Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thing #23

Number 23?! I can't believe it! I guess all good things must come to an end!

I have really enjoyed working through this program. I have learned tons of valuable information that can help me in the library and information for me to pass on to the classroom teachers.

My favorite discovery?
One of my favorite discoveries was on Glogster. I was vaguely familiar with the tool before 23 Things, but I was able to experiment and learn more about it during this program. I have used Glogster with my students and am also planning to use it to present information to my fellow library classmates in a couple of weeks!

Affected my lifelong learning goals?
Completing this program has brought to my attention what forms of technology our students are using every day. If we as educators are going to engage students in their learning, then we must understand and implement these kinds of technology into their learning.

Unexpected outcomes?
I was absolutely DREADING Thing #21 on podcasting/video casting. I was surprised how much I enjoyed seeing the completed assignment. I know that I will take what I have learned from this assignment and find a way to use it in the library with my students. Not only is it a lot of fun, but you feel such a sense of accomplishment with the final product.

Do Differently?
I don't think there is anything that needs to be improved upon. I think the program does a great job at introducing the different kinds of technologies out there. It's up to US to take what we have learned and implement it with our students.

How would I describe my learning experience in ONE WORD?

Thing #22

The only thing I have ever known about Nings is that they were free social networking sites that were private. A lot of educators use Nings in order to promote community and discussion in their classes because firewalls prevent teachers/students from using Facebook or Myspace.

While I was preparing for this post, I found an online article from Wired that discussed co-founder, Marc Andreessen, not being able to keep Nings free any longer. Besides being able to create a content-specific network, the cost of creating a Ning network is one of the major benefits of this platform.

Instead of paying for this service, educators need to look into Facebook and take down the firewalls! On Facebook, groups can be created that are private and can function very similarly to that of the Ning...without any kind of cost.

I reviewed the Texas School Librarians Ning. Although it has 317 members, it does not look like an active network. On the forum tab, there are lots of questions, but only one has any responses! I did find some really cute book reviews/story tubes posted under videos.

Find more videos like this on Texas School Librarians

I think I'll stay with my Facebook network...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thing #21

Podcasting and Videocasting are both things that I have shied away from in the past. They always seemed so difficult and scary to even think about creating! Although I was able to complete a video cast using Photostory, I did not find it very user friendly. I had to use the "help" button often during the making of my vidcast. Also, there was no upload straight to Blogger. I had to save the video to my hard drive and then upload it into this post.

Now that I have completed this assignment, I feel a lot more comfortable about creating another one. Although it can be intimidating, it's feels really good have created it an original video!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thing #20

Youtube and Teachertube are video sharing websites that allow users to upload, share, and view videos. The difference between the two is that Teachertube is designed to allow educators to share educational resources such as video, audio, documents, photos, groups and blogs.

These video sharing websites allow educators the opportunity to access information to supplement their curriculum. Although youtube is blocked by most school districts (since there is no way to control the types of videos that can be uploaded and viewed), teachertube can be accessed and used in lessons from inside many schools. These videos can provide students with information on various subjects, as well as, provide instructional information and training in different areas for teachers. For example, this teachertube video by Lucy Calkins gives teachers some great information on the importance of great teachers and of The Reading Workshop.

Thing #19

Time for Twitter!

According to Wikipedia, Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers.

Twitter is a great tool to update information in a concise format since the user is only allowed up to 140 characters in each post. When you follow another person, their updates are posted onto your home page. This is a convenient and efficient way to quickly get up-to-date information.

Libraries and educators in the schools can use this tool by creating profiles and following other libraries, authors, and educators. The teachers in your school can follow the school library Twitter page and be up-to-date on the happenings in the library such as changes in the library schedule, new books, author visits, etc.

Let your library Tweets be heard!

Thing #18

Open Office is a free multi-purpose office suite.

Open Office is an easy to use tool that takes the place of Microsoft Office. Open Office is free and allows students to download word processing, spreadsheets, and databases to their home computers without having to pay the big bucks for commerical products. Also, this tool runs on multiple operating systems (Linux, Windows, and Solaris). Open Office is also open source, which means that the software can be customized to individual or organizational needs. This software also allows students to import Microsoft Office documents.

However, the downside to Open Office is that the common office suite standard throughout the world is Microsoft Office. Since it is not as known (and has not been around as long), Open Office is competing for users.

Open Office allows students to practice and learn technology skills at home and in the classroom without having to spend money on the software.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thing #17

This was my first experience with Rollyo. Rollyo allows you to create a custom type of search engine using only the websites you select. I created a Searchroll for my 4th grade students on Famous Texans. They are currently researching Famous Texans for a research project. Parents and teachers are often concerned with the types of information that students are exposed to when they are researching online. Rollyo is a great tool that allows students to only retrieve information from creditable sources that were selected by the teacher.

Here's a helpful youtube video that shows how to use Rollyo and the Rollbar.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Thing #16

A Haiku for You...

I like the wiki
It helps me collaborate
Won't you try it, too?

My students are currently studying different forms/elements of poetry. One way the wiki could be used with my students is for them to upload their poems to the wiki and share them with their classmates. These exchanges are likely to encourage conversations on the various forms of poetry, as well as, the different subjects the students have chosen to write about. They are able to ask their peers questions and develop a deeper knowledge of the subject.

The downside to Wikis is that once a user has permission to edit the content on the page, they are able to change any and all the information available. It's important that students understand this. If they understand this concept, then they will understand why teachers do not let them use Wikipedia as a resource for their research projects!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thing #15

Wikipedia describes Library 2.0 as library services that are frequently evaluated and updated to meet the changing needs of library users. It goes on to state that the library user is a significant component of Library 2.0. The user is a participant, co-creator, builder and consultant – whether the product is virtual or physical. I think this idea is extremely important in the 2.0 world. Students must be in charge of their learning. As librarians, we must teach students how to effectively search through information and thinking critically about the information that they find.

I have never heard the term Library 2.0, but it makes sense when you think about the changes that are occuring within the library system. Rick Anderson, author of the article "Away from the Icebergs" states that it can be disastrous when a profession fails to acknowledge and adapt to radical, fundamental change in the marketplace it serves. I completely agree with his viewpoint. If libraries are to continue to be central to student learning, then they must adapt to these changes. Students are engrossed with technology and spend a majority of their day using technology (in some way or another). If we are to reach them, then we must make the information relevant to their life.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thing #14

I'm vaguely familiar with Technorati because we used it in another "Thing" activity. When I searched "School Library Learning 2.0" using tags/posts and blogs, there were no results. I'm assuming this is not what is expected for this assignment.

Hmmm...I've tried many times to search for the popular blogs on Technorati, but unfortunately I keep getting this message "Technorati's Popular section is currently unavailable." I guess Technorati is in a mood today. The end of Spring Break does that to me, too. :-)

Being able to search for content withing tags and blogs cuts down the amount of search time for users. I think Technorati is valuable in that it connects regular people who are interested in the same information easily. I can see this tool being used by teachers and librarians as a way of getting other educators' perspectives on various teaching techniques and lessons.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thing #13

Hear ye! Hear ye! I am currently looking for delicious network members! :-)

Tagging is fairly new to me. Although I have heard the term, I have never really used tagging and have certainly never visited a social tagging network. In fact, I didn't even know they existed!

I am now hooked! I looked up the keyword "Big 6" because I am just about to start this process with my 4th grade students. I found some great sites that contained different information. I did not find it hard to come up with different tags, either. I wanted to make sure I understood just exactly what the bookmark was about by trying to be clear with my tags.

The video on social tagging was extremely helpful! I know that this is a tool that my fellow teachers and I can use in the classroom to share valuable websites. Also, this tool would be a great resource for librarians to use and share websites/tools they are using in the library.

The main point I learned from this assignment is that tags make it so easy to find and organize information.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thing #12

I have always been intrigued with the blogging world. Many years ago, I decided to create my own blog where I posted my random thoughts. Every once in awhile someone would comment, but more often than not it was just me posting. It soon became obvious that I was just posting to see my words on the computer and decided to delete it. If I had known some of the tips on how to get those lurkers to comment, maybe...just maybe...I would have one of those Top 100 blogs!

There have been many blogs that I have visited, but never participated in the discussion. One of the reasons I never participated was because I didn't think I had much to contribute. After reading the Passion Quilt post by Meredith Farkas, I realize that if no one ever shared their thoughts, experiences, and ideas, new information would not be availiable to everyone! It is important to share your ideas...even if you think it's not important, someone might find it extremely helpful!

I have posted on many of the Library2Play blogs, but here are the latest five:
1. Books are People Too - Thing #11
2. Blogger Babe - Thing #20
3. Muggle Studies - Thing #6
4. Library Dog Blog - Thing #7
5. Adventures of Luka Blogwalker - Thing #13

One blog that I visit regularly is Jones to the Grindstone. This blog is written by a very good friend of mine. She is currently working on her Master's in Journalism at Harvard University. As a military wife, she began writing for a local military paper and gradually worked her way up to the blog. We met when we were both military wives, so I enjoy reading her perspective on all things military.

Another blog that I visit is Reality Steve. This is where I catch up on all the reality TV gossip. Reality Steve is sacrastic and provides me with a lot of laughts. This blog is one of my guilty pleasures!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thing #11

I found LibraryThing very easy to use. The search engine was clear, simple, and user friendly. I recently joined Shelfari, which is another online book website that allows readers to catalog and organize books that they have read. Both LibraryThing and Shelfari allow users to create goups and join groups to discuss their favorite books.

Searching for different book groups on LibraryThing was very simple, as well. I looked through several groups, but ended up joining only one group. I chose to join the group "Biographies, Memoirs and Autobiographies" because I am a HUGE fan of memoirs. This group encourages readers to share their favorite memiors, autobiographies, and biographies so that others can discover new and interesting books.

I think LibraryThing, as well as Shelfari, are great tools for students to use to review and recommend books to their peers. Adolescents are very interested in social networking sites. Well, with these websites, students can enjoy the social networking with their friends, while learning and understanding more about their reading.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thing #10

One of my favorite sayings has always been "Bite Me!" Well, I felt this heart graphic was very appropriate with tomorrow being Valentine's Day. At ImageChef, I found this candy heart graphic and entered the text I wanted to appear in the hearts. I'm not sure that this site has any educational value, but it was fun to play around with! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

I also created an image using one of my favorite image generators...Wordle! With Wordle, the user simply types in the words he wants to be displayed and the computer chooses a random display of the words. The user can change the display, font, and colors to match his discretion. Many of my students use Wordle to study for their spelling words. They think it is fun to play around with the words, but they are learning at the same time!

Wordle: Valentine's Day

Finally, I have created a glog using Glogster. I created this glog as a sample to show my students for their Big 6 project that they will be researching in a few weeks. The students will be researching a famous Texan, so I created a blog using a famous American...George Washington. Glogs are extremely easy to put together. There is a basic menu that pops up with different choices (text, images, etc.). Click on the item you want to enter, choose your image or font, and there you go. I think making a glog will excite the students into learning about their famous Texan and sharing it in a fun way with their peers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thing #9

I found technorati to be very easy to use with regards to searching for blog and news related information. The site is very organized and aesthetically pleasing. One feature I really liked about this site is that there is a button in the search feature that allows you to search "blogs" or "posts."

Syndic8 was very difficult for me to understand. Although it was easy to find the search area, it was extremely difficult to comprehend the results that appeared. When I did a search for "popular books," a list of related blogs appeared but they each were followed with various numerical information that I felt was unnecessary and confusing.

I found several interesting blogs on Technorati. is a blog written by a librarian consultant that has some very interesting posts related to anything library.

Kids Lit is a VERY cool blog that details various books from toddlers through teens. This site includes a cover of the book and a short review of each book. Check it out!!

On my quest for unique and interesting "librarians," I came across a blog for The Video Game Librarian. When I think of librarians I do not think of video games. However, this blog is dedicated to the latest and greatest video games.

I had no idea there was a way to search blogs for certain keywords or tags. This tool can be useful to educators, as well as, information seekers everywhere!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Thing #8

After watching the video and reviewing all the information on RSS feeds and readers, I realized that I had been using a RSS feed of sorts on my Blog Dashboard. When I subscribed to all my classmates blogs, any updates that are made are displayed in a box on my dashboard. I loved the convenience of having all the new information available to me without having to visit everyone's blog to see if they had posted anything new.

Imagine how excited I was to learn I could view all my favorite blogs and websites in this same manner! Personally, having a RSS Google reader available to organize the various types of blogs and websites I visit is a tremendous help! If I'm looking for information on current Entertainment News, all I have to do is click on my Entertainment folder and the latest and greatest information rolls out! No more spending countless hours hunting and searching through the internet!

As an educator, this tool can help us stay up-to-date on all the latest research in our fields, as well as, provide us with new ideas to engage students in their learning. The usefulness of this tool is endless!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thing #7

Who knew Google had so many useful applications! With iGoogle, you can customize your homepage to include various personal gadets. My homepage includes news, temperature, quotes, and humor. Check it out!

One feature of iGoogle that is very useful to education is that you can add tabs to your homepage. For example, you could create a tab and have various pertinent information on that subject located under that tab. I created an Education tab that displays the top-selling children's books, 20th century poet quotes, a word game, and various other educational news related information.

Another beneficial application through Google is Google Advanced Search. This allows the user to customize their search by choosing things such as: topic, file format, language, how many records on a page, etc. As an educator, I am constantly looking for PowerPoints on different topics. Using Google Advanced Search, I was able to find many PPTs on author's purpose without having to scroll through pages and pages of results that do not meet my criteria.

One of my favorite things about Google is the creativity that the staff displays with their Google logos. Keep the vampire theme going, Google! v-v

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thing #6

Although I have heard of mashups, I really had no idea how much fun they could be! I spent a lot of time exploring the different mashups out there in the world.

One of the mashups that I explored was Spell with flickr. With this application, you simply enter letters (or words) to create a unique picture that represents each letter. I think this would be a fun and engaging activity for younger students to explore with while learning to spell new words.

Here's my name in pictures:
M as in Marina letter I C H letter E letter L L letter E

Also, I created my first trading card using bighugelabs. I think the trading card idea would be a great project for older elementary students to make. For example, if students are researching Famous Texans, they could create a trading card on their Texan after their research is complete and share it with their peers.

Here's my trading card:

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thing #5

I found Flickr to be very easy to use. When I first went to the site, I realized I had set up an account 2 years ago, but never used it! I wasn't aware of the copyright issues with the different pictures. So, reading and learning about the different licenses was very helpful.

Also, I had no idea how Flickr could be used as a resource in a classroom, besides obtaining pictures. The article that described how a teacher used Flickr in an architecture class was very informative.

I chose a picture of a bat by edwindejongh for several reasons. First of all, I needed to stick with my "vampire" theme. LOL! So, I figured I could use the image in a study of animal adaptations. Students seem to be fascinated with bats, as well. Using this picture, students can compare/contrast the bats adaptations to those of other animals.

Thing #4

I have registered my blog and am very excited to see the personalities of all the other students in this class. What a fun way to get to know people!

Wordle: books rock

The above graphic was made from Wordle. This is a VERY COOL website. Check it out!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thing #3

Creating this blog was SO easy! I used Blogger many years ago, but deleted my blog when I realized no one was reading it! lol! So, I did not have any issues with creating or naming my blog. However, I had never created an avatar and was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was. I simply followed the directions given under Thing #3 and easily created my vampire avatar.

Some of you may be wondering why I chose a vampire avatar. Well, I will let you in on a little secret...I LOVE vampires! lol! I enjoy reading and watching movies about the immortal beings and often wonder how it would feel to actually live as a vampire. My obssesion started with Edward...yes, THE Edward from Twilight, but now has evolved into a more classic view of vampire lore.

Thing #2

I watched the tutorial on the 7 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners. In order to be a lifelong learner, one must have confidence in themself as a competent and effective learner.

Out of the 7 1/2 habits mentioned, I found that the easiest one for me is "begin with the end in mind." I'm a very goal oriented person. So, I always focus on what I want in the end and work my way towards that goal.

I honestly feel that I display all of the habits mentioned, but I guess the hardest one for me would be "view problems and challenges." Oftentimes, I can get so flustered by issues that arise that I fail to see the reward gained by the situation until much later.

Thing #1

I read through the 23 Things Blog and am VERY excited about what we are going to be learning in this class!