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!