Episode 35 looks at using EverNote for other people’s notes, The One and Only Ivan, and Tom Whitby’s views on Social Media.
Quick update on the kids: Out of the three with strep, only one has gotten over it. The other two have developed pneumonia. I’m living in an infirmary and recording this on a on a portable recorder in my wife’s closet, so let’s get on to the EdTech!
As is often the case, an app or a website comes across our devices and we file that away and say, I’m going to look into that more. Evernote is one of those examples for me. I can see the immediate value of it as I prepare notes for this show and choose my EdTech and Kidlit Spotlight people. It’s a workflow that I have to develop, practice, and make habit. But that is not what caught my attention this week. It was the ability to use Evernote as a tool for running records, for annotating students’ writings, and storing snapshots of their writing that made me sit up and say “WOW”. Through following Angela Cunningham, who followed EverNote Schools, who posted Rich Lambert’s great blog and post, I am now hooked into the concept of EverNote and am looking forward to exploring it with my class next year.
On a just kind of bizarre and wacky EdTech Note, I wanted to share this link with you. Doing a podcast and teaching my students to use Audacity, we see the waveforms of what we are recording up on the SmartBoard and the kids are fascinated by it. They have even gotten to a point that some of them recognize what their “umms” and “ahhs” look like. There is a designer in Berlin that makes necklaces with circular pieces that recreate your voice. He has also created a tutorial on how to do this yourself. If I get around to doing one, I’ll post about it here. Until then, check it out for yourself.
This week’s audible pick is Katherine Applegate’s Don’t Tap Dance on Your Teacher.
Winner of a Golden Kite Award, prolific author Katherine Applegate captivates readers with the antics of young Roscoe Riley. When his friend Emma gets a pair of tap shoes, Roscoe thinks they make the coolest sound ever. So he gets his own tap shoes and joins Emma for lessons. But there’s one problem. Roscoe is the only boy in the dance class.
Katherine Applegate‘s many books include the Roscoe Riley Rules chapter book series, the picture book The Buffalo Storm, and the award-winning novel Home of the Brave. With her husband, Michael Grant, she wrote the hugely popular series Animorphs, which has sold more than 35 million copies worldwide. The Animorphs series have been highly popular with my Fifth Graders. The Roscoe Riley Rules books look delightful. But it was really The One and Only Ivan that brought Katherine to the spotlight for me.Katherine was inspired to write The One and Only Ivan after reading about the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, the Shopping Mall Gorilla. The real Ivan lived alone in a tiny cage for twenty-seven years at a shopping mall before being moved to Zoo Atlanta after a public outcry. He is now a beloved celebrity at the zoo, which houses the nation’s largest collection of western lowland gorillas. Ivan is well known for his paintings, which he “signs” with a thumb-print.
I had heard the buzz on Twitter about the book. My good book barometers, Colby Sharp and John Schu were waxing poetic over the book. Mr. Schu posted a link to a great video trailer about the book. Momentum builds. This is it. I’ve got to check it out. I am so glad that I did. The book is written in first person. By Ivan! This is not what I expected. And what a delightful change it was. Ivan’s perspective on the other animals in the Exit 8 Big Top Mall, as well as the humans, makes you stop and give thought as to how you treat animals with each and every page. Written in short, thematic sections, we watch Ivan go through experiences and changes that are heart rending. The “real” Ivan lives here at Zoo Atlanta, which houses the largest group of captive western lowland gorillas in the nation. Zoo Atlanta has done a wonderful job of getting animals out of cages and into natural habitats, but they are still captive nonetheless, and The One and Only Ivan will have you listening for their voices as you watch them roam their habitat and interact with each other. Thank you, Katherine for giving Ivan his voice. Follow her on Twitter @kaauthor and go to her website
This week’s EdTech spotlight falls on Tom Whitby
He is an Adjunct Professor of Education at St Joseph’s College in New York. He is a strong believer in using the Internet and Social Media for Personal Learning Networks having founded a number of Educational Groups on Linkedin including Technology Using Professors Group and the Ning site, The Educator’s PLN. He is the founder of the #edchat hashtag on Twitter, winner of the EduBlog award for most influential Twitter series of discussions.
Take a look at his blog,, and you immediately can see the insight and impact that Tom imparts to his posts and his Tweets. I am hard pressed to choose a post from his blog that I think best exemplifies him. The first three posts, as of today are What is Technology, Social Media:Help or Hindrance to Educational Reform, and Twitter Ties. When discussing Technology, Tom hits it on the head when he says of the students:
“Their perspective to this technology is the perspective we must deal with, and not our own. Our perspective becomes more irrelevant each day.”
I have had it happen on many occasions that the “wow” factor for me was something that they were already taking for granted, and therefore, the engagement and excitement that I was expecting was met with “ho-hum”.
His post on Social Media states it eloquently about how Social Media is being touted as the big thing is education so loudly that the “education” is being drowned out. As I said, earlier though, Tom is proponent of Social Media as a PLN and the ability to use it to expand your connectedness. It is through that connection that conversation and sharing take place and THAT is the value of the Social Media platform. Be sure that you follow Tom on Twitter and check out his blog.
And now for our Spotlight on KidLit. This week it is on Jen Bigheart.
Jen is a librarian at Westbank Libraries in Austin, Texas, the Research Coordinator for Literacy Texas, and Social Media Manager for TLAs Young Adult Round Table. She is a founding member of Literary Lonestars, and blogs about young adult literature, literary events, and library services to teens. Her website is chock full of reviews and recommendations for Young Adults and Teens. Follow her on Twitter and check out her website, I Read Banned Books.