Saturday, August 29, 2009

One More Thing...

Navigating the internet, I came across Bookr. This exciting creative toy allows users to create e-books using pictures from Flickr. It was very simple. I added some pictures and some text, and in five minutes, I had made a little book that I am sure my second graders will love.
This book-making tool can be used for almost anything. I am planning to have my second graders make little books for math, science, and social studies. They'll enjoy making them.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thing #23: Reflection

Click, Click, Hurray!! Working on the 23 Things was a very resource-full accomplishment. I enjoy working with technology, but 23 Things proved that I still have lots to learn. 23 Things has encouraged me to be a more “online-technology” person, and I’m looking forward to continue discovering more online resources. I think that is the greatest concept I learned: to be on the lookout for updated online resources and to search the internet for the things I need because there is always something out there that I can use. I am becoming more comfortable with working online; and that is thanks to this program.
I enjoyed all the discoveries I made working on the 23 Things. One of my favorites was the mashups with Big Huge Labs. This tool makes it easier to provide students with options and opportunities to use their creativity. I also liked creating the videocast and using it to enhance my lessons. It was easy to create, and students will have no problems using them as well. The third discovery that I find very useful was Google: Google Reader, and Google Docs. These features are integrating more and more with my regular daily life.
I cannot think of a way to improve this program, but I would have liked to have more time to play and work on each thing. I also think we should add a sequel to it. I would enjoy nothing more than to discover more of what is out there. So, let me know if you have anything to keep going…
Real! If I had to describe this program and my experience through it, I would say this program is real. It relates to people’s real lives. It creates real experiences and real tools that I will continue to use in real life.

This is a videocast I created with MovieMaker, just to prove my hypothesis from post #21.

Thing #22: Nings

Ning is a social networking tool that can allow users to create a place to meet with people of common interests. As teachers we can create a Ning page for teachers of our same grade level, same school, or a special group or club. A school can also create a Ning to have staff members communicate on work and non-work topics. It really is a good tool for anyone with similar interests to create a virtual room to meet.
Upper grade teachers can also use Ning to create a class page to communicate and post students' work. They can provide counseling, college preparation materials, and topics of personal-interest.
During this exercise, I first looked for library-related nings that would help me in my future job as librarian. I found the Teacher Librarian Ning, which was created by Joyce Valenza and has plenty of library-related postings. Texas School Llibrarians is another good ning for librarians. Librarian 2.0 contains information, pictures, and postings that directly relate to the 2.0 concept.
As a teacher, I would like to socialize with teachers from everywhere. I found Teacher Lingo, which contains postings from teachers' blogs, lessons, and general messages for teachers. Then I found two grade specific nings. Second Grade Teachers and Second Grade Teachers' Club provide lessons and postings from other second grade teachers. These two are going to be useful during this upcoming school year.
Ning in Education is a ning with general information for the education field. And for my own pleasure, I found, which contains different cakes and baked goodies and postings from people who love to bake, just like me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thing #21: Videocast

Creating this videocast about collaboration was fun! I tried playing a little music, but I don't think that's one of my gifts. I did however think it was extremely easy to create the project. Photostory is a must to teach my future second graders how to use. I believe Movie Maker works in a similar way, so I am on my way to test my hypothesis. For now, I am planning on having students create a videocast about themselves as beginning-of-the-year project. I think students may like this tool because it provides an alternative for shy students, who may feel performing on video is too much. Students can create a journal of what they have learned during a project, field trip, or the whole school year. Another use can be to create a tour of the library for teachers and parents. The best part is that it is all done with pictures.
The videos we create can also be uploaded to YouTube, TeacherTube, or Flickr!

Thing #20: YouTube...Sharing

This video, titled Web 2.0, is being sent directly from YouTube. I set up an account and linked my blog to it, and now when I need to embed a video I only click on post. Simple and very useful!

Thing #20: The Tubes

We all know that visual and auditory aids help get the point across much better than just a lecture or endless explanation of something. So, YouTube and TeacherTube provide educators with an ocean of possibilities to get the point across. They key to successful use of these resources is planning. I need to plan ahead of time to give me the opportunity to search for the material, prepare it for presentation, and test it to make sure it will run with the school’s computers. Sometimes searching may take some time, but there is always something useful to be found. Creating an account makes things easier since I can mark videos as favorites, and they will be stored for the next time I need them.
The YouTube video above is titled Web 2.0…The Machine is Us/ing Us. I chose because it portrays how the web has changed and is becoming part of us, just like we are part of it.
The TeacherTube video is an Animaniacs video of the 50 States song. My daughter really liked it; it’s a happy song!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thing #19: Web 2.0 Awards

It’s interesting that many of the tools we have been working on are part of the Web 2.0 Awards List. I was glad to see Library Thing, Google Docs, Delicious, Flickr, and Rollyo on the list. I also like the organization of the page. If I am looking for a specific type of page, it would be easy to find on this list. As a librarian, and a teacher, it is important to always be on the lookout for the best, most updated technology available. The Web 2.0 Awards List is a resource to help me know of any new resources or the ranking of already existing ones. When a site makes it to the top three, gets honorable mention, or has been on the list more than once then I can explore it to find its usefulness to my school and community. I would still explore other stuff, but if I am short on time, I can pick one of these resources, evaluate it, and give it a review for teachers and students to read.
One of best sites I found is Lulu Publisher. With this site, one can create books and have them published. It starts as a free service for basic features, but can be upgraded for more elaborated ones. I just have to be cautious of the uses we need or want. Lulu also provides the Aspiring Authors program to help students publish their works. Publishing can even turn into a fundraiser. What a way to get students involved in their school’s fundraisers!
The online desktops are very cool! I browsed through Ghost and watched their introduction video. Ghost can provide the user with flexibility and accessibility since one can access the entire computer: files, programs, email, music, videos, and anything that I currently save on my computers. It would be everywhere and anytime I needed the material.
I also found, which is full of information, blogs, and resources for people with diabetes. I have several family members, students, and parents with this illness, and I know they would benefit immensely from this site.

Thing #18: Online Tools


Follow directions.

Respect others.

Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself.

Speak with permission.

Ask for permission before leaving the classroom.

Be prepared.

This is an example of a document I uploaded to Google Docs. I edited it and published it both as a website and to the blog as seen above. I have played with Google before, so this time I tried something different. I now have several docs saved on my Google account. I like this tool because I can access it anywhere with an internet connection. As long as I can get Google, I can get my documents. I can also upload my already existent Word documents as well as download the new ones I create to my computer. Google allows downloads as PDFs, Htmls, Word, or Text files. One disadvantage I see with Google is that it is online, so if I am somewhere without internet, I won’t have access to my account.
I also explored a little bit with 3. I created a document and a presentation. This software has similar features to Microsoft Office. also allows me to save in different formats, including Microsoft Office ones. The biggest advantage I can see is its availability. It is free to download and distribute. Many students who may not be able to afford Microsoft Office can download and still have all the same functions and tools. Schools can also download the software for classroom use. However support may not be as available because it’s from other users, so they may not always be available or know the solution to problems.
My favorite part of these tools is that they can be used together. I created docs with OpenOffice.Org and uploaded them to Google Docs, and I can go back and forth between the two; three if you include Microsoft Office. All three together provide more options than just one standing alone. Students can learn to use all of these tools to allow them to have options in creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. They can also learn to bring their created products to school and use them with Microsoft Office.

Thing #17: Rollyo

Rollyo allows me to create custom search engines using only pre-selected websites. Once I create a search engine, I can save it and use it anytime. For this exercise, I created three search engines for lessons, book lists, and museums. All three of these can be accessed from my profile.
Rollyo is easy to use and can become a must-have when doing research with students in grades 1-5. I can select several 'safe' sites and create a serch engine that would be relevant to the topic of study. This way, I ensure student safety without taking the search out of research.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thing #16: Wikis

I found several wikis full of information to help through almost anything. Some of the ones I found most useful were: 1)TechLibrary – This wiki is full of lessons for all areas of literacy and all grade levels. Anyone can register to this wiki and edit it by adding lessons to it. 2)Teacher-Librarian – This wiki offers resources and information to librarians. It includes topics such as lessons for teaching, tips and strategies for collaboration, book lists and reviews, and links to many other resources. 3) David V. Loertscher’s AASL Presentation-Strategies to make teaching and collaboration more meaningful. It contains his handout and discussions from his 2007 presentation. The 3 websites to build wikis included PBWiki, Wikispaces, and Wetpaints.
Wikis can be used to collaborate with teachers. After the initial meeting where we decide to collaborate and begin planning, we can use a wiki to continue planning, get other people involved, gather materials, and adjust details. Also for teachers, I thought about creating a wiki where teachers can comment, tell anecdotes, and/or ask questions about their experiences with material learned at a workshop. I can think of a thousand times when I could have used something like this because I don’t think of many questions at the training; I have them in my classroom after I tried the materials/strategies. Another use was to create a wiki with a summary of a class discussion and have students add more comments as they continue to read about the topic, do their homework, and research.

Thing #15: Library 2.0

The Library 2.0 seems to be the next step where libraries are the connection between users and all types and formats of information. I relate my description of Libraries 2.0 to Michael Stephens’ principle: “libraries are human” and Ranganathan’s principle: “the library is a growing organism.” Both of these suggest that libraries change with trends and users’ needs. The present and future needs of users involve all types of technology and online resources. Libraries need to create tools and gateways for users to reach the resources and information they need in the delivery format they need it. Like Dr. Bishop mentioned in class, “We need to make ourselves needed by the school staff, so they see the importance of our roles.” The same goes for the actual library. Users need to view libraries as useful. I created the image above to illustrate this point of getting information across in many different ways to meet users’ needs.
Library 2.0 also indicates to me that users are no longer just receiving information. Users are becoming information sources. Users still search for articles, videos, references, and other sources of information, but now they are also posting articles, creating presentations/videos and uploading them to the web. It’s a give-and-take situation. As the internet grows to deliver information, schools have a bigger job than just reading and writing, they must teach students to create, disseminate, evaluate, and deliver information. Librarians can be a great asset for this job. We are the information gurus and can teach our students and teachers to become integral components of the virtual world.

Thing #14: Technorati

Technorati is a good tool to search specific categories for websites, news, blogs, and other pages. The tutorial video explains how Technorati is useful for people with experience, but they also discuss how someone knew to the site can also explore it and soon find reading materials. From my point of view, Technorati is just a different search engine. Because of its categories, I can see how it can help me when I don’t know where to start, but on the down side, all the searches I have tried gave too many results. It then becomes overwhelming and unnecessary. Once I start tagging my own sources, I am sure this will be more useful and easier to use since I would have more practice. I also claimed my blog at Technorati and am waiting to see how it increases traffic.
I understand Technorati better than at the beginning of this program, but I still have a long way to go. Hopefully with more practice, I can learn real ways to use and adapt Technorati to my needs.