Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thing #23 - The End

This entire experience gave me a much broader knowledge of what is out there today in the world of technology. We have a technology teacher at our school, so I think I more or less left it up to her to be up on all the latest information. How wrong was I in thinking that! I love the idea of returning to my school library in the fall armed with all the knowledge I learned from this Library2Play experience.

My favorite discoveries were Teacher Tube and how to create a podcast using
PlayStory3.

I was so glad I was able to complete this exercise, and it gives me confidence in doing similiar type computer courses in the future.

I was surprised at how much I didn't know about information technology available through the Internet. I hope our HISD Library Services department addresses this in the next school year.

I thought the program was well planned and well layed out, but that some of the exercies needed a little more explanation for novice computer users. But, the exercises were called "discoveries" and I felt being able to figure it out on my own made it more meaningful to me and helped me in remembering the steps that I did to complete each exercise.

I would most likely participate in another discovery exercise, depending on the length of the overall program and what time of year it was done. I was able to do this during my summer vacation; I don't see being able to do it during the school year unless I had longer than nine weeks to complete it.

A sentence to sum it all up - "What a great learning experience for this 52 year old elementary school librarian!"

Thing #22 - Nings

I visited the Teacher Librarian Ning and the Texas School Librarian Ning web sites and liked the Teacher Librarian web site the best. It seemed to have more members and I liked the way the posts were set up, but I didn't join it at this time. I did, however, join the Texas School Librarian Ning just to take a look around the site, but wasn't overly impressed. To be honest, I don't feel either of these sites would be something I would visit on a regular basis. I understand the concept and the need for such sites, but I still have the problem of posting either questions or comments to blog sites. I guess if I was in a small school district, I could see the advantage of having a group of librarian friends to discuss topics of interest with and share ideas. But, being in a school district the size of Houston ISD, I have a close network of library friends and we meet on our own every couple of months just to share ideas, discuss issues in our school libraries, give advice and support, and really work at making our libraries some of the best in the district.
Overall, I just feel I am much more likely to use Teacher Tube than one of these Ning sites.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Thing #21 - Creating a Podcast

video

This lesson was so frustrating, but I was determined to figure out all the problems I encountered and I finally did it! I even tried calling my very "computer savvy" daughters and they said they didn't know anything about creating a podcast, so now I know something they don't.

I used several photos that I had taken while on a trip to New York last summer. I created it using PlayStory3. I had hoped to download the Frank Sinatra version of "New York, New York" but could never quite figure it out, so I gave up and used this music background which was one of the options provided on PlayStory3. So, although this music was not my first choice, I think it turned out okay. Also, I wanted to use more pictures, but the blog only allows you to post videos that are less than 100 MB. I spent a lot of time editing this until I got it right and was able to get it to download.

I think this would be a great thing to teach older students in a computer class, and I hope to create a few videos like this one to share in my library classes now that I know what I am doing. I thought of several different themes that would be fun to create on my own for use in my lessons. What a great way to incorporate music and art into lessons.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thing #20-Exploring You Tube and Teacher Tube

video

I really enjoyed this video and thought it would be a great icebreaker video to show to my older elementary age students at the beginning of the school year.

I found another video on You Tube which I really enjoyed. It is a Classic Sesame Street short called "No Cookies in the Library." I plan on showing it to my younger students at the beginning of the school year. Unfortnately I have been unable to download it here to my post. I will keep working on it and hope I will have success.

I didn't know there was a Teacher Tube until I began the Library2Play exercise. I found so many things that could be used throughout the school year for both the teachers and students. There were several I liked that I viewed as inspirational videos which I plan on showing to our principal as something the staff might view at one of our beginning of the school year staff meetings.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thing #19 - Web 2.0 Award Winners

I looked at several of the award winner and found I liked the Lulu, Yelp and the LiveMocha web sites.

I didn't know there is a web site where you can publish your own books. Our school did this just this past March when we had two 2nd grade classes write a book about poems about Holidays and we sold the book at our 50th Anniversary Celebration. The book was published by children's author Vuthy Kuon's publishing company out of New York. His company did the cover design for us and we chose the title and cover color. They did all the rest of the designing for us as far as the layout of the poems, student photos and student biographies. I feel the pro to using Lulu would be you only purchase what you sell and you have more control of the overall design of the book. I feel one of the cons would be how difficult it would be to design the book. I visited their forum and there seemed to be a lot of people writing in with problems in trying to create their books. I plan on checking into Lulu further because we plan on having one grade each year work together in creating their own book. The two classes who did the publishing this past year loved it and other classes were asking to do the same. It really is a way to motivate students to write, and they love seeing their creations actually published in a "real live book." The title of the book we did for our 50th Celebration is "From Confetti to Candy Canes: A Collection of Holiday poems and haikus."

I also liked Yelp for my own personal use because I like reading reviews posted by real people. To check it out, I checked reviews for restaurants in Boston since I will be traveling there the end of the month. In reading the different reviews, it seemed like most of them were posted by the college age crowd. It might be helpful if you could search reviews based on gender, age, likes and dislikes, but that might be too much to ask. Anyway, I will probably visit it again but I still like my old standby web site, Tripadvisor.com.

I had heard of LiveMocha but was under the impression it cost money. I was surprised to find out it was free! I signed up for beginning Spanish classes and invited my two daughters to join. I also plan on making the teachers and staff at my school aware of this web site. Our school currently serves students speaking about twenty different languages, so this could be a valuable tool for our school community.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thing #18 - Online Productivity Tools

Well, I looked at both Google Docs. and Open Office and really don't see the need for either of them if you already have Microsoft Office installed on your computer. I did like Google Docs better because it allowed you to open a document already saved on your computer, but I still don't see the need for that option. I guess the ability to share documents is the biggest plus. Perhaps teachers could download homework sheets, share it with students so they could complete the exercise, then print out their work. But that is similar to what you can do with Wikis so I don't really see the point. The only application I could really see is if you were on a computer that did not provide Microsoft Word, you could go to this site and would be able to create documents such as a PowerPoint presentation, Excel sheet, word document, etc... also, Open Office did provide translation to different languages. If I were a frequent business traveler, it might be great to have in a pinch.

Thing #17 - Rollyo

Once again, I learned about something I never knew existed. I sat up my Rollyo account and decided to use travel sites on my search engine. My husband and I travel ALOT and I do all our reservations over the Internet. Having my own Rollyo account now allows me to search so much faster and easier. Instead of visiting half a dozen different sites, I can search them all at once and narrow down my searches by keyword. For example, we are going to Boston this month so I did a keyword search for Boston under all my chosen search engines and was amazed at how quickly and easily could locate information I needed for our trip.

The link to my Rollyo Travel Account is http://rollyo.com/tjcoult/travel_tools/. I am sure it could be improved upon, but I think I am off to a great start and this is definitely something I will be using whenever I travel.

For my school library, I am thinking I could add a link to my library web site and have search engines that my students would be interested in, for example, author web sites, encyclopedias, dictionaries, book reviews, etc... I will take time to think about it and research various tools before the school year begins.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Thing #16 - Wikis

I managed to make a post to the SBISD Sandbox and I also signed up for my own account. As I dicussed in my Sandbox post, I love the way Wikis cut down on e-mails. I didn't even know such a thing existed! I just finished my library schedule for next year and it became so complicated when trying to coordinate my schedule around everyone else's schedules. It would have been much easier for myself, the computer teacher and the science lab teacher to workout our schedules had we done it on a wiki space, rather than sending dozens of e-mails back and forth. I definitely plan on using a wiki space next year for our scheduling. As far as using Wikis with my students, I could see having the older students working collaboratively on a research project that I set up for them. Much like the 4 campers in the tutorial video, I could create a project, give them a list of things to discover, assign each of them a job, then let them finish the project by adding, editing and deleting as needed among the group. It is something to think about as I do my planning for the next school year.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Thing #15 - The Future of Libraries

I watched the Teacher Tube video and I thought about my own college experience back in the early 70's. Things were pretty much the same back then in regards to the cost of textbooks you may never use, the cost of tuition, worrying about paying back loans, etc...The biggest and most obvious difference of course is the technological changes. It would have been great back then to have Internet access, phone service, and music at my fingertips 24 hours a day. I guess what I am trying to say is, I don't really feel too sorry for today's college students.

I read all five perspectives, and I enjoyed reading all of them. The one that I felt applied to me most at this time was the "Away from Icebergs." My school is slated to be torn down and rebuilt within the next two years, and I am really excited, and nervous, about my new library.

Mr. Anderson's quote "As a Web 2.0 reality continues to emerge and develop, our patrons will expect access to everything – digital collections of journals, books, blogs, podcasts, etc. You think they can’t have everything? Think again. This may be our great opportunity." With technology growing by leaps and bounds, I hope that my brand new library won't be outdated by the time they get it built. I am trusting in my school district and our Library Services team to make sure that doesn't happen.

Thing #14 - Technorati

I went to the Technorati web site and tried doing a search for School Library 2.0 and got an error message. I tried again and got the same results. So I gave up and tried exploring some of the most popular blogs, searches and tags, but didn't really find anything of interest to me. Again, it is that part of me that has a hard time being interested in someone else's opinions, ideas, or interests - when I don't even know them. I did go ahead and claim my blog as part of one of the optional "things" to do, but I don't feel I would return to this web site any time soon to try to share anything.

I liked Del.icou.us better than Technorati as far as a place to post my tags and share my favorite web sites. Right now, I can't see a way to use Technorati in my elementary school library, but I may change my mind once I have a chance to explore the sight a little bit more. I think it would have been helpful if the assignment for this "thing" had been a little more in depth. I more or less felt like a tourist who had been dropped off in the middle of London, England, without a tour guide or map and told to go explore every popular sight in the city.