Monday, August 31, 2009

Thing 23 -- Reflection

Wow! I'm finished! What a great journey! I've come a long way and learned many things. Although there are some technologies I likely won't ever use again, I plan on returning to this blog to relive some of these experiences and develop more expertise with certain Things.

I think a few of my favorite Things were the mashups and image generators. I can't wait to start playing around with those to incorporate them into my library webpage and blog for promoting programs and books. I also want to do more with blogging in general. I want to create my own videos of booktrailers to post, as well as create wikis for instruction and collaboration. I'd like to team up with some teachers to put together some projects with podcasts and other Web 2.0 technology.

I may not ever spend much time "Tweeting" or on Ning or Digg, but I've certainly gained a lot of knowledge regarding what these things are and how crucial they are in today's society. In order to prepare the future generations, we have to teach young learners how to be effective users and creators of information. We also must teach them Internet safety, how to evaluate online information and sources, and we must allow them to grow and develop their skills as "digital natives" in a highly diital world.

Thing 22 -- Creating My Own 23 Things

I have learned so much by stepping out of my comfort zone to participate in this program. It would be simple enough to replicate for the faculty/staff at my own school. I might not get much participation at first, but I think once people see and realize the value of this technology and these resources, they will want to continue to stretch themselves as learners and educators.

If I were to create a similar program, I don't know if I would include the same types of activities. Some of the Things, although interesting to me, did not seem the best idea to test out so quickly. I think I'll need time to absorb and adjust to everything I've learned this summer through the NT 23 Things before I begin to develop my own version to share with others.

Thing 21 -- Podcasts

There are huge applications for podcast technology. I envision a daily/weekly podcast feed in a school library that promotes literature through booktalks. I see using podcasts as a way to explain certain procedures or talk a person through a process. Students could create podcasts in lieu of bookreports, as a way to share their own reviews of books they are reading. They can also be used to keep up with news and information updates.

I listened to a few different podcasts. The one I spent the most time listening to is Teacher Librarians, produced by Julie Darling. These started with a brief musical intro, followed by interviews with library media specialists or other experts in the profession. They ranged in length from 7 minutes to 30 minutes. The information was quite useful, but there were only 3 episodes. I'd like to see more episodes that are shorter in length. These podcasts were relevant and informative regarding the future of the school library profession, the application of Web 2.0 technology in schools, and the new AASL standards. The sound quality was in and out, and there was a lot of background noise during the interviews because of the conference setting.

I also listened to Booktalks Quick and Simple. These short clips give a sneak preview of new books by providing a very brief booktalk. This could be a great tool to use in the library to promote reading and literature. I will not subscribe to it, but I see a lot of great bookstalks in the archives.

The SLJ Podcast feed has tons of great episodes. They are like little mini articles that are read to you. The poetry series are fun, and the professional information can be quite useful. Once I am more comfortable with podcast technology, I might subscribe to this one.

At first I couldn't figure out how to listen to the podcast. It seems that iTunes is a necessary piece of software, and unless the user knows and is familiar with it, it is not intuitive to figure out how to listen to a podcast without having to download or subscribe.

I think I might try to discuss podcasting with one of the fifth grade teachers at my campus. I would be interested in collaborating with her to get the kids to create podcasts of the synthesis of their learning as a way to share out their research and recommend/review books they have read. I'm not sure if I'm up to the task, but it seems like a worthwhile project that could incorporate a lot of information literacy skills.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Extra Thing -- Shelfari

Although this is officially not part of the 23 Things, it is definitely worth mentioning on this blog. Shelfari is an interactive, social bookshelf. It is kind of similar to LibraryThing. It allows you to create a bookshelf with books you have read, are currently reading, or plan to read. You can rate books, tag them, and write reviews. Like most social networking sites, you can have friends and join groups. You can see what friends are reading and what they think of something to help you decide what to read next. I've added the Shelfari widget to my blog so you can see what it's like.

I know a teacher librarian who has used it with a class for the students to write reviews and share books with their peers. It seems like a great idea! I couldn't let the opportunity to share this Web 2.0 technology with someone pass me by. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thing 20 -- YouTube

YouTube is a powerful tool that reaches millions of people very quickly. The only problem is that many district filters block it, so it isn't accessible to students. As a librarian, I hold the power to override the filter. My district has come a long way, making improvements by now having tiered filtering. Teachers can now access a lot of the Web 2.0 and social networking sites (such as YouTube) that were formerly blocked to everyone, but they are still blocked for students, and teachers still don't have access to everything.

Most of theYouTube videos that I watched using the recommended search terms for this Thing were short videos promoting libraries and library resources. I got a little bit sidetracked by the bookcart drill teams, but I quickly found my way back to my mission of perusing library related videos. Some that stuck out were "TextShare Databases," "School Library Media Specialist--My Library-My Life," a stop animation video by Carlton Middle School Library. Some of the videos I found could be used to teach a concept or skill, and several discussed the concept of plagiarism. I got a few good ideas about making videos for my own library by searching through YouTube and the suggested videos that came up. Maybe creating movies can be a project for this school year, or if it's as crazy as last year, it may have to wait until the summer.

Another thing I'd like to try my hand at is making book trailers. There are quite a few good ones available on YouTube. I think I'll add a trailer for Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book to my school library blog. YouTube is a good host for book trailers, and it is a good source to search to see if one is already available. I attended a session called "Amp Up your BookTalks" at the TLA conference this past year to learn how to make book trailers and use them to promote reading, so that is definitely a goal of mine for the upcoming year.

I'll end with this YouTube video that I think sums up what we have been learning in these past few months with the 23 Things. I believe this manifesto rings true. It is not for the close minded or easily offended, but for those who embrace change, the power of information, and intellectual freedom.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thing 19 -- Google Docs

What a useful set of applications! These are tools that can be applied in so many different scenarios, both personal, professional, and educational! I tried a variety of different applications. I created a document and inserted an image (although I couldn't figure out how to put it into landscape mode), I created a spreadsheet and forms, and I even created a presentation about my 23 Things. It's only in its infancy, and I created it in minutes, so it's far from perfect.

I only spent a few minutes creating each document. The tools are relatively simple to use. They don't provide as many complex functions as the Microsoft Office tools, but the sheer fact that you can share, publish, and collaborate with them so easily makes it pretty exciting! I also like the fact that you can save things as PDF files. Those files can be read by just about anyone, so no more worrying about whether the files your sending are compatible with the recipient's word processing software. You also don't have to worry about anyone changing your original, either. On the other hand, if you want people to help you edit, or if you are collaborating with someone and want them to add their input, you can invite them to edit the document and they can change it how they want! It's great!

The Google Docs Blog has some great tips for further uses of these applications. I'm pretty excited about the things that can be done. Maybe ILL requests, collaboration/lesson request forms could be used (I created some, but I haven't figured out if they'll work the way I want yet--still in the testing phase). I love the fact that you can create a presentation and embed it into a website. That will be great as a teaching tool. I'll be able to share things with teachers and students in a whole new way! Amazing! My husband told me about Google Docs last week when he used it for the first time to create a new resume. He was thoroughly impressed, and now I am too!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thing 18 -- Wikis

I am a seasoned wiki user. I have even edited a Wikipedia article in the past. I think that article was re-written, because now the text is not even nearly what it used to be and I'm not even in the history anymore. It was an article about a band my husband was in, and the creator had misspelled his name. Lame. But now, his name is no longer in the text of the article like it was before, it is down in the list of band members. In the comment portion, there were comments about possible copyright infringement because the cover art for the albums were there listed as "fair use" but with no explanation of how. I thought that was interesting. I'm not sure who created the article or who changed it, or even if the original article was deleted and re-created. Who knows.

I enjoyed looking around at some of the 23 Things wiki pages, especially the link I found under BCR. I think I'll have to go back to that one to look at the presentations and technology links, as well as her information about collaboration and information literacy. As a school librarian, all of that stuff will be useful as I jump into the world of wikis. I think I might use a Wiki to create a WebQuest. That would be fun, huh? Maybe I'll use a wiki for research projects and students can post their research to the wiki. There are lots of potential uses for this technology.

I created a wiki page using Wet Paint. You can read all about it here. You can also read about my other experiences creating wikis here. And if you just want to know more about my interests and hobbies, click here.