Connect, Create, and Collaborate with Skype

“Nobody, but Nobody Can Make It Out Here Alone”

~Maya Angelou~

One of my favorite new ways of connecting with friends and colleagues over the last six months is Skype. While you may not be able to engage in face to face conversations with your fellow librarian friends on a regular basis, Skype can close the distance and allow you to brainstorm, dream, laugh, and problem solve across the miles.    While I may be a technogeek, it never ceases to boggle my mind that I can talk in real time with my cherished colleagues via my computer or iPhone.   My regular Skype conversations with dear friends and librarian change agents like Michelle and Elisabeth, who live on the opposite coast of me and are thousands of miles away,  inspire me personally and professionally.

If you haven’t tried Skype, consider how you can use it to connect, create, and collaborate with your librarian friends across the miles.   Many thanks to other librarian friends like Justin Hoenke, Polly Farrington, Andy Woodworth, Brian Hulsey, Joyce Valenza,  and Peter Bromberg as well as teacher extraordinaire Wendy Drexler who have shared a little corner of their day or evening to listen, reflect, dream, and debate with me via Skype.


Another Tool in Your Personal Learning Network: Shared Items via Google Reader


We all know that we can use Google Reader to keep up with our favorite blogs and RSS feeds from various sources, but did you know that you can share items with others via Google Reader?  Not only can you create a public page for sharing your favorite items that come your way in your Google Reader account, but friends and followers can also subscribe to the  RSS feed for your “Shared Items” page to keep up with articles or items you mark as shared in Google Reader!  As you browse and read items in Google Reader, you will discover a “share” icon at the end of each post/item–simply click on “share” to add those items to your “shared” public page for others to enjoy.  I discovered this wonderful personal learning network tool via Kim Cofino, a 21st century learning specialist who is an invaluable part of my PLN.  For more details on how to create your public page and on how to share items, check out this help page from Google Reader Labs.

Feel free to follow and grab the RSS feed for my shared items page!

The Power of the Personal Learning Network: Twitter

While much debate continues as to whether Twitter is something useful or a waste of time, I have found Twitter to be invaluable part of my personal learning network.  I have gleaned so many ideas in the last year from fellow librarian Tweeps as well as non-librarian Tweeps that have enriched my life and truly helped my professional growth.

I’d like to share a prime example of how my Twitter PLN has been a major help to me in the last 24 hours.  Yesterday afternoon at 1: 11 PM EST, I Tweeted,

Looking for works of fic./nonfic to teens about issues in Africa today—genocide, AIDS, envt., women, etc. Suggestions for lit circles?”

as I was trying to build a novel list for literature circles that will piggyback on my Media 21 Capstone project for 2009-10. Because this part of the project didn’t evolve until yesterday as my collaborating teacher and I conversed via email, I needed a potential list of fiction and nonfiction books quickly to make my capstone project deadlines this week. Within minutes, I began receiving responses! Twitter friends,,,, and came to my aid and began sharing recommendations and resource lists.


By this morning, I had an amazing body of suggestions that absolutely astounded my collaborating teacher, Ms. Susan Lester. She said, “How on earth did you get all these fabulous book suggestions so fast?” Of course, I extolled the virtues of Twitter!

So for those of you who think Twitter is pure fluff, I ask you to reconsider. I could have never developed the menu of books for our project without the wisdom and expertise of my Twitter PLN! I would like to thank everyone who so graciously and generously offered their assistance—thank you for the instrumental role you have played in helping me add another dimension to my Media 21 Capstone Project that we hope to pilot in August 09!