Search Stories Video Creator

If you have yet to play with this video creator, put it on your “to-do” list for this summer.  It’s as easy as 1-2-3 (steps, that is).

Step One

What story do you wish to tell?  You will be asked to enter six search terms.

For each search term, you can choose the types of results you wish to show:  web, images, maps, news, blog search, product search, or books.  Once you make a choice you can see a preview of the search.

Step Two:  Choosing Music

Next, you will choose the music you wish to accompany your Search Story.  There are eight categories:  action, comedy, country/western, drama, family, horror, sci fi, and romance.  Within each category, you are given three choices to further personalize your Search Story.

Step Three:  Let Search Story Video Creator do the Rest

Once you have chosen your music, the video creator goes to work.

Finalizing and Uploading Your Search Story

Now you can preview your Search Story and choose to edit any portion of it.  Once you are satisfied, you will be asked to give it a title , description (optional), and category.   Your category choices here are the same as they are for the music.

Now you are ready to upload it to your YouTube account.

Easy – peasy!  How will you use this in your library?

Going Gaa-Gaa for Google

It is no secret to those who know me:  I am a Google fan.  Google offers great (FREE) tools that have simplified my life and allowed me to accomplish more  – efficiently and effectively.  Some Google services I use:

Google’s Educational Uses

For those educators who are still not sold on Google, here are some links that either offer more information for educators, or give examples of educators’ use of Google for their students.


Google Search Options

Google Docs


Handling Information Overload

Information Overload

Ever suffered from information overload? Wasted time surfing on the Internet because your searches return too many results? I can answer “Guilty” to both so this summer I want to further hone my searching techniques.

Google Basic Search

Most of us have executed numerous basic searches on Google, only to be bombarded with thousands, if not millions, of hits.  For example, this basic search on Edward Cullen turned up 6,260,000 results.  Quite a bit to look through. 

google search for edward cullen



















Google Squared

Google Labs introduced Google Squared at its second Searchology event in May of 2009. 

“Unlike a normal search engine, Google Squared doesn’t find webpages about your topic — instead, it automatically fetches and organizes facts from across the Internet.”  from the Official Google Blog

The same search on Edward Cullen in Google Squared produced this square:

googlesquared search on edward cullen


To try out this new search feature for yourself, go to Google Squared and enter your search term in the box.  Click on “Square It” and see how Google has organized information about your topic.  If you have an iGoogle account, you can save your searches.

Benefits of Google Squared?

I’ll have to do quite a bit more playing with Google Squared to determine if it make locating the information I need more quickly than an Advanced Search.  I love the idea of an organized result list, but did you notice that Bella is listed as a Guinea Pig under Species and Emmett is listed as a Rainbow Trout?  Hmm….much different story line would come from those ideas.


I would love for others to share their tips for efficient and effective searching techniques.   What works best for you?

Google Enters the Wiki World through a Back Door

Google acquired Jotspot and in February of this year, launched Google Sites. Although those who are familiar with creating wikis will immediately recognize Google Sites as wiki-like, Google decided not to use the term “wiki” to describe this application.

So what does this mean for educators?  We now have another choice in wiki services, although the service is not promoted as a wiki.  Other popular wiki hosting sites, wikispaces, pbwiki, wetpaint, now have to contend with the ever-growing Google machine.

With so many wiki hosting sites available, how can you find the one that best suits your needs?  You might try WikiMatrix which offers a Wiki Choice Wizard.  You answer a few questions and WikiMatrix reveals the services that will meet your needs.  You can also use their Compare feature and choose from a long list of wikis (Google Sites NOT included) and see a side by side comparison of features.

Why should educators use wikis?  A Google search with the words “wiki,” “uses,” and “education” turned up 78,500,000 hits, so there is no lack of information to answer that question.

So the next question?  Why should YOU use a wiki for your classroom or library media center?  Answers are requested!