Sunday, May 19, 2013

Google+ Hangouts: Cool Conversations and BookTalks Without Borders

This is a story about Sister Libraries, Twitter, Google+ Hangout, and connecting kids! It all started with a Tweet by my dear friend & Tweep  Tiffany Whitehead aka The Mighty Little Librarian and her awesome BFF EL teacher Alaina Laperouse both of Central Middle School in Baton Rouge Louisiana! She had been inspired by a Tweet she had seen about sister classrooms started between and - you know, like sister cities? She said she wanted a sister library & I was like I'm willing!! After a few Tweets back and forth a bit to establish time zones (because I'm an idiot when it comes to time zones!) we finally got our kiddos to meet and chat using Google+ Hangout! I've connected with classrooms before using Google Hangout before & blogged about it - but this was different, this was establishing a steady partnership!

Our first chat happened in Kristin Cullison's classroom with her 6th grade research seminar class (and my media helpers!). Tiff's kids didn't know where we were from so they asked my kids questions to discover our location - after a few clues (including steamed crabs and the Chesapeake Bay!) her kiddos correctly guessed Maryland! I shared that one of our favourite books was Weird Maryland and her kids said that they loved the book  Weird Louisiana! It was a super fun moment of a shared love of urban legends where the kids each held up the respective books to show each other live & It was a magic moment! To celebrate this, the next day I sent them the Maryland book! LOVE Amazon Prime! (See pic below from Tiff)  My kids were so impressed with the lovely behaviour & charming Louisiana accents of the CMS kiddos & were urging to connect again!
Our latest chat happened in our respective school libraries with the kiddos trading prepared book talks! Great for summer reading!
To extend this relationship for next year I'm thinking of having our kiddos both join United Classrooms where they can chat back & forth and have moderated discussions. Maybe share those urban legend stories and collaboratively create an urban legend wiki or group on Edmodo, or perhaps start a semi-virtual book club!  A cool idea I haven't tried yet is we could create a chat room for the event with Today's Meet  and using a second laptop or computer joining in the Hangout - sharing screen, you can have a moderated chat going on at the same time!
Google Hangout TIPS:
• Practice beforehand!
• Make sure your plugins & browsers are updated & use Chrome!
• Sign in early
• Consider recording via YouTube it to embed or view later
• I added clip-on TV Studio lights nearby to improve the camera shot
• Have kids talking sit close to the laptop for better sound quality
• Practice with your kiddos speaking slowly & loudly - consider recording with a flip camera & previewing their performance

You can see ALL the pictures I took of this growing relationship on my Flickr slideshow below or skip directly to our gallery

If you're interested in trying this out there is a Google+ Community for connecting Google classroom Hangouts! You can also check out the website Google Education OnAir to join in scheduled LIVE Google Hangouts, connect with other interested educators or get tech help to get started!  The Twitter hashtag #eduonair  connects educators with other classrooms creating conversations & relationships.

Tiff was moderating our conversation with her official Harry Potter wand!  Oh! Tiff & I are both ardent  Harry Potter fans, so I have to share this amazing video below of Tiff - the Mighty Little Librarian getting her own wand! It's magical if you're an HP fan! My eyes got a little leaky about halfway through! [snif!]

32 Tips for Using Google Hangout in the Classroom
EducationOnAir - Google Sites
Google Hangouts as Edtech: Connecting, Sharing and ... - Edutopia

Mustache pic by Tiffany Whitehead
Gwyneth & Alaina pic by Alaina Laperouse

Médecins Sans Frontières
My title for this post was inspired by one of my most favoured charitable organizations Doctors Without Borders or Médecins Sans Frontières  - Please consider donating to this worthy cause

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Darling Slideshare, We're Stacking the Decks!

@Slideshare, my favourite presentation & file sharing site, is celebrating 10 Million Presentations Uploaded to SlideShare by creating the infographic  below -- and astoundingly, the featured me! (I know, crazy right!?) So...of course I have to share it with you! (and my Mom! LOL)  Also featured on the infographic is the presentation that changed my graphical & preso life and is one of the most viral slidedecks on earth... You Suck at Powerpoint! by the amazing, inspiring, & social media guru JesseDee(View the Large Size)

Funny thing is, they were kind enough and I was honored, flattered, and chuffed that they featured me
but they got my brand name wrong.  They labeled me the "Darling Librarian" instead of the "Daring Librarian" I mean, I *can* be darling if given the chance & with my friends and loved ones!
Here's my comment from their blog:

"OhMyWordSlideshare! I am so honored you included me on this infographic! Whether I’m a Darling or Daring Librarian -  I’m dead flattered to be featured! But of course, it does make me worry I haven’t worked hard enough on my branding if ya'll  got it wrong! LOL
Srsly, terribly chuffed is me! SQUEE!"
I finally uploaded the preso I blogged about and updated from the amazing experience I had being a featured speaker at MACUL in Detroit! Two different versions:

The above deck is the presentation with all the YouTube videos embedded (thanks Slideshare!) for those of you who are viewing without a firewall and have really fast bandwidth.  But for my dear friends who are still fighting the Locked Net Monster, I also uploaded a version without any videos embedded for viewing for easier viewing behind the walls of fire.

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

I have to also include the MentorMob Playlist that goes with this preso! Basically, I learned how to make a playlist by creating this one! That's the way I learn - learn by doing. How do you learn best?

Follow JesseDee on Twitter and on Slideshare

And about the Daring Darling thing -- Really it's much better than my super pet peeve of spelling my real name wrong like [shudders] gwenyth, gwendolyn, or some other non-awesome version that's not mine, right!?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

QR Code Loo Reviews & Pocket Videos

Promote Reading With QR Code 
Loo Reviews & Pocket Videos! 
Here's a fun idea! Combine QR Codes that link to video book trailers on a laminated sign taped to the back of a bathroom stall door that says "Do NOT Scan These!" and you should get the kids streaming into the high school library to check out books!  Let's face it, kids sneak their smart phones into the bathroom to check their text messages why not take advantage of that & get them into the school library! Even better if you have the time & ability to let the kiddos create their OWN trailers & post them to SchoolTube! Don't forget the teachers! Create signs with the hottest YA books for the teachers bathrooms, too! principal gently put the kibosh on this brilliant idea for our middle school bathrooms, and totally I see his point. Whether I like it or not, we're not BYOD yet, and our school district policy says middle schoolers must keep their cell phones in their lockers except when entering & exiting the school
(and except for our digital discoveries in the library!) and I can just imagine sending that kind of mixed message with a Loo Review would anger the teachers!  So for this situation, I deftly changed it to Pocket Video & my principal suggested I post them by the library doors, the front doors, in the hallways, and in the student services office.  So, I guess the Loo Review concept would be good for High Schools or Middle Schools that allow phones, and Pocket Videos for everybody else!  Test this idea first by scanning the above left code!
The Lowdown on How To in 4 Easy Steps!

1. Pop Up Video! Find your desired book trailer. I tried to find a video that would appeal to my gals and for my guys. If you find a great video on YouTube and YouTube is blocked in your school look on SchoolTube. I particularly like the The Book Brat & TeenLitCentral YouTube channel and the Westlake HighSchool SchoolTube videos. I also downloaded publisher created book trailers & uploaded them to School Tube using - check out my full size Comic Tutorial HowTo! Also, if you go this route always give full attribution, contact the poster,  and link back to the original YouTube video.
2. Sneaky Trick Grab the right SchoolTube video URL to create your QR code. If you just grab the one that's in the URL bar or in the Share direct link your QR code will go to the channel page & the video will be small. BUT...if you do the following sneaky trick you will get the full screen video!
Click SHARE to reveal the embed code. This is the code you use if you want to post the video on your blog or your wiki. But...hidden inside the embed code is the full screen URL. Again, IGNORE the short url!  I paste the whole code in an email compose screen, then cut out just embed url.

3. Code Me
Now, with that URL in your computer memory, go to QR Code Monkey and create your QR code!  The cool thing with QR Code Monkey is that you can add a square graphic to the middle of your code. So, I made the graphics for this project using another fav monkey, PicMonkey!  LOVE them!

4. Sweet Signage
Next, use this graphic in a MS Word document that says, Don't Scan This! (I'm oppositional defiant, that works with me every time!) laminae & post around your school! I also included directions on how to download my favourite i-nigma QR code reader and for the Loo Reivews I included a funny Horrible Histories Rotten Roman potty centric video on my poster just for immature scatalogical laughs & fun trivia! Another tip, for the Loo Reviews, I put the words: Guys & Gals on the top of the posters so I wouldn't have to scan it to make sure that I got the right book trailer in the right john!

Then, as shown on left, I made popout captions with ComicLife that I can print out on NEON paper, cut out & paste at the corner advertising that this book & others are available at the library, visit today (with a pass! ;-P)  Check out my posters on Slideshare!  Also feel free to check out the Loo Review Flickr gallery also has all the graphics & at larger sizes! As always, Take, Use, Share!

I'd LOVE to hear in the comments on Twitter what you're doing with QR codes, book trailers, book promotions, and more!

Links, Credits, Resources, & SNARK!

Thanks to my new favourite new resources! and the great scoops from Jamie Forshey aka @Edutech20 I found out about the QR Code generator called QR Code Monkey!

Great idea from one of my fav Tweeps! 
I'm doing this on the walls in the staff loos. I wonder how many have QR readers?


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