Thursday, February 18, 2016

Being Frugal Makes Sense

Guest post by Marcia Dressel, Osceola School District

In my personal life, being frugal is a life choice. Working in a school library, being frugal makes sense. It is less risky to explore free tools before I invest district resources. Contracts with vendors are costly but also take a large part of my time to administer.

Enter Wisconsin Media Lab and BadgerLink. These resources provide go-to, high-powered, standards-connected offerings including Britannica School, Soundzabound, and TeachingBooks.net. I tell anyone who will listen that if we didn’t live in Wisconsin, our school district would have to pay to access these powerful resources.
Britannica School is an online encyclopedia and is fabulous for my students’ research needs. Students can have an article read to them and also has the ability to click on a word they don’t know and get the definition. Britannica is rich with topics and the search features allow students to look for animal pictures and videos. Students LOVE THIS. 
Soundzabound provides royalty free music and sound effects. This resource simplifies my copyright-related educational goals. Pointing students to Soundzabound opens a discussion on citing sources. Students like that this source requires neither permission nor fees. 
TeachingBooks.net provides multimedia on K-12 fiction and non-fiction books. I’ve been rescued more than once by TeachingBooks.net when looking for literature-related content. For students who want to go deeper with their favorite author, teachers who need inspiration with a certain title, or a librarian who wants correctly pronounce an author’s name – TeachingBooks.net delivers.
The good news is that BadgerLink and Wisconsin Media Lab has information on almost every subject. The bad news is that, for a variety of reasons, it's hard to promote tools you don’t pay for. After reading Doug Johnson’s blog article “Why your library's digital resources go unused and a golden opportunity,” I’ve decided that aggressive use of BadgerLink and Wisconsin Media Lab is my best promotion tool.

I deliver the sources straight to students through direct teaching and THEN share news of success with their teachers. Because I have BadgerLink linked in my catalog, searching for print and online resources has become seamless. It just makes sense to my students, and me, to learn from print, electronic files, and visuals in one place. After all, free is only a good deal if easy is part of the bargain.

Guest Post Written by:
Marcia Dressel, Osceola School District