Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Not at #ALAAC16 and #NOTATISTE16

Every year in June it's a dilemma for teacher librarians: whether to go to the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference or to the International Society for Technical Education (ISTE) Conference. Those of us who thrive on conferences and all the wonderful new information, inspiration, networking, energy, and camaraderie they offer, can't help but feel torn between the two events. Some overachievers actually split their time between the two. I did that only once, when ALA was in Anaheim and ISTE was in San Diego. This year, I was saved the dilemma; instead, I had to make the hard decision to forgo both of them, since my husband and I are leaving on a trip to Scandinavia this weekend. 

So, my focus this week is really supposed to be on getting ready for the trip, but, being me, I can't resist taking advantage of at least some of the opportunities to benefit from both these conferences from afar. Luckily, for anyone unable to attend either event, there are so many wonderful ways to take advantage of these conferences remotely. This posting is just a small selection of what I've enjoyed so far this week and that you, as a reader, can take advantage of as well, either live or after the fact.

One of the exciting events at the ALA conference each year is the announcement of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) 25 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning and the 25 Best Apps for Teaching and Learning. It's always a great summer activity to work through these sites and apps and consider how to apply them to enrich our students' learning and, frequently, our own productivity. I've had the pleasure of serving on the Best Websites Committee for the least three years and enjoyed having a roll in the selection. You can learn about and start to explore the best websites here. And, be sure to also visit this page on the AASL site for link to the presentation, and Symbaloo and Pinterest collections of the sites. For the best apps, visit this link. Also, visit this great interactive infographic for the best apps created by the amazing Joyce Valenza. A good summer activity would be simply to get familiar with the 25 websites and 25 apps and decide which ones will work for you and your students.

For more ALA information and inspiration, follow the #ALAAC16 hashtag on Twitter and the conference site.

For those regretting being unable to attend ISTE, there are probably more resources than you will ever have time to explore! Jennifer Wagner has been doing an incredible job spearheading a Google+ "NotatISTE" community with  lots of lively discussion, fun challenges, resource sharing, and badge making and posting. (I'm even going to get points in the challenge for doing this posting. :-) ) As a part of the community, the phenomenal Peggy George has been curating useful resources in a LiveBinder. To follow ISTE on Twitter, check the #ISTE2016 hashtag. To follow the NotatISTE, community search both #NOTATISTE and #NOTATISTE16. And, did you know -- I just found out yesterday, during Tony Vincent's Periscope session (see below) -- that you can search for more than one hashtag in Twitter? Just include OR (and be sure to use full caps) between your search terms. I can't believe I've been missing that easy option all this time! You can do that both in Twitter and Tweetdeck. Here's my busy Tweetdeck, trying to track both conferences: 

Here are a few of the #NOTATISTE activities I've most enjoyed: 

Tony Vincent (@TonyVincent on Twitter and Periscope) has been Periscoping poster sessions and more around ISTE. Periscope is an iOS and Android app that allows you to create and watch very informal live streams of events. The connections can be unstable, but it has been worth the effort getting to follow Tony around sessions and hear him chat with poster presenters and more. In the course of watching, I've been learning how the Periscope app works, and I know I will want to try broadcasts of my own the next time I attend a conference live. The app allows viewers to send "hearts," indicating they like what they are watching, make comments, and share the stream to Twitter for others to view. And, the broadcasts are all recorded so people can view them later. Visit the link to Tony Vincent's ISTE page to view recordings of all his sessions. You will also see links to notes that various volunteers took during each session. You can follow people on Periscope to get notifications when they broadcast. Another person to follow whose been generously Periscoping the conference is #CraigYen. 

The EdTechTeam has been an active group during ISTE, and has been having a whole series of lively, informative 20-minute presentations at the group's booth. Yesterday, all the sessions were streamed live and you can view the entire recording on YouTube. For example, I got to see Katy Perry share about how to create an unGoogleable question. Here's one of her slides with things to have students do rather than simply answering questions: 

The EdTechTeam hosts summits all over the world, and I have heard Katy present on this same topic at a Google for Education Summit in Coronado, CA last fall. Some topics, though, benefit from hearing them and working through the concepts and ideas more than once, so I was delighted to view her session yesterday. To find out about the EdTechTeam GAFE summits, visit this page. I hope to present at the one coming up in Laguna Beach in August. 

One of the challenge options for the #NOTATISTE group is to use Do Ink's Green Screen app, available for iOS on iPhones and iPads, to photograph ourselves at an ISTE location or event. I have been incredibly jazzed by how many students at my school have taken advantage of the green screen kit and the Green Screen app I installed on the library iPad for class projects. They have made films for Government, Chemistry, and English Language support classes, and more. Here at home, though, I don't have access to the green screen kit. So, to participate in the #NOTATISTE challenge, I went to the 99 Cent store, and bought a green tablecloth. Here's how I created the #NOTATISTE photo with me in the forefront you see up near the top of this posting: 

  1. I have Do Ink’s $2.99 Green Screen app on my iPad. (I could also have used my iPhone.)
  2. I downloaded the photo from the ISTE conference site home page.
  3. I used Picmonkey.com to add the “#NOTAT” text.
  4. I made that photo the second layer image in the Green Screen app.
  5. I hung my 99 Cent store green tablecloth over my couch.
  6. I sat on the couch and held the iPad as far away from me as I could. I made the camera the top layer in the Green Screen app, switched it to selfie mode, and adjusted the color and sensitivity as best I could, then shot the image.

So … you can see that I’m too big and it’s not exactly “professional,” but for made all by myself without a camera person or a proper green screen, I think it will do :-) I tried setting up a tripod for the iPad, but couldn't get the angle right. Maybe I'll enlist my husband as a camera person for a second try today. Or, maybe I better just focus on getting ready for my trip, huh?

Check out some of the other green screen photos from members of the #NOTATISTE16 community in this group slideshow.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Time for the Next Adventure!

If you have been reading my school library blog, you will already know that I made a big life cycle change last Friday: I retired from my position as Teacher Librarian at Mira Costa High School. Here's a short summary of my "wrap up" at Mira Costa and my plans for the "next adventure."

Throughout my six years at Mira Costa, I never felt like I was able to accomplish all I wanted to, but I know that I do have some things to be proud of. It was always my top priority to help students, both through lessons and one-on-one, prepare for college and career, become good digital citizens, find and pursue their passions, and be positive contributors to our society. And, nothing has been more touching than receiving some validation of that work when I was recognized as one of three Sandacre Teachers of the Year by the Senior Class at their Awards Assembly on June 1. "The criteria for this recognition," according to the letter from Denise Anderson, Sandacre Teacher of the Year Facilitator:

is for senior students to nominate a Mira Costa teacher who has stimulated, inspired, and/or prepared his/her students for their future studies and/or other endeavors. You, as an educator, mentor, and friend have had a strong impact on your students.”

You can read more about the award and my open letter to seniors in this blog posting on my school library blog.

And, here is a short "report" of some of the highlights of this last year at the library I created to share with students, staff, and parents:,

Each year, I have tried to experiment with and demonstrate different tech tools for compiling an end-of-year report. This film was truly an "apps mashing" effort.  I created the graphic slides with Canva.com and the photo collage slides with Google Drawings. I used Animoto software and its built-in music to actually make the film. Then, I posted it to YouTube for easy embedding and linking. My Animoto "Plus" account limited me to three minutes. I had intended to use iMovie to make a longer film with variable-length slides, but that software has always defeated me! (It's on my "things I need to learn now that I have some time" list.)

The three-minute length had pros and cons. The good thing is that it is short enough that I hope people were/are willing to watch the entire film. The bad thing, of course, is that I had to be so concise and leave so much out. And, since every slide needs to be the same length, I know that some of the slides go by a bit fast, making it difficult to read them. So, I also uploaded all the photos I used in the video to a Flickr album. I also included a lot of other photos I wanted in the video but couldn’t fit in the time allotment. Here is the link.

So, what's next for me? I plan to enjoy more travel with my husband, more reading (of course!), more time with family and friends, and more exercise. I also plan to stay active in the school library and educational technology world both to learn and share. I already have the August Orange County EdTechTeam Google Summit, October School Library Journal Summit, and February CSLA (California School Library Association) Conference on my calendar. And, I am excited to have just been appointed co-chair of Social Media for the AASL 2017 Conference. That also means I will be at the next ALA Midwinter and Annual conferences for committee meetings. Of course, I will continue to be active on Twitter, and I hope to devote more time to this blog. I know the banner needs a facelift and I want to ponder some on its focus. Give me a bit of time to clear my head first. You probably won't see another posting until after the first stop on my next adventure, my Stanford Alumni Association trip next month to Scandinavia:

This photo was taken with the library’s green screen and the Do Ink Green Screen app. For the background, I used a CC0 photo I found on Pixabay. Then, I added the frame and labels with Picmonkey.

Wishing everyone a wonderful start of summer!