Thursday, May 22, 2014


Woo Hoo!  The LAST THING!  Thing 23 - Evaluation

Based on the prompts, here are some of my thoughts about the process:

First, 23 Mobile Things Minnesota was not a "choice" in my particular case - I was participating in this project as a class assignment.  One, this meant that I needed to work through the "things" faster than the actual deadline for the project.  Two, I actually had an outlet beyond the blog to talk about this experience in a classroom setting.  Would I participate in this type of project again?  Sure - even on my own :).

The biggest thing that surprised me or became a constant reminder through this process is that NOT ALL DEVICES ARE CREATED EQUAL.  I did my 23 things on Apple products, a 5th generation Touch and a iPhone 5.  SEVERAL of the things in categories like education were iPad only apps.  I couldn't even SEE them in my AppStore on either my phone or my Touch.  While this may not be a barrier for most people doing the 23 things, I think it is important to remember that "just because it is an iOS app, doesn't mean it will work on all Apple products".  I understand that the vision was probably that participants had access to an iPad...and I DID roll with it and did what I could with my non-iPad iOS experience.  It was more a disappointment in not being able to try suggested apps rather than missing out on the 23 things.

I don't know if I had a favorite "new" app, but I am still ranting on the YALSA Teen Book Finder.  Really.  Someone needs to do an intervention in the IT/tech department at YALSA...

One sentence to describe my learning experience:

It was fun, challenging, eye-opening, and a great excuse to step beyond my normal mobile device habits!

All in all, it was a good experience for me.  This was my first BLOG, my first experience with products beyond dedicated apps - for photos, video, audio - and for items like HootSuite.  I didn't like everything I learned about but I WILL be using Road Ninja on a regular basis!!

Thing 16

Thing 16 (the last Thing!!) - Audio

This was a hard Thing for me because I do not LIKE to listen to my own voice recorded.  I know I am not the only one on the planet that feels this way...None the less, I chose Audioboo for Thing 16.

Things I liked - I liked the limit on the audio recording.  One unique way I think this could be used is for practicing book talks.  Book talks need to be SHORT AND ENGAGING.  By using Audioboo, the app will help monitor the length of time spent talking about each book in the course of practicing a book talk.

I liked that you can share the audio you create with others.  I also like that it can be used "in replacement" of video (book talks, book recommendations, etc) - there may be reasons why students won't, can't, choose not to do video.

What I didn't like - another log in.

I am doing this project as coursework for a class - one of the students mentioned last night how she was trying to REDUCE her digital footprint and how Heartbleed has added an extra layer of "UGH" to this project.  I know you "could" sign in with your Twitter, but then I need to worry about Audioboo AND Twitter being secure.

I would probably use this app or something similar in a school library setting.  I feel there are many applications for using small snippets of audio for notes, projects, book talks, etc.  I am not sure how I would address the account situation...perhaps I would NOT use it if I was in a 1 to 1 school with iPads.  Depending on the task, they could use the audio that is Apple dedicated - this would require more research and thought.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Thing 8

I've been holding off on Thing 8 because I wanted to find a product that included Instagram as part of the sites that are aggregated by the said product.  I have ONE friend/family that dropped Facebook for Instagram and I am feeling the need to use Instagram as a way of sharing my daughter's life with him (he lives in California).

In the one aspect where I wanted to succeed, I failed for Thing 8.  I tried Hoot Suite and Cloze.  I kept going back to HootSuite, Googling about HootSuite, looking for a way to combine everything.  It looks like you can POST to Instagram from Hootsuite, but you can't view other people's content from Instagram from HootSuite (another major feature I was looking for).

To be honest, I liked and disliked the HootSuite app - I liked the presentation of information relayed back to me from Facebook on the app.  Facebook has screwed up what posts I see on my Touch or Phone vs. a PC with it's new algorithms or whatever system it is using to filter things FOR ME.  I did not like the idea of trying to manage my digital life from the app.  I felt the website (or do they call it a dashboard?) does a much better job of laying out what HootSuite is trying to manage for you.

That being said, if I DID have a job/career where I was in charge of several media platforms for a library, I WOULD use HootSuite to distribute the message.  I like that you can set when and what types of content you want delivered when to social media outlets.  In my personal life, I do not need HootSuite.  I barely tweet, I hardly use Instagram, and I use Facebook daily.  My level of "leveraging" social media does not warrent a product like HootSuite.  But maybe someday...:).

Thing 14

I was prepared to really NOT like any part of Thing 14.  I use the video feature of the camera on my Touch and phone all the time.  I was not ready to learn OR like a video app.

However - I tried Viddy for Thing 14.  I was very surprised that I LIKED Viddy and think it has some potential applications.

What I liked - I liked the 30 second time limit.  I think this would be really useful for creating mini book trailers for new items (or favorite items, or themed items...).  I think this would be really useful to "show" what is happening in the library is a SHORT format that is not burdensome (or boring) for users, stakeholders, parents or potential users to watch.  The 30 second time limit also cuts down on the storage for the device used for the video.  The filtering was a nice touch as well - but Instagram already DOES a short video with filtering (I believe it filters...).

I think it has great potential in a school library for the same reasons as the public library stated above.  The biggest issue with Viddy is that you need a username and password to use it.  This may be a barrier or a nuisance in a school setting.

The sharing feature was "meh" for me - I do not normally share video content on any of the platforms available through Viddy.  If I was using this for promotional purposes for my job, I WOULD like the direct linkage to those social media sites.  My only concern would be how to share the content within the library website or space if a library wanted all their social media leading back to their website.

Viddy is a "keep, wait, and see" app.  I'm going to test it out on my niece and nephew this summer and see what kind of reception it receives.  For me?  I'll stick with the plain camera video feature for now.  I have enough trouble keeping tract of my digital media (cameras, Touch, phone, Instagram, etc) without adding another app to the mix.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thing 15

Thing 15 - Infographics

This Thing was really a bust for me.  In the spirit of honesty, I am at the end of the semester and not as excited to dig and dig for something I like to replace the app I don't like.  On to the apps.

One way this Thing was a bust for me was that I could only FIND ONE OF THE APPS on my iPod Touch. Once again, I don't have an iPad.  The ONLY app my iTunes Store would recognize was info.Graphics. So, I tried info.Graphics.

The app is just "OK".  It is easy to navigate, sorted by general categories like Technology, Movies, or Social Media.  The infographics offered are OK.  The options to "export" are OK - camera roll, Facebook or Twitter.  OK.

What I didn't like:  The app didn't have very many choices in terms of infographic availability.  There are tons and tons of infographics out there - why just these few?  The search function is non-existent - browse the featured infographics or don't look at any.  The "share" feature has no choice for exporting to an e-mail.  Why?  Searching Pinterest will create a better selection of infographics than this app.

Where I think this app has potential:  I think this app is a good tool for teaching students (or adults) about infographics.  What are the things that make an effective infographic?  What features need to be present to call a poster an infographic?  What types of industries use infographics?  This app works well for this application because the selection size is small.  If students were allowed to pick their own infographic from this app, it would not take much work for the instructor to find it.  This might be a decent app for examining and explaining infographics, but it is not good for finding information about a topic through an infographic.

Thing 21


I looked through all the pages of apps I have on my Touch and realized that I have already blogged on most of the apps I use the most (mostly I blogged in the Games Thing).  But, I found a couple worth mentioning for this blog.

App 1:  Buzzfeed.  I don't watch TMZ, I don't read the gossip magazines, I have given up on trying to maintain a "competent front" of current social, style, and celebrity trends.  HOWEVER, I really, really like looking at the Buzzfeed app.  The app works similar to a "magazine app" like Flipboard except it chooses the content it shows you.  I am unsure if it uses an algorithm that shows the most popular posts or the most recent, or a combination of the two.  If you refresh the app as you use it, the thumbnails will change.  Although a large part of the content is devoted to celebrities, quizzes, and generally ridiculous but funny "blogs", vines or videos, Buzzfeed does report on serious news and covers long form journalism.  Every week there is a post about "Stories we are reading this week".  I learned a lot about what was happening early in Ukraine from this app; also with Edward Snowden.  I saw the story about the runaway bouncy house AT LEAST a full day before it showed up in my Facebook feed from another news organization.  I feel it gives a good balance of the absurd and the important in one place.

App 2:  DisBoards.  This app probably might not apply to this discussion of apps to use for libraries and librarians.  BUT the directions were to talk about apps you use/love and this is an app I use heavily.
DisBoards is a chat site/discussion board for all things Disney - mostly Disney World, but Disney Land, Royal Caribbean, Universal, and other topics are discussed on the site/app.  It is also a website, but I feel the website to be too cumbersome and frenetic for me to use for any length of time.
Personally, I use the app for reading up on rumors or changes, restaurant reviews, resort reviews, general planning, and a little bit of drama - all discussion boards have a little bit of drama :).  I found DisBoards because my first trip to Disney World was with my "entire family", parents, sister's family, us.  I felt like the trip was kind of a "let down" because there was some planning miscommunication and I felt like I didn't know what I thought I needed to know to get the most out of my trip.  The next trip, I did research.  And research.  And more research.  And found this app.
I "might" recommend this app to others as a planning tool.  As with all sites of this type, the mood has shifted from helpful to more critical.  BUT the site is archived and there is solid, tested information about Disney properties as well as other travel "entities" for those looking for "real" information with varied viewpoints.  Think of it as a really opinionated, real time, breathing guidebook app for Disney.

Thing 18

Thing 18 is Education.  For this app I tried Project Noah.  I really wanted to try LIFE for iPad, but I don't own an iPad.

I was not "bowled over" by this app.  From what I can gather, this app is a tool to document and share nature and wildlife in a photographic format.  Users can earn badges by finding and taking pictures of different creatures, as well as embarking on "missions" as described by the app.  I just couldn't get into it and found it a bit confusing in terms of "what am I supposed to do with this app?"  And the reason the app is so confusing is that it is designed to be a companion to the Project Noah website;

The concept of the website/app is really cool; students, scientists, others who are interested in nature can document their natural environment through photographs and add to missions or animal groupings.  There is also a feature where you can upload a creature that is unknown to you and others will tell you what the creature might be.

The pluses of the app:  the photographs that have been submitted for missions are fantastic, high quality photos.  If one chooses to allow location features, the app will feature missions close to where you are, such as Great Lakes missions, Critters of the Northwoods, or Birds of Wisconsin.  Each mission links out to the mission website within the app - this might be great for use with an iPad, but not so great on a Touch.

App drawbacks:  It seems that the user (me) needed to use the missions provided by the app or find a mission that was close to what you wanted to explore and tag along with the mission posted.  The app is not explicit that it is designed to be a tool for the website until you are a few "clicks" into a mission.  The app as a stand alone does not provide great instructions as to how to use the app.  One other big drawback - you need to be "authenticated or signed in" to a social media tool to fully use the app (Google, Facebook, Twitter, those kind of tools).

Where I see this app as an asset:  I think this app would be an AWESOME tool for an elementary or even lower middle school science project.  Students could earn badges, participate in different missions and learn about native or local native critters and/or fauna while interacting in a greater "scientific" community.  It would be a great tool for homeschoolers and something a public library could use as programming or a product they could suggest to parents.

The app has some promise, but it did not work for me without a scaffold where I would be using this app as a tool in a real project.  Maybe when my daughter turns four or five, this might be a good enrichment activity for the family!