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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.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thing # 16: To Wiki or not to Wiki

What a great idea! I am constantly amazed at all the terrific tools and apps out there that I was totally unaware of before 23 Things entered my life. For most classes and all libraries, this would be a perfect way to coordinate ideas for students and possibly for parents. I think that for me, it would be hard to use it now for my students because they are at a different level in regards to technology usage. However, I am considering setting up a Wiki to use with my parents of my students. I liked another posting I read from a student's blog mentioning posting on a Wiki information about supplies. I could use a Wiki to post information to all of my student's parents about parent conferences and trainings, supply lists, school menus, calendar information, etc. Thanks to Lee Lefever from the Common Craft videos for his helpful Wikis in Plain English video I was able to find several Wiki sites to use when I am ready. I will probably use either PB Wiki or Wikispaces for Educators to set up my classroom Wiki. Thanks again 23 Things for providing such great ideas that can be used both in my current situation with my classroom and in my future career as a librarian.

Thing # 15 Library 2.0

In the short time that I have attended my Library Science classes I have already discovered that the library I grew up with will soon be obsolete. The future holds a new opportunity for virtual libraries. Patrons will have a collaborative role in the development of the library and what it contains. They will be able to create, edit, or at the least participate in book talks, wiki pages, web pages, and discussion groups. Information will no longer be print content but electronic. In the article "Service for the Next-Generation Library"
by Michael E. Casey and Laura C. Savastinuk found in the Library Journal from 9/1/2006, the authors write about how the tide is changing in the libraries of the 21st century. As a future librarian I need to be in tune with these changing tides and accepting of the new virtual environment. Rick Anderson also writes about this change in his featured article titled "Away from the Icebergs". He writes about the "icebergs" that can cause problems for our future growth in libraries. We need to be prepared to teach students how to search and organize the information that they access on the web. Gone are the days of a print rich collection, now we need to embrace the access of information through other outlets such as Flickr and Google Reader. Our students will be able to pull up journals, books, web pages and other digital collections on the computer.Will the patrons always seek out the library? According to Rick Anderson the library needs to bring it's services to the patrons not the other way around.

Thing #14: Technorati

I am sorry to say that I was not at all impressed with Technorati. After watching the video clip and listening to the management team and developers of Technorati speak about their vision, I was very interested and willing to dig in and get started. I especially enjoyed listening to Liz Dunn, Product Manager for Technorati, speak on how information is shared between real people instead of paid critics and writers. She shared her real life experience on reading blogs to find a consumer of a particular band's concert venue. She wanted to make sure that the concert would be worth the money of a ticket. Music critics will not necessarily lead you in the right direction, but real life consumers can give you first hand knowledge. So, needless to say after reading and listening to information shared regarding Technorati, I was excited about the possibilities. Then I tried it for myself and was disappointed with what I found.
First of all, I could not complete the activity because the popular blog searches and tags page was unavailable. I then began to search for the keywords "School Library Learning 2.0" using Blog posts, Blog directory, and Tags and found nothing. I also tried the Technorati widgets and it was also unavailable. So, though in theory the idea of being able to search for bloggers all in one site sounds great, I think I will stick with my tried and true Google Reader. I have enjoyed organizing my Google Reader with all my favorite blogs and love the idea of deleting and adding to this group whenever I like.
While learning about de.licio.us and Flickr and Diigo and other similar sites, I have realized the importance of such tools for organizing your interests and putting everything in one place to manage effectively. I do love that information is easily accessible and shared by those that are actually, readers, consumers, and professionals just like me. When I want to find out information I can look to these sources, not the paid advertisement.

Thing # 13: Tag Your It!

Delicious or Diigo, that became the question of the hour. And the winner is Diigo for me. I did follow the discovery exercise guidelines and played on Delicious for a while. I even set up an account. However, in this exercise we are also asked to check out other social bookmarking sites as well. I have to say that by far, for me, Diigo was much more user friendly. I like the way the site is organized; crisp, clean and again, easy to use. I was able to find several groups and tags that are helpful to me within the first few minutes of searching. At this stage in my life, I need easy and manageable. Balancing home life, teaching, and school work means I need search engines, tools, sites that speak to me. Diigo not only spoke to me, I think it was singing my song. I liked it so much I decided to share and send out invitations to several class members to share this bookmarking site with them.
I can definitely see the potential for bookmarking and in Diigo you can share your ideas with others in your social networking community. I tagged subjects that are dear to my heart, Special Education, Autism, Education, etc. Hopefully in time, others will enjoy what I find and I will search for articles and sites that others have shared with me.
You can also set up a blog page in Diigo, which is another feature I liked. Now that I know how to blog, I find it fun and another great way to share ideas.
One of the best features of Diigo is that it allows you to highlight text and use sticky notes.
I think that both libraries and classrooms could benefit from using bookmarking. If I was looking for specific resources I could look under a tag and find what I need quickly and readily. As so many of the sites and tools we have studied in the 23 Things, bookmarking helps to organize what you use for personal use or professional use.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thing #12: Creating a Community

Blogging can be a great way to establish a community of people that share ideals, thoughts, or views similar to your own. I know that as I continue to blog and learn more about blogging I will keep in mind the importance of repecting others in the blogging community. Sometimes it is hard to bare your heart and soul and lay it all out for someone to read. I will always try to consider this when responding and commenting to others blogs. I feel that respect is the number one rule in blogging. Also, it is important to remember that everyone has something important to share. Similar to a yard sale, one person's "junk" may be another person's treasure. I need to consider this as I share my tidbits of information. Something I write could actually be helpful and shed insight for someone. Never sell yourself short.

I have enjoyed beginning to read other's blogs and enter this community of blogosphere. I think my favorite two blogs so far are Cool Cat's blog by Vicki Davis and the Blue Skunk blog by Doug Johnson. Already I have used information from both of their blogs to help me learn about many different subjects. Some topics for blog posts that have been shared have actually helped me in my posts on discussion questions. They seem to have a plethora of useful information to share.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thing # 11

Thing #11: LibraryThing

I really could get carried away with all of these useful sites and tools. I could seriously get lost in discussions with the other members in the groups I chose for LibraryThing. I chose three groups to start with in the cataloging site. My choices reflect my favorite genres. I chose the Crime, Thriller, and Mystery group. I always get drawn into the world of serial killer novels and the hero or heroine's quest to solve the murder(s). I also chose The Green Dragon group which is a fantasy, mythology, and sci fi group. I enjoy all of C.S. Lewis's books and Tolkien. My last group is the Read YA Lit group. I am a sucker for Young Adult literature. I think that that time in one's life is such an exciting and ever changing period. Everything seems so important to a young adult. Their stories reflect this excitement and zest for life. I know that LibraryThing will be a useful tool for me now. I will be able to start to learn about what other people find to be worthwhile books. I can eliminate the selection of books that may not be well respected. In the future, I believe that LibraryThing can help me to organize both my personal and school libraries.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thing # 10

Thing #10: On-Line Image Generators:

This exercise was fun. I could play with this for hours, if I only had the time. I know for a fact that many of these generators can be used in the library or classroom. A librarian could set up her own glogster to demonstrate to students. She could have a trading card as we have already discovered. I know glogsters and wordles are fun for students as they are creating presentations to make the information more exciting and pop! I had fun with several, but I am only going to show two examples. There is not enough room for all of the images I would like to download or save. I played with Dumpr and created a picture from a shopping trip with my girlfriends in the Heights. We were just goofing around in a store and took a picture. I also had fun discovering ImageChef and created a picture of one of my favorite things, butterflies.

ImageChef Word Mosaic - ImageChef.com

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thing # 9

Thing # 9: RSS Feeds
While searching for RSS feeds I stumbled upon several great blogs that I thought would be useful on my road to the access of information. I must say I can really relate to two blogs in particular. Though I am not a young adult anymore, I love reading young adult literature. The Crooked Shelf and the YA Addict review books that meet my love for this genre.

I can get lost reading books about the fantasy world of witches, werewolves, and vampires. Books are a great form of escapism for me. I absolutely love to read about the "unreal". I took the advice of Vicki Davis of The Cool Cat Teacher blog. She mentioned that one of the best ways to begin your search for RSS feeds is to search the blogs of those you do admire. For example, I enjoy the Serpentine Library. This blog reviews many different books and shares insight on up and coming authors.

I searched on Technorati and Bloglines and appreciated their streamlined approach to organizing blogs. They make it easy for someone to find subjects by inserting key words in the search bar. It eliminates the dead time of looking up information like a search for the old needle in the haystack. In today's world of quick and easy, we need information and we need it now. Who wants to wait? It was interesting to find a quick reference to the award winning blogs in Edublogs. I was surprised to not find some of the blogs I have often found in my search for library news. For example, I do not think Doug Johnson's blue skunk blog was mentioned. I have read several articles by him while reading information for my discussion question posts.
I was not impressed with the layout of Topix.net and Syndic8.com. It was hard to even look at the format of these two sites. I would not consider either of these as very user friendly.
Thanks to this activity I now feel like I have started my very on extensive library catered to my tastes, with all the information in one location.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thing #8

Thing #8 :

RSlS feeds are like one stop shopping. They are to technology and information acess what Walmart is to shopping. It is all on one page and in one place. I love this. This will save me so much time once I have subscribed to all the news sites and blogs I want on my Google Reader, I will be thrilled to have all my information at my fingertips! Literally.

I believe that this will be great for me to personally use at home. I tend to get lost on the internet when searching for information. Sometimes I loose valuable time searching the web. Hopefully now I can eliminate the extra searching and find most of what I need on my Google Reader.

I know that as a librarian RSS feeds can provide an organized page to place many different sites that could be used to help one's students. A librarian can check other librarian blogs to find out the latest news in the world of information science. They can stay on top of the latest local and national news and information that they can share with their students and teachers. I am sure the list of possibilities is endless.

Thing #7

Thing #7
I really enjoyed this activity. I have used Google for years to search the web, but never realized how many applications Google had created. I set up an iGoogle page and customized my page to personalize it to my interests.

I was surprised to find out how easy it was to find educational presentations to use in a classroom. I decided to look up a power point presentation on snakes and found plenty of material I would be able to use in a classroom if studying this subject. For example, I looked up ppt and snakes and found several power points to view. I always get lost when looking at the reptile exhibit at the zoo. I find snakes fascinating.

I did not realize that I already had Google docs and Google calendar. My husband and I share the same e-mail account and he is already using these applications. I added several dates to our calendar and will continue using this for my calendar. I love the fact that like Outlook it can send reminders for upcoming events. I explored the Picasa Web Album, but was not sure how it works when it comes to copyright. There was no creative commons to share pictures, so I was not sure if all of the pictures are free to use.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thing #6 continued

I also enjoyed creating my very own trading card. I will have to remember how to introduce this to my students when I am a bonafide librarian. Again, I found this application in http://bighugelabs.com/.
I love the idea of using http://www.pimpampum.net/bookr/ to
have students create their own books by downloading their own pictures or using pictures they find http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/. What child doesn't like to write about themselves? This would be a creative way to have students journal.

Thing #6

I really enjoyed learning about mash-ups and 3rd party sites. I feel like I am on a technology playground. My favorite application was the jigsaw maker in http://bighugelabs.com/. I was able to create a jigsaw of my family. Who knew I would ever see my family inside a jigsaw puzzle? This could also be done by incorporating pictures from http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/. I can really see how mash-ups could be used in a classroom. I believe the students could be engaged in a project where they can have some creative freedom with pictures and writing. My own children are working on biographies in their 3rd grade class and I think it would have been fun for them to create a trading card for their biography character.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Thing #5

I enjoyed learning more about Flickr and I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how user friendly and accessible the site is for participants. I am so intrigued by the whole social networking arena, that I see how Flickr is yet another avenue for sharing with others. In this case it helps people to connect with others through the medium of pictures. Flickr makes it so easy to look up specific categories through using the tags and groups. I was amazed at the availability of so many useful pictures in the Creative Commons. I can definitely see how this would be a useful tool in a classroom. I teach a specialized unit for students with autism and I find it difficult to incorporate this form of technology into my lessons. So I decided to choose a subject that is dear to my heart, dachshunds. I chose an adorable picture of a dachshund celebrating his second birthday shared by Lian Chin. I also have a dachshund and love watching the antics of my little guy. I also enjoyed reading about the professor who used the site to create a lesson on sharing pictures of architectural design. What a great idea for collaborating with other students, teachers, etc.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thing #3:
I am signing in to say that I am ready to enter to start this game of technology fun.
Thing #2
7 1/2 Habits for Lifelong Learning- I think the easiest of the habits is "starting with the end in mind". I think as a professional and as an educator checklists and planning ahead are crucial to the success of what I need to accomplish each day. For example, I could not teach properly without an idea of the curriculum and tools I will need and a lesson plan to get started.
The hardest habit for me will be "using technology to my advantage". I am willing to evolve in the area of technology but I do have a lot to learn along the way to navigating Web 2.0.

My first official blog post

This is my first official post on my blog. Am I really entering the 21st century? Can it be?