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30 Nov 2015
Comments: 2

5 Surprising Ways to Make Amazon Literacy Work 4 U

Amazon Literacy Header

Relevant Side Note: I have to admit I have been negligent with blogging these few months. My website went down in mid September and it has taken me much of the semester to transition and mold it to be what it is right now (more on that in an upcoming post)… But for NOW! ūüėČ

Sometimes it just takes a good kick in the pants¬†to jump¬†start blogging and that is exactly what Ross Cooper (@RossCoops31) did for me with his post, “Are You Amazon Literate?“.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Should This Matter?

So you might be asking yourself why does Amazon Literacy matter… Is this even a thing? Or is this a fictitious dish the TechChef is trying to serve up after the Thanksgiving break? Well, let me paint a picture for you. My go to for pretty much any initial purchase is Amazon.

How to Be Amazon Literate

While Amazon is super easy to find products… it can be ever so cumbersome to locate quality professional development resources unless you are… Amazon Literate:

  • Cookie Crumb Trails: Think about it… to locate quality books on creative writing, I essentially have to find one really good one and then follow the cookie crumb trail of recommendations.
  • Visit Another Restaurant: Recently, I started falling deep down the rabbit hold of visual communication and slide design. I found one amazing book, “Talk Like Ted”, which is really a book designed for the industry… not necessarily the classroom. That moves me to my next point… oftentimes, we get comfortable with what we know – we stick to books and resources that are designed for educators when in reality many of the books designed for the industry are just as impactful and provide a more transparent window into college readiness skills and purposeful practice than any educational industry book alone could. Honestly, I learned far more about the creative process and authentic publishing from Austin Kleon than any classroom-focused text.
  • Don’t Let Reviews Exclusively Color Your Opinions:¬†I¬†do look at the customer reviews BUT I am also realistic. Sometimes one customer had a bad experience (that may or may not be directly linked to the product) and they have decided to lash out in the reviews. I try to scan the middle of the road reviews (3’s and 4’s) because they seem to be more truthful and authentic than the rants or superficial praise.
  • Take a Visual Bite Before You Order: I have to admit that if I can’t get nab a “Look Inside” for a book… I tend not to order it no matter how great the reviews.¬†Sometimes older books don’t have a sneak peek but they can be found on google. My hack for the “Look Inside” is to google the book and see if I can get nab a preview of a page or two that way. If I am successful and the book piques my interest and meets my expectations, then I go back to Amazon and order it.

Though these ideas can guide your searches, there is still a bit of practice needed to master this literacy.

Creative Writing Books

Before I share some ways to hone your Amazon Literacy acumen… I want to share yet another example to sell the skill¬†further. Below is a picture of 9¬†books that I ordered off Amazon to support creative writing and creative writing prompts AND only one of the 9 books can be found in the first 10¬†pages of an Amazon search for “creative writing” or “creative writing prompts”. Essentially, without a prowess for¬†Amazon Literacy, I would have never known about the other 9¬†books.

Blogger’s Note:¬†If you are interested in these 9 creative writing books …I have pinned all of them to this board “Books that Ignite Literacy”.

 

How Can I Practice these Skills?

With Amazon Two Day Prime and my constant need for books and learning… I have had multiple opportunities to hone these skills. In Ross’s Amazon Literacy post, he delineated a few challenges that might be useful in polishing your acumen for Amazon Literacy.

As I don’t want to regurgitate what Ross Cooper said in his post¬†and the superb list that he offered, I thought I would ¬†generate my own list of “5 Surprising Ways to Make Amazon Literacy Work 4 U”¬†(and yes, I totally realize that these are loaded tasks that are in line with my current reality and visual communication rabbit hole):

  • Beyond Education: Find a book that is not necessarily designed for education but could be purposefully used within the classroom. (Explain your rationale.)
  • Attention Grabbers: Share a book that grabbed your attention by book cover alone. (Explain what part of the book grabbed your attention… e.g. color, title, font, image and WHY).
  • Best Collection for a Purpose: You are a secondary teacher and you need to teach your students about slide design and presentation skills. Find the book with the best collection of practical resources, tips, and examples.
  • Accurate Search Terms: Discover search terms that work for you. As mentioned above,¬†a quick search for “creative writing” oftentimes doesn’t locate the books that I really want. Austin Kleon is an amazing author that supports creative writing and his books don’t even rank on the first page.¬†That being said… “The Emotion Thesaurus” does! This book is fantastic but I actually ended up using it with slide design and speaking skills because it talks so much about body language. If you search “body language” in Amazon, The Emotion Thesaurus doesn’t even rank within the first 10 pages. Determining¬†search terms that work for you is truly an art form in it of itself.
  • Surprisingly Educational: Locate a “Surprisingly Educational” book or resource… something that is more rooted in the¬†edutainment field but definitely could be incorporated in to a curricular setting.¬†My three examples for “Surprisingly Educational” are “Artists, Writers, Thinkers. Dreamers”,¬†“Medieval Lego”, and “Fictitious Dishes”. The Artists book is fantastic for blending biographies and sketch noting and the Medieval Lego book is stellar for inspiring students to summarize historical events and create visual scenes. The Fictitious Dishes one is a clever spin on dishes that could be drawn from literary works and offers up quotes and anecdotes to support the dishes.

Too often we live in an echo chamber when we search on Amazon… this is why Amazon Literacy is so integral to bettering ourselves as educators and honing our craft with appropriate resources.

 

Why Will Trusted Curation be Our Future?

At some point it is not going to be enough to just google something or search within in Amazon. With the vast amount of content being published each and every day, we have to search for trusted curators. In an effort to provide you with a springboard in to Amazon Literacy AND your holiday shopping cart…, here are 3 boards I have carefully curated to support you:

And… I have one more idea for you… Why not create a collaborative board to share all of the books that you and your colleagues have read that you find instructionally impactful? AND then each of you can comment with your review or how you used it with your classroom… Here is a collaborative board I created for my colleagues to house books that blend education and technology in innovative and meaningful ways.

Ed Tech Shelf: Books for Education and Professional Development
Many thanks to Ross Cooper for allowing me to expand upon his original post. Please don’t forget to read Ross Cooper’s original post, check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @RossCoops31¬†and please, please remember to share these ideas with others… as you begin to organically grow and hone your own Amazon literacy skills.

 

Where Will TechChef Be Next?

As you may or may not have noticed, the TechChef4u site has undergone a few changes in both design and organization over the past few months.

If you are interested in booking Lisa Johnson and/or would like to know where she will be speaking next… visit the TechChef4u speaking page for more info or email¬†techchef4u@gmail.com.


16 Apr 2014
Comments: 13

Wicked-Good Wednesday: 3 Ideas Worth Stealing

I have found through countless speaking engagements and professional development workshops, what we may think is obvious or even “tired” … is sometimes exactly what someone has been looking for. On that same note, many times all it takes is a sample or a nibble of a great idea to spark creative juices.

In the words of Austin Kleon…

“There’s only stuff worth stealing, and stuff that’s not worth stealing.” – Austin Kleon

So, this alliterative Wednesday post is devoted to just that…Wicked Good Ideas Worth Stealing.

BeFunky_Photo on 3-7-14 at 12.jpg

In an era of app-smashing and rapid ebb, flow, and feeds of ideas, truly…

“every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas” –¬†Austin Kleon

What catches the TechChef’s eye? Clever items and purposeful ideas that can be adapted and remixed for different settings (e.g. classroom, stations, professional development…) as well as a myriad of uses and content areas.¬†We are all inspired by others and today I want to share with you three ideas and a group of educators that inspires me…

App Dice:¬†As part of their professional development objective for App + App + App= Lesson, Annie Barton (@anniebarton0)¬†and¬†Hayley Schirmer (@schirmer_hayley)¬†“encouraged teachers to implement a culture of planning lessons around using apps that meet a certain criteria, rather than specific apps.”

Rolling the Dice with PD

Rolling the Dice with PD

This little gem crams choice, app smashing, and exploration in to a space smaller than a crouton. And I definitely had a “Why didn’t I think of this?” moment. So to explore this recipe for learning, you will need:

  • Dice:¬†Each die was based on a different principle of the E5 Instructional model (e.g. Explore, Explain, Elaborate) and apps were then selected to be used with each principle and assigned to be sides of the die.
  • Idea cards were also prepared for each app to provide additional curricular examples and ideas.
Rolling the Dice with PD

Rolling the Dice with PD

A full post about their process can be found on the Apps in Education page HERE.

 

Daily 5 App Menu: This creation from third grade teacher Monica Evon is definitely a keeper and a perfect recipe for learning. Everyone likes choice and this cleverly created menu is easily adaptable with additional activities and apps.

1:1 iPad Menu for Guided Reading

1:1 iPad Menu for Guided Reading

 

QR Code Board Games: While clearly designed to support and review phonics, the idea of QR Code Board Games and Task Cards is easily transferrable to other content areas and even the professional development realm. Read more about this creation from reading specialist Kristin Jordan and download it for FREE.

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So this Wednesday… think about who inspires you and how you can honor their creations:

“In the end, merely imitating your heroes is not flattering them. Transforming their work into something of your own is how you flatter them. Adding something to the world that only you can add.” – Austin Kleon

Truly the showcase above is intended to whet your appetite for innovation. Now it is your turn… (and yes the TechChef will be cooking up a few remixed deconstructed dishes of her own as well…) so stay tuned..

 

TechChef4u Alliteration Alliance: Check out the other topics in the Ed Tech alliteration portfolio:

TechChef Presents

TechChef Presents: Where will Lisa Johnson be sharing her app-thusiasm next?

 

1:1 Deployment and Interested in 1:1 Deployment or PD strategies and implementation? Looking for a dynamic presenter or interactive workshop? Contact TechChef4u (lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com) for parent presentations, hands-on workshops, keynotes, and much more! Read testimonials about TechChef presentations.

TechChef Techucation Gazette: Sign up to receive future issues of the monthly e-Newsletter:¬†There are many more learning app-ortunities and professional development toolkits to come. If you don’t want to miss a morsel of this techucation feast,¬†sign up today.

DONT MISS the NEXT ISSUE: SIGN UP TODAY!!!

 

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