Monday, August 20, 2007


Gosh...I am going through withdrawal with this blog. For weeks I had a purpose and I had a great deal of collegial feedback. It was great. I am using the things I learned to create a school site blog, which is also good, but which serves a different purpose for now. This blog has been a completely peer-related exercise which I had the time for during the summer, but probably won't as much during the school year. I have added a number of our blogs to my Google reader, and it is fun keeping up. I look forward to meeting many of you in person at CSLA in November. Cheers to a good beginning!!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Edublog vs. Blogger

After completing the 23 things using blogger, I find I am very comfortable with it. I like the versatility and ease of adding widgets, etc. The problem with blogger in a middle school setting, however, is the accessibility of the "next blog". So, I think I am going to set up my school blog on edublogs. I have just started experimenting with it, so I am sure I will become very comfortable with it at some point. There are so many presentations to choose from!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Week 9, Thing #23

I completed my survey, and am now thinking about what an incredible learning experience this has been. Many thanks to the 2.0 team for putting this together for us. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

There were so many discoveries that I made that I will be using this next year that I don't think I have one favorite. I would have to say the most useful to me was setting up my RSS feed. I have been able to follow fellow bloggers and other sites so efficiently. Others that I really enjoyed, and plan to use next year are LibraryThing, Flickr, PBWiki, and podcasting...not to mention blogging!

One of the aspects of this program that was most satisfying for me was the collegiality I experienced from other CSLA bloggers. I was always amazed when someone would comment on a post.....people really were reading my blog (and I was reading theirs). I think that is what really made it authentic for me. I hope that when the school year starts for us, many of us will continue to blog. I know I have several CSLA people on my RSS list. This just seems like such a great way to build and maintain our community.

I think the format of this program was great. I liked that it was a little structured, but there were places where we could go off track and serendipitously discover on our own. I would definitely sign up for another discovery program like this again. Summer was the best time to do this, because we weren't distracted by all the things that happen in our working lives. I know I probably spent way too much time at this, but I loved it! I will probably go through withdrawal now. The biggest challenge for me now is to figure out how to bring some of the teachers at my site along. If our tutorial stays online, I can refer them to the sections that they would find most useful, and guide them along. word or sentence? This was a great learning my sweats, with my cup of Peet's and my colleagues online every day. It was inspiring!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Week 9, Thing #22

While learning about access to e-books and audiobooks I was amazed to see the variety of places to find them. I guess that is why Google is trying to do its best to "digitize" the world. It sure would be easier to go to one place to find out what's out there. The biggest difference that I see in many cases is that Google's books actually look like pages from the books, whereas many of these other e-books seem to be glorified pdf's.

On my train trip across the United States this summer I met a gentleman who was using an e-book reader very adeptly. He told me that he likes it better than lugging around big hard cover books. He is able to change the font and contrast to give him a reading experience that was better than "screen" reading. I don't still didn't feel the same.

Librivox looks like a very promising site for audio books. Of course, it does depend on the quality of the reader as well. Another site I have used through our public library in Contra Costa County is Califa . It is a collection of both audio and e-books for libraries. I am sure many public libraries are probably already part of this consortium.

This whole area seems to be in its infancy, and it will be interesting to see how it develops with regard to school libraries.

Week 9, Thing #21

And I thought there were lots of videos on YouTube! Podcasts are equally ubiquitous! I looked at a couple of podcast directories, but found myself most comfortable with i-tunes. I found a great podcast site called Just One More Book that was pretty cute, and I subscribed to the podcasts at Redwood Middle School in Napa (because I work with middle schoolers).

And....just because I like to make things harder for myself, I created a little podcast of my own! It was a bit challenging, because after I recorded it I had to find a site to host it. I wanted to add a little mp3 player icon to my blog here, but I couldn't figure out how to do that. Needless to say, I have never done anything like this before. Anyway, I do have a link to it, so if you want to listen just click on my podcast. It is only about one minute long. Much to learn here!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Week 9, Thing #20

YouTube is certainly diverse! I actually prefer the offerings on TeacherTube, primarily because there is too much junk on YouTube to wallow through. One thing I did want to pass on, though....if your district filters YouTube, there is a nifty little program called TubeSock that will allow you to download the videos to your computer so you can show them on campus if you like.

Any way, the video below is not a significant choice, but one that I chose because it was short! I have seen lots of great YouTube videos on a number of Library 2.0 blogs this summer....this one is just for fun! My apologies if you have already seen it, as it did make the listserv a few months ago. :)

Week 8, Thing #19

I had discovered LibraryThing earlier in this course, but was interested to delve a little deeper into it, and see what other libraries are doing with this web tool. It turns out that there are many great ways to use it. I had already entered some books from my personal library, but today I set up a new collection comprised of new arrivals to my school library. I have put a link on my website for this collection, so I am hoping that the kids will regularly check to see what's new!

What's new in our library? Click to see!

Week 8, Thing #18

Today I explored Zoho. The word processing was very straightforward, although I found it somewhat difficult to figure out the history (I had 3 identities going to try to group edit a document). One of the things I like about Google Docs is that each person's edit is a different color. I suspect that there is someplace in Zoho to make that happen as well.

Another feature of Zoho that I found interesting was the Zoho meeting. It is a place to invite people to a virtual meeting! The only problem was that Macs can't participate without MS Windows. Maybe that is something the folks at Zoho are working on. It would be pretty cool to meet that way!

The Zoho fun continued when I played around with Zoho show. Amazingly enough, I was able to upload and import an old Powerpoint presentation that I did last year for our 6th graders the first time they came to the library. If all works the way it is supposed to, you will see that powerpoint right here!

The potential for this is huge! I can see embeding instructional shows for students and staff in my blog, or on my web page, or having students share their own PowerPoints on a class web page for presentation to their classmates (if you click the little box on the right, it makes a full screen show). Right now we waste so much class time with kids loading their shows up from our school server. I can't wait to share this find!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Week 7, Thing #17

I posted a curriculum idea for images on our calcurriculum wiki, and in the process came away with many great ideas for implementing Web 2.0 projects. I can see this being an incredibly useful format at all levels...department, school, district, county, state and beyond! After the frustration of trying to get things done via e-mail, I am encouraged that this will be a much more effective tool for us to communicate.

Oh, and thank you, Connie, for finding VoiceThread......I already have plans!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Week 7, Thing #16

Ahh, wikis.......I have been looking at them for almost a year. The resources here have caused many ideas to begin popping into my head for how they would be useful in the classroom and the library, such as a wiki for book reviews, for resources (such as pathfinders), for collaborative research, and for staff projects. Last fall at CSLA I learned a great deal about the application of wikis in a workshop with Doug Achterman and David Loertscher, but the knowledge hasn't resulted in any action, yet. The idea of collaborative note-taking is intriguing. I wonder how it compares to Google's doc's collaborative capabilities. Google docs is pretty darn easy to use.

For me to be comfortable with this format, I will need to create and use my own authentic wiki first, so I think I will develop a wiki around our efforts to start our first Battle of the Books among the middle schools in our district. I think this will be a great way for all of us to be involved in the planning process in a more effective way than sending dozens of e-mails around and around.

So, I guess what I am wondering at this point is which wiki software would work best. I like the look of pbwiki, I have templates created in seedwiki, wikimedia has a familiar look because the design is like Wikipedia. Does anyone have an recommendations for a free wiki application? Hoping to get lots of comments!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Week 6, Thing #15

I read with great interest, the series of articles published by OCLC. The library scene is definitely changing. In fact, I remember being in the car and listening to Bill Wattenburg on the radio when he was railing against communities who are building brand new libraries at a great expense. At the time, I was appalled that such an educated person would have those thoughts, but now I think I understand his some of his thinking. However....take a look at my shared item on the right side of this blog for another perspective!

Still, much of what I read about Library 2.0 is specific to public libraries, so I was happy to find Christopher Harris' article, "School Library 2.0; say good-bye to your mother's school library," in School Library Journal that specifically addresses Library 2.0 in our environment. I embrace much of what he says, and I will strive to integrate Library 2.0 tools into our library program. Still, I am this wonderful tutorial which has introduced me to tools for a new way (for me) of finding information, of creating my own meaning in what I am discovering, and of sharing this all with others. I think I understand the shift in the role of the library in this context, and right now I am excited about the prospect of introducing some of what I have learned to my staff when school starts in the fall............Then, I remember..........our district filters many web 2.0 sites, our teachers are burdened by NCLB and state testing, and are further tethered to the idea that "there is no time to learn new things; they don't have time to teach what they are supposed to, as it is." Not to mention, that many of our students, age 10-14, may not have access to all of this once they are off campus.

This is not an excuse! My goal is to move some of our teachers to think about the world we are preparing our students for; to think about the skill sets our students need to be successful; to raise the bar for what we expect from them. This after all, is not a new concept, and this will be my challenge.

Week 6, Thing #14

Technorati takes blogging to another level! It is somewhat overwhelming to see the huge number of blogs and posts that are out there. I think this is a great way to find posts and blogs on subjects of interest to me. For example, having just returned from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I did a search of posts about it and actually found quite a few (873 to be exact.....some of which I left comments on). Tagging is definitely a plus for this type of search. I also added this search to my Watchlist, because I seem to be obsessed with Ashland!!

The most surprising thing to me was that after claiming my blog on Technorati, I discovered that I had an authority rating! I investigated that a bit, and discovered that every time my blog is mentioned in someone else's blog my authority rating goes interesting concept. There were other blogs that have been listed with authority also.

I also noticed a number of posts that were just lists of keyword tags. I'm not sure what that is all about. It looks like those posts were designed to bring up commercial (or otherwise questionable) sites. That seems sleazy to me, and just serves to remind me that although we are here to learn new ways to connect and teach, there is a dark side lurking on the fringes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Week 6, Thing #13

After attending a Library 2.0 session at the fall CSLA conference, I headed home to set up a account. Immediately I could see the value of tapping into shared resources. And I love having my bookmarks wherever I go! This week gave me a chance to play with some of the organizational tools associated with this site. For example, I learned to bundle my tags to give my "visitors" an idea of what my interest categories are. I also added a network badge to the right-hand menu on this blog (scroll down and you will see it).

The podcast about was very informative, and something I will introduce to my teachers next year. I can see departments setting up accounts to share online resources they have found. It would also be fun to assign gathering websites to a group of students using, as one of their research tasks.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Taking a break

Created with Image Chef.

Week 5, Thing #12

I explored Rollyo. It was pretty easy to set up and create the "custom" search. I don't like it as well as the Google custom search though. The Rollyo results page is pretty cluttered with ads, whereas the Google custom search results page has only the sites on it (with a few ads on the side). Additionally, with Google I can specify that I want my searches to bring up results from only the pages I specify, and not any other pages that are linked to them. I didn't find how to do that in Rollyo. So for now, Google custom search has the edge for me.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Week 5, Thing #11

Playing is a wonderful pastime.....and I found librarything!! What a great social book sharing site this is. In a matter of minutes I had signed up (need a binder for all these sites) and entered a few of the books in my personal collection. What is really cool is that I can see who else has the same books I do, and I can view their libraries for ideas for other books I might like. The site also includes a review section, a book swapping option, and much, much more. This will definitely be on the list of 2.0 sites I share with my staff. If you would like to take a look, I added an element to my sidebar which shows a random selection of the books in my library. Very cool!

For this task I also explored Ning. Library 2.0 led me in so many different directions, and the layout was very "busy". The TeacherLibrarianNetwork seemed much more manageable to me; perhaps because it appears to be a more narrowly focused group. I found the discussion about bringing 2.0 tools to the staff helpful. I will probably lurk for a while, and then jump in.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Week 5, Thing #10

One of the things I do for my staff (and my principal) is have coffee brewed and ready to enjoy...Peet's is our preference. Collaboration often happens with a cup of coffee! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

I created this with Image Chef.

Another tool I used for this task was the CD Cover that is one of fd's flickr toys. As I mentioned in my profile, I have been digitizing my old vinyl records, converting them to cd's and creating lots of cool covers for them. Too many to show here, but lots of fun! I can see our students creating great covers for their presentations saved on cd's or dvd's.

Week 5, Thing #10 (cont)

I couldn't resist adding an image that reflects the name sake of this blog. We library people strive to make things better! Click on the comic to see a larger version.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Week 4, Thing #9

Well, there are soooo many blogs that I found interesting, especially this week with ALA in Washington D.C. Thank goodness for RSS--it really does save time. Now, I know you are looking at my blogroll and thinking I am a bit crazy for monitoring so many. actually only takes me less than 10 minutes to peruse the new entries thanks to my reader.

One of the most important blogs for me right now is the AASL blog. I found this one by using Google blog search. I tried a couple of the other search tools, but found them to be cluttered, and not very responsive. I won't give up though.

I am thankful I am doing this during the summer. Reading a blog involves a lot of serendipity....and for me, each blog holds a new discovery, no matter which direction I go!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Postage Stamps Arrived

My postage stamps arrived, and they are awesome!! I am going to definitely do more...they will make great personalized gifts.

I am in the process of exporting my Google Reader subscriptions to Bloglines, so I can publish a blog roll. My trusty Mac is giving me fits tonight, so I will continue this post tomorrow.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Week 4, Thing #8

This was an interesting task for me. I have known about RSS for about a year, and have never really had the time to master it. The video on BlipTV was most informative (Thanks to the CSLA 2.0 for providing that link.) I saved it to show to my staff in the fall when I introduce RSS to them.

I chose Google Reader, because I already have a Google account and it was one less login and password to remember! That was very easy to do. Initially I was worried that I wouldn't know where to find things to add to my reader. Wow, was I wrong! I added a few of the suggested sites (gotta have that Unshelved cartoon fix!) Then I visited my bookmarks, and added Joyce Valenza's page....which led me to the news at School Library Journal.....31 subscriptions later I decided it was time to "manage" my feeds!

I know this will be a great tool for me to stay up-to-date with new additions to sites that I love, but in the past didn't visit often enough due to time constraints. In addition, one of the sites I subscribed to was TeacherTube. As new videos come up, it will be a simple matter for me to forward them to the appropriate departments.

As far as sharing is concerned, I haven't found a place to share my blogroll on Google Reader yet, so I will have to find another place to do that....perhaps on my own blog!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Week 3, Thing #7

OK...I have died and gone to heaven. I found Zazzle which partners with Flickr and I am making my own postage stamps. This actually looks like a great site for designing custom items from posters to t-shirts and beyond. I am considering designing a postage stamp with an appropriate supportive graphic about libraries that I can use when I send my monthly newsletters to our school board members. I still haven't found how to mashup my pictures, though.

I know I have only touched the surface here, but I really think that learning about Web 2.0 technologies is really important. I suspect most of the teachers at my school, as well as many of the parents are not really aware of all that is out there. The more we learn, the better we can connect with our students who are so adept at this already. I know this is going to get more difficult, but right now it is so much fun!!

Week 3, Thing #6 (cont.)

Another fun 3rd party application....the slide show. I can think of some great uses. What a terrific intro to a reading list to have book covers be part of a slide creating slides that depict characters, scenes and events in a story.....and then writing about them...and on and on!

P.S.....If the cube spins too fast, just put your mouse over it and you can control it!

Check out my girl!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Week 3, Thing #6 : Third Party Sites

Originally uploaded by kangalmt2
I am having a great time with the flickr toys! I decided to start with a movie poster, starring my very own dog! She and I do agility for fun, although it is too hot now, so we are taking the summer off.

Creating this poster and uploading it to flickr was simple. I was given a choice of uploading to flickr right from the movie poster site, but this time I chose to upload it to my computer first. They sure make it easy!  I still want to investigate more to find out about the other sites and mashups.

Week 3, Thing #5 :Border Collie on an Iceberg

Border Collie on an Iceberg
Originally uploaded by murky
I love border collies. I found this photo on flickr, originally posted by "murky" on July 31, 2006. I think it is a beautifully composed photograph, and really shows of the focus that border collie's are known for.

Stay tuned for more great shots of this amazing breed of dogs (including some of my own)!

I had a pretty easy time navigating around flickr. Now if only I can keep all these miscellaneous little accounts straight!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Week 2, Thing #4

I registered my blog today. While I wait for confirmation, I am enjoying visiting other CSLA 2.0 blogs--what a creative group!

Week 2, Thing #3

Wow! Creating an avatar was fun! Following the directions for exporting was easy (thank you!). I do have a couple of questions about the settings in blogger. First, what is advisable for the purpose of this tutorial for "Who can comment"? And, what exactly is a backlink?

Week 1, Thing #2

After going through the online presentation of the 7 1/2 Habits of Lifelong Learners I found that many of the habits are very easy for me. I suspect that is the same for most of us in the library world!

The most difficult habit for me to practice is the first one..."Begin with the end in mind." I love learning, but I am often a serendipitous learner (the internet is my playground!). I don't think about setting goals. However, for this summer, my goal will be to become knowledgeable enough about the tools we are going to learn to be able to teach my school staff in the fall.

Week 1, Thing #1

I read about School Library Learning 2.0 in the early spring, and had to force myself to wait until summer vacation to actually begin. Now I have the time to really explore and begin to use the technologies that we will learn about. I am excited about the online tutorial format, and I am hoping that it will be something I can involve the staff at my school in next fall!