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Cool Tools for 2014-2015

Cool Tools for SchoolI’m excited, it looks like there will definitely be another Cool Tools for School learning program for this coming school year. Based on the feedback from the BOCES School Library Systems that participated last year, we’ll have enough participants to run it again. And room to offer it to other regions as well.

After we got started last year, I heard from some SLS directors who said they wished they had known about the project. So this year, I want to make sure everyone knows about it.

For those not familiar with the project, here are some details. The program is conducted completely online. New lessons/topics are posted on a regular basis over about 6 months and participants choose 5 or 10 topics  to explore and then write blog posts about their learning. This project was modeled after Helene Blowers innovative 23 Things project that has been replicated and reinvented many times over the past 8 years.

Last year, we offered 20 different topics for participants to choose from since many people were participating in the program for a second time. There will be more new topics this year. Professional development hours are awarded by each BOCES SLS.  Each system used their own methods for deciding who and how many could participate, depending on budget constraints. Many systems encouraged librarians to collaborate with other teachers.

For more information, take a look at the About the Project and FAQ pages on the project website. If your SLS is interested in participating, let me know and I’ll send you more details. My gmail account is pollyalida, twitter is @pollyalida or post in the SLS Cool Tools Facebook group.

 

 

 

Cool Tools for School 2013-2014 Wrap Up

Cool tools for school

A long overdue roundup of the online Cool Tools workshop that we offered last school year. The program ran from November to June and was conducted completely online. New lessons/topics were posted on a regular basis and participants chose which topics they wanted to explore and then wrote blog posts about their learning.  This project was modeled after Helene Blowers innovative 23 Things project that has been replicated and reinvented many times over the past 8 years.

Since this was the 3rd or 4th incarnation of our Cool Tools for School project and we had many educators who had participated before, we offered 2 tracks of 10 topics each this past year. People new to the workshop were encouraged to do the Track 1 topics. While folks who were returning had 10 new topics to choose from.

Even so, everyone was given the flexibility to pick whatever topics they really wanted to pursue. And since many topics were very broad, people were also able to return to topics they’d done in (more…)

Thank you HFM BOCES School Library System!

HFM BOCES SLSThanks to Deb Booth, Edie Willcox and Sara Randolph at HFM BOCES School Library System for inviting me to teach a workshop last week. We had a diverse group of 30 terrific educators: school librarians, classroom teachers, support staff and more, representing all grade levels and many different subject areas.

The resources for the day are available on the Tech Tools Update/K12 Workshop website. At the end of the day, about half the group shared their take-aways on this padlet.  It’s not too late to share, if you didn’t have time during the workshop.

Thanks again!

Edshelf can save your bacon, now help #saveedshelf’s bacon!

edshelfOne of my favorite tools, Edshelf, was slated to close down soon. But that was before the education community started to campaign to #saveedshelf.  This encouragement spurred Mike Lee, the brains behind Edshelf,  to start a kickstarter to help save it.

What is Edshelf? Find out via this quick video from Michael Britt.

Basically, it’s an awesome directory of education tools with reviews and ratings by educators. It’s easy to find resources, add them to your own curated boards and then embed them on your web pages. Know of tools not in the directory? Add them! Follow other educators and benefit from their knowledge and expertise. It’s an invaluable treasure trove.

I recently mentioned to a colleague that if we had to, we could walk into a workshop on a moment’s notice and get through the session by having participants explore the resources and tools in Edshelf. And it would be a great session!

I’ve written about how much I like Edshelf before and others have written & spoken more eloquently than me about it’s value.

Basically, Edshelf saves you time and makes you look even smarter than you already are! Isn’t that worth a donation to the kickstarter? And besides, cool t-shirt anyone??

 

Evernote Business Card Scanning

Evernote Business Card ScanningWhile updating my Productivity Tech Tools workshop this week, I ran across the new-ish business card scanning feature in Evernote. Very handy, though only available on iOS devices  at the moment, with promises of Android sometime.
  • With your iPad or iPhone Evernote app start a new note by selecting the Camera option, then  the business card option.
  • Point the camera at the card. Evernote will find the card, focus on it and take a photo of it without you needing to tap the camera button.  Very handy if you’re trying to do this with an iPad.
  • Evernote then parses out the data and gives you a screen of info about the person like the one at the right. The contact info is usually displayed in the right data fields. Edit it if needed.
  • If the person has a LinkedIn profile, that information will be included. It doesn’t do quite as good a job finding the person’s twitter handle.
  • An image of the original business card is included. And you can add an image of the back of the card after you save the data.

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SALS 10 Mobile Things Wrapup

being a newbieOne of the major projects I worked on over the past year was the SALS Ten Mobile Things project that concluded in June. This was part of a Digital Literacy project run by Jill Ryder, Jennifer Ferriss and Sara Dallas at the Southern Adirondack Library System.

It was modeled on 23MobileThings project originally developed by Jan Holmquist for the Guldborgsund Bibliotekern in Denmark. That project was translated into English by Jan, Kathryn Barwick and Mylee Joseph (both  from the State Library of New South Wales, Australia).  Like Helene Blowers’ original 23Things project, this mobile project is being translated into multiple languages and spreading like wildfire. There’s no doubt that the time was right for this!

For our project, we focused on many  of the same topics, but condensed them into 10 topics (more…)