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26 Jun 22:15

Layered Laser-Cut Paper artworks inspired by Architecture by Eric Standley

by Mirko
first image of the post

Inspired by Gothic and Islamic architectural patterns, Eric Standley’s layered laser-cutting are just stunning. The artist stacks cutted paper on top of each other to enter a third dimension.

24 Jun 23:21

Two Digital Literacy Sites You Need to Know

by Ginny Mies

Most libraries provide some sort of digital literacy training, from public computer classes to drop-in technology labs to one-on-one help. TechSoup for Libraries' March webinar was all about free digital literacy training resources and tutorials. We invited guests from two organizations that specialize in digital literacy:

  • Scott Allen, program manager for the Public Library Association (PLA) where he oversees
  • Jessica Rich, curriculum coordinator of

Online learning at the library

The most popular digital literacy activity among our webinar attendees was "technical reference questions" with "drop-in assistance" coming in second.

How DigitalLearn Works

DigitalLearn course

DigitalLearn was started in 2012 from an IMLS grant to PLA to develop and launch a digital literacy training website. In the summer of 2013, the first DigitalLearn courses launched. Since its launch, DigitalLearn is continuing to grow with new funding partners and features, which Scott covered in his presentation.

The headlining feature of DigitalLearn is its catalog of courses for learners. Each course is 6 to 22 minutes, and they are broken up into short modules. The courses are structured this way with libraries in mind: Learners don't have a lot of time to spend at a public access computer taking lessons.

The courses are written at a fourth-grade reading level, making them accessible for a wide range of learners. Adding to the accessibility, the courses are mobile-friendly, and each lesson comes with a course transcript for users who might have difficulty hearing.  (Later this year, DigitalLearn plans to add subtitles.) Scott said that they plan to translate all of the courses into Spanish; right now only two classes have been translated.

The core classes on DigitalLearn are Getting Started on the Computer and Using a PC (Windows 7) because these are entry points to digital literacy. Other courses include Intro to Microsoft Word, Online Job Searching, Intro to Email, and many others.

DigitalLearn also offers a community of practice for instructors where members can learn from one another, share upcoming technology events, provide training materials, and more. 

How Libraries Can Use DigitalLearn

Scott described a few different ways libraries can use DigitalLearn for their own technology training:

  • Link to on library computers and websites
  • Educate library staff to refer patrons to
  • Post flyers
  • Promote to other community partners to help them provide training
  • Encourage staff to join the community of practice
  • Use DigitalLearn for staff and volunteer training

Later this year, DigitalLearn will be rolling out some new customization features, such as custom course lists, content, user analytics, co-branding, and more.

How GCFLearnFree Works

GCFLearn Free

GCFLearnFree is an educational website funded by Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina. The site has over 100 tutorials with written lessons, videos, infographics, and interactives. The courses cover a range of digital literacy topics such as technology basics, living in the online world, and Microsoft Office.

Users don't have to log in if they don't have an email address, but there is an option to create an account to track progress and receive a transcript of completed tutorials. The courses are self-paced, so learners can go through them at their own pace.

In addition to courses on using software and online programs, GCFLearnFree also offers modules on device instruction, such as "How to Use an iPad" and "Mobile Device Tips." Jessica pointed out that librarians might find this useful for drop-in device assistance programs or classes. The site also has tips on using online money management services, which might support library financial literacy initiatives like Money Smart Week.

How Libraries Can Use GCFLearnFree

Jessica said that the most popular way libraries and other educational organizations use GCFLearnFree is in traditional in-person classes. She recommended using the site like a textbook or using parts of the curriculum to supplement existing coursework. While your library can link to GCFLearnFree or embed the YouTube videos on your site, you can't scrape a whole lesson and put it on your site: It is against the terms of use.

GCFLearnFree offers curriculum guides with best practices for your classes. They also provide "learning paths" to help you connect and sequence lessons. There's also a Resources and Tools section that has flyers for advertising classes, a downloadable version of GCFLearnFree (if you have spotty Internet connectivity), and links to even more free adult education resources.

Jessica pointed out that GCFLearnFree isn't just for the end user: Staff can use it for training too! You can use the GCFLearnFree tutorials to train staff when you upgrade operating systems or get a new version of software. It could also be used to train new staff on the technology your library uses.

"Technology changes quickly," Jessica said, "and even the most tech-savvy person can't know everything there is to know."

Do you use GCFLearnFree or DigitalLearn at your library? Or any other digital literacy resources? Tell us what kind of digital literacy education you do at your library.


22 Jun 20:28

Warm Corn and Avocado Salad

by Beth M

Once I get started on the Cinco de Mayo train, I just can’t stop. I started with some Cheesy Scallion Stuffed Jalapeños the other day, then ended up making a batch of enchiladas and this insanely good (and simple) Warm Corn and Avocado Salad. This salad is the perfect light and fresh side dish for enchiladas, Cilantro Lime Chicken, or even as a topper for tacos. It’s great warm when freshly prepared, but it’s also great cold if you’re making it ahead of time. And the avocado? Don’t worry. The lime juice helps keep it bright and looking fresh!

Warm Corn and Avocado Salad

Warm Corn and Avocado Salad makes the perfect light and fresh side for enchiladas, grilled meats, or tacos.

4.6 from 5 reviews
Warm Corn and Avocado Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $3.15
Cost Per Serving: $0.79 (1 cup each)
Serves: 4 cups
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 1 lb. frozen corn kernels, thawed $1.45
  • Salt and Pepper to taste $0.05
  • ¼ tsp cumin $0.03
  • ¼ red onion $0.15
  • 1 avocado $0.69
  • ¼ bunch cilantro $0.20
  • 1 lime $0.50
  1. Make sure to let the corn thaw completely. Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot and shimmering, add the thawed corn and sauté until the corn becomes golden brown and blistered. Remove the corn from the skillet and place it in a large bowl, season with a pinch of salt, pepper, and ¼ tsp cumin. Allow the corn to cool slightly.
  2. While the corn is cooling, prepare the remaining vegetables. Finely dice the red onion, roughly chop the cilantro, and cube the avocado. Add the onion, cilantro, and avocado to the bowl with the corn. Stir briefly.
  3. Squeeze the juice from half the lime over the salad, stir, and taste. Adjust the salt and lime juice as needed. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Warm Corn and Avocado Salad makes the perfect light and fresh side for enchiladas, grilled meats, or tacos. BudgetBytes.comWarm Corn and Avocado Salad makes the perfect light and fresh side for enchiladas, grilled meats, or tacos.

Step by Step Photos

Blackened CornStart with one pound of frozen corn kernels that are completely thawed. Heat about 2 Tbsp of cooking oil (a high smoke point oil) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. You want the skillet and oil very hot so they slightly char the corn. Once hot, add the corn and sauté until the corn gets some browned and blistered spots. Once it’s got some color, turn the heat off and season with a pinch of salt and pepper, plus 1/4 tsp cumin. Remove the corn from the skillet and place it in a large bowl.

Fresh VegetablesWhile the corn is cooling, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. Finely dice about 1/4 of a red onion, roughly chop about 1/4 bunch of cilantro, and cube an avocado. These ingredients don’t really have to be exact. If you don’t like red onion so much, use less. If you like cilantro a lot, use more. You can even add a diced jalapeño if you want your salad to be a lil’ spicy!

Combine Warm Corn with VegetablesAdd the onion, avocado, and cilantro to the warm corn. Squeeze the juice from half the lime over top.

Stir and Add Lime and SaltGive everything a quick stir, then taste, and adjust the lime and salt if needed. 

Warm Corn and Avocado Salad makes the perfect light and fresh side for enchiladas, grilled meats, or tacos. BudgetBytes.comServe the Warm Corn and Avocado Salad immediately, or refrigerate it until ready to eat and enjoy it cold.

Warm Corn and Avocado Salad makes the perfect light and fresh side for enchiladas, grilled meats, or tacos. BudgetBytes.comMakes a great fresh salad on its own, or as a topper for tacos! Oooh baby. #cantgetenough

Warm Corn and Avocado Salad makes the perfect light and fresh side for enchiladas, grilled meats, or tacos.

The post Warm Corn and Avocado Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

29 Feb 20:24

How modern technology could have solved every problem in literary history

by MJ Franklin

Technology has made our lives so much easier. We have instant directions at our finger tips, it has never been easier to find a date, and with a push of a button we can get food delivered directly to us

But could these modern miracles have solved the epic problems found in classic literature?

Interactive book retailer Flipsnack thinks so. In a new series Modern Day Classics, the company imagines what would happen if your favorite book characters had access to the tech we all rely on today.

After all, Romeo and Juliet would be a much different love story if they met on Tinder — and if Sam and Frodo had Google Maps directions to Mordor, it might have saved a lot of hassle Read more...

More about Books, Social Media, Tech, Humor, and Classic Literature