Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Community Conversations: Using Google Forms, Docs & Wikis to Connect Outside Your School

((re-post from my MHMS Media Blog - showing how we use our Google Forms, Google Docs and Wikspaces to have a conversation with our community!))

Murray Hill Middle School strives every day to put into practice our motto “excellence is our standard” and in doing so we need your help and your action! Utilizing Google forms, docs, and wikipages we provide many ways for you to feel connected to our school and to have a voice!

You suggest the books & we buy them!During your media center orientations you will hear more about contributing YOUR suggestions to our annual book order. But for those of you who are tech savvy, at home, you can Google “MHMS Learning” and our Learning Wiki comes up first! (OR you could click the link! LOL)

….there you will see the banner “I WANT THIS BOOK.” Click on that banner and you can add any books, authors, or subjects of books that you would like to see purchased for our school library collection. (Murray Hill peeps only...sorry world!)

You suggest songs & we play them!Like music?
While at the wiki you will also see a banner for our new MHTV Music Request Line where you can suggest Appropriate clean songs to play on our show.

Clicking on this banner will take you to a form where you can suggest songs with our MHTV guidelines. Basically, don't forget to check lyrics for language (no f-bombs, sh-words or b words!) and content (no drinking, drugs, overt sex, demeaning or prejudicial terms) ALL song must ultimately have a good & positive message!

You write the book reviews & we publish them!
Write a good book review and we'll publish it! You can also read book reviews that other MHMS students have written.

You need tech help at home & You got it!
Printer run out of ink? Don't know how to save your DOCX to a DOC?

Who needs the Geek Squad when you have us to help you out!? Visit our Trouble Shooting Tips for Students (and parents & teachers, too!) wikipage!

Thank you for participating in our interactive wiki and helping us become a better school! Have any suggestions on how we can be more interactive with you, our school, and community? Please tell us by leaving a comment!

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's a Moo's Flash to Save Cash!

Nom nom! Yummy new Mini Moo cards all cooked up & ready to serve! Featuring Reed & Barton 1800 flatware & my Kitchen Aid stove!

Moo is having their 4th anniversary...and they've got a gift for those of you who haven't tried it yet. I've already blogged about my love of the Moo Mini cards - I've shown these for Inspiration

And Business Cards for myself and our Geek Tribe!
And I've blogged about design tips, too! With Templates, suggestions, and more!

But now I can reveal a special deal that will get you 10% of your order!
Share the code
282Y68 with your friends new to MOO10% discount until Thursday 30th September.
My next set of MOO cards are going to have a QR code on the front and the back. I've blogged about QR codes and mobile library apps before....but now I want my own! Want to make your own QR code? Go to the QR Code Generator and you can code: Download a free barcode reader onto your smart phone and try it out! Scan this picture...can you discover what I coded!?

I've also been asked for graphic design tips...so here are a few. Below I took the MOO business card template - then using Photoshop I dumped a bucket of black inside to create this template - still showing the green safe lines and the red caution lines.

Then I created my look with my text and picture...and the last thing I did was to create a black rectangle shape that I layered behind....I'm also letting the pic "bleed" on the right so wherever the card is cut....I'll get a really cool "to the edge" graphic. I used to use this a lot when I worked in advertising for Baltimore Magazine. (a long time ago!)

The finished look:
Here's the back of the card...I did try it with my bar code reader and I think the smaller QR will work!

so..now I'm gonna go back to my older posts and add these badges...to show my Moo love! Hope you get your discount! And no, they don't give me any kickbacks...I wish! LOL

Inspiration Blog Posting

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Design Tip Blog Posting
Saturday, May 29, 2010

I'd also say today's post included some tips, too!

So...dear readers...would you like more design tips with Photoshop screen shots? Let me know!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Perfect BrainStorm: Edistorm Crowdsourcing

According to CrunchBase "Edistorm is a social brainstorming application empowering friends and coworkers to rapidly brainstorm and make better decisions."
And as one of my EdTech heroes Chris Smith aka Shamblesguru said "Edistorm ... looks like #Wallwisher on steroids" and it's true! Sometimes I stumble across new ideas and they just make me shiver at how cool and mind blowing they are or could be!... this is one of those moments!
Need convincing? Watch this!

Try it out & help us get ready for the November TL Virtual Cafe session: Picture That: Using Images In The Classroom Join us on November 1st - 8pm EST Special Guest: Diane Cordell (left) with yours truly as the hostess! Keep an eye on our Session Wikipage for more information.

Why not gear up for this exciting webinar by trying out Edistorm and add your ideas to this! Started Brainstorming - Uses of Digital Imaging in the School, Library, & Classroom - on Edistorm

I just joined and I'm learning the in's and outs of it....so far, I don't see how you can embed it on a wiki or blog page...or how to edit the title & description once you create them...but I contacted the creators:
Comments: "FIRST you're AWEsome! I would like to suggest you give a few private storms to proven educators (those who can verify with email addy's from school systems like @hcpss.org - Getting educators on your side will make this go HUGE!"

Then guess what? Whodathunkit! The geeky hot founder of Edistorm himself Reg Cheramy emailed & tweeted me directly!

"Hi Gwyneth,

Thanks for loving Edistorm! You'll be excited to hear we're going to be launching special educational pricing shortly that will in do just that. :D

Love to hear what specifically you love about Edistorm and how you intend to use it. We're getting interest from educators around the world and are excited about our new plans to make it more accessible to the education market.

....There is not time set for the embedding but is something we want to do. Ed discounts should be live this week." (photo credit: Edistorm)

edistorm @gwynethjones great education discounts coming as is editing description. Embedding is on the roadmap.

So try it! It's very cool! I see a whole lot of potential there for amazingly vibrant crowdsourcing! I love the ability to group suggestions, commenting, and the real time aspect of it - that sometimes WallWisher had a problem with. I would love to be able to attach a working URL with a thumbnail preview...and multimedia. I don't ask for much but I really REALLY got excited after previewing this and watching the video.

What do YOU think?

Photo credits: Edistorm graphics & Reg Pic from Edistorm CrunchBase, Shambles Guru, and Diane Cordell's AMAZING Flickr Gallery

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Library Decorating & Back to School Special Slidedeck!

How exciting! We were so pleased to see so many wonderful "faces" at the TL Virtual Cafe webinar this past Monday! New & Familliar ones, too! (BTW, I Love hosting #TLChat Cafe but am always juggling 2 much to give a proper shout out to everyone.. forgive me peeps if i missd ya! LOVE YA!) Here are the slides we shared which are being featured on Slideshare's Education page! I got this email today:
"Your presentation Tl cafe btsn_combined1 is currently showcased on the Education page by our editorial team.

It's likely to remain there for the next 16-20 hours..."
and wouldn't you know it, we've had over 600 hits! Makes me wish I had taken the time to name it better in my rush to solve the Elluminate slide issue that cropped up at the last min!
It was great sharing ideas on how to collaborate with teachers at the beginning of the year...how we decorate our media centers and find ways to give our customers (our kids!) the best service possible! Did you miss the Cafe webinar? The full & text archive, resources, and more can be found - as always - on the webinar session wikipage!

Another exciting moment, the day after the Webinar Kathy Kaldenberg, the The Peripatetic Librarian tweeted this out! (photo by: Kathy Kaldenberg)

@gwynethjones shared this at last night's webinar, so this a.m., we did this #soloncsd posted by @scsdmedia from TweetDeck 14 hours 40 mins ago (photo by: Kathy Kaldenberg)

all I can say to that is YAY! a Tip for positioning on wall...it's nice to see them popping out of a bookcase like Kathy did...or bumping over the boarder of a banner or sign is a neat graphic design trick that looks cool! See Yo Yo Ma!

I forgot to mention another trick for decorating... laminating coloured saran wrap to make a nice flim to put up on the walls for a splash of light and colour. I sometimes even throw in glitter or strands of iridescent packing strands...

Laminating coloured saran wrap gives a splash of colour to a wall, reflects light, and doesn't collect dust 0oooooh shiny! Works as "water" behind the fishnet, too!

Arrrrr! Pirates, Ninjas, & Zombies - OH MY!
Archie McPhee toys I give out to the kids for good answers during lessons (or when I catch them doing something good & civil) What kid doesn't like Pirates & Ninja's?

Motion Sensored Digital Photo frame displaying kids working, resources, & our special programs!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Maryland Educator 2.0 Challenge

How do you use technology to reach your students?

from the MSEA website and super cool Adam Mendelson
the Managing Director, Communications and Program Services Center for Public Affairs of MSEA

"Show how your innovative use of technology has helped you connect with students and you could win $100 and a trip to Ocean City to present at MSEA’s 2010 Convention!

It’s easy—register for an account on the MSEA website and join MSEA’s Educator 2.0 discussion board.

To enter, post a description of your project explaining how you’ve been able to better connect with your students using technology.

Tech learning specialists will choose their top 10 favorite entries to receive a $25 gift card and a one-year subscription to Wired magazine. Your project also will be highlighted on the MSEA website.

If you’re chosen as one of the judges’ top three innovators, you’ll receive a $100 gift card and a trip to MSEA’s 2010 Convention in Ocean City.* There, you’ll share your project with delegates from across the state as part of our 21st Century Connections panels on October 16.

Here’s how to enter:

  • Provide your school, grade level, subject area, and local association.
  • Describe your lesson in 250 words or less, including the technology you used and how that technology helped engage your students.
  • Provide your multimedia, including links, videos, screen shots, and/or photos of your project and directions, as applicable.

Deadline for entries: October 1, 2010.

* This includes overnight hotel accommodations at the Holiday Inn Suites hotel and $250 in spending money."

So, Marylanders...TechEducators...Apply today!

Photo credits:


Dexter Ad Rips Off Wired

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Video Book Trailer Awards

From Joyce Valenza, on the NeverEndingSearch Blog:

New Book Video Trailer Awards!

"On September 27th, School Library Journal will ask readers to vote for the best video trailers that promote books and encourage reading.

Voters will be asked to select the best video in six categories:

  • Publisher/author created for Elementary readers (PreK-6)
  • Publisher/author created for Secondary readers (7-12)
  • Student created for Elementary readers (PreK-6)
  • Student created for Secondary readers (7-12)
  • Adult (anyone over 18) created for Elementary readers (PreK-6)
  • Adult created for Secondary readers (7-12)

There will be four nominations in each category, selected by a committee of librarians. Winners will be announced at the School Library Journal Leadership Summit on the Future of Reading on October 22, 2010 in Chicago.

The primary purpose of these awards is to recognize the important role that video plays in bringing readers to books as well as the wonderful creativity of the producers.

Only videos produced between January 1, 2006 to July 1, 2010 are eligible for consideration.

(So, if this is a new idea to you - start producing for next year!)

To suggest a video before the September 17th deadline, please send an email to SLJbooktrailers@gmail.com.


  • name of the video
  • video’s creator(s)
  • author and the title of the book that the video is promoting
  • URL for viewing the video
  • no more than 200 words about why this video would turn the viewer into a reader of the book

Anyone is free to suggest a title. Start nominating! And please spread the word."

And shamelessly swiped from Diane Cordell's AWEsome blog Journeys:

"Teachers, if you are searching for alternatives to the traditional written book report, having your students produce book trailers might be the perfect way to foster critical thinking and creativity while encouraging a love of literature.

There is a wealth of information available online. Book Trailers for Readers has an instructional video, tips, and links. You'll find an Assessment Rubric, among other resources, on the Reading-Active-and-Engaging wiki. Also helpful is the trailers and videos page of the incredibly rich bookleads wiki.

As you watch the sample below, a trailer for Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, consider the higher thinking skills that it displays: the student/creator had to analyze the story, decide which key elements to emphasize, select images that accurately convey the story, and script a compelling narrative."

Here's a teachertube video on how to create one!

Good luck everyone!

"If you and/or your students produced book trailers during the required time frame (between January 1, 2006 to July 1, 2010), please consider submitting them for the contest. If you've never tried this type of activity before, look through the above resources and give it a try."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shine a Light (on Your Professional) Future!

I was asked to give a short overview about advocacy for school libraries (and librarians) to the middle school media specialists in my district and created a Prezi giving quick highlights.

I based it on the powerful & informative School Library Journal article co-written by Joyce Valenza and Doug Johnson that really spells it all out! Things That Keep Us Up at Night along with a few of my opinions thrown in for good measure.
This incorporates a lot things that I've been thinking lately AND issues we've been discussing at the TL Virtual cafe and within the Geek Tribe. I foresee this
evolving into a larger presentation at some point - because we're all passionate about keeping school libraries funded and staffed nationwide - and being the best teacher-librarians we can be!

Get the BIGGER Prezi Experience

HCPSS Library Media Wiki


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