1/14 Tech Talk: PicPlayPost

This week’s Tech Talk was: PicPlayPost

PicPlayPost is an app that allows you to use pictures and video in collage form. Once you’ve finished the project, you have several export options including Twitter, YouTube, and your iPad/iPod video library.

There are endless opportunities with this app, and it is one application that can be used with students of ALL ages!

Check out these examples for some ideas!

Let me know if you have any questions! I’d love to come in and work with your class on a PicPlayPost project!

Have a great night!


2nd Hangout on Air Book Talk Pilot

A couple of weeks ago, I piloted a 4th grade book talk at one of our elementary schools. Today, I piloted an entire 4th grade book talk between two elementary schools, with hopes that it goes well so I can begin doing this once a month with each grade level.

I am elated to say that it worked beautifully! And when I say ‘it’, I am referring to the technology AND the awesome kids that presented. I was a little worried about the Hangout on Air since our announcements trial last FridayThe morning I got in, Hangouts on Air had completely changed overnight and I’m not sure if it was that, or our bandwidth, but the teachers could not see it live. This time, we successfully had 11 classes watching the live stream. (4 in on the call, 6 watching) Yes, there was a bit of a delay today…but nothing too terrible.

The thing I’m most excited about is the excitement that is coming from the kids. The video book talks have started so many conversations about reading. I am hearing things like “I love that we are hearing about different books in the library. I always pick the same ones.” and “Can I do the book talk next time?” I have been so impressed with our students and love their enthusiasm with this.

In the next few weeks, I plan to roll this out with all grade levels. I will simply pick a 10-15 minute chunk of time every 2-4 weeks and invite all of those grade level teachers to enjoy us. I hope to eventually invite other schools from different parts of the country to share their favorite books too. I am also really excited to begin sharing our new books this way.

Overall, I am very excited to see where this takes us! Ultimately, I am just excited to see our students pumped about reading great books!

It’s Hour of Code Week!

December 9-13 has been declared Hour of Code Week! If you are looking for a fun addition to your computer lab time or some great differentiation options this week, this is a perfecting opportunity to introduce your students to coding!

Here’s how you can get started –

Inspire your students! Show them this video (1 minute OR 5 minute) featuring Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Black Eyed Peas founder will.i.am and NBA star Chris Bosh talking about the importance of programming.

Get your students excited – give them a short intro
Most kids don’t know what computer science is. Here are some ideas:

  • Explain it in a simple way that includes examples of applications that both boys and girls will care about (saving lives, helping people, connecting people, etc.).
  • Try: “Think about things in your everyday life that use computer science: a cell phone, a microwave, a computer, a traffic light… all of these things needed a computer scientist to help build them.”
  • Or: “Computer science is the art of blending human ideas and digital tools to increase our power. Computer scientists work in so many different areas: writing apps for phones, curing diseases, creating animated movies, working on social media, building robots that explore other planets and so much more.”

Suggested Coding Games –
Age 4+ LightBot
Age 5+ Tynker Coding Games
Age 6+ Angry Birds Programming
Age 8+ Create a Holiday Card
I put all of these links in this Google Doc if you’d like to link it to your page! You can also find the links on the Library Events page. If you participate, share your news with your social networks with #hourofcode!

Tech Talk: Mission…Inbox Zero

This week’s Tech Talk was: Mission…Inbox Zero!

Are you overwhelmed by hundreds, or even thousands of emails in your inbox? I learned this tip from Jennie Magiera at the Midwest Google Summit and it has totally changed my life! (Here is her full presentation.)

Watch this video to see how easy the process really is!

Here are some other Gmail resources that may be helpful –
WDP Library Gmail Resource Page
Sharing vs. Attaching Documents
KeyRocket for Gmail: A Chrome Extension to learn your keyboard shortcuts!
GTasks App (Android)
GTasks App (Apple)

Tech Talks: TeachingBooks, WatchKnowLearn, IFTTT

Check out some of the AWESOME websites that we’ve discussed in the last two weeks —

TeachingBooks.net is an easy-to-use website that adds a multimedia dimension to the reading experiences of children’s and young adult books. Their online database is developed and maintained to include thousands of resources about fiction and nonfiction books used in the K–12 environment, with every resource selected to encourage the integration of multimedia author and book materials into reading and library activities. Be sure to check out the Common Core section!

YouTube is often overwhelming! WatchKnowLearn has indexed approximately 50,000 educational videos, placing them into a directory of over 5,000 categories. The videos are available without any registration or fees to teachers in the classroom, as well as parents and students at home 24/7. Users can dive into the directory or search for videos by subject and age level. Video titles, descriptions, age level information, and ratings are all edited for usefulness. The site invites broad participation in a new kind of wiki system, guided by teachers. WatchKnowLearn does not itself host videos—but serves as a library for links to excellent educational videos that have been selected by educators.

The creator behind IFTTT (If this, then that) is a pure genius. Through this site, you can create “recipes” for different sites that you use. For example: If you post to a blog, you can create a “recipe” so that every time you create a post, it also posts to your Twitter feed. There are thousands of options…right down to receiving a reminder to bring an umbrella if there is rain in the forecast! This site is amazing!

App/Extension of the Week: Announcify
Announcify reads out loud every website you want. Not only that, it grays out the text that is not being read to direct your focus. This is a great extension for students that struggle with reading!