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Street Reads 2013 from BGS Library

For those who love reading and exploring, the Brisbane City Council, in conjunction with the Brisbane Writers Festival, is offering a different slant on a Choose Your Own Adventure story.

Beginning last week and running for two weeks only (4-15 September), you will be able to become a character in a story by scanning QR codes attached to the pavement. These will download part of the story, as well as the clue to the next part, depending on which adventure you choose to follow. You can choose the Hero’s story, the Zombies’ story or the Apprentice of Death’s story – or a combination of each.

All three stories begin at Reddacliffe Place, at the end of the Queen Street Mall , near the Brisbane Central Library.  Each story has been written by local Brisbane authors and each new action scene takes place at the location of the QR code: each new clue or twist in the story encourages you to explore parts of the CBD and South Bank that you might previously have ignored.

If you have a free couple of hours on the weekend, have a go and participate in this ‘location literature’ event.  Maps are available at both the Middle School Library and the Senior Library, or you can download one at streetreads.com.

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Bookmark Production Team

BGS Open Day was held on the weekend, and in a very busy 3 hours we had over 1400 people visit the Library! One of the most popular activities on offer was a QR code bookmark, with each one put together by a well-coordinated production team consisting of teacher librarian Ms Hunter, her husband and one of our Year 8 students.

Each bookmark’s journey began with Max taking a video of the visitor on an iPad, then sending this file to Ms Hunter. She attached it to a QR code and sent this file on to Mr Hunter who then dropped it and the visitor’s name into a prepared template. Once the bookmarks were printed the visitors could scan the QR code with an app on their phones and see themselves talking in our library.

Ms Hunter is keen to start up a lunchtime group to create and do things with different types of technology, so if you are interested please let her know.

Max videoing  Keen visitors

Checking the files  Creating the QR Codes

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Aug/12

9

Floodlines for Open Day

 

 

The 2011 Brisbane floods had significant and long lasting effects on our city and, in an attempt to collate memories and memorabilia of this and previous floods, and to celebrate the resilience of Queenslanders, a Floodlines exhibition has been on display at the State Library for the past four months.  This exhibition used photos, film, news footage, sound and digital artworks ‘to help tell the rich and complex story of a summer we will never forget.’ To complement and enhance this, the SLQ commissioned the development of an augmented reality app, Floodlines, an exciting, interactive app which turns AR codes or markers into 3 dimensional images of buildings and roads, and which shows the inexorable spread of the flood waters through various riverside suburbs.

For Open Day last weekend, we downloaded this app onto our three Library iPads, and visitors were fascinated to find their suburbs and watch the flood waters advance and recede over 48 hours. Some of our students have also been captivated by this app, zooming in over buildings or trying to explore under the river. The codes, or markers, are merely a link to the app, telling it which part to ‘read’ and display as the code is scanned.  The students were particularly amazed by the way sections of the city seemed to float above the code.

Download this app from the iTunes App Store or from the Android Market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We have been very excited this week to finally launch our new Digital Collection of ebooks and audiobooks. This is a virtual library created for us by OverDrive, a company which also provides virtual libraries to all of the public libraries in South-East Queensland.

Staff were introduced to the collection first, and enthusiastically welcomed the new service. Many of the boys have also installed the OverDrive Media Console on their smartphones this week, and are now enjoying the convenience and ease of access which the new collection allows. They can also download to their laptops using OverDrive Media Console and Adobe Digital Editions.

From the Library staff point of view, the new collection will save a significant amount of time, because once the loan period has expired, the files become inactive on the boys’ devices and reappear on our virtual bookshelf – meaning no overdues!

Mobile technology represents a significant cultural shift in our society, so we are very pleased to be able to provide this service for our school population.  Tony Keusgen, Head of Technology for Google Australia, comments that “Australia has the world’s highest per capita use of mobile phones, and by 2013, more internet searches will be done on smartphones than desktop computers.” Our new ebook collection is part of our shift towards making content available anywhere, anytime and on any device.

 

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Aug/11

30

QR Codes on Open Day

 

On Open Day this year, as well as again making personalised bookmarks for visitors, we decided to also try a QR code treasure hunt in the Library.  QR codes are square barcodes which can be scanned with a QR code reader on a smart phone, and  this then links the user directly to a website, email address, telephone number or other information, without them needing to open a browser first and type in an address. We have used QR codes on books in the past, to link students directly to an author’s website or reviews about the books.

According to Tony Kuesgen, head of technology at Google Australia, “By 2013, more internet searches will be done on smart phones than desktop computers.”  Obviously, this has wide marketing potential for businesses, and many are now using QR codes to advertise their products. Ralph Laurent, Calvin Klein, Dunlop, Seiko, Swatch and Pepsi Max are all large companies taking advantage of this form of marketing (see 9 Real Life QR Code Examples and QR Codes in Advertising)

In order to complete the treasure hunt on Open Day, visitors needed to download a free QR code reader on their smart phones – either i-nigma or BeeTagg – and then use this to scan the barcodes. Each code gave them a question to answer, a word to collect and the location of the next clue.  So that those without smart phones didn’t feel left out, we also offered an alternative pen-and-paper version.

We found that some people knew what to do and had used QR code readers before, while others needed a little help in getting started. Many parents were quite interested, especially those who could see the potential for developing their own work environment! After Open Day our current students also had the opportunity to complete the treasure hunt.

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As we approach the end of the school year, we all become acutely aware of deadlines and due dates.  For students (and staff) in the middle of a research process, there is hardly anything more stressful than spending hours browsing through material that may be irrelevant for the task at hand.  Despite this, we often come across online material that may not be immediately useful but has potential value in the future.  Using social bookmarking tools, it is possible to save these sites for later reference, and when that time comes, it can make searching more efficient.

Most people are used to saving websites as ‘Favorites’ in their browser.  However, you can end up with an enormous and unmanageable list that can only be accessed from your computer.  Once registered (for free) with a social bookmarking tool, such as delicious or diigo, you can bookmark sites and organise them according to your own system of tags.  Bookmarks are saved online, so you can access them from any computer with an internet connection.  In diigo, which we find particularly useful, it is also possible to highlight and annotate websites with sticky notes, or join special interest groups to share and receive recently bookmarked sites that are relevant for that area.

For students, they are powerful organisational tools and can serve as an online research log.  For staff, it is a great way to participate in a global community of educators, particularly if you opt to receive the regular emails of shared links.

Used well, social bookmarking tools make researching collaborative, flexible and efficient.  This is just one way in which you can develop your own Personal Learning Network (PLN).

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