Sunday, June 30, 2013

The BIG MentorMob Playlist of Curation Tools

I think I've mentioned before in a previous blog post called MentorMob & the Secrets of the Remix Mash-Up YouTube Generation  that I came to MentorMob about a year after
hearing of it from the amazing Dr. Joyce Valenza. I mention it only again because I don't want *anyone* to feel self-induced "tech guilt" for not trying a new tool right away!
Sometimes you need to muse, meditate, and contemplate something new before jumping in with both feet. Sometimes you're just too darn busy! LOL  Either way, however you get to a new tool, talent, or challenge - do it when YOU are ready!
Long story medium, I am SO glad I did finally play with and master MentorMob last fall & it was so easy and the learning curve so gentle I felt I "had it" in less than an hour! UPDATE: Follow MentorMobEDU for all the latest education features & to connect with other Playlisters!
Much different than the Learning Curve of 3 weeks for Second Life, 3 days for Blogger, & 3 hours for!  Photoshop Elements? - That's a Life long journey! 
So I created this HUGE playlist of Curation Tools for our Mobile, Flipped, & Curated  presentation at #ISTE13 to visually share HOW a playlist looks and works and SHARE even more tools! 42 steps of AWESOME!
Enjoy the Playlist!

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!
Check out the resources below for links to even more great stuff from and on the Curated Flipped Wikispaces! Speaking of ISTE, I'm still processing & decompressing. The panorama photo above showed the 200+ people who kindly joined us for our panel discussion. It. Was. Awesome! Thank you everyone who showed up to learn with us!
AASL Pre-Conference Workshop
The BIG MentorMob Playlist of Curation Tools is just a small part of a greater set of resources which will be the basis of a half-day pre-conference workshop I'm honored to be part of at #AASL13 called A Library in Every Pocket: Virtualizing Your Library for Mobile Learning  with the amazing team of:  Michele Luhtala, Joyce Valenza, Shannon Miller, & Tiffany Whitehead! There's still time & space to sign up & join us!
MentorMobbing the Big Apple! 
From their blog: "The MentorMob team will be spending the next 13 weeks in NYC participating in the Kaplan/TechStars EdTech Accelerator Program. Woohoo!"

SO Cool!  Follow our MentorMob friends and Kristin Demidovich (KristinMMarie) on Twitter

More Resources & Credits
Amazing Curation Resources from and on the Curated Flipped Wikispaces:
Curation/Flipped Best Ideas
Flipping resources
NeverEndingSearch Blog
Springfield Township Library

Photo Credits:
All photos & graphic design by yours truly except for:
AASL Logo - Tweaked with PicMonkey
MentorMob at NASDAQ Chicago by MentorMob 
MentorMob Logo by MentorMob

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

PicMonkey is Pretty & Pretty Free for ISTE!

UPDATE from PicMonkey: Beloved educators, our cup ran-eth all over the place! Thank you so much for your interest in PicMonkey's special ISTE promotion for Gwyneth Jones' readers. Unfortunately, the promo code went wild on the internet and we, frankly, ran out. Here's hoping we see you at the next conference, and thank for your tireless dedication to your profession and the use of technology to rock learning.
Sneaky Passionate Penny Pinching Coupon Code Thieving  Sites!
[shakes first in slightly exaggerated fury] Sneaky Thieving Moms stealing our coupon code meant for EDUCATORS ONLY! Bah!  I guess it shows that my Twitter & my blog gets good traffic but it totally sucks that it got highjacked & people other than teachers are flooding the site! BOO! HISS! Not Cool!

Original Post: 
Short Story: PicMonkey likes teachers, is very responsive on Twitter, has been to ISTE, is creating a whole slew of back to school graphics to be released in Auguest,  & wants to give every teacher who reads this blog the PicMonkey Royale treatment FREE for 6 months! Use THIS PROMO CODE LINK (Removed),  sign up with your school email address, & BAM! FREE extra goodies! BUT do it NOW! Because in 3 weeks this special offer for ISTE peeps & EdTEch graphic Ninjas goes POOF!  OR I guess 3 days when an offer like this goes viral and 3,000 were given out because of sneaky coupon code ripper offers...ahh well, it was fun while it lasted! Thanks PicMonkey!!!!

Long Story: 

So like I got this lovely email 2 days ago:
 "Hi Gwyneth!  We've been jealously reading your tweets from ISTE, here at PicMonkey. It especially hurts to hear about the coolness because AT THIS VERY MOMENT we are planning our back to school content for PicMonkey and we think we're going to have some content educators will really dig.

As a board member of ISTE, would you be able to give us advice on how to reach out, in the remaining moments of this conference?  We'd like to give out six months of free Royale membership to your people (via promo code).  The back to school content will be released in August.

Of course the easy thing is to just email you the promo code (which as you know would be shareable any place but Twitter).  But can we put some PR muscle behind it, in any way -- hook into the press operations for the conference? Should we FedEx some nice printed cards with the promo codes on them?  Is that even advisable? Anything out of the box?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.  I know you're crazy busy."

Content Extruder

Beloved educators, our cup ran-eth all over the place!  Thank you so much for your interest in PicMonkey's special ISTE promotion for Gwyneth Jones' readers. Unfortunately, the promo code went wild on the internet and we, frankly, ran out. Here's hoping we see you at the next conference, and thank for your tireless dedication to your profession and the use of technology to rock learning.

So I emailed 'em back saying  

"Where was this email last week BEFORE the conference!? LOL I could have done so much with it! The ISTE conference is essentially over tomorrow, and today I have a HUGE panel I'm moderating for SIGMS, but if we had a Tardis & gone back in time,  I could have been giving out shiny postcards with the code at the SIGMS Digital Media  Playground & preso I did yesterday where I MENTIONED You several times! But all is not lost!  If you send me the PROMO CODE I can perhaps put it on my blog & Tweet it out? Thanks so much!"

And THEN I got back from the AWESOME Karen:

"Omigod, missed opportunity!  Sorry to be Johnny Come Latelies; lessons learned.  But heckyeah, let's dole out the promo code like crazy!  The promo code we created for this is (REMOVED)

and it's good for six months (from the redemption date) of free PicMonkey Royale, but they need to redeem it in the next 3 weeks or it goes POOF!  No limit on the number of people who redeem it.

Yeah, you could Tweet that they have to go to your blog page to find the code.  No need to black it out on your blog page.  We just want a small gating factor  to keep non-educators from getting it, and as long as you don't  tweet the code itself, we've taken care of that.  And of course you could flash it on a screen any place you're talking or write it on little pieces of toilet paper or paint chips ;). 

Fantastic!  Well, this is a good kick off to seeing what cooler stuff we can do next year.  Thanks for being such a  flex-o-matic acrobatic artist, and supreme technology champion.  My sister's a devoted librarian/media specialist (we've been to ISTE together!), and I get how supremely important your work is, to the whole education picture.

Thanks again,

So there you have it! FREE Royale for 6 months for all educators who read this blog! W00t!  You're welcome. ;-)

Summer PicMonkey Fun!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

#ISTE13 - San Antonio Highlights & FUN!

It's my last year serving you as your PK-12 Schools rep on the ISTE Board of Directors - and a bittersweet time. In the last four years it's been a lot of work but it's been a great honor (and FUN!) to represent school based educators, teacher librarians, and to be your big mouthed unfiltered advocate for what's really important, our kiddos! OK sweeties....
Here are some ISTE San Antonio events I'm excited about and some highlights:
SUNDAY - June 23
1:30 – 3:00p.m. Conference Welcome/Member Kickoff  Hall A 
Kick off your ISTE 2013 experience with "our exciting Opening Ignite Session! Nine presenters will have five minutes each to inspire, amaze and intrigue you in rapid-fire succession. Get tips for navigating the conference and a chance to win fabulous raffle prizes."
3:00 – 5:00p.m. Member Networking Fair, Tower View Lobby  -- Visit All 25 SIGs, Affiliates, Advocacy/ETAN, Young Educator Network, and other member communities who will showcase their activities and recruit new members.
5:45 – 7:00p.m. Opening Keynote: Jane McGonigal
I am SO excited that we have a dynamic female ed tech leader for our keynote this year! No OWM's!
8:30 p.m. President’s Reception Grand Hyatt Texas Ballroom Foyer
MONDAY - June 24
8:00 AM - 11:30 AM  SIGMS Digital Age Media Center Playground: SACC Park View Lobby - I'll be there from 10-11 with a mini preso called The Curation Sensation with! & MentorMob! Come visit! Always a lot of fun!
10:30-12:00  Going to ISTE & Under 40!? Consider joining in the Iron Chef: ISTE13 Edition - Part 1 of 2  SACC 217A Participate in an Iron Chef-style challenge! Come alone or bring friends. You’ll collaborate and design an innovative NETS-aligned solution! Presentations will be on Wednesday.--ALSO check out the ISTE EpicYEN Social Event Monday night! from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM (CDT) --Only 11 tickets left! Follow on Twitter #EpicYEN  Check out the ISTE Iron Chef competition!
11:30 –1:30 Volunteer Leadership Box Lunch - Lonesome Dove Lounge, River Level

12:45  Your School Library: Mobile, Flipped, & Curated - a panel presentation featuring Dr. Joyce Valenza, Springfield Township, me!, Michelle Luhtala, Shannon Miller, Tiffany Whitehead, & Brenda Boyer - NOT JUST FOR LIBRARIANS!  Presenters will share options and strategies for curating, flipping, and mobilizing the traditional physical library for 24/7 availability. Featuring fav resources MentorMob,! & AuthorSTREAM & More! Room  214 C/D View full size MAP!

Monday Night:
5-7pm SIGMS Reception at the Hard Rock Cafe Balcony!
Also on Monday night - Affiliate Receptions - MACUL, WEMTA, CUE, & MSET are always great times! 
TUESDAY - June 25
10:30 – 11:30 a.m. #ISTEBoard - Board Linkage Event Bloggers Cafe (outside room 208) Join us! I'll be there!
 3:45PM-5:15PM  SIGMS Forum with Shannon Miller, Michelle Luhtala, and their administrators moderated by Gwyneth Jones & Tiffany Whitehead
7pm. EdTech Karaoke – ISTE 2013 3rd annual EdTech Karaoke party at ISTE 2013! Three thousand of your closest friends are expected to attend what has proven to be THE event of ISTE (I may or may not go to this - it's a bit too crowded for my taste, but it's very fun!) VIP Registration HERE Be sure to follow @ETKaraoke to be kept up to date with all party details!
8AM-9:30AM  SIGMS Annual Breakfast & Keynote with John T. Spencer
2:30 p.m.  Closing Keynote: Adam Bellow - SO Excited CEO & friend is our KEYNOTE! He's so funny, inspiring, & smart! He's amazingly AWESOME! AND he's a YJG, not an OWM! So I approve! EduTech smart savvy Chicks, follow
Virtual #ISTE13! 
If you can't attend ISTE in person in San Antonio you can still get that ISTE experience and save the airfare & housing cost all - VIRTUALLY! Register to attend sessions streamed virtually and enjoy all that ISTE goodness in your bunny....OR Cthulhu slippers!

We've Got an App for THAT!
Download the ISTE Mobile App! Search either the Apple Store or Android Marketplace for ISTE & it's FREE!  I also downloaded the full screen PDF from the San Antonio Convention Center: Facility Maps
& uploaded them to my Dropbox then downloaded them on each of my iPads!
Pace Yourself! USE The ISTE Conference Mobile App  & it's OK to take a nap! The crowds at ISTE are legen - wait for it, dary!  If you see me, introduce yourself, tell me your Twitter name, & say Howdy! I love LOVE meeting my PLN in person! But srsly, I'm most comfortable in the Blogger's Cafe sitting around in smaller groups chatting.
Oh and speaking of zipping around,  I've gotta give you a head's up. If you see me scooting around on a well, scooter.... it's because I'm going into surgery to replace my knee right after the conference & the my Orthopedic surgeon (when he saw he couldn't dissuade me from going!) urged me to use a scooter so I don't end up on the operating table all swollen & inflamed.  See, I had an impact accident about 10 years ago, funny how arthritis, teen age skateboarding, punk rock thrashing, being fluffy, & base jumping can screw up a good workout, mobility, & your knee! LOL
More tips & tricks on our ISTE Inspire Webinar Preso & Archive

Tweet! Tweet!
So I asked some friends & my Twitter PLN- What ISTE highlights are you most anticipating?
Can't wait for Hacked unbloggercon and Invent to Learn preconf!
Can't wait for ISTE's new brand reveal on at the Sunday night plenary!
  I always look forward to meeting people in person whom I've only interacted with online. #ISTE13
As far as the rest goes, too much to pick from. It's a veritable smorgasbord of learning! #ISTE13
Oh wow! I'd say keynote by and, Dine :) #iste13
Can't make it to San Antonio? Subscribe to virtual sessions&follow the hashtag thank u
Yes! Can't wait for keynote and at Hacked Ed! Woohoo!  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Flipping Over Summer Reading!

This post is a jam-packed mélange of summer reading and literacy ideas, my hometown library of the year, big thanks, and a few shared guilty pleasures!

I'm checking the Kindle Daily deals...well, daily and loading up my Kindle App with books! That's right it's #SummerReading time!  Every year our Howard County school district summer reading list is compiled by Teacher Librarians and HoCo public librarians, and is jam packed with great recommendations!
You can download the PDF below & and check out the Middle School List:  “Groundbreaking Reads!”
2013 MS Summer Reading List Final_with graphics
Here’s the Grownup Summer Reading List for Parents & Teachers!
2013 Adult Summer Reading ListFINAL
You can also visit my Summer Reading Wiki to see the lists from years past. For more #SummerReading sharing follow the Twitter hashtag, check out the Google Doc, and discover the Nerdy Book Club!

Top 10 Literacy Activities for the Summer 
Check out these great ideas brought to you by BoomWriter who is also running a Storytellers Camp in association with WGBH Boston & Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney! costs $, but if you have an avid rabid writer in your life, this sounds like a lot of collaborative and creative fun!
Register today!  Camp sessions start July 22, 2013
Get $10 off with this special code: BWCamp10

2013 Gale/LJ Library of the Year: Howard County Library System, MD
Speaking of Howard County, I'm really, really proud to share that my hometown library system has been awarded Library of the Year by Library Journal Magazine!  I am honored to be an A+ partner with my library system and can't wait for my local branch to re-open this fall after a much needed renovation. Follow on Twitter!
Super thanks dear readers! I'm so very honored to have been named in the top 5 of the 50 Must-Read K-12 IT Blogs 2013 in Ed Tech Magazine! Woo hoo! My Mum & Dad are dead proud! I gotta admit, Love Me A New Geeky Blog Badge! Congratulations also to a host of my beloved and much admired PLN for making the list, too! Cheers!

Our end of the year Blabberize Overdue Book Parody. Thanks to my TV studio kids for the idea! (View Full Size)
My Supernatural Summer Guilty Pleasure Series!
The final Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery by Charlaine Harris is out!  ICYMI, This series of books is the basis for the hit HBO series True Blood, and I have to tell you, it's a fantastic fun read and show! I got to the series backwards.  I loved the TV series so much that when a friend said that reading the book series doesn't ruin the TV viewing, but just provides bonus enjoyment - I had to give it a whirl and I'm so glad I did! Thirteen books later, and the contretemps of the "out of the coffin" vampires and other creatures in bayou town of Bon Temps Louisanna and the telepathic perky but pragmatic barmaid still entertain me greatly. I'm greatly tempted to re-read the whole series over this summer!
Season Six of the TV show starts next Sunday, June 16th and I can't wait! The show differs just enough from the books that it doesn't ruin the fun, so if you haven't tried either let me invite you to consider it! I also have a bit of a fan girl crush on the character Eric Northman and the yummy Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård. Swoon!

Resources & Credits
Dead Ever After Cover Art from GoodReads
MHMS Summer Reading Edublog Post
HCL pic from Flickr: Geoffrey S. Baker Photography's Photostream
Write the Summer Away: WGBH, BoomWriter Media

Sunday, June 2, 2013

5 Easy Tips to Making Out of This World Mini Moo Business Cards

One of the best, easiest, & cheapest ways to build your web presence and PLN is a simple business card. My district doesn't supply cards for teachers or librarians so it's up to us to make that investment in our profession (and write it off our taxes!). For years I've been won over by Moo printing products and I redesign my Mini Moo cards about twice a year! As you can see above and below, my latest design is very Whovian, with a glowing flying Tardis!  
But no matter where you get your business cards here's 5+ quick tips for making them out of this world!
Try Template Tools
If you design your card from scratch, use a template. Moo provides templates for all their products.  To use, I downloaded the template for the Mini Moo cards in .PSD format and using Photoshop Elements (For Mac & Win) and easily designed a card that fits all the parameters. 

I totally failed my first attempts at this, designing cards without the correct pixel sizes, and the lure of the ability to have 100 different designs for each card with my Steampunk Second Life screenshots they just came out muddy! LOL But thanks to the PSD template, I got better! Plus, I decided to use just one image per box, which kept my branding more consistent. Once you design your card you just upload it to the Moo business card is easy, too! 

Don't have Photoshop or want it super easy?  Use the built-in design tools that Moo provides!
Colour Schemes Rule! 
Ok, I totally stole "Happy Huesday"  from my go-to source for all things colour schemes ColourLovers where I've made my own custom Daring Librarian colour palette. (Yes, using my British Spelling u's because I can! LOL). Anyway, I've blogged about the importance of colour schemes in branding both in my Font Lust & Other Graphic Desires post and How to be a Presentation Ninja preso. The idea is to have people and your PLN recognize your "brand" at a glance. Visually coordinate your blog design, your Twitter header, business cards, Scoopit background page, and even outfits & accessories.

For example, The Mighty Little Librarian Tiffany Whitehead effectively uses pink, black, and zebra print!
Stumped about what to choose? You can look at the ColourLovers most loved colour palettes (adore "Cheer Up Emo Kid!") or look in your closet!  What colours you are drawn to and wear all the time? I like lots of basic black with punches of brights and pops of colour. Just like this blog, I like to dress with colours such as aqua,  lime green, turquoise, orange, and teal. I even go to Etsty for matching hair extensions to go with outfits! Thanks also to Tiff for that fashion tip - but of course that handy girl makes her own! (See the pink at the bottom of her hair?! Major!) PS. Librarian Tiff is a great follow on Twitter  & her blog rocks, too!

A New Animated You!
 Want instant branding & a fun addition to any business card? Try an Avatar! Here's a blog post and wikipage with 23+ easy avatar generators! It's a Cartoon, It's An Avatar, It's a New Animated YOU!  For example, my friend Jennifer LaGarde recently revisited and re-designed her avatar. Squee! She added pearls to it! Love them, so classy! In her post she also shares some amazing avatar apps, drawing apps, and more! If you don't read her blog already, you should - she's A-maze-Ing! I am constantly inspired by her enthusiasm, talent, and shameless sharing! Once you get an avatar, make sure to take a screen shot of it against a white background and then then use Photoshop Elements (or PicMonkey!) and the magic eraser tool to get rid of the white to make it transparent. Be sure to save it as a .PNG and NOT a .jpg so that it stays transparent and you can insert it anywhere! Like on a business card or in front of the Eiffel Tower! Don't have Photoshop Elements?  That's ok! Why not use the free Digital Imaging site Ribbet advanced tools!?

Add a QR Code!
One of the best things I've done for my business cards was to add a QR Code. Now, I know I've blogged a LOT about QR Codes, you have only to search this blog for all the posts, but a QR Code on your card makes getting to your blog, Twitter feed, professional website, or electronic portfolio as easy as an i-nigma smart phone scan!
To make a QR Code that has an image embedded in it, use QR Code Monkey as I described & showed in my Loo Reviews post last month.  UPDATE: QR Code Monkey is my new favourite QR Code generator! Easy, free, no need to sign up - it's the BEST!  You can use your avatar in the middle of your code or your picture! Branding is not the time to be shy!
 To create a QR Code you can follow my handy How To Make a QR Code in 3 Easy Steps comic tutorial.

What Stuff To Include On the Back?
When creating a business card, what kind of information do you include? I say, Go Reverse Mullet! Party on the front, business on the back. Make the front of your card FUN! Add that avatar & QR Code! But on the back add your full name, title, Twitter name, and email address. I don't add my cell phone number - you need to really know me to get that, plus it's usually on silent anyway. But that's your choice! DISCOUNT OFFER:   Get $30 Off Your First Moo Oder by Using This Referral Code!
My latest card design is below with a fab glowing Tardis, my avatar, QR Code,  & I ordered 200 in a glossy finish.

2017 --UPDATE My latest Mini Moo Card~ with Bitmoji Avatar!
2016--  UPDATE My latest Mini Moo Card - gone with the Tardis!
Read why: Teaching Good - Branding Evil

Here's an even older version. 

I hope by the time I actually get to posting this it's not too late to get your Mini Moo cards. But,  I have found that shipping is actually FASTER than they say. The other day (May 27th)  I placed my order for my latest card, they estimated shipping to arrive to me on June 13th, and they just informed me via email that they were dispatched already & should actually arrive to me by June 7th. Now, your mileage may vary, and I have splurged for Priority shipping when I was planning late, I've never been disappointed!

UPDATE: Want more graphic design tips for a slick sleek look? Check out my Digital Image Factory post & Slideshare!

Find Me at #ISTE13 & Get this Sticker!
I also just ordered over 100 of these round stickers promoting our TL Cafe webinar series, our hashtag, Google+ Community & Twitter #TLChat LIVE! series! While they last, find me at #ISTE13 & mention this post & I'll give you one! Woohoo!

Getting Ready for #ISTE13 in San Antonio? Hot Tips, Tricks, & Advice to Maximize Your Ed Tech Conference Experience  Join Us Tuesday June 4th 7pm EASTERN  for a FREE Webinar sponsored by ISTE SIGMS and the TL Virtual Cafe Tuesday 7pm EASTERN US time & our last and season finale  #TLChat LIVE! at 8pm on Twitter the next hour!  Participant Link


10 Tips for Digital Photo Editing & Fun

Font Lust & Other Graphic Desires


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