Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Thing #23 Summary - Done, but not quite

As I went back through all of my explorations of the 23 things, I realize that I have come a VERY LONG way in just a few short weeks (24 days!) I am no longer afraid to try new things on my computer or on the Internet, and I now understand the techno-terms I've been hearing for so long!
1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

I absolutely loved MOST of the time I spent exploring and fell in love with most tools. A few of my favs are Library Thing, Mashups (trading cards and mosaics), Rollyo, Delicious, YouTube, TeacherTube, and Google tools. I also love the Common Craft videos and will look for new videos in the future. I absolutely can no longer live without Delicious, Google tools and my RSS reader.

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

As stated above in my introduction, I am no longer afraid of trying new technology on my computer and the Internet. I have SOOOOO many ideas to use technology to my advantage that I cannot wait for school to start, so I can use these ideas and tools on my students and fellow faculty. Maybe now, I can mentor and help my fellow teachers / students more in the area of technology.

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

What surprises me the most is that I am actually excited about Web 2.0 applications and implementing many of the 23 things into my library program. I've never been a lover of technology, but now I'm hooked for good!
Also, I am amazed that so many of the tools are free, or have a low membership/usage fee.

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

I agree with Alice's idea (I think it was Alice) of putting an expected time reference that a newbie would need to complete the assignment at the beginning of each activity. I realize however, that it might be impossible, because people come in at all different skill levels.
One other thing to mention is that on thing # 17, the video created by Bruce Goodner made Rollyo much earsier to visualize its use for the library/school and to understand its concept. Maybe the link to his video should be moved up to the introduction portion of this actvity.

5. If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?
I would jump at the chance to participate in more programs like this because the exploration and discovery format is best for me. BUT NOT IN SUCH A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME. I really would have benefitted from more time to play with each tool before moving on to the next. I need time to process what I've learned before having new information thrown at me. The time crunch really pushed me to my outer limits.

6. 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?
Totally Awesome!

7. Now go and comment on some of the other Players' blogs?
I have enjoyed blogging with my new friends and can't wait to read and comment on some of the blogs I entered in my RSS reader.

Though this project is complete, I am not finished exploring and discovering more about technology. As my TeacherTube video showed, we are living in exponential times of growth in technology. I don't want to miss out on anymore and be that far behind ever again. Here's to life long learning!!!!!
Thanks for the experience! I've come a long way, baby!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thing #22 - Nings

Before this, I had never heard of a Ning. I took some time to read about it and explored 2 of the 3 suggested Nings: TeacherLibrarian and Texas School Librarians. I joined both Nings as well as joined 3 groups in the TeacherLibrarian Ning: Elementary School Librarians, Building a Culture of Collaboration, and Information Fluency Project. These groups discuss issues that are important to me as a teacher-librarian so after joing the groups and reading some of the discussions, I added them to my RSS reader.
I think it's important for school librarians to collaborate with each other for fresh new ideas to help keep our libraries up to date. With a tool like a Ning, we are able to "discuss" ideas with experts in the field from across the country.

Thing 21 - Podcasts and audio books

I am not having much luck with either of these. I don't think I have the right equipment and / or software. I have know microphone except in my webcam and I don't seem to have what I need to create a photostory with music or sound. I downloaded Photostory 3 and used it to create photostory with our Disney World pictures. by closing the program and reopening it, I was finally able to work with the slide transitions, but when I tried to add music, it got messed up. The story gets stuck on the 1st slide while all of the music plays, which you can't even hear because I was trying to use my webcam microphone. Furthermore, I was in narration edit, because I don't have any music buttons what so ever. This is not the photostory program I have used in the past at school. It is simply, insert photos, type a title, make them transition and maybe add narration. I've gone to the help documents, but they say to click on the buttons I don't have in my applications. I spent about 7 hours working on this project, but gave up about 3am this morning. I will go on and finish the rest of the things, and will try to come back to this one. I'm too frustrated right now. Terri

Finally, on my third attempt, I think I may have it down! I went and got my school laptop, downloaded photostory 3 on it and I think it will work, even though I did it all by myself. So here goes....

If this one works, I'm ready to create a photostory showing 3rd -5th graders the procedures and sequence for checking out their own books at the circulation computer, and a photostory giving a tour of the library, since it has been totally redone this summer with shelves being moved, sections being integrated and a whole new theme. Even though my brain has been stretched to its limits, it is still coming up with more ideas for the use of photostory in the library. (How about showing how to cite a book from the library or -wait this is good - how about showing students step by step how to create a photostory of their research. No, not good, they probably already know how to do it!) Anyway, I'm not frustrated anymore!

Terri - memorykeepermom uhcl

Monday, August 4, 2008

thing #20 - YouTube and TeacherTube

Trying to see many of the videos on TeacherTube, as well as the samples was very frustrating for me. They seemed to load ok, and then, while watching, every few seconds the video would have to pause for buffering. I'm not sure what the problem was, whether it was equipment, internet, or something like site traffic, but I'll continue to use this at different times. I did get this one to work from TeacherTube. I've seen it before and was asstonished by the rate of growth for the internet!!! Check it out!

When searching for different classroom lessons and such, I found so many that I liked, and that I know will hold students' attention for skills and lessons. I really like one called "Mr. Duey raps fractions" on TeacherTube. I couldn't make it through much of it because of the buffering, but what I did get to see was fun. I also found a few that were so boring, I had to turn them off. (One on teaching the Super 3 reminded me of a 1960's monotone voiced filmstrip!) Even videos on TeacherTube need to be previewed or the results may be "death by video."

When I searched through YouTube, the videos worked much better, but I didn't find a whole lot that could be used in the classroom using the search terms suggested. Most videos could be used for presentations to teachers. When I searched "educational videos for children," I had better success. I even found the old "School House Rock" video for teaching nouns and all the other School House Rock videos were listed as well. I used to love School House Rock on Saturday mornings!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

thing #19 - Web2.0 awards

Right before I began this activity, my husband asked me if I knew how to set up a website for his family business, and I said I'd look into it for him. I don't know if I can set up an entire site, but I know how to set up a page. I went to the start page list and explored those, some more than others. I was most impressed with iGoogle and Netvibes. They were the most user friendly, loaded pages quicker, and had business aspects and help included. Pageflakes was ok, but slower to load pages and Groovle, and My Yahoo just didn't match up with the first 2 mentioned. (I might have been getting tired by then so I want to investigate them more.) My husband knows NOTHING about technology (he asked me how to compose a new email message and attach a photo last week!) and he just wants it to happen.
Next, I looked into more wiki sites, because I want to create one for my book club at school this year. I am still most impressed with Wetpaint but like Wikidot as well. It's a tossup now as to which I will use. I think I'll set up both and play with them a few weeks before making a decision.
I put this site into my Delicious account so I can explore more when I have more time. This list is worth a lot more time than I can give right now.
Terri - Memorykeepermom uhcl

Thing #18 - online tools

I played around with Google docs because someone mentioned how neat it was in class the other night, but also because Open Office was not available today. I created a "love note" for both my husband and my son and inserted a picture a heart in the sky from Flickr. I also linked the caption back to the site with the picture / credits opened. I haven't checked their email yet, but I cc'd it to myself and my copy arrived a second later!

I can see where this type of sharing will be beneficial in that tons of emails with attachments won't have to be sent / received only to clutter up your inbox, desktop, or document folders. Also, updates are made right there on the original so there will be no question of which doc is the newest copy. Maybe this would be an easy way to keep a consideration file - create a Google doc for each type of material (books, magazines, equipment, etc...) and share with teachers, who could then update with their requests. It will also be a great tool to use when collaborating with a team and planning a presentation, whether it's for a class research project or staff development. The only disadvantage I can see is that teachers are often resistant to anything new because they think it might create more "work" for them. Maybe if their requests are noticed and fulfilled, or their lessons are partly planned by others the transition will happen, sooner rather than later.
PS - I hope to be able to play around with Open Office soon.
Terri - memorykeepermom uhcl

Saturday, August 2, 2008

thing #17 - Rollyo

It took me awhile to figure out how to use Rollyo and I think if I play with it further, I'll understand it a little better. The video created by Bruce Goodner was very helpful and I wish I would have watched it first. I was able to create a few searchrolls and I inserted a searchbox on my blog (in the left sidebar.) I think the one that might be most useful to my students in the future will be the searchroll called "my books + authors." There, they can search my favorite sites for books and reviews. I do need to tweek the list, deleting sites that I don't know much about or may be difficult for elementary students to navigate, and I need to add a few of my own that I use frequently. I also created searchrolls for my favorite scrapbooking sites and baseball sites.
I love how a teacher can decide what sites students will be able to go to when doing research. It will limit the number of sites for students to look through when entering search terms, therefore saving valuable time and frustration for everyone. Students will only have to see age appropriate sites and therefore will only have to evaluate the information for relevance to their research / project. The only disadvantage I see is the search is limited to the teacher's knowledge of websites.