Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Caitlin Tucker, Blended Learning


StumbleUpon introduced me to English Teacher Caitlin Tucker's site on Blended Learning. The article "12 Tech Tools that will Transform the Way You Teach" was dated 2011 -- two years earlier -- but it did cause me to track down her blog and catch up with Caitlin's newest recommendations.  It is great when teachers use the technology and also share in a meaningful way beyond the classroom.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

COPYRIGHT FREE images/video/other media

Students and teachers alike often go first to Google images for pictures, but not all images are copyright free.  Why not go directly to a few good public domain sites? Works in the public domain may be used freely and are not protected by copyright. Here are a few such sites. Many states have digital collections of their history.

American Memory Collection - A digital record of American History from the Library of Congress. Find spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.  http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html
Calisphere - A World of Primary Sources and more from the University of California. Designed for K-12 students and teachers.  http://www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu/

Digital Library of Georgia – A gateway to Georgia’s history and culture. http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu

Picture History – The primary source for history online.  http://www.picturehistory.com/

U.S. Government Photos and Images – A mix of public domain (copyright free) and licensed images. Read disclaimers on each site. http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Graphics.shtml

OpenClipArt – original free clipart and images. http://openclipart.org/

Flickr creative commons – Some Flickr contributors let you use their image if you give them credit. See various creative commons licensing agreements. http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/

Pics4Learning – Free, copyright friendly images for education. http://pics.tech4learning.com/

Sunday, June 2, 2013

KPCB Internet Trends 2013

Worth reviewing.  It is about 100 slides, followed by appendix. All is thought-provoking and would be useful for a planning session.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fun Tools for Infographics

Edudemic is a website worth exploring.  For example, check out the article on "10 Fun Tools to Easily Make Your Own Infographics" -- Love the names. I wish I had more time to learn and play with these tools:

  1. Visual.ly
  2. Dipity
  3. Easel.ly
  4. Venngage
  5. Infogr.am
  6. Tableau Public
  7. Photo Stats
  8. What About Me?
  9. Gliffy
  10. Piktochart

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Open College InfoGraphic (Australia)

This infographic just came in from Krisca Te of Open Colleges, based in Sydney, Australia.  The data used is from a variety of sources.  See bottom right corner for source material. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Our E-Books Are Reading Us (WSJ 6/29/12)

Wall Street Journal article by Alexandra Alter, "Our E-Books Are Reading Us" is worth reading, sharing, and discussing.  http://www.artsjournal.com/artsjournal1/2012/06/our_ebooks_are.shtml

As publishers and authors learn more about how readers read, which books they read faster, which lines are highlighted the most by readers... it will change what readers are offered. That is not necessarily a good thing. Think I'll stay offline book-wise and keep my reading choices a little more to myself. On the bright side, it might help text book publishers learn how to better engage students. My suggestion is to reference good books -- such as historical fiction, science fiction, collections of best science articles -- throughout a textbook.  Serious students will be enriched. Others might just stumble upon some really great reads.
Here's how Alexander Alter's article starts...

"It takes the average reader just seven hours to read the final book in Suzanne Collins's "Hunger Games" trilogy on the Kobo e-reader—about 57 pages an hour. Nearly 18,000 Kindle readers have highlighted the same line from the second book in the series: "Because sometimes things happen to people and they're not equipped to deal with them." And on Barnes & Noble's Nook, the first thing that most readers do upon finishing the first "Hunger Games" book is to download the next one."  more

Friday, June 8, 2012

Stop Think Connect Campaign: OnGuardOnline

Here's a site to study, save and share.  A number of Federal agencies are sponsoring a computer consumer protection site called OnGuardOnline.  Agencies include the IRS, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of State, FTC, SEC, and the U.S. Commodity Futures.  Here is what the site is ABOUT:

OnGuardOnline.gov is a partner in the Stop Think Connect campaign, led by the Department of Homeland Security, and part of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jigsaw Puzzles that Teach or Reinforce

Game Score CertificateClick and solve a jigsaw puzzle.  This is a way to prepare students for an assignment or for work.  For example, before letting student library workers start shelving books, be sure they know the difference between FICTION and NON-FICTION, alphabetizing by author last name, and of course the Dewey Decimal System.  So many students and teachers have not been introduced to basic library skills.  Give them a few games to play (and successfully solve) before letting them loose on a project.  One jigsaw puzzle tool if available for free from ProProfs Brain Games.

Monday, May 14, 2012

College Graduation Ceremony Webcast

This weekend, relatives and friends who could not attend our nephew's college graduation were able to view it via webcast.  Grandmom and pop were driven to a local coffee shop with wifi to view their grandson's graduation via iPad.  All schools should do this for the people who can't travel!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

E-Books and Exercise

What is your daily workout? Do you exercise both your mind and body?  Each day, do you step onto a treadmill or climb onto an exercise bike to stay in shape while reading or listening to a good book?  This image illustrates my daily visit to the YMCA. 

Download a thick page-turner mystery or best seller, start walking (hold on to the treadmill's siderails or your eReader) and shed pounds while getting your cardio exercise.  This is a book lover's fitness secret. In fact, I bet schools could help fight youth obesity and increase literacy levels with this secret strategy: an hour a day walking with a book. Librarians and coaches could collaborate on how to best use these cool tools: eReaders, eBooks, and treadmills. 

Notice that one person prefers the printed word while the second image shows an eReader, in this case, an iPad and an iPod.

A variety of gift items are available at the Library Advocate's DesignClass with this design.  See cafepress.com/DesignClass

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

iPad for Education

Here is a handy list of educational iPad uses from teacher librarian Lydia Smith-Davis, M.Ed of Orange Lutheran High School in Davis, CA:

From EdTech Teacher (ETT)

The iPad as.....

Over the past few months, iPads have exploded throughout schools and classrooms. Their flexibility, versatility, and mobility make them a phenomenal learning tool. In webinars and blog posts, we have talked about the iPad as....
  • Reader
  • Creator
  • Student Response System
  • Classroom Manager
  • Study Tool
  • Organizer
  • Differentiator
In this section, we take a similar approach as with our Great Tech Tools. In order to help educators integrate iPads effectively, we have compiled a list of apps focused on learning goals consistent with the CRCD framework. While many of these apps have also appeared in our iPads in the Classroom section, this list is driven by specific learning goals that promote critical-thinking, creativity, collaboration, and the creation of student-centric learning environments. 
iPad Learning Objectives
  1. I want my students to record and edit video on the iPad. 
  2. I want my students to record and / or edit audio on the iPad. 
  3. I want my students to read class content on the iPad. 
  4. I want my students to annotate course readings on the iPad 
  5. I want my students to be able to use audio books on the iPad. 
  6. I want my students to use the iPad as a digitial notebook / note-taking device. 
  7. I want my students to use their iPads to create screencasts to share and demonstrate their understanding.
  8. I want my students to create presentations on the iPad. 
  9. I want my students to create digital stories on the iPad. 
  10. I want my students to be able to study with the iPad. 
  11. I want to use the iPad as a student response system. 
  12. I want my students to create written content on the iPad. 
  13. I want my students to blog on the iPad.
  14. I want my students to create ePubs / iBooks to read on the iPad.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Social Media Timeline

The history of social media in a timeline format (info graphic) is a useful tool for teacher librarians and others.  For many, it is a walk down memory lane.  See the full timeline at http://www.siliconrepublic.com/new-media/item/25854-the-history-of-social-media

Add some education data points:

  • 1994 - Net Day, an initiative to wire all schools and classrooms (and school libraries) to the Internet.  That is also when it became clear that schools needed to upgrade their electrical system.  Computers need to be plugged into electrical outlets.  This is also the year that Pacific Bell (now AT&T) started its Education First initiative and team, got CPUC approval to donate three years of ISDN lines for Internet access and interactive videoconferencing to all California schools, libraries and community colleges, and established 12 demonstration sites.  Library sites included Pasadena Public Library and Sacramento Public Library.
  • 1996 - Telecommunications Act of 1996 included a section on Universal Service that helps schools and public libraries obtain access to state of the art telecom services and equipment at a discounted rate.  This became known as "E-Rate", short for "eduction rate."
  • Summer 2007 - California School Library Association offered its free, online web 2.0 tutorials, School Library Learning 2.0 and Classroom Learning 2.0  
Add your own special dates and memories to the timeline!

Monday, January 16, 2012

"70 Interesting Ways to Use an iPad in the Classroom"

This slideshow collection "70 Interesting Ways to Use an iPad in the Classroom" is a real "keeper".  Share it with all fellow iPad users.  Thanks go to educator Tom Barrett of the United Kingdom -- He sure looks like he enjoys his work!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 NMC Horizon Report - Tech Trends

The annual NMC Horizon Report will be released in February 13-15 at the EduCause Conference in Austin, Tx and online. A shortlist of applications, trends and issues is posted on its wiki.  This is a good time to review and think about what higher education thinkers are thinking, and to share with K-12 educators so they can better prepare students and themselves.  NOTE:  The issue of digital literacy is identified as a "key skill in every discipline and profession", yet training is rare in teacher education and faculty preparation. 

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
Cloud Computing
Mobile Apps
Social Reading
Tablet Computing

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
Adaptive Learning Environments
Augmented Reality
Game-Based Learning
Learning Analytics

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
 Digital Identity
Gesture-Based Computing
Haptic Interfaces
 Internet of Things

Top trends and issues:

  • The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators.
  • Computers as we know them are in the process of a massive reinvention because we increasingly expect media to be touchable and interactive. 
  • Education paradigms are shifting to include online learning, hybrid learning and collaborative models. [about time!]
  • Increasingly, students want to use their own technology for learning. 
  • Institutions are increasingly exploring technologies that allow teachers and students to better collaborate. 

  • Lecture capture, podcasting, and cheap personal video recorders increasingly make it much easier to prepare lecture-style content for students to see/hear before coming to class. 
  • People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to. 
  • The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized. 
  • There is a new emphasis in the classroom on more challenge-based and active learning.
  • The world of work is increasingly collaborative, driving changes in the way student projects are structured.

  • Appropriate metrics of evaluation lag the emergence of new scholarly forms of authoring, publishing, and researching. 
  • The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices. 
  • Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. This challenge, driven by a related trend, appears here because despite the widespread agreement on the importance of digital media literacy, training in the supporting skills and techniques is rare in teacher education and non-existent in the preparation of faculty. As lecturers and professors begin to realize that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop and use digital media literacy skills across the curriculum, the lack of formal training is being offset through professional development or informal learning, but we are far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral.
  • Dividing learning into fixed units such as credit hours limits innovation across the board. 
  • Economic pressures and new models of education are bringing unprecedented competition to the traditional models of tertiary education.
  • Institutional barriers present formidable challenges to moving forward in a constructive way with emerging technologies. 
  • The global drive to increase the number of students participating in undergraduate education is placing pressure across the system. 
  • Most academics are not using new and compelling technologies for learning and teaching, nor for organizing their own research. 
  • New modes of scholarship are presenting significant challenges for libraries and university collections, how scholarship is documented, and the business models to support these activities.
  • Simply staying organized and current presents a challenge in a world where information, software tools, and devices proliferate at the rate they do today. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


A comment on my 2CoolTools blog alerted me to a flashcard game, WordStash [subheading: Half flashcard, half dictionary, and full awesome!]

I asked teacher librarians if this is popular with students or a useful study help and only heard messages like "thanks for alerting us to this cool new tool."  WordStash is a cool tool for students who need to occupy their time after turning in their assignment or test -- or for after school.  For that matter, this might have appeal for new iPad users and senior citizens who want to stay sharp.

Examples of favorite lists:
So, enjoy!  I see there is a teacher version.  And there's more!

Teacher librarians also recommend:
  • Quizlet - free. 4 study modes: flashcards, spelling, learn, tests.  Audio in many languages. Very large collection!  
  • Memorize.com - create pages, memorize, share with others

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Internet Librarian 2011

Love the annual Internet Librarian conference in beautiful Monterey, California. Wish it was held in August, not October at the beginning of the academic year. Once again, I can only attend one day -- the day I'm presenting on behalf of the California Campaign for Strong School Libraries.  The session is a part of the Schools@Internet Librarian conference-within-a-conference.  Here is the promo:

E101 – Changing the Story: The California Campaign for Strong School Libraries
10:15 AM – 11:00 AM
Jackie Siminitus, VP, Communication, California School Library Association
Connie Williams, Chair, California Campaign for Strong School Libraries, California School Library Association
The California Campaign for Strong School Libraries is a public awareness campaign that seeks to inform the public and policymakers on the importance of a strong school library in increasing student academic achievement. The campaign promotes the new Model School Library Standards and works to “change the story” of what a school is. California School Library Association’s Siminitus and Williams showcase a number of major outreach efforts including an audio journal; bus ads; Illustrators Galore @ LIBRARY STORE; leveraging library vendors as advocates; plus how to design and offer their free, online tutorial for teens, “Tools2Create: Summer 2.0 Fun.”

Friday, August 5, 2011

Curriki for Open (free) Content for Educators

This week, Scott McNealy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, was the keynote speaker at Silicon Valley Education Fund's ShiftED Conference at Foothill College.  Scott is a great presenter and loves to throw zingers at his audience.  He kept his audience spellbound and essentially put forth the case for why America's educational system is broken, that there is not just a learning gap but a canyon.  We need to make dramatic changes immediately.

Scott sold his company to Oracle in 2010 and is now free to do as he pleases.  One of his passions is the concept of making it easy for educators to access free online lesson plans and other resources rather than spending precious money on new textbooks each year.  As he frequently points out, math has not changed so why keep evaluating and adopting and buying new math textbooks when resources could be better spent?  One of his top projects is Curriki, an online system created to support the development and free distribution of educational materials to anyone who needs them.  Curriki was first established in 2004, then became a tax exempt 501C3 non profit in 2006.

Curriki has lots of supporters from business and educational organizations.  According to Scott, the key is to compel teachers to take the TIME to upload their best work.  Seems to me there needs to be more incentives than just the desire to share.  What will that incentive be?  Recognition? A fun game? A way to win points of some sort? How about the option of special templates or branding/marketing tools?

Also, how can an educator or content contributor know if or how their lesson plans are being used?  Are analytics available to the content providers? I love the idea of open and free content available in the cloud, and the large number and quality of supporting organizations, but in a teacher's busy daily life, something other than yet another email is needed to remind them to visit Curriki.  How about something fun?

I'd like to find time to sit in a workshop with elementary, middle and high school teachers and teacher librarian who can compare Curriki to Shmoop and California's Brokers of Expertise.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Scribbitt - Kids Create Books

Here's a cool tool for teens who want to draw or make their own book.: Scribblitt.  The site's subtitle is "Sparking Creativity".  This is a good site to send kids after they complete a California School Library Association's tutorial, "Tools2Create" or "TeenLearning 2.0".

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Google Alerts - Cool Tool to Monitor Your Top Topics

Are you eager to learn what's new on a special topic, person, or place?
Do you wonder who is writing about you, your family, friends or favorite book?
Have you started a new project and wonder how or if your news release or other publicity is getting covered by the media?

Google has yet another new tool in Beta test called Google Alerts
Test it out by setting up an alert for a topic like "school libraries" or your name.  Google Alerts give you a bunch of examples.  Check it out.
  • Librarians could use this as a quick reference tool.
  • Students could use this as a way to see what's new on their research topic.
  • The California School Library Foundation could get alerts on its new LIBRARY STORE by setting up an alert for "cafepress.com/csla"

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Riding the Digital Trail: Creating Book Trailers - by Naomi Bates

Texas Library Media Specialist of the Year Naomi Bates created an online presentation (Presi) on best practices for creating book trailers (promotions, like movie trailers).  Naomi's presentation is "Book Trailers: Making Students Want to Read."  Well done!  See below.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pew Internet and American Life: E-reader Ownership Doubles in Six Months

Rush Brandis of the California State Library alerted librarians of a new Pew Internet and American Life Report on E-Reader Ownership. Here is an overview taken from the report:
  • The share of adults in the United States who own an e-book reader doubled to 12% in May, 2011  from 6% in November 2010.  E-readers, such as a Kindle or Nook, are portable devices designed to allow readers to download and read books and periodicals.  This is the first time since the Pew Internet Project began measuring e-reader use in April 2009 that ownership of this device has reached double digits among U.S. adults. 

  • Tablet computers—portable devices similar to e-readers but designed for more interactive web functions—have not seen the same level of growth in recent months.  In May 2011, 8% of adults report owning a tablet computer such as an iPad, Samsung Galaxy or Motorola Xoom.  This is roughly the same percentage of adults who reported owning this kind of device in January 2011 (7%), and represents just a 3 percentage-point increase in ownership since November 2010.  Prior to that, tablet ownership had been climbing relatively quickly.
The full report is at

ALA Annual 2011: AASL Unveils the Top 25 Websites for Teaching, Learning

ALA Annual 2011: AASL Unveils the Top 25 Websites for Teaching, Learning

Here are a few fun sites to explore, thanks to the American Association of School Librarians. Lots of new sites. Good to see that the Khan Academy is listed. These and other good sites are what librarians need to have handy to recommend or demonstrate to teachers, teens, and parents. They are amazing.

Online "Filter Bubbles" - TedTalk by Eli Pariser

California Teacher Librarian Susie Goodin alerted California librarians to a TedTalk by Eli Pariser on the dangers of online "filter bubbles".  The description states that as web companies tailor their services and search results to our personal tastes, there is a dangerous yet unintended consequence -- we get trapped in a "Filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview.  Pariser argues that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and for democracy.

This is particularly interesting for educators, given the high degree of Internet filtering in schools, thanks in large part to federal funding requirements under the E-Rate (Education Rate) program.

Monday, April 11, 2011


MEDIAFLY On Air is a free site that connects viewers to recent news of all sorts of topics.  In addition to online radio and podcasts, Mediafly lets consumers listen to their favorite podcast and radio shows from the major networks.   Go to MEDIAFLY.com and explore!

You can search by community picks, source or topic.  Here are two topics.

  • Education has a variety of sites, but they do not appear to be provided by the education community. TedTalks and GrammarGirl are options, for example. 
  • Technology has many popular technology shows, including GeekBeat.tv

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Skype for Teachers: "Skype in the Classroom"

Skype is that free voice and video site purchased by eBay several years ago.  It is my preferred way to have a live discussion while sitting at my computer.  With or without the video, the audio is fine when you have a good computer, broadband, and a quiet office.  Even if the room is noisy and somewhat chaotic (like a classroom of antsy students), the audio with video is powerful.  Given most school libraries have wireless Internet, thanks to annual Federal E-Rate funding, Skype is an ideal way to bring authors, scientists, college admissions officers, and other guests to the schools.

Skype's special site for teachers is worth checking out, even if it is mis-named.  Skype in the Classroom should be "Skype in the School Library".

Saturday, March 26, 2011

CUE 2011 Opening Keynote - Michael Horn on Disrupting Class

Here is a fascinating presentation by Michael Horn at the 2011 Computer-Using Educators conference in Palm Springs. It is well-worth viewing, taking notes, and sharing.

Think especially about high school libraries and how they could be positioned to provide the space and the instructors/guides-on-side for online resources (online tutorials). CSLA members who have already taken the CSLA online courses and have been teaching/coaching colleagues and teens are well-positioned to introduce Michael Horn's presentation and book. [Those who have not yet gotten their feet wet with social media tools and other CSLA online tutorials... now is the time to hurry and catch up.]

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tech "Care Package" for Kids to Send Parents and Grandparents

Google has created more than 50 short (2-minute) videos with step-by-step instructions on all sorts of technology topics, ranging from how to "cut and paste" to how to create a blog.  

The site is set up so children can e-mail a specific tech "care package" to their parents or grandparents. See TeachParentsTech.org

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Library Technology Trends: Big Shift, Wifi Saturation, Laptops

Florida-based Free Range Librarian Karen Schneider wrote a summary of library technology trends when she returned from ALA Mid-winter conference in San Diego.  Karen's trends refer mostly to academic and public libraries.
  • The Big Shift:  ebooks and streaming (rather than DVDs) is catching on faster than anticipated; moving seldom-used materials to off-site facilities.  Regional repositories are a far better investment than compact shelving.
  • Wifi saturation: more and more people carry multiple wifi-enabled devices and increasingly depend on access to the Internet.  
  • Laptops: most college Freshmen now have laptop computers and need wifi, power, and security. There is a reduced need for desktop computers in academic (and public libraries in affluent communities).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Horizon Report 2011 - Top Technology Trends in Higher Education

The 2011 Horizons Report is out. Each year, the Horizon Report introduces six emerging technologies or practices that are likely to enter mainstream use within the next five years.

It is 40 pages. Once you've read the report -- or the 6-page summary-- share it with friends and discuss these technology trends.
  • Executive Summary (key trends, critical challenges, technology to watch, and the Horizon Project)
  • Electronic books, mobiles:  Time-to-Adoption: <1 year
  • Augmented reality, game-based learningTime-to-Adoption: 2-3 years
  • Gesture-based computing, learning analyticsTime-to-Adoption: 4-5 years
The report is produced by the New Media Consortium and EDUCAUSE.

Slideshare presentation of Horizons Report:

Who to share with?  School leadership, library and technology teams, science teachers and students.  Share the link, but also print a few copies to hand to colleagues, students, board members, book and computer clubs. This report focuses on higher education trends, so consider developing your organization's own set of trends.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Horizons Report 2011 - Higher Education Technology Trends

February 1, 2011 is a soft launch of the New Media Consortium's 2011 Horizon Report on Higher Ed Tech Trends. Consider following the news on twitter and alert your ed tech teams. This is always good reading and discussing.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Google DemoSlams

After spending a few hours at the Googleplex being interviewed about my search strategy (what a scary thought...), I was asked if I could have anything more to help me search, what would it be.  I said "voice", the abilty to state what I wanted rather than type it in.  Then I said that there must already be an app for that on mobile devices.  

As it turns out, Google Voice does just that on mobile phones.  See "Chubby Bunny", one of the best demos featuring Google Voice.  Better yet, spend your lunchtime with DemoSlam by Google.  If you have a large screen monitor, it would be fun for a bunch of teachers or students to watch and vote for their favorite demos.

Here's an idea: Challenge middle and high school students to create demos and submit them -- use the school library as a backdrop!  Learn how to submit a demo to Google.  Have a blast.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Virtual Classrooms

Mashable started the year with a reasoned article on The Case for The Virtual Classroom. The article is focused on higher education, but could easily apply to high schools in terms of preparing students.  Here are the six points in the case for online learning:
  1. Online education "doesn't have to suck".  The U.S. Department of Education says that research shows that students who studied in online learning environments performed modestly better than peers who were receiving face-to-face instruction.
  2. Universities have limited physical space.
  3. Education can change the world.
  4. Global understanding is more important than ever.
  5. The Internet empowers self-motivated learners.
  6. The virtual classroom can make the physical classroom more effective.
K-12 educators who get their feet wet with free, online tutorials such as Classroom Learning 2.0 or School Library Learning 2.0 will appreciate the power of learning online with peers across the globe or within a district. Those who introduce teens to the new media through online tutorials like Teen Learning 2.0 are doing a great service in preparing students for college and careers.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Backing Up Your Blog

Here's how and why to back up your blog, just in case...according to an item in Free Technology for Teachers.  The article provides a "how-to" for Blogger, edublogs, and Wordpress.  For example, with Blogger, go to "settings" and "export blog" by downloading to your computer.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

QR Symbols - How to Create Them and Why

Keep hearing about or seeing QR symbols?  Here is a RocketBoomTech video that gives background and how to create your own.  At the end, it shows how to create one using Google (Goo.gl).  Another way to create one is Bit.ly

The Daring Librarian uses QR.  Middle School Teacher Librarian asks students to  dring their cell phones to the library, form small teams, and hunt for QR codes posted around the library -- along the lines of a treasure hunt.  Some QRs lead to wiki or web pages that have students do certain tasks.  Prizes include iTune gift cards.

Try the QR to the right and see where it takes you!

Five Web-based Alternatives to PowerPoint

Five years ago, I learned of Zoho as an alternative for an office suite.  Now there is a wider selection of options.  

ReadWrite BIZ writer John Paul Titlow says: “For years, Microsoft PowerPoint has been the standard bearer of slide presentation applications, but several web-based alternatives have emerged. For the most part, the alternatives offer similar functionality to PowerPoint, sometimes more, sometimes less. One obvious advantage to web-based presentations is that they’re stored in the cloud, eliminating the potential for nightmare scenarios involving lost or corrupted thumb drives.”...ReadWriteBiz, Nov. 27
  1. Prezi - See the demo and great examples of Prezi for presentations.
  2. SlideRocket - It is a collaborative presentation tool.  It allows for users to comment and answer polls in real time, interact with Flickr and GoogleDocs.
  3. 280 Slides - Easy to create, easy to share. Take a tour!
  4. GoogleDocs - Essentially a web-based version of MS PowerPoint. Nice.
  5. Zoho Show - The presentation application of Zoho offers the standard functionality, but also includes live audio chat with the audience.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bit.ly Bundles - a short URL for a bunch of long URLs

Mashable/Social Media reporter Jolie O’Dell writes: “Link-sharing service bit.ly has just launched a new tool for people who really, really love sharing links. Bit.ly Bundles allow you to package multiple long links in a single shortened URL. This is a highly useful feature with an almost endless string of use cases. You can tweet a string of YouTube videos or post a collection of study materials to Facebook—all with just one short URL.”...

Here is an example of a Bit.ly Bundle for a number of online technology tutorials for teachers and teens, http://bit.ly/bundles/4libraries/1 

Try it!  URLS: Shorten and share.

Google eBooks

Google eBooks are here!  On December 6, 2010, Google eBooks opened. The online book store idea is good, and at some point most of us will have a variety of mobile devices. I still prefer real books for great stories.  But I could see reading fast reads like mysteries and thrillers as eBooks so they won't go in the bags of books that eventually go to library and YMCA book sales. 

Momento - Diary Ap for iPhone

Going on a journey or just want to keep a diary?  Momento might be a good solution: Capture, import, browse, read, protect (lock your diary).  In moments, it can add all the facebook, Flickr and tweets you ever posted.  See the YALSA blog for more ways teens and teen librarians can use the application.

Web 2.0 Tools -- Top Tools Recommended by CSLA Members

Placentia (CA) Teacher Librarian Joy Millam asked California school library colleagues for their top web 2.0 tools.  Below is the "hit" list from Joy.  Now to look and play with any of the new tools.

Heres is the compilation of current Web 2.0 Favorites:  (I will post the document on my wiki later http://booktalksandmore.pbworks.com)  By far the most popular of those mentioned were Glogster, Animoto, wikis, Voicethread, and xtranormal. 
Thanks everyone for sending me your 5 Fave Web 2.0 tools/toys!  J
Wordle- word cloud generator   http://www.wordle.net/  or tagxedo.com
The following sites show how word clouds are used in teaching/learning. 
Bookmarking- tracking it all:
·       diigo.com (keep and organize bookmarks online for access from any connected computer)
·       Delicious (social bookmarking)
·       evernote  (save webpages)
Digital flashcards
Discussion board sites:
ProBoards or other discussion board sites (class discussions)
File Storage and Sharing:
Dropbox – use anywhere in the world to access your files.
4Shared: for hosting videos that I’ve captured using Firefox Downloader
Flickr, Flickr Creative Commons and Flickr Toys like Pim Pam Pum:     http://www.pimpampum.net/bubblr/?id=25880
Picture Trail: image tool that brings interest and engagement
Examples of schools/teachers using Web 2.0 tools to learn
This article shows kindergartner’s using web 2.0 tools
Lesson Plan storage and sharing:

Suggestions for using various tools:
Use Voki to record students describing something they’ve learned, using just 60 seconds of recording time. These can be presented to class fulfilling technology standards and presentations.
Use a blog or wiki to post a student avatar or picture creation and have students post comments about the avatar or picture. (Voki)
Some of the teachers at my school used voicethread with K classes. Really cute although the teacher could be heard prompting them. I think younger kids could use it for info on famous people. In small groups they could find the important info and then record it one at a time on voicethread: one tells where and where born, another tells about education, another tells about family and another tells about what they did and why we remember them.
Go to readability.com- to remove all visual distractions/ads from websites
Teachers at my school really like ReadThinkWrite.org. We’ve used their comic creator and acrostic poem maker
xtranormal.com (students create cartoons to tell a story, teach a skill, discuss a topic, and more!)
Big Huge Labs- great for a variety of uses.  Motivational posters, trading cards, magazine covers, etc.
This has a great list of applications-
Recommended for staff--  Jog the Web, Jing, and Youblisher
Making Video or audio projects/digital storytelling:
·       Glogster.com-  multi-dimensional learning!  So fun and and easy tool to use. (interactive posters)
·       Animoto- Good for all ages. 
o       Here’s one example for younger children- take pictures of kids in the library and create an animoto video for them to see. Can they find their picture?
o       I have used Animoto with first and second graders and they loved it. I have also used Bookr.            
·       Voicethread, GarageBand,  or Audacity – use for story re-tellings, podcasts, book reports,
·       Blabberize.com – so cool! Example using Blabberize.com to show learning
·       Xtranormal
·       Zooburst is my new fave for digital storytelling:  http://www.zooburst.com/book/zb0_4ce4230ec59e4
Using Wikis or Blogs:
Wikispaces- The students use wikis mainly to publish their work and peer review.
wordpress.com-for blogging (good for monitored peer review)
Blogger.com- good blog site. 
Ning.com – good for building community within a classroom.
Gaggle.net – safe (filtered), online learning tools.
Examples of blogs and wikis in practice-
http://ktoponce.wikispaces.com/ - this one is a great example of a class wiki/blog.
http://fuhsag.wikispaces.com/ - another great example of a wiki in use.
Great examples: My main blogsite address is- http://newresearchprocess.blogspot.com
                And the main site for my middle schoolers is: http://centralmslibrary.blogspot.com 
                From these sites, the right menu has the blogs I create for each collaborative unit.
Example of using a wiki to communicate and engage students 
Powerpoint Alternatives:
·       prezi.com (alternative to "just another PowerPoint")
·       Google Docs
Social networks for teachers using 2.0 tools
Another article:
Web 2.0 and Related Bloom’s Taxonomy sites: