10-Rep Learning ~ Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology & Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague


New Year’s Literary Resolution ~ Part #1

Improve upon the usual New Year’s Resolutions to forego carbs and embrace exercise, by setting a reading goal of books for 2021. According to the Pew Research Center, the average person in the U.S. reads about 12 books per year. You may decide to vary your Literary Resolution with more or fewer books, include audio and e-book titles as well. MentalFloss (2019) has a fun “test” to speculate the number of books to read.

Goodreads has the most effective reading challenge support. Goodreads combines analytics with book descriptions, reviews, community encouragement, and reviews. (See tomorrow’s post for a book review activity for you and your class.) Already, Goodreads has over 2 million readers participating in the 2021 Reading Challenge!



My Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2021


Please consider a Literary Resolution for 2021!



Debczak, M. (2019). This Test Will Tell You How Many Books You Can Read in a Year. Mental Floss. https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/570929/how-many-books-to-read-year-test

Perrin, A. (2019). Who doesn’t read books in America? Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/09/26/who-doesnt-read-books-in-america/

Who doesn’t read books in America?



The Widget Feature from Goodreads

The Widget feature from Goodreads… would it be a forward-facing communication method for reading teachers?



It’s time for Goodreads’ 2019 Reading Challenge

It’s time for Goodreads’ 2019 Reading Challenge!

Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge

Click here to set your reading goal for the year and track your progress with the 2019 Reading Challenge. Already 941,000++ folks have made the pledge including my smart friend Donna who had pledged to read 50 books!!

Goodreads Reading Challenge Tally

There is not deadline to begin– begin anytime!!

Be sure to sign up and start reading today!


Summer To-Do List ~ Join a Virtual Book Club

Summer To-Do List: Join a Virtual Book Club and/or Join the Summer Reading Clubs @ Your Library!

It’s officially summer and libraries across the country have summer reading clubs, groups, ‘fests, and promotions. Want to save a tree this summer? Go online and join a reading group. Goodreads has many, many, many engaging and welcoming reading clubs. I’ve blogged previously about the one I’m in and it is the best one!!

Do you prefer to kick it old school? Reading clubs are usually divided by age: (up to Grade 5), the Teen Reading Club (Grades 6-12), and the Adult Reading Club (Ages 18+) and by genre. There’s something for everyone this summer, and often you’ll have the chance to earn prizes for continuing to read during the summer break.


Don’t pass up on all of the great activities because, whatever you do, don’t be caught not being a part of our club!

books in rows


A Singapore Reading Party

A fun thing to do when traveling is to take along a book set in the destination city or country. If the trip is of a long duration, family and close friends might also read the same or similar book. The book becomes a connecting object, something you can discuss with kids over nightly Skype sessions or phone calls. Goodreads is the first place I click to for book ideas, user recommendations and book reviews. Once, the book club I belonged to read a book set in Revolutionary War Camden, South Carolina while I worked there onsite. I could visit places in Camden reflected in the book and take pictures to upload during our regular meeting times. It helped to not feel so far away for me and helped provide a richer texture for my reading club. Consider also, an Audible download since lots of business road trips are easier with a book to listen while driving.

With that in mind, here is my reading list for an upcoming trip to Singapore.*

The Singapore Wink, by Ross Thomas, winner of the inaugural Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award. Ross Thomas (1926–1995) was a prolific author whose political thrillers drew praise for their blend of wit and suspense. Born in Oklahoma City, Thomas grew up during the Great Depression, and served in the Philippines during World War II. In The Singapore Wink (available as a free download for Kindle unlimited subscribers), Edward Cauthorne is part owner of a business that rehabilitates and sells vintage cars. He used to be a Hollywood stuntman with an enviable reputation but he lost his nerve and quit working. One day, not much different than any other, Cauthorne is approached in his downtown Los Angeles office by a couple of oldtime hoods who inform him that a highly placed consigliere in Washington, D.C. has an important assignment for him. An assignment that will require his traveling to Singapore, the very place Cauthorne and his nerve parted company.


The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg, a professor of English and creative writing at Binghamton University, in upstate New York and prolific author of more than 30 books. In The Moonlight Palace, Agnes Hussein, descendant of the last sultan of Singapore and the last surviving member of her immediate family, has grown up among her eccentric relatives in the crumbling Kampong Glam palace, a once-opulent relic given to her family in exchange for handing over Singapore to the British. Now Agnes is seventeen and her family has fallen into genteel poverty, surviving on her grandfather’s pension and the meager income they receive from a varied cast of boarders. As outside forces conspire to steal the palace out from under them, Agnes struggles to save her family and finds bravery and loyalty in the most unexpected places.


If non-fiction is preferred, then the life of Lee Kuan Yew makes for fascinating reading. Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going details the life of Singapore’s longest serving prime minister on how he makes important decisions that have to be made. Presented as a transcript of 32 hours of interviews, Hard Truths to Keep Going covers the terrain of the past and contemplates the expanse of the future for Singapore that Lee Kuan Yew and his generation built on the hopes of a people. Based on 32 hours of interviews at the Istana, along with 64 pages of photographs and a dvd insert, the book features Lee in full flow, combative, thought-provoking controversial.

For business and trade interests, consider From Third World to First: Singapore and the Asian Economic Boom, by Lee Kuan Yew, with an introduction by Henry Kissinger. Few gave tiny Singapore much chance of survival when it was granted independence in 1965. How is it, then, that today the former British colonial trading post is a thriving Asian metropolis with not only the world’s number one airline, best airport, and busiest port of trade, but also the world’s fourth–highest per capita real income?


If delicious cuisine is your preference then Cradle of Flavor, Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia is an appetizer to sink your teeth into.  I bought this one for the cover alone! James Oseland spent two decades exploring the foods of the Spice Islands. He introduces the birthplace of spice and brings the Nyonya dishes of Singapore and Malaysia, the fiery specialties of West Sumatra, and the spicy-aromatic stews of Java. Oseland culled his recipes from twenty years of intimate contact with home cooks and diverse markets.


There is a distinctive architecture to Singapore and Singapore Shophouses by Julian Davison and Luca Invernizzi Tettoni traces its development from rudimentary shophouse through various incarnations of decorative style Neoclassical, Chinese Baroque, Jubilee-style, Edwardian, Rococo, Tropical Modern all the while commenting on the various influences that fueled its evolution.


Back to fiction: set in Singapore: Singapore Noir by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, a native of Singapore and a former staff writer at the Wall Street Journal. Tan’s work has also appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Singapore Noir is actually a collection of 14 stories and 14 points of view about the darker side of life in Singapore with murder, betrayal, and mystery. 


The Singapore Grip by J.G. Farrell . Set in Singapore, 1939: life on the eve of World War II just isn’t what it used to be for Walter Blackett, head of British Singapore’s oldest and most powerful firm. No matter how forcefully the police break one strike, the natives go on strike somewhere else. His daughter keeps entangling herself with the most unsuitable beaus, while her intended match, the son of Blackett’s partner, is an idealistic sympathizer with the League of Nations and a vegetarian. Business may be booming—what with the war in Europe, the Allies are desperate for rubber and helpless to resist Blackett’s price-fixing and market manipulation.

Have a book title to share? Please add your title in the comments.

*all links point to Amazon but these books are certainly available through other online and brick and mortar booksellers


Participating in an online community~Week 6 Post 2

Disclaimer: This post is part of course requirements following this assignment: Extend your identity in the direction of your career path and participate in a new online community. Interact online using your projected identity for at least six weeks. Think deeply about identity and learning and blog twice a week about your experience. Take time to analyze the meaning, power, and constraints of the community on your learning. ~~~~

Week 6, Post 2

My online group chose The Long Earth as its December book choice. Its authors are Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter and it received the Goodreads’ Choice Award in the category Science Fiction in 2012. I found out about the book choice from the weekly emails and discussion forums composed by our Science Fiction and Fantasy Book group’s moderator. Included in the picture below is a sample of our discussion forum, the moderator’s post to seed the discussion, and my response. Within a few minutes of my post, other posts also appeared.

science fiction groups' post

Science fiction book group’s posting with personalized data redacted.

I began this assignment on September 2, 2013. Although uncertain as to the actual path my future work life will take, I knew that it would involve new ideas and that I would somehow help people integrate the change which accompanies new things. On Sunday, August 25, 2013, I made a big change and joined the Science Fiction Writer’s Group. I was warmly received, invited to participate, encouraged in my posts, given book recommendations and even a few plot spoilers. Along the path of this assignments, applications from authors McLuhan, Adams, Carr, Jenkins, Shirkey, and Dijick stood out like freshly dressed soldiers ready for inspection. (a complete list of authors is included below.)

Change is scary. Just watch how the performer Bjork describes her encounter with television:

Bjork explaining TV


Change is scary for me too. I discovered that since change is scary for many of us, these gently encouragements served as a cushion to my new experience. Also, the quick replies to my questions and posts from the moderators and group members helped me to move from outsider to peripheral to occasional and almost to active status, as Etienne Wenger predicted in Communities of Practice.


And it all began with Etienne Wenger. Hearing him speak along with his wife was a highlight of this semester. Communities can be achieved in face-to-face settings and online protocols as long as the people within each of them continue to participate.

Thank you for reading these posts! And thank you, Dr. Paul Sparks for these invitations to explore and change!


Comprehensive Source List:

Adams, D. (1995). The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Del Rey. Link

Carr, N. (2008). Is google making us stupid? The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/

Couros, George. The Principal of Change Blog. Retrieved September 15, 2013 Link

Dijck, José van (2013). The culture of connectivity: a critical history of social media. Oxford University Press. Link

Gerstandt, Joe. (2012). Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com. Link

Gray, D. E. (2009). Doing research in the real world (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Link keywords=Doing+research+in+the+real+world

Jenkins, Henry (2008-09-01). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (Kindle Locations 3040-3041). NYU Press. Kindle Edition. Link

McLuhan, Marshall (1967). The Medium is the Message. Gingko Press Inc. Link

Pratchett, T and Baxter, S. (2012). The Long Earth. Harper Collins. Link

Shirkey, Clay. (2010). Cognitive Surplus How Technology Makes Consumers Into Collaborators. Penguin Books. Link

Shirkey, Clay (2010). How cognitive surplus will change the world | Video on TED.com. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/clay_shirky_how_cognitive_surplus_will_change_the_world.html

Simmons, A. (2013). Facebook has transformed my students’ writing—for the better. The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/11/facebook-has-transformed-my-students-writing-for-the-better/281563/

Sullivan, D. (2013, September 26). [Lurkers And Superfans: Why You Need Both In Your Facebook Communities]. Retrieved from http://allfacebook.com/crowdly-dan-sullivan-superfans-lurkers_b125468

Turkle, Sherry (2012). Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition. Link

Wasko, Molly McLure and Faraj, Samur (2000).  It is what one does: why people participate and help others in electronic communities of practice. The Journal of Strategic Information SystemsVolume 9, Issues 2–3, September 2000, Pages 155–173.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice, learning, meaning, and identity. (1st ed. ed.). Cambridge University Press. Link


See all posts




National Poetry Month 2nd Stanza~Classroom Helpers


Want your words to reach millions of people? Goodreads and the ¡POETRY! group have partnered to host an ongoing poetry contest. Join the ¡POETRY! group and vote each month to pick a winner from among the finalists. You can also submit a poem for consideration.

In recognition of National Poetry Month Click the picture for a complete poetry unit for grades 4-8.

poetry word search

Click here for inviting poetry prompts from ‘s Writing Forward.

See also this archived post on Spine Poetry for an entry or closing project for poetry across the curriculum and grade levels.

Here is a SooMeta video I made for Poetry introduction, recap, reflection, or unit closing. It is also good to use for writing practice, even for background during Open House!


Additional posts for National Poetry Month



No April Fools~Amazon to buy GoodReads

Amazon to Buy Goodreads (GalleyCat) Amazon has just revealed that they will acquire Goodreads, the social network for readers which was also a TechBFF on this blog way back in 2010. The online retailer did not share the terms of the deal and expects to finalize the acquisition by the second quarter of 2013. Publisher’s Weekly writes, “The purchase comes amid mounting rumors that Goodreads, which CEO Otis Chandler launched in 2007, might start selling books directly from its site.” paidContent explains, “In an interview Thursday, Chandler and Amazon’s VP of Kindle content Russ Grandinetti stressed that Goodreads will not change for the worse following its acquisition by Amazon.” AppNewser reports, “Twitter users are already lamenting the news.” TechCrunch predicts, “This type of social integration could give Amazon a major advantage over e-sellers like Apple, who have no social components to their product whatsoever. With people actually discussing and sharing the books that they’re into, having an Amazon direct connect makes complete sense. The site can offer special deals to Goodreads users, which in essence is now Amazon’s book-reading social network.” ~content via MediaBistro


Tech BFF: Goodreads

BFF is an acronym for “Best Friend Forever.” These websites and tips are so good that they will become your technology BFFs!

How are you doing on your resolution to read more this year? The Goodreads website will help.

Goodreads‘ mission is to improve the process of reading and learning throughout the world. Toward that goal,
Goodreads is the largest free social network for readers in the world. There are  more than 2,900,000 members who have added more than 78,000,000 books to their shelves. A place for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike, Goodreads members recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they’ve read and would like to read, form book clubs and much more.

With a desire to make reading fun again, Goodreads wants to tap into the excitement when you run into a friend who tells you about this “great new book I’m reading.” And suddenly you’re excited to read it too. It’s that kind of excitement that Goodreads is all about. I learned about Goodreads from my daughter who has a page with hundreds of books. She has joined book clubs, made friends with librarians, avid readers, and a couple of internet newbies.

Most book recommendation websites work by listing random people’s reviews. On Goodreads, when a person adds a book to the site, all their friends can see what they thought of it. Members (membership is free) also create trivia about books, lists of the best books, post their own writing and form groups and book clubs. Goodreads was launched in December 2006. It is not usually blocked or filtered by school filters.

It is fun to communicate with my daughter on another level, as reader-to-reader. As fellow learners.

Possible Classroom Integration Ideas:

1. Create a Goodreads page with your book list, books you like, books for students to read over the holidays, summer, or for extra credit. Thre is a password feature where only users who you have given your password may be added to your Friends list or access your page.

2. Invite parents to become Goodreads members and add them as friends for whole family involvement.

3. Goodreads has an option to note the page you are on with a book you are currently reading. Use this feature for students to chart their progress to you on books they are reading, or assigned to read. (Graph results for an Across-the-Curriculum Math adaption)

4. Assign students to compose reviews of books and leave on their Goodreads page.

5. ?

Check back here and let me know of other ways you integrate this resource in your classroom!

Happy Reading!

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