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.