Monday, November 15, 2010

Thing 23

Some of my favorite activities in this assignment were Photostory, image generators, and mashups.  I also liked discovering some of the library-related blogs that are out there.  Now if there was only enough time in the day to delve into all of this new information....

I have to say that for the most part I have enjoyed this assignment.  There were things that I had heard of before but was too intimidated to try.  Having the tutorials at my fingertips was extremely helpful to understanding the steps.  Working through these steps has helped to make all of this technology just a little less scary.

I think that one way to improve on the 23 Things program would be to update some of the assignments to some of the newest "tricks" that people are coming up with.  For example, the Technorati assignment did not work well, but there are new ideas that could be substituted for it.  Prezi and Animoto are two ideas that come to mind.  I do think that I would enjoy going through the steps of another discovery program like this in the future.  What is nice about this setup is that you can work at your own pace.  In an in-service-type format, there is limited time to explore and understand what is going on.

In a word, this assignment has bolstered my confidence toward expanding my horizons in the technology field.  Thank you.

Thing 22

I can see where Ning would have some benefits to educators, especially since everyone involved with the site have the same interests.  I found two links that I actually added to my Favorites page so that I can follow up with them later in my own school library.  Here they are for you to view too:

Cute PowerPoint about keeping the library neat and orderly.  I also like the idea of kindergartners snuggling with a library friend while reading their books.  I have about 30-40 Beanie Babies that someone donated to the library before I came on board.  Right now that just occupy space behind a cabinet door.  Not for long now!

The following is a TeacherTube video that a librarian created, with her daughters' assistance, on how to take care of library books.  It's what we talk about with kinder at the beginning of school; this gives another reinforcement to that lesson.

Thing 21

I had fun with Photostory.  I can see how this would be useful in a classroom setting.  Teachers could take pictures of final assessment projects throughout the year and create a looping video to play during the end of year activities.  In the library it could be used for the annual Bluebonnet book list.  A book cover can appear, followed by a teaser sentence or two about the book.  Librarians could use it to introduce the year's new list to the students.

I used Photostory with pictures taken from a DisneyWorld trip a few summers ago.  3 of our 4 sons went, along with my brother's family.  What great memories we have - so much so that we went the following summer and took my sister's family too!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thing 20

YouTube and TeacherTube are fun to explore, especially when there is plenty of time to spend on it.  I looked at quite a few videos about the library but the one I chose to embed has a story to tell about our future in this chosen career path.  It is a series of quotes about libraries and librarians and our roles in using technology.  One quote essentially stated that if we aren't considered an expert in technology then we really don't have any business being a librarian.  Ouch.

Thing 19

I found the Web 2.0 Awards list rather interesting.  I expected to see Google Maps in the number one slot for maps, but I was a little surprised to see Twitter over Facebook.  Everyone I know uses Facebook!  A few other number one observations:

Photos and digital images: Flickr - I thought this site was hard to navigate.  I didn't attempt to search through Picnik and Picasa - I hope those two are not even more difficult!

Professional Networking/Employment and Jobs: This caught my eye as my husband has been looking to move away from self-employment and back into the 'regular' workforce.  He was recently told that Everybody who's Anybody is on Linkedin, so that one wasn't a surprise.  However, Standout Jobs was listed ahead of Career Builder and Monster.  I went into Standout Jobs, entered "marketing" and "Houston" and got a 0 response.  When I changed it to just "Houston", I still had a 0 response.  Career Builder found 1,795 responses, Monster had 1,000.

Games: A time-waster that I fight against is online games, such as Scrabble, Solitaire, etc.  I saw that Zango has the #1 slot for games; now I know what site to avoid!

As I was about to leave the site, I noticed that the list was dated 2008 and had a link to nominate candidate sites for the 2009 year.  I just wonder who manages/managed the site and how they awarded the rankings.

Thing 18

I really thought that OpenOffice would be a great source for me to use, but I found it very frustrating while trying to navigate through the site.  I never was able to find anything that looked like a document, instead I was shifted from one link to another that just told me about the product and how it can be used. 

I'm not too keen on Google Docs at the moment either.  At my school, we do not have AR testing of books, so I asked my campus tech help me make a Google Docs page where the students would be able to keep track of the Bluebonnet books they read.  Only half of the book titles appear on the page.  I've had another technology person help me make another page from scratch, but it's through our teacher website rather than the district website.  I haven't received approval from the district technology person to make the switch from one web format to the other yet.  I do feel that the Google Docs problem is in the way D. originally set it up, but at the same time I wish Google Docs was designed differently.  Apparently they only allow a maximum of 10 things (in my case book titles) in their programmed document, so to add the other 10 titles from the list some manipulation of the form is in order.  D. didn't know about the manipulation part.

Thing 17

On the Rollyo website, I used their resources to create a link to library lesson ideas.  I found quite a number of sites that can be used to get ideas from.  Through Rollyo I found one of them, , that actually helped to verify that what I am doing in my library now is on target with other librarians.  I just have not taken the time to put myself on the web too!

Here is my link to Rollyo:

Thing 16

I can see where Wikis would be really useful for grade-level teachers as an aid to their weekly planning and add to the collaboration between grade levels and specials teachers.  When a website or lesson idea is discovered, posting it to a Wiki would give everyone involved simple access to those sites.  Because Wikis are also interactive, teachers can let each other know how they may have tweaked an idea to fit their needs.

Thing 15

I read the article "Away from the Icebergs" by Rick Anderson, Director of Resource Acquisition, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries.  The first thing he says is that libraries need to move away from the "just in case" collection, or the habits of librarians to order more print resources for patrons to use - in case they come in looking for that information.

At my school, we are in the process of becoming an International Baccalaureate school, meaning that research happens continually.  Each six weeks there is a new topic for the students to work on, subjects that are related to the TEKS but are expanded to fit a 4-6 week format.  For example, 3rd always has a big unit on animal habitats, kinder has one on families and homes, 4th on explorers.  Especially with 3rd and 4th grades, teachers send students into the library to research their chosen topic.  The past two weeks I have had 4th graders come into the library looking for anything they can find on Neil Armstrong, Cortes, Marco Polo, etc.  The teachers are requiring the students to have a certain number of print resources along with the other resources they are using. 

Rick Anderson is saying that the patrons are not using print materials as much as in the past.  I wonder if that is more true for public libraries than school libraries.  Schools are full of teachers who have not all embraced the "new" way of doing things - for example, the new way to research rather than relying so heavily on print resources.

Thing 14

I had trouble navigating the Technorati website.  I clicked on to some of their tags, but did not find much that I would find useful.  For example, under the heading World News, the only thing posted there was a paragraph about the subway bombing in London that occurred in 2005.  I tried to search for School Library Learning 2.0; in both the blog posts and blog directories I got a 0 response.  I was unable to find a way to search under the Tags heading - I never did see a search box.

I also attempted to read the article about popular blog, searches, and tags, but the connection was not working.  From the widgets link the response was "not available".  As the website stands at the moment, I'm not sure how useful this would be.  I really like the idea behind it though.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thing 13

I have heard of the delicious website but have not explored it before tonight.  I can see where this site wold be very useful in not just a social aspect but even more so in an educational setting.  I set up some bookmarks from websites that I have used in the library.  This would be a good tool to have for bookmarking sites for library lessons and being able to share them with other librarians.

I can also see how delicious would be a great tool for the 4th grade teachers at my school.  The newest 6-week timeframe begins Monday; this 6-week frame also happens to be the time that our 4th grade students will bein with their IB exhibition preparations.  The students will search for information related to the topic of youth around the world need food, shelter, education, clothing, etc.  Our 4th grade teachers will gain valuable resources and some time management by utilizing this site (or one like it) for research.  IB exhibitions are brand-new for our school, and I know that we will all benefit from helping each other.

Thing 12

The articles about blogging were enlightening.  I'm not proficient with blogging at all, but I do find it interesting.  From the article How to comment like a king (or queen), one thing that caught my eye was the fact that this blogger takes the time to read the blogs of the people that comment on his blog.  I'm not sure why, but that sort of surprised me. It makes perfect sense; we do something similar when we post comments to discussion questions for our classes to see if anyone has added more.  In some cases it may take up the better part of the day to check and recheck blog postings!

In the article 10 techniques to get more comments on your blog (of which I noticed that he had 724 comments - not bad), he stated that in order to attract comments you should keep posts open-ended and not sound like an expert on everything, but allow others to feel that they can contribute to your posts by adding to them.  I can see where this would take some practice, to try to find that fine line between being too broad with your comments and sounding like a know-it-all who doesn't need any more information on the subject.  I also realized that I have a title -- I'm one of the 90% lurkers out there (people who read blogs but don't leave comments)!

This past summer I had quite a bit of time on my hands, and I used part of that time exploring on the Internet. I found a few blogs that I really enjoyed reading and keeping up with.  Both of these were found accidentally while I was trying to get new recipe ideas to try.  Apparently they are both popular in the blogging world too.

Iowa Girl Eats, , is about a young married woman who really enjoys her food!  She writes a daily post of what she's had for breakfast, lunch, (often) snack, and dinner, and includes recipes to go along with most of the postings.  I made several of her recipes, including Italian Wedding Soup that was way better than the recipe I already had.  This summer she posted about a visit she had to Iowa's popular ice cream factory - she was one of 6 Iowas-based bloggers who were invited.  She also once posted about a box of free samples of a snack bar she likes.  She has gotten someone's attention!

The other, The Pioneer Woman, , is the writings of a married mother of four who lives on a cattle ranch.  She must also be a wonderful cook, as she has a cookbook out and was on a Food Network cooking segment with one of their stars. She often gives away free cookware; in fact, the last one attracted over 37,000 people.

Thing 11

I spent some time exploring LibraryThing, in which users are able to create their own book list of favorite titles.  Charlotte's Web will always be the first book I list as a favorite - I won't even allow another book to take the place of that all-time-favorite of mine.  However, there are quite a bit of books that come in second place, in my opinion.  Most of those are picture books:  Tuesday, If I Built a Car, The Polar Express, and The Giving Tree, just to name a few. 

Another book that is one of my newest favorites is Bob and Otto.  When I put my book list together on LibraryThing, there were 10,738 others who had also included Charlotte's Web on their list, 2055 for The Little Engine That Could, and 14,769 for Little Women.  But when I added Bob and Otto, there were only 52 others that had included it.  This is such a wonderful story that was on the Texas 2x2 list a year or two ago. It's too bad that more people are not familiar with it.

For anyone interested, I also noticed that LibraryThing is looking for a new employee.  Some of the requirements they are looking for in a new employee, which is based in Portland, ME by the way: someone who is passionate about books, social media-savvy, and no cheese allergies!