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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thing #23 Is it really the end?

I can not believe I actually finished what seemed like such a daunting task when I first began this journey of discovery. Now I feel like I have just finished an exceptionally good series of books and I don't want it to end. And yes, I know it will not be ending, but only beginning. Now that I have some understanding of these fabulous tools, I will search and play for many more hours to come.

1. I think I enjoyed learning about all of the tools, but my favorite would be the Big Huge Labs to make trading cards and other fun creations with pictures. I also loved making my own photo story in Photo Story 3. Also, who can resist looking on You Tube for fun and useful videos.
2. I think that 23 Things has begun a new age of discovery for me in a quest for knowledge. I am going to be very busy in the years to come learning more about these and other Web 2.0 tools and applications.
3. Everything about 23 Things surprised me. Probably what surprised me the most was how much fun I actually had completing each activity.
4. I think the format was set up well. It is extremely organized and I especially love how much information and training was provided on each topic before requiring us to create our own products.
5. Yes, I would definitely participate. Again, I am sad to be finished. I think we should continue the blogs and share information about other sites we discover along the way.
6. 23 Things helped me in my quest to seek knowledge in the world of Web 2.0.
7. Now to go comment....

Thing # 22 Nings

I will be honest, I had never heard of Nings until completing this activity. I am familiar with social networking groups like Facebook and Twitter. I can see the significance of joining a group where you can share ideas, lessons, frustrations, and ask questions to other educators or librarians. For librarians especially, this would be a nice way of networking and collaborating with other librarians. I can see how it might be somewhat lonely being the only one of your kind on a campus. It would be great to have a way to interact with others in your field and form a community of sorts that you could go to for ideas or even to seek help.

However, I did notice that Nings like Teacher Librarian Ning are no longer free networks. I fear that Facebook will one day charge a fee, but for now we are able to enjoy this social networking for free. Everyone likes the word free. It just rolls off your tongue. I am happy to see that Katy ISD has added Facebook to our website. It is no longer blocked by a firewall. What does this mean for social networking for educators? The possibilities are endless.

I did enjoy some of the videos featured in the Teacher Librarian Ning such as a group of students singing about the library and the significance of the library for the 21st learners. They sang to the tune of John Lennon's "Imagine", which is a beautiful song.

Find more videos like this on TLNing

In my search to learn more about Nings I did find information about alternative sites that are free to the public such as, Cube Tree for companies or Edmodo, which is a microblogging system designed for teachers and students. Again I believe that joining a social networking group would help librarians to collaborate and learn more about their profession.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thing #21 Photo Story

Now I will admit this is a great tool for teaching students just about anything. I think our students are so accustomed to watching the television that they would probably enjoy this type of medium for learning new information. I will say that it did take me quite a long time to put together a solid presentation. However, the actual video was extremely easy to set up. I think students could use Photo Story and have fun making their own videos about a subject that they are learning or researching in school. With photo sharing sites like Flickr, embedding pictures into a video format is made easy for users. I am impressed at how simple the process really was. I will have to try this one again in my classroom soon. Here is my video cast on Teaching Self Help Skills to Students with Developmental Delays.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Thing #20 U-Tube and Teacher Tube

Now this was a fun assignment! I can spend way too much time on You Tube looking up funny video clips. I think most of us are guilty of this at times. I decided to look up "librarians" and I watched many trailers before deciding on one I thought would be appropriate for sharing with my classmates. I know that one day the Dewey Decimal system will be second nature to me as a librarian, but right now it is more like a foreign language. For this reason, I really enjoyed the Dewey Decimal Rap. It is a silly rap song, but as we know, silly songs sometimes help us remember information later. This rap goes through the numbers in the dewey decimal system and puts it into song. Isn't it always the silly jingles from commercials that we can't get out of our heads?

After listening to the Dewey Decimal Rap I decided to move on and check out Teacher Tube for a helpful video clip for my classroom. As I was searching for a relevant video it occurred to me that it would probably be best for me to choose a video on using visual supports for children with autism. I did not find what I needed by looking up the key words of visual strategies or support, but I did however, find what I needed when I looked up the key word Autism. Moral to this story would be, when first you don't succeed, try, try again. I found a video that shows a six year old boy attending a class and receiving visual supports and modeling to help him to process the directions that the teacher is giving the class. My students use visual supports for all that they do throughout their school day: for their schedules, toileting, lunch, group instruction, and transitioning out of the classroom. Here is a video clip on my chosen subject.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thing # 19 Web 2.0 Awards

I could totally get lost by playing with these award winning Web 2.0 sites. I am already quite familiar with Pandora Radio. Now that I am spending so much time on the computer with my graduate work, I am benefiting from this musical playground. I love the way Pandora allows you to set up your very own radio station with the bands and musicians you love best. It seldom has commercial interruptions and it is great for a student who is working many hours researching on their computer at home. I know that it would not make it past Katy's firewall, however, due to the fact that you can set up any music. It is not censored and there is no filter, you get the music that you want.
For the purpose of education, I found several tools that would be helpful to introduce to students. First, I still think Google Docs is an incredible tool for collaborating and planning a lesson, presentation, research project, and more. I also played with another one listed on the Web 2.0 Awards List called Writeboard . This site also allows students or teachers to collaborate on projects or lessons. It seems fairly simple, just write on the "Writeboard" page and send it to people. They can make changes or additions and you will see the changes reflected on the original writeboard. This can continue until you are ready to create a final product.
My last big find was esnips which allows you to download 5 GB of free storage to save your documents. Esnips is so much more though. You can download playlists, videos, be part of a social networking group, create a blog or even a forum. I think it would take some time to learn about all the features that esnips has available.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thing #18 Google Docs or Open Office?

Google, google, google! Have I made my preference clear enough? When it comes to working on documents, forms, and spreadsheets, Google Docs is very user friendly. I am probably a bit biased due to the fact that I am very comfortable with using other Google programs. However, I was first introduced to Google Doc by my husband who began using it this year. He showed me how he was able to create a spreadsheet that was easy to format and use. He loved the fact that he could create the spreadsheet and then send a form to co-workers. The form asked for specific data from the coworkers and this information was sent from the form to the spreadsheet to update his records. He was able to keep up with dates to ensure everyone from his team was current on a particular mandatory training. He could have also set up the spreadsheet to be shared by all. However, by creating the form, this allows only one person to manage the spreadsheet, which creates less confusion and error. In a way this feature reminds me of the Wiki. Instead of using e-mails that can get disorganized, Web 2.0 makes sharing so much easier. Collaboration has never been so simple! By using a document, spreadsheet or form that you can share with others, you are able to plan and organize most anything with little to no fuss. Another thing I loved about Google Docs is having free access to a large amount of templates. They had all types of forms from budgets to to-do lists.

I did check out the Open Office but I was somewhat discouraged by the fact that you have to download the program. I already have so many programs on my computer that I would rather not download another one. I did read the information provided in the site about the Open Office program and I can see that it would be another program that could be just as useful as Google Docs. I think it really just depends on what you are comfortable using. They both create similar products and have similar features.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thing #17 Rollyo Over, It's the Search Engine Express

Rollyo just makes sense. With all the search engines on the web today and the massive amounts of information to sift through, doesn't it just make sense to have one place to search? I really can see how useful this can be in a classroom, especially in the intermediate grade levels. It would be helpful to have the students access only the tried and true web sites or search engines that the teacher or librarian can trust. The only thing I wish I could figure out is why I was only able to pull up the sites based on a key word or two. Is it possible to just click on the site itself in your searchroll and go straight to the site without choosing a word first? For example, I have blogs in my first searchroll. I do not want to search a key word(s) to get to the site, I want to go straight to the site from my roll to check the current day's blog. Is this possible? If it is, I haven't quite figured it out yet. I did set up my searchroll under Library Queen. I know that I will need to tweak it in the next few weeks. The teachertube video created by Bruce Goodner was very helpful at providing the fundamental knowledge for setting up Rollyo.