Wednesday, December 10, 2008

HOW TO: Use Google Reader Like A Rockstar

HOW TO: Use Google Reader Like A Rockstar

This is great intro to Google Reader and related tools.
Google Reader is a tool which allows the user to read RSS feeds easily.
It was not one of the first readers but has certainly become a very popular one over time.

I use Google Reader extensively. The only challenge is keeping up with all the feeds I want to follow.

This link comes from the folks at and was posted by Matt Singley

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

eSchool News Adds Widgets

I've added a new widget to the blog (see under Technorati widget) which provides an easy link to eSchool News, a well-known print and online newsletter for the educational community.

I chose to add the Technology News widget since this blog is mostly about tech, but there are two other options--one lists Headlines from eSchool News and the other offers Funding resources. Go to eSchool News to explore the options.

It was very easy to add to Blogger because they offer a direct upload feature from Widgetbox which immediately opens the Blogger edit layout mode from which you can place the widget where you desire on the blog page. Code for Facebook, TypePad, MySpace, and other social networking sites are also available.

Give it a look and you may want to add one of the widgets to your blog or web page.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cloud Computing

Liz Dodds earlier today sent out a message announcing a website which follows the phenomenon of cloud computing. The site, which is definitely worth a look, is maintained by Brian Dvorak, a teacher in her district, and describes itself this way:

"Cloud computing is a term used to express the process of using web-based applications to accomplish tasks that were traditionally done with desktop applications. Why buy expensive software when you can used web-based applications, many of which are free, to accomplish your computing needs. And all you need is a web browser and a an Internet connection. But how can one find the web application they need without searching for hours on the web? Ah, that is were Cloud Trip comes into play.

Cloud Trip is a free to use directory of cloud computing web sites. In addition, if you have a useful web application you would like to share, sign up with Cloud Trip and post it in our directory. As a registered user, you will also have the ability to rate the posted websites and help promote the best web apps out in the cloud."

The site looks very useful especially because of the rating system for applications which registered users can add to. I had some difficulty registering today but as soon as I'm able I will be exploring the site and adding my own ratings of apps I use. It seems to me that this would be a great site to share with students and teachers to allow them to explore this ever expanding world of web-based applications.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Polymer Vision Video of READIUS

Just discovered this neat new technology--not, unfortunately available in the U.S.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Video Tutorials from Cornell University Libraries

When I have the time I'd like to make some videos like this one which show how to use various library resources. This one comes from the Cornell University Olin Library and is part of their series of 90-second videos called "Research Minutes."
The topic of this video is finding substantive news articles, certainly a topic which high school students need to understand.

I like the way this video just use still pictures and screen shots, a la typical slide presentations, and a little music to convey a sense of movement and urgency. Very easy techniques to make viewing the video much more enjoyable.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Yesterday, while the Mock Senate was taking place in the Library's Main Room, I decided to upload some of the MARC cataloging records for magazines and journals from EBSCOhost to our library catalog (home access/school access). It's turned out to be a more exhilarating and complicated process than I had anticipated.

I had already uploaded the records from Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center (a Gale product which we've had for a number of years). There weren't very many of them since I had only downloaded those for periodicals with full text. I was able to quickly check the records to make sure they were compatible with ones already in the catalog.

I had downloaded the records from the Advanced Placement Source database the previous week and they were just waiting on my desktop to be uploaded to the catalog. I knew there were thousands of them because I had looked at the lists which EBSCO makes available from its website. I was concerned that they not overwhelm the approximately 35,000 records in my catalog. About 30,000 of those records are for books, the rest are for audiovisual items, websites, other electronic resources, print periodicals, pamphlet files, maps, etc.

Anyway I decided to take the plunge and went through the fairly simple process of importing the records into the catalog. In the end I believe just over 2,000 record were added to the catalog through this process. In the long run I think this is a great addition to the catalog because each record has a link which lead directly to the particular periodical in the Advanced Placement Source database. In other words, if I want to see Atlantic Monthly, I just click on the link which says "Available on EBSCOhost" and I'm instantly taken to a list of all the issues available (back to 1985).

Now, of course, most of the periodicals imported into the catalog are a good deal more esoteric than Atlantic Monthly. How about the IBM journal of research and development? Or The International journal of African historical studies or APMIS acta pathologica, microbiologica et immunologica Scandinavica?

My next task is to go in a clean up the records, many of which come with multilingual subject headings and other anomalous fields. I started editing an alphabetical list and was able to get through the As, the Bs and most of the Cs, by end of today.

In the long run I think this will really enhance the usefulness of the OPAC by giving access to such resources as seventeen law reviews, scores of scientific and medical research journals, dozens of literary journals, and many other periodicals published all across the world. This access should enhance our application for the International Baccalaureate program and help our Advanced Placement and other students find good, reliable, accessible sources of information for all the creative research projects their teachers challenge them with every day.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

How to Write a Good Essay podcasts from a Uni in Wales

The latest post on the Information Literacy Weblog, is part of a continuing report from the LILAC 2008 conference held recently in the UK (Liverpool, Mar. 17-19). One section referred to a series of podcasts produced by the radio station at the University of Cardiff in Wales called "Student Survival Guide To Writing A Good Essay." The six shows are well-produced and professional in quality. They include interviews with university students about their experiences with writing reports (locating sources, procrastination, etc.) as well as comments from librarians, professors, counselors and other students about ways to overcome the obstacles to producing a good paper.
Worth a glance and even worth sharing with your students (even though the accents are a bit foreign to our cosmopolitan, digital natives!)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thanks to Dangerously Irrelevant: Nathan Lowell

Thanks to Ted Brown, a social studies teacher at Redwood, I was recently introduced to Dangerously Irrelevant, a wonderful blog out of CASTLE, the Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education. (What a concept--technologically trained administrators!) That blog in turn lead me to these three videos by Nathan Lowell. They are well worth taking a look at.

Wonderful, provocative videos for those of us engaged in the educational endeavor.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Amazon Wish List Widget

I was just able to add a widget for an Amazon Wish List to my library news blog.

In order to do it, of course you have have an Amazon account which can be made public. Since I have two separate accounts, one personal and one for school, I was able to designate which one I wanted made public.

Once you've gone through the steps there is a place on the Wish List page which allows you to share your wish list in various ways. I chose to use a widget since I'm still not set up to email all my parents, students, etc. (I'll do that eventually as well).
I put the widget on the news blog because that made the most sense to me and I don't really have room for it on my main page at this point. However, I was able to put a button on the page which links to the wish list. I also found the code for the button on the Amazon's Wish List page.

I also posted an article in the parent newsletter recently (you can find it on the news blog as well) which explains several ways parents (anyone viewing at the website) can contribute to the library. It includes buying through Amazon Associates account, a new product called GiftLit, and a link to our local independent bookstore.

Check it out. You may find it useful.