What I like about WPBeginner

I started with a WordPress.com blog in fall 2012 (well, actually my instructor hosted WordPress.org blogs for those of us in his course that summer, but I had to transfer the content after the course ended). I played with WordPress.com for a year before I decided that it was time to take back control and have access to the HMTL code again (not that I was using it more than pasting in Goodreads widgets, but still.)

For me the transfer process and install of a self-hosted WordPress.org site was daunting. It still is. There is something about domain hosting that trips up my little brain. However, I do follow detailed, step-by-step instructions well, and lucky for me, they are out there.

WP Beginner was exactly what I was looking for, more than once: http://www.wpbeginner.com/

For example, here were the instructions I needed to transfer WP.com to WP.org. I think as we start the actual coding for our upcoming redesign projects, this article about creating child themes is really going to come in handy because it explains how to modify some of the stuff the WordPress takes care of for you by providing themes. When we sketched out our ideas and chose color schemes in the early planning stages, we based them on our creative imaginations, not existing WP themes, so we’ll have to compromise those idea or pitch them unless we do some modifying. So in this case, I’m pretty jazzed about having some instructions.

Another thing this site does really well is answering the question, “How can I do X with WordPress?” and enlightening you to some of the possibilities that you might tap into within the realm of this CMS. I had no idea that you could password-protect a single post, for example, but here’s how. Let’s say you want to mess with the line spacing in the CSS, which we learned how to do from our course readings, but since we didn’t handcode the content, it might not be obvious what the classes or IDs were tagged with–maybe not the hardest thing to examine and figure out on your own, but I think I would appreciate someone just telling me what to look for specifically in WP. I still need help with Google Analytics, and I am encouraged by the help WP Beginner has to offer for that too.

So, if this is your first experience with WordPress, this is where I would start: http://www.wpbeginner.com/guides/. In fact, the guides pretty much go in order of the things you would want to do:

  1. How to Pick the Right Domain Name
  2. How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting
  3. How to Install WordPress on Your Site
  4. How to Select a Perfect WordPress Theme
  5. Recommended Plugins for WordPress
  6. How to Install and Setup Google Analytics in WordPress
  7. Setup a Professional Email Address for Your WordPress Blog

The Renaissance

This blog has been reborn. Actually, this post has been reborn too. Reborn in the way that the internet ate the first post I wrote just as I was ready to post it (and apparently there was no draft temporarily saved) and now I have a second chance to write it again. I just want to go to bed after all that, but I feel like I need to try to re-create what was lost, even if it is more succinct and less jovial.

As of September 9, 2012, this blog (formerly known as “Lead me not into temptation, especially not bookstores” located at www.learn.thecorkboard.org/hennebe) migrated to www.liburiedalive.com. The new name, “Li-buried Alive,” is a play on the mispronunciation of the word “library” by little kids. As for the “buried alive,” the focus is more on the “alive” part, since I believe that libraries are very much alive. You could say they are a “buried treasure” that just needs to be sought after.

Even though I do not have my former instructor Kyle prompting me on blog post topics and timing, I still have plenty to say (without the pressure of writing something that I knew was being graded). In fact, I have a small stock-pile of notes that I want to translate into posts.

Obviously, there was a bit of a silence from me since my last post in August. Let’s just say that August was rather tumultuous for me personally (and I’m glad it’s over). And well, September was back to school–the day-job kind, not the higher-ed pursuit. Things are a bit more under control around here and now that both organization and inspiration have struck, we’re back online!

Speaking of my day-job, if you weren’t aware, I am a high school ESL teacher. I am working on a new teacher website for the ELL program that I run at www.fortesl.wordpress.com. It’s not live for the students/parents yet, but I’m liking how it looks so far.

An Online Professional Learning Network for School Librarians

Goals Statements

My Online Professional Learning Network will help me to…

  • Connect with other school libraries that have similar needs and populations to serve
  • Pursue grant resources for technology implementation and collection development
  • Use the online LIS Professional Commons as an initiation to the library learning community since I am only a Special Student and am not officially admitted into an MLIS program yet
  • Develop my skills in outreach programming for at-risk learners, especially bilingual and reluctant readers
  • Engage in trend-spotting of up-and-coming digital tools and instructional technology strategies

 

Defined Scope

It is my goal to be a secondary (preferably high school) Library Media Specialist in Southern Wisconsin. I would like to work in a place that honors my technology skills but does not require that the majority of my professional time be spent fixing computer problems. I want to serve students and staff directly by meeting their media needs and increasing their information literacy skills. I also intend to keep my “eye to the sky” because I have a strong interest in working in public libraries if I ever decide to leave K-12 education.

 

Resource Network

 

School Librarianship

The Adventures of Library Girl
http://www.librarygirl.net/

This blog features explorations of a lot of trends in school librarianship. The author, Jennifer LaGarde, has been honored as a Mover and Shaker of 2012 by Library Journal.

 

American Association of School Librarians @aasl
http://www.ala.org/aasl/

This website has information about issues, advocacy and continuing education for school librarians, plus an interesting section for school librarian students.

 

Association for Library Service to Children Listserves
http://lists.ala.org/sympa/lists/subject/school

I can use these listserves as a means to casually tap in to discussions between school librarians around the country.

This is a listserve for discussion of all matters regarding library service to children.

This is a discussion listserve about partnerships between public libraries and schools.

This is a listserve that discusses children’s collection management.

 

Cathy Nelson’s Professional Thoughts
http://blog.cathyjonelson.com/

This blog by a Nationally Board Certified Teacher Librarian features posts about the integration of technology in authentic and ethical ways to increase student engagement.

 

The Daring Librarian
http://www.thedaringlibrarian.com/

This award-winning blog by Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones shares lots of ideas and reflections for school librarians.

 

School Library Journal @sljournal
http://www.slj.com/

This is website by a respected journal provides online content of the print publication plus other news, features, and leadership tools for school librarians

 

Teacher-Librarian Twitter Feeds
http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/neverendingsearch/2010/04/20/lets-start-tlchat-2/

  • #tlchat
  • #teacher-librarian

These are the primary hashtags teacher librarians are using to share interesting insights and links on Twitter.

 

A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet
http://mediaspecialistsguide.blogspot.com/

This blog shares digital resources for school librarians and the teachers they serve. Especially unique is a collection of information on book repair, which seems to be vital knowledge for school libraries that coordinate textbook checkouts.

 

Teacher Librarian
http://www.teacherlibrarian.com/

This is the web-presence of a journal for school library professionals. Some parts of the site do not seem to get updated regularly, but the current issue is always available.

 

TL Virtual Café
http://tlvirtualcafe.wikispaces.com/

This wikispace has webinars (upcoming and archived) and conversations about teacher-librarians and educational technology.

 

 

Grant Resources

DonorsChoose.org
http://www.donorschoose.org

This is an online charity specifically that schools and classrooms make requests for materials they need.

 

Grant Wrangler
http://www.grantwrangler.com/librarygrants.html

Among other school subjects, this website lists grants for school libraries, literacy grants for schools, and reading grants for school librarians and media specialists.

 

Indiegogo
http://www.indiegogo.com/

This website is a crowdfunding platform where people who want to raise money can create online fundraisers to get the money that they need.

 

The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries
http://www.laurabushfoundation.org/

This foundation offers grants for school libraries to update, extend and diversify their collections.

 

Library Grants
http://librarygrants.blogspot.com/

Authors of the book, Winning Grants: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians with Multimedia Tutorials and Grant Development Tools, Stephanie Gerding and Pam MacKellar offer a blog for librarians interested in grant opportunities.

 

Scholastic Library Grants
http://www.scholastic.com/librarians/programs/grants.htm

Scholastic keeps an online list of current and ongoing grant opportunities for school libraries, complete with links and deadlines.

 

Tech and Learning Grant Guru
http://www.techlearning.com/section/grant-guru/55/page/1

Gary Carnow offers grant-writing advice and tips for people seeking grants in educational technology. They also link to a calendar for 2012-2013 of grants for education compiled by Dell and Intel. http://www.techlearning.com/portals/0/Dell_Grants_Calendar_2012-13.pdf

 

Wisconsin Humanities Council Grants
http://www.wisconsinhumanities.org/grants.html

The Wisconsin Humanities Council offers grants and mini-grants to public humanities programs that encourage conversations, connections and reflections upon our world.

 

 

Initiation to Library Learning Community

Hack Library School @hacklibschool
http://hacklibschool.wordpress.com/

This is a group blog that tries to redefine library school using the web as a collaborative space outside of any specific university or organization.

 

In the Library with the Lead Pipe @libraryleadpipe
http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/

This “peer-reviewed” blog offers essays from librarians, educators, administrators, library support staff, and community members to help improve our communities, our libraries, and our professional organizations.

 

Librareo
http://blog.gale.com/librareo/

This is an online forum for LIS students that offers discussion opportunities, resources for LIS studies and free subscriptions to Library Journal and School Library Journal upon graduation.

 

Librarian by Day @librarianbyday
http://librarianbyday.net/

This blog by Bobbi Newman has been honored by the Salem Press. She is interested in digital services, the digital divide and innovative new practices.

 

LISNews: That New Librarian Smell
http://lisnews.org/

This is collaborative blog devoted to current events and news in the world of Library and Information Science.

 

LIS Twitter Feeds

  • #LIS
  • #MLIS
  • #library
  • #librarian

These are popular hashtags being used on Twitter by the LIS community.

 

PLN Starter Kit
http://www.livebinders.com/play/play_or_edit?id=441748

This resource guide hosted on LiveBinders is a crowdsourced collection of resources for connected librarians and educators who are looking to begin a Professional Learning Network. It especially highlights popular Twitter feeds and Blogs.

 

ResourceShelf ResourceBlog
http://web.resourceshelf.com/go/resourceblog/

This is a blog where librarians and researchers share the results of specific, sometimes unique, web searches for information and resources.

 

Connecting to At-Risk Readers

American Library Association Listserves
http://lists.ala.org/sympa/lists/divisions/yalsa

These listserves are ways for me to keep up with discussions about at-risk readers around the country.

This is listserve discusses how libraries are addressing the needs of teens who do not or cannot use the library because of socioeconomic, legal, educational, physical or other relevant factors.

This is a listserve is about serving non-English speakers in public libraries.

 

Children’s and YA Lit Twitter Feeds

  • #titletalk
  • #YAlit

There are a few hashtags being used on Twitter to recommend books for children and young adults.

 

Colorín Colorado @colorincolorado
http://www.colorincolorado.org/

This is a bilingual website for educators and families of English Language Learners that promotes reading and academic success. There is a specific section for librarians.

 

Go Big Read @GoBigRead
http://www.gobigread.wisc.edu/

This is a local common reading program that seeks to engage students, faculty, staff and the entire community in an engaging way through online and live outlets.

 

Library of Congress for Parents and Educators
http://www.read.gov/educators/

This website contains resources that help young people unlock the power of reading.

 

Read Wisconsin
http://www.readwisconsin.net/

This website is hosted by the Department of Public Instruction of Wisconsin to provide webinars, videos and other resources about reading for those serving diverse populations.

 

Wisconsin State Reading Association
http://www.wsra.org/

This website offers advocacy ideas, resources and professional development that             addresses issues and trends in reading and language arts.

 

Tech Trendspotting

ChadKafka.com @chadkafka
http://www.chadkafka.com

Chad Kafka is a technology coach who trains educators and shares his ideas and presentations on his website.

 

EdGalaxy @edgalaxy_com
http://www.edgalaxy.com/

This blog compiles the latest technology, tools, toys and news for “teachers who want to work smarter.”

 

The Edublog Awards
http://edublogawards.com/

This website gives annual awards through a pubic nomination and voting process on social media such as blogs, hashtags, wikis, podcasts and their educational applications. This is a great resource to see what has been popular and useful in instructional technology every year.

 

Edudemic
http://edudemic.com/

This is a website with articles featuring technology tools and trends by covering the leading edge of digital learning.

 

Free Technology for Teachers @rmbyrne
http://www.freetech4teachers.com/

This daily blog by Richard Byrne delivers ideas and resources on instructional technology tools and social media applications.

 

iLearn Technology
http://ilearntechnology.com/

This blog is written by a former schoolteacher named Kelly Tenkely who now consults on how technology can  meet students’ needs and engage them.

 

Libraries and Transliteracy
http://librariesandtransliteracy.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/librariesandtransliteracy

This is a group blog and Facebook group that shares information on all types of literacies relevant to libraries (digital literacy, media literacy, information literacy, visual literacy, 21st century literacies, transliteracies, etc.)

 

Make Use Of
http://www.makeuseof.com/

This is a website that features articles and reviews of websites, technologies and internet tips. It is also a great learning resource for unfamiliar digital tools.

 

Social Media Examiner @smexaminer
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/

This is an online social media magazine that businesses (err… libraries) can use to guide their development of their social media presence.

 

 

Network Maintenance Plan

In order for my Online Professional Learning Network plan to be meaningful, I will be using tools such as Google Reader, Twitter and possibly Diigo to keep it organized and accessible to me. These tools are ones that are reasonable for me integrate into my daily routine at a minimal level of about five minutes a day. The key will be to make the maintenance of my OPLN to become a habit so that it remains meaningful to me. This way I can make minor additions or adjustments gradually whenever I discover new ideas or resources.

When I am admitted officially into an MLIS program, I will probably find that the goal statements of my OPLN will need to be tweaked once I have received official career and course advising as to what my plan and path through library school will be. This plan will also probably need a complete overhaul of goals and resources when and if I make a career move from ESL Teacher to School Library Media Specialist (and again if I decide to move to public libraries). At that point, my OPLN should reflect my needs in my precise professional role. This is a reasonable expectation at any career change point thereafter.

We’ve got a bird problem

Yesterday, I got a proverbial bug up my hinder and decided to go check out the swallow’s nest that appeared this spring over the fresh-air intake vent for the furnace.

The vent has been clogged up with crud as of late too, so this is not a case of live and let live (the picture was taken after I cleaned it, btw). While I can calmly close the window in the wee hours of the morning when the swallows’ songs become ridiculously loud and I can no longer sleep, the vent cannot not stay clogged. As I was up there on the ladder, the entire swallow community rose up in anger and tried to dive-bomb me the entire time. Sort of made me want to knock the whole thing down, but I wasn’t sure this one contained eggs, like the “neighbor’s nest” did. (Can you see them peeking their little heads over the side?)

I climbed up there, thinking, “I can figure this out,” and discovered that I couldn’t tell if there were eggs inside, only infer, and what’s more, the crud built up on the vent was on the inside of the grate, so as I scraped/poked it off, it basically got sucked inside (yeah, I got yelled at on that one for not using the vacuum–lord only knows how I would’ve got the vacuum up there).

What does this have to do with libraries and digital tools, you ask? Well, quite simply, I just didn’t know how to handle it. This is how I feel about Twitter right now. Like the bird’s nest, I’ve had a presence there for awhile now. I actually have two accounts: @hennebe was created years ago when I thought Twitter would be used like status messages on facebook, just more succinct–and purely social; I created @MisGenes (if you speak Spanish, this “handle” is how I’m known among my Latino students–it’s a double-entendre and completely hilarious to me) for my teaching and then never did anything with it.

That brings up my first dilemma: What do I do about two accounts? I like both handles. I’ve used hennebe around the internet a lot, so it’s got that going for it, consistency-wise. That account is also more established with real-live connections I have with people I know, but who really have nothing to do with my professional life. I feel a little weird about moving on and tweeting about Library and possibly ESL stuff when this network of followers I have could care less. As for MisGenes, if I use it, I wouldn’t want to ditch the first established Twitter network I built, but really, who wants two accounts?

Basically, I can’t decide if I want to mix my professional and personal. I don’t know if I want to clutter my personal stuff with a zillion tweets by a professional LIS community and have to “shut the window” like I do with the neighborhood birds. Some people tweet 30 tweets a day (or so) and I may only be interested in one of those tweets here and there.

Then again, as Clay Shirky points out in Here Comes Everybody, even if I think the personal stuff is “among friends,” it’s really not, it’s out there and it just depends who’s listening.

The other problem is that I have simply never found a way to make Twitter work for me. I read what Donna Ekart says in her 2011 article, “Making Twitter work for you” (Computers in Libraries, 31(4). 34-35), and I think yeah, if I used hashtags more and did better searches, I could really take her advice. And then I get to Twitter, and I choke. I don’t know what hashtags to write or search for. And searching, yeah, who knows. I’ve been trying out HootSuiteTweetdeck and Seesmic and I almost feel worse.

Truthfully, I buy in to the value of the LIS Professional Commons. Kyle M. L. Jones and Michael Stephens sold me on it in ” The LIS professional commons and the online networked practitioner” in Defending professionalism: A resource for librarians, information specialists, knowledge managers, and archivists (pp. 151-161). When I am finally at the point where I can become a professional librarian, I want to be all of those things that they describe: connected and engaged, knowledgeable, skillful and innovated, full of potential for leadership. Michael Stephens says in his article, “Beyond the walled garden: LIS students in an era of participatory culture”:

It makes me happy to see students, especially those who have taken my classes, lauded in the professional networks for their contributions. When an author has commented on a student’s blog post or a notable library figure “retweets” a student’s Twitter post, these actions prove that everyone can be a part of the discussion. Value is present from all who participate. The notion that only professional librarians’ opinions matter, for example, loses strength as everyone contributes.

In my small little world of Southern Wisconsin, I just don’t know that many people here that would engage me at the level that the global LIS Professional Commons would. If that’s what I want, that’s where I will have to go. Only there can the newbie’s experience and insight be as highly respected. In real-life, it feels like you have to serve some time before you are allowed to jump right in and work for change.

To me, microblogging, a.k.a. Twittering, seems like a good link between real blogs. If you’re going to participate by consuming and sharing blogs, I would think it also makes sense to participate by writing them too. I had a VERY negative experience with blogs back in 2007 that involved a real-live confrontation and a lot of tears, so I’ve shied away from blogs, especially ones that aren’t like journals with pictures you’ve taken yourself. Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli point out in “Becoming a networked learner” in Personal Learning Networks (pp. 33-57): “So make sure what you share isn’t going to get you in trouble. You never know who will see it.” They continue to explain that while prudence is wise, it’s also a great opportunity to put yourself out there because “you never know who will see it”–there might be an opportunity waiting for you because of your participation.

During my years of hesitance, however, I’ve missed a few opportunities to learn about trends in blogging like WordPress. I feel like I’m late to the party. I also have no idea to get WordPress to do what I want it to do. I am stepping back into the light with both Twitter and blogs and hoping that things work out. I’m kind of tired of the birds crapping in my hair.