Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thing #23 End of the Beginning

Wow! I made it! It really feels like an accomplishment! My favorite things were image generators (Big Huge Labs, and Image Chef), Diigo (ooh, I just love this!), LibraryThing (something for my husband and I to do together), and Photo Story (already loaded on my work computer!). I have to stop there - I could list more. This program has given me the confidence to try new things in the web world that I had avoided due to concerns for safety, or because I wasn't sure of a thing's purpose. Every day I try something, become familiar with new technology, and then use it in instruction in the library. I started out tentatively, but now I plow in, knowing that it is okay to mess up. You just 'X' out and try again! I am more confident that I can learn new technology as it comes along and not become overwhelmed (I have Barry and VWB's email!). No, really, I have developed resources I can consult when there is a problem. I think what has surprised me the most with this program is how much I like most technology, not just the few pieces that I knew I would like. I am also surprised by how quickly I became a technology resource for the faculty and staff. The other outcome that is not a surprise, but a reminder, is how wonderful, caring and helpful members of the teaching profession are whether they are the instructors or the students. As to format and concept, this has worked very well for me. The instructions and details were easy to follow and there were very few times I had to ask for clarification. As to the next class: I'm ready for 11.5 - sign me up!

One phrase: From 'Library Lady' to 'Web Woman' in 23 Steps: Take the Challenge!

Thing #22 Ning

I really enjoyed taking a look at the different Nings. I checked out Barry, LKP and TT. I liked the book reviews in the Texas School Librarians Ning. (How do you make the crayon faces move with open mouths?) I also checked out the lesson plans in the Ning for Teachers (Teacher Lingo). I really liked the calendar with upcoming events. I can see this being a great place to connect, plan upcoming events, and give feedback. The set up was different for each of these Nings, but they all were pleasing to navigate. I did read the latest news that said that they will not support the free members in the future. I did not want to join if I have to pay. I would like to know where the groups listed in the Thing 22 post are going. Are they moving or are they staying and paying the fees?

Thing #21 Photo Story

I really had fun with this. It was easy and interesting without taking too much time. A perfect project for our elementary students. We have been playing with the Macbooks in the after-school program and making videocasts, podcasts, and slideshows. The kids really like turning on the camera and recording video or snapshots of themselves. (They also love to record the teachers talking in the background - Beware!) The students can use this for all sorts of assignments. Recording their voices for other students, shared reading, verbal information for students that need help, etc. Book reports, projects, and poetry mash ups also come to mind. My Photo Story covers a Reading is Fundamental distribution from February. I have deliberately left out the school's name and other details, but I will be editing it for the school web page to include all that information.

I did have a little trouble with the headset I used. Photo Story wanted to 'change' the audio settings. Every time I said 'yes,' it would stop working. I finally gave up and clicked 'no' and it began recording. Seems to have worked well. I also had to load the file three times. It seems that the school district server was timing out. Once home, the file loaded up just fine.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thing #20 Gotta Keep Reading

Okay, I've been waiting for this post. I am posting my favorite You Tube and Teacher Tube video. We played this before our Read-a-thon day. The kids loved it and began singing, then holding their books, then dancing. So did the teachers!

Well, I copied and pasted the embed code and it worked!

I did have trouble with the links for the Three Steps and Evaluating Websites Tutorial. They both linked to the same page. I found the Evaluating Website Tutorial by typing the title in the search bar. However, I could not find the Three Steps. I liked the Portal to Texas History with all the photos, drawings, maps, and prints. It looks like a good resource.

I have used videos in the library. The second grade watched a short video on needs and wants for an economics, I put a couple of videos in a sample glogster for teaching purposes, and I have pulled author videocasts for use in lessons. Used judiciously, they are a great asset.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thing #19

I really enjoyed looking at several of the websites that had won awards. I use Kayak all the time. It is my 'go to' for airline fare comparisons. I also really like Pandora. My husband is the one that got me started on listening to streamed music. I'm a little bit country and he's a little bit classical. I also looked at SpanishPod. My brother is a college Spanish professor so I thought I would check that out. It looks like something that might be fun. I could not get through to the pricing, so I tried reading some of the postings. I tried to find commentary on the product, but could not find actual amounts. So I played with Google Maps. This is a lot of fun. You can put yourself on street level. I checked out most of my family's homes. We use this to print out quick directions for around town. I also really like the satellite feature. My students really like seeing the topography of a location. Lots of lessons could use Google Maps. It might be interesting to check out historical sites with each of the views and you can look at locations from novels (I'm thinking of the Anita Shreve's Weight of Water, located on the Isle of Shoals) and of course, you can always use it with geography lessons. Web 2.0 Awards is a great resource for locating highly rated websites in specific categories.

Thing #12

When I found out that we were going to have a blog, I was a little concerned. Privacy was an issue, as was deciding how much to share. I really like what Blogging 101 had to say about using aliases. I feel much more comfortable with an alias. As time goes on I might change my mind, but for now it works for me. Unfortunately, I have not found a way to link when making a comment in Blogger. This was one of Cool Cat Teacher's suggestions and one I like. (You may notice that I have mastered the art of the hyperlink. :) Maybe it has to do with using the free version?

After much trial and error (can't seem to use comments with Mozilla), I was able to post comments using Internet Explorer. Visiting Tinkerbell, Metaphors Be With You, What was I Thinking?, Rants and Raves and Other Cool Stuff, and Thing One or Thing Two? I was able to leave messages. It was fun, but I am not sure I could do that for every post if I had the traffic Blue Skunk does. How would one manage the time?

On the subject of posting to blogs outside of the class, I posted to a scrapbook blog with a comment unrelated to scrapbooking, but current none the less. I also posted to a UK scrapbook blog.

Thing #18: Office, Open, or Google?

Okay, confession time. I am currently using 5 different computers, an iTouch and a smartphone. Sounds glamorous, doesn't it? It's not. My wonderful pc computer on my desk at home does not have Microsoft Office, just Open Office and Outlook (for the smartphone that has Mobile Office). My mini notebook (pc) also has Open Office and Outlook, while my work laptop (pc) does have Microsoft Office and Open Office and Outlook. My smartphone will not sync properly with any of the Outlook programs. Most of the information that comes in and out of work is on Microsoft Office, so that is what I use. There may be a way to import and sync the 4 Outlook calendars and contacts, but I have not found it yet. Now let's add in the new Mac, Macbooks and the iTouch and you can see where the confusion comes in. With the two graduate classes and the different discussion questions and projects, you can see how difficult it is to know where you have put your documents, which version is which and which program is available on that computer.

How do I do it? Here's how: use Open Office. I constantly have to pull up the syllabus from one of my classes and I generally do it in Open Office. I try to do everything for class on my work computer (and in Microsoft Office) so that it is in one place, but that does not always happen. Unfortunately, Open Office does not have a calendar function. I keep a paper calendar and try to transfer from one Outlook calendar to another through the paper calendar. I am currently looking at Google docs as a possibility to bridge from the pc to the Macbook.

So, to wrap up, Open Office advantages: free, universal, Mac compatible, with minimal change in Microsoft Office documents when saved; disadvantages: no calendar function, not the same 'look' as Microsoft Office and not as many options. Microsoft Office advantages: Outlook, ability to produce a more polished document with more options, brand name support; disadvantages: expensive, proprietary, and have to buy Microsoft Office for the Mac while Open Office for the Mac is free. For educational use in my opinion it is a no brainer: Open Office wins.

I promise to figure out the school/work/home computer situation and get it down to two computers and a phone that will function. I just need to finish the semester. . .

Thing #17

Rollyo was interesting. Creating two searchrolls was easy and fun. My first was for the endangered species mentioned in Thing 16. The second was of library organizations that can be used for research. I can really see myself using these. After watching the video by Bruce Goodner, I can see linking the searchrolls to a wiki or web page. Searching Google has gotten to be a time waster for the students that have only twenty minutes to 'research' in the library. With the new Mac computers, I can see installing the Mozilla add-in and having the link in the toolbar. I can also see the potential for use in my studies. Pulling together the websites that are regularly used for research, making a searchroll for discussion questions, and bookmarking the results with Diigo will streamline the process of responding to assignments. Since I use Mozilla on my home desktop, the toolbar will further speed things along. Hopefully, more of my time will be spent acquiring knowledge, and less acquiring information that requires so much time-consuming sifting.

Thing #16

Frankly, wikis scared me. I wasn't sure about their uses, and that creates fear in my world. Using the class wiki Dr. B set up helped start the learning process. Now I can see many uses for them. I liked the idea that when you contribute information to a wiki you become a participant. The students love that. In collaborative teaching, a wiki will be a great tool for information sharing. A librarian can set up a wiki for a class and provide links to the books needed for a specific research topic (endangered animals), the websites available with pertinent information (WWF), and tools for reporting that information: Glogster and BigHugeLabs, for example. I found a couple of wikis that I added to Diigo: Childrens Book Reviews and The Hub (another country's point of view). I will most certainly be using wikis in the future.

Thing #15 Caught in the web?

This one is going to be tough for me. I am the example of the conflict between the library of yesterday and the library 2.0 of today. First, let's get something straight. I love the technology! My husband works in the computer industry and I have been telling him for years that the way to access the amount of information and make it portable is . . . and then I would describe something akin to the smartphone, the tablet pc or the new iPad (yeah, Windows 7 was my idea. . .). The people behind the changes in technology in my lifetime are geniuses. Ah, and there's the rub - my lifetime! The video in Thing #15 is correct - in order to really learn the information that we need, we spend most of our time online. As Rick Anderson so eloquently put, when we have to learn how to use each of the programs, websites, and databases, then remember the accounts and passwords, we are wasting valuable time and energy. And then there is doing it while keeping you and your identity safe. I know that we are learning, we are just spending a great deal of time on details not related to the actual information. You see, I'm not just the librarian, I am also the student. One that has learned each evolution of the technological age. Now that there is so much information available, it needs to be easier to find, access, evaluate, and use.

The library I see in my elementary students' eyes looks like this: a fun place to learn with accurate, up-to-date information that is easy to use so that they can focus on learning the reading, math, science, social studies, and global social skills that form the foundation of what they will use for the rest of their lives. It is a place that has the ability to connect with the global community using technology. It is a place to learn and practice basic skills with elementary components like books, magazines, and poster board. And it is a place that has the ability to adapt to all learning styles using all available resources. My job is to help them do this in a safe, but not confined, environment. Developing an information literate student with a love of learning is part of the public school 2.0 librarian's job description. That includes the skills necessary for students to do what I am doing: adapt and figure out how to use new technology as it comes along.

Well, I'm about to sneeze from the dust of this soapbox, but I hope that what I have said will stimulate readers to put in their 'two cents worth' (and join the 2.0 library vision). I have a concern that we need to make it easier and quicker to understand and access the different programs and data. John Reiner's article covers accessing metadata. Hopefully, we can incorporate those ideas into all aspects of a student's web needs. I'm on board, are you?

Thing #14 Technorati

My first introduction to Technorati came about 18 months ago as I was following the No Impact Man blog. He mentions it in one of his posts and I had no clue what he was talking about. After taking a look and reading what changes have occurred, I can see how you would check your 'standing.' As to the 'new' Technorati, I was not able to find any posts or blogs with 'School Library Learning 2.0' in them but I was able to find some posts with 'librarians.' The first defends the value of librarians, and the second shows where librarians have been cut. They are from ResourceShelf and I liked them so much I bookmarked them in Diigo! I can see using this to find posts with relevant information. The Popular and Widgets sections of Technorati are not available at the moment. I was able to find references to Library2play using the search feature. Tagging definitely has its benefits and I must say that Flickr and Diigo rank higher for me than Technorati. It doesn't mean that I won't use it, it just did not seem that user friendly.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thing #13 Did ya go to Diigo?

Okay, the title is not my best work, but the site blew me away! After watching both videos, I tried Delicious, and it had some great finds, but for what I am doing at the moment, Diigo is the way to go (sorry for the rhyme). First things first. I took a serious look around Delicious by searching for collaborative teaching. I found a bookmark titled 15 different ways to use Wallwisher in the Classroom (now 19 different ways) and that was great. Something I can use. I also found a website, Citeulike that is an online bibliography manager. I looked up a couple of the topics we have discussed in class but struggled to find current articles. I then tried Ma.gnolia and was able to get to some information, but not the amount that I would like to have for the topics I want. This community seems to be in the process of being revamped and seems to be limiting access by using an invitation only format. I did however find Passive Aggressive Library Signs (in honor of Library Week) when I typed in Libraries. I have linked it just for grins.

On Diigo (actually I clicked on the Furl link, but it must now be Diigo), I found the same information on Wallwisher, but with a sticky note that had comments. I also found an article on 7 Things You Should Know About Collaborative Annotation that also had a sticky. This site has the ability to highlight images and text in the articles. You can also take a snapshot of a page and save it - a feature that I find very useful with online research. The site is easy to use and looks uncluttered, both attractive characteristics. I can see using this with teachers in the building and with other librarians. I joined the 'Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0.' and it has some really great stuff. Diigo (pronounced dee-go) stands for: Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other stuff and its focus is on the social networking that goes with research and collaboration. That suits me, especially when I searched for several of the topics from our classes and found lots of information.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thing #11

I am really enjoying this part of the project. And I was able to get my husband involved. He loves history, particularly political history of the U.S. and naval history. We have a large library and have had to develop a rule: we can buy new books and read them, but if we want to keep them we must part with another book on the shelves. My husband's aunt, who just died a few weeks ago, was a retired public school librarian from Ann Arbor, MI. She also had a rule: once a book was read, it should be passed on. The ultimate philosophy of a lending librarian! We have adopted some of that same philosophy and the books we choose to pass on go to the public library, family or friends.

LibraryThing was easy to use and fun. We set up a library and put in a few of our books. This will be a great way to keep up with what you have, what you want, and what you want to share. Our families are scattered across the U.S and also have extensive libraries. This would be a great way to see each of our libraries and make plans for sharing as we visit each other. I can see using this with students in middle school (maybe 5th grade) or high school. They can keep track of the books they have read and interact with other students with similar interests.

I checked out some of the groups. The one I was surprised to find, and really liked, was Naval History and Fiction and under that, Young Adult Naval Fiction. They mentioned several books from our school library and the Horatio Hornblower books by C. S. Forester. I just love sailing and the sea!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thing #10

Okay, something I have done before! I am a scrapbooker and have used digital scrapbook page templates that have drop-ins for photos. This was very similar to that. I tried Comic Strip Generator but didn't like it. So I moved on to Image Chef and loved it! I had made 3 things before I could come up for air! The first was just like a scrapbook page using Sketchpad and a picture of George (monkey that travels with me - he is the center of stories I make for my nieces and nephew).

The second was a Word Mosaic and the third was a Bookend from the Work category.
The last place I tried was Dumpr. There I took one of my favorite pictures (from a trip to Bonaire) and made it into a jigsaw puzzle.

This is a great way to have students document activities (scrapbook-type pages), create poetry for the reluctant student (Word Mosaic), make components for slide shows, presentations, or Animotos. These can be used in research projects and book reviews, as extensions of technology lessons, and as enrichment in the classroom. The possibilities are endless!

Thing #9

For this activity, I took a look at Cool Cat Teacher Blog and checked out her criteria for a good blog: How to Create Your Circle of the Wise. I like that she says that you should start by looking to those you find to be wise and follow the ones they follow. Hooray for Dr.B, VWB, and LKP! I also liked that she spoke of responsible bloggers realizing that what they write may be read many years in the future. How to Create Your Circle of the Wise was written in 2006! In addition, there is also an article entitled Ten habits of bloggers that win! that has great dos and don'ts for blogging!

I tried all the search tools and Google Blog Search was the easiest for me to use. An article on teaching about Creative Commons caught my eye and I found karen.the.librarian. I could not get School Library Blogs on Suprglu to work. found too much irrelevant information even when I changed the criteria. Technorati was okay (I found The Unquiet Librarian and added her blog to my RSS feeds), but Google Blog Search was easier. kept locking up and not loading - I tried to drill down to education and then libraries and then to web logs, but it would not load the web log it had listed. I could not hot link because the pages would not load a second time.

I had a great time with Edublog's award winners, but the most fun was A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette. I will slowly be adding more feeds to Google Reader.

Thing #8

Very early on in this project I had set up Google Reader for the blogs associated with our Library2play project. I have gone back in and played with the organization features and grouped my feeds into folders. It is much easier to pull up one page and read the new postings to the blogs than going to each one individually. It saves time and effort in both the personal and professional aspects of my life and is necessary at this point in the school year. With all the research that is involved with running a library: collection development, trends in libraries and education, reading research and book reviewing (just to name a few), economy of time is essential. RSS feeds are one tool to consolidate and facilitate general information and research. Now that I have had time to play with them, I will be using them even more.

Thing #7

Ah, Google . . . What is there to say? They think of everything and make it available to to the web world. I have been using Google Docs in our work at school, creating a central place (document) to list all the free websites for Social Studies support. I created a library with Google Books that has books that I have read, want to read, and the ones I am reading now. It is a quick and easy way to document the scope and volume of a librarian's collection development research. Google Calendar is another tool that I have employed. With 3 different Outlook accounts that cannot be synced as one, this is a way to merge all my different calendars into one. Since this is going to take some time to set up (importing, exporting the minor Outlook calendars, setting up a main calendar, etc.) at this point I have just set up the basic Google Calendar.

I have run into a problem with making some of these things public. It seems that I have connected several things together and some of those things do not need to be made public. So for now everything stays private. Once I get my accounts untangled, I will share with all!