Friday, March 19, 2010

Thing #18

Well, I started by exploring Open Office which honestly confused me at first. I didn't really see the value in it but then I went to Google Docs and saw the light. I found this site a lot more user friendly. I particularly found the testimonials from students and teachers very helpful. I like the fact that people can work and collaborate together in real time. I could see students completing group PowerPoint's together without actually being together. I would need to play around more to find some disadvantages but right off the top of my head I'm wondering if I can get to these sites in KatyISD. Once again I learned something new.

Thing #17

I have to be honest...at first I was a little lost with Rollyo but after watching the video it all made sense. I really connected with the video because I teach 8th grade English and every year my students research the Holocaust. I can see how helpful Rollyo will be next year but I couldn't wait that long. I know that we will be reading some of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories and poems before the end of the year. I usually ask the kids to do a little research about Poe so I created a Rollyo search for sites that the students can use. I like the idea of Rollyo so much better than just setting the kids loose on Google.

Thing #16

I have learned that Wikis are easy to use and can be fun. I have to say that I LOVE the Common Craft video. It is amazing how simple and easy to understand the video is. My Language Arts team at my school developed a wiki earlier in the year but I hate to say that we don't use it very much. So far we used it to discuss NCTE's National Day of Writing but that's about it. My goal is to try to get my teammates to use it more. I can also see the how valuable it can be to have a class wiki. I would like to set up one up and use it for book talks and research sharing. I've also thought about the students making a personal trading card at the beginning of the year as a get to know you exercise. I could have them post their trading cards on the class wiki. I think the possibilities are endless!

Thing #15

The video was very powerful and thought provoking. As I teacher it made me realize that I am doing the right thing in the classroom when I let the students lead the discussions and let them work in groups collaborating. It also made me realize I should use technology more but my hands are tied there because we only have so many computer labs. It would so much easier if every student had a laptop. But, if every student did have a laptop, teachers would have to deal with students off task (i.e. on Facebook or checking email, etc). Honestly, I'm still dealing with that because if they are off task will they be learning what they need to?

I also viewed with the video with the eyes of parent. My 16 year old daughter gets upset because she isn't sure what she "wants to be when she grows up", therefore I liked the part when the student held up the sign about I'll have a job that isn't even created yet. I could so see my daughter in the video. She doesn't watch a lot of tv or read many books but she is always online. She is also a multi-tasker.

Whether people like it or not the world is changing and Library 2.0 is proof of it. I really liked the article about school library 2.0 I found on Wikipedia. It discussed the many ways that school libraries will have to change. Libraries will no longer be quiet places where people come to read books. Libraries will be noisy places where technology will be used a lot. Librarians will help patrons with the technology and their search for information.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thing #14

Tag you're it! Well, I understand tags. They are key words to help you search things and keep things organized. However, Technoratio didn't do much for me. Was I doing something wrong because when I searched for " School Library Learning 2.0" I got nothing? I guess I'm at a crossroad in my life and I'm not sure what I should search for. I'm not a librarian yet so do I search for things I can learn about being a librarian or do I search for things that I can use in my English classroom or do I search for my own personal interests? Yikes, do I still have time for a personal life? I probably should be searching for things that would be complete other projects.

I can definitely see where tags can be helpful in Flickr. I can spend all day there searching. Tags helped me in my search for photos to use in my classroom. They also helped me just to enjoy the great photos people have shared.

Thing #13

Wow, I'm shocked! Finally a Thing I actually knew a little something about. Once a month my school requires a person from the IT department to come and give us a training. Two months ago our training was on social bookmarking sites. We had to view the tutorial video on social bookmarking websites. I thought this was great tutorial! I also feel that social bookmarking sites are extremely helpful to librarians and classroom teachers. Let me back up a little before I explain why. In my district delicious is blocked but we can use diigo so I spent more time checking out that site. Now, the reason I think sites like these are helpful is because for one teachers often use more than one computer. For instance, the computer that is connected to the smartboard might not be the one the teacher mainly uses so if she or he would like to share a site on the smartboard they run into a problem. Instead of trying to memorize the site or email it to themselves they can pull it up on a social bookmarking site. When you use a site this this you can also share your favorites with other teachers and librarians.

I had never thought about the implications on research but watching the podcast opened my eyes to new possibilities. I can now see how it could be very beneficial and I would like to explore all the possibilities before I make more comments.

Thing #12

I found a lot of valuable information in all the material we were asked to read in order to complete this Thing. I am totally new to blogging (duh, big shock, huh?) so I tried to learn as much as I could. One of the biggest things that stood out to me was that I shouldn't be afraid to make comments. This information came from the Cool Cat Teacher blog. Of course, I was drawn to this one because it promised to show me how to comment like a queen. I am afraid to leave comments because I am afraid that no one cares about my thoughts. This made me stop and rethink that. I am going to work on overcoming my fear.

The other tip that stuck with me was to interact with comments left by readers. This tip came from ProBlogger. I never thought I would be interested in getting people to read my blog and leave comments but hey, why not? What intrigued me was that by leaving comments on other blogs I am interacting with the authors/bloggers in a way that was never possible before. So, I want to try to leave more comments and comment to comments left on my blog.

I used Google Blog Search to look for a blog on YA literature. I found a blog that gave great recommendations on new YA books. I'm always looking for new titles to share with my eighth graders so I really liked this blog. I also found out that Stephanie Meyer, the Twilight saga author, has a biography coming out. I would like to encourage my students to read this since there is such a big push for reading more non-fiction. I left a comment here thanking the blogger and asking her thoughts about getting my students to read this book.

I also commented on my favorite blog, I Hate Green Beans. This site has has nothing to do with education but everyone needs a break, right? I thanked the blogger for entertaining me with her great writing voice and told her to keep up the good work.

Now in order to totally complete this Thing I have to comment on five blogs that belong to my classmates, so I'm off, wish me luck!

Well, I have really enjoyed commenting on the blogs of my fellow classmates. I have learned some great things from them. I've also become more comfortable leaving comments.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thing #11

I found LibraryThing very interesting and fairly easy to use. I set up an account and quickly added 5 books. I checked out some of the groups. I found the one about challenged books for 2010 very interesting. I feel as a future librarian who will probably end up in a junior or high school library that this group could be very helpful. It could keep me informed as to what books are being challenged. I already have a Shelfari account set up and I've been using it so I'm partial to that site. I created a group for my students so that we can share information about books. What I really like about Shelfari is that you create a virtual bookshelf where people can see what you are reading, what you have read and what you want to read. I think that this is useful because my students can keep up with my reading. If there is a reluctant reader out there they can check out my shelf and maybe find a book that they will like. My avid readers are a huge help to me because they keep me up to date with the current titles. This also allows me to have something to talk with them about during the school day. Which every site you decide to use is up to you but I do feel sites like this are very important and helpful to teachers and librarians.

Thing #10

Good thing I'm on Spring Break because I could play around with these image generators forever. I have a co-worker who had made us a Wordle to use but honestly, I had never played around with the site. I had a blast!! My co-worker used the text from the back of a novel we were about to start reading and the students had to predict what the book would be about just from the Wordle. I think it is a great prediction strategy to use. I also like it more for an all about me first of school year assignment. The one I share on my blog is a Wordle that's all about me. It includes my likes and words that describe me. I absolutely love the fact that you can change the font, color and layout of the text. Another fellow teacher has used Glogster so I played around with it for awhile. I also like the comic strip one. I can see so many possibilities for these sites in my classroom. I often have the kids make comic strips with their vocabulary words so I think it would be fun to have them use the comic strip generator next time. Glogster has endless possibilities but I could see it for book talks. I had a friend who created a Glogster and sent it out as her family's Christmas card so wouldn't it be fun to have the kids create a Glogster for a character they are reading about. Well, again...so much to learn!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thing #9

I found the easiest search tool was Google Reader. Just like you would expect, Google made it very easy to search for blogs. I also really like the Edublog one. I didn't know they even gave out awards for blogs. I had heard of Edublog before but I had never checked it out. I spent a lot of time checking out the various award winning blogs. Since I am totally new to all of this, I'm not sure if anything was really confusing but for sure overwhelming. There is so much out there. Who knew? I did like the first post that we were asked to read. I found it very valuable in the aspect that it gave sound advice on picking and choosing which blogs to follow. Well, Spring Break is allowing me time to work through my 23 Things but I still have a way to go and a short time to get there.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thing #8

Again, I am so out of the loop. I had no idea what an RSS feed was. I have seen the little symbol but never tried to figure it out. RSS seems really cool. It is nice to have everything new on one page. I think that will really save time. I have to admit I don't follow many blogs. I am overwhelmed at the moment with work and grad school so my free time which there is very little off is saved for sleep. However, I do have one favorite non-school blog that I do enjoy and it has a crazy name. It is called I hate green beans. It is written by a women from Texas. I love her voice and her topics which are reality television shows. Yes, a strange addiction I have. She follows one of my favorite shows, The Bachelor. When I have more time, I can see finding more blogs that relate to my school life and adding those feeds to my Google reader. Wow, so much to do and so little time.

Thing #7

Wow! Am I living under a rock or what? I had no idea that Google had all those tools. I thought it was just a search engine. I set up a Picasa Web Album and a created a calendar. Sorry, didn’t make it public because I don’t think anyone is interested in what’s going on in my life. However, I do think it will be a great tool for my daughter and I. We both have very busy lives and I think this will be extremely helpful.

As far as educational uses, oh my, there are endless possibilities. It would be great to set up a calendar for my students and parents. I also didn’t realize about the advanced search on Google. I’ll definitely use that next year when the kids do research. I know that Google Earth is loaded on my desktop (in KatyISD) but I have never used it. Ummm, maybe I should think about how to use that.

I can really see how Google can be a verb and that many options it has! However, I have some more “things” to do so I’ll have to Google more later.