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).

ISTE 2013

This is the BIG NEWS of my summer!!

I will be attending ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) in San Antonio!!  This has been a bucket list item for me to accomplish before I retire--actually hoping to attend in Philadelphia in 2015.  Not only will I be attending but I will be presenting!!  Well, a more accurate description would be "helping" in a presentation with Kristina Holzweiss, a librarian from New York that I've NEVER MET!!  How is that for crazy!?

Last spring (possibly in March or April 2012) I was highlighted as a "Spotlight Educator" for Edmodo.  I had contacted Edmodo on a few specific points as I was presenting my use of Edmodo with my 5th grade GATES (gifted/talented) classes at the Oklahoma Technology Association/Encylo-Media conference in February.  I guess they found my use and situation interesting because they wrote up a short article on me.

I'm not sure how my name came up but Kristina contacted me through Edmodo to tell me that she was writing up a presentation proposal for ISTE and asked if I would be interested to present with her.  First of all, I couldn't get past the concept that a presentation proposal would be accepted from two people who did not know each other!  Second, I was in a major "pity party" mode at that particular time as my main principal/supporter had retired the previous spring and I was concerned about my newer principals understanding my library situation and program goals--especially in light of a new teacher evaluation system this year.  So I said "yes."  What did I have to lose?

In December, Kristina contacted me that our proposal had been accepted!  Now our presentation was dependent upon people signing up to join us.  This is where it really gets serious.  Attending ISTE is not inexpensive as registration is $344.00 (includes one-year ISTE membership) plus you have travel and lodging expenses.  But our BYOD workshop requires paid registration of an additional $49.00!  It's one thing to make a presentation at a state conference but these people are paying EXTRA to attend our session!!

I've been so impressed with Kristina--she is an ambassador for Edmodo and moderates two communities I follow.  She has also been published in School Library Journal and she maintains a great library webpage.  And she has two small children at home!!

Kristina has put together a great presentation and I've learned to use EdCanvas and Weebly as a result.  She is allowing me to share in her spotlight.  I am touched beyond words.

 More to come on the actual presentation!

Summer 2013

I started this blog several summers ago as a way to remind myself of specific edtech sites I wanted to explore and to reflect on how to use them in my library.  Looking back to see that I posted ONE blog last summer makes me think that I should change my blog name to "Random Thoughts & Whatever!"

My "web presence" has been more regular on Scoop.It, Pinterest, and Learnist.  I have a number of boards on those sites addressing Common Core, EdTech Tools, @myLibrary, and iPads in Classroom.

At this point, I want to make these notations:
    Wallwisher is now called Padlet;
    My Google Reader is dissolving so I've moved to Feedly;
    I created a library Symbaloo page this past year with a connected Symbaloo page for 5th grade American
         Revolution links; and
   my 5th grade GATES kids were not "into" Edmodo like last year's group.

Summer goals at this point are to develop skills with Google docs, Dropbox, Evernote, and iPad apps.  My school district presented an iPad to each certified teacher on our last day of school with the intent that our district will be moving to a 1:1 iPad initiative provided a bond issue passes this fall.  Having an iPhone has helped me to have some knowledge with the iPad although I have not explored any real classroom uses.  I haven't come up with a reasonable classroom use for the Smule Guitar app!!

Just so I am sure to post more than one blog this summer, I'm writing the REALLY BIG summer news in my next post.  Hint:  ISTE 2013!!