Monday, April 27, 2009
Well, what began as a nine week tutorial turned into a nine month exploration. Granted, I went for long periods where I was much too busy to do any blogging. But occasional topics deserved to be investigated in more depth. I was introduced to many Web tools I had never before encountered and I continue to use them. For example, I had never heard of RSS feeds and now I check the BBC latest headlines RSS feed often. I only touched on certain aspects of other 2.0 tools- Flickr for example. I recently went to New Zealand and would like to put my pictures on Flickr for family to view. These are things I now will be able to do over the summer when I have some free time. I also would like to bookmark more sites into Del.icio.us. The internet is a fascinating place with amazing sites and tools available for everyone to find and use. I continue to discover new sites through classes, collegues and students. As educators and librarians we owe it to our patrons to do our best to keep up with the times- and to share our learning and discovery with all who are on the same quest. I'd like to say thanks for setting up this program- I was able to learn at my own pace and to discover and explore many useful Web 2.0 tools that I might otherwise not have found on my own.
Anyone who uses the works of another needs to be aware of and respect copyright. Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making it easier to legally share, remix and reuse creative works. Instead of "All Rights Reserved" it's "Some Rights Reserved". Creative Commons was founded in 2001 with the support of the Center for the Public Domain. In 2008 there existed an estimated 130 million works licensed under the Creative Commons. This is a great service for people who would like to build on the creativity of others in order to create an entirely new work. To find works available simply go to the Creative Commons website. Firefox has included Creative Commons into it's search engine. I found out just this week that there is now a new copyright symbol associated with Creative Commons - a double c in a circle. I currently show my students a power point presentation on copyright. I need to add another slide to this presentation that covers Creative Commons.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thing 21 is all about podcasts. Unfortunately, the Yahoo link and the podcast alley/podcast.com/podcast.net are all blocked at school. I was able to get to the TechSavvyGirlz podcast but couldn't access the archives for some reason. I did go to the Educational Podcast Network and click on a few sites. TeacherCreatedMaterial was more of a store than a podcast site. I will explore podcasts further when I have time at home to download things. My biggest problem is a slow home computer so downloading is a bit of a trial. I need to research podcasts more thoroughly at another time. On to thing 22- eBooks and AudioBooks. These are also things that I have not looked at enough. Many of my friends are big fans of audio books and love to listen as they commute or just make dinner or work around the house. I haven't incorporated audio books into my life yet although there are great titles out there and they are available for free at the public library. Perhaps this summer I'll check one out and give it a listen. I explored the LibriVox site a bit. I'm actually tempted to volunteer as a reader - I used to do a bit of radio volunteering and I love the idea of voicing different characters. Finding the right book would be critical however. I also went to Fried Beef's Tech site offering the ultimate guide to downloading free books. This truly must be. Not only did it list the top ten sites but there were a couple dozen of sites recommended by readers as well. I checked out a couple- bookcrossing.com and welltoldtales. I'd love to spend more time exploring the other sites listed as well. Again - free book downloads are great- as long as you have a fast and easy way to download them.
Friday, April 10, 2009
In my last post for Thing 19 I neglected to mention Alaska's Digital Pipeline. It's a great resource- I have it linked on my library webpage and I teach all my students how to access it. The Health teachers have found valuable sites using the Health link. The Teen Express section is a favorite of my middle school students (they love the Arctic snowmachine safety site). When introducing the Digital Pipeline I let them explore this section on their own after mentioning the math reference tables and teenreads.com. I also like to show them different web search tools (google Uncle Sam was popular during the election season). Also popular with the 6th graders are some of the sites they find on Kids' Stuff. I have them all bookmark this site on their first library visit. Hopefully the Digital Pipeliine will be available to Alaskans for the foreseeable future. The next exploration, Thing 20, is video sites. I actually have a YouTube account and have about 65 videos posted (I joined back in 2006 and have had quite a lot of fun making my little "vids"). TeacherTube posts educational videos. There are some wonderful little videos posted on this site. You could spend all day looking at videos (as long as you have a computer that will download them quickly- and don't download at school). These videos definitely have their place in the classroom. In fact after checking it this afternoon I was able to recommend a short video on the water cycle to one of our teachers who had just been in to find out what resources we had available. I also saw several cyberbullying videos that would be good to show to 6th and 7th graders. Our art teacher has also used videos from this site. Using short videos to make a point or introduce a subject, whether from TeacherTube or YouTube or some other video sharing site, can make all the difference.
Well- March has come and gone. It's been so long since I've posted that I forgot my password. We completed our SBA testing this week and I finally have a few moments to blog about my exploration into online productivity tools and Library Thing. The former are offered by sites such as Google Docs and Zoho Writer. They allow users to collaborate online simultaneously using applications such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. These documents can be saved online and thus accessed anywhere. I signed up for a Google Docs account because I already have a gmail account and it's easy to access these tools using gmail. In fact I already have the ASD Computer Refresh draft in my account. These tools are not only convenient but becoming essential in a 2.0 world. Our Library Thing assignment was quite fun. I enjoy organizing and cataloging things, so adding my gardening books to my virtual bookshelf was right up my alley. I actually have an extensive gardening collection, so this is just a beginning. I have more books to add someday when my time is not stretched quite so thin.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Well it's been a couple months since I've blogged. The library has been bustling with students and busy nearly every day- which is the way it should be at this time of year. At last I've found time to investigate wikis. I began by going to the most famous wiki of all- Wikipedia. Did you know wiki is Hawaiian for fast? Wikiwikiweb was the first wiki - developed in 1994 by Ward Cunningham to make exchanging ideas between programmers easier. Wikis are forums where people can interact and share, contribute and modify content. These applications have really taken off. I looked at many different wikis for this assignment. PBwiki is a very popular wiki hosting site. 40,000 businesses, 250,000 educational and many personal wikis are developed by folks and hosted by this site. The wikis are as varied and unique as the people who designed them. I was impressed by the many fine library wikis I looked at. Some I've bookmarked for future reference. There was the Library Success: Best Practices wiki (information about library innovations, ideas, and collaboration) the Book Lovers wiki (this may become a favorite), and the Library Bloggers Wiki (with dozens and dozens of library wikis available for perusal) among others. The Discovery Resources on wikis posted on the RavenAboutWeb2.0 site were also helpful. After spending time looking at various library wikis I actually posted to the Learning 2.0 Sandbox wiki. Wikis are tools that have many uses. I'm tempted to begin one focusing on new YA literature and attach it to my library website. Several librarians in ASD have done just that- and I'm very impressed with the results.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
OK. I've given up on weekly blogs- it's been so busy. Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is just two weeks away. I'm fitting my Web 2.0 explorations into a more realistic timeframe. Even though several weeks have gone by since my last post I will simply declare it week 6 and expound on things 13, 14, and 15. Tagging and the Del.icio.us bookmarking site are the first items on the agenda. Adding tags will simply categorize your info and help interested readers find your blogs. Knowing what tags to use is the key. Del.icio.us is a bookmarking site that will help you organize your bookmarks and which also features new sites of interest. I had opened a Del.icio.us account prior to this assignment but had never done much with it. It's a great organizational tool, and one of these days I'll transfer some of my many bookmarks into the site and use it more frequently. Honest. But right now the system I use on my computer works so well for me I haven't had time to change it over. Seriously though - it's a great site to know about and one of these days I'll find myself using it more. Technorati has become one of those bookmarks that I'll add to Del.icio.us someday. I found this site to be a great place to discover blogs of interest and to view breaking news stories. Another site to add to my growing list. The final task for this week was to read a few perspectives on Web 2.0. Several of them were already dated (from 2006). The Horizon Report of 2008 however was extremely informative. It spoke of current trends (grassroots video and collaboration webs, mobile broadband [one billion phones for 6 billion people!!] and data mashups. It also touched on coming trends - how technology is changing scholarship as we know it. It also proposed tha the gap between student and faculty understanding of technology is widening. Thus the need for endeavors such as this. Library 3.0 here we come!