Showing posts with label TXLA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TXLA. Show all posts

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Apps of the Week - BugMe! & Visualize

With 1000's of apps out there, how do you find what you need? My app choices are generally either serendipitous or word-of-mouth recommendations. I certainly haven't tried them all, but I am committing to share a couple of my favorite apps each week.

I am a messy thinker. Ann about fell out of her chair the first time she watched me take my to-do list, write each item on a separate sticky note, spread them out across my desk, sort, and stack into a prioritized list. "What happens if you lose them?" she asked.

Losing my stickies has never been an issue, despite the daily travel. Staying focused is. I just can't work down a to-do list without getting side-tracked from the highest priority. So a stack of stickies gives me one thing to focus on at a time. AND I love the physical act of crumpling up and throwing away each item when a task is complete.

Fortunately, they are some other messy thinkers out there who know how to create apps. Now I can create virtual stickies without fear of losing them. BugMe! is an app that allows you to create stickies, color-code and sort them. They can be "written" with a finger or, for you less-messy thinkers, keyed in. You can even set up reminders or save them to your launch screen. When a task is complete, throw them in the virtual trash can. I do not remember how I found this one, but for $1.99 it has been a steal. Between BugMe! And Outlook, I stay focused while on the fly.

Visualize is the photo layering program on my ipad that I used to create the graphic in my last post. (ThingLink was added later.) This program came as a recommendation from
Kathy Schrock at the Infographics session I attended at TxLA. There was a small cost which I cannot remember.... There is a free version, but I splurged and got the $0.99 version. This is the first program I have been able to successfully create visuals with on my iPad. It is eBay to use, but the provided backgrounds and stickers are limited. It allows for imported PNG files, but I have not yet tried that.

What are YOUR favorite apps?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

eBooks... My 2¢

Last year I took the plunge, buying a sampling of eBooks to see what worked in my library. I tried a little bit of everything. Scroll over the image below to see the pros and cons I found of circulating each device in my library.

In my personal life, I love the portability and access of eBooks. I have always traveled with a lot of books, starting as an elementary student when I would check out one book for each day of a road trip. Disneyland in 5th grade was a 6-book trip! Owning a Kindle was something I resisted, but when I received one as a Christmas gift, I fell in love immediately. Then when I graduated to my iPad with Kindle AND nook apps, PLUS the ability to navigate a road trip, book online hotel reservations, and blog about it before I even got home, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

But as a librarian, I have a whole other opinion about eReaders. Let me say right here, I know ebooks are the future, and I do like them for personal use, but I am finding them a pain in my present library setting. In a nutshell, a library for 1,400 students run by one assistant with additional non-library tasks does not have time to teach, catalog, update, and solicit title requests for eReaders... nor does a traveling librarian. These devices really do require additional time and adequate staffing.

Electronic resources are handy. But they do not promote themselves. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Read More:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

TxLA takeaways - Thanks, Kathy Schrock

I have used Kathy Schrock's 5 W's of Website Evaluation mini-poster for ages, because I like how simple it is for students to remember....  

I have lurked on her websites here and here...

And, hallelujah!  I finally had the chance to learn from Kathy herself at the TxLA annual conference at a session on Infographics.

Some of my best take-aways had nothing to do with Infographics specifically, and the ideas are so simple, they are brilliant.

At the end of the first hour, which was mostly lecture, she showed the video below as review.  It is made up of her powerpoint slides that she lectured from.  And she posted it online where I can refer to it over and over and over again.  I know I will be using this technique with future lessons.

Kathy provided links to google searches with the query already in place.  Middle school students researching history immediately come to mind, but I think this would be an excellent tool with all ages.  What a great way to model use of quotation marks and other Boolean limiters!
Some of Kathy's examples:
Movie Infographics
Education Infographics
Election Infographics

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What Did You Read in the 80's?

This week, I am attending

Every year I discover I have a different theme to the events I attend.  I do not plan them out... I usually discover it upon reflection on the 2nd or 3rd day.  Last year, as a new TALL Texan, I spent more time volunteering and networking than ever before.  The year before that you could find me in every library advocacy or collaboration session available, trying desperately to find the silver bullet to save my job.  Previous years' targets include technology integration, early childhood programming, and yes... even securing free items from the vendors.

This year I thought I would be into technology and apps, but it has been all about authors.  Being out of the library and on the road for the past two years, I have lost touch with books.  It is a rare day that I recommend books to students.  The lessons I taught this year have all had either a technology and/or research focus (usually both!).  But my literacy lessons and book talk hats have been left hanging on their hooks.

This year I found myself migrating to the author sessions... Most of them YA authors... And they have been wonderful...

I was able to hear him at two events and even made my own Origami Yoda

Aaaaah!  What can I say.... 

Probably my favorite for the week.
So entertaining as an author AND a speaker.

I think she would be a lot of fun and easy to get into trouble with! 

Yes!  The one & only REAL, live Judy Blume!!!  
A childhood dream is fulfilled, and my bucket list is one item lighter

I haven't read any of his books, but definitely will now, starting with

because I want my daughters to be strong and fighters and heroes, too.  

Brad has been on TED, so you know he is outstanding!

Kristin CashoreBrent CrawfordPatricia McCormickBenjamin Alire Saenz, and Sara Zarr were on a panel together and the first question posed to them asked what they read as young adults.  This made me ask myself what I read as a young adult.

Digging into my memory bank, I realized that as a high school student I NEVER visited the library for recreational reading.  NEVER.  Not once.  Nor in college.  EVER.  My YA fiction selections were all word-of-mouth recommendations.

So, what did I read as a Young Adult?  
After Judy Blume and Margaret, what was available to read in the 80's?  
And I'm curious, what did YOU read as a YA?

Here is what I can remember:
  • V.C. Andrews... Started with My Sweet Audrina and continued through the Flowers in the Attic series.  This was my introduction to hard issues like rape and incest.
  • Stephen King... My boyfriend passed on Pet Sematary to me, followed by Christine.  I was instantly hooked by Stephen King's style of writing and his ability to scare me.  I read a steady stream of his books and was totally creeped out by "It" while in college, afraid to leave my dorm room after dark for a couple of weeks.
  • To contrast Stephen King, I also read the Christian book series by Janette Oke, beginning with "Love Comes Softly"
  • The majority of my YA reading, though, came from the genre "harlequin romance," namely First Love from Silhouette, ordered through the mail.  My all-time favorite were the Blossom Valley Books.
I'm just astounded, in retrospect, that I never considered the library when I was looking for something entertaining to read between the ages of 14 and 25.  
(Lord knows I was in there enough for school assignments!)  
What a great time we now live in for Teen Fiction!

Tomorrow is breakfast with Patrick Carmen
author of the
I find his combination of webcasts and text extraordinary.  
His was the first book to give me the creeps since reading "It" 20 years ago... perhaps because I watched the webcasts in a dark room at night!  Not recommended.

Enough writing.... I have new books to read!
LOTS of new books!!