Reading Blogs isn’t just for Education Anymore!

I began reading blogs to find out more about technology and how it works with education. As I subscribed to many different types of blogs, I found that there were others out there that I wanted to read.  I didn’t actually know the people that were writing them, but who doesn’t want to know about cooking, celebrity gossip, and other fun stuff!!??

In the past year, I have found that people I know outside the education field are blogging too! Now I know that people have been blogging about tv, scrapbooking, babies, etc for a long time but I didn’t know them.

I wanted to share some of the categories/topics/people that I know that are blogging. My aggregator has so many categories now that I can hardly keep up with it!
Babies: Caroline began posting about friends’ and family members’ babies, but now posts about her own!

Reflections on Daily Life: Crist posts on her personal thoughts and insights into life…very funny one!  She often talks about the ridiculousness of people in our society. Morgan writes about random thoughts and shares great finds in music, jewelry, and other fun stuff. Sandy has moved to London and wants to share her new endeavors with all of us back in SC.  What a great way to keep in touch! Graduate student life in the UK is full of vicissitudes – you have to deal with so many things that it often becomes hard to manage your time well. There will be so many things that you may have never done before – it may range from leading your class for the first time to presenting at your first ever conference. Above all, you may have to write a thesis or dissertation for the very first time, which is often one of the scariest things to do in college. For many students, dissertation and essay writing is a tough task, but it doesn’t have to be this way, especially when students in Great Britain can take advantage of our essay writing services.

Gossip: If anyone is going to tell it like it is, it’s a McFaddin.  Callie posts about celeb sightings in NYC, award shows, and shares her hilarious opinion on it all.

And some other Top Faves…but I don’t know them.

Cooking: Recipes, gadgets, and more in the kitchen.  I like to pretend that I know how to cook!

Gossip: This blog is named The Insanely Addictive PopSugar and let me tell you , it is insanely addictive!  I hate that I love to read about celebrities and what they are up to now.  But who doesn’t want to know where Reese and Jake are, what Jennifer Aniston is wearing, or what Katie and Suri are doing this weekend without Tom?


For you other educators out there: What other types of blogs do you read?  Do you write non-educational posts in your blog?

For folks not in the educational field: Do you use an aggregator to follow the blogs you read?  Do you read any blogs about education?

SCASL 23 Things!

This year, I have joined the IT Committee of SCASL. This year’s SCASL President , Valerie Byrd Fort, has begun a great journey for all of its members and challenged us to participate in 23 Things. So, here it goes!

I checked out the 7 and 1/2 lifelong learning habits…

Easiest: 7 and 1/2- Play!
I love to Play!  Growing up, my dad always got the latest “gadgets” and I quickly developed the same desire.  For example, I do NOT need a Blackberry.  But I HAD to have one.  Now that I do, I love it!!

Hardest: Habit 1- Begin with the end in mind
I am definitely a planner, but I don’t always begin with the end in mind.  I must say though that this isn’t always a bad thing!  I am often pleasantly surprised with the endings of my projects, trainings, etc.

Since I am starting my 23 Things a few weeks behind…I am moving on to the next task.

Where in the world is/was Techjulia?

Whew, what a summer!  This roller coaster is finally coming to an end.
This was my first summer as a Technology Educator and I have thoroughly enjoyed it!

Summer Workshops, Columbia, SC
June started out with our Summer Workshops.  I taught SMART boards Intro, SMART boards for Media Center Staff, Google Lit Trips, Geocaching, and Web2.0 Tools.
Teachers using GPS devices.

(Teachers using GPS devices)

UTC, Greenville, SC
At the end of our workshops, MaryAnn, Elizabeth, and I traveled to Greenville for the Upstate Technology Conference.  They were presenting but I was just attending.  One of my schools has decided to go with Promethean ACTIVboards.  Since I am a SMART Certified Trainer, I figured I needed to get “smart” with Promethean too!  Greenville County seems to have mostly Promethean boards so they had many classes for me to attend.  I also wanted to hear the keynote speakers, Ewan McIntosh and David Jakes.

NECC, San Antonio, Texas
This was my first National education conference so I was really excited about the trip!  The conference itself did not live up to my expectations but everything else did.
On Day 1, I ran into a “celebrity” on the elevator.  Mr. Google Lit Trips…Jerome Burg.
I have been using his site for almost a year and have taught classes and done presentations on creating GLTs.  I was so excited to see him that I shrieked like a star-struck groupie.  I may have even scared his wife…sorry Mrs. GLT!
Me with \

(Me and “The Google Lit Trip Guy!!” aka Jerome Burg)

SMART Version 10 Training, Chicago, Illinois
My last big trip was to Chicago for more SMART training.  Elizabeth, MaryAnn, and I were continuing our SMART certification by attending this class.  Once we get back we will have to video a lesson to upgrade from 9.7 certification to Version 10.  The best part of the trip though did not involve work!  MaryAnn and I stayed an extra day so we could play.  We went to the Aquarium, shopped, ate good food, and saw a Cirque du Soleil show.  I have seen a Cirque show before and this one did not fail me.  It was phenomenal!

(Shedd Aquarium)

SCETV Workshops, Columbia, SC
I didn’t have to travel far for this one, but it is definitely worth mentioning.  I did 2 Google Lit Trip presentations at ETV this past week.  ETV holds FREE workshops for educators several times a year.  They are a great form of Professional Development and they are free!  From these workshops, I have had the opportunity meet and connect with many people from around the state.

Well,  I am back in town for now.  I am excited about the teachers and students coming back to school in a few weeks.  That means I can get back on a regular schedule.
I’m looking forward to a great year in Richland One with a new Superintendent, a new Technology Educator joining our team, and new ideas for trainings at my schools.

BTW, I did get a few days in with my family at the beach!! It rained 🙁 but I got to see my parents, sister, and nieces so the trip was worth it.

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Already planning for next year!?

As the end of the year is quickly approaching in my school district, I am beginning to plan for next year. Next year!!?? But I haven’t even finished this year or done everything that I wanted to do this year.

ReflectionMuch of my job as Technology Educator involves reflection. Every job involves reflection but how much of it do we really do? And how much of this reflection ends up happening? For example, one of the schools that I travel to does not like to use technology. It is not high on the priority list to learn and change with the times of emerging technologies. I have thought and “reflected” on this all year long. But has anything changed? Not really.

This was my first year in this school district but I hope to be able to roll up my sleeves and get into those schools next year!!! I have to let them know that I am here and I’m not leaving! This doesn’t mean that I am going in for a fight, but I do have to make my presence known and be sure to serve each of my schools as best as possible.

I met with one of my principals yesterday and we were making a plan for next year. It was a great meeting! She gave me long range plans so I can begin to figure out the best technology for each grade level to use with their standards. I want to have meaningful trainings and I hope that this will help.

If any of you out there have great ideas, plans, or reflections for assisting teachers in a not so tech savy school, please let me know!!


Black skinners. Discovery Communications, Inc.. Copyright Discovery Communications, Inc..
unitedstreaming. 22 April 2008

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Do you tell stories?

Last week I conducted a presentation on Google Lit Trips at SCASL 2008. I was very nervous and excited about the presentation but I think it went pretty well. I only had 50 handouts but over 100 people showed up for the session! If you missed the presentation or the handout, you can find it on my wiki I will post a picture of the group as soon as I get the jpg.

Today I ran across another site called We Tell Stories. Instead of using Google Earth to tell a story, this site is using Google Maps.

In Google Lit Trips, you can download a .kmz file and take a virtual trip through a work of literature. We Tell Stories is a new work of fiction. These are not classics or b00ks that you can check out at your local library. This site is actually a contest to read the stories over 6 weeks and follow a girl who has a habit of getting lost. Read more about the site here.

Isn’t it amazing all of the things that you can do now with Google Applications!!?? Check out Google Lit Trips and We Tell Stories to find out more. Then you can start telling your own stories through Google Earth and/or Google Maps.

Pre-Conference Jitters

This week is SCASL (South Carolina Association of School Librarians) Conference 2008!

I have attended this conference for many years as a Media Specialist but this year will be different! I am not only attending, I am also presenting, assisting, and working with the hosting school district.

Presenting…that’s where the jitters are.

I will be a presenting for part of the Pre-Conference Session “Power Up to the Future…with Web 2.0” on Wednesday, March 12, 2008. My co-workers and I will be showcasing blogs, wikis, podcasts, Google apps, and Other great Web 2.0 tools. I will be doing the “other” part. I plan to talk about, Animoto, Blabberize, and Kerpoof. I have used and shared all of these sites before, so my planning is already done for this. Yeah!!

I will also be presenting BY MYSELF on Friday! My session is entitled, “Google Lit Trips: A Journey Your Students Will Never Forget.” This will be my first time presenting at a conference on my own. I presented in the fall at the South Carolina Council for the Social Studies Conference, but my GREAT pal MaryAnn presented with me. She really knows her stuff! Anyway, I am excited about my presentation but of course I don’t have it completed yet. The sense of urgency is bound to hit me by tomorrow or Tuesday 🙂 There are tons of things to show from the Lit Trips site so I don’t have to worry about not having enough information. The site developer has even added my name to his site as an upcoming presentation and offered to help in any way. Thanks Jerome Burg!

Assisting…no biggie.

I work with 4 other Technology Educators and we will be the “crew” at the conference. We have to check each room before and after each session to make sure that the projectors and other equipment are working. Hopefully there won’t be any big issues to deal with this week!

Working with the hosting district…Richland One.

Since the conference is in Columbia, our school district is doing some of the party planning. Our department is currently working on the table decorations, equipment set-up, and other behind the scene details. I see a week of long work hours and early bedtimes in my future.

I am nervous about the presentations, but excited to be attending this conference in a new way this year. I hope to see some of my former Lexington Two colleagues and friends. But for now, I am going to get ready to Power Up @ Your Library.

Build Your WILD Self!

I was going through my Blogs today and ran across a post that contained a great new site!!


From this site, you can create your own Avatar. “An Avatar, SO WHAT??!!,” you ask. The fun part of this site is that your Avatar can be a regular person with Animal Parts. “An Avatar with Animal Parts, So What!!??,” you say. As you browse through the arms, legs, wings, eyes, etc. this site tells you exactly what it is (i.e. fenee fox ears) Once you have created your Avatar, this site will give you more information about the animal and how these parts are important.

As a former elementary Media Specialist, I remember students doing research for an animal project. How fun would it be to research and create your own animal!? This way you are learning about what types of “parts” an animal needs to survive in its environment. You can save your image, print it, email it to a friend, or save it as your desktop image.

Check out this site, and it also will direct you to New York Zoos and Aquariums.

Check out my Julia Fish, The Lio-ho-mon-ger-orse-ish-bird. Can you tell what parts I have? See below to find out!

Julia Fish

My Animal Parts:

African Lion Mane

Red river hog ears

Chilean flamingo beak

Siberian Tiger Paws

Pot-bellied Seahorse Tail

Lion Fish Fins

Lesser Bird of Paradise Feathered Tail

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FETC, Day 1- 1/23/2008

Wednesday began early with Discovery Education. I attended their FETC pre-conference event to learn and share with other DEN Star Members.

Our first event was Speed DENing (like speed dating, without the love connection). Before any ice-breaker begins, I don’t want to participate. BUT, this was fun tolerable good! The Rule: We had to talk to people we didn’t know. So I met a few people that I knew virtually but not personally. It’s funny how you can create an online world where you think you know people and then you attend conferences and get to meet them. Some of my “friends” were even on Twitter while in the meeting.

Hall Davidson did a quick version of his Thursday FETC session, The Man Behind the Curtain. He showed us how to “take control” of what our students see on iPods. By pasting some simple code, we can manage the main screen and content that is loaded on the iPods for our students to use in the classroom. He also gave out tips for blogs, Google Earth, and PowerPoint but the iPod tip was the best thing I took from that.

One of the guys I met in Speed DENing, Chris Bugaj, presented technology tips with Assistive Technology. He and his colleague, Sally Norton Dar, worked with their department and students to create a AT (Assistive Technology) -A-Day calendar. What a great concept! Their team created technology tips for each school day and made it into a tear off calendar. MaryAnn and I have already discussed doing this project in our district.

There were several other DEN folks and DEN Stars that presented and they all gave great information…but on to lunch!

Discovery Education took us to the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney! I was hoping to see Mickey while in Orlando, but the shopping center would have to do. We had a good lunch, took silly pics in the Disney Store, and headed back for our keynote speaker, Jeff Corwin! While we were in Downtown Disney, I did go to The Pin Traders Store. Apparently a new craze for Disney patrons is to buy a lanyard and pins. Then you trade the pins with other people. My nieces and nephew collect and trade these so I did pick up a few for them. Yes, Aunt JuJu did get a treat for you!

The Pin Traders Store

Another perk to being a DEN Star Member–Second Row Seating at Jeff Corwin’s Keynote! Although he did not talk about technology, he did address education and his inspirations to become who he is today.

Our day concluded with dinner with Discovery Education at Bahama Breeze. This was a social dinner but I always enjoy getting to talk to to the folks that work with the DEN.

Whew! What a day. Only Day 1, and I am exhausted already. I’m hoping to visit the Spa at our hotel before we leave…

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FETC, Here I Come!

I am so excited!! Just last week I got permission to attend FETC 2008!

A colleague, MaryAnn, and I are able to go because of the wonderful Discovery Educator Network. Being a part of such a great network not only gives me access to other educators around the world, but it also has given me many opportunities to advance my education with some Professional Development.

Since our district has allowed us to attend, we do have to do some work for them too 🙂 We will be speaking with several of the vendors and attending sessions to aide us in our future trainings in the schools. We are going to check out 1:1 laptop initiatives, technology camps for students and teachers, and working with Word 2007 and beyond.

This will be my first conference outside of South Carolina so I am excited to see what Florida has to offer. Now I know it has The Mouse, but unfortunately I will not see him. This will be my first trip to Orlando that doesn’t include the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. We are going to Downtown Disney for lunch one day, so I guess that will be my Mickey fix.

Lots of things to plan before I leave, I don’t know where to start!

Look out Orlando, Richland One is coming to town.

Stay tuned for my thoughts on my first out of state conference…

Happy 2008!

I found a new link from the SL-DEN blog and wanted to share it with y’all. I always love finding new sites to create cards, slide shows, or photo books online. This one is called Smilebox. Smilebox does have advertisements on the free version, so I am wondering if it will be blocked at work. Work…I don’t have to think about that for 1 more day!

I created a card to show an example. So check out Smilebox and think of some great things you could do with it!

Have a safe and Happy New Year!!

My Technology New Year’s Resolution: When I find a good link, site, lesson, or other item of interest, SHARE it or put it to use. It it not a “good” link if I bookmark it and forget about it.

Do you have a Technology Resolution for 2008? If so, leave a comment below.

Click to play Happy+2008!
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