Friday, July 11, 2014

Thing #23 Evaulation of 23 Mobile Things

After completing this program I am much more excited about the possible uses for ipads, teaching ipad classes, and introducing the idea of ipad storytimes in the library. Previously, I mainly viewed the ipad as a tool to keep kids busy watching videos and playing simple puzzle games. Truly, the possibilities are endless it just takes some adult supervision and guidance to ensure that this is an educational tool rather than a replacement for the tv!

My favorite things:
Content Saving and Sharing- Pinterest. It is not just a fad, but a very handy tool to save ideas, recipes, pictures, endless use for this app despite being more of a chick thing!
Books, books, books- istorybooks, and audiobooks- two very appreciated apps with free books!
Videos- fun to play with Vine to see what all the buzz is about. And, this exercise proved that a 6 second video can show a lot of stuff!
Connecting to the community- this was perhaps the most interesting to me. I had never used any of the apps listed, and immediately became a fan of several!

One of my coworkers and I had a great time comparing notes as we completed each thing in this program. We expanded our knowledge of what is possible with an ipad- besides our existing uses of game playing, e-book reading and facebook or pinterest surfing!
I most definetely would participate in 23 Mobile Things Part 2 if there were such a thing. This was a great way to learn something new and useful that is current with what many of our library patrons are exploring.
In one sentence: 23 Things was a fun way to explore the many uses of a variety of apps.

Thing #18 Education

I appreciate the fact that technology can easily support education. There are many arguments for and agains the use of ipads by young children. I fall into the camp of 'in moderation' Ipads can be a useful learning tool when kids are playing appropriate games/watching educational shows. And, yes they are a wonderful diversion in the doctor's office waiting room! I was happy to learn about a few new apps including the following:
Advanced English Dictionary and Thesauraus
This seemed like something that would be very useful to have on my ipad. This dictionary/thesaurus is unique in that is has auto-complete to assist you in spelling the words you are looking up. Fantastic!! The definition shows whether the word is a noun, verb, adjective, adverb and links to 'hypernyms'. I tested this out by looking up 'pachycephalosaurus' the name of a dinosaur that my three year old nephew can pronounce, and which I was curious how to spell correctly. I was most impressed with the hypernyms that related this term to other scientific names and common names for dinosaurs. A great tool which I will use again in the future!

Bill Nye the Science Guy
For fun, I installed this app simply because it reminds me of hours spent watching the tv show when I was young! This starts off as a totally impressive app with the intro, then leads into many possibilities for experiments in the book on the corner of the desk and mini-lessons when you tap on the other objects found on Bill's desk... Can't wait to try some of these experiments at home! I think the key here is that despite the fact that I could check out a book on experiments, the visual stimulation and simple fact that we are using the ipad will act as an attention grabber for young children. This is certainly a keeper!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Thing #22 Discovering Apps

Quixey- app search engine- I briefly explored this and am not 100% sure it is useful to me. It seems to repeat what you might find in the app store with a simpler visual display. You can do a basic search for the type of app you want, and the results are display and then you can 'go to store' to download the app from the App Store... I chose not to install this app and went on to try something else.

Apps Gone Free- great idea for an app to find free apps. I am a cheapskate and hardly ever pony up to get new apps. It is nice that some of these apps are free for a week or a month at a time. When I feel the need to find something new, this will be my newest go to tool! Each app that is advertised has the basic details and typical 'get it in the App store' download button. Also helpful are the reviews and number of stars as rated by users. Perfect! Also, the App store can be searched for 'free apps' anytime. But this was kind of cool to feature the calendar for how long items are free.

Thing #20 Games

I have heard of the many Candy Crush addicts out there... so I will not let myself install this game! Instead I decided to install Frogger! It is a classic game with an ipad friendly version. Then I tested our Word Collapse... oh this is a dangerously fun time waster! I have limited the games installed on our ipad to very simple kid games, educational games and Phase10. I try not to bury my nose in my ipad and think that if I installed too many games for myself that I would not get anything else done sometimes! However, it would be fun to play some of these if stuck traveling for work or while in a waiting room somewhere!
What a fun excuse to test run some more games, the possibilities are truly endless!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thing #14 Videos

Vine- an app that allows you to share a 6 second video on a website or social media. I had vaguely heard about this app prior to starting this 'Thing'. While 6 seconds may not seem like a lot of time, it surprisingly is enough time to shoot a quick promotional video to be used by a library. Ideas include a quick run down of new books- show the cover of as many books as you can, video coverage of a library display advertising summer reading events, showcasing new artwork in the children's area of our library- Smart Play Spot, or show an update of a construction project- we are currently remodeling two branches in our system.

I created a video to show how many carts of books the TS dept. has ready to process and distribute to our branches. This would be fun to embed in our monthly staff newsletter! I'd post it here but I think this only works for posting within Vine, or on Twitter and Facebook. It would be nice to have the hyperlink available for blogs!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Thing #17 Connecting to Community

Wow, what a cool 'Thing'!! I have not explored any local apps prior to this, and I am so excited to try out the following Minnesota-centric Apps:
Minneapolis Skyway
Going Out
Minnesota 511
Explore Minnesota
Minnesota State Fair

I will start with 'Going Out' by the Star Tribune since it seems like it may be similar to what is published in the newspaper highlighting local events. I first searched for 'Family entertainment' and learned that you can sort by zip code, 'near current location, event, or venue. I quickly found the upcoming Eagan Art Festival and also music events at Eagan's Central Park. Also advertised is the Eagan Funfest over the 4th of July.
The movie section was also useful  to learn about movies that are currently in theaters, coming soon, and an option to find nearby theaters. I also liked what I saw in the restaurant section- provides all the necessary info for restaurants close to your current location- great for when you are in a new area and need to find some lunch or dinner options! All the information I found was accurate and useful! This would be a perfect place to post information about library events for families like our recent Rhythm and Words children's event in Burnsville! I think I will use this app in the future, it was fun to explore!

I will be sure to install the Minnesota State Fair app in late August :-)

Thing #16 Audio

SoundCloud is a social platform app for all things music, audio, etc... Things can be shared easily, very accessible and customizable. After signing up you choose your favorite types of music which creates 'streams' similar to 'stations' on Pandora. To record your own audio, there is a basic record button under the 'You' tab which is your personal library within SoundCloud.
This is very much a social community in which you may follow other users and they can follow you, it does require log-in/sign-up, but you could be creative and use this to record your own podcast then share it to your library's website to allow people to see the link to view it. Otherwise, other users of SoundCloud may just stumble across your podcasts by browsing, or being your 'followers'. I would describe this app as a vocal version of facebook or instagram. It is intriguing, but currently my library does not do much at all with podcasts. I prefer to use Pandora to listen to music, and I do not listen to podcasts. Fun to explore, but not something I will likely return in the near future.