Tuesday, July 31, 2007
To complete this Thing, I posted an idea on the wiki--in the section on Wikis , I added Idea #31.
BTW, Thank You CSLA, not only for creating this program & all its supportive resources, but also for freely sharing it with those of us who are not even members of your organization! I'm in Texas! You've provided a wonderful example of Web 2.0 spirit!
The Discovery Exercise had us search for terms using various advanced features. I found that "school library learning 2.0" gets the results I wanted--can't forget the quotations--and the Quick View is a very handy element!
Obviously, tagging is the element that makes it possible for the "social" part of web2.0 to take place. It's the reason that we can find cool photos on flickr that are that certain shade of blue, how we can find others with similar interests--it's how virtual community building is made easy and convenient. It's very powerful, and since you can tag your work with as many tags as you want to, it is flexible too. And for the most part it works amazingly well. Tagging is perhaps the most powerful aspect of this new (to me and my fellow school library 2.0 learners) world.
However, the librarian in me (geeky, I know) also sees the limitations that come with such a non-standardized cataloging system. I found posts tagged with misspellings, with or without spaces, etc. These nonstandard tags (most of them mistakes) render that piece of work on the web invisible--that's the fly in the ointment. Just a reminder for myself to tag carefully and try to think like the person that might be searching for my work so I use effective tags.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
BTW, Jakes' Photostory3 tutorials are certainly worth the time too, as an intro to the free program and to digital storytelling in general. Thanks Mr. Jakes!!
I think I will show them to a couple of my teachers who are interested in different storytelling options for their kids.
need to reorient our way of thinking from fixed goals to be met, to ongoing goals that are a work in progress. We need to be trendspotters and maybe even trendsetters for our schools. We don't need to be techno-geeks; what we need is to be good readers, good listeners and flexible professionals who value and collaborate with our patrons.Thanks Book-Case for pulling those loose ends together for us. Very well said!
My goals as librarian are much different--more general (maybe overarching is a better word)--than those of the classroom teacher. My focus is much more on the 21st Century literacy goals being discussed in this project and by such "important" thinkers as Joyce Valenza, David Warlick and Doug Johnson, etc. Those skills include "traditional" skills such as reading, literature appreciation & evaluation, selection, etc. But they also include the newer learning that we are doing in this project this summer. Thanks Book-Case for making me think about this!
Friday, July 27, 2007
I have found a couple of interesting links on the SLL2.0 page --one is
5 Ways to Mark Up the Web . This article discusses various ways to annotate web pages and share your thoughts with a work group or class--I've tried Trailfire, and I can see how it would be very useful in the classroom because you could have students follow your trail from site to site and your Trailfire "notes" could help them know what to study/where to go on each page. Particularly useful with younger students or special needs students. The problem (as always) is that you have to sign in to use it, and we'll probably not be able to do that at school.
As for the use of Del.icio.us at school, of course I see how the social or interactive aspect of the site is an added value to other more "traditional" sites like MyBookmarks , but frankly, I'm not entirely sure we are able to get to it through our school filter either. I'll have to check next time I'm up there. I suspect that many of these Web2.0 tools that we're looking at in this program are a half-step ahead of what our IT department is ready to allow us to do at school. I think it's getting less restrictive bit by bit in our district, but I'm still stymied many times when I want to use a cool new tool and then find that it's filtered out at work.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
step into a new role: assembler of the collective intellect. Educators must help students sort out the insightful from the ludicrous, assisting them in their new role as capable and critical thinkers.
Wow! He's talking about the very skills that librarians are suited to help students/teachers with! Evaluation of resources! Critical thinking!
Who says librarians are obsolete? Skilled librarians are more important now than ever--we just don't always market ourselves effectively. It's time for us to step up too.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
There's an old saying that if you keep doing what you've always done, then you'll keep getting what you've always gotten. I'm not sure that's true with our students anymore. I believe that if we keep teaching in the same way we've taught in the past, we will end up with disengaged young people who are not prepared for their life in the 21st century--in the flat world.
Here's the video by Darren Draper at T-4 Jordan School District (Utah). His list of resources is a great supplement to the video as well--the video is posted on that page as well.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Google's interface is easy to follow and easy to customize, as is the strength of most Google apps. At the risk of having too much of a "big box store" mentality, I find it convenient to have this one place to go to find various applications. Google does a good job! That's why the name has morphed into a verb in the English language!
Back to the Custom Search Engine--I created one for my upper grade classes. Each year the 5th graders research a state and an historical figure in US History. The 4th graders usually do a project on Native American Texans and other historical figures in Texas History. I included a few sites that I know my teachers like their students to check--the nice thing is that we can go back and add to the list if needed. I will note that I would introduce this custom search engine to students after they had done some research in the authoritative databases that our district pays for! I am a librarian, after all...
This is a great tool though, and one that I knew about, but had no idea how to create! This type of learning is what makes this program sooooo helpful! I will share this with teachers and other librarians in the fall.
if allowing students to create a strategy guide to use when taking their test would make the test too easy — perhaps we’re asking the wrong questions on the test.
How I agree with that statement! It's posts like these that make Warlick's blog the first one I check every morning. I think his ability to make unique connections like this makes him one of the most interesting and valuable "thinkers" we have out there sharing.
This post helped me clarify in my mind how to explain to some of my teachers that this school 2.0 "stuff" is critical for them to learn about and include in their classrooms. What a great parallel between the classroom and kids' RL this comparison is! What teacher hasn't used a test review sheet--and possibly even a student generated one! But the link to how it is pertinent in kids lives to do this through one of their tools was very helpful to me!
Monday, July 9, 2007
Many of the tools she discusses are the same ones that we've explored, however there are some additional ones too! Take a look!
Her list is in 2 blog posts: here and here .
Sunday, July 8, 2007
The next part of #11 is to explore a Ning community and comment on it. I am a member of the Texas Library Association's new Ning, called Texas School Librarians .
I see the potential of a tool like this, especially for a group as large and physically spread out as members of TLA. However, I find it a little disorienting. Maybe it's a matter of time. Seems that there's all sorts of info and various ways you can get to/link that info. My brain may just be a tad "old school" to adapt to this seamlessly. I still see the usefulness of pulling all types of communication together in one place (videos, forum, etc.)
Friday, July 6, 2007
Favorite tool for student and teacher use:
Picnik is my favorite new find! I've been using it for about a month now whenever I need to edit photos. It is free and does not require an account. All the basic photo editing tools are there: crop, rotate, exposure correction, red eye correction, etc. These are all the tools that students need on a routine basis, and again, it's FREE!
Favorite tool for teacher use mainly:
Del.icio.us : I've used this social bookmarking tool for about 6 months and I love it. I can bookmark a site, access my bookmarks from anywhere, look at others' bookmarks to give me suggestions for other sites to peruse, and the tagging feature makes it all very easily searchable. Very cool. My bookmarks on del.icious are here .
Favorite tool that is potentially blocked by the district:
GoogleDocs! Providing this tool is not disabled by the IT guys at school, which it may be, I can see this being very useful for students as they work on projects together. The problem that I see is that in order to use this tool, students would have to set up a google account, and that would be a problem. To have them set up any kind of email that is not controlled by the district would be viewed as a problem even with our older elementary students. So I suspect we will not be able to utilize it in our district.
if we were able to use it,
the old worry about students being unable to collaborate because not all of them have access to the same software at school/at home goes right out the window with online collaboration tools like GoogleDocs. Currently in my building, we have a problem between the MS Office versions in the labs as opposed to the versions on the 4 student computers in each classroom. For simple word processing/spreadsheet work, GoogleDocs would solve the problem for free. Potentially great news for school districts that do not have the funds (or maybe the interested leadership) to update software regularly.Very powerful.
Favorite Cool Tool Just Because:
Colorblender is the coolest tool! It gives you color schemes that are pleasing to the eye when you choose one main color. RGB values are given, so you could use the information in almost any application. It would be great for students to use as they create products--anything, from powerpoint presentations to brochures or games! They could choose color schemes that are aesthetically pleasing. Very cool.
Other Cool Stuff:
City Guides/Reviews: Yelp has lots of reviews--I found a new coffee bar not far from my house that I'm going to check out!
Created on Image Chef
Of the several image generators that I tried, I really liked Image Chef and Hetemeel the best. All of them were easy to use though, and easy to post into my blog. As far as using these with students, I'm fairly certain that they will be blocked by our filter at school. If they're not, I think students would have fun creating cartoons/signs, etc. The big problem will be copyright for comic strip characters or images of celebrities though--we must keep good judgement about copyright in mind--fair use or not!
Some of the generators allow users to upload their own photos though--this would be fun and less of a copyright worry.
This one is from HeteMeel .
As I read on some of the other blogs for this project, I wonder about the copyright of these images. One librarian had a Disney image--and I KNOW they're very litigious. Many of the sites note the Fair Use doctrine and the concept of parody. I wonder...
Thursday, July 5, 2007
For this exercise, we were to explore several blog feed search tools online and see what we encountered.
In light of Scott McLeod's Independence Day challenge to blog about tech leadership and 21st Century skills, I thought a good exercise would be to search for his suggested tag (schooltechleadership) on all the blog search tools. I found that trusty old Technorati harvested the most and the quickest results of all the tools. Of course, some of the engines weren't really suited for this type of search (Topix, for example), but it was interesting to see the different options out there. Google got the next highest quality results.
I'm glad for this exercise, because I put all of these tools on my del.icio.us page so I can remember them!
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Wednesday, July 4, 2007 is American Independence Day and is as good a day as any to celebrate independent (and hopefully innovative) thinking and leadership. I hereby invite all edubloggers to blog about effective school technology leadership next Wednesday.
As I think about leadership and technology in my building/district, I must agree with McLeod's assertion that to many, many administrators, technology seems to be an add-on. It doesn't seem to be a part of their training nor is technology an integral tool for many of them.
How might I as the librarian facilitate a change--even a small one--in the culture that has grown up in my building as a result?
McLeod asks what is one tool that might be particularly helpful to administrators in my world. My answer: RSS! It's what makes so many Web2.0 tools possible--and relevant! His assertion in today's blog entry that tech training for administrators must be job embedded and authentic makes RSS the perfect basic tool. Information that you choose because it's pertinent to your life comes to you when it's created! What more could we ask!
I plan to introduce my teachers/admin to some basic uses of RSS in the next school year--for blogs and podcasts, primarily. If educators are exposed to the power of collegial relationships made possible--almost effortless, in fact--by RSS, and they're exposed to some of the vast pool of expertise at their fingertips, perhaps a few more converts will be created! :)