Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thing #23 Summarize Your Thoughts about This Program

23 Things has been informative, educational, and fun. When I was first setting up my blog I was so nervous that I would not be able to complete all the activities but as I have worked through each thing, I am amazed at how user friendly technology has become. It also has made me think about what a huge responsibilities educators have now. Not only do we have to teach students required subject skills but we must also teach them how to access information is so many different ways online if we are going to prepare them to be competitive adults in the world workplace. 23 Things is a great program for doing just that.

My favorite exercise was Photo Story. I loved creating with my pictures and adding narration and music was so simple. Switchpod was a bit frustrating but I was proud of myself after I got through it. Discovering Wufoo from the 2.0 Awards list was fun. It made me think about all the forms I have created over the past 17 years and Wufoo is a dream come true.

I think this program has really made me realize that I can be successful with technology. I now feel much more confident about answering teachers questions about technology problems they are having. It has made me much more receptive to completing online classes and workshops.

The thing that surprised me most about the program was how user-friendly most of the projects were. When I think back to even five years ago and trying to create powerpoint presentations and the difficulty getting links to videos or music, it is comical.

I feel that the format of the program is great. I would like to see the site remain active even after the completion of the program as I would like to be able to go back to some of the activities and look at them again. Kind of like keeping a textbook on a shelf to go back and refer to.

I would love to participate in other discovery programs. As I was telling my principal today, the price of gas is so high now that educators are really burdened by all the costs associated with attending workshops. Online programs are so adaptable to our busy lifestyles. My favorite time to work on this program was around 7:00 in the morning while someone else may have free time at midnight.

I would describe my learning experience as TRANSFORMING.

This has been a very worthwhile way to spend an hour or so a day this summer. I am better prepared for my job because of 23Things.

Thing #22: Nings

Several good points were made in the 7 things you should know about Nings. A Ning would be a great way to get students involved in assignments and projects with other students at any time 24/7. It allows instructors to be involved with their students in an environment which is relative and comfortable to a vast majority of our students (think MySpace or Facebook).

I looked at both Texas Librarian Ning and Texas School Librarian Ning. While the first was interesting I was drawn to Texas School Librarian because I am one. I was hooked after viewing one of the vidcasts created by a librarian celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday. It was so entertaining and the Ning allowed members to comment about the vidcast and the author to reply easily. As I read through comments from various individuals I did get a sense of community involvement. The Gadget add-ons looked interesting but you had to be a member to get into them.

TSL Ning could be used in many ways. As I mentioned above-vidcasts. It also allows for ideas to be shared among a large group of my peers. It is a fun and interesting way to learn about other librarians and how they get their students excited about reading and into the library. It also allows for discussion on employment, certification, etc.

As a librarian who has been involved with colleagues in developing our district library manual, this would be a great way to discuss manual ideas with peers around the state and to utilize that info into our manual.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thing #21: Podcasts and Audio Books

I loved Photo Story. It was so easy to use and I had a blast. This tool is wonderful for creating enticing learning videos for students of all ages. I liked the idea that a visual tool could be created with nothing more than your own photos. Not everyone has a video recorder or iPod so this tool is a great way to allow students to express themselves creatively in a cost effective manner. Good classroom tool. I worried about not having a microphone but it turned out okay anyway.

I struggled with Swithpod. For me it was not user-friendly and it took me several tries to link to this post.

I choose to create a photo story from a group of pictures of the Art Car Parade. It could be incorporated into lesson plans dealing with transportation and used to give students ideas for creating their own vehicle-on paper or otherwise-as a fun closing activity for the unit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thing #20: YouTube, TeacherTube and Zamzar

As a librarian I know that having access to a multitude of educational videos is important. Easy access plus the ability to search for videos from any computer is another time saving gem. What I like about YouTube and TeacherTube is that they allow access to very creative, short videos that explain a concept/objective in a way that interests students and makes learning fun. I have spent alot of my library budget stocking the library with educational videos that run 30 minutes or longer and that contain material other than the objective the teacher really needed it for. As I searched YouTube I found the following video that would be great for me to use at the beginning of the year to peak the interest of my youngest readers as they learn how to use the library.

What child could resist Cookie Monster?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Thing #19: Web 2.0 Awards List

I looked over the list and choose to take a look at .Docstoc. It looks to be a very useful site for locating documents on just about any educational subject you could want. I searched for documents on graphic novels and found several good ones in a PowerPoint format. The information was easily organized and I could incorporate the info quickly into my own PowerPoint presentation for the beginning of the school year. I am having a problem with getting my teaching staff to embrace the use of graphic novels in the classroom so I am trying to gather as much professional information as possible to present at the beginning of the year.

Next I went to Wufoo. It was such a cute name I had to take a look. I really liked this one. It basically allows you to create and manage all kinds of forms with a number of cool templates for creating registration forms, comment forms, contact forms, wedding invitations, etc. These forms can then be sent to your inbox or added to your web page or blog. The CSS themes allow you to add a variety of colors in your wallpaper, logo, instructions, etc. It also lets you analysis data from form information and generate a colorful chart illustrating the results. I could see this being used for gathering staff thoughts on a particular topic. For instance, the principal could quickly generate a form asking staff to recommend times for staff meetings. After all forms have been received, the data could be analysed quickly and the results presented in a professional manner at a staff meeting. In the library I could use this tool in the spring as our third and fourth grade students vote for their favorite Bluebonnet book. The students would love seeing the results graphed in a colorful pie chart on a bulletin board with pictures of the winning book.

Thing #18: Online Productivity Tools

I looked briefly at OpenOffice but it seemed confusing. I already have a Google account so I naturally was drawn to it as I love iGoogle and felt the Goggle Doc would be easy to maneuver through and I was not disappointed. I love the entire concept. I really feel that emails are going to become obsolete with all of these great online productivity tools.

One huge advantage of Google Doc over a Microsoft document is the ability to share with others who can edit and revise the document so easily. That document is then immediately available to all others who have been chosen to share the document. Any computer gives you access to your document(s). I know I am constantly losing my memory stick so this would certainly solve that problem. I also love the idea of being able to publish documents as web pages or blog postings. The most important factor is that this tool saves time! Teachers have so few spare moments that anything that saves them time is going to be embraced. The simplicity of learning how to use Goggle Doc is also a huge advantage. I tried to think of a disadvantage but could not come up with one unless it was that anyone editing/revising your document would have to register with Google. I guess some people would not want to do that, but that is the only disadvantage I could think of.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thing #17: Rollyo

After reading through all the info I have registered on Rollyo. I started out simply by adding a searchroll for recipes, books/authors, and political news but am unable to get the Rollyo searchroll button to appear in my browser. I have tried dragging it, copying it, etc. and no luck. I will continue to work on it.

Searchrolls will be awesome (once I really get the hand of them). One of my concerns in some of these activities was how to know if the sites I am going to are trustworthy. I was also concerned that if I am to help my staff/students use these tools, how can I make sure that I am leading them to sites that are appropriate. Searchrolls are a good way to access sites that I trust or that my fellow teachers trust. I am always getting emails from fellow teachers about sites they have found that are wonderful for lesson plans. How awesome to have these sites on a Searchroll for everyone. Speed of information is the key for teachers and Searchrolls are one more tool in getting great resources in educators hands quickly.

Later in the day.....I am back to Rollyo. Was able to get the Bookmarklet into my Bookmarks bar by putting the address in the URL window and then hitting shift/ctrl and dragging it to bookmark bar. Established a BusyCooks-Recipe searchroll, but somehow lost my searchroll for graphic novels for kids. This has been one of the coolest looking "things" but the most frustrating for me. I have decided I am a very visual person. It would be great to see a video on this activity. Am going searching for one now.

Later in the day....Okay, this is it. Went to TeacherTube and searched Rollyo. Was able to watch a great video by Bruce Goodner on Rollyo and how it works. It was easy to understand and well worth the 11 minutes to watch. Hope it comes in handy for others.