Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thing #23 Summary

Well I have come to the end of my journey through the 23 Things.  Along the way I have  had many wonderful experiences.  I loved working with Image Chef, Photostory, Avatars, and all of those types of creative tools.  The artistic aspects of them were alot of fun!! I loved creating my blog and exploring other blogs. I have become a true blogophile!  This program has assisted my lifelong learning goals by giving me many tools to use in my career as a librarian as well as to show me how to find more webtools and how to continue to keep up with the latest web technology.  This is something  I definately plan to continue to do  throughout my career.  I am a lot less intimidated by this type of technology now that I have tried it and succeeded.  Not only is all of this stuff FUN it is so helpful and useful in the teaching/library profession.  As far as the way the 23 Things is set up, I don’t see doing much different, I thought the program was great.  I really liked having the comments underneath each Thing where students commented on problems or gave tips about the particular “Thing” being investigated.  Something  that surprised me during my experience was how much fun I had discovering and playing with all the Things.  Even though it was a lot of work, it was enjoyable work and a very creative experience. I would definitely choose to participate in any  discovery programs like this in the future.  It was a wonderful experience that I would describe as MIND-EXPANDING!! Now,  off I go a-commenting….

Thing #21 Podcasts and Photostory

I loved Photostory.  I had a great time creating this one of my 2 children, Mischa and Anna.  Next time I plan to add narration and titles but this time just photos and music were perfect.  I did have a bit of a hard time inserting it into my blog- it took FOREVER!!

Thing #22 Nings

I  think Nings would be great for a classroom or a library to create.  As a librarian, I could create a Ning to network with other librarians in my district and we could fill it up with videos of our students doing cool things in the library, photos, access  to the blogs of other libraries and classrooms, student/teacher/parent resources, and so much more! I really liked Ning and checked out several Ning sites.  One of my favorites was “Teacher Librarian Ning”.  It had lots of great things on it including the latest news from school libraries all over the country,  discussions on topics like “cell phones in the classroom: distraction or tool?”, videos, photos, articles and links to all kinds of other blogs and interesting educational sites.  A person could spend hours here getting info and ideas!  Ning has inspired me and I hope to create my own Ning soon,  I just have to figure out on what.  Maybe one for library students all over the country.  Hmmm, I’ll have to go check and see if there is one of those yet!! Happy Ning-ing!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thing #20 YouTube, TeacherTube, and Zamzar

Here is a great video I found on YouTube that a librarian created called "The Librarian's Manifesto".  It is her crede to be followed while becoming the best librarian she can!  I think it is very pertinent for us library students!
I had never looked at TeacherTube before and found several great videos there.  I liked the fact that you can search videos by topic, most viewed, highest rated, favorite, featured, most linked and more.  Also, TeacherTube doesn't just feature videos but also blogs, classifieds, teacher resources and more!  This is a great resource for teachers and I am really glad I learned about it.  I looked at several videos from one teachers video-rap about simplifying fractions to a great song and video for teaching students about the water cycle.  This is such a great resource for teachers who are looking for videos to educated their students on certain topics.  Need to teach your students about a certain math or language skill?  TeacherTube probably has a video about it!!  I think all teachers should make at least one video to post to TeacherTube,  think of the wealth of video resources we could have if we all did that!!!

Thing #19 Web 2.0 Awards

I looked at many of the web 2.0  tools including a geneology searcher, but my favorite was another blog search tool called "Google Blogsearch".  It is like Technorati in that it searches blogs for news and information about topics you indicate.  It then gives you a list of blogs which contain that information.  I actually used this to do some more research about Infantile Spasms (you may have read of my predicament in my blog #18).  I actually came up with quite a few blogs containing information on this very rare phenomenon.  This has been helpful to me.  "Google Blogsearch" was awarded the number one spot in the news and blog search tools category in the awards. As far as the useful parts of blog searching in regards to Libraries and education, blogs often contain useful information which  cannot be found when doing a regular  website search.  Blogs are an alternative source of news and information seperate from websites which should not be overlooked when doing research.

Thing #17 Rollyo

I'm going to talk about how Rollyo helped me in a specialized search.  I've been going through some serious h***over the last few days.  My little girl started exhibiting some seizure type behaviors and so I took her to her pediatrician who is now referring her to a neurologist.  I found a video on YouTube of a baby who was exhibiting the same type of behavior I have been seeing in my Anna.  It is known as infantile spasms.  Well this really looked like what I was seeing in Anna.  I had read somewhere that there is a slightly elevated risk of epilepsy in children with Down Syndrome.  I googled "down syndrome and infantile spasms".  I didn't come up with much.  I went to Rollyo and began to work with it to create a custom searchroll where I can find pertinent sites and save them.  I am now experimenting with this in order to help me in my research.  With Rollyo I was able to put together a list of sites I would like to search for specific information such as different medical websites, etc.  I was then able to come up with a more specific list of helpful sites which could give me info.  This is about as far as I got with Rollyo,  I am still a little confused as to what else it can do which could help a teacher.  I suppose you could conduct a metasearch by telling Rollyo to search only specific kid friendly  search engines (Yahoo Kids, etc.)  for information and this would leave out some of the irrelevent sites. Other than that,  I will read what my fellow students have to say about Rollyo in order to learn more.   In the meantime, please pray for my beautiful Anna.  I am having a hard time getting her in to see a neurologist.  It is ridiculous the amount of time they make you wait to pass referrals back and forth between doctors, etc.  One place told me they couldn't get her in until January!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thing #18 Online Productivity Tools: Google Docs

I have been using Google Docs since July when I started writing a children's book with my sister who is an artist and decided that we should finally accomplish our lifelong dream of me authoring a children's book while she illustrates it.  In order for her to be able to see my daily work on the book, my husband suggested we set it up using Google Docs.  This way she can access my document/book at any time to see what I am writing and give me feedback.  The advantage of this is just that, she can access what the latest version of what I am writing at any time by simply going into our Google Doc.  She can also edit it or add comments that I can see immediately. The disadvantage I've found with writing in Google Docs is that it is slower than writing in MS word as it is constantly saving the material being written and this leaves a gap in the writing speed.  For example, I will be writing but it will not appear on the page as quickly because it is often in a saving mode.  This creates a lag between the speed I am attempting to type the words on the page and the speed with which those words are appearing.  This is so frustrating to me that I have taken to writing it in Word and then pasting it in Google Docs.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thing #16 Wikis

I learned about Wikis last Spring in another library class.  We used them to post our thoughts about different books we were reading for the class and to look at what others were saying about the books they were reading.  I found it to be a very useful tool.  You could use Wikis in so many ways as a teacher and librarian.  I enjoyed looking at all the Wikis other teachers have created and how they are using them.  I would like to have a library Wiki for posting book reviews written by students.  The students could then look at what their peers are reading and read their reviews.  This might be a great way to  develop a community of readers who interact and discuss what they are reading as a group.  It would also let me as the librarian know what the students are liking and what is popular in my school community.  This is important for a librarian to know as it helps one to select new books for the library and figure out what isn't so popular and what not to order.

Thing #15: LIbraries 2.0

Web 2.0?  Librarian 2.0?  When I first heard these terms I said "what the heck are they talking about"?  So I read several articles about Librarian 2.0 and they were talking about things like libraries of the future, interactive libraries, and the new librarian.  HUH?  So then I looked in good ole' Wikipedia and found this definition : "a loosely defined model for a modernized form of library service that reflects a transition within the library world in the way that services are delivered to users. The focus is on user-centered change and participation in the creation of content and community.[1]".  Okay.  Now I was starting to understand. I started reading again and what I found interesting was the following comparisons made in the artice "To a Temporary Place in time:  On  the Way to the  Library Experience of the Future":
Library 1.0: Commodity The library from Alexandria to the industrial era: Books are commodities, collected, inventoried, categorised and warehoused within libraries. Libraries represent a resource base, contributing to educating the labour force, to supporting innovation processes fueling growth, and to informing the present and the future—whether in the neighborhood, in academia, or in business.
Library 2.0: Product How should the library package its commodity—books—as products in an environment which disintermediates, dematerialises, and decentralises? Chad and Miller’s essay, and the debates and conversations around it, raise this question and answer it with the characteristics of our emerging information infrastructure: the library is everywhere, barrier-free, and participatory. Collaborate with Amazon; provide digital downloads of books; create a global, and globally accessible, catalog; invite readers to tag and comment. Yet as more information becomes more accessible, people will still need experienced tour guides—Amazon’s customer recommendations are notoriously open to manipulation; tagclouds offer diverse connections, not focussed expertise. This will drive the transition to Library 3.0:  the 3D service.
Library 3.0—Web 3D to Library 3D: Service There are SecondLife3 subscribers who spend more than forty hours a week online, immersed in its virtual graphic world. Digital natives take 2.0 for granted; they are buzzing over Web 3D. Carrying Chad and Miller’s argument through this next phase transition, we arrive at virtual collections in the 3D world, where books themselves may have avatars and online personalities. But the avalanche of material available will put a premium on service, on tailoring information to needs, and on developing participatory relationships with customers. So while books may get in your 3D face all by themselves, people will prefer personal introductions—they will want a VR info coach. Who’s the best librarian avatar? How many Amazon stars has your avatar collected from satisfied customers? This could create librarian “superstars” based on buzz and customer ratings. People will collect librarians rather than books—the ability not just to organise, but also to annotate and compare books and other information sources, from a variety of useful perspectives. Retrieved from:  http://www.oclc.org/nextspace/002/6.htm

Wow.  That is interesting.  Collecting Librarians rathar than books?  I guess that makes sense.  There will be so much information available from so many sources people will be bewildered as to where to find the best information and by whom.  They will need someone who can save them the time and headaches this type of organization and analysis takes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thing #14: Technorati

Technorati is an interesting site that lets you search for blogs or blog posts which contain information or subject matter that you are interested in.  You can also search through popular tags to find blogs and/or posts that are interesting or relevent to you.  This is an easy way to search for blogs which contain information which may be of interest or use to you, easier than trying to google your way to a blog, which is what you would have to do without Technorati or other sites like it.  This type of search is a much more efficient and simple way to search for information within blogs or to search for blogs of a specific content than a google search which will give you a list of websites and not necessarily blogs containing the info one is searching for.  Technorati is a great tool for teachers and librarians looking for information for themselves or their students.  If you are looking to explore blogs for info,  than technorati is the place to begin.  Technorati even rates the blogs on "authority" which measures a sites influence and standing in the "blogosphere" and assigns it a number between 0-1000 with 100 being the highest authority. (Go to:  http://technorati.com/what-is-technorati-authority/ for more info on this).  Blogs are becoming more popular and influential as time goes on, Technorati and other sites like it are good ways to find and compare blogs when doing research on particular topics or if you are just looking for a good blog to inspire you!!  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thing #13 Tagging and Social Bookmarking Sites

I joined Delicious and found it a great way to centralize all of my favorite webpages so they can be accessed from any computer at any time.  You may also share your tags/bookmarks with other delicious users. 
I can see that this tool would be helpful in research as you can save all of your links to your favorite sites using bookmarks which are linked together through tags.  You can also search other users tags to find more information about topics you are interested in.  Teachers and Librarians could both take advantage of social bookmarking sites when they want to research a particular topic or when they wish to gather many websites together for their students to use in their own research.  They could also create a Tag "cloud" which students could access in order to find info on topics of their interest.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thing #12: Creating Community through Commenting

After reading "How to Comment like a King (or Queen)" I was a much more enlightened blogger.  I especially liked tip #7:  Remember the Power of Words:  Beware of Darth Commenter.  Basically this pointed out that there are people out there who will use derisive comments to wreak havoc on a bloggers psyche "like Darth Vader with a light saber"  Newbies Beware!!  I thought this was important to remember when a new blogger, you may not realize it but these types of comments can act as subtle detractors from the whole blogging experience-leaving one to lose confidence and momentum and possibly stopping a blogging career in its tracks. For the whole story go to:

Another blog which discussed the commenting aspect of blogging was "(Drape's) Takes to Edublogger Etiquette".  There is a great discussion here (full of reader comments!) about responding to comments on one's own blog.  Should a blogger respond to all comments or just the more meaningful ones?  Is it okay to respond to some or most comments by private email or is responding publicly better?  What about never responding to comments?  These were several questions which were discussed by readers, here is the link if you wish to read more...

As far as my own comments go,  I am working on responding to 5 classmate's posts re. their blogs.  I am finding their blogs to be quite interesting!! 
As far as finding two blogs of personal interest to add comments to, that was easy.  As many of you know, I have a 4 1/2 month old daughter named Anna.  What you may  not know about Anna is that she was born with Down Syndrome.  Going through the shock and struggle of accepting this after her birth (none of the prenatal testing I did showed this possibility) and trying to learn as much  as possible,  I  went looking for blogs by other parents of young children with Down Syndrome.  I found two marvelous ones that I have been following ever since (they are listed on my sidebar) and for which I am grateful to have as a part of my continuing quest  into being the best mother and advocate for my beloved Anna that I can.  As much as I adore these two blogs however, I have never posted comments to either and this assignment has given me the courage to do so.  That in turn has made me become a part of the community of bloggers in a way that I was not before.  I must agree with what the title of thing #12 is suggesting:  we create a community when we comment and respond (whether personally or publically) to each others blogs in Blogland.  Blogging is a new sort of interactive journalling, instead of the one sided process of just writing or reading the journal as in the past, Blogging allows the writer and the reader to respond to each other in real time thus creating a personal relationship between the two in a way that has never  before been possible.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thing #11: Library Thing

I signed up with library thing and entered about 10 of my books.  I then looked at the groups and found an interesting one called "I see dead people's books" which is a group of people who put up profiles of famous people and their personal library collections.  Want to know what Marie Antoinette or Marilyn Monroe had in their library?  How about Franz Kafka or William Shakespeare?  You can find out here!  I found this group fascinating, it even showed me which of my books I shared with these famous dead people (Marilyn M. and I shared 3 James Joyce titles, who knew she was such a reader?).  I really enjoyed Library Thing.  You can look at book reviews, write book reviews and do all kinds of fun things here.  There are a lot of members and many interesting groups to look at, including local groups in the Houston area. There is also a talk feature where members post about various literary activities they are engaged in such as the "50 book challenge" or the "readers of YA lit" discussion group.  I found many interesting things here and will definitely be back to explore when I have some time to do so.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thing #9: Useful Library Related Blogs and News Feeds

I found all of the search tools pretty easy to use, Syndicate was a little confusing but after going through the tutorial it made much more sense.  I really liked edublog which I found through Syndicate (then I noticed it hot-linked on 23 things!).  On edublog I found the winners list of best education related blogs.  "Hey Jude" is the name of the winner for best library related blog.  Her blog is very good!  I loved the section entitled "Student Tools-Let them fly!"  This has a list of great student resources and an explanation of what they do. I checked out Atomic Learning and thought that it looked like a great source for teachers who are looking for the latest educational technology and tools and how to use them.  I wonder if many districts use this?  It is a company which offers educational tools for teachers for a fee.  I did not find a search box for RSS feeds here however, which is why I went there in the first place. I couldn't enter since I did not have the SBISD pw info. 

Thing #8 RSS feeds and Google Reader

  • What do you like about RSS and readers?
  • How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your school or personal life?
  • How can libraries/teachers/administrators use readers or take advantage of this new technology?
I was excited to learn about RSS and readers!  Now I have a way to quickly get to my favorite blogs and look up news from my favorite sites without being bogged down with ads, searching through pages, and putting in the URL everytime I want to go somewhere online.  I can also put folders together which organize the information I have found and make it even easier to access.  This technology is useful in my personal life as it adds efficiency and saves time in accomplishing several daily tasks such as reading news and keeping up with my favorite blogs,  At school it would be very effective as a tool for teacher directed work which necessitates students knowing about current events, searching through news and finding information from good, credible sources which the teacher can have saved through RSS feeds onto google reader. All educators can take advantage of this new technology in order to easily keep up with the latest information in their chosen areas as well as teach their students how to use it in order to enhance their academic tasks.  It is a great way to share news and information with colleagues and students as well, thereby keeping each other informed in areas of shared interest!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thing #7: Cool Tools from Google

The first cool tool I messed around with was igoogle.  Here I was able to design my own personalized home page with a Japanese Teahouse Theme and personalized gadgets such as Art of the day, Cool facts, Quote of the day, Joke of the day, recipes, and more!  Next I tried out Google Earth's Earthview.  This allows the user to choose any spot on Earth and zoom in to see a close up view.  My aunt is currently on a cruise to the Bahamas and Key West so I tried zooming in on these places to see where she would be going. I was able to get so close I could see the rooftops of the houses. It also gave me options to zoom in on points of interest.  For example, when I zoomed in on Key West it gave me the option to look at Ernest Hemingway's house and several museums.  Google Earth has lots of tools that are fun to use.  One which I thought was really neat was the Explore feature which allows you to go under the ocean, to mars, the moon, and more!  Students could do so much with Google Earth. They could look at the real places which they are studying,  study real time maps, and even explore Ancient Rome in 3D. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thing #6: Mashups and 3rd party sites.

I messed around with mosaic and created a photo mosaic with my photos.  I was then able to order my creation from them if I wished.  I didn't wish to order it from them, but it did inspire me to go ahead and make my own version of mosaic on my own computer where I could print out my own creation.  I also looked at mappr which I found interesting as it allows one to access photos from a particular location on a map.  You can also add your own photos to the site so others can access them,  I think this is so cool!  Finally I explored Flickr Color Picker. With this you can click on a spot on a color wheel and color picker will give you lots of pictures which are focused on that shade of color in the color spectrum.  The photos are BEAUTIFUL!!!

1.  A  Color Picker  2.  A collage I made in Flickr Mosaic

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thing #5: Flickr

I explored flickr and it was wonderful!! So many images, so much to find, and it's fun to share!! I found this picture of a white tiger (a creature my 7 year old son is currently obsessed with) while doing a subject search.  I also posted some of my own photos to one of the groups which I am interested in.   When you search for a subject you can even see the groups associated with that subject.  For example, when I looked up "tigers" and then chose a picture of a white tiger I was able to click on "groups" and I was  given a list of groups that had something to do with white tigers!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thing #3 Creating an Avatar

Creating an Avatar was a lot of fun.  It was hard however, to decide which outfit  to choose.  I thought maybe an interesting historical costume or maybe a wonder woman space suit with me standing in a star filled galaxy. I finally settled on reality.  Me holding my new baby standing at the park where I would take my 7 year old on a Saturday. Creating the Avatar was easy,  putting it on my blog- I'm still working on that!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thing #2: The easiest and hardest habits

The easiest habit for me as a lifelong learner is to have the goal in mind at the beginning.  I have plenty of goals, it is just finding time and making a plan to get them accomplished!! The hardest thing for me is to use technology to my advantage.  I am getting much better at this now that I am at UHCL and learning all about all the latest and greatest technological tools.  Once I learn about them and how to use them,  I just have to practice enough in order to use the new info consistently to help me teach, learn, and thrive!!!

Yahoo! Avatars

Yahoo! Avatars: "Export/Download your Avatar"