Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why I Need a Kindle AND an iPad

With the caveat IF you're a dedicated reader
The Kindle has changed my life as a reader. After turning [cough] 40 I couldn't read regular books comfortably with or without my new (cute) reading glasses (& forget paperback books!) and I stopped reading as much as I used to. [sad face] During a Bethany Beach VaCa or summer break I used to read at least a book a day! Heck, I read the last Harry Potter in like one (long) sitting! (ok, it was 5am! but still) Thus, the Kindle, with it's comfy E-Ink better than paper display which allows for reading in extreme lighting situations and minimizes eye-strain, and it's ability to change font size has changed all that. I am back to reading again and it feels SO RIGHT!

I've been thinking about this for a long time - holding out to buy an iPad for gen 2 -(and if you follow me on Twitter you know that I happily lost that fight) I even got a smaller NEW graphite Kindle for Christmas for travel! (see above & thanks Mom & Dad!) Resplendent in its GEEK CHIC handmade Dodo Case!
Stay tuned for an extended blog posting about the iPad special features & must have Apps (with super cool guest posters, too!) coming soon.

But just today my dear Auntie Lynn of Life with Lynn (my BEST blogging student!) emailed my mother & I this request: "Dear Gwynnie and Sissy, I have been thinking that maybe I neeeeeeed a kindle... and I know that you both have one. Do you love it??? Do you USE it??? Do you recommend it???"

And this is what I wrote:

Things to take into consideration before buying an eReader:
  • Buy the regular (not colour) Nook if you read for more than 2 hours at time on VaCa and if you have more than 1 friend you know who already has one NEAR YOU, likes EXACTLY what you like to read & you want to share books
  • buy the Colour Nook if you have friends to share books with, don't have a smart phone & will never buy an iPad (see more below)
  • If not...then get the Kindle. I love my Kindles!
  • Splurge & buy the LARGE Black KindleDX with 3G if you read fast and you read for 2+ hours or more at a time for comfort & eyes and less pushing of NEXT PAGE and you like to carry big purses or tote bags.
  • Buy the little black (graphite) Kindle WiFi if you want a bargain, you're a dedicated reader who likes to read for a long time everywhere & anywhere, you have a lot of WiFi spots near you... & you like to tuck into a purse for travel
  • Splurge & buy the little Kindle 3g if you don't have a smart phone for the enhanced features of web browsing - I was under the misapprehension that like the iPad 3g there was a monthly connection charge. NOT SO! When you ARE in a 3G network area your Kindle will find it & it will be turbo charged! (doh!) this is your best bet!
For dedicated readers like me - I need the comfy & relaxing E-Ink (NOT LCD Backlit) text of the #Kindle for long time reading.

How I'm Gonna Roll with My Kindle
So now that I have a gorgeous new small Kindle (thanks Mom & Dad!) for when I'm traveling & don't want to be bogged down - I foresee packing my LARGE Kindle Dx in checked baggage for a week at the beach, or for a cruise, for when I'm staying put, relaxing, & wanting to read happily for HOURS. I will carry my little Kindle in my Coach bag for when standing in line at airport security, reading on the plane, & waiting in the doctor's office. With a battery life of a MONTH, slim & lightweight new design, faster page turns, this is truly a brilliant creation!

There's an APP for That: Kindle Books EVERYwhere!
When I have my iPad I can read ALL OF MY Kindle books on the FREE Amazon Kindle App - same with my Droid Fascinate smart phone. LOVE THAT! If I really want to read for short periods in the dark? iPad with Kindle app! The flicking of the page really IS cool.

The Colour Nook: iPad Lite?
"The Nook Color is the big wild card here. It's not as versatile as those tablets, but it's already got a worthwhile Web browser, works as a decent media player (for some audio and video files), and supports Pandora's free music streaming service. Barnes & Noble is pledging to deliver more apps in 2011, and--since the Nook Color uses a version of the Android operating system--porting existing Android apps should be pretty straightforward. The addition of (for instance) a good e-mail app, social media apps (Facebook, Twitter), and real Flash support (already promised) could go a long way to making the Nook Color a "good enough" tablet for users who don't want to pay for the far more expensive likes of an iPad or Galaxy Tab."
- John P. Falcone

So why did I need an iPad, too? Cause it's cool. Full Stop.

As my friends Donna Anderson & Joquetta Johonson say right now: "It's a great Consumer of information." For most things, you need a laptop or a desktop to create but the iPad is a GORGEOUS, nimble, fun, & amazing new tool to consume & share creations.

Also as I RT'd & tweeted:
gwynethjones RT @MrKeenan I'm kinda done with the 'What's the point of the iPad Qs - Me, too! Either you want one or you don't - I have 2 kindles & a #iPad
And I'm really REALLY happy about it! I'm still waiting to see how the Kindles & Nooks line up for adding to my school library - So......

Mark Your Calendars!
Diving into Digital Books: Adding eReaders to Your School Library
Guests: Buffy J. Hamilton & Jennifer LaGarde
Host: Gwyneth Jones
May 2 - 8pm EST
Learn Central Page
Participant Link

Read More:
Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad: Which e-book reader should you buy?
The Nook vs. Kindle 3- And the Winner Is?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

QR Code AT-A-Glance Comic Tutorial

(Click above for more sizes & to download or to embed!)

As promised! Please feel free to Take, Use, Share! Creative Commons - Share Alike!

Like these Comic Tutorials? I have a whole slew of 'em!

From Blabberize, Customizing Blogger & blog design, downloading YouTube videos to your HD to a Two part Twitter Primer - I seem addicted to creating these bright fun direction sheets!

What Techie Topic or subject would you like to see me do next?
Leave a comment with your suggestions!
(ps. Dear Howard Rheingold...don't worry I'm still working on yours for the book! Hush hush)

My Mini Moo QR Cards Arrived! -- and they WORK!
They scan beautifully & auto launch to this blog...woohoo!

I got my Zazzle QR Code Square Buttons!

and they work, too! BUT...the shiny surface seems to take a little longer so maybe wearing them will be easier to scan than under my stove lights! LOL

Will this end my geeky QR Code Obsession? Should I splurge for a QR Code Hoodie? or the stockings? OR The Ked shoes that dear pollyalida teased me with? Hmmmmmm

Do you wanna see pics of the QR Code necklace when I get it? What ELSE can I paste, sew, crotchet or custom order a QR code upon?

QR Code Ked photo
by pollyalida

Saturday, December 18, 2010

QR Code Custom Jewelry, Swag,
& Social Media Hipster Bling!

Geek Chic: I am addicted to a few things. OK... I have guilty pleasures. Fine Coach handbags, & Fine (and/or funky/steampunk/freaky/unique) Jewelry - basically Self-Indulgent Fripperies and geeky tools & swag. (Oh and Bravo TV reality shows)

Get the hippest geekiest social media hipster bling from Zazzle.

Use my favorite QR Code Generator, grab your QR Code PNG, & start designing!
Wear your QR around your neck for a coy geeky promo of your blog, wiki, or site.
Go to Zazzle:
  • Click on CREATE & go to the custom create page
  • Look for Necklaces-NEW!
  • Go to the bottom Right & Click Choose your style - choose Square
  • Upload your QR Code pic - adjust size
  • Add text under the QR code if you like - you can change the font & size. Voila! (see cool examples from my friends Diane Cordell, Shannon Miller, & Joquetta Johnson at the bottom!)

Buttoned Down:
Proudly pin your QR Code to your chest at conferences and in addition to handing out your MooCards like candy you can saucily say - Scan Me! Go to Zazzle & follow the directions above for your fav Square button - double check & scan the computer screen to make sure it works before submitting!

I'm still waiting for all of my QR Code custom pieces so I've yet to try them "in the wild" to make sure they scan properly.....but I can't resist getting MORE! I'm not much of a T-Shirt person but I love these items.
For the Guys
Zazzle also has custom ties, hoodies, & iPad or QR code ties!

Also for the Guys: Twitter Stalkings

Hang Your Hashtag or
Wear your Twitter name with Geek Pride!
Visit Survival of the Hippest and choose a necklace! Sterling silver starting at $49 or gold custom jewelry starting at $89! Type in your @twittername or fav hashtag - add up the letters, choose a length, and hashtag happiness around your neck!
QR Code in Your Pocket with Mini Moo cards!
Speaking of MOO cards...I blogged about those last week & previously with DESIGN TIPS & a discount code... but here's another peek! Oooo..Moolicious!

Diane Cordell of the blog Journeys & #VanMeters own Shannon Miller, and the Digital Diva herself - Joquetta Johnson also ordered QR Code necklaces!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

HOT QR Codes in the Classroom & Library

QR Codes are popping up everywhere! On the back of my Sephora catalog, windows of shops, and in my library! They're already big in Japan - and now in New York & LA.

Calvin Klein Jeans recently put up three billboards - 2 in NYC and 1 in LA - to promote the brand’s upcoming campaign for Winter 2010. Rather than a racy montage of scantily clad models, but with a bright red QR code - all the rage in Japan - under the words “Get It Uncensored.” The code allows you to use your smartphone to scan the image, being lead to an exclusive 40-second sexy commercial - "It’s often difficult to measure engagement with billboards, and QR codes help advertisers better measure their impact." The commercial might be sexy but I think the QR code is even HOTTER! -Mashable Source: Lauren Indvik

They look cool, matrixy, and very graphic...
but what heck ARE they?

A Quick Response (QR) code is a two-dimensional or 2D bar code which can be interpreted by any mobile phone with camera capabilities. Unlike traditional barcodes, which feature a series of straight lines these barcodes QR Codes are laid out in a matrix and can hold much more information.
Through “scanning” the code by way of photographing it, and installing a a FREE APP or simple piece of software to your smartphone, anyone can access the information behind the QR which might contain images, easily launched website links, and text.

Simply use your smartphone's camera to scan a QR code (via a reader app, such as Barcode Scanner or QuickMark), and you'll instantly be rewarded with whatever content has been embedded in the code, whether it's a URL that you can auto launch to the site, a friend's contact information, or a text message.

QR Codes in the Classroom - and the Library! From a recent article I contributed to at the Innovative Educator blog - txtN N d library: Ideas for Librarians Who Want to Embrace the Power of Cell Phones (btw, feels weird to post this in the third person and do I use quotes if I wrote it?!)

"QR codes can also be used to conduct a treasure hunt of information in the school library. Middle school teacher librarian Gwyneth Jones, aka the
Daring Librarian, uses QR codes to engage students in what she calls “digital discoveries.” Asking the students to bring their cell phones to the library, in small groups or pairs, the kids hunt for sneaky QR codes posted around the library (programed with a free QR code generator) to discover clues that can be scanned that lead to other clues - some asking questions, some that lead students to wiki or webpages with further information, some that require the students to perform a task to discover the final clue and the “treasure” which is a special key code to be submitted to a Google form. Once on the Google form wikipage students input the “key” to a drawing for a chance to win an iTunes gift card or a bundle of free books. Another use is posting QR codes next to book displays & pubic access catalog computers that lead students to wikipages where they can write and read student book reviews.

Because students work in groups or pairs, only about a third of the class needs Smartphones and because she’s done a student survey in advance she knows how much technology her students have. If necessary, being ever cognizant of the digital divide, Jones has purchased several iPod touch Generation 4 mobile devices that students may use in the library or check out to use at home with the preloaded Kindle app and several books, music, & library pics." - Read the rest of the article by Tamara Cox and check out her AWEsome Eliterate Librarian blog

Buying information for the iPod Touch 4th Generation
Now with FaceTime, Retina display, HD video recording, and Game Center.

Shopping ALERT! Amazon price beats Apple teacher discount!

An 8G Apple iPod Touch 4th Gen is on sale on Amazon for $215 last week... and the Apple Educator price was.....wait for it....$229! What the what!? So like I mention on my
check Amazon's price before you decide to buy - and remember the low price today could raise higher tomorrow - and vice versa.

On our Recent Arrival Display - Promoting our Blog!

In our hallway - promoting our Google Form Book Reviews!
Want More Ideas?
Black & White and Scanned All Over!

Great Video from Laura Jacob

QR Code in Your Pocket
This weekend I worked on updating my MOO mini business cards adding a QR Code to this blog on it. Then dear Shannon Miller asked me to update hers adding one (of course I agreed after a little [cough] snarky grumbling [grins]) & and then whilst I was on a roll I offered this service (which does take hours) to my dear mentor Joyce Valenza as her holiday pressie. Whew! Now...I'm crossing my fingers that the code does work once printed. I'll keep you posted!

QR Code Jewelry -
If I weren't so busy (and so indolent) I'd start a cottage industry of Customizable QR Code jewelry or buttons on As it is - I bought the last one from BarcodeArt this morning. Heh heh. I have shopping issues.

QR Code Resources & Articles:
A Time to Give Thanks

It's true the more you give the more your receive... Since I've started sharing more...I've gotten more back. Twitter makes me happy this way! Thank you everyone who has so generously shared with me this year!

That's why this phrase from a recent posting on Diane Cordell's brilliant blog Journeys made a great impression: "'Mentors are simultaneously mentees; students and teachers can become co-learners" LOVE it! So this is my holiday message of love and thanks!

In this season of light & giving- let's all please remember to be generous, supportive, positive, & INCLUSIVE of each other!

I want to take a min to thank you dear readers - from all over the world! I also want to thank everyone who takes the time to comment! (it makes me so ridiculously happy!)

Whew, I'll stop shouting...LOL As a blogger I've learned (in the last 5 years of blogging -my school library blog I started in 06) - you don't blog for comments..if you do, you are SURE to be disappointed - you don't even write for readers - I swear the first few years I was writing I was sure only a few of my students glanced at it....Just write from your heart, admit your failures, celebrate successes, & SHARE SHARE SHARE! - give your stuff away & you'll be surprised at how much you will get back!

/lovefest bah humbug! LOL
Photo credits:
Calvin Klein billboard Mashable
QR Code on Door: Tailor Made Hotel
Flickr Creative Commons QR Code on a Stick - photo by See-ming Lee - Photo shop by me!
iPod Touch 4th Gen from Villa State
QR Code Custom button photo by BarcodeArt
Photo of the Philly Museum of Art - ME!

HOT QR Codes in the Classroom & Library
Diane Cordell, ipod touch, joyce valenza, mini moo cards, mobile apps, qr codes, shannon miller, tamara cox

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Edublog Awards Voting is Open:
Celebrating & Paying it Forward

Central Library Interior #2photo © 2007 Darren Stone | more info (via: Wylio)A Year in Review
What an amazing & astonishing year it has been for our PLN (that's you, too dear reader!), Geek Tribe, & Librarians! So many of our tribe have been recognized by the Edublog Award Nominations for our achievements in the last year - it's astonishing! This posting is an unashamed and repentant thank you & celebration of what we ALL have done in the last year. Fakey false-modesty is NOT how I roll.
I'm flippin psyched!

WARNING: I use !!!'s & say YAY & AWEsome a LOT
To all those who are looking at this blog because it was nominated - Hi! How you doin? I use these !!!!!'s and AWEsome a lot....or as Bob Edwards of NPR recently said of me after an interview that I "speak almost entirely in exclamation points." Heh heh heh Like Elaine Bennis in Seinfeld - yeah...I own it.

"There’s an 'embarrassment of riches' in the education blogosphere!" - Larry Ferlazzo

Edublog Award Voting Ends December 14th
Please take the time to review the shortlisted nominations & vote. You can see who I nominated at My Nominations For The Edublog Awards 2010.

I value the Edublog awards because it is a crowdsourced recognition from your peers, a chance to pay it forward to those who have inspired you in the past year, & great way to stuff my Google reader with wonderful new voices!

I am gobsmacked, honored, & thrilled to my toes to have been nominated by my peers - more about that at below...Ahem! Trying to be cool here....

"We are stronger when we share!"
- Seth Godin via Joyce Valenza

I was SO honored to be nominated in the Best Library/Librarian Blog category (thank you to Shelly Terrell and all of you who nominated me!), but the really important thing about these awards is that they provide an opportunity for everybody to learn about great blogs and other resources out there that can be helpful to our teaching. Last year my blog was named Library Tech Musings...and then in April I made the huge jump and re-named it The Daring Librarian blog. It was a dare to myself - to brand myself, yes...but mostly as a reminder that I - we - as educators, must always be DARING to give our take daring chances...daring to the fight filters, the naysayers, & negative forces, for our most important customers...our Students!

I am SO
NOT Cool!

As always I wish I could be all diddy cool, rico suave, & smooth about these nominations - but that's just not how I roll. I can't! I'm jumpin up & down, going SQUEE! out loud (gave poor Bruno the Rottie at left quite a start) and on the phone with my Mom right away!

I'd Be Honored to Have Your Vote!

To be nominated for the Best Librarian/Library blog with the likes of my mentor Joyce Valenza and Buffy J. Hamilton & the rest of the Geek Tribe is staggeringly AWEsome & amazing to me! I'd be honored to have your vote!

To have the Daring Librarian blog nominated for Best educational use of video / visual gobsmacked me! Sure, I've uploaded some videos to my YouTube channel...Yes, I use pics wherever I can.... I guess my pathological Photoshop addiction is paying off in a different kinda way! Or maybe it was for my growing collection of Comic Tutorials At-A-Glance - whichever...Thank you! I'd be honored to have your vote!

To have the MHMS Tech Wiki nominated for Best educational wiki That wiki has been recently re-named and reclaimed just flipping blew me away! (Confession: BIG MISTAKE or why you shouldn't register wikis under your school name but your own or your brand!) So after nearly 5 years I just re-named it the Daring Librarian's Steam Powered MHM Tech Wiki in a Digitally Shifted World (whew!) Like What the What!? That's SO AWEsome! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! That's the sandbox i started in '06 for my school & teachers when it comes to everyday technology PD! As always, take, use, share! I'd be honored to have your vote!

Team Nominations that I'm connected to and feel passionate about & hope to win you over, too!

The TL Virtual Cafe
Best educational webinar series: The TL Virtual Cafe was created by Joyce Valenza & the Geek Tribe and is committed to creating FREE transformative conversations about teacher-librarians, educational technology, and collaborative connections to facilitate meaningful and lifelong learning skills. These conversations occur during FREE Webinars utilizing Elluminate generously donated by Learn Central and Steve Hargadon.
Hi! I'm the Julie McCoy (LoveBoatReference, Score!) of the TL Virtual Cafe. After Joyce created it, found us a home thanks to Steve, I volunteered to help manage & run it. It's been fun!
But this amazing endeavor is really a group effort. We've had amazing speakers donate their time & talents and we've had hundreds of participants show up! All the past webinars are archived so If you want to go re-live one feel free! Please consider voting for the TL Virtual Cafe for Best educational webinar series. Thank you! We'd be honored to have your vote!

Please Vote for the Best educational use of a virtual world - ISTE SIGMS Virtual Playground
Best educational use of a virtual world: ISTE- SIGMS 21st Century Playground in Second Life - Talented builder Linda Dougherty (aka Eleanor Anderton- SL) created a Victorian virtual playground in second life for ISTE10 that was detailed, informative, and beautiful. She even created a collectors ISTE-SIGMS garden clock as a giveaway!. It was also just really cool..(full disclosure, I helped a little with this - donating furniture, creating a ISTE Tophat giveaway, and my giant Telescope - but the main builder was the amazing Linda) Thank you! We'd be honored to have your vote!

Congratulations to everyone and let's embrace & welcome our new voices and recruit new Geek Tribe members! And no matter who wins the Edublog awards -- really, we all win!

"A rising tide lifts all boats!"- JFK via Joyce Valenza

Central Library Interior #2photo © 2007 Darren Stone | more info (via: Wylio)Ooooh! Tech Tip! The graphic at the very top of this posting was from Wylio: a Creative Commons Image site where you can search for images, re-size and align them, and get the instant Attribution code all in ONE EASY STEP! or as they say it: "Wylio is the original, defacto, extra crunchy, all-in-one picture finder and re-sizer made specifically for bloggers. We are the quickest way for you to get a photo into your next blog post." Sweet!

Thank you dear readers! You are my Geek Tribe, you are my PLN, you are why I get excited to share things...and you are why we are all moving forward in this digitally shifted world - and I truly do appreciate you...and no, I'm not sucking up for votes! Srsly! [grins] but dayum...sure sounded like it, huh? LOL #LoveFest

Friday, December 3, 2010

Celebrating Diversity- A Capella & Viral Style!

or...It's a Maccabeats Chanuka!

Our middle school kids really got into the Maccabeats Candlelight (lyrics) video this morning on MHTV- our live TV news broadcast. In fact, people were singing it all over the school! I just had to share the Maccabeats because they are a bucket full of AWEsome! This music video re-mix mash-up teaches diversity, history, and pure potato latkes love! A great video to show your school to celebrate Haunnukah & teach multiculturalism Oh and FUN! YAY!

Our Lead Story Intro Script:
In our continuing celebration of Chanuka, the festival of lights, we bring you a special music video created by the Maccabeats, an a capella group from Yeshiva University.
Strongly committed to the "integration of traditional and non-traditional wisdom, the Maccabeats perform remixes of an array of Jewish, American, and Israeli songs." Here is their Chanuka mixup titled Candlelight. - (show video)

We couldn't help filming our TV studio kids as they spontaneously started dancing as we were playing this to the whole school (of course they were extra silly when we pulled out the flip cam!) But I think you can see that in this DC Metro school, kids of every race & religion enjoyed the infectious joy of this music video. Flip video footage by my MHTV Co-Executive producer, Gifted & Talented teacher, and fellow Geek Tribe member, Elizabeth Singleton.

The Maccabeats bring peace, joy, love, tolerance, and infectiously danceable songs & videos! Think of the Warblers on Glee but with a Yarmulke! - Gwyneth Jones (heh heh in case you wanna quote me!) the Candlelight song on iTunes

Thank you Maccabeats & Uri Westrich!

ps. because Youtube is blocked in most schools could you please upload all your positive school-friendly & educational music videos to TeacherTube? Thanks!

Related articles:
Hanukkah video helps Jews sing new tune
'Dynamite' Hanukkah Remix: Maccabeats Spoof Taio Cruz

Maccabeats's Hanukkah Song Becomes Online Hit

We're not the only ones talking about this awesome viral video! From Just Jared-

"A capella group The Maccabeats covering Taio Cruz’s song “Dynamite” with a Jewish spin on it!

“I flip my latkes in the air sometimes, singing ay-oh, spin the dreidel,” the group sings about Hanukkah. “Just want to celebrate for all eight nights, singing ay-oh light the candles.”

The Maccabeats, an all-male a capella group from NYC’s Yeshiva University, have already racked up more than 300,000 YouTube views for the video!

Last month, The Today Show anchors also recorded their version of “Dynamite” complete with beatboxing! -

Read more from Just Jared


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