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.