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Library beefs up technology offerings

November 21, 2017 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor
Librarian Sandra Anderson shows off Dash, a robot that is part of a new collection of hands-on learning materials that are now available for borrowing through the ATA library.

Due to extremely high demand from Alberta teachers, the ATA library has added to its collection of maker technology that’s available for borrowing.

Last year, after receiving a donation of $2,500 worth of hands-on learning technology, the library had waiting lists of up to 18 months for some items. Now, thanks to another donation of items valued at $2,500, the library has more maker technology kits to offer and is hoping for shorter waits.

“This year, hopefully, everybody gets it within the school year. That’s our mission,” said ATA librarian Sandra Anderson.

The kits are part of the maker movement that’s been embraced by teachers worldwide and involves learning by creating hands-on projects, often by combining technology like robotics, circuits and coding with crafting supplies like paper, cardboard, glue and tape. The donations come from Alberta Technology Leaders in Education (ATLE), a non-profit group that encourages the use of technology in the K–12 sector.

Maker projects are great for engaging students in creative learning that taps into their math and science skills as well as verbal communication, teamwork, collaboration and troubleshooting, said ATLE member Nicole Lakusta, an educational technology facilitator with Parkland School Division.

Teachers can use the technology to tap into the curriculum in the elementary grades right into high school, she said.
“It just amazes them at how they can use it for storytelling, for looking at codes, for discussing numeracy basics, all the way up to a Physics 20–2 course where we’re looking at variables.”

Several teachers in her division have used a variety of robotic and coding tools to break ground with students who often struggle.
“They have students who have various learning difficulties really shine in this type of environment because they have an opportunity to give themselves a student’s voice that they may never have tapped into before,” Lakusta said.

“They’re seeing these students really get excited about that learning, able to pick up on it and sometimes even be the leader of the group or the person who showcases some of the work.”

Library on the map

The great interest in technology has led to a spike in demand for the ATA library’s other services, Anderson said.

“We’ve had huge positive spinoff that we were not expecting because people are borrowing way more books than they ever have. They’re asking way more research questions.”

New technology kits available through the ATA library

  • Ozobots Evo
  • Bee-Bot
  • Bitsbox Game On
  • Circuit Scribe Ultimate Kit
  • Dash and Dot Wonder Pack
  • Sphero SPRK
  • Lego WeDo 2.0 Construction Set and Software
  • MakeBlock Starter Robot Kit V2
  • Ohuhu Photo Video Studio
  • 10- Foot Backdrop Stand
  • Stikbot Mega Pack
  • Bloxels Team Builder
  • Button Maker


How to borrow

Library material is loaned by mail with return postage prepaid. The loan period is one month.

The catalogue is available for viewing online at; reserving requires an online ATA account, which can be set up in a few minutes.

Library staff are available by phone at 780-447-9400, ext. 648 (in Edmonton) or 1-800-232-7208 (elsewhere in Alberta), or by email:

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