Monday, August 31, 2009

Technology in the hands of babes

Well, almost babes ~ how about grade schoolers? My email is sometimes like Christmas - it delivers a gift that sends me off and running after new knowledge and new content! The gift/email that was delivered sent me to the topic of technology in education. A recent study called Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children's Learning is a fascinating study of the use ~ or largely nonuse ~ of mobile tools to promote education. Those age 12 and under represent one of the fastest growing segments of users of mobile devices (because they have smaller fingers - in my humble opinion!) Part of it comes from the lack of standards but some of it comes from educators, too. Does providing your third grader with a cell phone so the teacher can send him problems improve his ability to learn? Time will help sort this out, I hope, so that we can maximize our use of tools to further enhance learning.

I enjoyed the appendix which lists some of the forward-thinking endeavors being made in marrying education and technology. It also brings to mind how libraries follow along with this effort. Do we make our content available for mobile devices? Will we check out mobile devices like books? It's an exciting future for us all!

This week I have nothing new to report on website development progress. Even our developer deserves a vacation so work on the new site has gone on vacation, too. We continue to pull records out of our catalog into the new website for testing search sometime in the near future.

Monday, August 24, 2009

How can we not communicate in an electronic world?

Good Monday morning to us all! As of this writing, most every parent I know has gone through the routine of sharpening pencils, buying new clothes and waiting with bated breath for the start of school. Did we also buy any new electronic gizmos? A new laptop? An iTouch? Upgrade the phone plan for texting? For internet? We've come a long way when getting ready for school had nothing to do with batteries or anything electronic!

It occurred to me, though, that we can still not be good communicators when we are so wired and plugged and online most all of the time. I observed a friend who was trying to catch up with another friend at a large community gathering. With so many people, it wasn't just "hey I'll see you in the parking lot!" but more of "where are you going to be and when so I can meet you." Now both parties did have cell phones so they could communicate but they did miss their meeting (although they happened to find each other later). In thinking about this, my conclusion is that regardless of the tools ~ you still communicate the way you communicate ~ whether it's good or bad. Even with the best devices, we may still not be better off getting our messages to the people we need to!

Is this a decent segueway into website work or did I read you through a rough patch here? Our communications intent with the new website is one of providing you easy and eye pleasing ways to access the collection. We think this is your number one reason for visiting us and using us. We hope our communications/website matches the intent.

I have no updates to provide at this time for the website; work continues with the developer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Update for August.......

Records are loading

Carousels are filling

Stories are populating

We continue to move closer to finishing parts and pieces for the website to become one whole cohesive working unit of ease and functionality in finding great reading and listening and watching recommendations.

In the meantime, this blogger discovered (by reading other blogs!) the power of Google. No, don't stop reading! You probably use Google anyway, right? Well, when you perform a search you now see a link called "show options" - clicking on this provides many new ways to slice and dice your results. How about the wonder wheel view? I think the timeline view might be a good reference tool - showing the popularity of your search term. Even the videos and reviews is a nice way to limit the search if this is what yr seeking anyway. What do you think?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Of all things internet....

Well this blog falls into two parts. Part 1 is the "here's what's happening in the building of the website" work and part 2 isn't. Choose your paragraph.

A laundry list of website work in progress:

*carousels are about finished. I am ready this week to start playing with them!
*the research & business area is getting attention this week as we wind down the last pages, functions, content, etc. this is taking some time because of the additional effort of databases and electronic resources with library card authentication.
*uploading of records continues and is chugging along faster than before - yea John!

Now for Part 2 - this blogger is actually starting a facebook page! remember the photo in one of the earlier blogs of a toe in the water? that's what my facebook is feeling like - a bit tentative and hesitant. it did not help that i started when there was some kind of attack going on.......... it's been interesting to see the friends and fans pages. some are pretty active in posting news and pictures and such while others are pretty slim in information - maybe it's the "i don't exactly know what i want so i'll just create a ghost of me online." stay tuned to hear if i can get more than a toe in the water virtually!

Besides having my presence in the cyberworld, there's soooo much information in regards to everyone else posting information about me, about companies ~ ratings and comments and input and opinions abound everywhere! i was cleaning my desk (yes, a cleaning that took place more frequently than annually!) and came across some notes of websites to look up. and are the two i was playing around with to search for company information. how can one ever begin to keep up with all of the chatter? it used to be that monitoring the newspapers was the universe of knowledge but finding and searching the internet is a full-time job. more and more of these sites keep coming up - how do you keep up?

Monday, August 3, 2009

More Website Work!

For many of us with school-age children, the countdown to the start of school began with the turning of the calendar from July to August. As a parent, it is a countdown of glee and joy but I'm sure my kids don't think the same way.......

With the turn of the calendar comes more work on the website and changes being made (think glee, not glum):

*we're continuing to download catalog records with anticipation that we can test the search function
*some of the functionality of the basic Books, Movies and Music pages are in place now
*most all of the basic pages have been created
*working on the transaction from cart to finish

To that end, we're slowly working our way towards some of the nitty gritty (just like going school supply shopping .... right before the start of school):

*making sure the formatting of text and font color is consistent throughout the site
*getting to theme the site in IE - very important!

Questions, input, comments? Let me know! In the meantime, I will leave this blog with a link to The Green Apple Core website. They're a bookstore in San Francisco and are doing a series of videos on the Kindle v the book. Whether yr a Kindle fan or a book fan, you will enjoy the series!