Feed on

This concurrent session at FETC Thursday, January 14 was extremely inspiring. I’ve listened to Speaker Sylvia Martinez at a number of ISTE Conferneces, at Educon, and now at FETC and she is, with or without hubby Gary Stager, a force to be reckoned with. If you don’t want to feel inspired, skip her sessions! From her bio, “Martinez started her career designing high frequency receiver systems and navigation software for GPS satellites.” It was nice to hear her share this anecdote about her first job as a GPS designer, and how she left the position to do something that she felt made a difference.

I believe she is spot on with her observation that we are living in and teaching during another American Revolution. The Industrial Revolution, more than about steam engines, was about how people changed the way they “organized.”  The revolution we are experiencing now is no less the same. Consider how the tools we have available today, the ones we use on a daily basis, have changed the way we work and live. I wonder what this “revolution” will be referred to in the future? The technology revolution? The “invent to learn” revolution?

Sylvia Martinez gave us much to think about. Today’s mindset of sharing everything, creating, building, learning independently, the growth of the maker movement, and how we have grown into a “show and tell” society are shaping the future. As educators we need to encourage this mindset in our youth.  Sylvia was not the only session where I heard the promotion of her book Invent to Learn, or the concept of the maker movement. It was nodded during the opening Keynote by Reshma Saujani, again in Howie Diblassi‘s session I attended later, and throughout the exhibit hall and smaller conversations in the conference venue. Sometime back I got her book, Invent to Learn as an ebook. Little did I know then it would become known as “the bible of the classroom maker movement.” I am now inspired to load it up and read it, and even implement some kind of maker space in my own teaching context, the library.

Invent to Learn Website

My cover shot/screenshot of my ebook:
Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 5.18.32 PM
I also chose to attend Howie Diblassi’s concurrent session that afternoon titled Creating MakerSpaces in Schools: Hands-On, Minds-On Activities. His session was energetic and fast paced! Visit his site  (and here) where you can download all 172 slides (mind you he only had 40 minutes for this session) and at his site, you will get all content that he referenced in his pres. While I’m not sure I picked up a lot of new material or inspiration, I definitely found a wealth of material to come back and look at in my leisure.  His enthusiasm was contagious as well.

Some take-aways (other than the book!)

I’d never heard of Sylvia’s Super Awesome Maker-Show, but it was repeated in several sessions. Started when Sylvia was 9yo (I think), the now 13yo is an invited speaker to some of our edtech and education conferences. What!!? Quite inspiring. This is an older video, way before she was 13. Check out this cheeky kid.

Some resources I need to look into include:

Arduino – an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for anyone making interactive projects and Raspberry Pi – touted as the $5 computer to build.


Special Thanks

I am appending to this post a special thanks to the South Carolina State Library and Halie Brazier for accepting my application for a funding source for travel and attendance at the Future of Education in Technology Conference. My funding is directly attributed to the Library Services and Technical Services Act and the U.S. Institute of Museums and Library Services.  I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to attend this professional development conference for educators.

I really enjoyed Gabriel Carrillo’s #FETC session on App Smashing with these three tools at the FETC Conference Concurrent Session January 14, 2016. Gabriel, an AZ School District Tech Specialist showed us how to create audio files (narrations, announcements, even singing) and then fiddle with them to have background music with a variety of themes. The app, Ujam, works well with Google Drive, so your final files will be in your drive. It is a robust cloud based app too, and it can be found in thein the Google Play store (plugin or app, not sure which.) He just used UJam directly online (ujam.com). It was very interesting to see and realize the variety of ways it could be used in a classroom. It has a look and feel that is similar to Garage Band from the Apple side of creation tools, but this one is asynchronous, working well on any device, even mobile ones. Gabriel then used a narration (no singing!) that he made with pleasant background music to add to a video montage of just pictures. Very clever.  Ideas for using this in school setting included sharing field trip pictures with narration, leaving student directions for a substitute to play, and more. The video software he used with UJam was very simply WeVideo. All of this is cloud based and works extremely well, practically seamless with Google Drive. Terrific session and terrific take-aways! Check out a few tweets below about the session. It was nice to see examples and ideas while in or immediately after the session.


This tweet that includes a video shared via Twitter. The attendee, Barbara Leidahl used UJam and WeVideo right there during our session to create a brief recap of one of her FETC workshops. Just goes to show how simple and quick this “app-smashing” can be learned and used. 


Video link 

Checkout Ujam’s Youtube channel


Special Thanks

I am appending to this post a special thanks to the South Carolina State Library and Halie Brazier for accepting my application for a funding source for travel and attendance at this conference, the Future of Education in Technology Conference. My funding is directly attributed to the Library Services and Technical Services Act and the U.S. Institute of Museums and Library Services.  I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to attend this professional development opportunity.

Just wanted to share the SWVBC if you are curious as to how it works.  Bssically we have around a dozen schools who are “member” schools, and we have teens come in on a Google Hangout (a single group joins via a laptop/desktop/ipad/iphone/device of their choosing) to talk about a title. One school acts as facilitator each time. We record and share our videos publicly afterwards if the discussion doesn’t get too personal (and sometimes that happens.) These are the member schools, and anyone is welcome to join us–just ask.  Sometimes we have even had authors of a selected title join us. Here are the schools who have participated this year, though not all at one time. A Google Hangout can have ten live participants, so we ask for an RSVP the day before.  The RSVP’d librarians get the live link to join. Typically of our doze or so schools, five join. We offer he live link as a second option for hose who would like to have students join from home (east coasters usually have to make a special trip back to school, so that second live link can come in handy for us.

The hosting school picks the book a month or more in advance, and you can see our schedule and plans for this school year at the end of this post. Here is yesterday’s meeting.

This is our schedule for this school year. We’d love to have others join us live or even “lurk” live. Contact me for details–>Cathyjonelson at gmail dot com. Notice the two openings we still need filled with a title and host!


Android Garden – Google Mountain View Office by Anthony Quintano, April 2, 2014 via Flickr.

The window of opportunity has arrived for the next wave of what used to be called “Google Teacher Academy.” The application is now open for the new and improved program, “Google for Education Certified Innovators.” By far one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career, I would love to see MANY more librarians in the mix. In my own opportunity (GTA-ATL14) there were four librarians out of the fifty participants.  Let’s increase that!

We need to inundate Google with “Librarian” applicants! Librarians touch every facet of the curriculum and school program in most schools. So consider applying for the next Google for Education Certified Innovator Program (formerly known as the Google Teacher Academy)! And how awesome is it that this next one is at the main Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA?

Key dates:

  • December 2, 2015: Applications open
  • January 11, 2016: Applications close at 11:59 PST
  • January 18, 2016: Applicants notified of selection to program
  • February 24-26, 2016: In-person Academy in Mountain View, California, USA
  • January 18, 2017 or before: Launch date of new innovation projects

Here is the link for details again–> http://googleforeducation.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-new-certified-innovator-program-is.html  You have from now THROUGH Christmas break and then some to get your application in. It is so worth the work to apply!


Image Attribution:
Quintano, Anthony.Android Garden – Google Mountain View Office. 2 April 2014. Online image. Flickr. 2 December 2015. https://www.flickr.com/photos/quintanomedia/13607388294.

Our latest round of weeding has provided us with plenty of books. Many have been donated or given away to students. My art department has adopted some, but I am most impressed with what an English teacher in my school did with her class. I shared with her over the summer some really cool “blackout” poems after seeing some at SCASL Conference in March 2015, and told her/showed her the many pages available! She is having fun with our discarded books. Here is a sampling of the blackout poetry a few from her classes did this week. She tells me there are more to come–the kids keep raising the bar on one another.

Tomorrow (October 12, 2015) I spend the day in Rock Hill, SC at Sullivan Middle for the Old English Consortium’s Librarians Staff Development. I was invited to lead a session that I led at SCASL last March. It is worthy of updating here because I have revised some of the presentation as tools and materials have changed.  This post is also to serve as a link to this presentation as well, as attendees may not remember urls, but they may remember that I said I posted it here.

Not seeing the embedded presentation? Click here.

Looking for the e-handout? Click here.


Booklove Links











Cathy Jo Nelson – Book Love Links


Silhouette Cameo



Xyron Creative Machine



Staples Double Sided Foam Mounting Tape












Teen Librarian Toolbox






Hoping some of my friends will join us!


Image: Created by Tiffany Whitehead


  • Google (GAfE)
  • ItsLearning (LMS)
  • Dropbox
  • Edmodo

Image Created with Google Drawings

In recognition of Banned Books Week which just around the corner, our #CavaliersRead Book Club is reading a highly volatile book, Ellen Hopkins Crank. I would like to set up a Google Hangout for my group, which meets during first lunch at Dorman from 11:33-12:03 ET, just to connect my teens to teens outside our school, perhaps to give them ideas and understanding beyond our own group. I figure we’d try to connect at 11:40 AM. It will be short and brief, being less than 20 minutes. Anyone interested in connecting with us?
Why Crank?
This post over on the YA Love Blog sort of inspired us to choose this book for our September book club, and despite it being roughly 5 years old, it is still a quite popular book that really speaks to the consequences of bad choices by teens, best, from a user’s perspective. I look forward to hearing the thoughts of my teens…and hopefully yours too.
Promoting it at school
Checkout a poster one of our book club members created for placement in the halls at school!

Created by DHS student Marybeth M.

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