KLA 2012: Android in Academic Libraries

The Koha Users Group discussion was fantastic and the notes will be put up as a handout just as soon as I have a spare minute and the State Library Standards discussion was equally good – lots of useful feedback from libraries.

This will be my first ‘real session’ and I want to hear Earl talk about rooted Nooks and tablets and other gadgets.  Granted it’s for Academic, but I think it will still be interesting for the Toy Box. “Beyond Laptops” – using Tablets in Public and Academic libraries…and how to legally customize them.  And Yes, Earl is wearing sunglasses on his head.

How We Got Here:

  • Earl rooted (hacked) his device a few years ago (when it wasn’t quite legal), but Obama says that rooting is legal because it advances technology.  Used this knowledge in a classroom setting (needed 25 tablets for cheap).  UL100 Information and Literacy Technology class and couldn’t afford more laptops, so with limited funds the Dean asked if a cheap Android tablet be made usable.  Earl says…Yes – Nook Color (Android based).
  • Ice Cream Sandwich Operating systems on one Nook Color and MIUI (made in Japan to mimic iPad) on the other.
  • Worked with multiple Operating Systems: Rooted Cyanogen-Mod 7.2, testing ISC, and MIUI and Amazon Kindle Fire (already has Android operating system, so no Breaking it).  Also testing Apple iPads, but they ran out of money.
  • Uses in the Library: Notes, Viewer, access databases, wonder and browse the catalog in the stacks, polling and research, OPAC access and Database Apps (Gale, Ebsco, etc.).  Avoid paper surveys and do tablet surveys instead!  Use PollDaddy up on the device and hand it out – take the poll and enjoy the gadget (stats and anonymous).  GOOD IDEA for public surveys and customer use surveys! Free edition and premium account additions up to 200 can poll before you have to pay for it.
  • Apps:  Google Docs, Twitter, Reader, Opera Mobile, Office Suite Pro, Ad Free, ES File Explorer, YouTube, Ocean Media, Wiki Ency, Dictionary.com, Access My Library, Printer Share, BlackBoard App, Rom manager
  • xda-developers.com (with pictures and device lists) – create a bootable SD card that goes into the device and there are videos.  Find the ROM you like and add it.  Try and test various ROMS – easy = best.  Cut down to one screen from 7 and put fewer apps on the screen and take requests for new apps to be added.  FREE apps (unlike standard Nook Color and Kindle Fire, which charge for most apps).
  • Remove Adds with Ad Free and ROM Manager is essential to switch between look/feel.  Backup the device and restore through ROM Manager.
  • Able to put apps on multiple devices.
  • SNAGS: If I break it, do I have to buy it?  Some were overwhelmed by the new technology, many students were frustrated and had never used a touchscreen/smart phone, and the patrons wanted to be Taught!  S.O.F.T.: Scary, Overwhelmed, Frustrated, Teach Me!
  • Future ideas: Use the android screen for photo editing. Record stories with the microphone, USB Ports, Newer OS features and better Wi-fi support.  Earl’s 4 year old son reads and records himself on the iPad. Android isn’t there yet – supporting children programs.  The Nook Tablet has a microphone, but no camera.  Few Apps for children, 3rd party (no Google) apps. iPad leads with education apps.
  • Kindle Fire is sold the way it is, purchase everything, though.  Side load a few apps.  People refer to Fire as an ‘Amazon tablet’.  Each OS has different/new features – always changing and improving.
  • Android doesn’t work well with certain wi-fi connection types.  (University v. Library…)  Secure, but not protected EAP network.
  • Hiccups – the network, browsers – finally stay with Opera (but make it NOT remember passwords).  Tried FF and Dolphin and Ocean.  FF works with HTML5.  Safari and FF work with HTML5 at this time.
    • HTML5 will replace the need for Flash.  Android plays Flash, while iOS doesn’t. Much of the vendor provided apps require Flash!
    • Still want to explore Android versions, bluetooth accessories, wireless printing  and HTML 5.
    • People hate typing on tablets. Need a bluetooth keyboard ($36-$150).  Frustrating for women, especially, because of Nails (or so he read recently).
  • Theory from Pepperdine University Webinar for the Fit Framework by Dana Hoover and Timothy Chester:
    • What is the learning outcome?  What should the patron/student know after the class?  What are you going to DO with Them?  What programs with USE the tablet?  Storytime, scavenger hunts, virtual tours.
    • Teach – How can you use the Tablet to enhance the teaching?  Integrate the device into your style of teaching.  Tablets are NOT laptop replacements.
    • Change – Using tablets/iPads will change how you do something…so identify areas where you want to see change or need change.  Example, Storytime – integrate iPads where you record half the book (and read it back) and then have the 2n’d half read with the child (or parent).  How you maintain your device – is it charged, working, clean of fingerprints, etc.
    • Explore and TEXT – let the end user test the device.  Then decide which resource, app or device is right.
    • Implement – test, train and have practical apps
    • Assess – what worked well? What did not?  Do something with the DATA you gather!!  Don’t be afraid of failure.  Maybe a failure will lead to an unexpected success.
  • Best Practices:
    • Limit apps – too many choices are confusing. Every device should have games (and serious stuff)
    • Know your audience – who are you buying it for?
    • Training – Make sure faculty know how to use the apps!!!  Good customer service.
    • Testing – make sure it works
    • Assess – thoughtfully review the success/failure of the program
  • Other ideas:
    • Roaming Reference – on demand reference when you approach them based on struggling body language
    • Embedded librarian – Earl will ride with the football team as the travel!  Will need mobile 3G.  iPad works with Blackboard.
    • Google Voice, Google Cloud Printing (look at PrinterShare app for Air printing)
    • Text Chat, Surveys

Resources: XDA Develoeprs – forum.xda-developers.com.  Other References worth looking at as well.

  • Q&A.  Runs slower from an SD card.  Wipe/root, the device works more smoothly.  Especially true for Nook Color.
  • Do devices leave the library? Not yet, but they will allow tablets to take for 3-5 days.  Personal device, need to spend time one-on-one with it.  Modified laptop policy.  Catalog them?  Cases? Will use original packaging to check out.
  • Screen protectors – Yes.  But another student did it (jeweler)…practicum student slave labor.
  • Danger that tech moves SO FAST and hardware changes, should you invest?  iPad won’t be obsolete any time soon.  Android has a lot of different hardware and vendors, but only one Apple
  • Just use the Barnes and Noble App in the Android store to use the rooted Nook Color as an eReader…and you can use Kindle App and 3 M Cloud Library.

Very interesting program and I think Dan needs to look at these notes.  We are using the SD card to root our Nook Color.  I like Earl’s better.


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