Archive for February, 2010

Tech Stuff for the Week

I attended the Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) Conference this past Friday.  I picked up some good tips.  I especially liked Lucy Gray’s session on new Google Apps.  See her slideshow at  Although the conference organizers used a Chatzy chatroom as the conference back channel, Twitter again became the defacto preferred backchannel technology.  I’ve seen this happen at the past few conferences I’ve attended.  If you’d like to see what we tweeted about, search for #ICE2010.  At the conference, I also volunteered at the 2nd Life poster session with Irish Bain, CPS librarian at Crane High School.  See the ICE Friday session handouts at

I’ve also been busy in 2nd Life this week, hosting two tours with university students.  Read about it and see the pictures at  Lots of Flickr uploading going on….

Finally, I have been developing an asynchronous activity for our Project ELITE librarians.  I planned to do an activity on Wordle when, lo and behold, it was taken down today due to a challenge of copyright infringement.  That is rather earthshaking, even in a Web 2.0 landscape in which applications come and go.  Wordle commonly appears on many folks’ top ten list of favorite technologies right now.  So, I had to scramble and find a different word cloud generator site.  I settled on Word It Out! at  What is most interesting about this to me is that Twitter is rapidly becoming my PLN technology of choice.  I tweeted out Wordle’s shut down as soon as I saw it.  Within several hours, various other folks had independently seen the same thing and were beginning to tweet alternate sites.  Several mentioned Word It Out!, I checked it out, found it the most closely aligned to what we need, and it became a focus for next week’s Project ELITE activity.  Yay, Twitter and my PLN!!


Two Important Traits

As I work with our first Project ELITE cohort, I have paused to reflect on what traits are possessed by an educator who successfully integrates educational technology into the curriculum.  While developing a skills base is important, building collaborative relationships with teachers is important, and access to adequate technology is conducive to success, there are two traits that I see as vital.  The first it to be able to allow oneself to make mistakes.  The learning process of someone who is truly pushing oneself is full of little errors and missteps.  A tech savvy librarian tolerates his or her own mistakes and keeps moving.  The second trait is resilience – the ability to keep moving forward despite frustrations and setbacks.  I don’t think it is really possible to be that type of technology leader in the school without cultivating these two important traits.

Poll Everywhere

I was reading The Unquiet Librarian in my Google Reader aggregator and I came across a gem of an application that I like.  Poll Everywhere is a great way to poll an audience on the fly.  I want to show this to the Project ELITE group soon.  I think they will like it.

Book Trailers – Bernajean Porter

This past week, I attended our monthly AASL-ISTE SIGMS virtual learning community meeting in Second Life.  About 45 persons attended the meeting.  You can read my review of the event at  In it are links to Flickr pictures and the chat portion of the meeting.

It also caused me to pause and reflect on the power of technology to create a powerful Personal Learning Network for me.  I was able to sit in the comfort of my own home and communicate with a nationally recognized expert in digital storytelling.  I was able to hear ideas and be pointed to online resources by other educators from all over the country.  I was able to hear how other educators use digital book trailers.  It was something that could not have been made possible before the advent of collaborative technologies.  I think that is why I’m most excited about the Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 worlds – the power they give us to connect to each other.

Librarians Using Polls and Surveys

Polls and surveys are a great way to engage students in the learning process.  Here are some ways off the top of my head that librarians can use polls and surveys:

  • Have students vote on popular research topics.
  • Mock book awards process
  • Vote on the next read-aloud book
  • Make a Student Picks list of favorite books
  • Teen Tech Week: Vote of favorite technologies
  • Read a book without the ending and predict the ending
  • Voting for various school-wide contests – art, writing, etc
  • Solicit suggestions for a future library celebration activity
  • Get suggestions for new book orders
  • Gather data (such as favorite pizza topping or favorite color) to create charts and graphs
  • Group assessment of debates, speeches, or other competitive performances.
  • Opinion polls:  What do you feel is the primary cause of global warming?  In your opinion, what were significant factors contributing to the start of the Civil War? 
  • Social activism:  How can our school celebrate Earth Day?  What are ways we can practice conservation of resources at home and school?
  • Rating responses:  What are the most important Internet safety tips on this list?  Which musicians do you think were most influential in the birth of rock and roll?

With colleagues:

  • Get suggestions for activities to celebrate Family Reading Night, Open House, etc
  • Get suggestions for new book orders
  • Focus committee work by getting suggestions on a topic or planning next steps – consensus building

This is just a start.  I’ll look forward to reading what other librarians do with polling and surveys.

Getting Started with Project ELITE

I’ve really enjoyed preparing to begin the Project ELITE program.  I was surprised how many details there were in laying the foundation for this program.  I expect that the ELITE librarians in this group will teach me as much as I hope I can share with them.  I’m looking forward to finally starting tomorrow.

One of my volunteer positions is to serve as the chair of ISTE’s Media Specialist SIG (SIGMS).  In that position, I have the opportunity to work with some of the top techie librarians in the country. I am really excited to play a role in bringing some of these experiences and knowledge to CPS librarians.  It will be an interesting journey.  CPS librarians are the best!