Friday, June 29, 2007

Week 4 Thing #8

For this "Thing" I'm supposed to set up a bloglines account--and I already have one! I do like the fact that bloglines is web based, so I can get to it from almost any machine. However, as is the case with so many 2.0 tools, bloglines is blocked in our district. So the very place that it would be most useful is the place that I have no access to it!

At home, I generally prefer to use the Sage add-on to my Firefox browser for my RSS aggregator. This is where I find myself going, primarily. Of course, the major downfall of Sage is that it's not really fully a 2.0 tool because it isn't web-based! :(
I like it a lot though--it seems more convenient to me for use at home in that it opens as a resizable window on the left of my Firefox browser window, so it's there and easy to pull a new RSS feed into when I find one I like. And I can check my feeds easily/quickly as I'm doing other things in Firefox. As I say though, it's not available on any other machine and that's a problem.

BTW, I wonder how many people had a problem finding the Google Reader post (Discover Exercise 1 on Week 4) from Scobelizer...
You had to know to look at the Jan 20, 2007 post, and I suspect most people didn't realize that.

Did you Know 2.0---2.0

Because I can't get to videos on youtube at school, I'm embedding Did You Know 2.0 from teachertube here. We can get to that.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

March of the Librarians

Once you get started looking at YouTube videos, it's hard to stop! I found another one (from a link on The Hollywood Librarian) that is just hilarious! A parody of March of the Penguins.

Hollywood Librarian

This looks like it might be an interesting clip for staff development to stimulate discussion. I don't know exactly when this documentary (The Hollywood Librarian) is slated to be released--from their web site, it looks like they're still working on it. The librarian/filmmaker has a blog on the film's web site.
There's a trailer on YouTube for The Hollywood Librarian:

Friday, June 22, 2007

Week #3, Things 5, 6 & 7

I've been a member of Flickr for quite a while, although I haven't uploaded any pics of my own yet. I joined because my nephew has an acct where he posts pics of his family, and I subscribe to his RSS feed so I know when they have new photos of his 4-yr-old up! (She's quite darling, btw).

While I can think of myriad creative ways that Flickr might be used in the classroom, in large part I think this discussion is moot in that I can not see local school districts in my very conservative area of Texas allowing students access to this type of site. Ever. Concern over inappropriate pictures and discussions is just too great for my district to take that "chance," in my opinion. In fact, in many a workshop, we have been reminded that anything posted or saved for viewing by the public on our network should be "appropriate for even the youngest of our students" to view. Since we have 4 year olds in our PK programs, I suppose that means that even high school students' work should be appropriate for 4 year olds if it is to be published on our network or on the Internet in some way. Ludicrous.

So. Flickr is out for our schools, I should think--even if it is a tool that our students enjoy and find creative (and even appropriate) uses for. I do think it's worth our time as educators and 21st century learners to learn about such technologies--they're cool and useful! I don't see us having the opportunity to use them in the schools so that we have an opportunity to take advantage of those "teachable moments" and guide our students in using them--within the curriculum--safely and ethically.

As for 3rd party mashups, the guy who maintains FD's Flickr Toys has a really interesting blog as well, where he blogs about his family as well as his work designing software. Some of his blogs about being a dad are quite touching. He is a very talented photographer as well--his flickr page & blog are worth a look!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

VoiceThread--what a resource for digital storytelling

I don't even know what led me to this site, because once I clicked on VoiceThread, I got lost in this fantastic site! VoiceThread enables the user to add sound (commentary, music, etc) to what is essentially a slide show online. That's not even the cool part though! The coolest thing is that users can leave comments--either audio or text--so that as others watch the slide show, they can hear the rich conversation that has evolved.

What a great tool for digital storytelling! An example that I quickly found was this Flat Stanley project. This project however brings up issues of cybersafety in that the names of the children and their location are given in the thread, which is definitely not a "best practice." However, this is an idea that could be used safely and I think it would be so exciting for students!

Another thread worth visiting is Booooo for Global Warming, by a young girl named Zoe. Very effective--talk about persuasive speech and point of view! This is what we should be doing in the classroom to make those old units that we just don't want to give up (Flat Stanley) a 2.0 upgrade! get the IT department not to block it...

Week 2 Thing#3

I've created my avatar! What fun that was! I had to search for how to export from Yahoo--but I found it right away. Cool!

Week 1 Thing #2 Life Long Learning & Habits

I've joined the Blogosphere! Wow!

I've been reading blogs and listening to podcasts consistently since last summer when I attended David Warlick's session Redefining Literacy for the 21st Century at ALA. What a thought-provoking session that was! While I had been interested in various educational podcasts before that time, I hadn't really read many blogs, and wasn't sure that all of this was just cool technology or if it was really relevant to our world of education. Mr. Warlick tied up all the reasons for me that these web2.0 tools are important pieces of the information landscape for our students--and for all of us!

Easiest Habit for me--utilizing my own learning "toolbox."
I regularly use all sorts of media to try to keep myself current--
professional books & journals, web sites, research databases, blogs, podcasts, etc.

Most Difficult Habit for me--Viewing problems as challenges
A wise principal once told me, in talking about a personnel problem that we had going on our school, that in her view, no one was "wrong" for our staff. She said that when she has personnel issues, she looks at how she can change the situation rather than the person. How can she get the goal accomplished while utilizing all her staff to their best abilities. That was a perfect reminder to me of how I should think. I try to remember that concept, but I sometimes slip into the "problem" mode rather than the "challenge" mode!

Another difficult Habit for me is to start with the end in mind. I sometimes tend to have too vague an idea of the outcome I'm looking for. I have to make a conscious effort to think in detailed terms.

Lifelong Learning--that's what it's all about!