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.

Hmm...one word or sentence? This was a great learning experience.....in 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 know...it 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 in-the-moment.....in 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 up....an 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 del.icio.us 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 del.icio.us 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 del.icio.us, 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.