Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thing #15 The Pagemaster

Have you ever seen the movie The Pagemaster? It is about a boy who has an incredible adventure in the library. The librarian is the magical pagemaster. I love the message in this movie about books and reading. I have always felt that the library was a special, even magical place. I feel a sense of reverence and peace when I step in the library, and I am transported back to other times and places. When I gaze at the books, I feel that they hold such promise-if only there was enough time to read them all.
It grieves me to think that many kids today do not feel like the library is a special place. They want more than books to stimulate their minds and motivate them. They need for the library to extend beyond the published ideas, to those of evolving ideas. The library must expand beyond its walls into the web--that intricate world of connections-- in order to stay relevant to kids today.
One of the articles says that we must equip students with wings instead of wheels; instead of leading students down a path, we must help them fly. " . . . teachers should be teaching from the air." The library becomes the landmarks, borders, anchors, and access to pilot logs. The librarians help the students navigate through the information. I agree that we must evolve with the times; we need to change our ways of thinking in order to best meet the needs of all learners. We must remember; however, that making information more easily accessible, does not mean that we need librarians less. The librarian is more important than ever; the librarian is still the page master, whatever type of page one may be reading.
One of the articles describes Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 in the following ways: Web 1.0 respects authority--the kind with credentials; Web 2.0 respects the community--everyone has a voice. There are authoritative sources that are valuable and cannot be replaced with anyone's opinions. Even though we may make room for more voices, they should not drown out the credible voices that already resound in the library. While I agree that the library and the classroom need to evolve, I feel concerned that society will de-value the great things that the library has always offered. Let us expand, but let us not expunge the valuable assests already available. Keep the books, keep the books; add to them, but keep the books.
In The Pagemaster, the boy's library card gives him the power (and privilege) of taking books home with him. The books all vy for his attention and try to win him over, so they will get taken home. In the end, he chooses . . . Well, you watch the movie; you will be glad you did. Taking books home for me is still the treat at the end of the day. If I want information for a research project, I can get on the computer, but for pure pleasure, I want to take home books. Where is my library card?

P.S. I am not a librarian, but librarians are my favorite people. :) Thank you wonderful librarians for all you do in this evolving world of Web 2.0.

Thing #14 Blogged Down

This task was very time consuming for me. I enjoyed using the Technorati links and even claimed my blog. The video helped me get a clearer view of the purpose of Technorati. Tantek Celik, the Chief Technologist says that blogs "are human experiences raw and uncut--not filtered through levels of hierarchy. " Blogs are individual ideas and their purposes are to connect people to other people with similar interests. I can see personal benefits from using Technorati when I want to read about different topics. I read about The Dark Knight and followed the links to read about Heath Ledger, his death, and his career. I learned some personal tidbits about the actors and the movie that I found interesting. I enjoyed the movie without knowing these details, but I was curious to learn more especially with Heath Ledger's recent death soon after filming the movie. So, I was able to follow the links successfully through Technorati for this search.
I can see some possibilities for classroom use. If students were creating a book or movie review or writing biographical paragraphs, reading movie reviews and actor bios would provide them with models. I have some concerns about serious research projects, though, because we teach students that personal blogs are not considered reliable sources for factual research. A blog would not be considered an appropriate source for the typical research project. If students were including personal opinions, etc. in a paper, then accessing blogs could provide them with some support.
I spent quite a bit of time trying to add widgets to my blog. When I finally got them to post, I decided that I did not like the way they looked all together in one block. So, I did what I thought I needed to do to delete them. What I did, though, was delete my AVATAR!! I had to go back to the beginning of things and re-export my Avatar. So, for now, I have put adding widgets on hold. Through my mistakes, I am learning, but I feel that I have a long way to go to thoroughly understand Technorati and tags. Maybe my students can help me this year; I would imagine that many of them probably understand more than I do at this point. I feel that this thing blogged me down for too long. I am moving on while accepting that I still have much to learn and will need to re-visit this thing.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thing #13 Delightful

Once I got started on Del.ici.ous, I thought I would never find my way back home. I took many side paths, crossed several stepping stones, and waded through worlds of words. I read more in one day than I had all summer. What rich fare is available on the buffet of Del.ici.ous! I am so glad I tagged my choices because when I went back to look at the titles today, I did not have to wonder why I first marked them. On a personal level, I see this as an effective tool to search out and collect information I am interested in and want to read. On a professional level, I see this as a great resource to help me with ideas and strategies for teaching and reading. It could be a helpful research tool for students because it is accessible from any computer. The social bookmarking can be beneficial to teachers in the same department or on the same team especially during planning.
Here are some of the sites I read about and tagged:
Literature and Latte--writing organizer and aid;
Language is a Virus--activities and writing strategies
110 best books: the perfect library--the comments on this site were controversial and entertaining; some of these commenters need to read about blog etiquette!
Bible Gateway--look up scriptures and references

There are many other delightful places I want to visit, but I have to finish my 23 Things!

Thing #12 Conversations

Commenting on blogs requires the same etiquette as holding a conversation with someone. One of the most important things you can do when having a conversation is listen actively. The tip that says "Read first" reinforces the idea that in order to respond to a person, you must first know what they have said. We are often in too much of a hurry to be heard ourselves to take the time to listen to others. Listening, thinking, processing . . . we must take these action steps before we get to expressing. I once heard the saying, "If all you do is talk, you will not ever learn anything new." I remind myself of .this when I get long-winded. In order to learn new things, I must take the time to listen to others.
If I have done a good job of listening, then I can do the second most important thing: make a meaningful comment. If I imagine having a conversation with a person, then the comment I make on his/her blog will be more meaningful. I do not feel like I need to comment on everyone's blog that I read. There were a handful of blogs that I felt said something to me that was important or impressive. It was then that I felt compelled to share a common bond with them by responding to their thoughts and ideas. I did not feel like I had to make up something. I felt that I was reaching out to them with a common sentiment or similar idea. Some blogs had dynamic ideas that I felt needed celebrating, so I commented on those blogs.
I have enjoyed reading the comments on my blog. I look forward to continuing conversations with those who have taken the time to listen and talk to me.
I am also enjoying visiting other links on the blogs. I have chased so many rabbits, I could not possibly record them all here. Maybe I will have time to jot a couple of visits down later . . . after I visit . . . oh, that link looks interesting . . . and that one . . . .

Thing #11 Library Log

Library Thing is a fancy reading log with connections. Maybe students would enjoy keeping a reading log on the computer where they can post their books, write reviews, read reviews, and receive recommendations for other books. Library Thing definitely outdates the pen and paper reading logs. I would like to try having students post their books and reviews on a regular basis throughout the year and see if they are more motivated to read and review their books using this site. I could give them due dates for their postings and a completion grade when their lists and reviews are posted on time. I will think about how else to use this site . . . right after I read that great book that was recommended on my library thing page. . . .

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thing #10 Motivating Memos

I enjoyed using these tools and creating silly motivational messages. I would like to use these tools to make posters for my classroom with important information or motivational reminders. I can also see where using these tools could make assignment instructions more interesting for students. They are more likely to read a cartoon or silly saying than they are to read a long-winded handout. Using these tools would remind me to pare down the instructions to the essential elements students will remember. Reminders of when projects are due is another use for these creative message makers. As I plan for next year, my goal is to use more creative means of communicating, and I will use these resources to design more motivating memos.