Crucial Thought Rss

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Chris selected as K12OnlineConference keynote speaker Each year the K12OnlineConference provides tremendous professional development for free, and entirely online. This year, they have selected me as one of their keynote speakers. I am thrilled to have been chosen and look forward to participating in the conversation. Read the full post announcing all the keynote speakers here.

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Two quick links on Cognitive Load Theory I've been fielding lots of questions lately about Cognitive Load Theory. Here are two quick links that may be useful. First is an article talking about the practical implications of CLT on the design of learning. The second are some "recent" (as of 2003) developments regarding CLT. Happy reading! Update: I clarified the second...

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Practical advice on kids and Android app development After hearing about my students' success developing an Android app, I've gotten several emails asking for more details as to how I practically worked with my kids. Here are some pointers that I offered to the first person that emailed me, perhaps they are of some use to you. Please note that your mileage may vary. It's ok to not be...

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Publishing an App Inventor app to the Android Market As I mentioned earlier, my students and I published an Android app to the Android Market. See those links for more information on the background. This post is decidedly technical. First, once we finished the coding process, we packaged the app for to download to the computer. This is an option in App Inventor. This downloaded an .apk file....

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Designing and publishing an Android app with kids This post is designed to provide some context around how/why we decided to build this app. The more technical details of the code and how we published it will come in a future post. My students and I recently completed and published an Android app, and here's how we did it. First, the genesis for this goes back to a question I asked...

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Ode to a Librarian

Category : Educational Technology

Earlier today I saw this tweet from Mandie Engram (@mandiengram)


I responded by trying to find the answer myself. Having recently returned from the Google Teacher Academy in Washington, D.C. I sort of fancied myself a Google whiz.

I was wrong.

I simply could not find a ranking based on just our state. When I searched for various combinations (i.e. “economic impact” +industries +”south carolina”) I got all sorts of results, but no real way to rank them.

I tweeted back that Mandie should consider contacting a reference librarian.


Here in Irmo, SC we have a little branch of the Richland County Public Library called The Link. It’s tiny, about the size of a small store. It has some comfy chairs, a bunch of books, and a few computers for use.

They do not, however, regularly staff a reference librarian. To overcome this, they have a video conference system set up and mounted on the wall. It’s a bit like a video phone, where you pick up the receiver and it connects you with the reference desk at the main branch down town. A few months ago while I was in the Link I joked with the ladies who worked there that I didn’t need a reference librarian, I had Google. They tried to convince me I should try it out but I just couldn’t come up with a question that Google couldn’t handle.

Until today.

So, I decided to try out the reference librarian. I hit up the Ask a Librarian page and fired off an email asking the question. I would have tried the IM, but whatever service they use was blocked at school. I wondered whether it would result in anything, and went about my day. A few short hours later, to my pleasant surprise, I received an email with not only the information, detailed instructions as to how s/he found it. It turns out the librarian used the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the US Dept of Commerce. With no further effort on my part, I had the answer to the question, with an entire table copied to me.

economic impact

I was floored.

It’s not that I don’t have faith in librarians. In fact, this is the second time that the RCPL reference desk librarians have come to the rescue.

The truth is, I’m surrounded by wonderful librarians who are a credit to the profession. And this goes to show me that libraries are still as crucial as ever.

So thank you, RCPL reference desk, for showing me that there is still a need for information experts.

Comments (2)

Aw shucks–I want to beleive I could have located the info too! LOL thanks for the plug!

Thanks for the nod to librarians!

Hmm, I don’t know that I’d have found the answer w/in a couple of hours, but I hope I would đŸ™‚ However, I’ve been known to call/email RCPL for help, too! I’m not ashamed to ask for help. There are some amazing people working at RCPL.