About ipadyoupad

I am the librarian at Trafalgar school for girls. I started this blog to help ease the staff pain of learning a new technology.

Some News from Apple

So Apple made their big reveal earlier this week regarding their new iOS and where they will  be focusing their energy.

I was particularly intrigued to hear about their new Swift Playgrounds, an iPad app to learn Apple’s programming language.

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If you want the lowdown, here are a couple of good articles that synthesize the relevant stuff:

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Read more

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Read more


So you love Adobe Voice? Then Check This Out!

Whoah. I just read this article about Adobe Spark, which consist of these three tools:

  • Spark Post (to make posters and graphics, like Canva)
  • Spark Page (to make web stories – think digital magazines)
  • Spark video (the old Adobe Voice)

and had to share IMMEDIATELY.

The best part is, these tools are now cross-platform! You can use your iPad or your laptop! I have downloaded all three and plan to try them in the next week. Stay tuned!

Makerspace @ Traf in the Caf: Week 4, Paper Circuits

Paper circuits was by far the most popular activity of the month. Indeed, it was so popular I still am getting students asking me if they can make a card!

Materials Needed:

  • Craft supplies (paper, glue, scissors, tracing paper and tape)
  • 3v lithium coin batteries
  • Circuit sticker LEDs (Chibitronics makes them)
  • Copper tape

To begin with I made a prototype using a guide created by the Exploratorium in San Francisco:


I used a simple parallel circuit:


Lessons learned:

  • Make sure to not rip the tape, which is finicky. TIP: take the backing off gradually as you go.
  • Also make sure the tape is as smooth as possible and the LEDS are properly glued to both tracks.
  • LEDS also have to be facing the same direction (+ side all on one track, – side on the other)
  • If it doesn’t seem to work at first, try flipping the batter over. Not sure why this is. It feels a little like magic.

Once I had an idea of what I was doing, I brought it to the students (and Staff got into it as well!)

Here was the result:


There were some happy mothers on Mother’s day!


Paper circuits was a great introduction to the concept of Makerspace. It combines a simple technology that the girls can simply copy or take farther (circuits) with the fun of crafts to produce a magical result. The girls were thrilled with their cards and want to do more.

Personally- I want to make more too! I have some ideas about how to use it with silhouettes…

Makerspace @ Traf in the Caf: Week 3, Little Bits

LittleBits is a set of easy-to-use electronic building blocks. They are a fun, practical way for students to understand how circuits work:

Our lunchtime forays into Littlebits did not, alas, gender a whole lot of enthusiasm among the students. The teachers however, had a great time!

I am not sure if there were simply too many things going on that week, or if the littlest were not that exciting, or if the activity I had planned – a simple, colour some wings and tape them to the servo with a buzzer to make it buzz like an insect – was just too you and unexciting:


Here is a link to a five second video that gives you an idea of how annoying the buzzer is.

It’s true that Littlebits are geared towards more of a younger crowd, but as you can see from the video above, there are some pretty sophisticated things you can do with it.


Makerspace@ Traf in the Caf Week 2

Makey Makey! If you haven’t had the privilege of trying out a Makey Makey, watch this video to give you an idea of all the wonderful things you can do with it:

Week 2 of the Makerspace launch was aided and abetted by Mr. Scruton, who helped us make pianos out of cafeteria fruits and vegetables,  take selfies by pressing down a sensor (sort of like the cat in the video) as well as playing Pacman using celery as a joystick and fist-bump pausing videos.

Here are some photos of the fun we had:

This was by far one of the most popular activity. The students were fascinated by  how they could conduct energy through an orange or a pickle. Heck, I’m fascinated by this. The students were the ones to ask how the cat could take a selfie and wanted to figure it out.

I found that at first, you have to let the students play with something that is already set up. Once they get over the fear of “breaking it”, they are then in a better place to try new things out. This starts slow- at first they simply change the type of vegetable. Or, in the case of the Pacman video game, start to move the wires when they find that they can’t move left for some reason.

But then, all of a sudden, the what-ifs start to externalize: What if we used this instead of this? What happens when…?

Although we don’t have a whole lot of time at lunch and the process could be taken much further, it was gratifying to see how students quickly get over their internal barriers to play and begin to lean in to their curiosity.



Makerspace@ Traf in the Caf Week 1


In order to promote the Library Makerspace materials, the Makerspace team have been setting up shop in the cafeteria at lunch for the last few weeks. Our first week was March 21st.

Christianne Loupelle took charge of the binary bracelets activity where students could bead their names in binary code. Ms. Loupelle used the following Binary Guide:

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This was by far one of the more popular activities. It was a great, subversive introduction to computational thinking disguised as an easy craft. Although most of the students stuck to the challenge of writing their names in binary, a few opted to simply make a bracelet or a necklace, which was okay too. The whole idea is to introduce some hands-on exploration in their day that has no external pressure attached to it (grades, competition, etc.) Also, the kind of repetitive, detailed task of beading is almost like meditation, so there is a nice mindfulness component to this activity as well!

I took charge of our resident robot Ollie. I had a hard time finding people who wanted to drive it at first, but after driving it around the cafeteria for a few minutes and bumping into people, I finally got some takers. I was hoping they would try to program his movements in  Tickle, but I found that I had to prod the students to even take the controls. They were so afraid of “breaking it” or of “making a mistake” they wouldn’t even try at first. It was a real lesson for me in terms of the internal barriers to discovery and exploration that have already begun to take root in our young girls. yet, with a little bit of prodding and basically shoving my iPad into their hands, by the end of lunchtime I couldn’t take it away from them.

Here are a couple of shots of both activities:


Aside: I decided to explore Google photos and Google slides for this activity. But more on that later…



I took the time to write up my notes from the conference I attended in January. There was a lot of stuff on Makerspaces and Libraries that were quite useful. However, I found that the sessions I attended that, on the surface seemed to have nothing to do with my situation, were the most useful. For example, Eileen Gillette’s presentation, Talk Creative to Me explored how the library space can be adapted/evolved/utilized as a cultural hub for the community. I loved the way she broke down the different components of “space.”

I also really enjoyed the presentation from the University of Rochester and their journey in creating the izone. I learned some valuable lessons on how to engage the community and get their feedback. I also loved the idea of the library as a place to incubate new ideas. Not a new idea, but definitely re-packaged to fit this emerging, entrepreneurial culture.

Although I gave links to the descriptions of the different presentations, I did not feel comfortable sharing the links to the speaker presentations. However, most are available through the links to the actual sessions. If you do go and have a look and see something you like, please be mindful that this was someone’s hard work and treat the materials given so freely appropriately!

The notes are pretty rough and in point form, but I thought I would share anyways!


Made in Canada: STEM Resources for Canadian Schools and Libraries


This session was geared mostly toward younger kids so not so interesting to me. Though it was interesting to hear about the process of writing a non-fiction book for children.

Collaboration, Partnerships, and Innovation — how to Integrate Maker Initiatives within school curriculum


Megan Copp and Melissa Harris, Innisfil Public Library

Marci Duncan, Technology Instructional resource Instructor K-12 Simcoe County District School board


Transforming learning spaces

Green screen teacher training workshops:


  • Do ink
  • No special lighting
  • F/X Photokey/imovie

Oculus rift- do I need to buy one? Should we make them?

# Makerspaces twitter

STEM for Dummies (because we’re not all scientists)


Gayle Mercurio (teacher-librarian), Toronto District School Board

Patricial LeBlond Teacher, Toronto District School Board


  • Know more about curriculum for display purposes
    • EG.:
      • Human anatomy
      • Iran
      • physics
      • Nouvelle France
      • STEAM Activities
      • Shakespeare
  • Mostly geared towards younger kids. However, some interesting things – sphero games in the library.
  • Need to start with playing

Keynote: David Lankes



  • Obligation of innovation
  • Libraries as:
    • Marketplace for ideas
    • connecting people with great ideas to networks → access to multitudes
    • Helping innovations get the resources they need. *How does this look like?


Basically librarian love and propaganda: a call to arms to get back into the world… that we should start becoming some of the political and cultural influencers.

Talk Creative to me: Understanding Your Library’s Capital

Speaker: Eileen Gillette, Greater Victoria Public Library


What Makes a Great Place? I really like the following visual in terms of breaking down a space:

It makes me wonder how a deconstruction of the ideal school library space would look like…I think I might work on it!

Question: Where are the “NO” spaces in my library?

  • Between shelves?

Rethink→ Reframe → Remodel→ Reinforce

Culture Hack Toolkit (How to create inspiring digital events)

Prototype Equipment Design

Check out GVPL Teen Digilab

Maker Habits of Mind in High School


Pam Jeffrey: Teacher-librarian, Simcoe County District School Board

Penny Chaiko: Teacher-librarian, Simcoe County District School Board


  • Green Screen Café: Where would you rather be? What time period would you rather be?
  • Maker Monday
  • Materials suggested:
    • M-bot
    • BB8
    • Lego mindstorm
  • Get a group of students to help with Makerspace
  • Knit bracelets (macramé) (USE FOR SOFT LAUNCH OF OUR MAKERSPACE!)
  • Student-driven
  • Funding:
    • Speak up grants (Ontario only)
    • Best Buy Grants

Olita Spotlight: Avery Swartz



Hosting a Maker Fair in your Library Learning Commons

Notes: (I want to do this!)

Maker Fair: “Celebration of transdisciplinary learning.”

Start planning 3-6 months in advance

Audience? Students and staff and invite grade 6s (potential recruits)

Exhibitors (some from outside, some from in-house) 20 exhibitors

  • local community
  • fellow staff
  • administration, organization
  • provide separate space for makers
  • consider a variety of making strategies


  • Develop a budget and timeline
  • Promotion:
    • Feeder schools!
    • Passport systems (stamped at each exhibitor..)
    • Connect with teachers, librarians & colleagues – have them sign up…
    • Classes come in like Book fair..
    • STEAM coach?
    • Ice Wire makerspace
    • SOMO by Sonic Wear
    • Textile Museum of Canada
    • origami society
    • Toronto tool library (3D printer)–COULD ASK HELIOS LABS?
    • Amy project
    • Teachers: brought class projects, + teachers

Post inquiry-based questions in Fair and post around the library.

  • eg. “What is the difference between making and manufacturing?”
  • eg. “Can making improve social conditions?”

Ask participants for feedback:

  • What was the last thing you made?
  • What was the last thing you bought? Why did you buy it and not make it?

The IL incubator: Exploring Information Literacy Skill Gaps in Secondary School Curricula and Postsecondary Research Expectations


Colleen Burgess

Gordana Vitez


This was an interesting discussion about the gap between secondary expectations and post-secondary expectations on students. It seems like a big part of the problem is that it is easy to forget that when you know how to do research, that it is a skill you have to learn.

I also came away with the impression that we at Traf are doing okay in this area. We address many of the issues below even in our science classes, which does not seem to be the case with a lot of schools apparently. Most of our teachers require students cite their sources, that they know where to look and have a variety of sources to contrast and compare the information.

Problem: students are not feeling prepared to go into post-secondary research

Gross & Latham → research on this issue:

  • 2005→ students don’t even know they have a problem
  • 2011 → found that studies focused on behaviour not skills
  • 2012→ students don’t know they don’t know

ALA Listserv ILI → info lit listserv


  • Citation & bib method
  • Difference between scholarly Vs. General reading
  • Difference between google and library database
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Ability to critically evaluate information in building their own arguments or ideas.

I found my dream job but it’s not in the library


June Avila, Hannah Loshak, Emily Porta


I went to this presentation because I have been finding lately that I need to go out of my own profession for inspiration with the new projects I would like to start. And I don’t think I am the only one- a lot of the presentations I attended were about adapting/customizing/re-creating the library space to accommodate the needs of young people aspiring to become creative cogs in the knowledge economy. This means taking inspiration from Start-ups mainly, with their innovative take on communal space, the flexible, collaborative, creative model of these new workplaces. I thought it was important to understand the perspective of librarians embedded so to speak in these new environments.

They also provide a new perspective on how to view, relate and serve our population. Because they are in the private sector, they necessarily have to be fiercely client-centered. user experience is prioritized and I think libraries can (and already are) learning huge lessons from this sector.

Secrets- Seven Authors Share their Collaborative Writing Project

Speakers: Teresa Toten, Eric Walters, Kelley Armstron, Vicki Grant, Marthe Jocelyn, Norah McClintock.


It’s 1964 and life is about to change for seven orphan girls. On their own for the first time in their lives, the girls each embark on a journey of discovery, aching for the families they never had and experiencing the world in ways they never imagined.

Bestselling authors Kelley Armstrong, Vicki Grant, Marthe Jocelyn, Kathy Kacer, Norah McClintock, Teresa Toten and Eric Walters team up for the Secrets, a brand new series of linked YA novels that will be published simultaneously. Each author brings their distinct style to this project and will discuss the process of writing collaboratively.

Visit http://www.readthesecrets.com for more information.

OLA Exhibition Hall

Interesting stuff I found:


izone: Imagination, Ideas, Innovation – Learning Space for the 21st century


Matthew Swift, Senior Strategist, brightspot strategy

Mary Anne Mavrinac, Vice Provost and Dean, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester


  • Ask students: What kind of space do you need?
  • “provide platform for exploration of ideas not actualization of ideas”
  • All 1 thing:
    • space planning
    • service design
    • organizational change

ASIDE: What is up with the word ‘robust? figured prominently in many of the presentations…

  1. Use madlibs as prompt for user surveys (WANT TO USE THIS!!!)
    • How do you use the space?
    • How would you like to use the space?
  2. Then: storyboarding → how those activities would look like?
  3. Prompt participants then have a conversation.
  • Portfolio of offerings:
    • Who wants to use the library?
    • Have a work meeting re: rethinking the library…
  • Pilots and prototypes:
    • Read throughs
    • walk throughs
    • dress rehearsals
    • Pilot
  • Not developing a space but a program → the space is enabling it.

Making Spaces for “Makerspaces” in your school library/Learning Commons


Sheila Morgan, Teacher Librarian, Kortright Hills Public School, Upper Grand District School Board

Carla Warnholtz, Teacher Librarian, Westwood Public School, Upper Grand District School Board


  • Rug! I need a rug!
  • Giant Paper Puzzles: eg. Giant Sudoku
  • Purchase materials and equipment  through Wintergreen
  • Google CS first
  • Implementing student inquiry…

Train home!

rAPPido review: Do Ink (featuring my first attempt at a green screen!)

So I bought a green Screen as part of the Maker Space in the library. Not only did I buy a Green Screen, but I  bought both a stand for it and clamps. In short, the whole shebang.

Today I finally took a minute to set it up. I did this because today is the last day of Staff appreciation week, where our lovely, amazing parents have been showering us with treats and decorations from the 1970s. As today was the last day, the staff was asked to dress up in their 70s finest, and well, I happen to look fabulous darling (cough, cough.)

Here are some terrible pictures of my very slipshod set up (I just wanted to see if it would work!)


Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 2.09.26 PMThen I downloaded an app called Do Ink, which I had seen demonstrated at the OLA Conference back in January.

Price: $3.99

Here is the description:

Green Screen by Do Ink makes it easy to create incredible green screen videos and images right on your iPad. The app lets you combine photos and videos from the camera roll with live images from your iPad’s camera.”

It took me a second to figure out how to use it, but once I did, it was easy peasy! At first, I tried to take the picture in front of the green screen (I used poor Marie-Claude as my guinea pig. She kindly gave me permission to use these outtakes).

When I took the picture before adding a backdrop the green simply went black:


When I added the background after, it took me a while to figure out that I had to play around with the colour wheel in order to get the background to show up:

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Then I got this psychedelic image, which I am quite fond of in its own right, though it wasn’t exactly what I wanted:


Ok. So maybe I need to stick the image in first. Marie-Claude had flown the coop by this point, so I decided to try it on myself. I added the backdrop and got Gail to take my photo. Even while taking the photo, the backdrop showed up in the background instead of the green screen and then it saved directly to my camera roll:


I know. Fabulous, nest-ce-pas? You can almost hear Hot Chocolate playing the background…

And then I was having so much fun, I roped some other fabulously appareled staff members to try it, as well as a couple of the lovely parents who spoiled us rotten this week!


Seriously. So. Much. Fun. I can see this being useful for so many projects. Life of the amoeba, perhaps? Jane Austen’s England? How about we swing over to Rome in the 1st century?

Now available for loan in the library!


How to Save a Web Page as a PDF on the iPad

Via Maketecheasier.com
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A couple of weeks ago, I was asked how you could save a web page as a pdf on the iPad. The problem was that when the teacher used the Save PDF to ibooks function available on the Safari browser, she found that she would lose crucial information as the app would ignore the sidebars. This is a problem when you are dealing with something like a recipe, where the ingredients are listed as a side bar.

I found this article gives a nice little workaround to this problem. There are a few steps to put in place in the beginning, but then is easy peasy to use when you want to convert a document. i went through all of the steps and it works!

Bonus: it allows you to open your PDF in many different apps, not just ibooks. Here is a screenshot of a chocolate cake recipe I converted to a PDF using their method: