Wednesday, April 21, 2010

thing # 23

When I started the 23 things I felt quite overwhelmed and not very confident that I will be able to get through, but now that I am at the end it seems like it was not that difficult. Many of the things are a lot of fun, and in the meantime I have used several with my students. I did not always get everything right on the first try, or even on the second or third, but eventually it worked out. This assignment has definitely given me a lot more confidence in dealing with technology and I know 100% more about how to use Web 2.0 --- in other words, I was absolutely clueless when I began 23 things.
The biggest hurdle for me had been trying to find out what happened to my postings after thing #16, because no matter how often I posted, nothing showed up in my blog. Vaughn to the rescue: it took her under two seconds to see what my problem was. I had somehow managed to create two identical blogs, and posted after thing 16 on my second blog, but kept looking for my postings to show up on the original blog. All is well that ends well. Thank you Vaughn!

thing #22

Of the Nings, I really liked TeacherLingo. It offers everything from Interactive Whiteboard resources to lesson plans and even fashion advice specifically for teachers. I think this is a great way for teachers and librarians to stay in touch, collaborate, support each other, and build networks.
When I looked at the Texas School Librarian Ning I discovered that our class mate Erica Finley is already a member. Now the rest of us just need to follow her lead.

thing # 21

When I started thing #21 I was convinced that there is no way I can figure out how to create a photo story. It turns out, it is not that difficult and a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I have 'big plans' for all sorts of photo stories now. My husband wants an iPad primarily for his photos. Wouldn't it be nice if our sons gave him one for father's day and it had a number of photo stories on it? I better get busy.

The photo story I did for thing #21 shows a few pictures of a trip my sons and I took last summer. We went to see my family in Germany and took a two-day trip to Paris with my sister and her son.




video

thing # 20

YouTube is fun, and the choices are endless. I watched at least 30 different videos about librarians, some funny, some not so funny, some that were inappropriate, some that were boring, and some that were actually okay for a school assignment. The one I chose shows a young librarian defending the Dewey decimal system.




On Teacher Tube I found a video on Metaphors: Star Wars Metaphors. I am teaching metaphors to my ESL students right now, so I will use the video myself.


There is just about anything a teacher or librarian could possibly be looking for. To make it even more perfect, links to worksheets, lesson plans, assessments, and more are provided at the upper edge of the video.

thing #19

I fell in love with Lulu, a self-publishing tool. For $0.02 per page, one can publish a paperback book. There is also the option of selling the book online. Other options are hardcover books, and ebooks, although I forgot to check what the cost is for those formats. Students and teachers could publish their own writings at very little cost. I know of a student who enjoys writing and illustrating children's stories. What a perfect tool for her!
How I needed Lulu back when I wrote my master thesis --- around the time when the dinosaurs went extinct, before computers and Internet. I still have a bound copy of it, but it was expensive and complicated to get it done. I am totally giddy about this discovery!

thing # 18

At the recommendation of my sons, I downloaded Open Office a while back on my home computer. I have never used it, because I had already purchased Microsoft Office. Taking another look at it, I must say that, all in all, I see only advantages to Open Office. First of all, there is no purchase cost --- a huge advantage in my opinion. Secondly, updates are available without additional cost, and there is not much that can go wrong with Open Office. I noticed that the district has Open Office on our school computers, but we also have Microsoft Office installed. Why do we have both? I must admit, that I have been using Microsoft Office consistently for all my word documents, Power Points, etc., probably out of habit. Rumor has it, that SBISD is going to discontinue the use of Microsoft Office, so I guess we need to get used to the --- good --- idea of Open Office.

thing # 17

I created a search engine for Young Adult Literature, and in the process I found out that my friend and class mate Lili Suchoff had created one with the same title. However, she has completely different web sites in her search engine.
While Rollyo is obviously useful for any number of applications, it will be particularly helpful to students. A specially created search engine can be used for research projects, so that students may go straight to the sites that the teacher/librarian has selected and approved.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

thing #16

My first thought on Wikis is that Wikis can be used for group projects. Students can post their contributions to the project and edit the project at the same time. This works particularly well for larger groups that might otherwise have trouble finding a convenient time for everyone to meet. With a Wiki, students can add their contributions at any time that works for them, and everything is nicely kept in one place. No paperwork to lose or misplace, no tedious handwritten changes --- no emails that get deleted accidentally.
Like the example showed, Wikis can be used for anything, not just school work. Fabulous!

thing # 15

For thing #15 I read Away from Icebergs, Into a new world of librarianship, and To more powerful ways to cooperate.
In Away from Icebergs, Rick Anderson comments that there are three “icebergs” that can threaten the success of libraries in the near future. They are the “just in case” collection , reliance on user education, and the “come to us” model of library service .
The “just in case “ collection, titles that are available just in case someone needs them, is no longer necessary. With the same information available on the internet, this frees up enormous space and money for other things.
Secondly, resources have to become as user-friendly as possible. It is the library’s responsibility to eliminate barriers between the student and the use of resources.
Lastly, in the post print era, library services have to be placed in the user's environment like the Web, to make sure as many students as possible have access to library services, and to give them access at times when they are not in school, such as after school, on weekends and during school breaks.

THING #14

Tagging is very helpful in research and information sharing. We are able to make use of the information someone else found and, in turn, we can make our own work available to others. Teachers and librarians can use this tool to help students with research projects and other assignments that require the collection and analysis of information.



Thing # 14 was confusing, or better, I find technorati confusing. For some reason I did not get any results for my keyword search for School Library learning 2.0, no matter how often I tried, and I cannot figure out what I am doing wrong. I found Delicious and Flickr very easy to use, but Technorati
frustrated me.

Monday, March 22, 2010

thing #13

While I was exploring various social bookmarking sites, I found several web sites that had material to complement my lesson plan for this week and for the book studies I have planned for the coming six weeks. I found one site that has interactive lessons, including a lesson to teach story elements through Cinderella. Searching by tags brought up a slew of useful sites for specific topics.
Social bookmarking can be a great way for teachers to share good web sites with their students on research projects, and for librarians to share great web sites on just about anything.
I am not sure I understand discovery exercise # 3 correctly:
3. See if you can figure out how to share your delicious site with others (students).
This is what I was thinking:
To share my delicious site with others , I make my bookmarks public (not mark them ‘private’) ,or give my username to my students so that they may find the bookmarks I have collected. I could also share the tags I have added to the bookmarks, so that they can search by tags.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

thing #12

What struck me as the two most important guidelines for blogging were
1.Remain respectful in your comments.
and
2.Make your blog and your comments count.
Especially when commenting on someone else's contribution, try to contribute something new instead of just commenting to be..., well, commenting. Without meaningful comments, a blog remains a monologue instead of becoming a conversation or discussion.
However, what baffles me is how people find time to continuously carry on a meaningful discussion through blogs.

Blogs that I read that are not part of the Library2Play community were TravelBlog and HarryPotterFanZone. I like to follow these two blogs because of my general interest in travel, my particular interest in everything Scottish, and my obsession with the Harry Potter books, their author, the movies based on the books, and anything else even remotely connected to the boy wizard and his world.

thing #11

For thing # 11 I added 9 books to my Library Thing. I really had to stop myself, or I would be adding books for days and not work on assignments. I love Library Thing! With all the books my husband, sons, and I own, this is a blessing! While my husband is a non-fiction reader who prefers books on military issues and all sorts of vehicles, my grown sons and I are constantly recommending books to each other. With Library Thing, we can keep up with what we read and whether or not we want to recommend those book to each other.

Friday, March 19, 2010

thing # 10

For thing # 10 I created a Wordle. Who would have guessed that this would be so easy? I am wondering how I could, for example, use a Wordle in a Power point presentation. It would make for a great opening slide, but how do you copy it into a PP? By copying code? Probably not. I will have to ask someone much savvier than me to figure that out.
Big Huge Labs is easy to use also. I made a magazine cover with it for thing # 6.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

thing # 9

The search tool I found the easiest was topix.net, because it offers a number of different search types. Whether I want to search by keywords, blog, source, URL, or even zip code, topix.net is flexible enough to allow it through Advanced Search. The one I did not like so much was technorati.com. It seemed more confusing to use than others.
I found feeds for YALSA and Young Adult Literature that I will use for the classes I teach, as well as for the classes I am taking.

thing # 8

What I love about RSS and readers is the incredible convenience of having the news I am interested in come to me instead of having to look for it. I used Google Reader to subscribe to a number of blogs and organized them into folders according to topic. I will use them to keep up with all the fun things I care about as well as professional topics. As a librarian, Google readers can help keep up with the latest in literature and information technology.

thing # 7

For thing 7, Cool Google Tools I used Google Earth to explore some of the sites that have come up in texts I recently used with my students. Last November, an ActivBoard was installed in my class room --- so anything I can have on my computer screen I can show to my students. The second thing I explored for thing 7 is Google Docs. My group and I had used Google Docs briefly for our collaboration project in Dr. Bishop's class, but I didn't really know all the possibilities this offers. Google Docs will be great to use for students' group projects.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

thing # 6

For thing # 6 I created a magazine cover. The cover is for a pet magazine and was created in memory of my beloved dog, Chip, who died very suddenly and unexpectedly last September at the age of eight.
In the near future, I will have my students create a magazine cover for a fictional character from a novel (possibly "Stargirl").
I am also wondering if this will work for a brochure. We are reading about Pompeii in my Reading I Sheltered class, and next week my students will begin to create a travel brochure for Pompeii. I found a number of photos on Flickr that can be used for this activity.
Now that I know of these fabulous creative possibilities, I will use them for many school related and personal creations.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

thing # 5

I went to Flickr. That was another surprise! I was surprised how ignorant I am about all the possibilities that technology offers. My kids (19 and 23) are so comfortable and familiar with these sites and cannot believe that anyone could be so out of the loop.



The photo I downloaded was taken in Pompeii. My Reading I Sheltered class has just read a story about the Trojan Horse, and an informational text about earthquakes. (We started this unit before the eathquake in Haiti happened.) Next, we are going to read Pompeii --- Lost and Found and, the higher level readers, The Dog of Pompeii.

thing #3

Did I say for thing #2 that I have confidence in myself as a competent and effective learner? That confidence was severely shaken during the process of setting up my blog. Being completely new at this, I confused Blogger and Blogster. So, I registered with one and tried to log in with the other. Duh!!! I thought I was losing my mind, and agonized over how to break the news to Dr. Griffith and Dr. Claes --- the news that they had awarded a grant to someone with the mental capacity of a string bean. After many painful attempts, it finally dawned on me what I was doing wrong. Yes, blondie had struck again!

Creating the avatar was much more fun. I spent all afternoon trying on different outfits. (They all looked good on "me", even the swim suits --- what an experience!) I even managed to export the avatar to my blog. Maybe there is still hope for me?

Thing #2

When I watched the power point, I was surprised how many of the traits of a life-long learner were familiar to me. I have been going to school for most of my life: first for a degree in literature and linguistics, then in fashion merchandising and design; after a three year break, I took real estate courses to become a realtor, and as such I am required to take a number of hours of continuing education classes every year to keep my license current; three years ago, I decided that I would like to get certified to teach high school social studies, so I enrolled at Texas Tech for the required courses, and now that I finally know what I want to be when I grow up, I am studying again.

The trait that I see as my strength is trait # 4: confidence in myself as a competent and effective learner. My weakness is "playing". It seems that there is always so much to do that playing would be a waste of time, but maybe I am looking at it from the wrong angle. I will make an effort to incorporate "playing" into my learning.