Thursday, July 31, 2008

Done and Done, but not DONE IN!

It has been one wild ride and I have so many new tools and ideas to use with the students in my new library this year! I have mostly enjoyed the course and hope to participate in similar processes in the future!
Now I am going to cuddle with my furry friends, Willow and Onyx, who have been most patient as I spent hour after hour at the computer!

Thing #21: Podcasts and Audio Books (yet another attempt!)

One more try!

I can hardly believe it! After over ten hours of work on this I finally am able to post this Photostory! I finally got hold of a friend who shared with me that Photostory saves a separate file in your "My Videos" folder and that is where you need to upload from! I have been so frustrated over this! I hope the rest of the group can get this done. I will try to visit the blogs of those who I see are having this same problem and give them this VITAL piece of information!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thing #23 Summarize Your Thoughts about This Program

This is so NOT the end!

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

Social networking in a variety of forms has been a real eye-opener for me! I especially am grateful for and the many fun tools on Big Huge Labs.

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
I am more confident. I feel I can find the help I need out there for almost anything I need and I can also have a voice. I fully intend to continue my learning--after all web 3.0 is on the horizon!

Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
The ways I can use this with my hobbies and family were an added bonus. Also I have begun developing "relationships" with folks all over the country! This I had not even considered before starting!

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

With so many participating, perhaps form smaller groupings that could support each other through this. I saw many by visiting their blogs who left the experience early on. Could this perhaps have been due to the lack of contact with others who could empathize with the experience? I know I was often frustrated by the lack of comments on my blog entries. Also once I hit the brick wall with the podcast issue, I was totally flumuxed when I could get no live help. A little more involvement from the "leaders" of this course would be most helpful!

If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?

Yes. I understand there is more to learn! And having the learning mapped out and incremented for me is very helpful!

How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities?
This has been an eye and mind-opening experience!

Other Players' blogs?

Can't wait to see what others say!

Thing #22: Nings

Oh could I ever get into "Ninging"! I had such fun looking at possibilities for it. I saw several school nings--most notable for me were some of the following. One of these offered students, staff and parents a place to practice English! Another gave teachers and librarians a place to learn and use Spanish! I discovered tons of librarian nings and pages of them centered on my passion of scrapbooking, including this one that uses scrapbooking in education! I've no doubt one could find a ning on any subject possible.
What I like about it is the chance for the members to "design" and "run" the site themselves. This is the one major aspect of this Library 2.0 journey that really appeals to me. I can see our school establishing a ning for our community. I can see us using Nings for students to communicate, create and collaborate on units of study.
This may also be the best way for my far-flung family to keep up with each other.
The problem I see not only with nings, but also with all the feeds and subscriptions, etc... is management. My friend remarked to me yesterday, "Do you realize how many user names and passwords I now have?" After I laughingly agreed, I expressed my concern at keeping up with all of this. One post I saw today spoke of "weed whacking" RSS feeds and subscriptions. And so many of the nings, blogs and wikis I have previewed during this experience had had no posts in months (in some cases, years!) And there were so many that were little more than personal pages ala MySpace--only one to three members since inception. But perhaps I am getting into Thing #23!

Almost There!

I can hardly believe that I am almost "done" with my 23 things! (I know I will never really be done since this is a life-long learning experience!) My library partner and I have plans for the podcast/vidcast thing coming up next. We hope to work on and complete tomorrow! (See my crossed fingers?) Will post as soon as it is ready!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thing #21: Podcasts and Audio Books

Although I have done podcasts before, I am not what I would call proficient--the kids are MUCH better at it than I! Since I will not have a regular class with 4th and 5th grade students in the library this year, I thought it would be fun to do a podcast that introduces them to the new library features this year and gives them a library tour. We are writing a grant to purchase i-pods or mp3 players for our students to use in the library, so this will be a good intro to them!
We spent most of today creating our photostory and recording it.When we tried to upload to Switchpod, we ran into major problems. The site would not respond to our registration and finally I sent an e-mail to their support staff. The response time is supposed to be 2 hours--at this posting it has been over 3 hours and I still have not heard from them. We will need to find another hosting site or not complete this thing!

Thing #20: YouTube, TeacherTube and Zamzar

I was already familiar with You Tube and Teacher Tube and have used both. But I had a great time playing on Blinx and saved a few fun videos for later. There are so many quality videos out there and these sites will also be a forum for our students and teachers to share their own work. I found this video on laboratory safety, which although aimed at high school, would be fun for elementary kids to watch and discuss. as they get ready to experience the science lab this year!

I found this video on You Tube and thought it related well with our topic. This librarian has been on this same journey!

I converted this file with Zamzar and it only took me two tries to upload it into the blog! Let me know what you think!

Thing #19: Web 2.0 Awards List

This is exhausting! And I am falling into the researchers trap (or paradise depending on your perspective!) I started with Craigslist just because I had heard of it before. I found myself fascinated with the things people were discussion in the forums section. The home page itself is daunting, but well-organized. But Oodle on the other hand was much more attractive. I was able to follow a thread to find help for my Mom in dealing with the feral cats that are inhabit ting her property in Grimes County. I was able to narrow my searches geographically in both of these directories. As far using these tools in school, I imagine I could use them to focus on field trip possibilities, events and services such as puppet shows and such. This is not a tool I would put in the hands of elementary school children, but certainly something the teachers might find helpful.
I could see students having a great time with My Heritage! Simply building a family tree would not only be fun but help them see their relationships in a graphic manner. This would foster communication as they can add birth and death dates and relationships! I created my own family tree and family website. It needs a lot of work still, but I created this in under 30 minutes!
I will be sharing Colorblender with all my art teacher friends (as well as with my scrapbook friends and home dec friends, etc...) This is a great way to preview a color scheme. Plus it is just plain fun! The students would love it. It is easy and free! When my third graders get ready to put together their history fair visuals, I will introduce them to this site!
Susan's blog mentioned that this activity opened a Pandora's box for her! (I SO agree!) Well, I was hooked on Pandora music when I opened the site and it was playing a Peter, Paul and Mary song. I was able to find MY kind of music and it was fairly easy and fun. The students will love this.
Now I think Yahoo Pipes is just what I need to help filter all this "stuff" I am getting as a result of this course. I can tell it what I want and it will give me only specified content from the sites to which I have subscribed. This looks like one I can use! As students do research, they could narrow their "feeds" to only those topics that relate to their topic/theme. This one is in my basket!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thing #18: Online Productivity Tools

I already have used Google Docs. I have shared power points and other docs with colleagues. This is a great way to collaborate and quickly make sure everyone gets the document.
I see a great value in Open Office. Countless times I have sent items created in Microsoft Office only to have the recipients tell me they could not open them! The products look every bit as good as the Microsoft office products and it is all free! I love that! And I don't know how it got there, but I already have a shortcut for it on my desktop!

Thing #17: Rollyo

This is exactly what I have been wanting and needing! I have created document after document of search links for teachers and students only to have them lost and difficult to edit! Rollyo makes this a much more dynamic and easily update-able tool! I created a Search Engine for our third grade History Fair researchers. So far, I only have 2 sites on it, but will add to it before I actually "roll" it out with the students! It was easy and Bruce Goodner's video was INVALUABLE, in making this not only understandable, but very simple to do! Thanks Bruce!

Thing #16: Wikis

Wiki, wiki, wiki! It sounds like the call of some exotic bird! I am so excited about the possibilities of wikis. Our third graders will be doing History Fair research for the fist time this year and I propose to have them work in groups using wikis to share and publish their information. I believe this will enhance their experience, plus having this "public" will encourage them to do better work! (I can dream can't I?)
I posted the required comment in the SBISD sandbox wiki and loved the Common Craft video on Wikis in Plain English. This was so clear and helpful.
I also plan to create a wiki for our subgroup of librarians in HISD so that we can meet, plan and converse outside of our 2 face to face meetings (that's all the principals will allow us)!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

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

The quote from Marshall MacLuhan at the start of the video struck a chord in me. When I taught Mass Communication at the outset of my career in education, we read MacLuhan's book The Medium is the Message. My high school students and I explored this idea and worked at becoming more literate where the seduction, especially of advertising, was concerned. However dire MacLuhan's predictions were, they have come to pass and I remain hopeful that this Web 2.0 journey in which we are all engaged (even my 82-year-old mother who refuses to use the Internet, but is slowly embracing her cell phone!)will produce positive results. I have been excited to discover like-minded folks out there whose stories are compelling and uplifting. Through the tools, I have found ways to connect with family and friends in exciting ways that allow us to share images as well as text and do it quickly and efficiently. (As I prepare this post, my great-nephew and I are having a text-messaging conversation!)
As to the implications for my profession and more to the point for the students at my school, Although web 2.0 has been around for over 3 years, I feel that the library discussion has only just begun. We are so behind and we have to get up to speed and FAST! My library partner and I have a lot of work to do and only one year in which to prove ourselves! I am loving the "user-driven" aspects of Library 2.0. However, I found little, so far, saying how this is to be accomplished in elementary school libraries. Ours is indeed an "inner city" school whose students have limited access to the hardware and infrastructure we are using except through our school. Our state technology standards do not adequately address this--we as librarians need to take the lead and do it and show others how. That is at any rate our plan.
I have always believed that libraries need to be available at "point of need" and to this end, I have been available to my patrons through my lunch and planning times and both before and after school. But for us to accomplish integration of the Library 2.0 tools into our curriculum and practice, we will need to articulate, recruit collaborators (teachers, staff, students and parents), discuss, plan and adapt. Our elementary school library must become both the training and proving ground for our students and the larger community, providing the connections, the forums and the means!
MacLuhan was warning us with the following quote.
"...might not our current translation of our entire lives into the spiritual form of information seem to make of the entire globe, and of the human family, a single consciousness?"
I find it not a dire prediction, but a statement of hope that through world-wide connections, we can become a world community that values all life on the planet.
Now, I must attend to a smaller life on the planet, our cat "Chien" is begging for attention and a treat. I think I'll go reconnect with the furry reality!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pamela Zimmerman is my Cousin!

My cousin Pamela Zimmerman is a fiber artist extraordinaire! I am so proud to be related to this talented woman! She has an exhibit opening at a gallery in Raleigh, N.C. this week. I love her "Catching the Moon" series! Hope you enjoy checking out her work!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thing #14: Technorati and How Tags Work

I get tags and I think they are terrific! As a die-hard librarian, I have suffered with kids trying to get them to "think" intellectually about the things for which they are searching--to think how it should be listed in a catalog. Tags are more user-driven and will be MUCH easier for students (especially elementary) to use!
I regiestered my blog with technorati and also installed two of the widgets. One so that people can add my blog to their technorati favorites and the other to create a tag cloud.
I am getting more comments posted and am loving that! It is amazing to see who comments and what they have to say! I have a fellow scrapbooker from PA commenting on my web 2.0 blog! This is too much fun!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Took time out Saturday to attend a "crop". Here is the cute book I created for a very cool friend of mine! It took me all day, but she is SO worth it! Now back to work in the heat! My AC went out yesteerday and I will need a new compressor--of course they have to order it! Gives me an excuse to sit still at the computer!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sharing is what it is all about!

My sister was here tonight and I was showing her some of the cool stuff with which I have been "playing"! She had so much fun with Wordle and she was intrigued by my, but by far her favorite was the TV Weekly bead and jewelry show Plum and Verdigris I found through using blog searches! She has been without Internet access (except at work where they do not allow them to "play") for nearly a year now and she really misses it! She spent the better part of the evening watching jewelry making shows! And my made it so easy to get to all of these sites--so much better than my old method of bookmarking!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thing # 13 Tagging and Discover is just that--DELICIOUS! I have heard of it for some time and had visited other people's pages before, but had not done it myself. Well, I fianlly have mine and am so glad! I will be able to MUCH more easily store and access my bookmarks now. I know I should have done this much sooner. My favoirites list is sooo long! I love the organization of delicious and the searchablility of it. I love the tag button and that it suggests tags for you to use!
I can see the possibilities of helping kids to save and share bookmarks with each other as they work on research projects! This will be a wonderful tool, not only for me personally and professionally, but also with the students and even with my family!

Widget Woes!

I spent so much time trying to get the totally cool Shelfari bookshelf on my blog. I contacted the Shelfari folks and even had one comment on my blog ensuing in a nice little conversation! Well, I finally decided that the problem was Internet Explorer, so I installed FireFox and it worked immediately. So as you can see the Shelfari widget is here--don't you love it?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thing # 12 Creating Community Through Commenting (continued)

I have been in front of this computer most of the day, but am determined to finish this thing tonight! I have been looking at other participants' blogs and here are the ones to which I have posted comments: Lefty's Learning Library, Susan's Blog, greytpassion, texas bookworm, Mama librarian, Connected but hassled and techmaniac in training. I was mainly surprised that when I searched among the already graduated Library 2 Players that VERY FEW of them have continued their blogs. Maybe they have created different blogs elsewhere?
I searched for blogs for those who love cats and commented on this one: I don't exist when you don't see me, it had some cartoon videos that made me laugh so hard I cried, they were so like one of the cats staying with me right now. The other was a post about scrap booking (my current passion) on It's Just the Little Things. I am spending way too much time on this, but I know with practice (and discernment) I will get faster and more discriminatory!


Has anyone else had problems with Shelfari? I have tried at least 30 times to get it into my blogspot and cannot get past the add books from your bookshelf step. This has been so frustrating! I have posted a comment to them and hope to get a reply and solution, but it would be nice to know if this is just me or if others are having a problem too.

Thing # 12 Creating Community Through Commenting

Whew! This can be so overwhelming, addictive, as well as informative! Searching through others blogs, I came across a cool You Tube video which I immediately sent to my nephew in Utah--avid sci-fi junkie that he is will enjoy it!
I posted earlier in my blog about my disappointment in not getting more comments on my posts, even though I had already posted on several others. I posted on one of the linked blogs that it is like the old saying "to have a friend, be a friend." Well, o.k. Here I go. I have spent hours today on this thing, on my cell phone texting, and on the land line listening to a friend in need. This community we inhabit and its ever flattening environ is fascinating! I am somewhat intimidated by it, but also intrigued and "HOOKED"! So in accordance with this Activity, I will be posting more to other Library2Play blogs. Hope to hear back from you!
I am supposed to say something about what I feel is important from the articles and blogs we were instructed to read. Although I feel I have already expressed that, let me be more explicit. I agree that it is important that posting comments be easy. I was relieved that Doug Johnson said that he skips the ones that require a log-in, because I can already see this taking way too much time out of my limited clock hours, (especially after school starts back up!) I do feel that interaction is why we are in this and I intend to visit more of the other Library2Play blogs and comment in hopes to get some conversation going. I am feeling a little lonely out here! And I will be faithful to the rules of Edublogger Etiquette!

After listening to the podcast on "lurking", I just want to say that it is a way for those of us who are new and "shy" to get emboldened (is that a word?) to go ahead and jump in! So I have been lurking and will continue to do so. I tend only to speak up when I feel I have something significant or helpful to say. And that appears to be the gist of what many of the blogging etiquette articles say. There you have it--My two cents!

Book Trailers ala Naomi Bates

You have got to see what Naomi does with book talks in 2.0! Her book trailers are just short of amazing! Her blog tells you how she does it! Go see it! I have added her blog to my blog list--this is one to watch! I hope I can do great book talks for our students this year. More and better reading by our students will take us to exemplary!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thing # 11 Library Thing

I have been waiting to get to this thing! I've seen the library shelves on others blogs and wanted to know how to do it easily. I have placed the widget on my blog space, see it there? I will problably put it on my MySpace page as well because I have a small group of friends with whom I share books back and forth. We could have some fun with this! I can see it as a wonderful tool in my library blog at school where I can recommend books or simply let the students know what I am reading. I joined two groups but haven't really explored that much about them yet.

Thing #10 Online Image Generator

Well, I took a week off to live my life (and do some serious scrapbooking! I have been using my Google Reader to to investigate some scrapbooking blogs of designers I admire.) I had a great deal of trouble with the Fake Magazine Cover--when the pop up came, it would say unable to display website. I've tried repeatedly a week or more apart and decided to pass on it. And now I cannot even find it to give you the link, so maybe they found the problem and are fixing it. I did create with comic strip generator a comic strip image which you can see on the side bar of my blog. And how do you like the "read" remix I did on Image Chef I am not a big fan of smiley faces so I gave Happy Face Gernerator little more than a cursory glance. Now Big Huge Labs I have already played with and have enjoyed it much. I want to play with it some more! My MacAfee site advisor did not like the Kid Friendly Image Generator. I also had a bit of concern with the ads on it, but I know the kids would love playing with these!
I am looking at making signs with comics to post the rules. Or to help advertise books or series for the students.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Just an Aside

I have tried several times unsuccessfully to put a slide show in my blog. I tried help and found several posts on the same issue, but the "fix" did not work--the things they said to do did not even exist on my screen! Can anyone help with this?