Sunday, May 5, 2013

2013 / 2014 Schenk Databases

Some time back I sent out a survey trying to gauge where you were at as far as our Schenk and MMSD databases.  At the time both Pebble Go and Brain Pop Jr. came back as highly valued databases. At the school level Brain Pop Jr was quite expensive and it was questionable if we would be able to continue next year. I was asked to review Brain Pop - website and iPad Apps - for the possibility of a district wide subscription.

Here is the run down of subscriptions purchased district wide. We are going to do it Letterman style.

5. LibGuides : Known also as Campus Guides or Library Portals. This subscription pays for Schenk's Library Portal as well as all other LibGuides used in the district. A heads up for those running "rogue" classroom websites, MMSD wants LibGuides to be the defacto website platform for teachers and staff.

4. Culture Grams: I know there were a few teachers who used this database for research activities. As a school we should be using this a lot more. If you have not checked it out in a while take a look.

3. Book Flix: While True Flix has joined the dust pan of history, Book Flix will continue as a district wide database. Our school wide use of True Flix did not justify its purchase as a school or a district. Book Flix connects a fiction video (of a book) with a non-fiction book.

2. Pebble Go:   This year I subscribed to Animals, Earth, Biographies, and Social Studies was a bonus. Next year all four will be available district wide. This means what ever school Jonny was at last week, he can continue his research at Schenk this week. Pebble Go is a great use of  the netbooks since they support flash. A small group of students can use Pebble Go with the netbooks in the classroom or for the whole class check out the cart.  

1. Brain Pop:  Yes Brain Pop is going district wide next year. But which one you ask. Every last one. Brain Pop, Brain Pop Jr., Brain Pop Espanol, and Brain Pop ESL.  

I feel these are some pretty solid choices, and MMSD received some good price breaks for going district wide. This does however give us limited money as a school to purchase additional databases. The list of possible databases is quite small, and the best bang for the buck looks like Tumble Books. One advantage of Tumble Books is its availability on desktops, netbooks, and iPads. For $99 I can purchase a Graphic Novel add on, and there is also a Tumble Cloud Jr add on that is primarily classic eBooks and audio books.

A decision has not yet been made about CCC Streaming. If you have not used it yet, please do and submit your feedback on the CCC Video Streaming LibGuide.