Category Archives: Social Networking

What Google Did to Email

I came across this story on CNN’s website and I thought that I would share with fellow members and readers.  The last one is definitely my favorite.  Thanks Google and gmail for making my life a little simpler.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/28/tech/gallery/gmail-anniversary/index.html?hpt=hp_bn5

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Filed under News Sites, Social Networking, Technology

Google in Education

Happy New Year!  I took a little bit of break to collect some ideas and start on some posts and I am ready to start sharing again.  The first post for the new year is going to focus on using Google in the classroom and in education in general.  My school has recently provided all students with a Google account and access a Google drive to help streamline the process of homework, papers, and other classroom assignments.  However, There are several other options that Google has available that will provide the teacher and the student the opportunity for a more enriching learning experience.

1) Google Alerts
This feature provides a flexibility to receiving updates for a particular topic of interest.  The alert will be send directly to the student’s mailbox so the information is completely up-to-date. This is perfect for those using current events or news stories in their classroom activity and is helpful for reports dealing with ever changing events.

2) Google Books
Ahhhh, I couldn’t go one highlight without mentioning Google Books.  Forgive me I am a librarian so yes books will be at the top of my list.  And yes, I know they are in digital form but I am not totally against the digital book.  Do I think they should have an actual book of course but the digital book works just as well…but that is another topic.  Back to Google Books.  This tool is amazing for students to access millions of books and preview them for free.  It allows students to reference countless books on any subject matter to gain a greater level of understanding on said topic.

3) Google Talks and Hangouts
I love this option for video chatting with a group of people.  The feature allows for up to 10 individuals to conference in on the same video call at the same time in order to talk about ideas, discuss a book,  voice concerns for a project, etc.  I have used this feature actually with my two book clubs.  Each school was reading the same book and we were able to have a larger book discussion through the hangout option.

4) Google Scholar
Probably used more by high school and college level individuals, this feature provides the Google user the ability to research scholarly literature from multiple sources.  The latest articles, abstracts, and books can be downloaded directly into the users mailbox, and all information can be cited, and public profiles can be created.   This is wonderful for those students working on larger more detailed research papers and theses.

5) Google Calendar
The online agenda.  This is option allows the student to schedule when projects and assignments are due and even share their calendar with other users.  Also alerts can be sent through a text message or email in order to help the student submit assignments on time.

Overall Google helping the students interact with each other and educational information in a new way.  They are providing the tools for the student Google user to become a more active participant in their learning process and succeed in new ways.

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Filed under apps, education, Social Networking, Technology

Student Reviewers I give it 4 Stars

Students are reading more.  I love it. They are reading more and they are actually enjoying it.  Well some of them. But a majority of them are finally reading books they want to read and that interest them and as a result they are finding enjoyment. YES YES YES!!  I am thrilled at this.   But now we face the battle of getting them to talk about the books they read.

Some bask in the glow of the spot light, and  can not wait to get up and talk and talk and talk and….talk about anything and everything.  But than you have the shy ones. The ones that would rather crawl under the desk and hide than speak up in class.  Well good thing there are other options, and one that fell across my lap recently .

Allow me to  introduce LitPick (www.litpick.com) an online service that allows the students to read new releases or not yet released titles, write reviews, and then have their review posted on the site for other users to see. They are in essence becoming a book reviewer.  Only they won’t receive payment for it, instead they will be able to keep their copy of the book and have their work published on the world-wide web.

However, LitPick is not just a site for reading, with every review the students write there is a trained editor reviewing their work and editing were needed. Then the editor shares with the student their thoughts and comments, in turn helping to guide the student into becoming a better writer.

This is not a free service and students are not allowed to sign up on their own, they must have an adult signing up with them as well. But there is group pricing for libraries, classrooms, and home schools.  And titles are available in both e-book and standard book format.  This is a great site to get both active and non active readers finding books that peak their interest, learn about writing more efficiently, and most importantly, learning to be vocal about their reading choices and about any topic in general.

I suggest you check it out. It is a great program.

 

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Filed under Books, Creativity, ebooks, Reading, Reviews, Social Networking, Technology

The Ups and Downs of the Social Media

Teachers have seen how social media can hurt the student body. In fact we are trained on what to look for, how to speak to the students about it, learn about the district and school’s policies for acceptable usage; so I feel we are learning everything we can possibly know.  I know it changes everyday, but we are trying to keep up with it the best we can.  I read an article yesterday, and I wanted to share but was busy so I am sorry I am late to the party with it, but it really seems to sum up nicely how social media is being used.   Yes we are aware of all of the negative issues that social media can bring (cyberbullying being the main issue), but social media is also a way to bring out the positive.  I will not do the article justice so I will just let you decide for yourself.  But basically, social media can provide an outlet for students to express their opinions, reach out and stand up for those who might need a voice or cheerleader, showcase themselves in a positive light.  These are all issues that are highlight the positive aspects of social media.  Just remember, for every cyberbullying case and celebrity butt shot, there is a teenager out there fighting for a cause and supporting those around them.

Please take a look at the article.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/21/living/social-media-positives-teens-parents/index.html?iref=storysearch

 

 

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Filed under PodCasts, Social Networking, Technology, Video

Good Readers

At the beginning of the year I was asked by two eighth grade language arts/English teachers to work with their students twice a month by promoting books (mini book talks), help find new books they might not have thought of, and provide the opportunity for their own critique of a book.   This is both fun and challenging.

Talking about books is not a problem.  I can do that all day.  

Providing ideas for new books is in the bag.  I have a promotion I do where I only give the students a brief synopsis of a book. They do not get to know the author or see the cover. If they like what they hear they can check it out and then see the actual book.  Once they do, they have to give it at least one week, if they don’t like  it at the end of the week they can return but they have to give me or their teacher a detailed reason why they did not like the book in the end. They can write it in their reading response journal. We call this the don’t judge a book by its cover promotion.

So my real problem was getting them to recommend books.  They already have a response journal and they have to write papers about their books. How was I going to get them to participate in recommending books to their classmates.  Here are some ideas I had:

1)       Write a brief summary but also have the cast the book as if it was being made into a movie.  They have to sell this book to the public: what’s the hook; what would their posters look like; maybe the more ambitious ones make a trailer.

2)  Create an infographic about the book

3)  Draw a cartoon about the book

4) Select a character from the book and write reasons why you would be friends with this person and why you wouldn’t.

Those are just some ideas, however, getting the students to open up is still a challenge. Some are more than willing to talk for hours about a book, while others clam up and never even look you in the eye.   However, there is one thing that these types of students have in common. Social networking.

So why not bring social networking into the equation.  Classrooms and schools have really embraced social networking in all areas of the learning environment.  And one of the best social sites for librarians is (can you guess from the title of this post?).

GOODREADS!!!

Now I love GoodReads.  I have been able to see what my former co-workers are reading, what some of my friends are waiting to get their hands on; what some former students are recommending to me; and I get to see what strangers are thinking.  I have discovered so many new authors and learned about new books from GoodReads that I feel this is the perfect site for students to use to express themselves as well as learn about books they never would have thought of trying.  My GoodReads campaign has been embraced by my fellow teachers and the administration is happy with this also. However it was the reaction by the students that was surprise. They loved it and have come up to me countless times to ask if I have a certain book that they learned about from GoodReads.  I might not have gotten all of the students involved, but the ones I did, I love it.

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Filed under apps, Books, Creativity, Social Networking

How Schools can use 140 Characters

Over the summer I read a blog post from Claude Lord (http://claudelord.org) where spoke about Twitter being embraced by the school systems. Here are some of the highlights, I suggest you visit her site she has some great stuff.

1) Twitter’s frivolous motto: “What are you doing?” would gain full potential and extend to “What are you thinking, learning, discovering, visioning, designing, listening to, reading, blogging about?”

2) Teacher’s meetings would turn into an ongoing stream of resources, professional development, bouncing-off ideas and experiences on what works and does not, with instant targeted feedback.

3) Sharing collaborating and attributing each other’s work would be the new norm.

4) Competition would give way to collaboration with growing understanding that the more your share the more you gain

5) Locked cabinets would open-up their resources to be used, mixed, remixed and attributed.

6) Barriers between admin, faculty, staff, students, parents and community would dissolve in a cloud of connections and opportunities irrespective of age, role, status, and class – grade or socio-economic.

7) The 140 characters limit would become the art of minimizing thought in a nutshell – Good or bad is debatable.

8) Upcoming conferences would be public knowledge, repeatedly announced, retweeted, and back-channeled, so great ideas can spread to those who can’t attend – and supplement the experience for those attending.

9) Minority voices would no longer be silenced.

Ms. Lord gives a lot of food for thought on how Twitter can maximize the learning experience but also build upon the community of learners, teachers, and parents in a way that was never available before.

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Filed under apps, Social Networking, Technology, Twitter

Electronic Time Capsules

When I was in grade school we made a time capsule and buried it near the front of the school. Many years later the time capsule was unsealed and what a shock to see some of the items that were placed in there.  Now normally viewing older photos from say the 80’s always brings a laugh (the neon, the hair, the leg warmers) but after walking around New York City one day I can see that many of them are “laugh worthy” styles are coming back.  Ugh! 

But I move on.  The online site Capzles is a social storytelling site, that allows the user to upload pictures, videos, documents, blog posts, and music to create interactive timelines.  And if you don’t  have the time to upload everything, not to worry, simply send your images in hard format to Capzles and they will create one for you.  But really, isn’t more fun to do it yourself? Once created you can upload the capzle to Facebook, or through email.  It is a fun way to share your memories or moments with others.

Now since I bring all of my posts back to the library somehow…how does this work for the library or the school you might be asking?  When I have author visits, I create a Capzle from start to finish, from promotion of the author, to the speech, to autographing sessions, etc.  They I can upload the link to the library’s website.  Science classes use Capzles to document experiments; history classes find that creating an interactive timeline keeps the interest of the students; and language arts classes choose to use Capzles instead of standard written reports.  This site provides countless ways for online storytelling and it really allows the students, and teachers, to become as creative as they can.  But don’t take my word for it. Here is a link to a video that helps explain how Capzles is used in the classroom.

capzles_logo_box[1]www.capzles.com/

 

 
 
 
 
 
Video on how to use
 

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Filed under Digital Story Telling, Social Networking, Technology