Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thing # 23 Pearls

This is only the beginning. That is the sentence I would use to describe my reponse to the 23 Things experience. I would certainly take this journey again because I believe I have only paddled around in the shallow water.

The only improvement I would suggest is add more!

The biggest surprise for me was how much I learned from my classmates. Their perspectives, ideas, and discovery of other gems enriched my experience and encouraged me to push myself further.

One of my goals was to view this experience through the eyes of a librarian instead of a classroom teacher. I believe that I achieved this goal. I can see so many applications of these tools for librarians. I can also see myself leading teachers to these tools for use with their students in the classroom.

My favorite part of this experience has been interacting with my classmates through blogging. I have enjoyed the community of learners.

Diving in was exhilarating. My old ways of thinking have been washed away with the tide, and I emerge anew covered with sparkling ideas and holding handfuls of pearls.

Is this the end? It can't be. I feel that I have only just begun to swim. Another lap anyone?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thing #22 Never-ending Nings

Once this 23 community completes its journey, what will fill the void of blogging and sharing our common goals and experiences with each other? I can see where joining a Ning would help us retain our sense of community and allow us to continue the conversation we have started. It would also expand our small community to include others at different places in the Web 2.0 journey. We will not be trekking alone. We will travel as a group seeking lifelong learning and leadership as educators and librarians.

The Nings seem vast compared to our current small community. Diving into one of these seems a little intimidating; however, seeing familiar names on the Nings, such as Judy Morellion and Joyce Valenza, made me feel more at home. There are mentors in place that have knowledge and experience to share with us. Maybe one day a Ning community will feel like family to us. I am willing to give it a try. I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go on the Web 2.0 journey. I am going to need guides, and I believe I will find them here. Hey, one day, I may start my own Ning. That's something to think about further.

The Crucible Photostory

Thing #21 A Dramatic Story

I finally finished my photostory. Though some of the pictures I used came out a little blurry, I am mostly pleased with the result. I decided to do my photostory over The Crucible since my classes are currently reading the play. I could see my classes completing an activity like this to demonstrate their understanding of a text. The most time-consuming part of this process is the research. I had to search for appropriate pictures that I could use. Since I did not have a microphone, I had to use text boxes for my messages. Some of the photos obscure the words. If I used Photostory more often, I could learn how to choose better photos and music. I would like to spend more time with Photostory in the future.
The results are so drama-tic!

I learned something that may help another struggling player. If you have chosen in basic settings the updated settings, the upload video icon does not appear. I have been trying to upload my photostory forever through upload image, and that does not work! I finally found the information about what to do when the video icon does not appear. I had to change my basic settings back to Old Editor to have access to the video link. So, check your settings before you give up. Now, I am waiting forever for the video to load so I can publish it. Hopefully, I will be able to post it soon!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thing #20 Thoughtful Tubes

I enjoyed watching videos about information literacy and the 21st Century Learner. While some videos are difficult to watch because of blurry pictures and slow slides, others are engaging and thought-provoking.  The best videos are those made by people who feel passionately about their topic and want to reach out and mobilize others to join their march for literacy or learning, or leading.  I can imagine using YouTube and TeacherTube for different purposes: motivation, information, inspiration.  This video on the 21st Century Learner is all three.  It reminds me of the video we watched at the beginning of the 23 Things. 

Thing #19 Function and Fun

I took my time exploring the Web 2.0 list.  Many of these sites, I have heard of and experimented with before.  I have used Pandora radio for my personal use and in my classroom.  I like how you can program the type of music you want to listen to and it automatically chooses songs that fit your style.  Doof provided some needed distractions with games.  I had to assure my family that I was doing my homework by playing games on Doof like WordFind and Mahjong.  PEERtrainer intrigued me for personal reasons, so I signed up for the health tip of the day.  If I could find time to read the articles I receive daily, I might benefit from this decision.  I decided to check out Twitter.  As much as I have heard about Twitter, I do not have an account and have not ever tweeted.  I typed in a topic that interested me and after reading page after page of comments, I came to the conclusion that Twitter is a glorified form of gossip.  Sorry if I offend anyone who sees value in this madness.  Maybe I need to give it another chance, but right now, I have too much to do to read tweets from twits on tedious topics.  Other tools on the list I have used such as GoogleDocs, Flickr, Diigo, etc., and I find them to be worthy of the Web 2.0 list.  I can see the application of these tools in my future as a librarian and even now as a teacher.  This list contains both functional and fun applications.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thing #18 Open Access to Documents

I have previously explored Googledocs and found many advantages to using it over Microsoft Office.  I plan to use Open Office more this year and compare them over time.  The biggest advantage of using Googledocs and Open Office is the accessibility.  I work on my home computer and on my laptop.  Instead of saving documents to my computer and then emailing them to myself, or saving to a flashdrive that I have to be able to locate, I can access my documents from any computer.  I have encouraged my students to use it at home, so they do not have to worry about accessing their email from school in order to print out a document.  Googledocs, though not as familiar and comfortable as Microsoft Office, provides access.  In today's world, ease of access can make the difference in meeting a deadline or having needed information prepared for a meeting.  Most of the time, I use Microsoft Office, but the more I work at home, the more advantages I find to using Googledocs.  Familiarity or access: you decide which you need the most.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thing #17 Research Roll

I thought I had progressed when I was able to create hotlinks for students to follow on their research quest, but now I see that I had only just begun to learn.  I have created a Rollyo for the research my students are currently doing on the Salem Witch Trials.  Next time we begin research, I will use the Rollyo to guide students to reliable databases.  I already use the library resources page, but Rollyo can guide students to the specific sites I want them to access for a particular topic. 
As a librarian, I would be able to help teachers create Rollyos for their students, so students could have guidance even without the teacher in the library with them.  Often students are overwhelmed with the choices and need help knowing where to start.  A Rollyo can provide that help. 
My Rollyo is titled Salem Witch Trials.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wonderful Wikis!

I have to blog about my experience creating a class wiki.  I decided I was ready to take the plunge and create a wiki for the first time.  I created a wiki for the students' research, and I asked them to post good articles they are finding and the citation information and hotlink.  It has been exciting this week to see the students learning how to join the wiki and submit posts.  They have even learned how to reply back to one another about the article information posted.  Not only are the students learning good research skills by using databases, they are learning the importance of citation information.  They are motivated to find good articles so they can submit a post.  Students are looking at recommended articles instead of complaining that they cannot find anything on their topic. Research this week has been so much more efficient, and I believe it is because of the wonderful world of wikis.
My class wiki is Crucibleresearch.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Thing #16 Wikis of Wisdom

The more familiar I am with blogging, the more comfortable I feel about contributing to wikis. I can see many applications for libraries.  Librarians could start wikis of wisdom educating students about plagiarism and citing sources.  Teachers and students could add their experiences and tips to the wiki.  Book talks could be shared on a wiki with a variety of readers discussing books and giving their reviews and ratings. Librarians could also set up a wiki as a collaborative tool to work on plans with teachers. Wikis provide another means of communicating.  As librarians and collaborators, communication is essential to building relationships with students, parents, teachers, and administrators. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thing #15 Library: Past, Present, and Future

Rick Anderson in "Away from the Icebergs," refers to the bygone information age, potential disasters, and significant threats. One of these "threats" he refers to is the "just in case" print collection.  I think that he speaks too harshly of the library's past.  The library's present of 2.0 has been built on the past: on rich print collections and personal trips to the library. Dr. Wendy Schultz presents a more positive view of the library's past.  She refers to the "treasured past" and "adventure of the future." She says that libraries are not just collections, but also conversations, communities, and a place that "preserves and promotes memories." 
I believe we should feel excited about the emerging world of 2.0 and beyond, but as we embrace the future, let's remember to appreciate the past.  As I imagine becoming a librarian, I see stacks filled with books that students are anxious to read; I see reading areas where one can sit and read that irresistible novel; I hear myself talking to other readers about characters, plots, and themes.  Yes, I also see cutting edge technology and computer access.  But, a library that is technology rich does not have to be print poor.  I have expressed this idea before, and I repeat it again: Keep the books!  Embrace technology, but keep the books!  The present is full of change, so let us future librarians make wise choices. The library of the future has room for its past.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thing #14 Technorati Tags

What a surprise when I found The Huffington Post as #1 on Technorati's Top 100 Blogs.  I subscribed to the RSS feed recently for this blog.  I checked out a couple of other "Tops" that looked interesting.  The Daily Dish, #11, featured some political cartoons.  Political cartoons generate interesting quick-writes and discussions in the classroom.  A thought-provoking cartoon posted on a library web page or enewsletter could draw the reader's attention to an important idea.  Libraries should probably stay away from political cartoons, though.  #12 was Read, Write, Web which featured an interesting article on posting book reviews with correct format and tags in order to be a good citizen and make money on the book review.  It suggested using a structured format such as ePub.  I had never heard of this web help.  This article gave me an example of the importance of tagging an item appropriately.  As I am linking articles in Diigo, I have the option of tagging.  I have not put much thought into the tags I assign, but I have learned that the tags can be valuable as I save more articles and return to them searching for a particular nugget to glean. 
I am learning more about adding and removing widgets to my blog.  It's fun to personalize my blog while organizing its information.  Technorati and tags had much to offer as I continue to explore my technical side.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Thing #13 Delightful Diigo and Delicious

I was delighted with my experiences with Diigo and Delicious.  I bookmarked favorite sites on Delicious including Flickr photostreams and School Library sites.  I like that you can bookmark different kinds of sites.  I was directed to Diigo when I clicked on Furl, and it was a happy accident.  I like the features that allow you to highlight text and add sticky notes.  I began researching articles for my professional reference list and was able to highlight important points that I want to go back and re-read.  When I start putting together my reference list, I will be able to go back to my saved articles.  This bookmark feature is going to make my research so much easier.  I will not have to save files to my computer.  I can access my bookmarks from any computer.  I also will not have to remember links and webpages.  Oh, my happy brain!  Bookmarking sites will greatly aid my personal research as a student and consequently, my research as a librarian.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thing #12 Caring Comments

Some key words and phrases that struck me from the articles include inspire, tune in, encourage, purpose, renewal, calling, share about yourself, care about a topic.  Commenting is less about me and more about you.  A community is united when the members care about each other and put selfishness aside for the greater good.  If bloggers form communities, then it makes sense that they show good citizenship.
I enjoy reading other 23 Things Bloggers because it helps me connect to the other students in my class.  It is a good way to get to know one another, and it makes sitting at the computer not seem lonely.  I feel like I am having a conversation that will be continued over time.  If I am struggling with a task or concept, it helps to know that I am not alone.  I can read about how someone else solved a problem or came up with a creative idea.
With my sister's help, I discovered some non-academic blogs.  One of the blogs I visited is written by a Scentsy representative.  I was introduced to Scentsy in November, and my house has never smelled this good.  If you have never tried Scentsy, or you don't even know what a Scentsy is, then you need to visit Mia's blog.  I went to Mia's blog because of my Scentsy interest, but I stayed because of her touching family stories and strong Christian values. 
I visited some other blogs written by busy moms, and I found that I could connect with their experiences.  I found myself laughing out loud at their rapier wit sharpened by struggles and successes. 
Reading other blogs and making comments helped me feel connected today in a community not bound by physical borders.  I have traveled all over the country today in my pajamas. 

Diving In!

Thing #11 Local Library Link

LibraryThing is another place where I could get lost. Since I recently got an IPhone, I was excited to learn that I could download a free app on my phone to Local Books. This app searches locations of libraries, bookstores, and other places that have book functions or displays. I am trying to embrace my weak habit of using technology to my advantage, so I immediately downloaded this app. The groups were interesting. I found one called Teenage Book Nudgers, a group for teens only. I think many teens would enjoy joining a club that is for them only. This would be a good club to recommend on a library newsletter or webpage. I am considering joining one of the challenges groups. It would be fun to set a reading goal with a group and chat about your progress. I have restrained myself so far from signing up because I have already committed to reading copious amounts of material for my graduate classes. Maybe one day, after homework is done . . . oh, that is not going to happen anytime soon, is it? Something to look forward to then. I will recommend that some of my students and my kids consider signing up with a challenge group.

Thing #10 Word Whimsy

Image Chef offers a variety of fun, easy-to-make images. I experimented with word mosaics and candy hearts. After running RSS routes all morning, it was a light change of pace to play with images and words. If I am not talking about my kids, I am talking about books or Avon. So, I made mosaic hearts and a button to reflect two of my main interests.
Image Chef makes it easy to post your images on your blog. The ease of posting made this activity relaxing and fun. - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Thing #9 Searching . . . and searching . . . and searching . . .

I tend to forget why I first started searching. I have learned that the ease of the search engine has to do more with the searcher than the engine. I am becoming more familiar with how to use the tools and that has made them seem less difficult. I enjoyed several rabbit chases today. I followed Bloglines and subscribed to an enewsletter from Library Journal. I hope I do not regret this subscription; I fear that my inbox will pile up with newsletters until it is overflowing like the piles on my floor. I read a few articles on Atomic Learning, and I found the YouTube video that I posted to my blog: "My teacher needs to learn 3.0."
The Huffinton Post was my next discovery, and I posted a link to Toby Greenwalt's article, "To know the library is to love the library . . . " I subscibed to the RSS feed for The Huffinton Post because I like the sense of humor evident in its articles.
As I search and read and search and read, I find that I immediately want to share my discoveries. As I am subscribing to RSS feeds and reading blogs, I am experimenting more with ways to share with others. I posted links to my blog but am wondering what other ways I can share. My searches have focused on libraries, and that is helping me to transition my thinking from teacher to librarian. And the search continues . . . .

"To Know the Library is to Love the Library"

"Prepare us for the future, not your past," say the students

Thing #8 RSS Route

Subscribing to RSS feeds is like subscribing to magazines, but much cheaper and they don't pile up around the house. I subscribed to recommendations such as 2 Cents Worth, Goddess of YA Literature, Blue Skunk, etc. I also subscribed to Quotes of the Day. I shared some of the quotes on my blog that I found thought-provoking. Quotes are quick ways to expose students to a variety of voices in literature and media. Almost daily, my students write quick-writes in response to a topic related to our current unit. Quotes of the Day can provide food for thought for students before they write. Another application I believe will be helpful to me is accessing feeds that relate to topics in my graduate classes, especially those that ask us to research other sources. I will need to focus my reading or else I will be following the RSS route down too many lanes until I end up miles from my original destination.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thing #7 Google Greats

Google has some of the most useful tools. My favorite Google applications are Google Docs, Calendar, and Scholar Search. I have used Google Docs before and encouraged my students to use it. It is great for when you are working on a document at home and then want to access that document at school from another computer. Flash drives are amazing, but they can get misplaced (ask my son). Google Docs does not have to be attached to a lanyard; it is available at the touch of a computer keyboard.
Today, I put my graduate classes into my Google Calendar. With so many different activities happening with my three jobs and three teenagers, and now with two graduate classes, a calendar just might keep me sane. Or at least let me know where I will be when I go insane.
I was able to search on Google scholar for G. Hartzell, and I can see that I will be able to use this application to search for other important authors related to my library science classes.

Thing #6 Bashful Bookr

I was so thrilled to find Bookr. I immediately set out creating my own book with beautiful pictures. Just as I was about to put my finishing touches on the last pages, my book disappeared! So, I decided to try again. After recreating the first book, I was about to publish, and then, my book disappeared again! This was a hard lesson to learn. I assumed I had as much time as I needed to create my masterpiece, but there must be a timeout built in. I felt so disappointed that I was not able to finish and publish my bookr.
I played around with some other toys and found the color pickr to be just amazing. Not sure what to do with it as far as using it, but it was fun to look at on the webpage. My experiences with mashups and third party sites taught me that I have so much more to learn!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Golden opportunities

Originally uploaded by -- brian cameron --

So many books, so little time!

Originally uploaded by aptronym

Thing #5 Fun with Flickr

Participatory learning: what a great concept! I had fun exploring Flickr with the mindset of a future librarian. I can imagine a variety of applications: posters featuring themes, fliers promoting programs, newsletters presenting ideas. I found many pictures of libraries and their celebrations, and believe a library webpage would be more interesting if it contained more photos with a focus. I think the idea of using Picnik to edit photos is wonderful. I definitely plan to use this tool to "pic" the best photos to post. Choosing favorites as I searched was helpful since it gave me a group of photos to examine closer once I had them all in one place. I chose to group and tag photos of shelves filled with books. My favorite mantra when I walk into a bookstore or library is "So many books, so little time."

Thing #4 Registered and Ready

Registered and ready to begin the next lap.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thing #3 Stretching

I know that research shows that the more I stretch my brain, the healthier it grows. However, completing such technical activities as setting up a blog and creating an Avatar make me feel as if I have pulled a muscle up there somewhere. But, my Avatar is dressed and ready to go. Too many wardrobe and style choices. I will stay safe with comfortable. My risk-taking tonight is limited to struggling to remember yet another login and password. I feel a headache coming on.

Thing #2 Fully Immersed

As far back as I can remember, I felt called to teach. The habit that I find the easiest is the teach/mentor habit. I have been teaching and mentoring in some capacity most of my life. I enjoy reaching out to people and making a difference in their lives. I feel completely in tune when I can help someone make music with their musings, hear the symphony in a story, or reflect on their personal rhythms.
The habit that I find to be the hardest is using technology to my advantage. Though I have made progress over the last few years, I feel like there is still so much to learn. I do not take full advantage of the technology at my disposal. I don't even know what all my cell phone can do besides make calls and send texts. My husband asked me tonight if I had talked to my phone yet. I looked at him like he was crazy, but he assured me this was possible. (I intend to check this out later after I finish my homework.) I tend to use technology for its basic purposes without exploring all of its possibilities. This is one habit I want to work on this year.
As far as lifelong learning goes, here I am, fully immersed, no longer wading along the edges or testing the waters. I hope I don't drown.

Thing #1 Diving in

I feel like I am beginning a triathalon. So, here I go, diving in!