Tech to make the most of #NCLA17: Direct Communication and Networking Aids

Today’s contributor is Julie Raynor, your 2017 Technology and Trends Chair-Elect.

When I attend conferences I usually struggle with two challenges: how to easily keep in touch with other committee members and co-workers during the conference and anything pertaining to networking.

As I was seeking out tools to use next week I came across two apps that I thought would be worth sharing: GroupMe and Namerick.

groupme logo

GroupMe is a free communication app that allows you to easily message other people who have the app and are in your group. You can also setup private chat rooms. This would be perfect for working with co-presenters and coordinating a lunch spot with your co-workers.

It’s powered by Skype, so it works on all devices, tablets, smartphones, even computers–if you’ve forgotten something “mission critical” you can send messages to your co-workers who are at the library and not attending that day. You can even send SMS messages! This would definitely have potential uses beyond the conference.

Once you download the app you can easily create a group and add group members by phone numbers or email addresses.

icon-namerick

Namerick is the type of tool that really comes in handy when knowing someone’s name and connections is vitally important. I have a really bad habit of forgetting a new person’s name almost immediately after meeting them. So, this tool was very appealing to me. Some limitations are that it only works on iPhones and it does cost $.99, but that seemed like a great value.

Namerick uses proven mnemonic techniques of association to aid in memory, especially of people’s names. It also employs repetition to enhance your memory. If memory is one of your weaknesses, this might just be the right tool for you.

At a conference where networking can lead to future career and partnership opportunities, being a successful networker is truly important.

These tools and many more are reviewed in the Sept. 7, 2015 Practical ECommerce article, “16 Mobile Apps for Networking Events” by Sig Ueland.

This post is part of a short series here on the TNT blog: Tech to make the most of the NCLA 2017 Biennial Conference. You’ll hear from TNT Board Members as well as guest authors about tech you can use as a conference presenter and participant to maximize your experience at #NCLA17. If you have an idea you’d like to contribute, email Jenny Dale at jedale2[at]uncg[dot]edu!

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Tech to make the most of #NCLA17: Google Slides Q&A

Today’s guest author is Samantha Harlow, Online Learning Librarian at UNCG Libraries and Chair of NCLA’s newest section, the Distance Learning Section!

When presenting at conferences, engaging audience members through active learning and participation is key! At the 2017 NCLA conference, there are many presentations with co-presenters, as well as presenters using slide shows (PowerPoint, Google Slides, etc) to serve as visual aids. It can be challenging to engage audience members with two or more presenters, while also running a slide show. This is where Google Slides Q&A can help!

Google Slides Q&A is a way for “presenters to start a live Q&A session with an audience during a presentation with Google Slides. You can present questions at any time, and people can ask questions from any device.” Taken from “Accept and present audience questions.”

The way it works is that your presentation’s audience members can submit questions digitally to a speaker throughout a presentation. If you are co-presenting, one of you can speak while another monitors the questions coming in through Q&A. If you are solo presenting, be sure to look at the questions or comments at the end of your presentation.

Here’s how Google Slides Q&A works:
-Open up your Google Slides presentation and go to the Present button at the top. Click the arrow next to the Present button to go to Presenter View.
-You will be prompted to “start new” audience Q&A. Click that button.

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-You will then see the URL that your audience members can go to ask questions. Note that if you work at a Google for Education (GAFE) library or business you will need to turn the “Accepting questions from ____” to “Anyone” in order for all conference audience members to participate:

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Your audience members will then see the URL throughout your presentation, at the top of all of your Google Slides:

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Once audience members go to the Q&A URL on your Google Slides presentation, they will be able to participate through asking a question on their device:

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When you’re done or throughout your presentation, you can go to the Q&A screen at anytime, to monitor or present a question. You will find the Q&A icon at the bottom of your slides:

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You can choose to “present” a question or comment, which means it will show up in your slideshow:

Presenter View:

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Google Slide View:

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Some notes about Google Slides Q&A:
-It’s always good to check your Q&A URL on a browser in which you are not logged into your Google Account to make sure it will work for all audience members.
-Like all presentation techniques at a conference, practicing helps work out kinks of Google Slides Q&A, as well as make you feel more prepared for how the process will run.
-Audience members can ask questions anonymously, so if you have fear of audience members being inappropriate, please keep this in mind.
-This does work on mobile devices, but if people in the audience do not have a device, it will also be good to accept questions verbally at the end of the presentation.
-The Q&A questions or comments will stay in your Google Account after you finish the slide show for a couple of days, but there is no export option of questions and comments. If you want to keep the questions or comments from your session, you will need to copy and paste them into another document or take a screenshot.

More tutorials:
Video: how to use the Q&A feature in Google Slides
Google Tutorials: Accept and present audience questions

This post is part of a short series here on the TNT blog: Tech to make the most of the NCLA 2017 Biennial Conference. You’ll hear from TNT Board Members as well as guest authors about tech you can use as a conference presenter and participant to maximize your experience at #NCLA17. If you have an idea you’d like to contribute, email Jenny Dale at jedale2[at]uncg[dot]edu!

New series: Tech to make the most of the NCLA 2017 Biennial Conference!

Good morning, loyal readers! Today marks the beginning of a new short blog series here on the TNT Blog: Tech to make the most of the NCLA 2017 Biennial Conference. You’ll hear from TNT Board Members as well as guest authors about tech you can use as a conference presenter and participant to maximize your experience at #NCLA17. Speaking of #NCLA17, registration is open at https://t.co/Mgf3mxW8aC. We hope to see you there!

Free Friday: Creating visual diagrams with LucidChart

Lucidchart is a web-based diagramming software, compatible with most web browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.) that allows users to collaborate in real-time to create flow charts, organizational charts, mind maps, floor plans, Venn diagrams and many other diagram types.

flow_chart       floor_plans        org_chart

venn_diagram       mind_map

For all educational users (both K-12 and higher education), Lucidchart provides free premium accounts. Students and faculty can sign up individually for accounts with their .edu email address. 

Users are able to create documents from a template or create custom diagrams from scratch.  To begin, users just need to click on the “+ document” button:

lucidchart_-_create_a_new_document

In order to draw objects and lines; the user just needs to “select a shape” from the shape toolbox and drag it onto the page.  To draw a line, “click on the line connection of the shape” and drag the line to another shape.
lucidchart_-_draw_objects_and_lines

To format a line, select a line and choose a line formatting option, such as line type, style and arrow type.

Lucidchart_-_format_lines_and_arrows.png

There is also an option to insert an image, if you would like.

LucidChart also lets you import (to Visio, Gliffy, OmniGraffley, adn AWS files) and export your diagrams easily as PDF, PNG, JPEG, VDX, or SVG files. Alternatively, you can also share files and folders for real-time collaboration.

Even if I came across this tool by accident, I’m so glad that I did – as it has come in handy for several projects.  I’ve used LucidChart to create flow charts when planning online tutorials with multiple modules.  As it allows you to lay out the module step-by-step with goals, objectives, and activities. Additionally, I imagine that the flow chart would be useful in describing the project to other team members, such as programmers should you need their assistance in building the online module.  Next, I plan to use LucidChart to create a Gnatt chart to visually diagram a project timeline.

Free Friday: Canva: Online Graphic Design Platform

If you find yourself needing to create a visually appealing presentation, social media graphic, or infographic; try using Canva.  It is a free online platform that offers a wide assortment of design tools and options, as well as premium options for paying customers.

To get started, you just need to create an account using your email account.  You also have the option to log-in with your Facebook or Google Plus account; if you don’t want to create a new account.

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Once you are logged in – Canva offers many (free & fee-based) templates for you to canva_project_typesget started with your project.  Just select your project type: presentation, infographic, social media, banner, resume, and more. Canva provides the layout, and you just use the drag & drop feature to add images, shapes, text, etc. or even upload your own images/photos to customize the graphic to fit your marketing needs.

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Canva also includes photo editing features, as well as other cool tools:

  • Photo straightener: Keep your photos in line with our photo straightener tool
  • Image cropper: Crop your photos for great framing and masterful composition
  • Add text to photos: Create a narrative for any photo
  •  Speech bubble maker: Give your photos a voice with speech bubbles!
  • Give your photos a delicate fade with our transparency tool
  • Photo enhancer: Enhance your photos to save any “off” shots
  • Photo blur: Add artistry to your images with the blur slider
  • Photo vignette: Grant your pictures vintage flair with our photo vignette tool
  • Design grids: Looking for layout inspiration? Try a design grid
  • Free icons: Complement your designs with the crisp lines of our icons
  • Photo frames: Add photo frames to adorn your memories
  • Web wireframe: Begin with the basics and create a web wireframe
  • Stickers: Amp up your images with some surprise stickers
  • Badges: Build a better badge with Canva
  • Add texture: Give your designs texture and feeling from our image library

To learn more about these features, visit their web site: https://www.canva.com/features/

I like this tool, as it allows you to create professional looking graphics, without any prior experience.  Once you have completed your design project, you will have the option to save, email, or upload your graphic to your web site.  Canva also has a shared option, which allows you to be able to collaboratively work projects with your team members.

Free Friday: GIMP.COM: The Free and Open Source Image Editor

If you find yourself in the position of needing god quality screen shots for library handouts and tutorials, this is a great tool.

Like most image editing tools, there are a wide array of functions available for the more advanced user, but I like this tool because it isn’t intimidating to the beginner—they even have a set of tutorials just for beginners on their website: https://www.gimp.org/tutorials/

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I also like this tool because it produces some very professional results. It also allows you to focus in on a specific detail on a screen so that you can focus your tutorial on individual steps more easily.

So, to give you a sense of how easy this is to use, I’ll review the steps I use to manipulate screen shots for use in tutorial-type handouts.

First, download the program from the Gimp.com website. Once the program is downloaded, open it up.

On your computer, go to the page you need and click Ctrl-Print Screen to get the screen shot (I’m using a Windows PC and I’ll use the Gimp program for my example).

Once there, open the Gimp program and choose File, Create, From Clipboard. A new window opens with the screen shot.

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Next, if the Toolbox column is open click the Rectangle Select option, or choose from Tools, Selection Tools in the toolbar at the top of the page.

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Click and drag the selection tool over the portion of the page that you want to use. Sometimes using the “zoom” function is useful in this step (From toolbar choose View, Zoom, 200%). If you aren’t happy with what you selected, click away from that part of the page and try again.

Once you’re happy choose Image from the top toolbar and click Crop to Selection.

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Then you can choose to copy the image into your document (File, Copy, Paste) or you can save it for later use (File, Save As). If you save it, I suggest you save it as a .jpeg file (more compatible with websites and social media). At the bottom of the File, Save As box, click the “+” beside Select File Type (By Extension), choose JPEG image from the list, then click Save. It will ask you to confirm this file type, so just choose Yes.

Once it’s saved, go up to File, then Copy and follow the usual steps for copying an image into a document.

That’s all there is to it. If you want to try out the more advanced features, there are plenty of them. I believe you will find this to be a very useful tool for producing thorough, readable, and very professional handouts.

-Julie Raynor, Vice-Chair, TNT Roundtable

Come back Friday, September 16 for our next installment of Free Fridays!

Free Friday: Getting Organized with Zotero

I’m teaching an undergraduate IS course for this first time this semester that essentially boils down to a semester long version of a library one-shot course. It’s a librarian’s dream come true!

In amongst the information literacy skills that I’m trying to impart to these growing minds, I’ve included a class focused on managing all of this information that they’ll soon be finding through the library’s website. Cut to Zotero, a free citation management tool that also happens to be open source.

Example of Zotero Standalone on a Mac

The first step to setup Zotero is twofold: download the Standalone client and install the browser extension. Visit the download page for all of the pertinent links and information about getting started. The Zotero site even adjusts the download buttons to your specific operating system and browser for ease of use.

Once you’ve installed the Zotero Standalone and the browser extension, you can begin importing citations right away. Using the browser extension, you can save websites, articles, videos, and more. The image below shows what the Zotero icon looks like when saving a web page. It changes depending on the content that it finds in your browser.

Example of the Zotero browser extension button

Importing content from the web will include PDF files and other related information as available. Free accounts have up to 300MB of storage, but there are premium options available if you need more that are quite affordable.

Zotero purchase storage prices

You have a few options regarding how to organize your Zotero library: collections (read: folders), tags, and saved searches. Any item can be added to as many collections as you like. It will also remain in your main Zotero library, in case need to remove it from a specific collection.

Zotero will automatically be added to Microsoft Word, if you use it as your word processor, making citing a breeze. It also integrates with other word processors like OpenOffice. Since it’s an open source tool, many different citation styles have been added including MLA’s 8th version.

In addition to these standard citation manager abilities, Zotero also works well for collaborative projects. You can set up groups and sync items to the Zotero servers. For more details and information about Zotero’s features, check out the Quick Start guide.

-Sarah Arnold, Director, TNT Roundtable

Come back Friday, September 16 for our next installment of Free Fridays!