Fighting the Filter

I am honored today to be presenting virtually via Skype at 4:30 PM to my friend and colleague Amy Kearns and the wonderful librarians of the Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative.   We’ll be talking about tips for “fighting the filter” and gaining access to social media for instructional use, information delivery, and content creation.  Please feel free to visit the resource page I’ve created to supplement and support the ideas of the presentation.

If you would like to share your ideas, stories, and strategies for “fighting the filter”, please join us in the conversation and post your thoughts on the blog.

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Extensions Come to Google Chrome

https://chrome.google.com/extensions

Google Chrome Extensions via kwout

I started using Google Chrome as one of my browsers in August as a way of accessing and using my Google toolbelt my efficiently, but I have come to love it as much as Firefox this autumn.  However, until now, Chrome did not offer the myriad of extensions.    While I am sure there will be tweaks to these extensions as they receive feedback from users, I am excited by the possibilities because Chrome is such a fast, stable, and clean browser.  I am especially excited to see the Diigo bookmark extension (not as good as the one designed by Diigo for Firefox but better than nothing) and theShareaholic extensions; I’m also intrigued by the Google Quick Scroll extension and how students might possibly use this tool for information skimming and scanning.  Other fun extensions include NPR News, Music, and Books as well as the Picnik photo editing extension. If you are playing with Google Wave like I am, you will also want to test drive the Google Wave extension to monitor your waves.

After showing the browser to my Media 21 students earlier this semester, many installed it home and report that they love its sleek look and lightning fast performance.   I will be sharing the apps information with them in class this week as I feel confident some will want to experiment and play with these new extensions, too.

If you have not tried Google Chrome, I encourage you to check it out.  If you are heavy user of Google Apps, I especially recommend it as the Google Apps, as you might expect, live more happily in this browser space.

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Google Sites Now Offers Site Templates!

http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2009/11/google-sites-offers-templates.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+readwriteweb+%28ReadWriteWeb%29
I am jumping for joy at the latest cool addition to my new favorite tool of the 2009-10 school year:  GoogleSites!  They are now offering pre-designed template to help you get started with your web design!  As someone who has used both SharePoint and GoogleSites, I can assure you it IS much easier to work with GoogleSites in terms of editing and filing documents—fewer clicks and a much cleaner interface.  Students and teachers who have used it at my school love it, and so do I!  Google Sites has been a staple in my Media 21 toolbox for my students this semester.
Here is a sneak peek of the templates—they are up and running this morning!  I encourage you to give Google Sites a try!

Research Pathfinder: Georgia Peach Book Award Nominees and Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl 2009-10

http://theunquietlibrary.libguides.com/peachbooks-readingbowl

Creekview High School LibGuides – Georgia Peach Book Award Nominees and Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl 2009-10 – Home via kwout

We are kicking off Teen Read Week 2009 with a brand new research pathfinder for some of the most popular authors and books at The Unquiet Library!   Check out our new Georgia Peach Book Award Nominees and Reading Bowl research pathfinder page! I have created a landing “home” page with general resources and information as well as book widgets for the Georgia Peach Award nominees and the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl.

I am also in the process of adding tabs for each nominated author that will include:

  • RSS feeds for each author’s blog (if available)
  • RSS feeds for each authors’ Twitter account (if available)
  • YouTube videos featuring the author and/or his or her works
  • Websites related to the author and his/her books
  • The “Books from Our Catalog” feature spotlighting some of the books by each author; there is also a link to the Destiny catalog so you can search on your own
  • Other links of interest, such as interview with the author or official websites for a book or for a series by the author
  • Book widgets with previews of the author’s books when available

This is a work in progress, so please check back often!

Short Stories + iPods= Happy Readers

As I began a short story project this week with Ms. Frost, 9th grade English teacher, some students gravitated to the print books available for finding their short stories, and others preferred e-copies on the web or through Google Books.

Some, though, turned to their iPods to access and read their texts.  Some students read e-copies through their Safari browser while others downloaded free or inexpensive apps from iTunes to get their stories.

readingonline

ipod2

A quick search for Poe and short stories in the iTunes store reveals a wonderful menu of inexpensive or free apps for iPods and iPhones as well as podcasts that can be played on a computer or any number of devices.

ipod3

Some librarians and educators are in real denial about the reality of eBooks and Reading 2.0 as it exists now and what may be to come.   Others, understandably, are still making sense of this new reading landscape:  what counts as literacy and how that definition is rapidly evolving.  Some feel it is an “either/or” proposition and see the issue in black and white terms rather than realizing that different forms of reading, in whatever containers they may exist, CAN happily co-exist as depicted in the photo above.

The kids know this—what part of this don’t the adults get?  At the end of the day, our focus needs to be about meeting their needs, not ours.