Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The One With Lots of Choices #slice2014

Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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Guess what? It's that time of year again! The Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards nominations are open. I'm excited to be a Book Apps judge again. If you have a favorite book app, from the last year, you can nominate it now. Just click this link for more information about how to nominate a book app or a book in any of the other great categories. 

Cybils is the only award that I have been a part of but I know lots of friends who have worked on other teams for book awards. I will forever be in awe of all the dedicated people who devote so much of their time to reading and discussing books for awards. One thing I learned by participating last year as a Book Apps judge is that by immersing myself into all the book apps, I was able to develop a better understanding of what made a quality app. 

At work right now, I've been reviewing applications for a Laptop Mini-Grant that we are running. Teachers have the opportunity share how they would integrate laptops into their instruction. We invite them to be innovative and show how they can use technology with best practice in their classrooms. We offered this last year and I read over 100 applications. This year, I'm thinking of all the applications I saw last year and thinking about the applications from this year differently because of my background knowledge from last year. It's interesting how my experience shapes my perspective but also how having exposure to so many different applications helps me to better be able to recognize the difference between applications. 

It makes me think about choices. Sometimes we only have two choices and we pick the one that makes the most sense to us based on our experiences and our understanding of the world. Having limited choices can be good because then we don't feel so overwhelmed but there are times when we want more choices so we don't feel stifled in our decision-making. But in reflecting on being a Book App judge and at reviewing applications for laptops, I realized that if we don't know the scope of options, we might not even realize the range of choices that we have.

Making decisions isn't easy but for me, it helps to be able to see all the options and to be able to see the differences and similarities. Believe me, it wasn't easy to choose from all the fantastic apps that were nominated last year but it was great that we had so many apps to review because I believe it helped me to see when the really great apps stood out. 

If your curious which Book Apps made the Cybils Shortlist last year, you can find them here. The 2013 Cybils Book App award went to Disney Animated. It's a beautiful app if your interested in checking it out but the shortlist apps were great as well. 
written by Disney
developed by Disney and Touch Press
nominated by Shannon Miller

I'm excited to be reading and discussing all the book apps that are nominated with my fellow Book App Judges. Here is the rest of the round 1 team:

Jill Goodman

Emily Lloyd
Little eLit

Cathy Potter
The Nonfiction Detectives

Colby Sharp 
Sharp Read

Stacey Shubitz
Two Writing Teachers

Erin Warzala
Falling Flannelboards

Have you participated in reviewing books for an award or another similar decision-making process? I would love to hear what you learned from your experience!

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