Friday, April 6, 2012

"I Want To Find The COOLEST eBooks Too"....Learning About Mackin VIA Categories At Van Meter

"Mrs. Miller, my brother showed me the coolest dinosaur book on our computer at home. Can you show me where I can find that book so I can look for other books about dinosaurs and aliens and football all by myself." ~Van Meter Kindergartener 

Over the last few months I have been teaching our students, teachers and school community about Mackin VIA. Through our Mackin VIA Roll-Out Day, connecting with teachers and integrating the eBooks into the curriculum, fun activities, posters and cards throughout the school, an open house during conferences and spreading the word through our library site, blogs, Destiny and by using social media, we have been able to share our new eResources with most everyone at Van Meter.  

The ones that I hadn't reached yet were our littlest ones....the ones in kindergarten and first grade.  I have now been working with them for the last two weeks.  I introduced Mackin VIA in their classrooms...on the MacBooks and using the iPads.  Then in first grade, their fourth grade buddies helped them navigate their way through different eBooks.  In kindergarten, I shared an eBook with them about baby animals one afternoon. And some have used it at home, especially if they have older siblings like the boy above.  
This week I wanted to teach them about the Categories within Mackin VIA.  Within VIA, the administrator can set up Categories, which allows users to search through popular categories to find what they need.  

My goal was to teach them how easy it would be to find the eBooks that they wanted to if they knew what first grader Landon learned in the computer lab and library...

I wanted them to be able to not only use this new knowledge about how Mackin VIA was organized at school, but also at home or anywhere they have access to it.
So I created a fun activity using QR Codes, iTouches and the Categories of eBooks found within Van Meter's Mackin VIA.  
There are different Categories including Animals, Art and Music, History, Supernatural and more.  The Categories can be set up to fit the needs of your library, taking into consideration things like the collection and patrons.  This is very easy to do! 
Once logged into the Mackin Educational Resources website, you will find "My Mackin" on the right hand side. Under this tab, there is a another tab called "My Mackin VIA." In "Settings," the administrator can manage the Categories.  

As we convert our elementary collection to the book store model of classification, the way that I have the Categories set up within our VIA will change too.  
I wanted to create QR codes for nine of the different Categories so I took a tiny screen shot of each image.  I then uploaded them into a new Flickr Group I created for this project.  I also created one QR code containing a certain eBook that they would find within Mackin VIA.  
I created all ten of the QR codes using Kawya, took a screen shot of each as they were created and uploaded them into the What eBook can you find in this Mackin VIA category? Google Doc. 
After I explained the activity and answered any questions that they had about Mackin VIA, we had the students pair up with a purple sheet of QR codes, an iTouch, a computer and a friend.  They scanned the QR codes to find the different Categories they would be searching for eBooks in and found a lot of new ones to read and listen to.  

As the Categories were found, they started to understand how the eBooks were organized within Mackin VIA.  It was so much fun hearing them discuss between themselves why they thought an eBook was in the Animal Category or Science Category.  
They marked off the QR codes they scanned as new eBooks were discovered in each Category.
Mr. Linde thought VIA was pretty awesome too!  Mike and I worked together in the computer lab during library and technology time this week. 
When they scanned QR Code 5, a book cover came up on the iTouch screen.  They were to look for Animal Babies ABC within Mackin VIA.  Some of the students looked in the Animals Category while others typed the titles in the Search bar.  I even had one group start at the beginning of the eBooks and find it that way.  
No matter how they searched, they were all very happy when they found the eBook and loved reading it.
As you can see, the little people at Van Meter LOVE all of the new books they now have to read.  It gives them a whole new look into nonfiction and the information that they can find online in the eBooks and other eResources contained within Mackin VIA.

I was at a friends house this afternoon and her first grade daughter said,

"Mom, we are learning about Mackin VIA in the library."  

I loved having my friend Holly ask me to show her the eBooks.  For their four children, they now have an amazing online library at home too.


  1. Amazing. Just beautiful to see this being implemented. I love the flexibility of Mackin's VIA for creating groups and getting right into reading,

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