Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thing #23!!

Wow! I made it through all 23 Things--I wasn't sure I was going to have the time.

My absolute favorite discoveries were Del.ici.ous and Rollyo. I contacted our Tech department and found out that we will have Diigo at our school. She said that she had not heard any mention of Rollyo, but would check on it. She also gave me the information to set up an educator account with Diigo.

I would love to set up some sort of wiki for book lists. It would be great if we could share this list among librarians in our district--each adding to the lists.

I think my biggest surprise is that I got used to this blogging. I have not completely ruled out setting up a blog for students to read in which I review books I'm reading and talk about library activities. I will really have to think about that one because the kids are so young.

I am glad that I participated in this program because it helps me to keep up-to-date on technology which seems to be changing every day. Even if I don't use certain products, I think it is important to keep informed.

If I were to take this class over again I would try to get started earlier and complete the activities at a more leisurely pace. I would definitely consider participating again.

If I were to describe this course in just a few words I would say "informative" and "comprehensive." Thanks for the opportunity!

Thing #22

I just explored several nings. I can see the advantage of creating a ning for a special user group. It allows people to have an opportunity to communicate freely when they have a need. I am on the TLC listserv and receive many e-mails each day. I read them if I have time and if the e-mail has some relevance to me. I delete/disregard the rest. I don't reply or respond because I don't want to overwhelm the inboxes of Texas librarians! A ning seems like a much more relaxed way to communicate and share ideas. I especially like that you can create a ning which requires all memberships to be approved--that could help with spam. However, I honestly do not know how people keep up with all of this and still manage to get all of their work done. I think you would have to choose carefully and keep only what adds to your experience.
I think there are so many uses for PhotoStory. Here I converted a PPT to a Photostory and added voice so that a sub could give this lesson in my absence. The only problem is that it still takes a while to create. However, I plan to continue to use this in the future. Those Creative Commons guys and the Rollyo video have got me thinking!

Thing # 20

I love YouTube--unfortunately it is blocked by our district. Fortunately, Teacher Tube is not blocked. However, TeacherTube does not have nearly as many videos. I was looking for SMARTboard tutorials that I could use in an upcoming inservice. I didn't find any on TeacherTube. I found lots on YouTube, but none that I plan to use. I did a "library" search and found this fabulous Sesame Street video. Poor Cookie Monster!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thing #19

It was interesting to see the list of Web 2.0 awards. I was familiar with some sites, but have never heard of many. I enjoyed exploring several. I really liked Lulu and the ability to publish a book. This could be used for classrooms or schoolwide projects. It would be fun to do a schoolwide writing project and give students the opportunity to join in and become published. There are also many fundraising opportunities, as well. I thought the calendars could be a particularly fun fundraising opportunity. I'm thinking about reading Kehret's Shelter Dogs with my 3rd-5th grade students, then doing some sort of fundraising project for a local shelter. Maybe we can make a calendar featuring the "Pets of [our school]" and sell them to raise money. That could be a lot of fun!

Google Docs is great because it allows several people to work on the same document together from any computer. That would be useful for anything requiring a team contribution--whether by students or teachers.

I enjoyed taking a look a That could be a useful source to locate used or out-of-print books. I have a couple of titles to try when I return to school!

Finally, Vu Find was such a great search engine for library books. I loved the ability to search with faceted results (narrow the search by clicking on various facets of the result), the ability to find "more like this" and the ability to "text this" with search results. I'm sure teens would enjoy that feature!

Thing #18

I can see why using a free online tool such as Open Office would have its advantages. First, it is free to distribute this tool. Teachers can burn copies of the program to disks for students and allow students an opportunity to use them free of charge. There would be no copyright violations or concerns. Secondly, the free program would be available on any computer. If you are not at home or work with your Microsoft Suite, you could still get work done. It was nice to read that it runs on all major computing platforms and appears very easy to use.

A couple of days ago I was on the computer (I think doing an activity for this class) and came across an article discussing the advantages/disadvantages of moving your whole world to Google (including Google Docs). Although this may be convenient, you're pretty much opening up everything to the same company. The article raised issues of privacy concerns. Also, will Google use this information (or sell it) to advertisers (or others) at some point in the future?

Although I can see the benfits, I think there are also some risks. Our district has purchased the Microsoft products for all of the campuses, so I don't expect them to go anywhere soon. It will be interesting to follow this concept over time and see how it works out. It may be good to try for some limited applications, but I think I'll maintain Microsoft Office for the big ones.

Thing #17

I loved Rollyo--it is easy to see how this could help with organizing research projects. The video was very helpful and easy to understand.

I think today's youth view Google as an end-all. Many students go to Google first for answers. As pointed out in the video, Google can be overwhelming. Many searches result in thousands of hits. Using Rollyo, we can give students the search engine experience in a controlled environment. Not only can we limit the hits to safe and reliable sites, but we can reduce the number of hits to research simpler and more effective. I created this Rollyo search engine for "Sea Animals":

I look forward to using this more when I return to school!