Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thing #23

Summarize Your Thoughts about Library2Play: I finally made it! Whew! Here are my thoughts about this technology program:

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
One of my favorite discoveries was Big Huge Labs. I loved using the different features such as creating different posters and making trading cards. I also enjoyed exploring Flickr and the different Google applications. Most importantly, I learned how easy it is to create and maintain my own blog!

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
At the beginning of this semester, I felt very overwhelmed about using new technology. I kept asking myself, "What am I getting myself in to?" Now I feel more confident about myself after exploring these new Web 2.0 tools as I continue to learn more about the everchanging world of technology.

Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
I was really surprised that my school district has so many of these Web 2.0 tools blocked by its firewall. There are so many computer applications that our students can use to enhance their learning in the classrooms. This needs to change so that our students can be fully prepared to be successful in the future.

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
I believed this technology program's format is well organized. The scaffolding of the computer lessons and the information provided to help us learn these new tools were planned very well. I would not suggest making any changes to this program.

If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?
I believe I would be interested in participating in another discovery program in technology in the future. I want to continue being a lifelong learner, and I want to continue exploring and using new Web 2.0 tools!

How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities?
I would like to use a metaphor to describe this learning experience. "23 Things" is a rollercoaster. It has its ups and downs, but it was a fun ride!

Thing #22

Nings: Ning is a social networking tool similar to Facebook and MySpace. I explored the Ning group communities that were posted on Library2Play, and I noticed that one can customize the page layouts, which is not an option available on Facebook. I can see the advantages of this Web 2.0 application as another online resource for teachers and librarians to use to seek advice and offer suggestions for book reviews, classroom management, lesson plans, and professional development.
Honestly, I wasn't that impressed with Ning. I found some of the page layouts too cluttered or "busy", which is one of my pet peeves. I was also surprised to find only 319 members in the Texas School Librarians group network, considering that TLA holds the second largest annual library convention! I think I'll keep my Facebook account.

Thing #21

I Love My Boys!

Podcasts and Videocasts: I really enjoyed using Photostory to create my first videocast of my two sons. The first thing I learned about this "Thing" is that it is a Windows application, so I couldn't use my MacBook Pro laptop to create my videocast. Luckily for me, I also have a Dell PC at home! Garage Band and iMovie are available on my laptop, and I would like to play with these Apple applications so that I can create more videocasts. I tried to download a song from my iTunes music library to add background music, but I had some difficulty opening up the song I wanted to use. Instead, I created a song using the prerecorded music available on Photostory.

Even though I really like this application, I am having some issues processing my videocast onto my blog. After waiting for almost five hours and reading "processing video" on the computer screen, I have given up and published this post so that I can finish my 23 Things! I really wanted to show off my two sons to my blog followers! ARG!

Nevertheless, I want to use Photostory to create book trailers for the novels I teach to my students and add my voice for narration. My school librarian used MovieMaker to create a videocast of the library to use during her library orientation. This videocast introduces the students to the library staff and shows the locations of the different book genres. It also explains the library procedures and guidelines to the students as well. When I become a librarian, I would like to use this idea as well so that I can show the students and staff that the library is a welcoming place for everyone.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thing #20

YouTube, TeacherTube, and Zamzar:

Gotta Keep Reading!

YouTube and TeacherTube are two popular website resources that people view for entertainment and educational reasons. My sons love watching their favorite comedians, singers, and TV shows on YouTube, and I enjoy searching for different videos on TeacherTube. I have also enjoyed watching the videos posted on Library2Play to help me better understand the new Web 2.0 applications. Unfortunately, YouTube is blocked by my school district's server, but I have heard there are ways to convert these videos so that you can show them at school, thanks to Zamzar. I have seen this inspirational video created by the Ocoee Middle School student body and staff in Ocoee, Florida, and I thought it would be the perfect video to share with my classmates and students. If you are a Black Eyed Peas fan, you will love it! Don't grab the popcorn--Grab a book and read!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thing #19

Web 2.0 Awards List: I have been curious to learn how to use Twitter, so I took the "Twitter 101" tour available on its website. Twitter is a quick communication tool used by millions of people for professional and personal reasons. Similar to Facebook, one can post a message up to 140 characters, which includes punctuation and spaces, to let others know what you're doing. Businesses use Twitter to let their customers know more about their products, and customers can contact them to get advice on how to use their products and offer feedback. People also use it for personal reasons, such as keeping in contact with their family and friends, and some even follow their favorite celebrities' activities on Twitter. Libraries could use Twitter to promote new books and author visits, and teachers could use Twitter to post their assignments. I would probably use Twitter for personal reasons right now, but I would need to find out how my school district feels about using this Web 2.0 application for professional reasons.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thing #18

Online Productivity Tools: I explored Google Docs and I can clearly see the benefits of using this application. One can share their documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with others without adding attachments to email and clogging up their inboxes. Another advantage is editing the work simultaneously wtih others. You do not have to wait for people to send you their contributions and then adding them to one "clean" document. One can also access Google docs from any computer; you do not have to worry about saving them onto a flashdrive when using multiple computers. The only disadvantage I could see using Google docs is that a person needs to have a Google account in order to access this application, but anyone can register for a free account. I will definitely keep this application in mind when I work on another collaboration project with my co-workers and graduate school classmates!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thing #17

Rollyo: After reading some of my classmates' blog posts about their experiences using Rollyo, I was excited to learn more about this Web 2.0 application. I wanted to learn how to create my own Rollyo so that my students can locate the websites I want them to view without wasting valuable class time searching for them on their own. I will have to admit that I was a bit confused on how to access this application when I first started reading the information provided on Library2Play, but I felt more confident about what to do after watching the video clip posted by a former L2P player. I will be teaching House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton to my pre AP students next month, so I created my own Rollyo search engine for my co-workers and students. It contains a couple of interactive websites for the students to use to learn more about the Underground Railroad as well as a couple of curriculum guides for my co-workers to review. Rollyo is definitely an application I would like to continue to use!

Thing #16

Wikis: Thanks to this technology class and "23 Things", I have a better understanding on how Wikis work. The Common Craft video in plain English is very helpful! Wiki is a Hawaiian word for "quick," and this Web 2.0 application is definitely a quick way to collaborate your ideas with others. Using a Wiki is so much better than sending emails to one another because you're not clogging up your inbox and it's hard to keep the information organized. My grad school classmates and I have been using Wikis to post our thoughts, research, and powerpoints so that we can continue working together when we are not able to meet in person. We are able to keep our ideas organized and edit our work when needed.
Wikipedia is the largest and most popular Wiki used by others. I know that this is going to sound dumb, but I always thought that Wikipedia was just another encyclopedia resource until now! Since Wikis allow more users to post their ideas without having a webmaster verify their work, I now understand why some teachers frown upon their students using Wikipedia as a resource when assigning research projects.
Librarians can use Wikis to post book reviews and allow others to post their reviews as well. In order for this idea to be effective, there would have to be guidelines established so that others do not use inappropriate language and remain professional when posting their thoughts online. Using a Wiki in this fashion would be another way to advocate the library program at school!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thing #15

Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and the Future of Libraries: Library 2.0 involves interaction between the librarian and the patrons. This includes face-to-face interaction as well as virtual interaction, which is Web 2.0. I agree with Rick Anderson's blog post when he stated that librarians need to learn to adapt to today's changing world of technology. Since many people use the internet to access information, many people believe libraries are just a place to store books. Librarians need to be knowledgeable of Web 2.0 applications so that they can interact with their patrons and keep people interested in utilizing the library. Michael Stephens points out that librarians need to keep its patrons in mind when using technology. Librarians need to select technology that would be beneficial to the users as well as show these people how to use this technology. I agree with Stephens when he stated the future of libraries depends on how people access, create, and utilize information. LIbrarians will need to teach people how to become effective users of all information available to them, whether it is found in a book or on the internet.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thing #14

Technorati and How Tags Work: I understand how tags work, thanks to Thing #13 and, but this "Thing" left me feeling frustrated. I tried to look up "School Library 2.0" as a keyword search on Technorati, but I did not have any results. I also did not have any luck looking at Technorati's popular blogs and widgets because it is temporarily unavailable.
There also seems to be a debate among computer programmers regarding who should be able to tag. Some people believe that users should be able to create their own tags, but others think that the publishers should be the ones to tag their work. I would rather be the one to tag what interests me. The only exception would be on Flickr. If it wasn't for the tags, I could lose track of time looking at all of the wonderful photography people have posted on that website!

Thing #13

Tagging and Discover Delicious: I can see the benefits of using tags and social bookmarks such as Delicious My favorite bookmarks on my personal computer are not organized, and I have saved so many websites on it! By using Delicious, I can add tags to my saved websites as an organizational tool, and I can also share my findings with my colleagues. Teachers and librarians can use it to save websites for research projects for students so they can easily access them without retyping the URL. This will also keep students on task and prevent them from searching the web to find unrelated topics to the lesson. Hopefully my school district will allow us to use this helpful tool in the near future!