Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sweet Search 2Day & School TV Studios

Learning Something Every Day!

Mark Moran of Finding Dulcinea told me in Denver about this AWEsome new site that Sweet Search created and was launching for schools but it wasn't ready yet for me to tell you, dear reader

...until NOW! YAY!

As someone who helps to run a TV Studio every day in their school this site is going to be a lifesaver! Our MHTV studio uses news sources on our MHTV Wiki like Britannica's to create our national news stories. We also feature local news, weather, entertainment & sports... it's a daily TV news broadcast created FOR kids BY Kids. But sometimes we can't find anything appropriate for Middle Schoolers or newsworthy! So this Sweet Search Today site is going to be a one stop shop, baby! Welcome to MHTV Daily Teen News! by gwyneth

Sweet Search 2Day features brilliant "Of the Day" information, sweet regular features, links to the latest news - Google, BBC, & CBBC NewsRound (such as if Harry Potter were a real person he'd be 30 today!), and News Trust sites, & Brain teasers!

They even have a link to an all time FAV - Week in Rap!

All terrific resources gathered together and organized in a fast loading & clean format - I confess, I've jazzed up the screenshots for my blog cause that's what I do & how I roll, but the site really looks like this:

Oh! AND WIDGETS!!!!!!! Talk about SWEET!

I added the widget to our WIKI mainpage and the image above to our National News wikipage so when my kids come back to the studio they have an exciting and new student news source! Oh and this would also be great for Social Studies classes! Think of the warm-ups & conversation starters! Funky Fresh!
Which makes me think of how cool & funky fresh this new KIA Soul commercial is and how much I'd like to play this classic 90's rap song: The Choice is Yours by the Black Sheep on our MHTV show!

"Out to rock the globe while it's still here to rock
Don't punch girls, and we don't punch a clock"

Anti-violence messages are always welcome in a Middle School! Esp. when coupled with a sweet beat! When I saw this commercial - it sounded familliar and I thought they had sampled Fat Boy Slim's - Weapon of Choice riff but according to HMC blog - it was the other way around!
"While their biggest hit, “The Choice is Yours”, was well known, it is most famous for being sampled in Fatboy Slim‘s “Weapon of Choice”. “The Choice is Yours” is straight up 90s rap while “Weapon of Choice” is classic Fatboy Slim, a bunch of well known samples mixed. Both songs are good in their own ways, although I tip the scale towards Fatboy Slim for having the greatest music video of all-time featuring Christopher Walken." (Who I find strangely Hot here - dancing so suavely!)
Umm errrr...see what i mean...WATCH the Video....

Oh and Mr. Walken? Call me!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Social Media Dim Sum: Tasty Bites You Can Try

Social Media Dim Sum: One Small Plate at a Time

I love my PLN! When I have an idea I am struggling with I can go to them and ask for opinions, brainstorming, & help and - I get it! Here was my idea: a graphic that showed the tastiest bits of a PLN all in one place setting...with a side dish of other ways to build your PLN that were a bit more....ummm challenging.

The main plate features those parts of my Personal Learning Network that are the most significant to me: Twitter, Flickr, Google (Gmail & Google apps) Nings (Classroom 2.0, Teacher Librarian Ning, MSET, ISTE Community) Wikispaces and Sqworl. In the side of the bowl and just as important the Discovery Education Network. The side bowl features parts of a PLN that are significant, but that take more effort & time commitment: Second Life & Blogging. I'd like to reassure those new to network building that they need not try the virtual worlds of Second Life and blogging right away but can add those in the future after you're satisfied with the main plate!

I added Facebook later, even though I deleted my account (and yes, I will explain in a post at some time!) there are still people out there who find it significant.

I had a preso to do for my district - my beloved Howard County the next week & was inspired by all I saw and learned in Denver. Now don't snag or use the pic above...that was my imperfect first draft the final one is below and is free to use with attribution.

I'd like to show you the process of creation with my PLN & brainstorming so forgive me if this is a long post...feel free to skim & comment! :-)

It started with my email plea for help - Subject: Help! Quick Opinion....PLN Dim Sum - Hey beloved PLN! Please see attached graphic and chime in - Should I keep in the phrase? (in green) "Keep Your Appetite Large but Your Plate Small" OR take it out? and do you like the Title PLN Dim Sum? OR take it out? and do you like the Title PLN Dim Sum? Any change of wording or suggestions are VERY welcome! Thank You!!!!

My lovely friend Andrea Christman RESEARCHED the thing! LOVES her! So she gets a Photoshopped fun pic!

I LOVE the dim sum idea!!! I am thinking on the phrase “Keep your appetite large, but your plate small” though. I know what you are trying to say though. I looked up dim sum just to get some more ideas.
Don’t you want people to control their portions? You are telling people to leave some room on their plate for other things in life so actually, you want them to display some “portion control” and rein in their appetites.
Or you want them to choose a variety of dim sum so their plate is balanced. I am not sure you want them to have small plates or a plate with a variety. Don’t get stuck on one variety, i.e., from Wikipedia:
While dim sum (touch the heart) was originally not a main meal, only a snack, and therefore only meant to touch the heart, it is now a staple of Chinese dining culture, especially in Hong Kong.
Am I over-thinking this? Maybe your catchy phrase could be something along the lines of “it’s a balancing act” or “for your health” or something. I love how dim sum actually means “touch the heart” I didn’t know that! I don’t know if that could be worked into this….. Here is ordering advice from another website: … the best way to enjoy dim sum is with a group; otherwise you'll fill up on a few items and miss the opportunity to sample everything. On the other hand, you can always take home the leftovers! I’ll keep thinking and hopefully one of your other peeps will chime in!


the amazing Brenda Anderson replied: "okay, I'm going to follow Andrea with questioning keeping the plate small. While small is okay somehow it conveys to me a small mind which I do not think is good. I do think Andrea has zoned in on the key ideas here, balance, portion control, but also doing this with friends. Do what you love with balance and control. And you can't eat everything at once. Tasting and trying in small amounts is good. Make sure you are getting a balanced diet of life, virtual, real, work, pleasure. And save room to be spontaneous... those last minute dates that turn into moments to remember. We all do have full plates, but we don't want to be "small" in our thinking or experimenting, just find that healthy balance between caloric intake and output. And sharing with friends is a great way to keep the balance when the experimenting starts. One idea I heard repeatedly at ISTE10 was learning is social, just like eating, so the analogy is perfect"

The gorgeous Kyra Kreinbrook added: "Okay, I am right there with Andrea and Brenda. I was thinking that maybe you want them to "sample from the buffet" and that would mean taking a little of this and a little of that. You don't want to fill up on one thing, but to try it all....and it always more fun to go to a buffet and share and sample with a friend than doing it yourself. You want to save room for this fried bananas with honey....oh, sorry, back to the topic. You want to try it all and then maybe indulge in your favorite. Hope it helps. Let us know what you decide."

Shannon M. Miller is the consumate bubbly charming; cheerleader:
This is amazing! I really love it. And LOVE the PLN Dim Sum! I think I might take out the phrase in green....It says so much without it there....doesn't take anything away from the power of this. :) "

Jennifer Elam, the eLearning Facilitator in my county wrote:
"Personally, I like it. It goes well with --> Don't Overdue it! Leave some space for dessert, the future, & real life! Cute! Dim Sum! So Cute!"

SO YAY! response back to my friends: "Thank you all so much! I think I came up with the small plate idea because so many talk about how full their plate I thought rather than getting a bigger plate to pile on stuff think of dim sum or tappas and choose smaller plates. be selective about what you "order" to sample and have a variety! so...yeah...I need to focus on the tasty smaller bites and excersise portion control (ha ha!) - and share with the table! because you may try something - nibble it but not stay with it. -like plurk. love it - it's pretty - I have a plurk acct to connect with my Second Life Steampunk friends but Twitter I think has more power so I haven't logged into Plurk for months. I'm hungry....but I also am inspired by all of your GREAT IDEAS! Love my PLN! love you all!

Thus I came up with the final graphic depiction of a PLN meal for blogs & presos and one that you can click on to get all sizes: Remember, take small plates of dim sum...try a variety! Share with others & pass along... but don't overdo it otherwise you'll may feel uncomfortably full.
(UPDATED 7/13)

FEEL FREE TO USE - with Attribution

The preso I used this graphic was one I did in my own backyard...IE: my school district of Howard County!

"Break out beyond the brick and mortar confines of our schools with a super savvy web presence that takes your lessons home and spans the globe. Learn how you can easily make your program available to students via the web. Discover how to build a Personal Learning Network. Created for the HCPSS Summer Camp. Featuring the DEN Educator Network." Click through the Prezi below...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to Create a Digital Signature

A month or so ago I had to coordinate getting the video releases of all those on the ISTE Smackdown panel...and to get them to sign the release - electronically.

The ISTE video release was a .PDF and like I've never signed a .PDF before electronically - I *have* signed & faxed them to make it easier I converted the .PDF into a .DOC and then did a little research and found a good resource with tips on How to Sign Documents Electronically

I think the easiest way is sign your name with a black sharpie on white paper and take a celly pic of it, crop & convert to .jpeg - insert picture Voila!

Now I may be the only person who did not know how to do this - but just in case there is just one other person out there... I thought I would share this with y'all!

International Reader Shout Out: Belgium!

From the mind of Agatha Christie came a fictional detective who was my first introduction to the country of Belgium. That's right...Hercule Poirot caught my imagination as a young teen and I went to my school library and looked up the book on Belgium and was totally fascinated! From the accessible accommodation website:
"Belgium's sluggish surface hides cultural cachet and a passion for pleasure.

If Belgium's spotlight on the European stage is a little dim, it's only because its people are rarely boastful. This slow-burning country has more history, art, food and architecture packed into its tiny self than many of its bigger, louder neighbours.

A rich and bubbling vat of beer, chocolate, oil paint and bureaucrats, Belgium gives off the heady pong of the bourgeoisie. But stir the pot a little and you'll find an 'artificial state' roughly made up of two parts Germanic Flemings to one part Celtic-Latin Walloons."
I've never been there...but I should like to visit someday!
Photo Credits:
famous signatures: Kirkwood High School
Belgium photo

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Old Spice Guy, Heated Librarians, & Fresno

This short response from a Fresno Library Tweet the @oldspice guy seems to have made all the librarians go WILD this week - some even saying he should be the keynote for the next ALA or AASL conference. Hmmm I think they got Almost TOO excited.
According to the vastly pithy & amusing gershbec "I've been listening to librarians tweet about Old Spice all day because he responded to a librarian's tweet. It's nuts....jokes about how he should be the ALA speaker, I mean kudos to wawoodworth for the idea, but let's be honest...He tweeted something, the marketing campaign is answering EVERYONE's questions, it's not like they're into libraries ... How to get librarians excited...have some marketing campaign mention libraries."
Now, while I'm terribly amused by the ad campaign, LOVE parodies, am a frequent visitor (if you're offended easily, please do not visit the site! you, but that's you!) .... I really don't know if I could take 45 min to an hour of his shtick.

Now...the people of FRESNO are all up in arms by this campaign. According to Mike Oz of this is how it started:

"If you follow the Internets closely, you probably already saw Old Spice's killer viral videos that have gotten all kinds of attention this week. Basically: Old Spice took the guy from its latest ad campaign and started producing custom, personalized YouTube videos aimed at specific people who interact with their social media accounts. In three days, they've released almost 200 videos -- and even proposed for one Old Spice's Twitter followers.

When the Old Spice guy made a video talking about how great libraries are, The Fresno County Public Library posted it on its Facebook page with the message: " Ladies, does your man use the library? The Old Spice Guy does."

No harm there, right? Wrong. A couple of FCPL's friends didn't approve:

One wrote:

"I do not appreciate this--it is acutally very insulting! I love the Fresno Library and often tell people that it is the best thing about Fresno--but, please----use some tact and have some class.."


"oh please. we don't need or want the library to use sex appeal to attempt to manipulate us. That would be why we use the library, so we don't have to watch that kind of cheesy selling tactics."

As somebody who often gets hate mail from easily-offended people, I'm on the side of the library. What do you think? Do you think that's inappropriate for the library to post? Or are these people just super uptight?"

Yes, Mike..I think you and they are uptight...and the comments from your article seem to agree with me! They are mostly supporting the hip cool library going viral. Go to the article to real off of them but here are two I liked best.

"Why can't the library, any library, be hip, cool, even sexy? I like it! For that matter, why can't hip, cool sexy people be literate?"

"The fact that the library posted this video makes me like them even more! I think it's brilliant that they so quickly took something viral and connected it with their own brand. Also, I don't think the Fresno Library is the best thing about Fresno. It's cool, but there are a few other things and people that trump the library."

Viral marketing is the wave of the future. If you don't get it or like it, but that's ok. The first time I encountered it was The Blair Witch Project. I was suckered in for two days about that darn movie! Till my BF at the time set me straight - and deservedly mocked me. But yeah...we either go along with the times and ride the wave of new ways to reach our public or we're DEAD in the WATER. Huzzah Fresno! It's all about Web Presence! Just like I blogged about a couple months ago about NetFlix's EPIC FAIL! and the library lessons leaned therein. But yeah.. I don't want to listen to an hour of the Old Spice guy....How about we pay him to do some marketing for the AASL/ALA conference? Here are my tweets from that day regarding this.
@gershbec @buffyjhamilton I'm a librarian and I can read words. Words are on Pages. Pages can cut fingers. Books are dangerous. WTF? 30secs

@gershbec but a whole keynote? 45 min....OF exactly umm What? words? slides? innuendo? wouldn't mind a towel slip but REALLY? @wawoodworth

@gershbec if librarians are getting their panties all in an excited twist about @oldspice

@buffyjhamilton @gershbec I love the concept, creativity, but would we get only style & not substance? otherwise geez howabout Betty White?
Want more Library Spice? According to the awesome Bobbi Newman - Librarian by Day "Check out this awesome library parody of the Old Spice Commercials from The Harold B. Lee Library Multimedia Unit. I’m seriously impressed with the idea behind and the implementation of this video." and I have to agree! Enjoy!

Bobbi Newman also posted a great article on Using Evernote to Track Online Reputation
Saturday Morning Update: sadly, apparently the Old Spice guy is done answering Twitter questions. Le sigh! Dag just when i was hoping to find out what his Zombie Emergency Plan was! ....[shakes fist with impotent rage] ....

What do you think dear readers? Old Spice? Viral Marketing? Library Promotion?

photos by: People Magazine - Meet the Hot New Old Spice Guy

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ISTE10 Learning Tools Smackdown - The Video

ISTE10 SIGMS Forum: Learning Tools Smackdown!
No sitting on the ropes! Bring your most effective learning tools to the ring. Categories: digital storytelling, reading promotion, information fluency, and digital citizenship. Join Joyce Valenza, Gwyneth Jones, and other speakers for this event. For a full line-up and ALL the Resources & Goodies visit our Wiki!

Visit Chad Lehman's & my Network Building Page

Want to watch the video in a larger size? Visit ISTE Vision!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Be a South Park Character

Pretty Cool, huh? How did I do it? Keep Reading!

Ever want to be a South Park Character? You can, with SP Studios!

Create your South Park Character & Change Backgrounds!
- To save take a screenshot & crop!
Apple : Control + shift + 4
Make sure to save one Cartoon with OUT a background for photo fun inserting "yourself" into other pictures...

With Photoshop go to Magic Eraser & take out backgorund and save as a .PNG. Now you can insert your cartoon into any background!

To get this FREE How-To Cartoon: Go to my Steam Powered Wiki & grab it!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

ISTE10 Conference Reflection:
Leadership and Cheese Cubes

WARNING: Much like my AASL-Charlotte debrief this is bound to be a bit stream of conscience and edited over a few days.

This was a very special & crazy busy ISTE for me. After being newly elected to the board of directors of ISTE I had duties for my new position that would sometimes interfere with my ability to hang out at the Bloggers' Cafe, the SIGMS 21st Century Playground, and the SIGVE Second Life playground ....AND go to all the sessions I wanted to.
But in all honesty? ...being able to go greet & thank attendees, vendors, & poster presenters on behalf of the board and serve was both a joy and an honor. (and fun!)
The other ISTE board members and the amazing full time ISTE staff (more about them below!) were so awesomely welcoming and helpful! Especially Annette Smith and her amazing crew from Wisconsin and Mike Lawrence and his crew from CUE! See Annette Smith dancing the Affiliate dance!

  • I got a LOT out of the Leadership Bootcamp by lurking on Twitter...and I blogged about it in the moment..feeling a special kindred spirit with the messages of Lucy Gray and Scott McLeod.
After that, the steam locomotive that is ISTE chugged on and on and I was lucky to get a real meal or sit down for days...(you can live on cheese cubes, grapes, and strawberries - but not for long) Parties and the TEDxDenver that I had planned to attend got pushed aside as I found myself on sensory and brain overload by 8pm at night. Deciding to go to only parties within my hotel seemed silly but was a life saver for me! Sorry Joyce Valenza, Chad Lehman & Anne Truger - i'm a party pooper wus! LOL

Sunday: Mario Armstrong ISTE Kickoff, SIG Fair, and the Keynote
  • NPR's Bio Tech show host Mario Armstrong was our keynote kickoff speaker and he was fraking AWEsome! He fought mythical beasties like the "Locked Net Monster," and the "Dollar and Centaur" by tenacity, tech tools, and an army of a PLN he defeated these beasts who kept him from integrating technology with his students -wanting to take them on a virtual field trip. I was very flattered and thrilled to be asked to be a Kindle wielding part of the PLN army on stage along side Joyce Valenza, Knowclue, Scott Merrick, and Outstanding Young Educator award winner Adam Bellow, and more! W00t!

  • ISTE SIGMS Fair was a huge success and more of those 1000 postcards that we designed were handed out! We had pics of Doug Johnson & Joyce Valenza up on the display board and the ever hard-working ISTE SIGMS Chair Lisa Perez and Communications Chair Laurie Conzemius, Vice Chair, Shelee King George and Prof Dev Chair Brenda Anderson talked to the floods of educators that came by. Met so many wonderful teacher-librarians from all over the world!
  • The Keynote - Jean-Francois Rischard: Important message - dry delivery. Though I understand their frustration, bad back channel behavior from those who chose to be snarky rather than gracious to our guest reminded me of the shocking Danah Boyd incident that I blogged about last fall. Are we as an audience or Americans so jaded that we only value flash over substance? We MUST remember basic kindness in our Tweets people - or else others will be intimidated or scared to join the conversation. People. Just. Be. Nice. Nuff said.
  • ISTE SIGMS 21st Century Media Center Playground in RL (vs. the one I blogged about that we helped to make in SL) I manned my Twitter & Beyond booth for 2 hours and talked with passerbys about the benefits of Twitter and did a mini Personal Learning Network Bootcamp! It was AWEsome because next to me was the amazing and energetic Maryland teacher-librarian Joquetta Johnson doing the same thing...we were VERY busy!

Dissecting the 21st Century Teacher:
I then participated in a panel discussion with Selena Ward- The Tech Tiger, Kenneth Shelton, Andy Losik, Paula White, and Carol Broos:
-The characteristics of a 21st century teacher
-What 21st century teachers do in and out of the classroom
-How the NETS T help define 21st century teaching
-The challenges 21st century teachers face
-Ways in which teachers can transition their curriculum to a 21st century style
(click picture for the link to the actual Google Slideshow)

At the Bloggers' Cafe I had a great conversation with Finding Dulcinea's Mike Moran about his new Sweet Search Engine for Students and NEW! Sweet Search 2Day destination. I can really see how I could use these with my students...esp. in Social Studies and our TV show.

Later that night, the ISTE SIGMS Birds of a Feather & MSET - Maryland Affiliate reception were great! So many Teacher Librarians in one room was amazing...this SIG has grown so much under Lisa's leadership! I got to spend more time with a new friend and fellow redhead Shannon Miller! WOW my MySpacian pic came out cool but I look tired :-(

The next day the ISTE SIGMS Forum Learning Tools Smackdown went Smashingly! Watch the Smackdown Archive on ISTE Vision! To quote Joyce Valenza's NeverEnding Search blog:
"TLSmackdown. Though the concept–fast and slightly competitive resource sharing–may be a little confusing (we’ve blogged about that), it again allowed us to achieve a couple of important things, and kinda sweetly, IMHO.....
  • to reinforce the importance of wikiness within our profession–of collaborating and contributing to each others’ knowledge. And that the person in the front of the room is not necessarily the smartest person in the room.

  • to solidify our Geek tribe–both near and far.

The Smackdown stage was powerful. And the room was powerful. The presenters on stage, both vintage and newbie, shared enthusiasm for their new discoveries about TL practice. While I worried the audience might be shy, the very wiki audience shared like crazy. And that audience included a couple of very new librarians, Dr. Loopy (AKA Doug Valentine, whom I’d never before met), a couple of super-wonderful administrators brought by Shannon Miller."

Ok...I'm tired of doing a day to day hour by hour right laptop scrolling thumb is numb and even feels broken! So let me give a few more bulleted highlights and thoughts:

  • The Lounges, Unconferences, & the Bloggers' Cafe were AWEsome! ISTE really has recognized that we need places to congregate, hang out, & impromptu share with each other at the several and varied lounges they provided at ISTE. Lounges do not pay for themselves. I learned that when I was working at our Maryland affiliates conference MSET - how every chair, table, and power strip had to be paid for and how darn expensive they are! SO, to have so many different lounges means that the ISTE conference planning committee GETS IT. We NEED and we thrive when we have options to sit down, gather, and collaborate! Thank you!
  • Again, this year - as I blogged about NECC DC last year...too much PAPER! ISTE is the leader everywhere else...why not in the GREEN forefront?
  • Too many scheduling conflicts...Breakfasts, Advocacy, & committee meetings during the same time as presentations and sessions.
  • Wireless Internet access was AWEsome at the CCC! Much better than NECC DC! Thank you ISTE staff for doubling our connection!

  • The city of Denver was brilliant..from what I saw at least!
  • Great conversation at the Eluminate party with Steve Hargadon who has been so generous to donate a room for our TL Virtual Cafe webinar series! Thank you Steve!
  • Great conversations with Doug Johnson who is a constant source of inspiration and cutting through the B.S. to see what's really important...not the tech toys (though he has them!) but to be there for our customers....our KIDS!
  • The ISTE staff! I was SO fortunate to work with a lot of the full time ISTE staff and WOW! They are so amazing! Without their year-long efforts this massive conference could not happen.
ISTE Staff: Dedicated, Professional, & Fun!
  • Brenda Aspaas, Senior Executive Assistant & Goddess - this woman is one of the hardest working most organized and just darlingest people i've ever met... i really may just have to form an I Heart Brenda fanclub!
  • Hilary Goldmann, Director, Government Affairs - So smart, so savvy, so passionate about education advocacy....honestly, I am so glad this lady is on our side! heaven help the lobbyists in DC!
  • Jessica Medaille, Senior Director, Membership Development - on point, organized & friendly!
  • Jennifer Ragan-Fore, Director, New Media and Member Communities (and her super cool videographer hubby!) - amazingly able to juggle a gazillion things and energize all who are around her all with the warmest of smiles...she is a force of nature!
  • Dawn Shrum, Manager, Membership Program - another incredibly smart, organized, and precise ISTE professional who makes it look easy when we all know it's not...and she's beautiful, too! I want to hate her but I can't! LOL
  • Terra Sieberman, ISTE Awards & Recognition - smart, adorable, funny and again organized. WOW...I need to learn some organization skills from these awesome Oregonians (and DC peeps!)
and of course Don Knezek, Ph.D., CEO and ISTE President Dr. Helen Padgett who were so sweet and welcoming to me! I am so SO excited that the board will be traveling to Eugene, Oregon in September to visit the ISTE headquarters! WhooHoo!

Additional ISTE Resources:

Photo credits: most all photos by me but augmented by my awesome photographer friends!
Photo of ISTE - Oregon by


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