Category Archives: Class Discussion

Going Beyond Powerpoints with Prezi

I’ve been looking into some presentations options that go beyond the (sometimes bland) land of Powerpoints.  One that I really like the look and feel of is Prezi.  With zooming presentation software, it allows you to move seamlessly through your ideas and create a more cinematic and engaging experience.  With 3D capability, you can guide your audience through a spacial journey, zooming out for an overview and in on the details.

Here’s a 1 minute video that gives a nice overview:

And there’s this helpful tutorial page as well:

In addition, they also offer free live webinars to help you create and share your first prezi–so lots of support options to get started.

You can make your Prezi portable by downloading a version of it, which you can view offline or present in a setting where you don’t have internet.  When presenting your Prezi, you can control the speed by setting the time interval between path steps.  For those wedded to Powerpoint, you can import your slides into Prezi–one at a time or all at once, with just a few clicks.

You can sign up for free, or upgrade to paid options:

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And there are many attractive templates to choose from:

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I’m impressed with what I see and excited to put it to use!


Social Media in Elementary School Libraries?

I plan to be children’s librarian at a public library or private school.  I’ve interned at a public library and can clearly see the huge benefits of using social media in that setting.  In the fall, I’ll be doing an internship at a private K-8 school and it’s got me thinking about where (and if) social media fits into that puzzle.  Is there a place for it with the younger set?

The most obvious hurdle here is age.  Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, WordPress, Goodreads, and many others require a minimum age of 13 to open an account.  That’s good news for middle and high schoolers, where the possibilities are endless, but are elementary schoolers out of luck?

There’s also the issue of parents.  Some may not want their younger children on social sites, even ones geared toward younger kids like ScuttlePad and Togetherville.  According to “Kids Online,” a report issued by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, sites aimed at the under-13 set vary widely in quality: “evidence is growing that many of the virtual worlds for children that are currently available are impoverished compared to those for teens and adults…the comparable worlds designed for children often provide much more limited, homogenous texts, contain fewer affordances and action opportunities, and even promote bad grammar because of word filters.”

Obviously, librarians are free to use social media to network and cull ideas to enrich their student’s lives at any age level.  In fact, according to a recent report by MMS Education, librarians use social networking professionally more than teachers and principals–citing 82% usage in 2012.  But, what are some other options for connecting with younger students within the Web 2.0 realm?

The best idea I can come up with, given the limitations, is starting a book blog or wiki at a school.  Teachers, librarians and students could recommend books, write reviews, organize book clubs, have kids vote for favorites, etc.  Sort of a Goodreads for the youngins.

Do any of you have experience or ideas on this front?


Fumbling with Tumblr

Two cats and a dryer

Where’s the Tumbl button? — photo credit Malingering @ Flickr

The class readings we had on Tumblr taught me a few things about Tumblr I didn’t know before, but only left me more confused about it!

* It’s like Twitter, in that you can share quick thoughts with the world and do so from your phone.
* It’s like Flickr, in that you can easily share your photos with the world.
* It’s like LiveJournal, in that your blog exists in a community of other blogs with a feed of blogs you’re following.
* It’s like Facebook, in that you can share thoughts/photos/videos/links in a space that encouraging sharing of what you shared.
* It’s like a blog, in that.. it’s a blog.
* It’s like a podcast hosting site, in that you can easily post a podcast even if you only have a phone and no recording equipment.
* It’s like Pinterest, in that you can curate a collection of photos and links.

(Random note: My spellcheck likes Twitter, Flickr, LiveJournal, and Facebook, but says I misspelled Tumblr and Pinterest. Hrrrm.)

* It’s not as good as Twitter, because you can’t quickly search a hashtag to follow a discussion in real time.
* It’s not as good as Flickr, because you can’t create photo albums and easily see all the metadata embedded in the photo.
* It’s not as good as LiveJournal, because… well, maybe it is. But it’s not as old as LiveJournal.
* It’s not as good as Facebook, because all your friends and family aren’t on it and you can’t play games.
* It’s not as good as a blog on another platform, because you don’t have as much control and variety of plugins.
* It’s not as good as a podcast hosting site, because it doesn’t help you get your podcast onto iTunes or make your podcast easily searchable amongst other podcasts.
* It’s not as good as Pinterest, because Pinterest lets you see a collection all at once and makes it very easy to pin.

(Random note the second: Spellcheck is fine with podcast, but make it plural and it just can’t cope. Podcasts, really?)

I’m left with the conclusion that Tumblr falls into some niche that I just can’t pinpoint. It does things other places do, and just.. does them a little differently. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, mostly just differently. It probably is one of the causes for LiveJournal declining in popularity, at least in the US. It seems to most closely match what LiveJournal does, only with making it easier to customize and to post a variety of content.

I’m still not quite convinced I need to have one.

A Dizzying Array of Choices

Am I the only one with my head spinning here?  While the world of social media is a wonder, to be sure, it’s also just a tad bit overwhelming.  What to choose, implement and manage not only for yourself, but for your institution?   Who’s to say what will be around next year or what will be the new “it” tool to add to the pile?

Even conservatively picking the “biggies” one could end up with personal accounts  on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google +.  Add to that professional  accounts for your library/institution and you’ve got another set of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.  I’m not even including Tumblr, Instagram, and many others and our tally is already at 9 accounts!  Who has time for that?!

I don’t know, but I’m thinking the best way to go here to maintain sanity (and some semblance of free time) is to employ the old, “pick one thing and do it well” approach.  Ok, maybe two or three things…but not nine!  Unless I had unlimited resources and a crack team of Web 2.0-ers…

If I was helping a library launch a Library 2.0 presence from scratch, I think I’d go with Facebook and Pinterest.  I think they’re both accessible, intuitive, and complement each other nicely.  Other pairings like say, Facebook and Twitter or Facebook and Google+ have a lot more overlap and the pressure to come up with original content for both at least some of the time might prove tricky.

For my personal use, I currently have only a Facebook page (and a couple of blogs), though I signed up for Pinterest today and plan to do a LinkedIn account when I get closer to graduation.  Baby steps…

Looking forward to week 3!

Hi everyone – we are looking forward to this week as we begin to jump into various discussions!

Reminder, your first blog entry is due by 2/6 along with the topic of your Social Media Plan. We are really looking forward to reading your blogs and seeing where you will focus for your plan. We will be providing feedback/input on both over the next week.

Some blog entries are coming in already and they are great to read – thank you!

Also, we have our first discussion starting this week. The topics will typically be posted on the Wed of the week (2/6) and participation will happen through the following Wed (2/13). For this first topic, we will be posting the topic early (today!!) – be on a look out for that and looking forward to the discussion.

Thanks –