Storify: Make the web tell a story

storifyA few months ago I posted about interactive journalism here, and I loved the concept. I think presenting information in an interactive format models the way our younger generations are consuming media. Even I no longer ingest information online in a linear way. So, I was delighted to here about Storify, an application that allows users to create interactive stories using different elements online. I like Storify because anyone can use it (accessibility and intuitive design is key), and it is much quicker than creating one from scratch. What took months and loads of hard work for the New York Times to create, can now be created by anyone in less than a day. Granted the design is not as stunning or as complex, it is still a great start in giving users the tools needed to create their own stories using elements from the web.  Here is a neat example that reports on the recent Airline crash in San Francisco using narrative, audio, video, images, and tweets.


It’s Official!

I am the new Education Librarian at Appalachian State University! It’s all very exciting and I have been meeting very friendly welcoming librarians everyday. I have some new Technology Thoughts and Reviews coming up, so stay subscribed! Until then, I’ll leave you with a picture of my new office technology :-).


In the words of one of my former professors, Dr. Carmichael, “Nothing like new machines to make you feel shiny.”  It’s also making me pretty excited about using “new machines” to keep exploring and teaching!


A New Beginning

What does 4 jobs, 3 classes, student association leadership positions, and a job search equal to? No free time, a grind or perish final semester, and not much sleep, but awesome end results. I have graduated! With a job!


Two years ago I quit my day job and moved to a new city to go back to school. I had no idea if I had made the right decision, but I found librarianship energized me and I quickly stopped questioning my choice. When I moved, I hardly knew anyone, but I found great friends who made me laugh and supported me. I worried constantly about challenging myself and doing enough to stand out, so I said yes to all of wonderful opportunities extended to me in school.  Everything has finally paid off, and I am so excited to start my new career!

But first, I must break. I have worked hard, and now it’s time to play harder. I have just a few weeks before I start my new job, so I am taking a break from blogging here to relax a bit. I am excited to see how my interests and writings here will grow with the work I will soon be doing.

Until then,


image source:

Friday Finds

The end of my time as a LIS graduate student is so close, and there are only five more weeks until I graduate! Final projects and preparing for after graduation have left me with not much time to post as regularly as I would like, but I do have a few fun Friday finds for you (alliteration :-)). Enjoy!

The first find is quite interesting and is actually a resource for parents. It’s called is a Q&A site that helps parents keep up with all the “newfangled” tech products their children are using by providing a space for questions surrounding technology, social media, gaming, education, online privacy, parenting, and other important topics. I found one interesting question while I was browsing:

In an age where everything that can be digitized is morphed into computer code, what happens to our relationship with physical objects, and are our kids losing the value of physical objects?

That’s a really important question I find myself thinking about, especially with younger demographics.  One of the quotes uses to explain why this type of Q&A space is needed was taken from the U.S. Dept. of Labor which states,

65% of today’s grade school kids will end up at jobs that haven’t been invented yet.

It’s really awesome to know that parents as well as information professionals are asking these types of questions and having discussions because we have to think about how the technology we are interacting with is impacting our future.  Although is a site geared towards parents, I don’t think it is outside of the realm of being a type of resource that many types of libraries could show to users who have these types of questions. After all, not all of our information seeking behavior results in needing academic or scholarly type resources, especially within public libraries. Take a look and see if there’s an interesting question that you have or that you can help to answer. You don’t have to be a parent to be a part of the community. You can apply as a professional who helps to answer questions. One tip in accessing the site to explore the questions without being a member is to go through their About page. led me into my next find for this Friday because I found a question asking if there was a site that was similar to Pinterest for children. Well, there actually is one that is being created called SCRAPPD. It’s being promoted as a upcoming startup that is a cross between Twitter and Pinterest for children. With built in safety features geared towards moderating uploads, the site will provide a visual bookmarking space that kids can share with their friends. It sounds like a really great idea. Here’s an article that describes the project a bit more. Unfortunately, it is still in production, but you can sign up to be one of the first to try out its private beta site when it opens.

For my final find of the day, I am drawing on my experiences of decorating my high school classroom. There were so many awesome posters and graphics available for elementary classrooms, but the posters in teacher stores for high school classrooms sometimes lacked what I like to call the “coolness factor.” These inspirational cartoon quotes on Zen Pencils have the coolness. Check this one out.

GandhiThere are over 100 graphics like these available, and they rock pretty hard. Many are available to buy, and if you sign up for the newsletter, you can get three free Emerson poster downloads for free.

Until next time…

Clickables: Making things that do things

Keeping kids engaged and motivated to learn through play can be challenging with all of the dazzling technology around them. Seamless Toy Company has tried to do just that with their new smart blocks called ATOMS. ATOMS Express was a successfully funded Kickstarter (shipping in July) that raised money to create plug-n-play blocks, motors, and sensors that help kids to make things that actually do the things they want them to. Check out the video to see what can be created with these nifty learning kits.

You can also see a few more of their kit creations on their YouTube Channel.

Soft Skills

I’m a big promoter of MLIS students learning hard skills like coding and programming. I think a lot of the aspects of change and innovation in the library is starting to focus on technology and being able to understand programming languages and create using tech skills is a valuable skill to have for the future. Although learning hard skills has been a big focus for me in the LIS program, I think it’s important not to forget the value of soft skills. They are just as important in the realm of 21st century skills as the hard skills. I read an article in Library Journal about soft skills a few weeks ago, and each of the types of skills outlined in the article, communication, initiative, continuous learning, sensitivity and understanding, and professional responsibility, are so important, especially in a field where we interact with people and their information needs on daily basis. Can you imagine crowdsourcing without effective social communication and initiative? So, while I may be a bit of a techie, I do believe having effective soft skills are really important too. Not every job posting for librarianship requires complex tech skills, but every single one of them requires some form of communication and interpersonal skills.

Discovering your talents

In my Leadership and Management in Information Organizations class, we have been discussing the myth of talents quite a bit lately. I found it very interesting that instead of talents being defined as these skills that are rare and special to a select few, talents are considered recurring patterns of thoughts, behaviors, or feelings. What this means is that someone’s talent is actually his or quirk or thing that they do well naturally, and that everyone has a talent. I once saw a speaker who urged the audience to find the thing that they liked and did well without even really thinking about it and make that thing their career. We’ve had similar discussions about making your talents your career and it reminded me of  a video narrated by philosopher Allan Watts. Watts speak on the  idea of seeking out your talents and defining success through what you desire.

Here’s the video.

So what does that  mean for me or any other LIS student? This field has a number of specialties and career paths. I think it’s wise to start exploring them early on through student jobs, internships, and volunteering, but when you find the specialty you love and are good at, don’t stop doing it.

So what’s your talent?

The Future of Journalism


Wow! If you haven’t read the New York Time’s Snowfall:The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, you are in for an amazing experience.  This project shows how enriching well-designed multimedia journalism can be, and I believe it speaks to how we will interact with and experience media in the future. Get ready for all kinds of interactive elements including photos, audio, mixed media, and simulations.  I hope you enjoy it.

If you want to know a bit more about how the piece was created, check out Source’s article here.

*img src NY Times Review

easel.lyI am big fan of infographics and graphic design in general. Creating infographics can take a lot of time and skill, and many of the programs that are used to create infographics are also very expensive. For the average user, creating a professional looking infographic can be a challenge. This challenge has been accepted by a new program called (catch the HIMYM reference?) is a free infographic creator that is available online. It provides various templates to help guide a user in designing an infographic, and it also gives the option of starting with a blank canvas. The best feature of is its drag and drop interface. From shapes and pictorials to text boxes, the drag and drop feature helps users to quickly create and design their own infographic. Now users who don’t have experience with design programs or the money to buy them have an alternative that is fun to work with.

The video created helps to explain the application a bit more.

The only downside to is that it doesn’t provide a way to create charts and graphs based on data. Though you do have the option of uploading a chart created in a different application.

If you are looking to create an infographic that features data heavy information, consider checking out is similar to but it focuses more heavily on charts and provides a bit more interactivity, but it doesn’t provide as many customization options as would be a great application for use in schools and libraries because no downloads are required, and it gives people of various tech levels the ability to create infographics that are as beautiful as the professional ones.

Virtual Learning

Wondering how online education may change higher education? Good starts the conversation in this article and features three virtual learning platforms.

Udacity – a private educational organization that offers mainly computer science courses for all levels.

Khan Academy – a non-profit educational organization that offers over 3,600 micro lectures on topics spanning from biology to microeconomics.

edX – a not-for-profit enterprise founded by MIT and Harvard University that offers a range of online courses.