Sunday, February 22, 2015

Twitter Analytics: View the Reach of Your Tweets

Ever wonder where your Tweets are going? How many Favourites, Re-Tweets, & Replies? Well, Twitter analytics is here to help!

View graphic in full size

Do they really matter? Nope! Like the number of followers, it's really not about quantity as it is about quality. The quality of the conversations you're having on Twitter. How much are you are sharing, helping, listening, & asking? Are you participating in some Twitter Chats? Are you helping newbies?  Are you contributing to our EPIC PLN? If not, c'mon! We're waiting for you! But if you're really not ready that's OK, too! Keep lurking, listening, & RT-ing!  I try and never give out any social media guilt trips. We're here for you when you're ready to talk on Twitter :-)

Hope this infographic helps!

Your thoughts are always eagerly welcomed in the comments! Give me a break from the spammers, please! LOL Cheers! ~Gwyneth

Sunday, February 15, 2015

7 Day Digital Detox Challenge


Why not give a gift to yourself? Of balance.

Do you sleep with the phone next to your bed? Perhaps binging or vibrating every time a text or Tweet comes in? 

A friend of mine Friday night teased me when she saw my iPhone screen. That I had over 23,000 emails I hadn't read and she told me to take a screenshot. I shrugged & said, well - I don't use my phone for that- I read all my emails on my computer. Is that wrong? She laughed. Whatever. ;-)

"The benefits of a smartphone sabbatical are many. Research shows too much tech can interfere with our sleep, make us feel insecure and more." - HuffPo

The purpose of this 7 Day Digital Detox Smart Phone Challenge is to find a balance in your life between the hectic, frenetic, continuous connectivity to the world and social media with slowing down, paying attention and valuing our loved ones, friends, & family.

Do I practice what I preach? Nahhh! Ok Sometimes! But I hope this infographic helps me to remember, too!

I really like going "off the grid" when I'm at the beach. Sitting on the balcony, fuzzy socks on, sheepskin pillow cuddling, & just reading. For hours.  Just being quiet. I know, for someone who has such a big & voluble mouth. But, ironically, that's also where I've done some of my best writing & blogging! Go figure.

(View Infographic in a LARGE size - once there, click on picture to make larger)
Weed Your Twitter Feed

Unfollow those people on Twitter who don't follow you back using ManageFlitter - or Unfollow those Twitter followers who are inactive and haven't Tweeted in 3 motnhs! I found this an easy to use and effective tool! You can only unfollow 100 people a day, so it may take a while. Right now I have 451 people I follow, who don't follow back. OK, I get it Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket, Neil Gaiman, The Maryland Science Center (Why not!?), or Wil Wheaton - but really AASL? Really? WOW...that hurts.

Have you taken a digital detox? How did it go? Did you stick to it?  I'd love to hear in the comments! 
The photo above was taken by my Mom.  She's awesome.

Resources:

A Digital Detox Test: Unplug Twitter and Facebook

Digital Detox - Huffington Post

Infographic inspired by an article on Popsugar to help me remember, too!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

A #StoryIn140: A Literary Challenge

Creativity in all it's engaging guises but presented with a new technology and social media twist!
I really can't remember how I stumbled across this idea of writing super short Tweet size stories.  I certainly didn't originate it - yet when I searched the hashtag I found an assortment of fits and starts with a challenge to write a short story in the form of a Tweet - and I was intrigued! I guess it's sorta related to the Tweet Me a Book Review idea I had and blogged about a few years ago with it's accompanying Wikispaces lesson page. The activity is below is copied from my Wikispaces page where, at the bottom of the page, I uploaded for you the doublesided paper PDF version for practice or when you want that social media engagement but you can't get to or have the machines.


The Wikispaces version of the lesson features a java script character counter widget and a Google form to submit the story. A good portion of my kiddos are under 13 and I wouldn't want them to use Twitter directly, I'll be the Tweet conduit.  I did this activity with 7th grade ELA classes right before the holidays & splurged for a couple hundred blank white and brightly coloured bookmarks from Amazon so they could write the story up & decorate it for fun! While they were creating their stories I took pictures with my new Daring Librarian Instagram account letting the kids tag themselves in they wished to and I even took a Vine of a couple of my kids rapping their story posted below!


Here's the story:
Saw a Twinkie bout a week ago
looked good so I ate it thoa
old lady wanted some &
I said no
u want some fight me tho
Avery & Malechi 7gr
#StoryIn140

Your Challenge!
Can you tell a story in 140 characters? The size of the average Tweet? This literary challenge requires you to write a super short story that includes a main character, a problem, an event, & intrigue. Try it! Please note: if you add the hashtag #Storyin140 the total will actually be 130, but Story in 130 didn’t rhyme! More examples of student work below.
Here's How!
Brainstorm with the character counter generator embedded below on the left. Just type in what you're thinking then hit-calculate characters. Don't forget to add #StoryIn140 hashtag to your creation & your first name, last initial, & grade. 
Writer's Block? Are you stumped? Can't think of anything? Try working in a pair to brainstorm a story. Think of it as an Madlib. Who was where, did what, what happened, & intrigue! Intrigue means here, to inspire curiosity or to fascinate.
To make the reader think: What's going to happen next?
Extra Challenge: If you leave a few extra characters (total 125-130) then you have more chance for people to RT (or re-Tweet) your story, passing it along to the world.
We will be selecting via gallery walk, the best for special recognition, fame, glory, possible lamination, display, and Tweeting them out to the world!

Submit the Final draft in the Google Form: Don’t forget the hashtag #StoryIn140 Your full name will NOT be used just your first & your grade. Non-MHMS students will be deleted.


View the whole thing at my #StoryIn140 Wikispaces page! 

Extension ideas: 
Why not write a collaborative story via Twitter with your own hashtag? Announce you'll post the next "chapter" on a certain day and at a certain time?  This was the very idea that inspired Jennifer Egan’s “Black Box,” a short story tweeted line by line by The New Yorker’s fiction account featured in the Ted Talk below.
Andrew Fitzgerald: Adventures in Twitter fiction
I've also seen some cool historic and literary Twitter accounts that Tweet in persona. Much like the idea of Fakebook I blogged about years ago. Creativity in all it's engaging guises but presented with a new Technology and social media twist!

Suggestions? Additions?  I'd love to hear them in the comments! 




Friday, January 2, 2015

10 Super Geeky Tips for the New Year

Happy New Year!  It's that time of year that I do my Geeky house cleaning, so it's another year going over my past posts about this topic and thinking how to improve them! At first I thought I could leave out the password comic & tip and then the Sony thing happened. WTHeck!? It was recently released that some Sony employees had a password of s0ny123 and the worst, "password!" Also, with brute force hacking making the rounds, I decided to update a few of my tips.
"The only person you can rely on to keep your password secure is yourself. And let me tell you, you're probably not doing enough to keep number one safe. The reason: Your special lump of letters, numbers, and symbols are likely spread over too many sites, are not long enough, and are probably too personal. Most of our passwords suck. And it's kind of a big problem." - Gizmodo
 
1. Craft a Perfect Password & Dump Your Cache
OK, so there IS no perfect! According to Lifehacker:
But maybe you can use this handy Comic Tutorial to create a really super new password for every website you visit....don't worry, there's a trick!  You don't have to go to every site you use right away - just make a commitment that when you do go to a site that requires your password, you take the extra 5 min to change your password - using one of the 4 tips & suggestions in my new updated Comic.
Basically, have a root password consisting of 5 non-related words or a pass phrase, varying numeric and character substitutions and add an ending that has something to do with each website.
EX: "escalators go up" turns into: esc@lator$((G0))up** = 20 characters
for Twitter: esc@lator$((G0))up**TWIT = 24 characters. Use the secure and handy "GRC search space calculator" to see if your password has teeth!
Another tip, forget these machinations all together, consider downloading a password keeper to make life easier because you only have to remember one super-secure password. iOS 8 users could try the "holy grail" of password keepers from 1Password. 
Oh and in the small print of my comic I said 3 important things: Turn off your wifi & bluetooth until you need them - especially in airports and on trains!   
When was the last time you dumped your cache, cleared your history, and removed cookies? At least once a year (I try quarterly) go around to every computer you use at school, public & private -and dump the cache, clear your cookies, & browsing history.  
Please note my Disclaimer - I'm not a security expert and nothing is foolproof. Geeks all over the world have different opinions about passwords and security (and I want to hear them in the comments!) - these are just mine. 

2. Is Your WiFi Secure?
After you set up your home WiFi network, did you set a secure password to protect it from squatters? If not, now's the time to do that. Not only can strangers steal your signal for unlawful activities, but they can creep in and gain access to your personal documents and information, which can lead to identity theft.

3. Backup Your Data & Clean Your Cloud
iCloud & Dropbox were supposed to streamline our lives by keeping everything in sync. Now it's done its job just a bit too well, and many iClouds and Dropboxes are full of perfectly synced junk. Clear out your iCloud and prune your digital data life. I've blogged about Dropbox before, but this past year I finally went all the way with Dropbox and I'm paying for a TB of PRO. When I go to each of my devices (2 iPads, an iPhone 6plus, 2 laptops, and a desktop at school) I don't have to transfer my documents because they are already there once I install Dropbox! Boom!

4. Less Apps & No Pushing!
Your smartphone and tablet are weighed down with one-hit-wonder apps that you were obsessed with for a week and then forgot about. (Ahem, Draw Something & Flappy Bird, anyone?) Go through your apps and rid yourself of the excess baggage. Don't Push Me!  Retake control of your apps and your attention span by turning off all your push notifications — every badge, alert, and banner. Then, once you realize if you’ve actually been missing particular apps’ updates, turn them back on one at a time.


5. Photo Curation - Tag, You're It! 
With Dropbox and iCloud syncing all our pics, take time to organize, tag, and curate them.  With a TB of FREE photo storage, easy tagging, sharing, and organizing, I use Flickr. I'm still shaking my head over the fact that for YEARS I was uploading pics without adding any tags to them - so that finding them is a super chore now! So, create albums, add tags to each picture (or group), and set up an easily managed system for the photos in your life.

6. Did You Ever Delete Your MySpace?
We all have old accounts. Did you ever delete your MySpace page? I just did! My Care2 created in 199? Just now dumped it! Did you set up a Diigo account of bookmarks that you really never dug? Deleting your old accounts keeps your web presence up to date. And it just feels good. Ahhh!



 
7. Recycle Your Old Tech & Make Money
Want to clean up your house and earn some Amazon gift cards? You definitely must check out Amazon’s Trade-In Program. Go through your home and find any DVDs, Books, Video Games, or electronics you no longer need or use. Do a search on the Amazon Trade-In Store to see how much Amazon will pay you for a Trade In. If the price seems fair, click through to verify the condition, title, and price.You just print out a shipping label and take the nearest UPS store. Amazon gets it, and if they agree it's in the shape you said they automatically deposit the $$ into your Amazon account. I did this with my iPhone4S and got $165. I actually under estimated the value and they gave me $10 more! Note to my future self, keep the original boxes of new technology. 
8. Profile Power
There's something reassuring about having a polished profile that is consistent and updated around all of your social network accounts. Part of branding is to make sure that when people land on an account of yours, they recognize you. For most of my accounts, like Twitter, I use my David Lanham comic avatar, but for Yelp and LinkedIn I use my real picture. I also like to use my favourite colour schemes and backgrounds - and yes, the Tardis!  If you change your profile picture a too frequently, you may lose that all important recognizability factor with your followers.

9. Build And Manage Your Network
Having a Personal Learning Network is essential to stay in tune with the trends and what's going on in our profession. Sart talking to other excited educators about new ideas on Twitter...crowdsource! Comment on conversations, ask and answer questions, find a way to contribute! (I try to give 95% and only ask for help 5% - don't be needy or whiny!) GIVE, give, and give some more! Share shamelesly! Give your greatest works to our profession - it's good ed tech karma!
After a while, you want to look at your followers and start pruning. I just used ManageFlitter to discover that I have 719 people I'm following who don't follow me back. I get it that I can't expect Stephen King not to follow me but ? Sheesh! So buh-bye! You can only unfollow 100 people in 24 hours with this free website, so take a weekend to do this cleaning chore. You can also sort by who is inactive or haven't Tweeted in 30 days and delete them. Twitter is a relationship - built over time with shared interests. I'm not easy, baby :-) I don't auto follow ALL followers! The idea is to craft a varied, vibrant, interactive, diverse, collaborative, and global community. Want to read more? Twitter: The Art of the Follow

10. Digital Intervention
Do you really need to have your phone sitting on the dinner table to monitor your Twitter feed? Probably not. Is your phone or iPad binging and zinging every five minutes with updates and notices? Getting so involved in your virtual life can really take away from the real life happening right in front of you. Take some time away from your gadgets and gear in order to appreciate the scene instead of Tweeting about it to your followers. I'm kinda sorta guilty of this. [hangs head in shame] So this is one thing I'm going to try and work on this year! I've always been good at keeping my gadgets on Do Not Disturb (unless I'm expecting a call) and to always have my phone and iPad on silent, but I need to mentally disconnect from my digital life more.

What are YOUR tech resolutions, tips, and techniques?
I'd love to hear them in the comments!

References, Reads, & Credits
Why Your Phone's Airplane Mode Isn't Just for the Airplane
How I’d Hack Your Weak Passwords
Hackers show ways to protect your iPhone
7 safety tips from hackers
The top 50 passwords you should never use | Naked Security
10 Tech Resolutions to Consider in the New Year | TIME
5 New Year's Resolutions To Manage Your Tech Habits
Learning to Let Go: First, Turn Off the Phone
Creating and Remembering Complex Passwords by Alex Jones (not my nephew!)
The original XKCD comic:
(click above for full size on XKCD!)

Cool Stuff From Your Comments! 
This is from a daring reader, Pamela Hill  @TechieLibrarian
Thanks Pam for your contribution and your comment!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

11 Reflective Blogging Tips & Ideas

Why Blog?
You don't start blogging for awards. Although they're very nice!  More about awards at the very end of this post.
Do not let anyone force you or guilt trip you to start a blog. You blog because you are passionate about your profession, and have ideas & content to share with potential readers, or want a living, growing on-going journal of your professional life.
If you blog it, they will come. Eventually. It may just take a while! Don't give up! I blogged for YEARS out the aethernets and for a handful of readers! And you surely don't start blogging for comments. If you are expecting comments when you start blogging you're gonna be quickly discouraged and give up. I get about 6 or 7 comments per blog post and most all of those are spam. That's why I treasure and am grateful for each and every REAL comment I get!
Now, I am in NO WAY saying I'm an expert blogger, (or writer! Ha!) but I do have some reflective ideas and tips for blogging that I've gathered over the years that I'd like to share. Why 11 tips? Because 11 is 1 more than 10. (Bonus points if you catch that movie reference!)
1. Start When You're Ready & Not Before!
I started my first blog in 2006 after my first AASL05 in Pittsburgh. It was an epiphany! Why struggle with a static library web page when I can have an ongoing conversation with my students, parents, & community with a blog?! However, my first year I wrote only eight posts — that’s it. I started this professional blog after being inspired and emboldened to go transparent after the DC NECC09 (ISTE) conference.
If you choose to blog, it is a long-term relationship.
If you're just trying to start a web presence my  advice is to start with a Wiki, Twitter, or Scoopit, and not a blog! (blogs are hard work!) Blogs are like pets - they require a lot of care and feeding; Wikis are like a cactus plant - you can water them occasionally. Wikis don't judge you, wiki's don't give you internal guilt trips, and wikis can be neglected a bit. I'm a longtime Wikispaces fan. Bonus: they're also super easy to use and don't intimidate the new or reluctant tech user! But if you start a blog you should try to maintain it.

2.  Be Reflective
Think about your profession and share your successes and more importantly, your failures. Try to be honest but upbeat. Think of that first year teacher librarian or classroom teacher reading your blog and how you could possibly save them time, ease their stress, and give them encouragement to go on. Reflective blogging also helps you remember HOW you did something! As I get [coughs] older,  it's really helpful to re-read my blog postings sometimes to see how I did a lesson & what handouts and graphics I used. Reflective blogging is also a journal of your growth.

3. No Excuses!
When blogging, do NOT apologize for not posting! Ever. Have you ever landed randomly on a blog & started to skim past posts and noticed that almost every other one started with "I'm so sorry I
haven't posted in a while I've been so..."  (insert lame excuse here) People don’t want to hear that!  It's boring,  it's pathetic, it's unnecessary,  and yes, I've done it myself! Why? Because it's also human nature! We innately feel self-induced guilt for not writing... FIGHT IT! Here's a challenge - go back and check your past blog posts and if you've started more than one post with that - take the time to edit that out & promise never do it again.

4. Schedule & Plan It
I try and blog on Sunday mornings. But be flexible. Having a schedule helps me "git er done" but if I'm traveling over the weekend or just don't feel like it, I don't blog. If I'm inspired & excited to share something on a Wednesday night - I blog Wednesday night! Whatever. It's a balance....having a schedule but not being a slave to it.  Plan for blogging success. When you see an interesting Tweet or think of something that might make a cool blog posting - Scoopit, bookmark it, file it away, or jot it down. I sometimes keep blogging ideas in my Gmail drafts folder or my blogger Drafts folder. That way, whenever you feel like blogging but just can't think of a topic - then you can go to those brainstorming ideas. It's like creating a little safe-deposit box of blogging awesomeness!

5. Get Graphic
Show pictures. People love reading blogs with graphics embedded that help illustrate what you are sharing.  Wrap those images around your text. Alternate left and right. Don't just float small pictures in the center of your blog post. Make it look like a magazine! If you don't want to get as graphically saturated as this blog, with a picture for almost every paragraph, try to at least find a coordinating picture for the top of your blog post. You can easily (and for FREE!) use Flickr Creative Commons or one of the many copyright free image resources.  You can edit or tweak those graphics with the awesome PicMonkey   Just always give attribution!

6. Share Shamelessly
Share the content you create enthusiastically and shamelessly. If you invent a wheel (or even a spoke!) share it so that someone else (remember that first year librarian or teacher?) doesn't have to re-invent that same wheel! This goes for lesson plans, activities, reading promotions, and cool products.
  • Use Slideshare to embed your PPT's & Docs
  • Use Flickr or another easily navigated photo sharing site for your pics & graphics
  • Link to your wikispaces or web page for complete lesson plans
  • Use Google Docs & Google forms 
Techie Tip: Every time you share a link on your blog, make sure to check "Open this link in new window" that way your reader won't be navigated away from your original post and can easily come back to it via an open window or tab.


7. Be Transparent
Buy your name. Think long term. If you name your professional blog by your school name, what happens when you switch schools?  If you build a readership do you lose them going to another school and starting another blog? Sure, start a school library Edublog named after your school, but keep your professional blog about you. As you grow in your profession, your blog will grow with you. This way you can create and model a positive digital footprint.

8. Be You!
Speak from your heart. Speak your truth. Be original and authentic. Be passionate, be positive, and always be professional. People will connect with you if you sound like you. Be personal, but don't be private. I share personal information on my blogs and Tweets but I don't share private information. There's a difference! It's the difference between my sharing that I've watched Catching Fire on Netflix 4 times or that I adore a mani-pedi, versus how many times I've been married! ;-) 
Don't negatively vent about your profession or trash talk your students. The kiddos we teach are in our trust and just like a doctor or lawyer we protect our kids by not talking about them in any way that could be negative. I'm privileged to have that privilege. Cheering their successes is a whole different thing. We all have frustrations in our jobs but a blog is not where to vent them. Don't blog yourself out of a job. Doug Johnson has a great post about this! BFTP: Blogging and a little common sense

9. Give Credit
Don't forget to credit your sources, quotes, inspiration, graphics, & more! The more you give the more you will get back. Giving attribution is hot! Creative Commons - it's not just a license, it's a way of life! I wonder how many times I've used the term Attribution in this post! At least 4!

10. Be Thankful
If someone took the time to leave a comment on your blog, Tweet a thanks! Or comment back! Better yet, go to their blog - read one of their posts, & give back a nice comment. If you get a lesson idea from someone's blog - post about how it worked for you! Include any changes or adaptions you made, printables, graphics, and pictures. Credit, link back, and thank them in the post that they were the font of inspiration.  I've even sent a little present to their school or made a surprise phone call! The personal touch is really appreciated.  Pay it forward! 


11. Be stubborn!
The school library Blogger I started in 2006 was blocked by my district a few years ago and it really threw me for a loop. I blogged about how Life is Not Filtered & moved my MHMS Daring School Library Media blog over to EduBlogs - I didn't migrate the old posts (I'm lazy, right?) and I had to learn a new publishing format - Ouchie! In the end, it was for the best. So, if you're starting a new education related blog whether it's a professional or school blog, I'd recommend an EduBlogs. Doubtful your district will block those. But, you never know....be nimble, be daring, be digital, be flexible, be ready to roll, and always have fun! Thank you for reading!

What are YOUR blogging tips? What works for you? What did I miss? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 
 
I was honored to be named and nominated by my EdTech colleagues as a finalist in the global Edublog Awards - I've been fortunate to be a finalist for 5 years, but I've never won! Argh! LOL
For all those dear readers who voted for this blog, Thank you! I came in 3rd. Not too shabby - maybe someday I'll win!! 
So Why the Edublog Awards?
  • It's a global recognition award. Any education blog in any country can be nominated and win!  For example, The Russian language educators are passionate & proud of their edublogs! And boy do they trounce us in the votes! Bless their hearts!
  • It's crowdsourced and democratic. The finalists are chosen by the amount of bloggers doing the award nominations. I am always honored to be recognized by my peers - it makes me squirmy, happy, and go squee that people still read my blog!
  • It's positive! Paying it forward and recognizing hard work is great! Highlighting educators who are sharing shamelessly and promoting a positive digital footprint to the world is a good thing. 
  • It gives me a great new list of people to follow and learn from!
Don't like the Edublog Awards? Try the EduBro Awards! They're all about AWESOME!




Credits & References:
This is an updated post that I penned almost 4 years ago - it was due for remix!
Storm Trooper Minifig photos are by Kristina Alexanderson and I learned about them from my amazing and inspiring friend Jennifer LaGarde! Screenshots from my blogs & wikis. (links on right)
The chunky font I used for a lot of the graphics is, of course ---wait for it, --> HanSolo
The scripty print font is called TrashHand. All FREE!
Some quotes were from a Washington Post interview -What is Literacy Today
My Blogs are Blocked-Life is Not Filtered


Sunday, November 23, 2014

14 Fabulous Finds - A Daringly Geeky Gift Guide

I love buying gifts for family and friends! So, I thought I would share a few of my favourite finds both luxury and geeky to help give some good gifting ideas for the season. Most of the links take you to Amazon because I'm a Prime member and their delivery and prices are the BEST. I want to assure you though,  I haven't gotten any kickbacks from writing this post.  I have included some promo and referral codes to you for some products I love - I see that as a win/win. If I ever DO get any freebies I promise to give them away as a prize! How fun would that be!? Enjoy! Free stuff is after the 14 fab finds.
1. Twelve South BookBook Travel Journal - Travel savvy with a case that looks like a leather bound book but hides all kinds of tech and accessories. It features soft tweed, leather accented interior - with all kinds of pockets, straps, and compartments.
  • Genuine leather "book" cover
  • Contains over a dozen pockets and straps to organize your gear
  • Stores iPad, headphones, adapters, chargers, batteries, stylus, cables
  • Old-world book design discourages theft while on the go
  • Separate plush pocket fits all iPads
This is the kind of thing you can leave on your car's front seat without worry about an immediate window smash and grab. And hello? It's geeky & bookish! Average price $99 Follow on Twitter

 2. Belkin SurgePlus 3-Outlet Mini Travel Swivel Charger Surge Protector with Dual USB -I love this gadget and have blogged about it before for my conference packing tips post! The plug swivels so you can fit it anywhere! The 2 USB ports work great & is terrific when traveling! Average price $20 Follow on Twitter

3. Quirky Pivot Flexible Surge Protector Power Strip -I'm buying this for our family's thieves market gift exchange. Perfect for all those things you have to plug in that have big bulky AC adapters. Comes in many colours & even a smaller travel size. Average price $20  Follow on Twitter

4. Quirky Space Bar Keyboard Organizer & USB Hub -I bought this for my desk at work. It's awesome - slide the keyboard under it and get extra USB ports that are easy to reach!
Comes in a couple variations - silver and white. I chose brushed silver. If it's not available on Amazon (it sells out!) try eBay. Average price $86  Follow on Twitter

5. Birchbox - 3, 6, or 12 month luxury beauty and grooming samples for women or men! I'm getting this for both my Mom & my Media Assistant (And no, they don't read this blog! [smh] LOL) It's just so nice and fun to get a beautiful box of goodies once a month...and to give that experience to someone you love for only $10 a month is to me a no-brainer. If I don't like an item, I give it away to a friend (I HATE Lip Gloss -too sticky!) but I've really discovered some super product favs because of my Birchbox. Use my referral code to get a VIP invite and bonus stuff. Read my previous blog post for more pics and info!  Average price $10 a month - $110 a year. Follow on Twitter

6. Cashmere Travel Throw Set - You don't have to fly first class to feel first class luxury. This super snuggly soft cashmere blanket and pillow with matching eye mask makes travel and hotel stays a dream at a great price! I have this in Grey - it's WONDERFUL! I even left an Amazon review. Average price $160

7. All About Down travel pillow. When you have a cashmere travel pillow doesn't it deserve down? Some hotel pillows are awful! Plus, I love sleeping on a plane and I've read a lot of articles about how they do NOT wash the airplane pillows & blankets. If they even supply them.  I'm not a germophobe.. but... Ok, maybe I am! This pillow has just enough soft with also downy support. Bonus: This company has some of the BEST customer service I've ever dealt with. I also ordered a custom Euro 26X26 down square pillow for my new West Elm Mongolian Lamb Pillow Cover. Average price $44



8.  PicMonkey -  Give the gift of Win!
My favourite online digital photo editing site - it's awesome and FREE but the Royale features make it mighty!  A year of Royale Digital Membership Average price $33 for one year. Follow on Twitter

 
 
9. Amazon Echo - Like a hands-free voice activated Siri - $100 off for Prime members! I want for home and to put one in my Library, too! And no, I don't worry about spying. I have stock in Skynet. ;-) Watch the hilariously awkward promo ad! Look at the Mom's facial expressions! Average price $99 for Prime members & $199 for everyone else.

10. Phillips Hue - Mobile & Interactive starter light kit - Through your smart phone or tablet, recreate millions of different colors, set timers and alarms, connect to your favorite apps and dim the light. You can also create your own colourful scenes for your app and also to share with the world.  Average price starter kit $188 includes base station & 3 bulbs. GREAT customer service! Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


11. Keurig - the BEST thing I ever got...ok, after my MacFamily of products and my Rav4. LOVE my Keurig! Here's my first in 2009. I've gifted this SO many times! I also bought one for our library kitchen for PD events.  Average price $130 - DO NOT buy the single. I had one and it sucked!

12. Ultra Sonic Jewelry Cleaner - As my Aunty would say DDDS - or Dirty Diamonds Don't Sparkle! I also bought this for my library kitchen - to offer jewelry cleaning during my Tech PD! Professional Development that Sparkles! #Shameless After you use up the included jewelry cleaner make your own w/ a few capfuls of bargain amonia, water, and a few drops of Dawn dish washing liquid.  Average price $32 various colours and including one bottle of jewelry cleaner.

13. iPad Air 2 Feeling spendy? The new iPad Air 2 is super thin, light, and amazing!  This will replace my iPad 2 which I will trade into Amazon (LOVE this service - it works - FAST! see more below) 

It really is amazing how Apple can transfer all your Apps, preferences, photo, data & stuff from the cloud to a new device. It took about an hour all told to get this new iPad up and running. I had to sign into a few apps to get them going but what a far cry from days of old with installation disks and flashdrives! Remember those days? I also enjoyed this feature when I set up my iPhone 6+! I do pay extra $ to get more iCloud space, but it's onlya dollar a month or  $12 a year and it supports 2 iPads and an iPhone. iPad Air 2 Average price $499-699  Since Apple isn't on Twitter, I follow Apple CEO Tim Cook

14. Omaha Steaks - For the carnivore man (or woman!) who has it all! Like my Dad? One word - meat!  This is a great gift for the guy or gal who likes to grill year round. Sign up and look for the FREE Shipping offers. When I'm stumped as to what to give the person who has everything, consumables is the answer!   This gift saves my Mom, too! For a limited time, use the embedded referral code in the Tweet below to get $20 off $50 for your first order! It's a win/win! I buy so often (birthdays, father's day, thank you for the iPad day) that I get Steak Rewards! Nom nom! Follow on Twitter (Ps. they are VERY responsive and helpful on Twitter!)
Need $$ to Fund these Finds? Amazon Trade-in Rules!

Recycle Your Stuff & Make $! 
Want to earn some Amazon gift cards to help pay for Christmas gifts? You definitely must check out Amazon’s Trade-In Program. Go through your home and find any DVDs, Books, Video Games, or electronics you no longer need or use. Do a search on the Amazon Trade-In Store to see how much Amazon will pay you for a Trade In. If the price seems fair, click through to verify the condition, title, and price.You just print out a shipping label and take the nearest UPS store. Amazon gets it, and if they agree it's in the shape you said they automatically deposit the $$ into your Amazon account. I did this with my iPhone4S and got $165. I actually under estimated the value and they gave me $10 more! Note to my future self, keep the original boxes of new technology. 

FREE Graphic Gift from Me to You!

My TV studio kiddos are Tech Ninja's! Esp. my Head Techs! I was inspired by a teacher in Canada to create this for them and ANYONE who wants to use it with their own Tech Team or Geek Squad as a Badge! It's Creative Commons, Take, Use, Share....with Attribution!

Go to my Flickr Page to get different sizes - but if you want the that cool kind of transparency of the background you have to use or download the ORIGINAL size  make sure the file name to end in .PNG - Cheers!

FREE Owl Wall Decal
Hurry! You only have a few days more to sign up for this super cute wall decal! Offer ends Nov 30!
"In celebration of Picture Book Month, Live in a Story is giving away this wall decal based on Brian Won’s picture book, Hooray for Hat. " Sure, it's a little elementary-ish but I LOVE Owls! And who doesn't love FREE?
Follow on Twitter

Here are some cool suggestions from my Twitter family!



I invite you to leave your best tips in the comments! Every educator who leaves a non-spam comment gets an automatic Twitter follow from me- I love your comments! 

Do you NEED Geeky Google SWAG?
OK, so like 10 years ago Google used to send me SWAG like this much loved tie dye T-shirt as a thanks for promoting their products at conferences through my ed tech presentations.  This was WAY before I ever became a Google Certified Teacher and got the awesome SWAG above in Seattle. But if you're a Google fan and want to share that obsession devotion, why not get some SWAG at their Google online product store? I got my Google Lava Lamp here that my kiddos so adore!  Anyway, thought you might enjoy it!

Ok....of course, you know I like to add stuff, right?  Here's something fun my Dad found at Walgreens for $21 - get got a set for our beach place and a set for me, too! Remote controlled colour changing flickering candles! My question are they totally tacky or just AWESOME!?

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...