Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Organization by Objective

I'm trying to catching up (somewhat) on my RSS, Twitter, e-newsletters, and other feeds to inform me on everything I need to know concerning edtech, iPad apps, Common Core--you name it.

I just came across a site that that featured iPad apps organized by objective called "EdTechTeacher's iPads As . . ." that I must share!

First the apps are organized by what you what the student to do.  These titles range from "Create Screencasts" to "Improve their organization" and "Respond to questions, polls, and assessments." 

This is very helpful but there is more!!

After selecting the objective, the selected tab provides a list of applications with a description plus the cost, ease of use, and a Usefulness rating as well as a tip to use the application.

I found this resource from a Facebook page called "PowerUp What Works" that I follow.  It has provided several interesting resources, especially in recommending iPad apps.  You can also subscribe to the website for free at  

The number of websites and apps to use in classrooms seems to grow and multiply and it becomes difficult to stay on top of all of them!  This "iPads As . . ." site will be a great time-saving resource to help with lesson planning and technology integration in the classroom.  Be sure to add it to your preferred curation tool site!

Reviewing This Blog

I don't know what I thought I would accomplish by creating a blog.  A friend had started one and I gradually warmed to the idea that I should also have one.

My original thought was to share websites that I encountered in my position as a school librarian.  Generally there are several sites that offer similar services and I thought I could share my experiences with each to generate an overview of them.  Well, it takes time to use and compare these sites and it became a struggle to find time to write up my summary.

That is not to say that I do not still find and recommend sites and apps to the staff of my three schools--in the form of emails.  So my thought now is to sift through some of those email posts to share highlights on this blog.  If nothing else, it would curate my findings and my comments for future reference.

So check back.  I hope to actually do some of this during the school year so that this is not just a summer activity for me.  And I may update the blog to include a surprising honor that I received this past fall.

In review:  make it shorter and more frequent.  In other words: make it happen!

Saturday, July 6, 2013


One of the most eye-catching WOW apps I saw at ISTE 2013 was Aurasma.  It works like a QR code but without the square box of strange marks.  Some detail in a poster or photo works to trigger the app so that you then view a special swirling effect that activates an audio and/or visual display.

According to the website:
"See and interact with the world in a new wayThanks to Aurasma, every image, object and even place can have its own Aura. Auras can be as simple as a video and a link to a web page or as complex as a lifelike 3D animation. Use the Aurasma app to unlock Auras and share the experience with friends. Or get experimenting and use the simple tools within the app to create and share your own Auras."

Aurasma is currently enjoying success in the business world.  The information page on the app shows a variety of advertising campaigns that utilize the program.  One of my favorites is the gorilla used in the album's artwork for the Rolling Stones promotion of their 'Grrr!' album .  The swirling effects showcase a roaring gorilla that then morphs into early footage and photos of the Rolling Stones while listening to "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Angie."  Let the good times roll!

Now the question is how to use such an awesome app in school?  My first roadblock is the device for the app.  Currently our district follows a "no cell phone" policy at my level.  However, we are looking at a 1:1 iPad initiative this fall that would allow the app to be used on that device.  And did I mention that Aurasma currently is free?

My first application might feature book trailers that are triggered from book covers. Although I conduct a library lesson over the Sequoyah Children's nominees, this would be a great way to provide follow up as I continue to promote those titles.

Matt Gomez, Kindergarten Teacher, posted a great tutorial for using Aurasma with his students. Matt posts two videos that show how his students created information that could be accessed from the Aurasma trigger.  My favorite was the one on the Texas State Pledge.

I am sure that many people attending ISTE 2013 were wowed with this app and will find multiple uses for it. I will be watching for those ideas of additional applications to WOW my young  library users!

Friday, July 5, 2013

ISTE 2013 Revisited

Well, my first ISTE conference was everything I had expected and more!!  Of course, being in the Alamo Plaza area of San Antonio with the River Walk added to the atmosphere and enjoyment of the conference!

The exhibit hall was huge--I'm still not sure that I got to visit every corner and booth!  Many vendors provided their own small training sessions in the exhibit hall and I tried to attend a few. I picked up some helpful tips and information at the Google sessions.

I enjoyed the poster sessions much more than I had anticipated--probably got most of my information from that area actually.  Most of the poster sessions featured signs with QR codes to link to their website information.  I kept getting knocked off the network so I ended up just taking photos of the codes to read at home later.

Yep!!  Here is our mini-workshop presentation:
Extending Your Research Program Beyond the Library Book Stacks.
The presentation with Kristina Holzweiss went very well--especially considering that our first face-to-face meeting was in San Antonio!!  Fortunately we could communicate online in various ways and work collaboratively on the presentation that included Weebly,   Edcanvas, and Edmodo.. Kristina was great!!  She is so much fun and has so many ideas for edtech solutions in the library. Kristina is an inspiration for me and I am hopeful that we will keep in touch post-ISTE.

I had hoped to come into contact (by meeting casually or by attending a session they were presenting or attending) with a few of the "peeps" I follow on Twitter and RSS feeds. Well that didn't happen, but I did have two special moments that I treasure.

One of my special moments was getting to meet Adam Bellow and getting to try on his Google Glasses. Kristina knew Adam personally and arranged for us to meet him in the poster/playground area.  Adam was so nice--he was sharing his glasses with everyone.  And the glasses were awesome and unbelievable!  It was so much fun to get to experience them!!
Kristina Holzweiss and I try on Adam Bellow's Google glasses at ISTE 2013.

Kathy Schrock at ISTE 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The other special moment was meeting Kathy Schrock.  I don't recall exactly when I started following her, especially her "Site of the School Day" segment on Discovery Education, but I credit her with my foray into education technology exploration.  She has since retired but she has stayed on top of her game and provided a fast-paced, informative presentation on "iPads in the Classroom." 

A nice perk of this experience was that my husband took off time to accompany me for this summer get-away.  He explored the area and met with a young friend that works with the Spurs and we visited the River Walk each evening.  We stayed in the historic The Menger hotel which was next to the Alamo in the Alamo Plaza.  The weather was very pleasant and enjoyable.

Other nice surprises at this conference included running into a student and her mom as well as meeting up with some librarian friends at the SIGMS breakfast!!

The closing keynote with Adam Bellow was very enthusiastic and inspiring.  One of my greatest take-aways from his keynote was his comment that we have an obligation to share our learning and experiences with our colleagues. Collaboration (as librarians have known and strived to implement for years!!) is key to this achievement.  I recently found this article where he recaps his speech into four areas:  Share, Care, Connect, and Reflect.  Be sure to note the video at the end of the article to view his entire closing keynote speech.  If you view the section on his Google glasses, you will see a number of ISTE attendees trying on his glasses.  Do you see Kristina and me in this collage from his video??

ISTE 2013 was a GREAT experience!!  This checked off an item in my "bucket list before I retire" and Kristina's invitation to make a joint presentation was the topping on the cake!!  Will I attend again?  I don't know--I would like to consider attending in 2015 when the conference goes to Philadelphia (on my "bucket list of places I would love to visit") but it is doubtful that will happen.  I was fortunate to obtain a scholarship for funding to attend this conference from our local Education Foundation.  However, Kristina is already thinking about future presentation proposals and if she offers an invitation to me, I'll try to make it happen!!

Kristina & I at the closing keynote.

Friday, June 21, 2013

ISTE 2013 Presentation

"Extending Your Research Program Beyond the Library Book Stacks"

That is the name of our ISTE workshop.  Participants will be learning how to set up and use Weebly (a free website creator) and Edmodo (a free private learning network that I use with my 5th GATES group). And we are SOLD OUT!!

Kristina had most of the information created and I've gotten to add a few elements (after I explored and learned how to use the programs!).  My main contribution is sharing my use of Edmodo and how to conduct research with elementary students while Kristina addresses uses and research with older students.

Although it is still in progress (and ISTE is just two days away!), take a look at the QR code to our presentation. (I use Google Goggles but you can use any QR reader app).