Monday, May 26, 2014

Books Beyond Borders & Wazzup Wattpad?

We love connecting with other kiddos in schools in other cities and states. Our sister library is  Central Middle School of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and we had a great time the other day chatting with them about books! Books Beyond Borders with Google Plus Hangout

Our friend & one my librarian mentees, Mrs. Tiffany Whitehead, excitedly emailed that she was being filmed for a local news segment and she wanted to show off our long distance cooperative relationship and highlight cool tech with a Google Plus Hangout! FUN! Amazingly, we were in between testing windows & thanks to my fantastic 7th grade ELA teacher Mrs. Krieger for being spontaneous and jumping on board with this cutting edge conversation!
It was lots of fun!  Both groups of our kiddos picked out books they loved & wanted to share and did quick book talks.

This has been such a banner year for Tiff! She has been named one of  Library Journal’s 2014 Movers & Shakers, an ISTE’s 2014 Emerging Leader, and she got her national board certification! We have both been mentored by the amazing and generous Dr. Joyce Valenza!  Truly, I'm so proud of Tiff! She's hard-working, positive, reliable, creative, funny, and innovative. She's both mighty and daring! LOL OK...enough of that, don't want to gush or anything!

You can view the video on the WBRZ website, I'd embed it here but it annoyingly auto launches and plays over and over and I just can't do that you, dear reader! And though the segment says we're in Washington, DC we know we're in Laurel, MD and just part of the DC Metro area! It's all good!

My cool new principal, Mr. Wasilewski even Tweeted about our class!--

Wazzup With Wattpad?

We also learned from Stephanie about the Wattpad App - a FREE fan fiction open forum for writers and readers!  OR read digital books for FREE!

Or as Wikipedia says it's "a writing community in which users are able to post articles, stories, and poems about anything either online or through the Wattpad app. The content includes work by undiscovered and published writers. Users are able to comment and like stories or join groups associated with the website. Around half of the users are U.S. based; most users also come from the U.K., Canada, the Philippines, Australia, and more."
Let's look at the Wattpad stats!
  • 85 percent of its traffic and usage comes from mobile devices
  • 25 million unique visitors per month
  • over 1,000 story uploads per day
For more information about this App read: What's Up With Wattpad? | by David Gaughran

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 & a reflective circle 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

Sunday, May 18, 2014

What's YOUR Twitter Formula?

Twitter: Professional or Personal?
When I speak to groups, I often talk about how I use Twitter as my main source of rich professional development and as a transformational PLN builder (Personal Learning Network).
I don't use Facebook personally or professionally at all. If you've been reading my blog or follow me on Twitter you know that we broke up a few years ago.  Read Dear Facebook, We Need to Talk.

I think every Twitter user has some kind of  formula for their Tweets. For me, (and this SO not scientific though I did have to get my calculator out!)  I Tweet 82% ed tech & library, lesson ideas, curation and content building, being a shameless sharer and giving back to my community. I want to give more than I take. I try not to Tweet in an echo chamber.    8% pop culture - Doctor Who, Real Housewives, Sherlock, etc, 4% personal - the random and oft times inarticulate sophomoric thoughts going through me heid, my travels, Oh and weird dreams.
Don't be a Funpire!
I'm gonna linger here for a min and get on my soapbox. If you use Twitter to vent, moan, and complain about every little thing that sucks in your job or your in your life, if you focus on the toxic rather than the transformative - I doubt you will get many followers. And certainly not me. What is a Funpire? Someone who sucks the fun out of any occasion, Tweet, or situation!  In my real (and online) life, I distance myself from toxic people.  I like to think that I am an annoyingly optimistic person by nature, and though every one has a need to kvetch now and then, it does little good and really, no one wants to hear it. This goes for the staff lunch room, too! Don't be THAT teacher. Don't join in on the moaning brigade - just like bullying - you can do something. You can say "Hey, but you know at the end of the day we have the BEST job in the world, what are you doing this spring break, summer, or next snow day?"
I vent to my friends over a pint in real life and keep it off the Interwebs. This way your parents, principal, or administrator can't see it!  
Don't Tweet yourself out of a job!
Skim quickly through your Tweets - see how many are sharing good info, encouraging another educator, positive, or how many are just whining or whinging. Human nature, perhaps, but not inspiring. Also, if you want to use Twitter as a professional platform, this is perhaps not the place where you Tweet over and over and at length about your children and their every cute thing or their poops, please keep that for the mommy chat on Facebook.  There...[hops off soapbox] I know that's gonna be unpopular but that's my opinion.
Geekery & Zombies, Oh My! 

5% of my Tweets are Geekery - gadgets, new techie toys, memes, tropes, and geeky stuff. There's a long time Geek inside me - I've been a member of the SCA, many time periods of Historic Re-enactment, I've gone to Pennsic, I've hand-sewed garb, I lived a Steampunk Virtual Victorian Second Life, I've even.....yes..I'll say it - I've LARPED! There, it's out.  Hi! My name is Gwyneth and I'm a Geek.  

1% of my Tweets - Zombies! Of course if you add that to my Pop Culture & The Walking Dead...well, that's like 9%? Look! If you've not prepared for the ZA (the Zombie Apocalypse) then you're just taking a big chance! Prepare! I'm heading north west - maybe West Virginia - find myself a high mountain with a spring fed stream and a good vantage point. I have a 6 foot hand forged Iron Age copper spear - I need to get a machete and a bug out bag - with my bad knee I don't know how long I'll last but I know what to do....and what NOT to do. Have I thought about this way too much? Maybe - or maybe you've thought about it way too little! [grins and winks] Ya never know!

Twitter is a Conversation. 
Now, this is again my opinion - but I consider Twitter as a conversation. Some people do just Tweet OUT to the world.
@GuyKawasaki is one of them, and he's AMAZING! My friend & mentor the astoundingly smart and generous Dr. Joyce Valenza is another. She rarely banters back and forth on Twitter - that's just not her style. She does provide thousands of curated and selected resources for educational practice and growth in her Tweets. And that's, OK! Heck, that's Brilliant. But for me Twitter is a conversation.  I do try and answer questions (but do Google first, please!) and I try and pitch in with brainstorming and I try to stay human. Imperfect. Snarky. Sophomoric.  But you know, that's OK, too!

What's YOUR Twitter Formula?

I'm working on a long term blogging project, a Slideshare preso about Twitter - it may be a while in coming - but I thought I would release a part of it here and there as I go along - to get your feedback!
Thank you for your awesome thoughts & opinions! If I use your additions I promise to use attribution! Cheers!

Twitter quote graphic made with Recite This!



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