged program is designed to introduce senior citizens to cybersecurity basics, password management, common internet threats, scams and fraud, and social media safety. CyberGenerations offers a Self-Paced Guide, and Workshop Resources to help facilitate virtual or in-person workshops.
  • Tech Caregiver: This training course with resources and guides certifies trainers to assist senior citizens to safely operate online. This is a good course to get comfortable facilitating CyberGenerations workshops in your community.
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Grant Opportunity: High School Drone Program

If you work with high school students in your library, or know a high school in need of a drone program, check out this FAA Aircraft Pilots Workforce Development Grant Program.

The FAA is awarding up to $500,000 to multiple applicants for a total of $4,500,000 in an effort to attract future aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, or unmanned aircraft systems operators (drone operators) in the U.S. Starting a drone pilot training program in your school or library is a great way to attract future aviation professionals!

The grant application is due August 16, 2023, so think fast! Feel free to check out these drone training resources for high school age students as inspiration for your grant writing:

You can also reach out to local community colleges and universities to get the most up to date drone-related curriculum, or more local resource and program referrals. I’ll stop droning on now. Happy applying!

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech: Internet Filtering For E-Rate CIPA Compliance And Cybersecurity

Learn about ‘Internet Filtering For E-Rate CIPA Compliance And Cybersecurity’ on next week’s Pretty Sweet Tech NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, July 26, at 10am CT.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

To take advantage of the E-rate funding to pay for your library’s Internet service, you are required to have CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) compliant filtering in place. Filtering can also provide strong cybersecurity protection for library staff and customers. Guest Presenter Andrew “Sherm” Sherman, with the Nebraska Library Commission Computer Services team, will discuss how this filtering can be implemented, the cyber security benefits, and the various solutions that meet CIPA guidelines.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • August 9 – Deploying Soft Skills in the Library Setting
  • August 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website.

The show is presented online using the GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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DNS filtering solution for Nebraska’s public libraries

The Nebraska Library Commission (NLC) is pleased to announce it is now offering a DNS filtering solution to Nebraska’s public libraries. This solution will provide the Internet filtering technology required for E-Rate CIPA compliance. Even if your library is not utilizing E-Rate, this versatile solution can also provide cybersecurity protection for your library’s computers and customers. The NLC will cover the expense of this service and assist with its implementation.

On July 26th at 10:00am (CDT), Andrew “Sherm” Sherman, will be doing an NCompass Live! Presentation on DNS filtering. You can register for this presentation at:

http://nlc.nebraska.gov/scripts/calendar/eventshow.asp?ProgID=22997

For questions about this solution and implementing it at your library, please contact:


Andrew “Sherm” Sherman
Library Technology Support Specialist
Nebraska Library Commission
andrew.sherman@nebraska.gov
402-471-4559
800-307-2665

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech: Secure Computers For Public Use

Learn how to keep your library computers secure for public use on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, June 28, at 10am CT.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Computers for public use are a service unique to libraries. To provide the best possible protection for the customers that use them and maximize their availability, they need to be properly secured and maintained. Guest Presenter Andrew “Sherm” Sherman, with the Nebraska Library Commission Computer Services team, will take you through the process he has used to do this for the libraries he has provided IT support for.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • July 5 – One Book for Nebraska Kids & Teens 2023
  • July 12 – A Library Centennial Celebration in Photos and Memories
  • July 19 – Nebraska Open Meetings Act: 2023 Overview and Updates
  • July 26 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Internet Filtering For E-Rate CIPA Compliance And Cybersecurity

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website.

The show is presented online using the GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Free AI Video Generator Tool

Do you want to play with AI generated videos in your library? I just stumbled across a website called Kapwing that will allow you to generate short, watermarked videos for free. They also have a reasonably-priced Pro plan if you’re looking for a video editor with AI capabilities for your library, or want to offer this cool new service to patrons.

If you’re new to AI generated videos, this service allows you to enter a brief description, and Kapwing will automatically generate text, music, and video clips that match your topic. Adjust phrasing or trade out images to get an end result that works for you! You can also generate an AI Video Script using a similar process. Kapwing uses the ever-popular ChatGPT to generate the scripts.

Example Video

I tried out both the AI Video Generator and the AI Video Script Generator and they are both alarmingly good. Here’s the video Kapwing generated when I entered “libraries supporting job seekers searching for meaningful work”. I didn’t do any extra editing. This is the video as is:

Tutorial Instructions

Want to try it yourself? Use these instructions:

  1. Go to https://www.kapwing.com/ai
  2. Choose AI Video Generator. Click Create a Video with AI.
  3. Look for “Create a Video About”. Click in the text box and type in a description. (ex. create a video about frogs traveling to Paris who are deathly afraid of French chefs)
  4. Press enter to generate video.
  5. Choose the video size. 16:9 aspect ratio is recommended for YouTube and standard screens.
  6. Choose the text style. Click Generate Video.
  7. Login or create a free Kapwing account. Click “Generate Video” again after logging in.
  8. Wait for video to load. The slower the internet, the longer it takes, as usual!
  9. Adjust images, text, and settings as needed.
  10. Click “Export Project” (upper right corner)
  11. Choose MP4 for video. 720p resolution is the highest possible for free version.
  12. Click “Export as MP4”. File may take a while to load.
  13. Click “Download” to save on your computer or flash drive.

Note: The free version only lets you store 3 videos at a time. To create more, download your videos, then delete them from your Kapwing account. Or just delete them if you don’t need an archive.

If you want longer videos, more videos, higher resolution, or no watermarks, you will need the paid version of Kapwing. It’s about $16/ month/ user (paid yearly), so if you generate a lot of videos for your library, it might be worth it! You also have the option to use Kapwing as a regular video editor, without AI. There are plenty of tutorials!

The AI Script Generator is freakishly accurate too if you want to speed up the process of making videos for your library! Have fun playing with AI!!

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech: Bots for the Community!

Join us to hear how the FarmBot project, ‘Harvest at the Library’, was born on next week’s ‘Pretty Sweet Tech’ NCompass Live webinar, ‘Bots for the Community!’, on Wednesday, May 31, at 10am CT.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Hear how a FarmBot had an impact on the community and how the library launched videos to teach people how the bot works (in-person programs were not open yet at the library). Lou shares the excitement of harvesting the very first carrot from the FarmBot!

Guest Presenters: Dan Lou, Library Program Coordinator, Palo Alto City Library; Susan T. Cheng, Lead Mentor, Space Cookies FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1868, Adult Co-Leader, Space Cookies Girl Scout Troop 62868; and Navika S., Space Cookies FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1868, Space Cookies Girl Scout Troop 62868.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • June 7 – In Search of the Obscure – Using Library & Online Sources to Find Resources that are Out of the Ordinary
  • June 14 – Transforming Library Staff Learning Through Technology Skills Assessments
  • June 21 – Nebraska Public Library Laws: Chapter 51 and Beyond
  • June 28 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Secure Computers For Public Use
  • July 5 – One Book for Nebraska Kids & Teens 2023
  • July 12 – A Library Centennial Celebration in Photos and Memories
  • July 19 – Nebraska Open Meetings Act: 2023 Overview and Updates
  • July 26 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Internet Filtering For E-Rate CIPA Compliance And Cybersecurity

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website.

The show is presented online using the GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Robot Warning: Kamigami Robots Discontinued

I’ve gotten a lot of requests for robot recommendations, many specifically about those cute Kamigami robots shaped like bugs and dinosaurs. While I do love the Kamigami robots in general, the manufacturer has discontinued the product. You can no longer download the app on Android, and it only works on older iOS devices that have not been updated recently. It is still available for download on iOS, but only works reliably on older phones.

Amazon lists all Kamigami robots as “discontinued by manufacturer”, but not all resellers post this same warning. I only found out the app is no longer supported by cross-referencing the comments across several Amazon listings. Kamigami was picked up by Mattel a few years ago, and it appears that Mattel is no longer keeping our favorite little bugs alive.

Long story short, buy Kamigami robots at your own risk. They are adorable, but all good things come to an end. I will miss those cute little bugs. If you already have one, program it for as long as you can. This post is going to get me a little misty-eyed! Another good gadget bit the dust…

Posted in General, Pretty Sweet Tech, Technology | Tagged | 1 Comment

Get Coding Ideas: Scratch Conference 2023 (Virtual)

If you’re looking for more coding and STEM activity ideas, Scratch, the popular (free!) drag and drop block programming language and website, is hosting their Scratch Conference 2023 virtually on July 20, 2023. It’s only $15 to register, with a free option if you have absolutely zero budget for extras. The theme this year is “Sparking Creative Connections”. Here are some of the sessions I bookmarked for myself:

  • Including Diverse Learners w/ ScratchJr Tactile: Learn new ways to reach visually impaired students who want to engage with programming.
  • Collaborative Scratch Hackathons: Find out how to set up a hackaton to bring together coders of all ages in your community. Help people work together to solve cool problems.
  • Bring a Book to Life: Learn how to use code to bring books to life. Tell story through code in the library!
  • Exploring Creative Possibilities w/ Generative AI in Scratch: Explore how generative AI tools like ChatGPT can work with Scratch to expand opportunities for students to learn more effectively.

This is a great conference for school and public libraries, and educators of all types! Scratch is great for all ages.

Learn more & register for the Scratch Conference 2023
Thursday, July 20, 2023
9am- 4pm EST
All Virtual!!

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NCompass Live: Public Libraries & Wikipedia: Creative Collaborations

Learn about the Wikipedian in Residence program at the Kansas City Public Library on next week’s NCompass Live webinar, ‘Public Libraries & Wikipedia: Creative Collaborations’, on Wednesday, May 3 at 10am CT.

Kansas City Public Library hosted the first Wikipedian in Residence (WiR) at a public library in the country. Explore what a WiR is, how WiRs collaborate with community members and GLAM institutions (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums), and why collaborations between Wikipedia and public libraries are mutually beneficial and have an impact.

Kim Gile, Director of Branch Services & Engagement, will reflect on the residency at KCPL and give an update on the Library’s Wikipedia journey that started in 2018.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • May 10 – The 2023 Public Library Accreditation Process
  • May 17 – Read the Rainbow: Serving the LGBTQ+ Community in Your Library
  • May 24 – La Biblioteca Es Para Ti – Building Community Relationships in a Different Language
  • May 31 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Bots for the Community!
  • June 7 – In Search of the Obscure – Using Library & Online Sources to Find Resources that are Out of the Ordinary
  • June 14 – Transforming Library Staff Learning Through Technology Skills Assessments

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website.

The show is presented online using the GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech – Computers in Libraries 2023 Highlights & Trends

Highlights and Trends from Computers in Libraries 2023 will be shared on next week’s Pretty Sweet Tech NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, April 26 at 10am CT.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Computers in Libraries is the world’s leading technology and innovation conference for librarians! In this session I will cover come of the awesome ideas, tools, tips and tricks of the trade I picked up while in D.C. this year. I was a moderator for one of the tracks this year, so some of the highlights are skewed heavily towards UX Design and Website Revamps, but that is not a bad thing!

Here’s a preview of some of the trends I will cover:

  • New User Experience Library Trends
  • Partnerships to Expand Services
  • Workforce Development & Business Librarianship
  • Techy Goodness (obviously!)

I hope to see you there! As a side note, if you’re looking for more emerging tech trends in the library, check out Computers in Libraries magazine.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • May 3 – Public Libraries & Wikipedia: Creative Collaborations
  • May 10 – The 2023 Public Library Accreditation Process
  • May 17 – Read the Rainbow: Serving the LGBTQ+ Community in Your Library
  • May 24 – La Biblioteca Es Para Ti – Building Community Relationships in a Different Language
  • May 31 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Bots for the Community!
  • June 7 – In Search of the Obscure – Using Library & Online Sources to Find Resources that are Out of the Ordinary
  • June 14 – Transforming Library Staff Learning Through Technology Skills Assessments

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website.

The show is presented online using the GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech: GrandPads: Creating Digital Connections for Older Adults

Learn how to plan and implement a GrandPad program, with tablets designed by older adults for older adults, on next week’s NCompass Live webinar, ‘GrandPads: Creating Digital Connections for Older Adults’, on Wednesday, March 29 at 10am CT.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

During the pandemic, social isolation became a significant problem for many seniors, who were also the most vulnerable to COVID-19. On top of the isolation, the persistent digital divide left many older adults in the St. Louis area either without internet access, a device, the skills to use digital technology, or all three. St. Louis County Library devised a way to serve the digital needs of the community through an innovative program of lending GrandPads to isolated, low-income older adults. GrandPads are tablets designed by older adults for older adults with a simple, intuitive, and decluttered design. In this session, learn how St. Louis County Library planned and implemented the GrandPad program, including securing $1,000,000 in funding from local government, reviewing applications, and distributing and administering the GrandPads.

Guest Presenter: Eric Button, Deputy Director, St. Louis County Library.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • April 5 – T(w)eens: Programming, Partnership, and Burnout
  • April 12 – Art Show! Where Art and Science Meet to Bring the Community Together
  • April 19 – Creative Aging Arts Program for Nebraska Libraries
  • April 26 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • May 17 – Read the Rainbow: Serving the LGBTQ+ Community in Your Library
  • May 24 – La Biblioteca Es Para Ti – Building Community Relationships in a Different Language
  • May 31 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Bots for the Community!

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

Posted in Education & Training, Pretty Sweet Tech, Technology | Tagged , | Leave a comment