Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pull Out The Polish.....Summer Conference Season Is Coming!

“If it means interfering in an ensconced, outdated system, to help just one student…I’m willing to accept the consequences.” -Wonder Woman

Inevitably, during educational technology conference season, presenters are barraged with attendees who have pinned on their Negative Nancy buttons just for such occasions.  It’s not that these educators want to be negative, rather, it’s  more an expression of the frustration of attending these conferences can bring boiling to the surface. 

Educators attending technology conferences want to learn.  They want to be innovative.  They want to meet their students where they are.  They understand the digital natives in their classrooms and want to use the tools familiar to them. 
Attending technology conferences often irritates pus filled war wounds sustained through countless battles with principals, technology directors, and superintendents, especially with regards to social media. Both sides shout their battle cry of justification: “It’s Best For The Children”!
In anticipation of this seasonal phenomenon, I spent Spring Break polishing my Amazonium bracelets, ready to deflect the understandably negative assault issued forth from exasperated educators.  I share top secret intel and key strategies of engagement from where I have been and where I am currently entrenched in this Social Media War.
·         Document success in other schools
o   Trussville City Schools, Alabama has unblocked all social media sites and included liability in their Student Code of Conduct (see pgs. 24-26)
o   Search blogs and professional journals for supporting articles
·         Get teacher buy-in for a strong united voice
·         Try the “just one” approach
o   Get approval for one teacher to use one social media tool with one class for one project
I leave you with these words:

” A new journey to be started.
A new promise to be fulfilled.
A social media to be opened.
Go forth unto this waiting world with computer in hand,
all you educators,
the open Internet awaits.
Be creative.
Be adventurous.
Be original.
And above all else, be knowledgeable.
For knowledge is your greatest weapon,
your greatest tool.
Use it wisely.”

~Wonder Woman

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Summer Conference Season Is Just Around The Corner

So far I am booked to present at three conferences this summer.  Below is the flyer announcing those conferences and sessions where you can find me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

QR Codes in the High School Library

     I Like this quote I dislike this quote

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.”

Having the opportunity to work in a school ranked in the top 100 in the nation this year, I spent a great deal of time observing rather than doing...a very rare state of being....and quite temporary to boot!

It started with my presentation about digital book talks to our district librarians and to our English department which they loved, immediately looking for ways to incorporate the idea into their curriculum. (  That concept smoothly transitioned into my high school library in the form of QR Codes used to generate interest in books.

I also read The Daring Librarian blog ( about how QR Codes are used in her library and am now formulating ways to use them during my 10th grade orientation scavenger hunts in which I already use

For more ways to use QR Codes in your school take a look at this Google Doc:   Be sure to watch the YouTube video on slide is amazing what McGuffey School District has done with QR Codes!

Have You Met TED?

If you haven't met TED here is your opportunity! Announced at SXSW: TED to open API

Announced at SXSW: TED to open API

At SXSW this morning, June Cohen, TED’s Executive Producer of Media, announced TED’s intention to open an application programming interface (API) for its posted TEDTalks and associated data — in the hopes that developers will use the API to build new tools for viewing and sharing. Initially, the API will focus on TED’s content library, giving developers access to TED’s almost 900 posted TEDTalks, as well as their rich metadata, including topic/tag, date, event, length, ratings, translations and transcripts. Access to the API will be granted to individual developers or organizations, based on an application detailing the proposed noncommercial use.
Greg Ferenstein of Fast Company writes:
Speaking before her announcement at TED, June Cohen … told Fast Company that in keeping with the organization’s promise of transparency, “The natural next step is to open up content to the developer community…. Every time we’ve allowed people to contribute, people have surprised and humbled and delighted us.” More to the point, she says, “We know we don’t have the monopology on good ideas.”
The API will be released midyear.
If this announcement makes you as happy as it makes us, please know: We are hiring engineers! Details at

Walking Away From Tenure

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~Harriet Tubman

Last summer (2010) I walked away from tenure and with only five years left until retirement.  Why, in this economy and teacher layoffs would I do something so crazy?  Was I unhappy with my job?  Was I not getting along with my peers, my administrators?

I loved my job and after 18 years there it felt like home.  My closest friends were there.  I was a leader in my local education association, a board member for the state school library association and a frequent presenter for the state department of education.  So why did I leave?

I dreamed of more....

In the midsts of the Alabama Education Technology Conference where I was a presenter at the Library Symposium I received a phone call from one of the top 100 high schools in the nation asking if I would be interested in a high school library position. I jumped a the opportunity and haven't had a moments regret. I have gained such valuable insight this year being surrounded by a new group of professionals that has only continued to spur my love of learning and my desire to grow professionally.

I can only dream where I can go from here...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Prayer of Thanks

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say "thank you?"  ~William A. Ward

Friday, March 11, 2011 at 4:00 pm CT was the official start of my Spring Break.  I spent that evening with a friend describing my frustration at feeling so far ahead of the professionals with whom I work in regards to 21st Education & Technology yet feeling so desperately behind when interacting with professionals in my virtual world.  My anxiety level was at an all time high.

I decided to email a few of my virtual connections how they were able to keep up so well when the education/technology world was such a constantly shifting landscape.  

When I awoke in the morning I checked my email (something I normally NEVER do unless I'm at work) and was overwhelmed to see a personal response from each person I emailed. Each person imparted great wisdom, kind words, connections, and support. Words cannot begin to express how grateful I am to these professionals.  As I told my friend: "I'm a bit verklempt".  

Thank you: Doug Johnson, Shelly Terrell, Kathy Schrock, Jerry Blumengarten & Steve Hargadon