Saturday, August 8, 2009

Thing 23, My Thoughts on Library 2 Play

Now that I have completed this journey, I would like to thank the people who are responsible for organizing the Library2Play exercise. This is a wonderful learning experience; thank you for allowing someone outside of your of district to participate.

1. My favorite discovery or exercise :
I think it's pretty obvious that I really enjoyed any of the 2.0 tools that involved images. I tend to be a visual person and I like manipulating images to express my point of view. I plan to play with Photo Story more, I want to start creating book trailers.

2. This program has most definitely assisted my life-long learning. I really enjoyed exploring and expressing myself in this format.

3. I can't seem to think of an unexpected outcome. I consider myself fairly technology informed so I was not apprehensive about pursuing this type of project. I think one thing that surprised me is YouTube and the really great content that it contains versus the negative that you always hear about.

4. I don't think I would change anything about the Library2Play project at this time; I had no problems with this platform. I like being able to work at my own pace.

5. Yes I would most definitely participate in another discovery program if it is open to out of district personnel.

6. My learning experience could be described as "enlightening". I need a little nudge such as the structure of this program which led me to explore all the tools that were featured.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thing 22, Nings

Reading through the 7 Things You Need to Know About...Ning my first thought is "Oh, no; another social network site". However, after I got to the seventh point; one of the statements that really struck me is that a Ning could be used as a neutral platform in a school setting rather than encroaching on what students may view as their platform such as MySpace or Facebook. In other words don't try to compete with those networks but start something separate with the same concept of creating community and a venue for communication and collaboration. I liked the scenario that was presented also where students created their Ning around a voting issue, got people to join and in the process learned a lot about the issues regarding the upcoming elections. In the library a Ning could be created to advertise services, present book reviews posted by any member and facillitate book discussions.

I looked at the Texas School Librarian Ning and think that this is a great venue for anyone to connect in provided they actively participate. I noticed in one of the groups that it has been quite some time since it was updated. I have toyed with the idea of joining several times and did not see anything that really leaped out to rope me into joining. I like the idea of bringing Texas School Librarians together because it is more region specific than the Teacher Librarian Ning.

Thing 21, Podcasts and Videocasts

Creating this video was a bit more involved than I anticipated. I was out of town for a few days and their Internet connection was so slow that I could not download Photo Story to my laptop. I am home on Sunday but pressed for time. I found a video tutorial for capturing screen shots and converting them to a jpeg image on YouTube, thanks again!! For my video, I decided to describe how to find the page for accessing the K-12 database package on our school's website. I thought I could wing the narration but kept stumbling over the words I wanted to say so I had to write out a script. It's still very rough but the journey has begun; I will definitely use this resource again. I prefer to hear someone other than myself on the narration!! I would definitely like to use this for book trailers or book reviews. Teachers can create content trailers to introduce a new concept or unit.

Thing 20, YouTube and TeacherTube

I understand the concern of administration about inappropriate content in YouTube but the good far outweighs the bad. The embedded videos throughout the L2P site have been so helpful when exploring a new topic. I tried out a couple of Web 2.0 tools in Thing 19 that turned out to be very frustrating because the only Help was in the form of FAQs. I did not think to search YouTube to see if someone had posted a tutorial.

Ta-Dah! Here it is, a tutorial on Platial. When all else fails consult YouTube! If the Tech people in our district are given enough notification YouTube can be unblocked for a period of time. It is available just not at the spur of the moment.

A colleague has started a group called Book Trailers For All on TeacherTube for the purpose of uploading and sharing book trailers. A great resource for librarians to feature on their blogs or for booktalks during library classes to get students reading.

It is very beneficial to all teachers to have this wealth of streaming video "at their fingertips". Someone may have posted a video that explains a topic in such a way that more students are able to grasp a new concept. Our students grew up in a visual environment, the short snippets of information presented in the videos are a great format for teachers to utilize in their classrooms.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thing 19, Web 2.0 Awards List

Browsing the Web 2.0 Awards List I already see many of the sites that we have explored listed; course that is a no-brainer. Why would the kickball captains go with anything less?

Cross Frappr off the list; after I clicked on the sign in link I was inundated with photos of women from Sweden-not something I would want kids to see. The sign in page contains a link to another site which I tried as well, Platial. It allows you to create a map of places you've been with markers to various attractions within the city. This application is great for someone planning a trip however it is not very user friendly and the help guide is hard to find in the form of FAQs. There was not a tutorial on getting started or site navigation making it a very frustrating experience.

I just recently became a member of Facebook. It has allowed me to connect to friends and colleagues with similar interests. I also belong to several professional interest groups such as my college alumni associations, Texas Library Association, Library 2.0 Interest Group, Librarians and Facebook, and We Love the Lonestar Reading List. It is a great way to post news of interest within a group and members can read updates on their "wall" page. A school or school organization could use it in the same way, most students have Facebook pages, unfortunately we cannot access it at our school. Facebook is a great communication tool, I think schools should capitalize on it for getting the word out to students.

Thing 18, Online Productivity Tools

I am going to be honest here. I chose to explore Google Docs over Open Office because I did not want to download any new software to my computer at this time and I already have an account with Google. I did notice that Open Office is installed on my daughter's computer in her new classroom in a Conroe ISD elementary.

I think the biggest advantage to using a tool like Google Docs is the capability of collaboration between several parties. The ability to work on the same document without having to go through email is a huge time saver making the task less time consuming. Also, you don't have to worry about carrying a flash drive around; the document is saved to their server. I hate it when I go to save a file and I don't have enough space left on my flash drive!

I think one fear of some people is that Open means it could be full of viruses lurking about waiting to attack whoever downloads the software into their computer.

Thing 17, Rollyo

The video about Rollyo created by the L2P participant, Bruce Goodner is great! I would like to echo his rationale here; I see students using Google all the time with searches returning hits numbering in the 100,000's if they are lucky; normally the return is more. Rollyo is an excellent resource to help with the student's time management and ensure that they are using quality sources for their research. Of course, if the student does find a great source in their Google search it could be added to the Rollyo search roll building on the teacher's cache of relevant websites.

I browsed the site a little, I did not want to waste too much time this morning. I created a search roll on Space Exploration because our fifth graders participate in a summer Space Camp.

Great tool for teachers and librarians!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thing 16, Wikis

I did not realize how user friendly wikis could be until viewing the Common Craft video and taking a look at the various examples provided.

I think that any teacher, administrator or librarian could utilize this tool in any aspect of their job description; whether it is instruction or professional development.

I see endless possibilities in my job description, Bluebonnet Book Club, YA Book Club, C-Scope resources for teachers. I need to do like the Nike slogan says and "Just Do It".
**Image is from my personal collection.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thing 15, Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and the future of Libraries

If libraries or librarians are to continue providing services to their patrons it is imperative that we ride the 2.0 wave or we will find ourselves marooned on the beach. Information is available at almost the speed of light via the Internet; we cannot expect today's patrons to rely on the static resources housed within the library's physical walls. We have a responsibility to the patron to get on board with the 2.0 community. It is the ultimate form of collaboration. What do you think?
*Image from Flikr Creative Commons member mccheek/carol smith.

Thing 14, Technorati

Hmmm, in the realm of the tag cloud size matters. The bigger and bolder the word in a tag cloud the more popular the tagged subject. I had noticed this phenomenom in tag clouds before but did not realize that there was any significance to the words being different sizes. Learn something new every day-life long learning again!

While browsing the Technorati website I searched for "school library learning 2.0" in the blog directory, popular blogs and popular tags and came up with the same hits each time; in my mind that is a good thing.

I watched the video on Technorati and a statement by one of the team members really struck me. She stated that she liked to search blogs for current information such as a review for a particular concert she was interested in attending. She did not want to read a "professional" reviewer's take on the group, she wanted to know what everyday people were saying about the them.

I definitely understand the concept of tagging now and appreciate the power of utilizing it. It will help me make sense out of my bookmarks and I like the idea of being able to share them.

Thing 13, Tagging and Social Bookmarking

My good/bad habit surfaces yet again: checking out tags on (good habit) and spending way too much time (really not so bad, but...). is definitely another tool that can increase time management efficiency. I like being able to tag different articles, blogs, sites, etc., with more than one tag and also the ability to rate it. Group projects in school whether professional with colleagues or a class project with students can save so much time and energy by sharing bookmarks on the subject of the project; especially since they are always complaining about the lack of time!

Digg was also very interesting seemed very user friendly, I clicked through the "About Digg" information. I don't see the benefit of subscribing to two social bookmarking sites; I will stick with I watched the tutorial on Diigo which is the new site for Furl. I think the ability to annotate articles would be very beneficial if working on a research topic or group work for students. The Ma.gnolia site is not up and running after a fatal database crash. Sounds like everyone needs to take greater care to back up data!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thing 12, Creating Community through Commenting

I have participated on discussion boards in classes and I occasionally have commented on blogs that I "lurk" on. I feel that it is a good way to share information and create a conversation between individuals. I agree with Cool Cat Teacher's comment that "the true conversation participants are those who contribute to the discussion wherever the blog posting is." She is encouraging people to share their wisdom on a subject in multiple venues, not just their own blogs. I also agree with her guidelines to Criticize Kindly. In an online environment it is so easy to be misunderstood with out the intention of offending someone. I experienced this on a discussion board I was commenting to; I inadvertently stepped on another person's toes and she let me have it. I apologized for the statement that I made about wanting a printer solely for the librarian's (me) use to print library related materials. I was wishing out loud so to speak and she promptly pointed out that her district was very limited on funds and resources and that she would never presume to be so extravagant. I try to re-read every comment that I make in order to keep this type of incident from happening again, although if I continue to pursue an online presence I am sure that it will.

I chose these Library2Play blogs to respond to: Book Diva, I highly recommend everyone take a look at this blog. Book Diva personalized her blog background and it looks very attractive she is also very thorough in her posts. I also commented on Book Egg blog; reading through her posts I seemed to feel an instant rapport with her. Wow, someone who has finished all 23 Things; I visited and commented on Gooder's Adventure Blog Monday morning. Looking at someone's blog that is finished has inspired me, thanks Ms. Gooder! I enjoyed watching her PhotoStory Thing.

(Aug. 5) As I work through my "Thing" List, blogs catch my eye; this morning it was Algebra at SOC. Another L2P participant finished with all 23 Things and I am still scrambling to get them all done! I commented on her PhotoStory Thing, very cute, she included her children (I'm assuming here) in the commentary. Great idea, I can see students using this resource to culminate any project, using their own photos or Flikr Creative Commons and describing the content. It really makes an impression when hear the children's voices.

Exploring Thing 13 and following the link to the "sweets" tag I found a blog on cooking and food with a few adventures of the author's private life thrown in called A Slice of Cherry Pie. It's not library related but a personal interest. The author lives in the UK and has a very delightful style. I added her to my Google Reader and I even commented on a post in which she talks about how excited she is to have such an international following. I look forward to following her blog.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thing 11, Library Thing

Library Thing is so simple to use, I love it. I have also used Shelfari which is also very simple. I think it is a great tool for reader's advisory and could be used as a tool in collection development. I posted my Library Thing widget in the sidebar; I had to make myself quit adding books!!
I read books from all genres and checked out several different groups. It is hard to choose just one or two groups, I think I'll just pop in now and then to see what's new rather than join a particular group.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thing 10-Online Image Generator

I love this type of site and I think that students will have fun with it too.

Custom Baseball Jersey -

I played with Image Chef and I am on a baseball team!!

This "sketch" was made from one of my digital photos uploaded to Dumpr. There were a lot more image generators on Dumpr to explore; this one just happened to catch my eye.

I made a Wordle using the URL to this blog:

Glogster looked like it would be fun to play with, students could use this venue instead of a paper poster. I made a poster with some photos from my trip to London in 2008. It was fun but not a very intuitive site and I did not get the glog to save properly. I will try again at a later date. All of these Web 2.0 tools would allow students to express themselves while using new technology.

Thing 9-Finding Useful Library-Related Blogs and Newsfeeds

I really enjoyed reading the post by the Cool Cat Teacher on creating a Circle of the Wise and decided to add this blog to my RSS reader. What better way to insure life-long learning than by subscribing to the feeds of the leaders in a particular field? This is an "ah-hah" moment for me; of course, I appreciate the warning about over-doing it and how to select blogs that would be worthwhile.

I tried the suggested search on Google Blog Search and typed in "Library2Play". I got a list of the blogs with a brief synopsis of posts from this exercise, I even decided to reply to one of the blogs. As usual there is just so much to muddle through and I tend to try to muddle through everything; haven't quite learned the art of browsing. I subscribed to the local news from the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express News. I grew up in Houston and still have family living in the Conroe area and therefore very interested in the local news. I live close to San Antonio so I am very interested in the local news as it pertains to my locale.

The difficult part-the looking and deciding which feed to subscribe to; that will become an ongoing quest. The easy part, subscribing to the feed; click on the orange icon and then a new window pops up that asks which feed reader. Voila! The read is in your menu; now I need to go back and organize in folders.

I cannot see anything that is not beneficial in using a feed reader; in fact it is becoming quite apparent that one should not choose to log on without one; if for no other reason than to save precious time clicking through all your bookmarked URLs.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thing 8-RSS Feeds

I learned about RSS feeds and readers in my library science technology class and therefore have an account in Google Reader. I have not visited it in awhile so I had LOTS of new posts that I had not browsed. Some of the blogs that I was following had changed URLs so I updated those links. I could not remember why I had subscribed to some of the feeds that I did but after browsing I quickly remembered and made a mental note to myself to visit at least a couple of times a week to keep abreast of the musings that some of these great minds post to cyberspace. Gotta love Web 2.0!! Some of the blogs I follow are: Mary Ann Bell's "For Whom the Bell Told", Teri Lesesne's "Goddess of YA Literature", Doug Johnson's "Blue Skunk Blog", Information Today's "Library Stuff", and "School Library Journal Neverending Search". One of the really cool things I noticed is that the blogs from the Library2Play community I am following were automatically pulled into the reader.
Feed readers are necessary if for no other reason than time management; one can easily browse the subscription list, read the post or newsfeed of interest and continue the day; no more typing in countless web addresses and searching for content of interest!!
I can see the benefit in any classroom that follows current events; subscribe to a newsfeed of choice and tag for content-a teacher's dream!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thing 7-Google

I am fairly familiar with Google, but they are always coming up with new things. I currently use Picasa and share web albums with family and friends. This is a web album I created to show some fellow students in a library science class the town I live in, to see the commentary about each picture click on the sillouette with the conversation bubble in the lower left corner:

I love Google earth, I have used the calendar, use Blogger; I have not utilized Google docs. I saw a very cool demonstration at a recent workshop using Google docs as a collaborative tool; which totally saves time with the fellow collaborators being able to access the shared document for editting purposes. Google is one of the websites that it is well-worth one's time to check in on now and then just to see what is new. It is full of time-saving tools for organizing one's life and publishing media.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thing 6-Mashups and Third Party Sites

Mashups and Third Party Sites, Thing 6 is a bit overwhelming; ONLY because I want to try them all!!! I can use any of these apps to make a personal blog more appealing and any of my presentations whether to teachers or students more interesting; but I see the real potential in introducing them to students to utilize in class projects. Any of these apps would get students very engaged in their own learning, postcards, trading cards, mappr, to name a few; all present students a fun venue to showcase the knowledge that they have acquired in their research. No more days of regurgitating facts; let them create!

I played with the Motivator in BigHugeLabs:

I played with Jigsaw-puzzle maker, the Captioner and I made the Trading Card:

*For what it's worth, the photos are my own.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thing 5-Photos Hatch in Flickr

Flickr is a very cool site. The fact that so many people are willing to share their photos with others is phenomenal! I knew of the site and know friends that are members. I have seen some projects that some of my fellow librarians have created utilizing photos from the Creative Commons collection such as digital book trailers.

As the saying goes "A picture is worth a thousand words"; this venue allows one the opportunity to enhance any digital project without having to travel around the globe in order to take the photo personally. The opportunity for collaboration with digital media has endless possibilities. So many times, reading the words fails to convey the meaning that a picture can do very succinctly!

I taught Pre-K for 15 years before becoming a librarian. I chose this photo because it reminds me to look at the world with a child's curiosity and playfulness!!
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons by Margarita Diaz Sanchez

Thursday, June 4, 2009

OCD is kicking in

I want my blog title in a different position. If anyone can figure out the html please comment!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thing 4-Registering My Blog

Sent my email today to register my blog with the Library2Play Kickball captains. I had emailed Barry earlier that I would be out-of-town June 6-16. My email will sit in the inbox until the game begins. I will become an active participant when I get back from vacation. I look forward to interacting with the other players. I learn more from this type of professional development because I not only learn by doing but I also get a lot of new ideas from interacting with my peers. Let the game begin!

Thing 3-A New Blog is Hatched!

I have to admit, I have blogged before and already have an account with Google Blogger. I do not have a professional blog but I really like this medium for journal writing and would like to promote it in the district. I can type faster than I can write and I like the ease of editing that the computer allows. I took way too much time trying to decide on a clever title and editing the photo in my header. I thought that I might try to decipher the Html of the template but it really does "look rather Greek to me"; as Scarlet O'Hara would say "Tomorrow is another day!" But for now, I want to get this blog at least started because I will be out-of-town until the 16th of June.

I have also created an avatar and use it for my Facebook page; however I changed her clothes and background for this blog. I think that avatars are a fun way to express oneself!

Thing 2-The Lifelong Learner Hatches

I guess I "hatched" quite awhile back, however I have not and do not always nurture the habit of lifelong learning. After viewing the 7 1/2 Habits; the one that I consider the most difficult for me is "to begin with the end in mind". I can set goals for myself but I have difficulty developing and executing a plan to achieve the goals. I struggle with organization and therefore seem to waste quite a bit of time. I allow distractions to get in the way of completing the task at hand. The easiest habit for me is "to accept responsibility for my own learning." If I want to learn something new I seek out the opportunity rather than waiting for it to come to me. I developed this habit recently while I was in graduate school completing my Masters in Library Science. It seems that the more I learn the less I really know. The quest is never-ending; hmmm sounds like lifelong learning to me!