Untangling the World of Books, Technology, and Instruction

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Great Minds and All That.....

Have you ever experienced synchronicity? It's that bizarre feeling that things have just spun out of your control and are about to come together in an amazing way? Chatting with the dynamic Lynn Kleinmeyer (@THLibrariZen) via Twitter about scarves,  coffee, and library shenanigans  brought about my latest brush with synchronicity.  
Shortly before NETA15, Lynn sent me a message asking my thoughts on a librarian chat...... and my response was, "Me too!"  And then came the Instagram post about Miss Suzy, and then the Canva discussion, and then, well, we pretty much took over the Social Butterfly Lounge at NETA15.  We scribbled on the white boards, spun in the chairs, and hugged each other's friends.  And we made plans for the launch of the Midwest Teacher Librarian Twitter chat.  (Did I mention, we went totally fangirl meeting Shannon Miller (@shannonmmiller)? - we did that, too)

As librarians, we often function in a place of professional awkwardness.  We are never alone, yet we are alone.  Our libraries are filled with students, researchers, makers, readers, teachers, learners, and we are elbowing our way into the hearts and classrooms of the
teachers in our buildings.  We become the fix-it people, leaders, and problem solvers. We wear a lot of hats and have our hands in a lot of cookie jars. It's pretty easy to get overwhelmed and often difficult to find another educator who travels our road. 

Twitter has been the resource for inspiration since I became a librarian. The rockstars I have followed for years are the people I turn to for ideas, guidance, and laughter.  Many of those whom I met have become my closest friends in "real life." I was honored to be a part of the epic phenomena #nebedchat which has brought together many a great mind over the last several years, and I am excited to partner w/ Lynn as we launch a chat for teacher librarians. Join us Wednesday evening (5/13/15) @ 7:30pm as we kick off our chat series with a half hour discussion on Summer Reading.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Is Your iPad a Microwave?

I remember the first microwave my family had.  It was a Christmas present for my mom, and cost like $9000.  I also remember I was the first person to blow up a bowl of eggs in the new microwave.  But that's a whole other blog post. I also remember the first iPad I ever had.  My husband bought it for me to use with my students and I started to cry at the check out at Nebraska Furniture Mart.  I was so grateful and excited to have an iPad - that was 2012.

Three years and nine gazillion apps later, I hope we sometimes consider the power of the gadget we hold in our hands.  It's handy for email, Twitter, Instagram, web browsing.  But is that all it's used for?  Better yet, is that all our students use it for? Checking email, grades, skills practice, web surfing?  At some point, it's time to move past consuming information and start creating knowledge.  You don't use the microwave just to warm up leftovers?

Microwaves are pretty great gadgets.  They make popcorn in little bags, brown hamburger, defrost stuff, melt butter. All pretty handy tasks, but generally done independently of each other - one at a time. Let's consider the gadget found below the microwave.... the stove. Now a stove will cook soup, roasts, casseroles, cookies, cakes, as well as all the things a microwave can do (kind of).  A stove helps us to create amazing feats of culinary skill multiplied by the number of burners and a possible double oven.

iPads have the potential to be ovens.  They can do all the communication and social media stuff, but they can also be the vehicle to creating some pretty amazing artifacts such as movies, photos, artwork. In fact through the process of app smashing, we are only limited by the amount of memory on the iPad and the iTunes budget. We can drop a string of videos into iMovie, add enhanced images, voice overs, and transitions and come of with a pretty spiffy movie about just about anything.....and so could our students.  Using a digital poster app, students can link to researched resources, embed videos and images, as well as text to demonstrate knowledge of any concept or better yet, create a study resource for next year's students.

I spend a good deal of time twisting arms, begging, and promising my first born to teachers in order to get them to try new resources through technology integration.  My next bout of arm twisting is about to begin. We are ready to move past using iPads as devices to practice skills and surf the web. We are ready to move toward the concept of supporting students in creating artifacts from a foundation of core content. We are ready to leave the safety of the microwave and leftovers for the wonders of six burners and convection cooking. Grab your spoons!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

10 Steps to Avoid a Twitter-vention

After my family accused me of functioning in a technology coma, I decided it was time to come up with some ways to protect myself from the inevitable intervention.

10. To avoid detection, put your device on silent. No on will hear the "tweet"

9.  Sleeping with your device under your pillow is a dead give way that you need help.

8.  Although the restroom may be the only time you are alone - this should be a device free area.

7.  No tweeting at the dinner table.

6. Make sure all your dependents have been fed before you check your twitter feed.

5. Avoid the urge to "tweet that out" when something unusual happens.

4. Avoid tweeting family members from across the room.

3. If you use tweet deck....limit your columns to 20 or less. More than 20 indicates at risk behavior and more than 30 warrants an intervention.

2. Avoid answering questions with "huh?" in a twitter induced haze.

1. If all else fails, put your device inside a print book.  As a librarian, how can I argue with a good book?

#justsayin'

Sunday, April 19, 2015

#NETAInstaWalk15



Tell Your Story as a Connected Educator this week at NETA15! As you know, I am a social media maven loving life on Instagram and Twitter where I celebrate my profession and my students. One ofmy FAVORITE parts of NETA14 was rocking the InstaWalk (pretty crazy happy about that Fashionista badge) so I was giddy with glee when @morgetron asked me to join her in coordinating this year's journey. 

The InstaWalk is a super groovy good time and a great way to archive your NETA adventures and share the love 'cause this PLN rocks it everyday for every student. You also earn some pretty sweet badges you can post and rub in noses (Did I really say that..... Yeah.... Yeah I did) 

So here we go, kids.  If you aren't on Instagram (and if not...... WHY?) here are some basics:

1. Download the Instagram app onto your smartphone or tablet. Create an account.
2. Give Instagram permission to use your photos.
3. Capture a photo you want to share.
4. Upload it to Instagram.
5.  Caption it with any info you want to share + #NetaInstaWalk15 + the hashtags that correspond with the badge you are attempting to earn. (For Example: New Shoes for NETA15 #NetaInstaWalk15 #Beautiful #EduFashion). Hashtags are listed below for each category.
A couple of things to keep in mind:
  • If you have a PRIVATE Instagram account, we won’t be able to see your pics, even if you hashtag them.  You can friend either Jodie or me, which is an option.
  • If you do not have a private Instagram account and you use these hashtags, there is a chance we will re-gram you on #NETA’s Instagram account or on one of our accounts.
  • There is also a chance that your photo may end up in the slide show at the end of Day 1 or during Day 2 at some point.

And Here are the Groovy Categories for this Year's #NETAInstaWalk15: Take a look at the categories and then during NETA if anything rocks your world, snap a photo and Instagram it with the accompanying hashtags.  Jodie and I will be watching Instagram during the conference and we will send you the badges you earn.  Pretty sweet, huh? 


#NETAINSTAWALK15 #BEAUTIFUL BADGE
Fashion! What is your style? How about other styles you admire? Show us your #NETA15 #EduFashion!
To earn the #Beautiful award, post a picture of your favorite #NETA15 fashion. It might be YOUR own fashion. It might be the fashion of one of your friends. It might be the fashion of a complete stranger who will become your friend after you tell her/him how much you love her/his fashion. Be sure to include the following hashtags to get full credit for this challenge:
#NetaInstaWalk15 #Beautiful #Youngbloods #EduFashion


#NETAINSTAWALK15 #
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS BADGE
Which friends (old and new) did you see at #NETA15
To earn the #WithALittleHelpFromMyFriends award, post a picture of your and your friends. This is selfie time USA. Don’t hold back. If you have a selfie stick, I hope you brought it.  Be sure to include the following hashtags to get full credit for this challenge:
#NetaInstaWalk15 #WithALittleHelpFromMyFriends #TheBeatles

#NETAINSTAWALK15 #
MAGIC MOMENT BADGE
What were your magic moments at #NETA15?

To earn the #ThisMagicMoment award do your best to capture what you consider to be a magical #NETA15 moment. Be sure to include the following hashtags to get full credit for this challenge:
#NetaInstaWalk15 #ThisMagicMoment #TheDrifters OR #JayAndTheAmericans


#NETAINSTAWALK15 #
LET THE SUN SHINE IN BADGE
Enlightened you? Made you think?
There is so much to learn at NETA, pretty sure this will be an amazing category.  Be sure to include the following hashtags to get full credit for this challenge:

#LetTheSunShineIn #FifthDimension #NetaInstaWalk15


#NETAINSTAWALK15 #
AMERICAN PIE BADGE
What did you eat while you were at #NETA15?  To earn the #AmericanPie award, post some pics of your breakfast, coffee break, or your lunch.  Be sure to include the following hashtags to get full credit for this challenge:
#NetaInstaWalk15 #Foodie #AmericanPie #DonMcLean

#NETAINSTAWALK15 #
KODACHROME BADGE
If you Earn all the Badges Above? Well, then, YOU are a movin’ groovin’ machine.


If you think you have earned all five badges, be sure to post a picture of ANYONE or ANYTHING from the conference and in the caption, please use the following hashtags:
#NetaInstaWalk15 #Kodachrome #PaulSimon #IAmAMovinGroovinMachine

If you have questions, send Jodie (@morgetron) or myself a message (@cynthiastogdill)  or snag us at NETA and we will get you back on track.  Additionally,  Here is a link to Jodie's blog (Thanks, girlfriend for letting me borrow from your blog!) with more great info! 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Felt the Power & Got the Tshirt - Part 2

 
 
(Updated Blog Post: Because the First Version Just Sucked......Seriously)

 You can't be a connected educator without a social media presence. Twitter has become an inspiring and dynamic place for educators to connect.  That presence serves to model digital citizenship to our students, gain professional inspiration, and provide professional development to our colleagues in our buildings, districts, and network. Combining Twitter and EdCamp only makes that connection to inspiration greater and more powerful.  Some of my closest colleagues were people I met initially on Twitter and solidified connections through the EdCamp experience creating learning opportunities for me and my students. Edcampers are the people who empower everyone around them but also know they need to refuel occasionally themselves and they know that won't happen between 8 am and 4 pm.

I realized this afternoon how powerful these connections have been in my life lately.  I've spent time collaborating via Google Docs on #nebedchat questions with a nationally recognized educator and absolute rockstar. My girl, Jodie Morgenson  invited me to help out with #NETA15InstaWalk this year and we have been chatting, tweeting, DMing, and Google Docing for several days.  In the midst of this I am preparing my NETA15 presentation on leading professional development from the ranks. And I have been thinking ALOT about leadership, what it means, and how you get there. And what I know right now, is that I never started out to be a leader.....in anything.  But somehow, by wanting more for students and wanting more for teachers, I found a place where I could support learning by integrating technology in a meaningful way which led to a leadership role.  And I found myself surrounded with like-minded crazies who don't know when to quit.

The people in my PLN don't coast and don't quit at 4 o'clock.  They are planning on Tuesday night, chatting on Sunday afternoon, Edcamping on a gorgeous Saturday. No one was looking for a thank you or a stipend, and we got stuff done, ideas launched, and tasks checked off.  All will benefit and empower teachers and students in our own districts. These connected educators don't talk about what a great idea this all is, they are out there making things happen, putting in the time, and digging for answers.  These are the leaders in education and I am humbled by the mindbuzz going on around me and grateful to be a part of something visionary.

I wasn't able to attend all of EdCamp Omaha, however, I did have the opportunity to stop in later in the afternoon to see some of my rockstar PLN. Can I just say, that in the short time I was there, I felt the power of a group of people passionate about education, technology, and students.  I got hugs from organizers Kristina Peters and Josh Allen and picked up my super awesome t-shirt. The UNO Community Engagement Center was buzzing with energy, conversation and laughter, and just a pretty cool place to hang out for any reason.  I could feel a blog post coming and was all in for the challenge put forth by my friend,  Brent Catlett, along with Ann Feldmann, Otis Pierce, & Mickie Mueller.

Edcampers definitely do not coast.  They are constantly looking for more, better, and cooler. Find an Edcamp, Go and Lead.