Tuesday, September 18, 2018

#CALIBCHAT September Slow Chat

Back in Spring of 2017, we (Katie McNamara and me, Jane Lofton) decided to start #CALIBChat, a California-based school library chat on Twitter, for California school library people and friends across the nation. We wanted to offer peer-driven informal professional development for California school library people and friends, make connections, build community, and help each other develop our personal learning networks. To avoid imposing too much on everyone’s busy time, we scheduled chats for just a half hour, once a month, from 5:00pm-5:30pm on the fourth Thursday of each month.

And the great news is that we’ve had a lot of enthusiasm and positive feedback from participants. If you’d like to see some of our topics and discussions, just check the #CALIBChat hashtag on Twitter, and scroll back to see the tweets. Or, here’s an archive of the last (August 2018) chat courtesy of Participate.com. But .. the not so great news is that many people have wanted to come but just haven’t been able to make it at the scheduled time.

So … we’re going to try something a little different this month, and see how it goes. We’re going to slow the chat down, holding it from Noon on Monday through Thursday evening of the 4th week of September, instead of just during a half hour time slot. Starting next Monday, we will post a question each day at 12pm PT, and you have all the rest of the day, or even through Thursday night, to respond. Friday morning, we’ll share a transcript, courtesy of Participate.com, as well as a collage of images you share with us.

How will it work? On Monday at Noon, or as soon after as you can, go to Twitter, search for #CALIBCHAT and select Latest.

You will see a post asking you to introduce yourself, shortly followed by a post starting with Q1 (i.e., Question 1). Our theme this month will be "Prove it!" so all the questions will relate to that. Begin your response to Q1 with A1 (i.e., Answer 1). And, be sure to include #CALIBCHAT in all your posts, so that others in the chat will see it. And, browse the other responses and consider responding, liking, and retweeting. At Noon on Tuesday, we'll launch Question 2, Question 3 on Wednesday, and Question 4 on Thursday. If you can't make it at the beginning of the week, you can still respond to all the questions through Thursday night. And, be prepared to have some fun with graphics or photography on Thursday. 😊

Note: If you use Tweetdeck, you can simply set up a #CALIBChat column to follow along and participate.

If you aren't yet on Twitter, you can still view the discussion even without an account. Just go to this link.

So … mark your calendar and get ready to chat with us starting Monday, September 24 at Noon PT, through Thursday, September 27. And, #helpafriendgrow. Invite friends to join us!

Questions? Contact @katiejmcnamara or @jane_librarian.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Let's Chat -- Who, What, When, Why and How?

One of the great capabilities of Twitter is "live chats." If this is a new concept for you, I'm going to try to explain the ins and outs and convince you to join in.

First, let's cover What and When?

A live Twitter chat is an opportunity for a group to carry on an interactive discussion in tweets, made possible by all the participants searching for and posting using the same hashtag. It takes place at an appointed/announced time. Usually they are scheduled on an ongoing basis, once a month, twice a month, or even weekly, always on the same day and at the same time. For example, the live #CALIBChat is now at 5 PM - 5:30 PM PT the 4th Thursday of each month, so the next one is this Thursday, February 22. And, there is always a specific topic and several questions for each chat. The next #CALIBChat topic will be "Growth & Goals." Sometimes, though, a group will schedule a single chat. AASL, for example, has scheduled periodic chats related to the new Standards, using the hashtag #AASLStandards.

So, there is always a hashtag used to identify the chat, enabling you to follow the discussion by searching for the hashtag, selecting Latest, and watching the tweets with that hashtag as people post. You join in by posting tweets that include that same hashtag. That way, everyone in the chat sees your tweets.

Next, Why? 

There are so many good reasons to participate in live chats! Here are just a few:

  • Professional Development: Twitter chats are an excellent way to get a quick dose of professional development online, without a big time commitment or any travel time. And, all the responses and resources are recorded in Twitter, so you can go back and find them later if you like. 
  • Peer-Driven: The topics and content of chats always comes from others with the same interests, so they are never pedantic or dull. They always include thoughts and real-world examples from peers. You can find a group of peers for virtually any topic through Twitter chats. For one way to find chats on different topics, search participate.com/chats.
  • Connections: They enable you to make connections with colleagues. Many of us have "met" each other in live chats and built our PLN's (Personal Learning Networks) that way. When I participate in a chat, I always try to start following any people new to me who contribute positive content to the chat. And, I usually get new Twitter followers that way. I also get to reconnect with existing members of my PLN, strengthening our relationships and ties. 
  • Build Community: Twitter chats serve as an easy way for a community, such as a regional group of librarians, to share with each other, brainstorm ideas, grow together, and strengthen their ties. 

And, How? 

Here's a screencast sharing how to participate:

Or, if you prefer to use Tweetdeck, here's how to do that: 

Prefer the text version? Here you go: 
  1. Get on Twitter just before the appointed time and search for the hashtag.
  2. Click the Latest option to view all the live tweets.
  3. You will see tweets from the moderators. All our tweets will include the chat hashtag.
  4. When the moderators ask you to introduce yourself, share where you work, what level your students are, and anything else you like. 
  5. Stand by for Question 1. When you see it, think about an answer, and compose one, being sure to include A1 at the beginning of your tweet, and the chat hashtag at the end or somewhere in the tweet. It's okay to give more than one answer, too!
  6. Watch the other answers posted by participants, and respond with comments, doing your best to keep the A1, A2, or other response number and the hashtag in all your responses. Remember that if you forget to include the hashtag, your comments will probably be missed by the participants. We all make that mistake at times, so don't fret, but you might want to repeat your tweet and include it. (You can't edit a tweet, but you can always create a new one.)
  7. Continue reading and responding to each new question.
  8. Have fun! Don't worry if you miss something. Just read and respond to what you can. The moderator typically archives the chat, and you can also simply search for the hashtag later. 

Finally, the Who:

#CALIBChat needs YOU to help build our California and beyond school library community. Help yourself and your colleagues grow. Become a Twitter chat participant! So, please join Katie McNamara (@katiejmcnamara) and me this Thursday, February 22, from 5pm-5:30pm PT. Californians and non-Californians alike are welcome! Give just a half hour of your time to grow and help others do so!

So ....

And, make it a +1 -- pass this on, and invite a friend (or even more) to grow with us.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

#CSLA18 California School Library Association 2018 Conference

As always, the 2018 California School Library Association Conference was informative, inspiring, invigorating, not to mention great fun! Some highlights for me included:

  • Yosemite! The unique location of this conference at the Tenaya Lodge adjacent to Yosemite was a treat for all of us. You can't beat scenery like this, which we could all enjoy during breaks from sessions and activities.
  • Databases!: State Librarian Greg Lucas shared about the plans to, at long last, provide California schools with statewide databases. California is the only state in the nation that has not had a budget to provide database subscriptions for our schools. An advisory committee is now working on selecting databases from the new budget allocation.  Hooray!
  • The UnConference. So, yes, I'm biased, since I've been organizing this event for CSLA each year since 2015, when I "cloned" AASL's 2014 inaugural UnConference initiated and led by Joyce Valenza. Still, I do believe that this year was our very best we've had in terms of participation, ideas shared, engagement, and enjoyment. We had an enthusiastic group in the room participating in breakout discussions, Smackdown sharing, and, a fun Team Trivia Contest to end the evening. And, those #NOTatCSLA could and still can benefit from the activities, since we took notes on the breakout sessions, have the Smackdown slideshow online, and live streamed and recorded the Smackdown. You can also follow some of the evening by searching for the #CSLAUnCon hashtag on Twitter. All these resources, plus those from past UnConferences, are also curated at bit.ly/cslauncon.

I also live streamed the two sessions I presented, so you can view both the slides and the recordings.

On Thursday, I presented a workshop on "Social Media: A Must Have for You AND Your Library… and How to Get Started or Up Your Game." You can view the slides at bit.ly/csla18sm.

And, here is the recording of the first half of the workshop:

You can also access the activity and action plan worksheet participants completed during the second hour, and hear take aways some of the participants recorded with Flipgrid at the end.

On Sunday, I was delighted to partner with Katie McNamara on "Twitter 201: So, I Have a Twitter Account ... What Now?," a concurrent session to help bring attendees up to speed on Twitter, and to "recruit" them as participants in our monthly #CALIBChat live chats. You can view the slides from that session at bit.ly/csla18twitter. And, here is the live stream recording we made:

And one final small victory for me during this conference: with a lot of help from my friends (shout out to my daughter Elaine, Nancy Jo Lambert, Katie McNamara, Jasmine Riel, Tara Martin, and Cynthia Melara) I finally learned some of the ins and outs of using Snapchat!

CSLA will post presenter slides and handouts on the #CSLA18 conference webpage soon.

Many thanks to CSLA's Conference Committee, Board, and organizer staff Janice Gilmore-See, Kathie Maier, and Mark Williams for an enriching conference. And, mark your calendars for February 7-10, 2019 in the City of Industry.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Treat yourself to PD: Join me in a Twitter Chat this week!

Twitter chats are a terrific way to get a quick booster shot of professional development, right from your home, office, or anywhere you have online access. (And don't stop reading if you don't have a Twitter account; you can still be an "observer.") I'm not sure how this happened, but I actually have THREE chats I'm co-moderating on my calendar this week. I know they are all going to be informative and inspiring, so I'd love to have you join me at one, two, or all three!

First up is #NJLIBCHAT Tuesday from 5pm PT/8pm ET to 6pm PT/9pm ET. Krista Welz, New Jersey School Librarian, founded and runs this New Jersey-based school library chat, with everyone welcome. I am honored to be asked to co-moderate this month. Our topic for this month is "How Google Apps Promotes School Libraries." Google apps provide so many options for teaching students, helping them collaborate, promoting and managing your library, and more. Do come share your own ideas on using Google apps, and learn from your colleagues.

Next up is an #AASLStandards chat, on Thursday from 4pm PT to 5pm PT. I got my copy of the brand new AASL National School Library Standards at the AASL National Conference in November. I am, frankly, in the process of absorbing and making sense of all the great content they include. This chat is an opportunity to hone your understanding and use of these new standards for students, librarians, and library programs, and to get ideas of how best to share them with your teachers and administrators and incorporate them into your practice. Check this KnowledgeQuest blog post for a preview of the questions. As a member of the AASL Social Media Editorial Board, I will be assisting in moderating this chat with Judy Deichman (@nms_library) and Ellen McNair (@emcnair1), AASL Standards Implementation Task Force members.

And, as soon as that chat is over on Thursday, please do switch right over to #CALIBChat, from 5pm PT to 5:30pm PT. Katie McNamara (@KatieJMcNamara) and I started #CALIBChat last spring as a California-based school library chat that welcomes school library folks and educators from everywhere. We are running it once a month on the last Thursday of the month, and we made it just a half hour to fit into everyone's busy schedules. The theme for this month is "Optimize Your Conference Experience: Before, During, and After." We invite you to share your ideas for taking best advantage of the CSLA 2018 Conference coming up February 1-4 in Yosemite, CA, the ALA Midwinter Conference running February 9-13, or any other conference.

You don't need prior experience to participate in a chat. Here is a screencast I made a while back about how to participate in a #CALIBChat. For the other chats, just substitute #NJLIBCHAT or #AASLStandards:

In fact, you don't even need a Twitter account if you would like to just "lurk" and hear ideas from others. Just:
  1. Go to search.twitter.com at the appointed time
  2. Search for the hashtag -- #NJLIBCHAT, #AASLStandards, or #CALIBChat
  3. Click on Latest, and watch the tweets come in. 
I hope to see you on Twitter this week.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

#CSLA18 UnConference #CSLAUnCon

It's just two weeks until one of my favorite events of the year: the California School Library Association (CSLA) Annual Conference, February 1-4 at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite, CA. As always, it is packed with amazing keynotes, concurrent sessions, and events. Check the conference website and final program (just released!) for details. I know already that I will come away with a huge dose of inspiration, new knowledge,  and new friends. But ... I also know that, by me, one of the VERY best parts of the conference is the least "programmed": it's the UnConference. This post focuses on that, and why you should put it on your "must attend list." And, don't stop reading if you can't make it to Yosemite for this conference; we will be sharing a good portion of it online.

So, why should you stay up late (yeah, it's a bit late: 8:30pm - 11:00pm on Thursday, February 1) for the UnConference even if you are usually an early-to-bed type? Here's why:
  • This is your chance to determine the topics of discussion. Propose a topic you want most to explore. We select discussion topics by crowd sourcing. You can offer to lead a discussion if you like, or just be a participant - your choice for this peer-to-peer learning time. 
  • This is your chance to do a mini-presentation. No pressure here, but during the "Smackdown," we invite you to submit a slide sharing a great teaching and learning tool or idea, then come to the mic to share about it in 2 minutes or less. And, you'll be amazed how many ideas you get from your peers' submissions.
  • The team trivia contest we end the evening with is SO much fun! 
Past attendees will tell you that this is always one of the highlights of the conference. So, won't you join us? 

Visit our wiki for more information. And, do please consider doing a wee bit of prep: 
  1. Share your breakout session ideas n this AnswerGarden Topic Brainstorm
  2. Add a slide (or two) to our Smackdown slide deck
  3. Please help spread the word. Invite a friend to attend with you. Share far and wide on social media. Use the conference hashtag, #CSLA18, and our special UnConference hashtag: #CSLAUnCon.
What if you can't make it to the CSLA Conference? You can still contribute to our Smackdown slide deck, and you can follow along with the #CSLAUnCon hashtag. We will also record notes from the breakout sessions. And, standby as we figure out if we can stream a portion of the evening. 

Hope to see you there!

Thanks to Katie McNamara, Conference Social Media Chair, for the UnConference graphic. Also standby to learn how you can earn your own UnConference digital badge.