Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Week #9 Thing #23

Well I've reach the end of the class! I can't believe it, it's been so much fun!

Looking back I think some of the best things that I learned in the class are sort of "pieces" of the applications. For example; embedding things in this blog just opened my mind to that idea. Now when I want to put something like a picture or Voicethread in my wiki or an email it doesn't seem daunting. Even if I'm not exactly sure how to do it, I have a general idea and if it doesn't work I know how to look for the code and try it that way or work toward the solution.

It also reinforced that we need to move forward as librarians to make sure our Media Centers are up to date technologically and that we teach in the best way. The only way to do this is honest evaluation and replacement of methods in which something better exists. This is not using the computer lab to teach keyboarding. It's using every aspect of the technology available to us to teach everything. As long as we keep up librarians aren't out of a job, they are the information source that they have always been.

I think that some of the earlier lessons were more "spoon-fed, no misunderstanding" lessons. Each little click gave you more information, so at the end you felt like there was no doubt you got it. This is really good, especially where non-techie people are concerned. The earlier lessons took that next step of training, the "show me" step more seriously than the latter lessons, which were more "look at this and blog about it." It was more of a disconnected experience. That's okay if the earlier stuff was the most important and latter stuff more secondary - but I don't really think that was the case. Don't get me wrong, still a valuable experience!

My brain is whirling to develop a better system for tracking the assignments for our facilitators. It doesn't help them now, but it seems with all of these Web 2.0 classes and all these fabulous applications that there has got to be a less time-consuming, note-taking way to track progress. (Or maybe that's the next Web 2.0 application to be developed!)

The best thing I go forward with is a list of ideas for training and in-services. Every year our management asks for ideas for professional development and now I have a shopping list of areas where I would like to delve deeper.

PS - Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait! I posted then remembered I wanted to add these thoughts... Let's call it Week #9 Thing #24:

1) Does anyone else feel Password, Application, User Name overload? Yikes, I tried for uniformity as I went, then sometimes the user name was too long, or the password needed numbers, or I had already signed up for it long ago before I knew I needed a uniform name. Google has always been for my personal stuff. So now all of a sudden when I go to log in I'm getting work and personal log in info depending on where I've been last. Or it tells me I'm already logged in and I need to change users. Or I go to an application and think "Wait, I've already joined this haven't I?"

2) How about how some applications open new windows while others move within the window? It never fails, either you look to find the place you were and you're freaked because it's disappeared and you have to relocate it, or you look down and somehow you have a zillion windows open, including multiple windows of the same application. And we wonder why the computer is so slow ...

Thanks for the class!

Week #9 Thing #22

I checked out the World ebook fair site and some of the sites within including the sheet music one. I also went to the "Best Places to get Free Books" I don't know that I will do too much with it. Some study guides looked interesting, but they actually charge for them. Also, as far as trading books - just not so interested.

As I think I mentioned previously my husband has associations with college text books and boy, we had better be savvy to the fact that our students are looking at books a whole new way.

I've used LibriVox before and think the Gutenberg project is great. I have considered reading some books for them, as I have a background in presentation and think that would be a really neat thing to do. However, I won't consider it until I have better sound equipment - I won't subject someone to me reading inside a bell jar!

Here's a funny LibriVox story. My husband had to travel and at the last minute I offered to download a book for him to listen to on my ipod shuffle. I picked "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" and meticulously set up a newly labeled folder in my itunes. I carefully downloaded each of the many, many chapters, labeling each in a uniform fashion as the time to go to the airport neared. Finally I got to the last chapter and received the message ... "sorry, not available." Hey, but it was free :-). So there's how we can guarantee our kids still need physical books. Just make sure they leave the last chapter out of every ebook!

Week #9 Thing #21

I looked at Podcast Alley and found a set of podcasts -

I tried a variety of podcasts and find those done on poor equipment "unlisten-able." It reminded me of an inservice we had where Tim showed us some of the better equipment for podcasting.

I don't know what kind of podcast listener I'll make. Many seem very, very long and I start multi-tasking, then discover I'm not listening as closely as I should if I want to really get a lot out of it. Maybe it's not my media as far as learning is concerned. I do fine with the radio, but I'm not really try to catch every point when I listen to the radio. I listened to the podcast on Kimberly Willis Holt.

I think it would be neat to have the kids do a short podcast book review.

I created an RSS feed as required. I don't know if I'm just not getting the excitement behind this RSS feed thing or what. The RSS button downloaded for Podcast Alley, not the smaller picture of "childrensbookradio." I didn't see anyway to "Tell RSS" to only look for new info in "childrensbookradio" So as a result it downloaded ten items. The first is "Sex Sells - Top Sex Podcasts." It also included a podcast named "The Alcoholics Guide." Why would I want to weed through all of this? It was like my experience on the RSS assignment where the Spanish paper downloads everything, not just the Basque section that I bookmark and check. Also there were over 200 new items in my Bloglines since I went there last. I have no motivation to weed through them and know the next time I bother going there the numbers will have climbed further.

Am I doing this RSS feed thing incorrectly? Is there a way to narrow the feed to the stuff I actually want? Currently it's far worse than the junk mail in my actual mailbox - and for some reason (which eludes me) I'm actually requesting it! I know I digress from podcast ... but I've gotten so I cringe when I see an assignment say to add an RSS feed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Week #9 Thing #20

I love Teacher Tube. I really have found lots of valuable stuff there. And it's nice, because it's not overwhelmed with obscene comments like YouTube. I've found some great and fun stuff on YouTube also, but so many people making rude comments. Interestingly enough so many of those people with filthy mouths sound young and uneducated. What a sad thing.

This one reminded me of Chapter 1 of the text.

Week #8 Thing #19.1

Digital Pipeline

First, I'm really glad to have them moving ahead with a new interface for Ebsco host. I went to the presentation here this spring and I think it's really a step in the right direction to have the kids go there and not just Google Wikipedia. It has not always been the simplest to navigate.

I enjoyed setting up a folder with the new interface. Although now I chuckle that the folders remind me of "old school computer" and I'm looking for tags these days, rather than the old "file boxes" that I need to copy stuff into if I want it multiple places.

I like Smart Text Searching. Also in the NoveList K-8 I spent more time with the "Read Aloud Picture Books Grades 6-8," which I loved! I looked at the tutorials. Don't the tutorials show some of the stuff using the older Ebsco interface? I'll admit, my learning in this area has been goal focused rather than taking a broad class that really explains all the components and where they come from.

I was planning to introduce my older elementary students to some of the more useful databases this past spring when Ebsco announced the new interface I didn't develop the lesson plan as completed as I wanted to, I hope to do that soon and set up a power point to project with simple instructions so the kids will use this resource.

Week #8 Thing #19

I really like LibraryThing and set mine up over a year ago. I have a whole Excel Spreadsheet of books to put in - when I actually get a chance to put everything in is the issue. Like I stated in an earlier post I've created my own tags, like "puppets" to help with my lesson plans. Due to the fact that my reviews are often actual my lesson plans for a book and really specific to me; my account has been private until now.

I changed that for this assignment since you request the link. I'm guess I'm glad people are such "exhibitionists" where Web 2.0 is concerned. I think there wouldn't be much Web 2.0 content available if everyone was like me. I must be too introverted, private, and stingy with my intellectual property - the first thing I do when I sign up for these type of accounts is find the settings and change them to "maximum privacy."

Anyway, there are many components of LibraryThing that I don't use yet, but I'd like to find the time to really play with it. What a neat application. The only books I put in currently are childrens or YA books. In this account I don't have any adult books, since I associate it directly with work. As a result most of the books I put in tend to be relatively popular, since they are often the new, hot, starred books.

My LibraryThing

Monday, July 21, 2008

Week #8 Thing #18

I thought I'd see how this works as a word processor. I could see that this might be very helpful for students. It appears to integrate with Word, so this would be a good way for students to work on a project at school, then pick it up and work on it at home without losing formatting.

I would like to see more training available on it listed on the Web 2.0 site. When you first sign up you get a list of all that you can do, but it would be nice to see some Teacher Tube tutorials listed if they are out there.

I'm going to try to publish this to my blog.

Okay, everything above this line was created in Zoho. It popped into this blog really easily - like two steps. This is a really interesting application. Since I have Microsoft at home and have used Excel so much, I'm not sure I'll just totally switch over, but I am definitely intrigued. Also I am totally sick of having my computer crash and losing everything. I'm really looking at saving more and more of everything to the web to avoid this and provide me access wherever I am. Which leads to the next internet safety / identity theft tutorial - what to save to the web and what ya probably shouldn't ...