Monday, December 1, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I have taken this laptop many places and logged many hours on it. It has helped me to accomplish more when waiting. It has made it possible for me to work more efficiently. It has enabled me to participate, remember and process more than ever before. Portibility means flexibility and a higher level of productivity for me.
So I am very excited for the opportunity to bring my laptop with me to the MSLA conference tomorrow and Monday and join in the blogging there. If you want to sign on and see what is happening you can check at the conference blog.
Thinking back to a year ago, it is amazing how much technology has become a normal part of my life.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
In the process of getting myself ready, I had a funny encounter with a digital native. The necessary cord had to be purchased and I was directed to Circuit City. Looking around I was unable to locate the cord easily and decided it would be faster if I asked an employee. The young man I selected knew just what I was looking for. When I told him how excited I was to have this new capability he fixed that “Mom, you’re embarrassing me” look, rolled his eyes and said “It’s quite a common thing these days. Nothing special.” I walked away amused and awakened. Whenever I think I’m catching up, that I might even be on the cutting edge, something happens to awake me from my revere. So long as I don’t slip too far behind.
Monday, June 23, 2008
So what does that have to do with web 2.0? As it turns out, plenty. As I visited with these friends and shared what I had found through the course, I found myself thinking more and more about the end user. My friends reminded me that web 2.0 is just a set of tools to use. I spent the rest of the spring thinking about when to use one of these marvelous tools and when using the tool might mean loosing sight of the end user. This may be a simple, obvious thought, but one I have found worth revisiting as I become more accustomed to a wider variety of web 2.0 applications.
By the way, the picture above was taken at a museum using my cell phone. This represents a first for me. All three of the glasses are purple, but they are all different. This underscores for me the fact that even with our similarities we are all individuals. That's something I want to remember when thinking about web 2.0.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
If you want one, go to http://clustrmaps.com and follow the directions. It was simple to apply for, easy to copy and paste the html and it showed up immediately. Now if only I can get people to view my blog! It will be fun to see where those dots will appear. So those of you who are traveling, I'd be much obliged if you would just look at my blog from a distant location. :-)
What a good reflection on this class it is that I would just figure it out and get one of my own. In the past I might have just wished for one. How empowering this web 2.0 has been.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Now for the questions:
1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
Flickr, mashups, del.icio.us, wikis, zoho, library thing (and therefore Good Reads), YouTube, podcasts and Creative Commons are the objects.
A favorite discovery was how really able we are to use these resources, continue to learn and how in 9 short weeks these new technologies have become part of how I work and see the world. They do say that it takes 7 weeks to form a new habit. It appears that this habit has stuck with me. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts.
2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
Lifelong learning means always being open to new things, taking an interest in the world around you and continually trying to improve yourself. At least that's what it means to me. This program has made it easier for me to learn about a number of things which I was very interested in, introduced me to things I knew nothing about and assisted me in going further than I had before or was likely to get on my own. Let's just say it was like the Triple A or Mapquest of Web2.0. You mapped out the route, but I drove there. And I didn't even have to pay for the gas. However it did take a toll on me... (couldn't resist.)
3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
Del.icio.us is a big grab bag treat. I find that I am starting to think about using it and am enjoying using it. While I still bookmark things using favorites, I find that I actually have started to use del.icio.us instead. That's a pretty big paradigm shift for me. Checking my RSS feeds regularly is also a big leap. Both have really changed the way I relate to my PC.
It must be said that with all these new ideas and technologies churning inside my head, I find myself being more open to new things around me. I was in Circuit City this evening and found myself playing with laptops. Usually I go for one thing and don't get distracted, but this evening I wandered around and learned a lot. This course has had a big impact.
4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
There were a couple of very interesting links which weren't hot. Fixing the links or finding other links to do the same thing would have been helpful.
5. If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?
Absolutely. Positively. Without a doubt.
6. How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote CSLA learning activities?
Thanks to everyone who took the class for making it a richer experience and especially to the people who made taking this course possible. I enjoyed reading everyone's blogs and gaining further insight. It will now take several months to really go back and dig deeper into the material.
Audio books have stolen my heart. I used to think that listening didn't count. One had to read a physical book for it to "count." The fact is, though, that I can never read as much as I want to, even if I had all day to do it. Audio books allow me to increase my cultural literacy in the time that I do have. Still, students should read, shouldn't they? Getting over this misconception took me a bit of time, but now that I realise that so much of preliteracy involves being exposed to language audio books have a great part in learning to read and improving fluency. Also reading along while listening is an excellent strategy. So audio books have a special, if hard won, spot in my heart.
The new hurdle for me is getting used to downloading the books myself, finding appropriate storage methods, adjusting to a new format and making it part of my work/life.
Personally, I still feel more comfortable reading a book made of pulp. The amount of online reading I do is substantial, but it can be hard on the eyes. When I'm going to focus on a full work, I'd prefer to have a physical copy. I also wonder about the advisability of the focus on making libraries digital in an age when our natural resources are dwindling. One wonders how much we should be relying on electronic versions of books which are energy efficient to use (not produce) in the long run. It may be a moot point, but one I wonder about from time to time.
Frankly, I never thought I'd want to read a book online and then someone told me about Daily Lit. The folks who created Daily Lit found that they didn't read as much as they wanted to because they had busy schedules. They realised that they were reading their emails every day, but not finding time for great books. What they decided to do was to serialize books and send them by installment via email. There is also an RSS option. Through daily lit I have revisited many old favorites and found it very manageable. You control how often you receive the installements. The homepage shows books for purchase right up front, but if you browse you will see that most of their offerings are free. In the past I have chosen to receive them via email. This morning I tried to add the RSS feed to Google Reader without success. Using the feed option on VISTA worked, but I prefer to check Google Reader so I will have to conquer that hurdle. Daily Lit has made it easier to be open to the ebook and reading literature online.
It is great to have so many resources available.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Searching for podcasts was a somewhat frustrating experience. The tutorials merely took me to Yahoo's search page. In each case I was asked to download something in order to listen to a podcast which I wasn't sure I wanted to hear. At this point in this class, I don't mind signing up for more free accounts, but I'm not sure about the wisdom of downloading much more. I need to do some weeding first. Finally, I determined that I find podcasts fairly easily serendipitously, but I am glad I have the resource to look for podcasts should I have a particular need. The great part of this was that I would not have thought of subscribing to podcasts in my Google Reader page and I am finding this to be a great new possibility. I went to NPR and subscribed to a number of podcasts including Children's Literature with Daniel Pinkwater. I'm not sure when I'll get around to listening to them, but conceivably they could run while I am on the computer doing other tasks. It is likely that I will try it and then weed my feeds, as I did when I first started using Google Reader.
The fact that I didn't automatically make the jump from subscribing to RSS feeds for blogs to subscribing to podcasts makes me reflect. So many of the ideas are not inherently hard or technically difficult. It is more a problem of the difficulty of keeping up, learning to continue to explore a tool past the initial learning curve has us complaisant. I wonder why I never really learn the tools I am using thoroughly, why there always seems to be so many layers left to explore. I would like to blame it on the fact that there is always another thing to learn to keep abreast of the profession. There is too much to learn and too little time. Part of me realises, however that this is not an acceptable explanation. I am currently reading Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind and am very aware that it is important to make the connections between things. So subscribing to podcasts should have been a no-brainer. This will be another thing I will be striving to cultivate as I incorporate the web2.0 tools into my life.
Friday, March 7, 2008
I noticed that you are supposed to provide a link back to YouTube when you embed a video. I'm not sure how that works so I am providing the link here:
There are so many wonderful possibilities for using YouTube for the classroom. Unrestricted use is obviously frought with difficulties, but librarian/teacher selected videos could be used for the purpose of instruction, writing prompts, inspiration, etc. I'm glad we had this excercise to complete as I learned more from the searching than I have from receiving links to random clips.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Having said all that, my experience with Library Thing is mixed. I can see the beauty of it, the wonder of having this tool available to individuals as well as libraries. The ease of use, the MARC records, the interactivity of it. I did sign up and post my books to the blog. However, I think I may prefer Goodreads because it gives you the option of indicating if you have read, want to read, own or borrowed the book in question. With Library Thing I get the feeling that it is about books I possess. I suppose I possess the soul of the book if I have read it, but most of what I read has no physical presence in my home. Please correct me if I have missed something. Perhaps this is a perception problem on my part.
I will enjoy thinking more fully on the sites available and making use of the ones I think best suit my need. Meanwhile, I am getting plenty of great books suggestions and having a blast.
It may not be the most witty commentary found in cartoon bubbles, but I'm sure the students will love it.
I used Big Huge Labs to make this image.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
In the library I can imagine that we might use it to have mini-meetings more often at the end of the day from the comfort of our own libraries. (No more searching for a parking spot, right Wanda Luv?) Our students might use it to work collaboratively on a research project, even when one of them is grounded. Of course, these tools would not work for my students...you have to be 13 or older. While some of you have patrons old enough, there is still the issue of filtering.... Personally, I can immediately see the value of it for getting family members to hash out family gathering meal plans all at once, rather than the telephone tag which sometimes happens. The possibilities are endless.
I used the templates to create a certificate of membership in the Purple Glasses Club. It was a fun, though delightfully pointless, thing to try. Neccesity will provide for more relevant projects, but sometimes it's just fun to create. It is interesting to note that posting it to the blog did elongate the certificate which gave it a somewhat warped appearance. No matter, the original looks fine.
This certifies that
is a member of
The Purple Glasses Club
in good standing since
with all rights and privileges pertaining thereof.
Set down and signed this 20th day of February 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
For some time I have wanted to start a wiki for elementary school librarians in Massachusetts to align print materials, web resources and lessons with standards. After I finish this class I am determined to start one and post it to this blog so that anyone may add to it. I think it would be profitable to all of us teaching any combination of these grades to pool our experiences in this way. I will post a link when I have it up and running.
Of the many things we have explored in this course, wikis may be one of the most useful to me. Along with determining to create one to my own specifications, I am also more aware that there may be some really good resources to search for information.
The other huge question which remains on my mind is the seemingly insurmountable gulf which separates the populations which are being discussed in these articles (a society which is web-saavy, connected and information literate) and the patrons that still make up significant part of school libraries (unconnected, impoverished, web-newbies or non-participants). Several years ago I read an article which quoted the percentage of school libraries which have yet to automate as being higher than 50%. If I remember correctly, it was significantly higher. If this be the case, we are not ready for the web-saavy, but our patrons may not be ready for more either. I have had the experience of being told not to use the latest innovations on the school website, rather I should use the simplest interfaces possible in order to reach the greatest numbers of families. There is a kind of sense to this which comes at the problem from a different direction and no less valid.
Web 2.0 holds the possibility of unbelievable wealth of connectivity. Concurrently, web 2.o will be one of the greatest causes of widening the digital divide. The ability to keep up with the changes will be too great for the average person and nearly impossible for the person who does not own their own computer. Think of all those people who line up at the public library to wait for a turn to check their email. Where will they be when web 2.0 becomes the rule of the workplace rather than the innovation?
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Tagging is in interesting concept - one which has really amazing potential to make things clearer, easier and more transparent and also has the power to confuse, hypnotise and trick us into thinking we are better at finding information than we really are. In del.icio.us I felt it gave me more power to make my favorites useful and saved me time in the doing. In technorati I felt I got a great number of useless hits. Trying both sites makes one think about whether all this self-centered tagging really lulls people into thinking that they are finding good information, true information and useful hits. Does this transfer to research and make us lazy and undisciplined? I can't believe I even asked the question. So the thing I am pondering is where can we draw the line between time saving, self determination and creativity and reliability, truth and fact. Interesting things to ponder in an election year on a night when it is snowing on and off.
So I feel as though I'm running all over the internet trying to tag pieces of information and make them my own...at least on loan. Tag! You're IT!
One of the things which is interesting about del.icio.us is that it can serve as a search tool as well as a bookmarking tool. I have yet to look at the actual bookmarks of others, but I'm thinking that if I connected to the del.icio.us accounts of my library friends (that's all of you out there) I would be able to garner excellent resources without the time involved in searching myself.
I have added a del.icio.us badge to my blog, so peak at my bookmarks if you are interested.
Friday, February 8, 2008
The power of this tool is really an amazing boon to librarians and teachers. The ability to search preselected sources takes resource lists to a whole new level. The mind reels thinking about the possibilities. It makes one want to spend hours selecting sources for an array of topics to see how well it would work.
I thought my biggest dilemma in creating this search tool was deciding what topic to use. I love world geography, especially the Unesco World Heritage site, so world geography was it. It may not be the most useful search tool at the moment as it wasn't built in response to an actual project, but it is a test. Just a test. If it were a real search tool....
However, like others who have gone before me, inserting the search tool into this blog has proved to be much more tricky than anticipated. WandaLuv mentioned that the html isn't what it should be. I fiddled with the html for a while trying to get it right, but it is beyond my scope at the moment. Guess I'll have to break out my notes from the html course I took a few years ago, but haven't used much, and get to the root of the problem. Until then, I am impressed with the tool, but imagine that Rollyo's growth will be limited by the difficulty in making it work.
Monday, February 4, 2008
So I tried something else. I tried out both Library Thing and Reader2 (honorable mention) and Good Reads (recommended by someone in this class). All of them are variations on the theme of social networking about books. I liked them all and am now having the difficult decision about which one to really focus on. With all of the stuff that is out there, it is hard to think that I would actually do all three. It is easy to see the potential for using these tools in a library setting. What a great way for people to react to the books they have read and also to recommendations. One very intriguing post was the list of a 4th grader and the supportive comments she was receiving about her reading adventure.
Looking at Ning! was interesting, but I couldn't really figure out what to do with it. None of the groups had things going on which grabbed my attention. Maybe I've missed the whole point of the thing. It will be interesting to see what others post about it and see if some of the ideas make me view it in a different way. Any future thoughts about Ning will be posted separately.
The Travel IQ game was fun. Wish I could say I got to level 12, but in all honesty level 8 was the last finished. Funny, today students were really interested in the world map and got me sidetracked for a while discussing different parts of the world. This game would be a natural choice for student fun and learning. It did seem to be a quiz which you could get better at by paying attention to the mistakes made along the way. At least you could get in the right country, if not the region.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez by Judy Goldschmidt. The font size and the page spacing help make this an enjoyable, quick read. 12-year-old Raisin moves to Philadelphia from Berkeley, CA. She keeps a blog to keep her 2 best friends in Berkeley current on the ups and downs of her life. Naturally, chaos ensues. Won't tell you more - you'll want to read it yourself. Personally, I was a little confused about what grade level I would recommend this for. I'd love to know what other people think.
It made me think that it would be great to compile a list of fiction books which deal with technology and ethics, internet safety and technology in life for our digital natives. They may adapt quickly, but they still need so much time to think about the issues. Intellectual property and safety are the issues I'm most concerned our students are exposed to. Anyone have any suggestions. I'll post the list if there are enough comments.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
I'll admit that I spent far too much time playing with the Lederhosen Dance Generator, the Nightingale Song Generator, and the R2D2 Translation Generator . There seems to be significant overlap in products. Like many other web related activities, these could really be time drainers. If I can make myself choose a background which is "good enough" rather than wondering if I can get one just a little bit better elsewhere, these products may be a real help to me. I think I will have to discipline myself to do just that.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The resource I found most interesting (though least helpful) was Blog Pulse. I can see why this would be useful, but I don't have any immediate need to use it.
In the end, however, I feel I will continue to add RSS feeds and find blogs in the same old way. There are enough blogs through professional organizations to which I belong that I struggle to keep up with the extracts from those. Then there are always the blogs which are listed in those blogs. I don't really feel much need to search for blogs. It's more a matter of continually weeding the list of RSS feeds to which I subscribe to make it more manageable. I don't really feel that RSS will ever make it take less time to look through my subscriptions. It's like what they say about houses - the stuff expands to fill the space. Well, my feeds will expand to fill my time. What it will do is allow me to do is to get more information for the time I invest.
Having said that, some of my favorite RSS feeds/blogs are unshelved, Chris Harris's infomancy, School Library Journal, The Hornbook Magazine blog,The Shifted Librarian, and Library Journal. I also subscribe to a number of Jane Austen feeds. These, too, I have pared down.
Monday, January 21, 2008
These are the glasses which started it all. You can see them paired with two of my favorite Jane Austen novels: Pride & Prejudice and Persuation.
This completes the task I started several posts earlier. It was so easy to post this from flickr. Why didn't I get it right away?
Sunday, January 20, 2008
I already had i-google on my computer, but was far from utilizing it's capabilities. Adding Google Reader was really productive. It's taken me a while to find the balance between adding anything and being rather spartan about additions. At first I added a large number of professional feeds and then got caught up in feeds for my other interests. Before long I realized that much of my "hobby" related feeds were really not something I was going to be interested in. As I dropped those things started to become more managable.
RSS certainly saves time by bringing the information to me. There is no doubt in my mind that RSS provides me with more pertinent information than I would be able to absorb by searching myself. The fact is that I often will look at an article because it is right in front of my nose and it looks enticing. I hadn't planned on reading articles, catching up or looking for information, but if it is front and center it gets my attention. That, I think, is the beauty of RSS. Bringing information to the reader without effort, without time outlay and making it easier to keep up to date without much outlay of time or effort.
Monday, January 14, 2008
I heard someone say the other day that old fashioned cameras were so much less work. You took a picture and developed it. You put the pictures in a box and that was it. Now you have to take them, upload them, choose which to print, print them, save them to another medium, share them online, crop them, rotate them, touch them up, etc., etc. Once all that is accomplished you have to delete them from your camera before you can take more. It is not a time saver. While I didn't agree completely with this opinion, there is something which resonates.
It reminds me of when scrapbooking made it's way into the craft scene. I was immediately attracted to it and at the same time I knew that starting was like playing with fire. Once you begin there are so many desires - photo albums, paper, special glue, special scissors, special punches, embellishments...the list is unending. Personally, I knew it was something I should run the other way from as I already had so many hobbies. The time, storage space, space in my brain and committment would have to vie with too many other things. So I have managed to escape without much more than a few cute hole punches and the occasional pretty piece of paper.
I am feeling much the same way now about technology. There are so many really fabulous applications which could be used to great advantage in the school library and personally. There will never be enough time to use them all well. Which will I choose? Which will I drop due to lack of the time/space continuum?
Technology which I especially want to use more or learn about:
podcasting (looking forward to week 9!)
wikis (week 7)
my new cell phone
mixing audio (I love Audacity)
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Sunday, January 6, 2008
This was a great exercise. Frankly, the most difficult thing about this was choosing a name for the blog. It's funny how it is not really the technology which makes creating web content difficult. It's more about the content. Mastering, or at least becoming familiar with the technology is actually much more finite than determining why do it in the first place.
Avatars are new to my experience. The experience was kind of addictive. Downloading it onto the blog was a mystery to me at first, so I was quite grateful for the information on the course site.
First, I have to admit that I was not able to access the attachments which accompanied this tutorial. Every time I clicked on one, it would start to come up and then disappear again. Finally I ran a double screen and typed the information I thought I would need into a Word document to work on it. I then created a Learning Contract Template for myself to use throughout this course and possibly into the future. The idea of signing a contract with myself regarding learning goals is a wonderful idea. It is likely to be an idea I continue to use in the future.
Skill 4 Have confidence in yourself as a competent, effective learner.
I don't tend to think much about whether I can do something or not. I just dive into anything I am interested in. The exception to the rule is anything to do with a saw, hammer or nails.
Skill 1 Begin with the end in mind.
I'm pretty good at beginning, but I don't always have a practical application in mind. That being the case, it is pretty easy to get distracted by all the other things which vie for attention and not really get comfortable with a skill.
I am really looking forward to this experience.