Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thing 25: Newsletters in a Pop!

To create great looking newsletters you no longer need a graphic artist's degree (or even access to MS Publisher templates). Thanks to, newsletters are now a breeze pop!

LetterPop is a nifty free online website that lets you create great looking newsletters and announcements with a few clicks and drags of your mouse. The site itself is built upon an ajax platform -- I know, this is more info then you needed. But hey, it good to drop a new term into the mix every once in awhile -- that lets you freely drop and drag elements on the screen wherever you want and with over 90 templates (be sure to check out the multiple page layouts available with each template) there’s so much you can do.

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Play around with and mock up a newsletter or announcement of your own.
  2. Post a link to it from your blog and share your creation and discoveries with others.

PS: Here’s a LetterPop creation that was actually created by a group of participants who recently attended a mouse skills workshop at our library.

What a neat way to say thanks and a useful tool to share with patrons. Try it yourself and see if you don't agree that creating great looking newsletters with this tool is a ... POP!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thing 24: Got file conversion issues?

It happens in every library... a user approaches the service desk with a problem -- the PC won't read their file.

File conversion issues have always been around. But until lately, the only solutions available were the those that were locally installed on PCs. But enter (my new best friend). This website offers on-the-fly conversion of text, image, audio and video file formats without ever installing a download. The best thing about the site is that you don't even need a login to convert. Simply browse for your file, select the new format type and it does the magic and even emails the results to you. A big bonus is the pdf converter- which is one I know I'll use a lot. PDF stands for "portable document format" and is a file type that maintains a document's original look format outside of the program it was created in.

Discovery Exercise:

  • Take any document you've created in a word-processing program (Word, Open Office, WordPad) and try steps 1 through 4 at to convert the file to pdf.
  • You'll need to check your email once it's done for the final product.
  • Create a post about how this service might be of use to yourself or your library.

Note: Personally I love the option that allows me to convert YouTube videos to mpg. This is especially helpful for including video in PowerPoint presentations when you don't have access to the Internet. Thank you Zamzar

Monday, May 14, 2007

The adventure continues ...

In the past few months it seems that a week hasn't gone by when someone hasn't asked me what they could do to continue their explorations and discoveries after Learning 2.0. Well, if you're one of those people then you've found the answer here ... Learning 2.1 :)

Learning 2.1 is a continuation of the original online discovery program and combines 21st century skills with lifelong learning. Like the original program, participants are encouraged to follow along with their own blogs. But there are three major changes:

  • The program is continuous. There is not a finite new list of 23 Things. The program simply encourages participants to play with two or three new things a month. Feel free to explore what you want. The program not only emphasizes discovery and play; it also has a Ning Learning network that you can use to connect with other learners.

  • Anyone can become a contributor to Learning 2.1. All you need to do to become a guest blogger is submit a sample post and agree to post at least 3 new discoveries within a month. Interested? Contact us.

  • Sorry, there are no prize incentives. But you, of course, could change this if and when you win the lottery. :) But as many of you said in Learning 2.0, there is still a great reward in learning itself.

So why not renew or start a new blog and follow along? Learning is a journey that is best done with friends. So let's do it together as we Explore ... Discover ... and PLAY!

PS: Looking for a discovery exercise to start you off on this new journey?

Why not start by creating a profile for yourself in the
Explore ...Discover .. Play Ning. Of if you prefer to participate a little bit more anonymously, add your blog to the Learning 2.1 wiki.