Friday, September 20, 2013

Huggmee Chair Review

Fire codes required us to ditch our comfy lounge seating this spring, so we had to find new furniture that met regulations.

We searched high and low for an affordable option, and stumbled across the Huggmee Chair. They're produced in Arizona by a teeny tiny mom and pop company. Online, the chairs list for $887, but when we purchased 3, we paid significantly less. Fabric options varied - we ended up choosing a faux leather/heavy-duty vinyl that met fire code regulations.

The chairs are unique because they're designed to allow users to sit in the "sling-a-leg" position - reclining backwards and throwing their legs over the chair's arm. The chairs are quite comfortable this way, though the low back makes them slightly less comfortable if you sit in a more traditional position.

Three weeks into the school year, the chairs have gotten a super warm reception from both staff and students -- I haven't heard a single complaint. Multiple kids have asked how much the chairs cost and where they can buy one. :)

Because the chairs are vinyl, they are susceptible to punctures and rips, but the company claims the vinyl is heavy-duty and repairs easily. I'll keep you posted and let you know what we think of them in June after a full year of wear and tear.

Friday, September 13, 2013

QR Codes and Orientation

There really isn't anything better than hearing a thirteen-year-old whisper to his friend, "This is the coolest library ever!" I can't help but grin when students get excited about lessons.

Happily, it's almost a guarantee that they'll dig anything involving the iPads -- library orientation is no exception. I've talked before about creating videos about each section of the library for my orientation lesson. In the past, I've asked students to choose the appropriate video from a list on their iPad's camera roll that corresponds to the stop number. Inevitably, some kids select the wrong video, or get horribly lost.

This year, to combat that problem, and also up our cool quotient, I've added QR codes. I'm using the free app "Scan," which worked perfectly on our iPads to display both text and open URLs.

In class, I explained QR codes, and then students practiced using the app by scanning a handout at their table. Each table featured a different (lame) library joke. To get the punch line, they had to scan the QR code.

Above: QR practice codes feature lame jokes.

Once students had the hang of it, we set them loose to complete the library orientation. I set-up signs at each location featuring a QR code. When students scanned the code, it opened a URL containing the appropirate video.

Above: Boys scanning a QR code at stop #4. 

The new QR codes worked so well - students always watched the appropriate video and got a kick of out of scanning the codes. A win-win for all!