S’Mashing it Up!


This week we are looking at Mashups and had to create a webpage that included a Google Map with directions and several other items.

I have created websites in the past using Weebly and have often found it easy to add widgets to my pages showing maps, calendars or photos. I have also added RSS feeds, videos, audio and the such to LibGuides.

I created the page here in my WordPress blog and will provide the link below. My inexperience with WordPress makes what should be a quick job into a longer process as I learn its various ins & outs.

Creating the Google Map & embedding it onto a new page was simple enough as was adding a YouTube video. Adding a Twitter feed and weather box proved to be more of a challenge as I tried many embedding codes before finding some that worked. I made several attempts to add an RSS feed to the page but, so far, have had not been successful in that endeavor. All in all, though, it is much easier adding these sort of bells & whistles to websites than it was a few years ago. It has been great working with WordPress which I had had no previous experience with before this course.

My Mashup page can be found here https://rjpowellcortland.wordpress.com/mashup/


Online Training & Learning – Remember to Save that Draft


Welcome to my second attempt to blog about this week’s topic of Online Training and Learning. I had completed a post but decided to let it sit so I could come back and tweak it later. It seems, however, that my draft was not automatically saved. Bummer! Lesson learned about WordPress.

We have two articles for this week: “Learning to Teach Through Video” by Kim Leeder and “The Messy Art of UX Sketching” by Peiter Buick.

“The Messy Art of UX Sketching” touched on the value of sketching out ideas to map out a project. It suggests that sketching out scenarios is more efficient than creating website layouts or getting caught up in the technology of the software used. The advantages of storyboarding can be seen in any making of documentary of a film. Each hand sketched panel sets up a scene which can easily be moved to another area in the preliminary editing of the flow of the story. This article lays out some sketching basics that can be used prior to adding the technology phase.

“Learning to Teach Through Video”discusses some good practices for creating tutorial videos. It covers the usual subjects of pedagogy, principles of multimedia learning, software and the planning stages which includes the above mentioned storyboarding. The best information given in the article is summed up in the section on pedagogy:

So our students need to go through several steps to make meaning out of what we teach them: first, by paying attention; second, by making sense out of it; and third, by applying it to what they already know about the topic. As a result, educators using multimedia need to be thoughtful about the amount of information we’re providing through video and audio channels, and the pace at which we’re providing the information, to ensure that we’re giving students enough time to process it in ways that make sense to them. If we provide too much information at once, we cause cognitive overload, at which point our students shut down, lose interest, or otherwise simply stop learning.

…er, so Keep It Short & Simple?

The author continues:

When beginning a new video tutorial, the most critical elements are the most basic ones: (i) identifying the audience, (ii) determining the goal or goals, and (iii) breaking down the task into its most basic elements. It’s always helpful to state the video’s goals at the start of the tutorial, and restate them again at the end to reinforce the message. The clearer the message of a video, the less cognitive load it will require from the students who are trying to make sense out of it, and the more brainpower they will have left to process and internalize the skills being taught.

…so, yeah, Keep It Short & Simple.

I have attached a storyboard for a short video on how to create an ILLiad account for Interlibrary Loans: ILLVideoPowell

RSS Feeds & Social Bookmarking — Let’s Rock!


This week we have been asked to look at RSS Feeds and Social Bookmarking. I, like many others, was a big fan of Google Reader and was seriously bummed when they ceased operations in 2013. I liked the way I could organize what I wanted to follow and the ability to use either my computer, phone or tablet to access those feeds. I began my search for its replacement and tried out several before making my decision.

For this assignment, it was suggested that we look at Digg Reader, Feedly and Newsblur. Digg Reader was created in response to Google Reader’s announced demise; Newsblur has been around since 2009 and since the departure of Google Reader, has seen its subscribers increase from around 1500 to roughly 60,000; Feedly has been around since 2008 and was considered by many as the heir apparent to Google Reader in 2013. Feedly has done a great job in filling the void – it was the feeder I choose 2 years ago, have continued to use and will be using for this class. I can access it on my PC, laptop, Chromebook, tablet or phone.

I created a new collection folder for the class – Innovative Library Services Through Technology and added the blogs for our fearless leader Patrick as well as for Adam, Ryan, Andrea & Maureen. I added feeds from the following blogs: The Ubiquitous Librarian, Alatechsource, Library Technology Training Wheels and the blog of R. David Lankes, a professor at Syracuse University.

I have never really used a social bookmarker. I have been a regular follower of Google technology and have primarily used Chrome as my go-to browser for several years now. The beauty of this browser is that you can access all of your bookmarks once you have signed in using the browser on any device. It essentially can work like many of the social bookmarking sites suggested. That being stated, I have signed onto Delicious to give it a whirl, it just might prove to be quite useful.

The articles this week were interesting and brief (I liked that about them). My one comment about them & those from last week, in the area of speaking about technology, they seem to be a bit “old” – they being mostly from 2006-2008. While 6-7 years old may not seem like a long time ago, think about the things that have changed in that time. It really is quite incredible how fast tech improvements have been happening the past 2 decades or so. I haven’t yet checked on the libraries mentioned in the articles but I hope to soon to see if they are still using the innovations mentioned in the articles or if they have moved on to something new.

ETiL: The Blog Creation Experience


As a first assignment for Emerging Technologies in Libraries, I have been asked to look at a few blogging software examples and choose a platform to use for the course.

I performed a quick review of four: Blogger, LiveJournal, Typepad and WordPress.

Blogger has a lot going for it: it’s easy to use, popular, great for personal blogging, associated with Google and it’s FREE. I had used Blogger for a Masonic Blog (http://arsmasonica.blogspot.com)  that I wrote for a few years and generally liked it.

LiveJournal seemed like it would be good for personal blogging and had its own sort of social network. I didn’t really care for what I saw on my visit to its website, it seemed a bit “clunky” & I dismissed it right away.

Typepad’s website boasted “Share your passions with the world. Used by the world’s best bloggers in crafts, food, style & more”. Since that was not what I would be writing about and it was the only one of the four that did not have a free version, it was moved to the position behind LiveJournal.

WordPress was a blogging platform that I have seen used over & over by a lot of folks. It has a professional look, appears easy to set up (it was) and was FREE. I have not used WordPress in the past so I was interested in giving it a go. There appears to be 2 versions of WordPress – WordPress.com, which is an online blogging site and WordPress.org, which seems to be a bit more robust than its .com brother but requires you to download the software and provide hosting for it to go online.

I wanted to see how the various platforms compared so I did a search for comparisons. I skimmed a few articles and found a good comparison chart at http://startbloggingonline.com/blog-platform-comparison-chart/

It provides an easy to view comparison to all but LiveJournal.

After comparing my quick impression with those from the chart, I decided to make use of WordPress for all of the reasons above. I have wanted to try it and our fearless instructor is using it himself so it seemed like a logical choice for me.