Reflection on using a new tool – Powtoon

I was introduced to this Powtoon tool when I began working on my Virtual Symposium assignment. Generally, I would go with a PowerPoint or Piktochart route but I wanted to try something new. My fear going into this was that I would waste a lot of time trying to learn the application and spare time is not something I have just lying around the house (mismatched socks on the other hand – TONS!) I found myself pleasantly surprised to find Powtoon so fun and easy to use! I was off and running in very little time. I highly recommend this application if you need a visualization tool in the future. You could use it for just about anything…class assignments, work presentations, your cat’s birthday party, it’s very flexible!

This is a tool that could be shared in a library classroom setting because it is a simple application for users grasp and would not require much instruction time. Users with decent knowledge about PowerPoint type software would do well. Plus, it has a free option…which I used…because let’s face it, I’m cheap and iced caramel macchiatos take precedence…sorry!

In all seriousness, I could see this as a fun Saturday morning class for visitors of all ages. You could make a fun video presentation for Mother’s Day or use it to make quick training video for your YouTube channel, small business owners could use it to showcase product for their social media platforms, etc., etc., etc., you get the picture!

Bottom line, I like it!

Check it out and become a believer: https://www.powtoon.com/my-powtoons/?#/

Director’s Brief

Cultural Spirit Meets Augmented Reality

NOTE: WordPress said my file exceeds the maximum upload size for this site (whoops) so I have uploaded the pages as images.

To aid the Kern County Library system in blending the musical history of the local Bakersfield community with the augmented reality technology in an artistic and interactive way. This project will allow the participation of local artists in the creation of a multi-faceted mural, representing the beauty of the community it serves.

A community, such as Kern County, is only as strong as the members it is built from. Bakersfield, the largest city in our county, is known around the world for its unique country music sound – commonly known as the Bakersfield Sound. To combine this historical sound and the current trend of augmented reality, this project would involve the painting of the artists influential in the creation of this sound, such as country artists Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. By using an AR application, visitors will have the ability to scan over the mural with their smart phone or tablet to watch the legends themselves come to life before their eyes.

The Library As A Classroom

Learning in the “Garden of Readin‘!”

In this Choose Your Own Adventure episode, we take a look at the library as a classroom. I must admit that when I thought of the title for this project, I literally LOL’d, because, like a perfect pizza, it contains just the right amount of cheesiness. Kinda like that line 🙂 I think this quarantine might finally be cracking me!

All jokes aside, the library is in a unique position to meet so many learning needs. I have found with my children that learning tends to be more effective and fun, when some sort of activity is involved. Gardening can be a therapeutic way to express creativity and learn about plant life. This project would take those fun and fundamental aspects of gardening and combine them with literature.

Each session would showcase a different story and participants will be given the tools to re-create the world of that story through their own eyes. We all know that books contain a level of imagery, pictures we manifest in our minds as we go through the text. While the general idea may be the same for most, the details could vary from reader to reader. The most interesting part of this activity is to see how each participant sees this literary world. What characters do they choose? Do they re-create their favorite scene or go rogue?

This project also allows for a lot of literary discussion. Participants can share their opinions of the story, the characters, the themes, the morals, the ups, the downs, the heartfelt, and the heart break. This project enables the library to meet literary, social, and even emotional needs of most age groups and the take away is not only a deeper appreciation for the text but also a customized Garden of Readin’ to take home!

Reflection on New Models

I truly enjoyed listening to the lecture and videos surrounding the topic of new models. My brain just started firing off all kinds of ideas that I would love to see in my local library. Brainstorming and creating are my favorite things to do and the new model of libraries seems to really nurture that part of my spirit. I’ve told my husband so many times that I wish I could get paid to just create and help others create. I like doing it for free as well but, unfortunately, Capital One doesn’t accept fairy garden houses as a form of payment.

But truth be told, I was walking around a local library recently and it was just soooooo quiet and I thought to myself, “Self. I just don’t know if this environment is going to be a good fit for you.” I live in a home with my husband and four children, there is always noise and commotion. Conversations. Projects. Music. The noise is my normal. It’s a comfort to me. Walking through the shelves of books in silence felt foreign to me. Not that it was bad, it was just something I don’t experience often. But now I realize that maybe this is the environment that is best for this part of the community. Maybe this is their comfortable. I just need to find a library that speaks to me. A library where I can share my creativity and help my community in the process.

You know the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” – well, instead of simply describing the thoughts I had during this lesson, I decided to create…drum roll please…..visual aids! I put them together like a vision board/collage type of layout.


Pictures from my head:

Any library could have a fireplace. There are safe, portable, electric versions that don’t take up much space but still give the look and feel of a traditional fireplace. I picture Santa sitting my the fire and reading to children while they sit in their pj’s eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate. Maybe they could even do activities like writing their wish lists or making ornaments.
We have a small teepee in our house and my little ones love sitting inside and reading books or playing on the tablet.


Set-up a community event where the library accepts donated business attire and accessories and then helps job seekers put together an outfit to wear for interviews.

The quoted text above was from the online lecture by @michael for INFO 287.

Hyperlinked Environments – COVID-19 and the Immediate Online Student

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the school closures that followed, many children around the world have become online students almost overnight. As teachers and administrators scramble to create an online alternative, many students are working out of paper packets and using school provided e-resources like Pordigy, Epic, and MobyMax to fill in the teaching gap. Teachers, who taught in the face-to-face environment, have been faced with the challenge of mobilizing their classrooms and administrators are now tasked with creating an efficient and multi-faceted e-learning platform, at no cost to families, and launching it in enough time to extinguish the fear of our students falling behind. So this begs the question, how will our students be educationally and emotionally impacted by becoming immediate online students?

Sir Ken Robinson expressed his views on the pre-COVID-19 educational system in his 2010 TED Talk, “This [education system] has to be transformed into something else…We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process; it’s an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development. All you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.”

However, in this field, it isn’t just the farmer and the crops. It isn’t just the academic part that comes into play here. It is everything that goes along with putting your child, for hours on end, in front of a screen and hoping they are safe. Safe from cyber-bullying, safe from emotional stress, safe from eye strain due to long periods of screen time, and safe from online threats to cyber security.

This digital intelligence wheel printed in an article by Yuhyun Park, 8 digital skills we must teach our children shows the eight sections of digital intelligence we must instill in our children and quickly. From Digital Literacy to Digital Emotional Intelligence, each section of this wheel plays a vital role in our current educational condition. While the online world opens up a limitless amount of resources to further our children’s education, we have also opened up a limitless amount of danger and it is imperative that we understand that COVID-19 is not the only threat to our children’s health and safety. We have potentially set our children out as prey to those who use the internet for dark purposes and it is our responsibility as caretakers to be vigilant. We must pay attention, we must ask questions, and we must support our students as we transition them through this period of uncertainty. They will be educationally and emotionally challenged and maybe it will all be for the improvement our students and our educational system as a whole.

Maybe we can take this new educational condition and use it as an opportunity to re-evaluate and reset our educational system. Maybe this mandatory school closure is the push we needed to recognize that need for change that Sir Ken Robinson shared and correct our faults and weaknesses. Our educational system has been faced with a fight or flight situation and I believe that those teachers who love to teach, who have a passion for it, will do whatever it takes to make their students successful, no matter the educational structure. The implementation of a tech driven education is inevitable…why not start now?

Only time will tell how successful our students will be in comparison to the previous learning model. We may find many of our students actually do better using this online platform versus the traditional face-to-face mode. And maybe, just maybe, through this chaos and calamity, we can find our way to brighter, smarter, and more well-balanced students. Sometimes something must be broken to come back stronger.

References:

Robinson, K. (2010). Bring on the learning revolution!

Park, Y. (2016). 8 digital skills we must teach our children.

Communities – Victims Resource and Support Network

“Communities are human systems given form by conversations that build relatedness” – Peter Block

Last year I became involved with a local non-profit in my community called the Bakersfield 3 Charity. It is a group founded by 3 local mom’s whose adult children were victims of violent crime. It is believed that the three cases are somehow connected and were even showcased on two episodes of the Dr. Phil show. During the discussion of Hyperlinked Communities this group came to mind, specifically our newest outreach project called the Victims Resource and Support Network (VRSN).

The quote from Peter Block resonated with me because our focus with the VRSN is to create a safe place for members of the community to seek help, resources, and support during a traumatic and difficult time in their lives. Each month, we meet at the library, a place we chose because of it’s reputation as a safe, neutral, and welcoming environment. We share resources and give support to victims of violent crimes and/or the families of victims. It is a place where members of the community can share stories, share tips, show support, and most of all, connect with individuals within the community who have experienced similar heartbreak. The loss of a loved one is a daunting and lonely experience and our hope as a charity is to help alleviate that burden in whatever way we can. We want to reach and serve anyone who needs us.

Looking to the future, we plan to showcase a speaker at each meeting. Someone who can relate through their own personal experience or someone who can share a resource or organization that can provide assistance to these families. I think Seth Godin’s words in his book, Tribe, “Anyone can be a leader” ring true with this group. These moms have become a symbol of strength within our community. They march on through the darkness, in the hope of one day shinning light on the truth. What happened to the Bakersfield 3?

This is my – “I’m falling behind in this class because I can’t say ‘no’ to people” rant.

I want to take this moment to be honest with myself and the class and say I have been a terrible student so far this semester. Last semester I was on my game. I was even able to earn 100% in one of my classes…but this semester, ehhhhh, not so much. I just can’t seem to get it together!

Fact: I have A LOT on my plate. Some might say a little too much. I am working on delegating and moving things off of my plate but it is going to take some time and quite frankly a lot more effort on my part because I have a very difficult time telling people “no.”

Why do I have a hard time saying “no” to people? 1. Because I feel bad AND 2. Because I am a control freak. Plain and simple.

I also take on way too much because I apparently no longer need sleep. I have become a zombie. A woman of the night. Cut me and I will bleed coffee.

Case in point: I accepted an online teaching position that was originally only supposed to be 1 or 2 nights a week and it has turned into a 7-day work week, with me teaching literally every single night. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. FOLKS.

They didn’t force all of this work on me. They asked me if I wanted to take it on. They gave me a choice. But do I say, “No” – EVER! Sure don’t! I just add it to the pile on my plate. This pile that just keeps getting higher and higher. Heavier and heavier. Pasta sauce running off the side…peas spilling on to the floor…my school work responsibilities buried somewhere under the mountain of mashed potatoes. I’m a mess people!

All this to say…I am hoping to use the next couple of days to get back on track because I feel like I am really going to enjoy this class if I could just sit down for a few, uninterrupted hours and focus. So please, cross your fingers, say a prayer, light a candle, whatever…just send me some good vibes so I can slow down and get back to being the student I want to be.

If you feel like you are one scoop away from becoming a Gold Corral buffet plate, please share your rant with me in the comments! No judgement.

Ok…Rant over. You’re free to go 🙂

Reflection on: Ctrl + Z, The Right to Be Forgotten

What an interesting read! Ctrl +Z, The Right to Be Forgotten had such a creative title (that is what initially caught my eye), but the subject is something I think we all can relate to. The author, Meg Leta Jones, discusses our right to online privacy and the controversy surrounding our right to remove things, true or untrue, about ourselves from the online environment.

First off, I found the statistic listed in this book about Google absolutely baffling. Did you know that in 2012, internet users ran a combined 2,000,000 queries per minute. WHAT?! That’s right, 2,000,000. I myself am a chronic Googler, usually it’s “Hey, Google, how do you spell ‘definitely’?” or “What can be used as a substitute for smoked paprika” because honestly, smoked paprika? But I never would have guessed 2,000,000 per minute. How did we get anything done before Google?

Something I found very interesting is the research and discussion about how the internet has begun eliminating the process of forgetting. Really think about that. No more forgetting. No more tall tales of your child hood glory, Dad. Your kids will see your post from 2018, and I’m sorry, one 10-second dance challenge on Tik Tok does not make you a professional break dancer. It just doesn’t.

If we choose to, we could capture every moment of our lives, upload it, and never forget a single day. And as wonderful as it sounds to save every photo of coffee foam perfection, forever and ever amen, there are also things in life that you may want to forget. That you need to forget, for your own sanity and mental health. Tragic things. Scary things. Things that your subconscious would naturally ease from your memory, if not for the digital reminder on your phone. Or, embarrassing things. Mortifying things. Things that, if they were shared with an employer or a loved one, could cost you everything. The author shares that “digital memory ‘negates time’. It becomes very difficult for people to detach themselves from humiliating or embarrassing past moments, which can make efforts at self-improvement seem futile.” This point begs the question, How does one move forward when the past is always in the present?Digital memory, in short, prevents society from moving beyond the past because it cannot forget the past.

Case in point, after reading this book, I was on my Facebook and one of those – “On this day 10 years ago” type of posts came up. Usually it’s a cute picture of one of my kids or my dog or a picture of myself 5 wrinkles ago, but this one was just a post I wrote, complaining about something SO trivial that it honestly bothered me. I annoyed myself with my own words. How embarrassing is that? I wanted to go back and delete anything that was written by that person. That person was not me anymore. That person was a whiny brat that had no idea what struggle was. But to the internet, it will always be me. And if someone pulled that random post up, they could base their entire perception of me off of that one post. Luckily it’s just a dumb, whiny post about absolutely nothing, but how many people have had their lives ruined because the internet did not let anyone forget about what they said? An off-color comment or insensitive joke made 12 years ago, could come back to haunt you.

So how does this relate to our course? Well, for starters, this blog! Reflection blogging for school is the process of sharing our insights, opinions, and observations ONLINE for everyone to see. And while I tend to err on the side of caution, maybe the opinion I share about this class, our assignments, a library service or model of learning that we discover is not well received by someone else…what can I do?

I could apologize, take it back, edit my post, beg for mercy (if I felt the need to do so) – but a simple Ctrl + C followed by a Ctrl + P before I make that happen and my words live on regardless of my best actions to correct them. In this world, we represent more than just ourselves, we represent our families, our friends, our employer, our school and with that comes great responsibility to be, well….responsible.

We learn a lot in this course about how the internet and technology brings us closer, oceans no longer keep the lands apart…the world shrinks in a way. But this same power of connectivity can also be used to divide us and as members of the library, where we have the opportunity to share technology with our community, we must also remember to share with them the ability to be cautious, safe, and kind. We must share it all because with knowledge comes the power to do better. And if we can take anything from this course, it’s that we have so many opportunities to gain knowledge and do better.

Final thought: I saw one of those random quotes online that said something like, Before you say something, make sure it can pass through these three gates: 1. Is it true? 2. Is it necessary? and 3. Is it kind? This is my new tool for being a better me. Think before you post people!

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