Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to School Special:
7 Web Savvy Starts to a New Year!

It's back to school time again! Darn those Target & Office Depot commercials! Last year around this time I blogged about using Google forms to create community conversations and decorating your library media center & classroom. This year I'd like to invite you back by popular demand to a FREE TL Virtual Cafe webinar called Back to School Special: Savvy Starts to a New Year! Join yours truly & The Mighty Little Librarian Tiff (on right) for a casual discussion to generate ideas on how to build school allies, support new teachers & become indispensable to admin & staff at the beginning of every school year. Featuring how Google tools (forms, docs, & presentation, and more!) can supercharge the library program & classroom throughout the school year. For Teacher Librarians, classroom teachers, tech teachers, admins, & well...everyone!
1. Make this the Year that You Share Shamelessly!

So many times we are reluctant to share what we create because we're afraid of either looking like we're showing off or we're afraid of critique. Consider shameless sharing as not shining a spotlight on your practice but a lamp post to guide your community to your program! Also consider that there are losts of new teachers & librarians out there that are hungrily looking for ideas & examples! So make this year the year that you GIVE and then GIVE some more! Embrace Creative Commons, Flickr, Slideshare, Wikis, & Twitter and share your AWEsome stuff!
Never one to give advice that I wouldn't follow...I created a simple PPT presentation template for my teachers (& FREE to you!) to use for back to school night which you can download from either Slideshare or my wikipage. Why not download it and give it to your teachers to modify & personalize to mix up their presos for back to school night? Save them time & aggravation AND be a superhero!

Or you can download the graphics from my Flickr stream to make up your own PPT!

2. Why Not a Wiki?
Another thing you can make for both students and parents is a Tech Tips & Help wiki or web page for home use. Answering dilemmas such as:
I can't open my report!
I don't have Microsoft Office on my computer!
Saving Word Documents for use at Work/School
Why Can't I Use Wikipedia?
How to Teach Wikipedia Comic Tutorial
How to Download YouTube Videos for School Use
Keeping Your Computer Clean of Viruses
Making a PDF
Feel free to cut & paste anything on our creative commons wikipage for yours (you don't need to join our page to snag stuff!) and as long as you give attribution somewhere, it's all good!

3. Got Parents?! Start a School Facebook Page!
Yeah, sure...Facebook and I are "seeing other people" but that doesn't mean I don't get that it's a place a lot of my parents hang out & we need to be there! Creating a local page for your school (the kind that is just a listing...like Yellow Book!) is another great way for parents to get the school hours, phone numbers, link to the official web page, & event announcements! I followed directions from Brad Flickinger, a Elementary tech teacher from Fort Collins, CO - who posted how to create a Facebook local page for your school! @bradflickinger

4. Create a School YouTube Channel!
Sure, YouTube is blocked in your school - but that's where your kids, parents, & teachers are at home. Why not upload your school promotional creations, PSA's, animations, & professional development vids there to share with the world? Using KeepVid.com teachers can easily download any video to their hard drive! This year inspired & directed by my Principal and as part of my Google Certified Teacher Action Plan we created a Murray Hill PD YouTube Channel! This is a total work in progress but I'll write more about it later! Promise!

5. Tweet for Your School or Library!
Now this is going to be tricky because Twitter is blocked by my district but I believe in social media, web presence, & Twitter enough to give it a try! I created a MHMS_Media Twitter account to make announcements about exciting new books, fun contests, & ways to publish Twitter styled & sized book reviews! You're invited to Follow US to see how this is gonna work - or not work! LOL

6. Why Not Try an EduBlog This Year?
I realize starting a blog is a big endeavor & commitment! It's also sometimes a pain in the butt! Internal blog guilt when you don't post for a while nags at you (don't let it! that's self-defeating!) and finding the time to write is a challenge. But honestly, blogging has given me more in the last 6 or 7 years than I can say. It's great to share what you've created - hoping to save someone else the time doing the same thing! It's a great way to "think" about the practice of teaching and express your beliefs about our profession. And....It's also great way to remind yourself what stuffs you've done when it's report time! There are two kinds of blogs...a school one (as pictured above) and a professional blog like the one you're reading now! For a school blog I recommend creating an Edublog - no chance of those being blocked by a district filter! (one would hope!) For a professional blog I love me my Blogger! (even with it's unsavory sexual content policy!) I'm gonna write soon about tips for blogging but until then...if you don't have a blog already (or you haven't posted in a while) consider trying it! It's a great way to start a conversation with your students, parents, the community, our colleagues, and the world!
Once you create your school based blog promote it on Back to School Night, in the hallways and library...using cool ways like a QR code & humour!
7. Transparency is the New Black

What about You?

All graphics except for the Librarian Tiff avatar were created by Gwyneth Jones are Creative Commons & available for use on my Flickr stream.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dear Facebook, We Need to Talk

We need to talk. I'm seeing other people. I know I've been distant lately.  In fact, we never really talked about why I walked away from you for a while two years ago and I really feel bad about that. You wanna know why? You're like that studly rockstar surfer / skatepunk boyfriend I dated in college who threw those really AWEsome parties?! He was so cool but Oh so unreliable! .....See? FB, you are so popular I couldn't resist you...even when I knew you were no good for me I kept overlooking your faults and taking you back. I HAD to have you but I really never liked it!
You were slutty, shifty, & unreliable! ....especially with my personal information! You spilled my secrets without hardly a blink or an "I'm sorry!" I knew that. Everyone knew that. Where was my privacy? I had to keep tweaking things to feel safe around you and every other week or month you let me down or flipped the script on me! You also changed almost every other month - like big change. You are EXHAUSTING! I still don't know what to expect. I don't think I'll EVER fully trust you! At least I never played any of your games. Me? Farming? Seriously? I.Think.Not.
With you, my worlds collided. All of a sudden it's like I'm at this party surrounded by all my old high school and college friends who were showing my new EdTech professional & librarian friends pictures of me from my partying hardcore punk rock, rockabilly, & new wave 80's and days?! Tagging me here, tagging me there!  Without even asking me! WTH!? I had to go around & untagging and yanking them so that I could keep some semblance of professionalism. I had had it up to here, FB and I left you. Remember that? I just upped and walked away. Of course you didn't make it easy. For some reason it's easy to "take a break" from you but to totally leave and quit you I had to go through hell!
I stayed away from you for 6 months or maybe it was a year. All I know is that I almost felt shameful about it and no, I didn't blog about it then. Because I new I really should be  
AT THAT DAMN SOCIAL MEDIA PARTY! But I realized to do it properly I had to say goodbye to all my old high school and college friends and come back to you alone. I needed to be seen at that party but I came back on MY TERMS. For my web presence I felt that I had to be on FaceBook but I didn't have to like it. So yeah, you're hot and I used you as much as you used me but I never really liked it. I came back alone, open, transparent, and professional. Did you notice that I was chilly with you? Only throwing you a nod here and there with most ALL of my love going to Twitter? Yeah, didn't think so. And frankly, not to sound shallow...though you're really popular and all you're not all that attractive - that ALWAYS bothered me. Not like my first....MySpace! [swoons at the memory] Now THAT was a Pretty InterFace!
I gave up my first social media BF... MySpace Tom for you! I had molded MySpace (Is it still there? Did you take yours down? If so, it's like some kind of frozen early Internet record of my life!) Anyway, I dressed my MySpace up with some of my awesome HTML skillz, and pimped it out so great...then well it changed, it grew old, I got bored, it got blocked by my school filter, and I got tired of it & started seeing you. But now..
Now I'm leaving you for GooglePlus. Ok, not leaving per se. Thanks to a Chrome Extension I can connect you two (gee, you don't mind do you?) and thanks to If This Then That I've got my Google+ going to my Twitters (please do NOT ask me for an invite, I'm clear out :-( So....I really think that Google+ is going to satisfy my social media needs with my Twitters being first. The parties are better, more thoughtful - I'm definitely moving in better circles now. I love the Twitter chats  (#TLChat #EdChat) where I can get more in an hour than days talking with you!  I can't see giving up my Twitters. I hope Facebook you don't mind...but really? I could care less if you do. HA! Booya!
Please, don't call me, I've set up a Gmail filter to skip my inbox on all your emails....and for gosh sakes and for the love of all that is holy.......
Update: 5.1.12 We're broken up for good! And really, I doubt I'll ever come back. I even found a way around how to have a school FB page without compromising my own email address...ha! And G+?? Just keeps getting better.
So what kind of relationship do you have with the Facebooks? Do you see it changing with Google+? I'd love to hear what you think!


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