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More Research Pathfinder 2.0 and Social Media: Travel Across the USA

My latest research pathfinder, Travel Across America USA, came together rather quickly, but it is one of my favorites to date.  Although I did not get to collaborate as much as I had hoped with the teacher on the project as of this evening, I feel confident we will conference next week and make any adjustments that may be needed since we have worked together, and he is really enthusiastic about using Google Docs and now moving on to Google Sites.

In this project, the students essentially must research and collect information about travel destinations between Juneau, Alaska and Key West , Florida.   You can see the requirements on the pathfinder page, but students are responsible for collecting multiple forms of data and representing it in an interesting and meaningful way.   I think the use of Google Docs (the presentation and spreadsheet tools) , Google Sites, and Google Maps can be instrumental in this project!  I am hopeful that I can confirm we will be using all three sets of tools to embed content and showcase the student projects.

This research pathfinder incorporates some of my favorite forms of social media:

  • A widget featuring a travel guide via Google Books
  • RSS feeds from Frommer’s and Lonely Planet Twitter accounts
  • RSS feeds for blogs from these two travel powerhouses
  • RSS feeds for travel podcasts and vodcasts
  • Widgets featuring Flickr photo group pools sponsored from Frommer’s and Lonely Planet
  • The use of “kwout” to highlight key websites that can be helpful for the assignment
  • A Google Map I created to show some of the travel destinations I would choose if I were doing the assignment to model how students might use Google Maps; in addition, I have provided links to tutorials although students will have to use some of the instructional videos at home since they are embedded from YouTube
  • An iTunes iMix of “travel music” created by National Geographic music (fun!)

I find it incredibly exciting to create a pathfinder that integrates so much social media to help students see how helpful and fun these resources can be.    What else would you add to this pathfinder?  Your suggestions are welcome!

Google Reader Bundles

Thanks to friends and fellow librarians Marianne Lenox and Andy Woodworth, I have discovered the beauty of Google Reader Bundles.  Essentially, a “bundle” is a package of RSS feeds–this could be from a folder of your favorite RSS feeds on a topic, such as librarianship, or tags you have in your Google Reader.  You can use the bundle feature to share your favorite “package” of feeds in your shared items; you can even add a clip of your bundle to your website, blog, or wiki!  You can also email your bundle or add a regular link to the bundle to your favorite web space.

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Bundles are a terrific way to share and discover what your peers and colleagues are reading!  For easy instructions on how to get started with bundles in Google Reader, check out these two terrific and easy to follow “how to” blog posts/articles.

Happy Bundling!

Poets and Writers+Daily Lit=Free Poetry!

http://www.dailylit.com/books/masters-of-verse

DailyLit: Masters of Verse, book by Poets & Writers via kwout

Poets and Writers has teamed up with Daily Lit to bring you a daily dose of poetry via email or RSS feed:

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Poets & Writers, in conjunction with DailyLit, will post a poem every day throughout April. Masters of Verse: Thirty Poems by Late, Great Poets offers some of the best-known poems (together with a few uncommon selections) for readers who want to rediscover the lasting power of poetry.

You may also want to follow:

Peanut Butter Salmonella Outbreak and Recall Pageflakes Information Portal

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Check out my latest Pageflakes Pagecast on the peanut butter salmonella outbreak and recall! My portal includes:

  • The official CDC/FDA Peanut Butter recalled products widget
  • Latest news feeds from Google News
  • The latest blog entries from the official CDC/FDA blog on the peanut butter salmonella outbreak
  • Videos on the outbreak from the FDA YouTube Channel
  • Podcasts from the CDC on the outbreak
  • One of the official badges with information for citizens to call for more info on the peanut butter products recall
  • The RSS feed for the FDA Recall Twitter Twitterstream
  • My favorite bookmarks via del.icio.us
  • Widgets to two of my GALE databases for students to search

Inauguration Goes 2.0: Pageflaking Information Streams

pageflakes-inaug_smallerIf you haven’t had a chance to try Pageflakes (or Netvibes) as an information portal to stream information on a topic for your teachers and students, then take a look at my latest Pageflakes pagecast to see the power of social media!  I created a Pageflakes Pagecast to aggregate and stream my favorite resources for Inauguration 2009. What information streams are included in this pagecast?

  • A RSS feed from the official Presidential Inauguration Committee’s blog
  • An embedded widget that will carry UStream TV’s  live coverage of the inauguration ceremonies.
  • A RSS feed with the latest entries from Change.gov
  • An “Inauguration 2009 Countdown” widget
  • A widget with my media center’s favorite bookmarks related to all things Inauguration 2009 via delicious
  • A widget with the latest videos from the official Presidential Inauguration Committee’s YouTube channel
  • A Flickr widget with photos from the official Presidential Inauguration Committee’s Flickr account (includes great photos of Lincoln’s Bible!); there is also an additional photo widget for a Flickr group for “Inauguration 2009″ photos that is tied into the Smithsonian’s “Click!  Photography Changes Everything!” project.
  • A widget with the latest headlines via Google News related to Inauguration 2009
  • A widget from the Washington Post called “Inauguration Watch 2009″
  • A Time magazine widget that will carry live blog posts from the ceremonies on January 20.
  • Widgets with the latest Tweets from the official Presidential Inauguration Committee’s Twitter account as well as the Inauguration_DC Twitter account.

What makes this pagecast so cool and relevant?  The content is live and dynamic—as feeds and content are added to each of these mediums, the updates are automatically reflected on thepagecast widgets.   The pagecast is the perfect medium for the organic information feeding into the information portal.  A pagecast also allows you to incorporate new media into your resource portal—much more exciting and informative than  a static flat  list of links on a traditional 1.0 web page.

If you have not tried using an information portal such as Pageflakes or NetVibes, I’d like to encourage you to consider giving it a try!  You can check out some of my favorite resources for learning about Pageflakes, examples of pagecasts, and how libraries are using information portals at http://delicious.com/theunquietlibrary/pageflakes .

If you like the pagecast, please feel free to link to it from your own media center blog, website, or wiki!

Buffy Hamilton, Media Specialist
Creekview High School
http://theunquietlibrary.wordpress.com
http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com