Sunday, January 23, 2011

QR Code Update

Well, my QR bookmark contest is in full swing and boy, has it been entertaining. I started with teachers, because I did work on this project during a snow workday. I placed it in their boxes and the result has been interesting. I have seen some in the trash, while others have attempted to solve it by examining the picture like one of those Magic Eye pictures we all used to be obsessed with. Every time I see that I have to giggle to myself. Good luck with that... Only three of our teachers have turned in a response. The first was a first year teacher who was able to determine the answer after using a Google Image search. Another teacher (Go Angie!) sent me this:

Yes, that is the secret phrase in a QR code. Awesome!

Students have also started getting in on the game. I have had about 10 responses so far. None of them knew what a QR code was initially, and all tried different tactics to determine the answer. It has been interesting to hear their search strategies. The contest ends Feb. 11. Let's hope it continues to be as fruitful.

I also decided to write a grant for NCTIES using QR codes. I have spent a couple of days working on all the ins and outs. I am hopeful that it will end positively. Although, I do not feel like my grant writing skills are the strongest, I feel fairly confident in this one thus far. Here's hoping....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Media Center Welcome

I recently read a post by the Mighty Little Librarian who had started an electronic sign-in for the media center at her school. This is something I have considered for a long time and just had not taken the time to do. The post inspired me to get started. Using Google Docs I created my own electronic sign-in. This went live on Thursday.

So far, I love it. I cannot believe I waited this long to actually start this. Students are getting the hang of it and all of them think it is so cool. Who knew?? The only time we don't sign-in is during homeroom. Of course, this impacts my stats, but I just cannot find a way to quickly get that many students signed-in. Maybe once they grow accustomed to it, we can try again. I love having the information on a spreadsheet. I know that over 90 students came into the media center without a class both Thursday and Friday. We have been signing in on paper all year, and I could not have told you the number who visited each day. I never used that information before, now it is all at my fingertips.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

QR Codes...The Beginning

So I have been excited about QR codes for quite awhile now. I have wanted to start integrating them into our Media Center, but everytime I sat down to start making plans I found it to be too overwhelming. There are just so many great ways to use these, so today I took a new approach. I decided to just start with one idea and to keep building.

First, I want to say I created a survey (Google Docs, of course) on Monday that inquires about student knowledge of QR codes and whether or not they have the devices to access them. I have already had 3 responses and we have not even had school this week. Good to know some of them are visiting the school webpage.

Today, I created a QR code that reveals text.


I made bookmarks with this QR code. I did not reveal that it was a QR code on the bookmark but encouraged discovery instead. I did hint that an app was required. The code reveals a message and directions for a contest. I am going to draw a prize winner from all those who successfully complete the task. I even distributed the bookmarks to staff members. There will be a separate prize for the staff drawing. I haven't decided what it will be, but I am thinking about purchasing Comic Life (love that program).

Now, step 2......

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Finally, ebooks....

I write daily tips for the staff at my school that I distribute via email. Ok, they are daily in theory. I don't know that I published one the entire month of December. Between Book Fair and a yearbook deadline, finding time was a challenge.

For my daily tips I have a theme based on the day of the week. The topics are listed below:

Media Monday - book related
Techno Tuesday - technology tips and tricks
Web Wednesday - a useful website
Tired Thursday - an inspirational or humorous site
Feature Friday - feature what teachers are doing in their classrooms, usually related to technology

Depending on the topic, I may choose to share my daily tips here. Below is Media Monday for January 3.

I am so excited about my first ebook checkout from the public library. When I first got my iPod Touch in October, I tried to figure out a way to checkout ebooks from the public library via the NC Digital Library. I certainly was disappointed to learn that it could not be done. Since that time things have changed. A new app, Overdrive Media Console v2.0, now supports ebooks ( Previously the Overdrive Media Console only supported audio books. Now I am a big supporter of audio books with our students, but I personally cannot stand audio books. While ebooks could be checked out and read on my computer using Adobe Digital Editions, I was not interested in this avenue. Finally, this new version of Overdrive has made a world of difference in my life.

If you have an iPad, an iPod Touch or a smartphone, you can check out books from the NC Digital Library by downloading the app. Make sure to have your library card number handy. Need help getting started? Let me know. I will be glad to help out. To be honest I had a hard time getting it to work properly at first.

Happy Reading!