Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rocketboom, Meme Molly, Me, & Google+


I admit to having a total geeky girl crush on Meme Molly of Rocketboom. What is Rocketboom? It's a "three minute daily videoblog or Vlog based in New York City. We cover and create a wide range of information and commentary from top news stories to quirky internet culture. Instead of costing millions of dollars to produce, Rocketboom is created with a consumer-level video camera, a laptop, two lights and a map with no additional overhead or costs.”
This adorable English Internet Vlogging phenom & her perky gorgeousness explains in amusing & snarky pattois what's the lastest Meme and above...what Google Plus is all about & how it's different than The Twitters or The Facebooks. Fascinating history this Miss Molly Meme has...From the Wikipedias: "Molly started secretly making Youtube videos in her bedroom when she was 16 and eventually her parents found out about it. After a few years working independently in web video and a stint in Canada studying fine art, she went to New York to host, write and produce at Rocketboom. Also a YouTube partner, her mememolly channel on YouTube is #50 on the all-time most-subscribed list for the U.K., with over 50 million views. She has cited lonelygirl15 as one of her inspirations to start making videos."
Of course it's terribly shamelessly self-serving of me to post this video and if I had any modesty whatsoever I would have refrained (thank goodness I'm not burdened with that particular trait)...let's just say this brilliant video gets flippin AWEsome at the 1:47 mark. Just sayin. [coughshameless!terrible!cough] But really? When EVER will I get such geeky street cred cool as to show up in a Meme Molly Rocketboom vid, after all? I mean...Pinch me!
Here's another cool way to explain the 3 different social media formats...don't quite know if I agree with it.

My favourite (natch!) is below!

Now....to quote Molly speak I'm terribly gobsmacked & chuffed & must go call my Mum & tell her!

WAIT! Eh, Wot? You want more Molly?
Related then to my previous post - Harry Potter and the Tearful Farewell --Here's Molly to give you the lowdown on my favourite Wizard!

Geeky Girl crush over...I'm back crushing on the Weasley Twins! Woohooo! Give me some ginger boys! Or.....Snape! Wait!...no, no....Eric from TrueBlood...Yes! And don't forget Danno! [swoon!]

----

Rocketboom was created and founded by Andrew Baron. Rocketboom is co-produced by Andrew Baron, Barry Pousman, and Mememolly.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harry Potter and the Tearful Farewell

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are far more than our abilities"
- Dumbledore pg. 333 Chamber of Secrets

It's silly that I'm blinking back hot tears writing this. But I'm sorta sentimental about the Harry Potter Series. Back in 1999 I joined the Unofficial Harry Potter Fan Club started by interweb fan fiction pioneer "Jenna" (never found out her last name) and created a special bulletin board display with pages I printed (in colour!) from the website! It was the first book I became a fangrrl for! I made sure to put the URL at the bottom of each page to teach my kids attribution. I thought I had lost these pics until cleaning up at the end of the year when I stumbled across an old ZIP disk! (and yes, I still have a Zip drive --- just in case!) And Whoohooo! Some early Digi pics edited with Photoshop Deluxe! The UHPFC website (on GeoCities, no less!) had character write-ups and artwork created by the fans...and this thing that was new to me called-- Fan Fiction and even before I knew what a Mary Sue was.

In 1997 when our school was not even a year old and before the book was released here in the U.S. I jumped on Amazon.UK & ordered the Philosopher's Stone version (still on my library's shelf! - we were the first to have it in my district! buwaa!) With each new book release I was on the Amazon pre-order... I taped thank you notes to my delivery guy to my front door in the summer and waited for that book to drop! I would read it, consume it, gobble it ...almost non-stop until I finished. I yelled out loud and was stunned and angry for days when Prof. Dumbledore died and wasn't brought back. I never expected that! With the last book ...Deathly Hallows I was up until sunrise the next day finishing it, eyes streaming with sad, happy, crushed, and sentimental tears. I read it too fast and as soon as I finished it I went back and re-read it again with less breathless haste.
"I LOVE magic!"
- Harry Potter upon seeing the inside of the Quiddich cup tent in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Thank you J.K. Rowling for creating a magical world for us that captured my attention, imagination, & emotions. Other series that have my lifelong love & affection are the Chronicles of Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, and Little House on the Prairie. But all of those series were finished before I ever started them. Never had I started a series that was still in progress where the plot points were hotly debated among my friends and where our loyalty to the world was unequivocal! Where each book was feverishly anticipated! This was a first!
I'm going to see the final part of the movie tomorrow and I'm bittersweet about it. It's NOT an elementary story any longer. I really believe only the first book was appropriate for 4th or 5th graders after that the darkness pervading the series were definitely PG-13. The movies were certainly a happy surprise - they conveyed the magic almost as much as the book. So few films can do that. But the HP series of films gave me an extra gift of seeing with my eyes what my mind had beautifully imagined. I still watch the first one over and over because that walk on Diagon Alley was magical! (and I hate to admit that it wasn't till book 3 that I translated Diagonally in my mind..doh!) After watching 4 hours of the Bio channel's specials about the Making of Harry Potter I learned that 5 screenwriters were sent first editions of the first HP book - 4 declined the job...but got priceless 1st edition copies at least! Also when the young actress Evanna Lynch auditioned for the open casting call she admitted that she always identified with Luna when she read the novels and that standing in that ponderous open casting line for hours was the most "Gryffindor" that she ever had to be otherwise Luna would have given up & wandered away long before ever getting the chance to audition. Honestly, Evanna Lynch is the quintessential Luna Lovegood. She has that strange, detached, dreamy quality in her eyes and voice that flawlessly captures the character in the books and grows into the still dreamy but determined friend to Harry Potter.
So let's talk about the supporting cast stars to the HP world! Perfect casting! Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockheart? Brilliant! And no one else could be Severus Snape BUT the delicious Alan Rickman? Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange was just spot on! And how cool was it to see David Tennant my 2nd favourite Dr. Who show up as evil Barty Crouch, Jr? There *was* talks about an HP & Dr. Who crossover! But Tennant crushed it as too "spoofy" WTH!? So yes, I loved the movies. Did you?
The Harry Potter series resonates on so many levels with truly classical themes and characters. Heroic stories like the Mabinogion, the Odyssey even to Star Wars - Harry Potter embodies the classic tale of the lone hero, marked by parental abandonment and tragic circumstances is befriended by a sensai, a guide, Jedi master or a wise professor and who must defeat great forces and overcome great loss before he is ultimately triumphant. Beguilingly, these stories are set in modern times with modern kids facing modern problems - yet there is that hidden classic world hiding behind brick walls and subway platforms...so close, but out of reach for us Muggles. Who would not be enchanted?
I was enchanted...I continue to be enchanted. And isn't that the true magic of books? That willing suspension of disbelief that silken spell that surrounds the reader and sparks the imagination and lasts....forever. Thank you JK. Thank you so much!

Forgive me if this tearful long and rambling farewell post isn't techie, instructive, or even all that philosophical... I just think that Harry, Hermione, & Ron (and SNAPE!) deserved a goodbye love letter.
UPDATE: Harry Potter Eyes: Cried my makeup off at HP7 w/my friends! Sad, pathetic, huh? It was AWEsome!
I just got back from seeing HP7. A 1:10 movie on a hot humid DC Metro day. My friend Debbie joined me with her soon to be 9th grade son Matt. I leaned over before the movie started and said in a hushed sotto voice "What happens at Harry Potter stays at Harry Potter! I brought 10 Kleenexes from home and I'm prolly gonna use 'em all! I apologize in advance for my sobs - we won't be speaking of this again - got it!?" he laughed at me and I grinned and then tried to cry and sob with dignity behind my 3D glasses as best I could. Yeah, it was THAT GOOD! But parents! It's flippin scary! What looked like a 3rd grader got upset & had to be taken out. But for middle school kids & older?...It's a brilliant glorious exciting movie about love, sacrifice, friendship, and trust. Go see it. Now!




Lastly, from fan fav site 109 Harry Potter Reborn BABIES! Most disturbing creepy thing EVER! Eewwww! SCARY!
Baby Voldemort toy is the most horrifying thing to come out of the Harry Potter world

also...
The Most Ludicrous Moments from Lifetime’s J.K. Rowling Biopic

10 Fantasy Book Series That Could Replace Harry Potter at the Movies

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Google Plus Cheat Sheet and a Cool Guy from Denmark


On the interwebs a star can rise overnight! And no... I'm not talking my old beloved friend & early Internet Meme Trogdor ....I'm talking about a cool guy from Denmark. With the advent of the new social network by the Googles called Google Plus or G+ Denmark denizen Simon Laustsen has created some of the BEST & coolest infographics for this exciting new community of learners & early adopters! They became an instant hit & according to his blog (scan the QR code, too!) "It turned out to be very popular, and so it has now been shared over 1000 times on Google+. It has been translated into several languages and the number of people following me has literally exploded from 0 to 600 and counting."
Now with over 1800 followers Simon's Google+ cheat sheet has been translated into 11 different languages! (link to all at bottom) He has also graciously given me permission to post them here on this blog and he added a QR code to his profile pic after a few messages back & forth. Cool! Thanks!
Now.. I know I'm known for creating Comic Tutorials..but really people, I'm basically lazy... why re-create the wheel!? Eh-wot!? (click each pic below for full sizes)





Thank you again, Simon for your generosity!

What are your best Google+ tips?


PS. Since writing this post I have been reminded that there are MANY cool Danish & Denmarkian Peeps out there! See?
Jan Holmquist


Jan Holmquist

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Google+ Teacher Academy, Seattle!


So....even though I'm very transparent about my practice and profession here and on the Twitters I kept pretty mum about the fact that I was applying to the Google Teacher Academy cause I guess I didn't want to jinx it, humiliation, you know...the usual! You see, I missed my opportunity to go the Washington, DC 2009 GTA in my own backyeard with my mentor Joyce Valenza and my former student teacher the awesome Danielle Du Puis. The next one was in Australia - I didn't even try for that one...Cha Ching...Why? As one of my FB peeps said

"Kathy Kaldenberg I assumed you were already a GCT! I think you'll be teaching them a thing or two."  (Yeah, right!LOL)

Don't Miss It! 
Ha, ha..me teach Google? One can only hope! But that's how I missed the GTA in my backyard of Wash DC -everyone assumed I was in & I missed the narrow application window! DOH! (Srsly, I can't keep up w/everything!) But I *have* been preaching the Google message since 2003. My first Google App webpage (above) & ISTE affiliate preso was 2004 - Doing Backflips Over Google for Yahooligans - Go ahead and giggle about how it looks! (designed for computer screens that were only 900 pixels wide)
The excitement of discovery!
I was at ISTE11 in the Denver convention center - right before going onstage with our huge Learning Tools Family Feud preso when my dear friend Linda Dougherty aka Eleanor Anderton alerted me that the GTA emails notifications had been sent! I scramble to get to my Gmail...oh why oh way do those moments seem the most excruciatingly long? When there... to my amazed eyes I did spy:
"Congratulations! You have been selected to participate in the Google Teacher Academy - Washington. After reviewing your application, we believe that you have the experience and passion necessary to positively impact education in your region, and we are excited to have you join us at the Google office in Seattle."

Woohooo! Special thanks to Danielle Nicole Du Puis GCT & Trainer for her feedback on my application & video!! Danielle was instrumental in helping me "git er done!"
Within seconds I run to the new #GTAWA Twitter hashtag to reach out to the other 49 students! Within only a few hours a Googledoc was designed by Robert Madden @ to connect us all and get this ball rolling! He got the idea from who is a gctsyd. (GTA Sydney!)


Google Fangrrl
See, I really HAVE been a total Google fangrrl since the get go! But yeah, I'm terribly flattered, gobsmacked, & honored! This is total geek street cred & the opportunity to learn SO much! It's going to be an exciting time and I promise to bring cool stuff back to you, dear reader! And to my school, students, and teachers! Gotta say it again, Woohoo!
Hi, I'm Gwyneth and I've never liked Facebook. So, I thought maybe what I didn't like in FB I would be resolved in G+. I've been playing more with Google+ since I got back from ISTE11 on Thursday. I trust Google WAY more than Facebook when it comes to security & privacy! What I worry is that with as pervasive as Google is in my life...that the little black bar and red message alert will suck me into it over and over and run my life! [grins] I already have Twitter for that!
And people, stop asking me for invitations to Google+!!! LOL
Google+ Tweets & Resources

How to Apply for the Google Teacher Academy
The Google Teacher Academy Application was not overly long but it was challenging with word count restrictions for those of us who are ummm verbose? It also included some provoking & thought inspired questions. I created a Google Doc immediately and started writing... every night after school (and it was at the end of the school year!) I would add some more - re-write... trying to decide if I keep my normal conversational informal blog voice or stretch & try and sound hoity toity professional. You can see below which one I ended up on! LOL

Before applying I really wished I could read what a winning application sounded like. Not to copy of course but to be inspired! Many thanks to my very dear friend and super successful Google Certified Teacher Danielle Du Puis who shared hers with me...and who was kind enough to look at my shared Google Doc & write comments on the side. Now that I amazingly got in.. and upon reflection, maybe not everyone has a former student teacher who is as generous (and behholding a wee bit!) to share their winning Google Application with you...so here we go.

I'm gonna take the transparent leap and share the questions and my answers with you! No matter how vulnerably & squirmy this makes me feel I believe this is part of my philosophy of shameless sharing and "paying it forward" so that the next time there's a Google Teacher Academy maybe it can help in some way.
Gwyneth Google Teacher Academy Application

So, if you're going for it and applying to the Google Teacher Academy, good luck!!

Epic Photoshop Fail!
PS. If you noticed the lava lamp graphic above looks funny on the last text line (iSpy points for you!) it's because my Photoshop crashed just as I was saving it! Because I'm too lazy to start from scratch over again after working on one pic for 40 min I took a screenshot so I wouldn't lose ALL the work! See what caused me to let my epithets fly! LOL
Happy 4th of July!

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