Thoughts on BookBub

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A friend asked me to look into BookBub.  It is a service that she was interested in but wasn’t sure if she should sign up.  I looked over the site and here are my thoughts:

BookBub looks similar to Groupon in which it alerts you to time-sensitive deals.  For BookBub, these deals are specific to book discounts on e-readers (Kindle, Nook, Google Reader, etc.).  I browsed the books offered in the areas of Cooking, Teen and Young Adult, and All Categories.  It looks like you will not find any books that are currently being “talked about” or that are current bestsellers.  I imagine publishers push titles to BookBub when they have a new author to feature or the title hasn’t moved as well as expected.  However, if you are looking for a good read, I think you will definitely find one for a good price using this site as a tool.  For instance, in the Young Adult section, there is a book called Dirty Little Secrets.  I have read and liked this title.  It has also been selected for the Reading Olympics list in Pennsylvania.  It is an interesting story which is written with the perspective of a young girl whose mother is a hoarder.  The author has worked with families of hoarders and her perspective is both interesting and unique.  On Amazon, it currently has 4.5 stars with 71 reviews.  Was it a bestseller in teen fiction?  No.  Is it a good book?  Absolutely.  It is available for $1.99.

What I would do to use BookBub is to sign up for alerts and then compare any titles that interest me with reviews on Amazon.com.  If the review is pretty high, I would go ahead and purchase the book.  It would be less of a gamble when you do cross checking such as this.  If you like to mainly read the latest bestsellers, this site is not for you.  If you just like to unearth a good story, this site would be a smart site to use.  Overall, it looks like a pretty cool service.

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Online Commenting: Archived Cyber-Safety Social Media webinar

Our webinar on online commenting was presented to 6th grade students on Tuesday.

Here is the archived recording:

http://elluminate.bucksiu.org/play_recording.html?recordingId=1291783374416_1361282441400

Please note:

  • you will want to login as a guest
  • you will need to save the file to your downloads and open the file (if you do not open it, you will be sent back to the login screen)
  • You may have to update Java
  • each session last 30 minutes
  • you will want to preview the content prior to showing it to students
  • show the portions you prefer and pause throughout to generate a discussion.

Reminder: We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting our third student produced webinar Friday, February 22 at 12:30 pm.  Our 11th grade students worked to develop a webinar about Text Messaging for 5th Grade students at Joseph P. Liberati Intermediate School and 6th Grade students at Palisades Middle School.  Dr. David Delmonico, our cyber safety expert, will be joining us to follow up our presentation with question and answer session for the students at both schools.  Please join our live webinar as a viewer!

Here is the link for Friday’s webinar:  Text Messaging: http://elluminate.bucksiu.org/join_meeting.html?meetingId=1291783374417

You will sign in as a guest.

 

For more information on our webinars:

Archived Friend Request Webinar: https://khornberger.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/friend-requests-lesson/  (online commenting webinar will be archived soon)

 

Google Hangouts versus Elluminate: https://khornberger.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/google-hangouts-possibilities-and-limits/

 

Overview of project: https://khornberger.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/what-we-have-been-up-to/

Google Hangouts: Possibilities and Limits

On Edutopia, Mary Beth Hertz, recently blogged about using Google Hangouts in education.  Her article is inspirational and really does prompt someone to think of many great ways to use the tool.

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Immediately, I thought of how we are currently using webinars as a platform for our students to teach younger students about cyber-safety.  We use Elluminate and like it, but the installation and running process of both the live session and the archived recordings are too clunky.  I wanted to compare Google Hangouts to Elluminate in hopes of swapping presentation tools.

 

Mary Beth was also inspirational to me in her suggestion of a teacher holding office hours.  She made me think of cyber teachers who may choose this route to conference with their students.  I will definitely be setting up meetings with each of our cyber teachers to show them just how easy it is.

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While I am using this article as inspiration for cyber professional development, unfortunately, Google does not make it as easy to use Google Hangouts to host our cyber lessons.

This is why:

We want our cyber lessons to at first be small – meeting with one to two schools to have our students instruct the students in a live setting where each recipient of the instruction has the opportunity to ask our cyber expert questions.  Once the live session is completed, we want to offer our lesson to a wider audience using social media in hopes our lesson benefits many.

Problem #1:  Google Hangout ONLY offers live streaming through Google on Air.  What if we have a fire drill that interrupts our session?  What if a student during the question and answer session provides their full name without the proper permissions?  You get the idea…  We feel as if it is reckless to publish our session in the live setting.

Problem #2:  Google on Air policy states that only individuals aged eighteen and over are allowed to participate in “on Air” sessions.

I would love to make a plea to the Google education staff to consider developing a platform which allows us to host a Google Hangout which includes K-12 age students which can be recorded as an archive and later be posted publicly once we are ensured the content is completely appropriate and proper approval and permissions are granted.

Hopefully Some Day!!!!!!

Friend Requests Lesson

friend request

Palisades High School eleventh grade students created a lesson (under the guidance of me and Academy Teacher, Rob Reilly) designed to teach fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students about friend requests.

On January 31, this was presented in a webinar format using Elluminate software (thank you Kurt Schollin and Bucks County Intermediate Unit!!!) to fourth Grade students at Arrowhead Elementary (under the guidance of Library Media Specialist, Janice Conger).  During the lesson, our students took the fourth grade students through the content that they had developed.  After the content, cyber expert Dr. Nicole Yetter, answered questions that the younger students had about friend requests.

While we only made the live event available for one school, we are able to offer the archived recording to any educator or parent!

We hope that parents and educators use the recorded content in order to begin a discussion with children about the online world that they either have recently entered or are very likely to soon enter.  We hope our project serves as a catalyst for discussions regarding online safety where children are guided to navigate the online environment.

We are looking into making the webinar content available on YouTube (which will allow viewers to eliminate the login process, etc. to create seamless viewing.)  While we work on the conversion, we want to offer the recording to anyone who would like it now.

Step 1:  Link to recording: http://elluminate.bucksiu.org/play_recording.html?recordingId=1291783374283_1359637170596

Step 2:  Sign in as a Guest

(You may need to save the file in your download folder and it may require that you have Java, etc.)

Step 3:  Open Downloaded File

It should go through the opening process and you should begin to hear the recording a few seconds into the session.

This session lasts 30 minutes

Suggested Use by Educators and/or Parents:

  • Preview the session prior to showing it
  • Show the portions you prefer and pause throughout to prompt discussion