Thursday, August 14, 2014

Teaching Coggle

In structuring my lesson, I really tried hard to design it in a way that was simple, without being simplistic.

In other words, in showing the class how Coggle worked, I wanted to convey to them the primary attraction of Coggle–its ease-of-use–without getting bogged down in over-explanations and unnecessary information, while simultaneously avoiding falling into the trap of not so much teaching a lesson as merely giving them step-by-step directions. It's a tough line to walk–you have to make sure that the audience feels suitably involved, while at the same time reinforcing to them that you are the "expert" of said application–but on the whole, I'd say that I'm proud of the balance that I found.

Monday, August 11, 2014


For my pathfinder assignment, I decided to focus in on a resource/tool that I have become increasingly passionate about over the course of the last year or so–eBooks and eReaders–and attempted to create an "introduction" of sorts to the medium, laying out not only the specific forms that eBooks come in, but also–more specifically–what role they look to play in libraries' futures.

What I really like about Blendspace–both as a "pathfinder" tool and just as an instrument in and of itself–is the way that it allows you to chart out each and every step of the presentation, in accordance with exactly how you would like to have it delivered. While the site more or less presents itself as an educational tool, meant primarily for teachers and students, I could totally seem myself using Blendspace in a corporate setting, just as much as I could see myself using Powerpoint or Prezi.


For my database tutorial assignment, I decided to use QuickCast as my application, in order to create a short video demonstrating the use of Pocket, an application I discovered via this class that I have  come to absolutely love. Pocket essentially lets you save and download any web article that you like for later reading. For me, as someone who seems like I am always waiting in some form or fashion–taking the Metra, waiting in line at the grocery store, etc.–it's a huge boon, letting me catch up on all of my bookmarked articles during times that I would ordinarily spend just...well, waiting.

As far as QuickCast goes, while I was initially apprehensive about approaching yet another high-tech web application, I found the screencasting tool to be absolutely fantastic–intuitive, simple, and–most importantly–actually rewarding. It felt good to create a video for others in which I got to explain an application that I've come to love...and to do it in a way that was so professional and so easy to do was, in a weird way, strangely fulfilling.


I won't lie: out of all of the assignments that we have completed so far for this class, the 'digital storytelling' project–in which we created a video via iMovie–has been by far the toughest yet. It has also been, however, the most rewarding.

Prior to this class, I had never even touched iMovie, or any software even remotely similar to it. So, when we were assigned to create a video that served as a promotional tool for some sort of material, I had no idea where to even begin. Yet over the course of several panicky, exciting, stress-filled days, I slowly got a handle on iMovie–all of its various ins and outs, design quirks, capabilities, controls and commands–and was able, with the help of group members Sue and Jenny, to create a video promoting our "Thing That Move" Makerspace. It might not win any Oscars...but darn it, if I'm not insanely proud of what we were able to make.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Flyers, flyers, flyers...

With the exception of the blue-colored header, there wasn't a whole lot of similarities between my paper-flyer and my Smore-flyer, despite my having created the Smore-flyer first, which was suggested in the instructions for the assignment. Part of it has to do with the mediums, I suspect–Smore is a very specific program, and anything that is created within it is inherently going to abide by a certain set of principals, while Word is by design much less structured and, in turn, a bit more freeing to play around with.

As I mentioned, with the Smore-flyer, I basically just filled out the template that was provided, injecting personality where I could (the aforementioned color blue; the book covers; the link to the Banned Books Week YouTube page). With the paper-flyer, I tried to be a bit more experimental, and decided to have the main focus of the page be a picture of novel, opened wide, with all of the words blacked out and censored, and the single word 'BANNED' pasted loudly over it. Then, on the lower portion of the page, I detailed the where, when, what... My thinking in doing this was birthed mainly from the sad truth that most paper flyers are rarely't even looked at, let alone read over and examined. To get eyeballs to actually stay on the flyer and process the information on it, there needed to be something special, something deliberately showy. The picture of the censored novel with 'BANNED' pasted over it proved to be that 'something.'

Monday, August 4, 2014

Trailer for "The Passage"

The Passage

I really enjoyed working with Animoto to create a trailer for my selected book, Justin Cronin's "The Passage." While it certainly wasn't the complete Animoto experience–the site only allows for thirty free seconds, basically just long enough for a quick demo reel–I enjoyed my time enough that, in the future, I could totally see myself using Animoto in a larger capacity. With a slick interface and easy-to-follow-directions, there's a lot to like here.

Banned Books Week!