Untangling the World of Books, Technology, and Instruction

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Connections

Image Retrieved lemonlemonade.wordpress.com
Last Wednesday, I was home with one of my kiddos after an episode of the flu combined with the after effects of some extensive dental work. I was able to catch a Wired Wednesday webinar with the Daring Librarian herself, Gywneth Jones. It was an awesome hour of animation tools and great ideas.  I was so glad I checked Twitter and caught Shannon Miller's tweet.  Later, I was tinkering on Tweetdeck while waiting for my bizillionth load of laundry to dry and I got caught up in a new teacher chat from Edutopia. (#ntchat) There were a bunch of different chats going on and I jumped in on a few and had so much fun.  There was some laughter (Help! I'm buried under 127 sticky notes) and some great ideas.

Afterwards, I realized that although I don't have a formal mentor in my district and  have only connected with one other librarian in my area, the connections that I have made through Twitter have really been a blessing during this first year as a teacher/librarian.  Following the "Greats" and the TL GeekTribe have provided me with some great ideas and direction that I wouldn't have found anywhere else.  God Bless those crazy librarians! I also realized that my struggles are not unique to me - and others around the country are having the same frustrations with collaboration and technology integration.  I hope my insights where helpful and supportive to the teachers who were expressing their frustration and I am so grateful for the ideas that I took from that chat.

So as far as mentoring goes - a formal mentor program in a school district is a great idea - in fact, next year, sign me up for the newbies.  I am the only media specialist, but having someone to rely on to ask the mundane questions (like what time do we report?) goes a long way toward establishing some connections and easing some of the stress of a new district. If that's not available, get on Twitter and find some movers and shakers in your content area and start following them.  No one is an island.




Monday, January 2, 2012

Librarian's Five for 2012

In the spirit of new year resolutions, I  have been giving a great deal of thought to the apps that I used the most in 2011.  I was pretty attached to my Blackberry but the hubster decided I should switch to the iPhone4 at the beginning of the school year.  Love It! and I am not a huge Apple user.  So here is my "Librarian's Five" for 2012 in no particular order:
1. Evernote: Love this app and have it installed on both laptops and iPhone.  After losing a bunch of notes on my phone, this gadget works great to keep my thoughts, ideas, and notes secure and accessible from wherever I happen to be. Save articles and read later.
2. Hootsuite: I use this exclusively on my phone to read tweets, send  links to my school email, and keep ideas for technology integration.  I LOVE twitter and this app manages my school FB fan page, personal Twitter, and my  husband's school Twitter account. I have connected with some super fab-o librarians and received great ideas and inspiration. Plus, the little owl is just so darn cute!
3. Goodreads: I kept track of the 200 books I read in 2011 with this app.  I can add books on the fly with the scanner to my list of books to read and update my feed for my kids which links to our school website.
4. Google Reader: I follow like a gizzilion blogs (not that many) and this app lets me scroll through stuff quickly, favorite what I want to keep, skip what I don't.  And if I don't feel like reading any of the eighty-nine posts, they all go away.
5. Kindle: Ok I can't download samples anymore on the move, but I can keep reading the books I am previewing for my kiddos, but most of all, just check out on everything for a while from anywhere. (Made that two hour wait in line at Gordman's on Black Friday go pretty fast!)

Short list contenders did include: NCIS Gibb's Rules, Talking Carl, and Common Core Standards (Yes, Really!)  PC gadgets: Diigo and TweetDeck

There's mine - what are yours?