Friday, July 11, 2008

Thing #23 - Summarize Your Thoughts About This Program

1. Online image generator was my favorite “thing” (I thought of so many different ways I can use this resource with my students), but I have to say I spent the most time on blogging. My family and I spent three weeks in Florida this summer and I posted to my personal blog at least once every day. Some days I was blogging more than anything else. Every time I took a picture with my Blackberry my son would say, “we have to wait for mama to blog this before we go!” Great fun.
2. It has made me re-evaluate what I am doing as an educator for my students and how I can make adjustments to my program. I want to continue searching for free online resources that will help me assist my students in their use of technology. I am one of the ones that has had to learn technology as an adult, my students live in a world where they have been totally surrounded by technology their entire life. They HAVE to know how to use these resources or they will be completely left behind not only in the learning, but in the life.
3. Yes, I have found so many different ways I can improve the way I work with students and teachers. I feel like I have learned so much my brain will explode, but now I can take these “things” back to my school and help my teachers become more productive. The time saving aspect of the resources makes this so much more beneficial than I ever dreamed. Thank you!
4. I think this is a great way to learn. I could work on this wherever I am with my computer as long as I had an Internet connection. You never even knew that I was sitting next to my pool getting a great tan! J
5. Most definitely. I appreciate being offered your expertise even though I am not involved in your school district.

6. Enlightening

Thing #22 - Nings

I have been a member of the Texas School Librarian Ning for some time (can’t really remember when I joined, but I was one of the first members). Honestly I have not done a great deal with the site. I would like to, but more than anything else I would like to create a Ning specifically for early childhood librarians. I know we are few and far between, but I think it would be great to have our own little community where we can share ideas that relate only to serving the early childhood community. I would want to be very specific in who is involved in the Ning. I would want it to be school people who service Pre-K and Kindergarten students. I know elementary schools have these grade levels, but I don’t really want to know what they are doing in 3rd and 4th grade and that is what happens too often with a community of people who service older children too. I want to share and gather ideas from other people who are like me and work with the very young children in the public school. I know this is probably being very picky, but if I am going to dream, I might as well dream big. Besides, if I create the Ning, I can have it however I want! Maybe this will be a new project for me…after I have grasped everything I can about the 23 Things.

Thing #21 - Podcasts and Audiobooks

I would like to use podcasts this next school year to promote books to my students as well as to allow the students to "book talk" their favorite books to their friends. I think it would be a great way for the students to interact with technology and promote books to their friends.

I have used Audacity and Camtasia to create instructional videos for my teachers. It is a wonderful resource for staff development follow-up. It gives them the opportunity to go back and review the step by step instructions.

I created a photostory of the 18 years Walter and I have been together. We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary in May. Photostory is a great way for students to show sequencing or tell a story using photographs, whether photos taken my the students or selected by the teacher. It is easier for the student sto use this program than PowerPoint, and just as fun.

***I have tried unsucessfully to upload the video of my photstory. If you can offer any advice, please let me know. Thank you.***

Thing #20 - YouTube and TeacherTube

Since I am an early childhood librarian, I decided to search for early childhood libraries in YouTube. I found the greatest video of a three year old named Azalea and her visit to the Baltimore County Public Library. I loved seeing all of the different things she could do and it justified the importance of my job as an early childhood librarian even more by watching and listening to her interact with all of the resources available in her library. It inspired me to add additional items to the library for the children to have access to during their visits.

I was very disappointed to find no videos on early childhood libraries when I visited TeacherTube. Instead I searched for early literacy and had 20 search results. The majority of the videos were free reading lessons on topics ranging from counting words in a sentence to writing letters. A rather informative video on the different stages of writing would be a very useful tool for teachers who are not familiar with the earliest stages of the writing process.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thing #19 - Web 2.0 Awards List

I was excited to see that a number of the award winning sites were sites in which I am familiar, so more familair than others. I LOVE Facebook. It has become one of my obsessions. When I was recently on vacation, I was having withdrawal because I could not get on Facebook and interact with my friends. Now, I DID download the mobile application so I could e-mail and have limited interaction, but it was not the same. I was so excited when I returned and I could play Scrabulous with my friend in Thailand, scratch my scratch off tickets, play my slots, and work on my Green Patch. I know it sounds crazy, but it is so much fun.

I was also thrilled to see Etsy on the list of award winning sites. My cousin, Charlotte, has her jewelry for sale on this site. It has been a great way for her to sell her jewelry around the world and not just in the tiny west Texas town she lives. I have also found some great handmade items on this site. I can get lost (and spend LOTS of money) for hours on Etsy.

Thing #18 - Online Productivity Tools

I started using Google Docs a few months ago. I love the way I can share documents I have created with others as well as having access to them at all times simply by logging into my Google account.

I have been trying to convince my son to use this resource for some of his school work. I know it
will ease a great deal of his frustration with his working being either at school or at home when he needs it. This way he can access it in both places easily.

What a great tool. Wish I had thought of it!!!

Thing #17 - Rollyo

I'm not sure that I did this whole thing correctly. I have tried to upload my bookmarks three different times. I followed the directions provided, but get a blank screen with "done" in the lower left corner after every attempt. Once I go back to my Rollyo page, I can't find that the bookmarks have been exported.

I created a searchroll for the upcoming fantasy football season. This will enable me to find the latest results and information I will need during pre-season when I am drafting my team as well as during the season to watch my players and potential pick-ups.

Thing #16 - Wikis

I have used a few wikis in the past in my school. Last year as a school we used a wiki in order to write our school's mission statement. It allowed the entire faculty to have input but gave us the flexibility to do it on our own time. We did not have to constantly meet and discuss what we wanted to say. It also allowed up the ability to go back and review previous posts.

This year instead of forcing my teachers to make a time for a meeting during the day, I would like to set up collaboration wikis. I think it would be a great way to brainstorm ideas and share them not only with the teacher I am currently working with, but also allow other teachers to see what we have done and are doing together in the library. Since collaboration is such an important component, I believe this will not only provide all of us the flexibility to work together, but also give us a chance to provide that input for each other, even if it is in the middle of the night (when I tend to have the best ideas ... and not always a great time for a meeting!). It is also a great way to document this collaborative effort.

Thing #15 - Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and the Future of Libraries

I was tickled by the "just in case" collection metioned in Rick Anderson's post "Away fromth 'Icebergs'. I was in the mindset of having two sets of printed encyclopedias ... for FOUR YEAR OLDS (how crazy am I?), until this past year. I finally got it into my head that, number 1 they can't read anyhow, why have these huge resources in which they will proably NEVER even look (especially where I had to have them on the shelf), and number 2 why not withdraw them and allow the shelf to be used for placing materials that might actually be opened (at least once) by some of our library patrons. I had these resources "just in case" someone needed them. Well, now with the online databases, I didn't feel the need to have these out of date books up on the shelf. Yes, ten years ago someone might have accessed these books, but now they are just not vital to the collection.

I'm really having to think hard about how I can implement 2.0 into my school library. I feel limited as to what I can do because of the age of my students, but I have to remember, I also work with adults. I can take these different "things" and incorporate them into my interactions and teachings with my classroom teachers. Too often I only focus on the children. I need to step back and remember I also serve the facult and staff, as well as the parents in my building. The focus of the 2.0 resources do not simply have to be for the students. They can enhance all areas of the library and all patrons as well. My brain is on overload thinking of all of the different ways I can implement these tasks I have been working on for the past six weeks.

Thing #14 - Technorati and How Tags Work

1. Yes, the results are different. When I did the keyword search, I found information in the blogs on "School Library Learning 2.0", but when I did the tag search, I had fewer results. There were only two blogs. When a blogger is very specific in using tags, the search results are so much more defined. Tagging makes it easier to find what you looking for, but the blogger has to be the one to define their posts with their tags.

2. I had never heard of Boing Boing (most popular blog in the world, as ranked by yet it held the #1 spot on the list of "Top 100 Blogs" and was #5 on the list of "Top 100 Blogs by authority. It was interesting to see how the same blogs seemed to be on the two lists...TechCrunch and Engadget were two others that were in the top 5 of each of the lists. I guess if bloggers use the appropriate authority tags where people can find their information it makes for a much better reader base, makes sense.

3. Technorati seems too difficult for me to completely grasp. Maybe I am not spending enough time exploring the different areas. I guess this would be a great resource for researching a topic in order to find others writing or researching in the same field. I wanted to claim my personal blog on Technorati, but then changed my mind. My blog is not a secret, but I don't know if I would want the world to know everything my friends and family know, even though anyone can access my blog. I guess that is a double standard, but it is how I feel.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thing #13 - Tagging and Discover

I love It has made it so much easier to keep track of the various personal and professional websites I use (some on a daily basis, but most once or twice a month). I especially like being able to access my bookmarks from anywhere. Prior to using I would have a difficult time trying to find the website I needed because the URL was posted in my favorites but I was on the wrong computer. Now, I can be on anyone's computer and have access to all of my favorite websites without having to remember the URL. Now, I need a way to remember all of my various login informaiton in a secure way. I guess that would not be best to have access to online, but at least I would not have to constantly have an e-mail sent to me because I can't remember my username and/ or password! Hmmm...something to create, or maybe it is already out there and I just need to find it!

Thing #12 - Creating Community Through Commenting

1.A. Profile name vs. Real name

I have been reading and commenting on my friend's blog for a number of months now. When I make a comment, I have used my real name. This trend started by mistake actually, but I never made the change. When I enrolled as one of her readers, I entered my e-mail address and my name. It didn't occur to me at the time to enter a different name. Now, when I respond to posts on my blog, I always use my profile name. Again, this just happened, but in order to stay consistant I didn't change anything.

1.B. Responding to comments

I always feel the need to respond to a comment someone leaves on my blog. It makes me feel like I am letting the person know I am listening and validating their comments, but don't always post them publicly. If a question is posted, I can provide an answer in this manner, in case other readers have the same question. I like the fact that Draper defends those who do not respond on their blog to comments. I don't think it is necessary to respond to all comments because some of them are simply fluff the reader feels the need to show their appreciation or personal view point. In the same manner, not all comments need to be posted for the world to see. I have set up my blog so I can moderate the comments. If I don't feel it is an important / valid comment I do not publish it on my blog.

2. I responded to the following blogs : Life Long Learning, Paddy Whack, Texas Gal Talks, Kinder2:), Library Lion .

3. My favorite blog to read is my elementary best friend's blog. I try to read it every day. It helps me keep in touch with her and know what she and her family are doing in Thailand (her husband was transferred in January). I love the pictures and her posts are just like talking to her. It really is like sitting down to talk to an old friend. Well, trying to find another blog that I would read for personal interest was a little more difficult. I love so many different things and to limit it on this post to just one was not easy. However, I did find the blog of one of my favorite authors to be most enjoyable. I fell in love with Outlander in the early 90s when my sister-in-law introduced me to them. I love the characters so much that I have been reading the fourth book in the series for the past 7 years. When I pick up the book, I limit myself to only a chapter or two. I don't want the book to end. I know this sounds crazy, but I am very involved in the character's lives.

Thing #11 - LibraryThing

I have been a member of LibraryThing for a while. I started entering books read from January 2006. I love the ability to add tags, record the date the book was read. I am also a member of Shelfari. I believe I enjoy working more on Shelfari because it seems that I can do more in the program with my books. However, I could just feel this way because I have worked with the program more and have figured out how to network.

I introduced this site to my son's Humanities teacher and she had her students set up an account so they could begin entering the books they read over the summer. She has given them the power to share books with each other over the summer, but at the same time makes them accountable to her for their summer reading assignments.

I have been recording the books I have read since I was a child (not consistantly because I am constantly loosing the books in which I record the information). My mother has been recording her books since 1964. In fact this summer I have been entering her books into Shelfari so she can see the books she has read and allow her friends to see them too.

Thing #10 - Online Image Generator

Again I have lost a couple of hours "playing around"! I don't know where the times goes. I had a blast creating all kinds of fun images using the various image gnerators. My favorite was Big Huge Labs. These are some of my favorites.

I love the warholized picture of my son. This is one of my very favorite pictures of him and it really looks cool with this affect.

I created this trading card for our upcoming family reunion. The first card is in memory of my cousin Cynthia. I was with her at this time last year when she found out her breast cancer had spread throughout her body. We were not able to go to our family reunion last year because she was in the hospital. We talked to the family on the phone from her hospital room. This year I would like to give these cards to our family as a remembrance of Cynthia and a reminder that annual mammograms are vital for early detection. She was diagnosed in November 2006. She did not even survive for a year. She was only 37. Too many times women are not allowed annual mammograms through their insurance until they are 40. By that time it might be too late. Cynthia's sister, Charlotte and I have become even more involved in breast cancer awareness since Cynthia's death.

I would love to use the trading cards this next year in order to promote the Texas 2x2 list to my students. I think it would be great to create a trading card for each book and when the students have had the book read to them, they can get the trading card.

I have created the following example from the 2008 list.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thing #9 - Useful blogs

Well now I completely understand how I have lost my husband for hours on end...he's reading blogs!! I have NO idea where the time went. I was playing in Library2Play Land, working on Thing #9 and ended up in a time warp...four hours later, I managed to pull myself back into the real world and post my findings. Unbelieveable. Not only did I find so many professional blogs to read, but I also found some great stuff to read in all of my spare time.

I found Google Blog Search to be the most user friendly for me. Technorati was a little overwhelming, but I did find a great scrapbook blog using it, so it wasn't a total waste. Where I got off track (and almost lost) was when I started looking through the bloggers blog rolls. I wanted to see what they were reading. At one point, I was so deep into the blogs of the readers of the blog readers that I was reading I just had to stop and say enough is enough. Now, I think I'm confused!

Anyway, the best part is that I found out that if I want to get my husband's attention I need to write a really awesome blog and make sure HE has it on his RSS feed!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thing #8 - RSS Feeds

For a long time now, my dear husband - W, has been trying to convince me to use RSS for reading various blogs. He continuously said it is so much easier for them to come to you, then for you to go to them. So...I set up a Bloglines account about a year ago, well, maybe not THAT long ago, it just feels that way. I found SO many different blogs I was interested in reading, it became ridiculous. Now I am starting all over again. This time I am going with Google Reader to make everything a little easier to maintain with my blog and e-mail.

Then, I went to TechNet 2008 today and this great presenter, Jesse, said in order to maintain control over the blogs you read, keep your subscriptions down to 20 or fewer. Well, I can do that for professional stuff, but what about all of my personal interests? I want to read about the Dallas Cowboys, keeping up with my family and friends through their blogs, not to mention on the new stuff in the scrapbook world. Okay, Jesse, I will give it to you. 20 subscriptions for PROFESSIONAL blog reading really does sound reasonable. Am I really going to read all of these blogs? I hope so. They all sound interesting or I would not have subscribed to them!

So...I have narrowed it down (for now) to 9 (2 personal and 7 professional). I'm sure I will come across others I simly will not be able to do with, but for now, these are the ones I plan to focus my attention.

I love the fact the information comes to me, and I don't have to remember to visit the sign in order to get the new information. In my school, I plan to use RSS feeds in order to keep more informed on new technologies and ways libraries can incorporate them. I believe my teachers will gain a great deal by subscribing to early childhood sites of interest to them, so I will be showing them how to create their own lists in the fall.

I believe libraries can use this resource as a great promotional tool for their libraries. For libraries consistently posting to blogs, this is a great way to freely advertise special events, lectures, readings, etc.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thing #7 - Googling Around

Some many Google Gadgets and so little time!

Let's see...which ones do I focus on for this post...

Google Alerts - I happen to use this one just this week. A friend was killed in a tragic accident, so I made sure that I would receive any new information that was posted on the Internet. My husband uses this great resource to keep tabs on the activities of our college age nieces...honors, productions, etc.

iGoogle - I love the flexibility I have in creating a page with all of "my stuff". I can access my e-mail, find out the local weather, monitor my calendar, read news feeds, and chat with my friend in Thailand all from this one page.

Google Docs - What a cool way to create and share documents. I especially love the survey creation tool. All of the information can be easily posted into a spreadsheet once the requested participants complete the survey. How cool! Plus the fact you can create a wide variety of questions and answer possibilities.

Last, but by no means least...I guess my ABSOLUTE favorite...Google Earth. I have used this resource so many times with my Pre-K students over the past two years. They love "flying" across the ocean to different countries. When we were studying cultures of other countries, the students could see how far countries such as Australia, Africa, and China are from Texas. Going from the actual globe in my library to the Internet and Google Earth, I believe my students will be able to remember this unit of study better than others because of the experience of "flying" around the world. When we studied the winter Olympics back in 2006, I flew my students from our campus (the rooftop) to the stadium in which the opening ceremonies took place. They were amazed when we compared the pictures of the opening ceremonies to the actually building we could see on Google Earth. It was an experience I will always remember because of their excitement over the unit.

Thing #6 - Teaching with Mashups

Wow! I could play in the Big Huge Lab for days! As a scrapbook queen, I could go to town on some of these projects. Now, as a librarian for four-year-olds, there are a number of toys we could play with during the school year. I know my students would get a kick out of taking a picture and then creating a jigsaw puzzle out of it. And how cool would it be for the kids to take pictures of each other and then create their very own pocket photo album or calendar. This would even be great to use for a Christmas or Mother's Day gift (sorry Dad's don't you know you have to have your special day during the school year in order to get a gift!).

I'm also intrigued by the badge maker. Our students are required to wear an I.D. badge everyday (at the beginning of the year this can be the only way to know a child's name...they don't always know it, or remember it), however, it would be really cool for them to create their own Press Pass. As they walk through the halls interviewing the workers at the school, they would look so official!

My head is going to explode with all of the cool ideas I have for next year...teacher's TechFusion, here we come!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Thing #5 - Flickr

I have been using Flickr for some time now to share photos. The best parts are the tagging and sharing features. I love the fact that I can enter keywords and locate pictures so quickly and easily. My TALL Texans class of 2006 posted pictures to Flickr so we could share, not only our experience, but the pictures we had such a great time taking of each other. There is no way I could have taken all of the pictures I wanted to take, but my friends shared their photos, giving me more photos than I could put into two scrapbooks!

The tagging feature makes it so easy to locate just the right pictures, and sometimes, just the wrong ones too. The groups allow members to share photos among themselves while keeping other's eyes from viewing the photos. It is a sharing community in which all members can view the picture .

I was not familiar with the Creative Commons Site, but quickly discovered there were quite a few kanagroo pictures to choose from for this post. I collect kangaroos, because my school's mascot is the kangaroo. My students love to see kangaroos and I have them all over my library. I thought this was a unique picture. I love the reflection. Not only would this be a great photo to use with the children at the beginning of the year when talking about our mascot, but also a great way to demonstate mirror image.
I know Flickr will be a site I use, not only to share my family photos but also to search for photos for instructional purposes.

Thing #4 - Registered

I have officially registered. No, not to vote, well actually, yes I have registered to vote, but I mean to get back in the game. I don't want to be in "Time Out" any longer! I want to be with the other "kids" and explore this world wide web. Here I go.

Thing #1 - Better Late (and out of order) Than Never

In Thing #2 I listed two of the hardest parts of the "7 1/2 Habits". Since I didn't really follow directions on that (list one!) what makes anyone think I will continue to abide by the rules. Just call me rebel. At least I'm getting back to it...the easiest of the habits...obviously that one is easy for me...PLAY!

I love to play. Read the directions, you've got to be kidding. When I watched my son open a new game and search through the box for the instructions, I really though he was someone else's child! Read the instructions, no way! You've got to fiddle with it, push a few buttons, and play with it in order to figure out how something works. I can do this! I know I can. Just give me some time and I will have this whole thing figured out...eventually!

Thing #3 - My Blog

Well, I have created my work space to record my play time activities. Actually, I created another blog just for myself too. I have wanted to do this for some time, and just never took the time to do it. This was the perfect opportunity to do it. I think I am making more work for myself, but this way, I can record play time here and life there and the two shall not be mixed (yeah right!).

The best part about setting up my personal blog (I actually discovered it while "playing" with that one, not this one) is that I can post from my Blackberry! How cool is that? I can even take pictures and upload them to my blog. This is getting better and better all the time. Maybe I am just easily amused.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Thing #2 - Life Long Learning

Let's see, the hardest habit...hmmm...I think I would have to say "viewing problems as challenges" would have to be the most difficult habit for me. I usually look at problems as roadblocks instead of challenges. I figure, hey, I'm not on Survivor! I don't need any challenges to stop me in my tracks. Let me keep running with the ball and don't tackle me!

I have to admit though, I also have a difficult time with confidence in myself. If you know me, I guess most people would say that can't be true, but believe me...if you were inside my head you would know that there is such a jumble of "stuff" up there it's hard to believe I can keep anything straight! I am constantly second guessing myself. This blog for example. Who in their right mind would want to read this? Come on, I tend to ramble...see!?!

For the past eight months, I have been reading the blog of my best friend from elementary school. She and her family were transplanted to Thailand recently. I love reading all of the things they are doing, learning, exploring, etc., but it makes me think ... who would possibly want to read about my adventures, or lack thereof?

Oh, well. I am determined to entertain someone, even if it is only myself. Hey, I'm going to Disney soon. Maybe I will invite Mickey and his firiends to create a post!

Bye for now...going to go play!