Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How Will You Make A Difference In 2015....Tyson and Skype Want To Know!

Skype, along with the Social Good ambassador Tyson Mayr and all of our fellow Skype Ambassadors, are up to something wonderful for the New Year!  And something that will definitely make others happy through special #SkypeMoments
Tyson and Skype would like to know how you will make someone smile this coming year.  What are the little things....and big things....that you will do?

We want to know.  It is easy to get involved in the Skype Social Good Deeds project and share these little moments with others too.
All you have to do is follow these three steps...

1. Get Skype....and make sure it is the latest version.

2. Search for SkypeGoodDeeds and add it as a Skype contact.

3. Send your IM or Video Message with your good deeds....either done or planned.  Include your phone number.  The first 250 who share will receive Skype Credit via SMS.

The Skype Social Good Official Rules can be found here.
Make sure you check out Tyson's charge to all of us in 2015.

All of the little things can truly make a difference.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Buncee Buddies Brought Friends Together Around The World To Celebrate Their Holidays

The week before Christmas, I was part of a wonderful Skype between two schools participating in a project called, Buncee Buddies.  

Several schools kicked this off in the early part of December and celebrated the holidays by creating Buncee's to share with their friends around the world.  
On this day, Tracy Ferguson's 2nd graders at Van Meter School in Iowa and Chad Leman's 3rd graders from Ixonia Elementary in Wisconsin connected with myself and our friends at Buncee.
It was so much fun to see what the two roomfuls of children had to share with their new Buncee Buddies over Skype.
 They took turns sharing their Buncee's and....
 what was special to them about the holidays.
We loved seeing how each one was different and unique.  
Buncee has put together this beautiful page on their website that highlights Buncee Buddies and all of the students, schools, libraries, and teachers that took part in our very first project.

We hope that you take a look at all of the Buncee's the young people created.....You can view them under each school on the page.
We can't wait to see where Buncee Buddies will take us in 2015!  

If you are interested in creating a Buncee Buddies project for your students too please reach out to 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Crumbles Is One Of The Coolest Web Tools I Have Seen All Week!

Before I tell you anything about this new web tool that I found, click here to watch the movie clip above that I just created.

That's right!  Crumbles is definitely one of the coolest web tools I have seen all week!
To create the video clip above all I had to do was type the words in the box that I wanted to say.....Crumbles did the rest by pulling cartoon and movie characters together to speak on my behalf.
This amazing new site takes clips from TV and movies to create a short video with a different clip from each word you type into the box.  For those words that are not supported, Crumble uses a computerized voice to generate the word in the video clip.  
You can create your very own Crumble with 25 words or less.  

The side bar on the right is a dictionary which shows you all of the words that are stored within the site to create the videos.  
What fun!

Thank you Crumbles....Click here to see our message to you!

I can see this being used within so many subjects and projects.  I can't wait to hear how you use it too.
You can find the wonderful creators of this web tool at @CrumblesApp on Twitter.   

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What About Gaming In Makerspaces? How About One Where Hagan Created His Very Own Adventure?

I love the holidays and my favorite part is being able to spend time with my favorite little guy, Hagan.  This year Hagan asked for a PS4 and with that came an amazing new game to us....

Hagan usually plays Madden 2015 and NBA, so trying something new was super exciting for all of us.   

And I must other PlayStation game has made me think about how it might fit into learning, schools, and libraries quite like this one. 
At first glance, LittleBigPlanet took Hagan through a tiny world full of fun characters, objects, and situations.  It reminded me of watching my sister, Heather, play Mario when we were little.  
He thought it was really fun to help the main character, Sackboy, through his adventure within this tiny world.  

We learned tricks as we went, learned how to change him into a costume, and found a few extra cardboard cutouts by the end of the first day.  
The next day Eric's nephew Alex came over to hang out with Hagan and play the PS4.  

When Hagan and I mentioned that we had been playing LittleBigPlanet he told us something even cooler about the game!  
The best part....

You not only play the parts they have created within the game, you become the creator of your very own game.  You can "Create Anything" including heroes, worlds, games, levels, and so much more. The sky is the limit with LittleBigPlanet and no game is ever the same.  

It was not only exciting to Hagan but, he was inspired to figure out problems, create solutions and new adventures, and craft his very own world in LittleBigPlanet....

not just for him to travel and play in, but he can publish and share his creations with others too.  
I loved reading all about LittleBigPlanet today on their site......You can here too.
You can watch this short video to learn more about how LittleBigPlanet will bring you your very own world too.   
As I watched Hagan play and learned more about LittleBigPlanet, I thought about what we are bringing to our young people through creating, tinkering, and inventing  in Makerspaces within our libraries and schools.    

We define them as "Creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn."   

This is what we are doing in games like LittleBigPlanet too!  We are giving them opportunities with all kinds of tools, materials, and experiences.....and this game fits perfect into this collection too. 
Hagan also played LittleBigPlanet with his friend Spencer last week.

These 9-year-olds created an unbelievable adventure for their two characters they decked out themselves to fit their story.  I loved watching them build and figure out what they would do next to make their world the best. 

And watching the two of them, both with their own game control, collaborating and communicating throughout the building process, was exciting and so sweet.  I would LOVE to see this happen in any Makerspace. 
Hagan and Spencer worked together to build and help one another get through the adventure.  It was definitely a team effort throughout the entire process.
Hagan and I had a great time playing too.  We worked together and he walked me through what he built earlier.  It was so much fun trying out the ramps and wheels, flying towards the maze in the ceiling, and....
becoming any character we wanted to be.  I dressed up my little Sackboy in a Little Red Riding costume, while Hagan made his into a dragon, bird, and marshmallow looking guy.
When I was reading the News on the site today, I read about how they even have Disney's Frozen characters for Sackboy!
You can get the Disney Frozen Costume Pack and turn your Sackboy into any character from the movie.
I found TONS of costumes Hagan and I can't wait to try!  You can search them too on LittleBigPlanet Add-ons page. 
I LOVE how players can connect to all kinds of places for LittleBigPlanet.  
When you click on Community in the upper right hand corner, it will take you to the Welcome to the Community page.  From there, one can go to the Official Forums, Community Levels, and Find Them Socially. 
 Hagan logged into and up popped....
 HaganHawk, his very own cute little Sackboy!
He was able to view all kinds of things including recent activity, levels played, and progress.

I can see LittleBigWorld being really fun for creative writing, retelling historical events, and making architectural designs in art classes.  With a little thinking outside of the box, any teacher or librarian could turn this world into some place wonderful.

Within the game you can also take, publish, and share Videos and Photos.  This would be a great way for students to share their creations with classmates, teachers....
and others around the world. 
We loved finding all of the Official Tutorials on the website and game.  These are very helpful in learning how to create, publish, share, and all of the things you can do in LittleBigPlanet.
There is even a LittleBigPlanet YouTube Channel filled with even more videos that can be used to inspire and teach too. 

Students can contribute to the video pages.  They are the experts after all. 

The sharing and collaborating doesn't stop there. 
You can find them on Twitter at @LittleBigPlanet, which would be a fun way to inspire conversation around the game. 
We loved checking out their hashtag #StandSmall on Twitter.  

This will be an awesome way to gather new ideas and share students ideas too.  Hagan can't wait to share his!  He actually cannot wait to share the games and worlds that he creates with others....just like Alex and his dad, Greg, do. 
LittleBigPlanet is on Facebook too....perfect connection to direct families to.
So what do you think?

Does gaming fit into Makerspaces?  

I would love to hear what you think.   I would love to hear what your students think?

After spending the last week in LittleBigPlanet with Hags I sure think so.

And I know he does too.