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!