Staff Newsletter

QHS Information Centre - Volume 8, Issue 1 (Term 1, 2016)

QHS Makerspace

You may have spotted our 'Makerspace' wall in the Information Centre this term and wondered what it is all about. Well wonder no more! After much research and planning, our new Makerspace will launch early in Term 2. The Maker movement began in the US in 2005 with the publication of Make magazine, and has spread around the world and based in libraries, schools/colleges and community spaces.

Essentially a Makerspace is a place where people can go to make stuff, and through making, they learn - how to create, how to collaborate with others, how to take risks and how to learn through hands-on experience, Maker projects can range from craft, baking and gardening activities through to robotics, engineering and computer coding. The opportunities for hands-on learners to grow and develop are huge, and this is primarily why we have decided to start a Makerspace here at Queen's.

Our beginnings will be humble, but we hope it will grow and we are convinced it will be of enormous benefit to our girls. There is more information about our Makerspace on our new website, or talk to Lesley, Natalie or myself about some of the things we have planned. And be warned - you may be asked to use some of your hidden talents (yes, we know you have them!) and offer some advice or teach a new skill from time to time. To keep our costs down, we will be on the lookout for craft supplies, electronics, recycled bits and pieces, lego, etc so if you have something could be useful, please let us know - it could turn out to be just the thing we're after.

Booking the Information Centre on Kamar

You may have already noticed that you can now make your own library bookings directly on Kamar (as you would for any other classroom or computer room). You can also check to see when the Information Centre is free, which could be handy if you wish to bring a class at short notice. When you make each booking, Kamar will send an automatically generated message to me, to let me know that you have made a booking (so I should know that you are coming!) If you need any particular resources or assistance with your class, you will still need to contact me directly (an email to is probably best) If you have any questions about the booking process, please ask :)

Just how important is it for students to have access to computers?

An OECD report published in September last year highlighted some interesting connections between access to computer technology and student achievement. One of the major findings was that students required basic literacy and numeracy skills before they could take full advantage of any technology. The link below will take you to an infographic that summarizes the report's other results.

Understanding Dyslexia

The Learning Support department has recently purchased a copy of The New Zealand Dyslexia Handbook, an excellent resource designed to build awareness and understanding about dyslexia as well as offering practical strategies that you can use in the classroom. This book will be available in the Information Centre to borrow as you would any other library book. Please get in touch if you would like to take a look at it.

And in the meantime, the link below might be useful if you have dyslexic students in your classes. It will help you understand what trying to read text might look like to them.

Making the Most of Social Media

Social media is everywhere nowadays, and increasingly it is being used for sharing professional information (as well as the odd cute cat video or funny meme). So why not make the most of it? The blog post below explains some of the search features that are available in Facebook, and how you can use these to save or easily find those interesting links and posts that you want to follow up on when you have more time. I thought these features looked like they would be very useful.

Attention Movie Buffs

If movies are your 'thing', you will love the new movie search engine What is My Movie. It lets you search it's extensive database by title, cast or crew, location, and even more difficult to search criteria such as themes. Once you find a match, you can also click a button to find more results that are similar - a very useful feature.

New magazine subscription

There is a new magazine in the Information Centre this year, called Say Yes to Adventure, produced in NZ by Hollie Woodhouse. It contains inspiring stories of adventures all around the world, accompanied by stunning photography. If the outdoors is your thing (or even if it's not), you should really take a look. You might also like to explore Hollie's Adventurous Kiwi blog (see the link below)

Cool (and easy) way to add text to photos

There are several online tools that let you add your own text to photos, but the best I've come across so far is It is free to use and you don't even have to create an account!

You can either upload your own photo from your computer or choose something from the gallery, then follow the on screen prompts to add the text of your choice and choose from the available formatting options. To move the text around, simply click and drag it to where you want it to go. To save the finished product, click on 'Next' and then 'Download' and you're done!

Do be careful to use copyright free images (photos you have taken yourself or ones that allow you to re-use and modify them). For more on the copyright of images, and some good sites for finding copyright-free images, check out the Info Centre website.

Recent New Books

See below for some selected highlights. The new book display in the Information Centre is changed each week, with 14 new titles going on display every Monday morning - check it out next time you're passing. If you see anything there that you would like to read, please ask to place a reserve.