Monday, May 17, 2010

Free Kindle App

Amazon has created a free Kindle app for most hand held devices and personal computers. I tried it this morning on my work PC and it worked, but I couldn't get the free books to open. I'll have to try it on my personal PC when I have more time at home. I then downloaded it to my BlackBerry and it worked. Barnes & Noble also has a free e-reader available. I'm not sure that I want to read a novel on that little screen, but that may change over time.

Friday, May 14, 2010

New toy

My new favorite site is Tagxedo, which takes creating word clouds to a new level. It is very easy to use and allows you to import pictures to create shapes. I have found that using pictures that are have high light/dark contrast works the best. I created the one below for my information literacy course homepage. Check this site out!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Digital Footprint

I subscribe to a lot of library and edtech-related list servs and there have been many emails about Choose Privacy Week. Those of us in the library and edtech world understand how information is stored permanently on the Web. Have you Googled your name lately? I just did it this morning. I use the "liberrygurl" nickname for many of my logins, so I Googled that, as well as my full name. That particular screen name came about because one of the things that irritated my friends and I in library school was the inability of some future professionals to say "library". Sort of an inside joke, I suppose. Anyway, upon reviewing the results of Google search, I found that I'm not the only one who uses this screen name. I love, but don't write reviews on there. However, someone else does under the name. It makes one wonder if when potential employers do the same thing, do they take this into consideration? Unless they can verify that, yes, that is the same person using the same screen name on all of these sites, they don't assume that to be true? I haven't seen anything negative associated with that screen name, so I don't believe I have anything to be concerned about.

Keeping track of your digitial footprint is very important. This topic, along with Wikipedia, are my favorite lessons with my freshman Information Literacy students. I write everything I am involved with online on the board to show a "good" digital footprint. This list includes several email addresses, Blackboard (as teacher and student), Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, list servs, blog, etc. Then I share how I would never do something like trash my principal or students online because although my settings may limit only friends seeing my posts, one of my friends may not have the same restrictions or may be friends with my boss or students. Common Craft has several humorous, short animated clips social media, social networking, etc., that are great for introducing or reviewing these topics with students. I also collect articles on employers Googling job applicants, people who have gotten in trouble for Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube postings, teens who are facing charges for sexting, etc. Having the students read and share these articles seems to hit home better than me lecturing to them about online reputations.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I have to say, Playaways are awesome! I just received a large order of them for the library. They are expensive ($40-80) but worth it. Many of my students don't have cassette players, so I got rid of all the books on tape during the pre-construction weeding. It wasn't a large selection anyway. The Playaways are very user friendly since they are all in one units.

I'm finally finding out what all the fuss about The Lightening Thief is about since I swiped the audiobook as soon as it came in. I'm listening to it in between classes (and when the construction isn't too loud) so it is hard to get into a rhythm. It's a good story, though, and I can see why it is so popular. Action, suspense, it's all there.

Construction continues - more plastic went up today as our former periodicals room was taken out. And the power to our 4 card catalog stand alones ;)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Construction Update

As I sit at my desk, a senior English class is analyzing television shows. It is an interesting project, as they are examining the sociological aspects of current programming. I'm hearing snippets of discussions about quite a variety of shows - Chuck, Bones, Friends, SpongeBob. In between their quiet discussions, there are loud, room shaking bangs, as my library ceiling literally comes down. The construction guys have been tearing apart our reference room and computer lab to turn it back into a hallway. The library will be moved this summer. For now, we are slowly shrinking as plastic tarps go up and the demolition team gets to work. Overall, the noise hasn't been too bad. There are times when I can't hear the phone on my desk, but it seems to come in bursts, which is preferential to all day jackhammering that others have dealt with.

We are slowly cleaning out our offices and taking boxes home. It is amazing how much can accumulate in 7 years. Of course, it isn't nearly as much as some teachers have collected in 20+ years of being in the same room! I suppose one good thing about all of this packing and moving is that we were all forced to do a little spring cleaning.

PA School Librarians Conference 2010

Another great conference! Can't wait until it is back in Hershey. It's nice to get out of town once in a while, but right now Hershey is a much shorter ride than State College!

This year I actually presented with the other secondary librarian in my district. We did a session on our freshman information literacy course first thing Friday morning and it was a success! We received compliments throughout the rest of the conference and I am still getting emails from attendees asking for copies of course materials. I will have to get my class page updated with the worksheets and other course documents.

I attended a digitized collections presentation that was quite impressive. Penn State librarians are working hard to digitize all kinds of Pennsylvania historical documents, especially newspapers. The presenter shared links to other sites, including the Access PA Digitial Repository, Chronicling America, the National Digital Newspaper Program, and, of course, LOC's American Memory Collection. It is wonderful to see these valuable resources being preserved AND that access to the will remain free. This week the GSLMC library staff was able to present our available resources to the facutly during our PLCs. They were very excited to see the links to the digitized collections.

The speaker at the luncheon on Saturday was Laura Amy Schlitz. What a storyteller! I'm not even close to being that good. Theater major was not an option for me! She was capitvating and humorous as she shared the story of how she was published for the first time.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

PETE&C 2010

What a conference! 9 sessions & 2 keynote speakers (one gripe - a lot of comments we already know but didn't hear many solutions...) in two days. Didn't spend much time with the vendors. It looked like all hardware and I was more interested in software. Here is a summary of the sessions I attended (in progress):

Retooling for Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

Back to School: Content Filtering and Web 2.0

Videoconferencing for newbies

Geocaching: A cross curricular adventure

Scratch it! Sketch it! Create it!

Accomplish Amazing Animations in the Classroom (Tech4Learning Frames program)

Pre-Service Technology Prep - Where are we going?

Save Money with District-Run Virtual School

Education in Motion (online courses)

Monday, February 1, 2010

School bans dictionary

I follow a lot of library and edtech listservs and nearly every week someone, somewhere is attempting to ban a book. As much as I hate censorship, sometimes they are legitimate, such as a book that is truly YA and somehow found its way into an elementary collection. The latest to hit the newswires is a book banning in California involving the dictionary. Apparently there are collegiate level dictionaries in the upper elementary classrooms for advanced students and spelling bee practice. Naturally, some curious students "stumbled" across certain terms as children will do and the parents were not thrilled. Makes one wonder: 1) how far will "protecting" our children go and 2) do we want them finding out correct definitions from the playground, Wikipedia or edited & factual referene sources like the dictionary?