Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thing 23: Le fin!!! The end! Huzzah!

I can't believe I made it! 23 Things in less than 4 weeks. So my thoughts on the whole shabang?

1.What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
By far my favorites discoveries were the image generators/mashups, Rollyo, Nings, and Library Thing. Those have the most potential for incorporation into a library setting in my opinion.

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
I realized that even though I am a child of the first video game generation and thus one step ahead of many of my fellow LS grad students and librarians, I still have much to learn.

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
I was amazed there was so much I didn't know about the internet and all it has to offer. I also had been dreading the podcast thing until I actually got into it and started playing around with photostory. Though I was correct in my assumption that it would be time consuming.

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

Warn people on the main page that Thing 21(podcasts) can be time consuming. If they have a deadline for completing the workshop, participants might wish to have had more time to work on it. I would also require participants to comment on one or two other participants podcasts to help foster community.

5. If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate? Absolutely.

6. How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities? This program has shown me the existence of some valuable tools that I wouldn't have discovered on my own.

Vingt et un (Thing 21): Podcast

I don't have a video camera and my microphone is no longer operational. So the podcast I made doesn't have narration. The nice thing about Photostory is the ease with which you can add audio/music to your video. The 2 music clips for my homemade video came from the original soundtrack from the 80s movie, Flight of the Navigator, created by Alan Silvestri. It's my attempt to push librarians into changing with some of the new library and technology movements. Please feel free to make comments and suggestions for improvement.

It took me about 3 hours to put it all together. This includes choosing photos and music. It would have taken me longer had I decided to use a video camera or record narration with a microphone. So the process was very time consuming. But with practice I'm sure I will get faster. Photostory was easy to download and use. I'd never used it before, but it was so simple I didn't even need to go through a tutorial.

Vingt duex (Thing 22): Nings

Yes, I skipped the podcast thing. I'm saving that for last. Ugh.

This Nings thing is really cool. What a great way to find what other teachers/librarians are doing with their students. I would definitely share this with other teachers. It didn't take me long at all to find something of value on the Texas School Libraries Ning. Doug Valentine created this video using various Web 2.0 tools and other media:

Find more videos like this on Texas School Librarians

I really recommend going to the page where he posted it and looking at his comments on how he made it. It's a bit labor intensive if you're not familiar with the programs, but I'm sure the student interest generated from the project is well worth the effort. But there's more value to the site than just videos. It's like one giant support group for teachers and librarians. You can't get that from YouTube or TeacherTube.

Vingt (Thing 20): YouTube/TeacherTube/Zamzar

There are so many reasons to use YouTube and TeacherTube. Teachers can find videos to help introduce or reinforce lessons. Librarians and teachers alike also grab ideas for lessons from videos. Librarians can find videos like this one:

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to show teachers they are passionate about doing more than just circulating books.

I haven't tried Zamzar yet, but I have tried other video conversion sites. I was successful at pulling audio, but not at downloading both video and audio. Maybe my old computer didn't have enough memory to complete the process. Hopefully my laptop will be able to convert the whole video w/ audio.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dix-neuf (Thing 19): Web 2.0 Awards

I know we had guiding questions for this thing. But I'm going to say first from an educator's perspective I would have trouble justifying craigslist for first place in the classifieds category on the Web 2.0 awards (as of August 3rd, 2009). Though it's great for personal amusement and pure gross-out factor. If you haven't been watching the news in recent months and heard about the Craigslist killer, trying googling it or use the search terms "craigslist in the news" for other stories about related to garbage on craigslist. I will however admit that not all of craigslist is bad. My best friend goes there first to find ads for used cars.
I agreed with their choices in the Maps category. Google maps has the best convenience combined with innovation. The ability to see the "from the street" perspective from almost any point on a map is not only cool but useful. I used it personally 2 months ago to go to a concert in an arena I've never visited in downtown Houston (I live about an hour outside of Houston). Google Earth is also an incredible tool, but not as convenient because it requires a massive file download.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend this site to my students as place to find good websites. Instead, I might use it as a place to teach students about comparing and evaluating websites -OR- have students make their own categories and supply their own websites to see what sites they like to visit.

Dix-huit (Thing 18): Online Productivity Tools

I already explored Google Docs for one of the webCT discussions so I'm sticking to it for right now. I do however plan on telling my mother about Open Office since she doesn't have any version of office on her computer and I know she will be vary greatful for the tool (that is as long as it's not a memory/cache hog).
Advantages of Google Docs
  • Free
  • Easy to share files (with students or other teachers!)
  • Has all the important features necessary to get a good working document
  • Online storage
  • Ability to upload existing files from your computer
  • Ability to export (save) files to your computer
  • Doesn't require a google account specifically to use it

Disadvantages of Google Docs

  • Limited file size (at least with importing files)
  • Limited customization (they're going to look a bit more boring)
  • Slower processing
  • No automatic saving
  • If your computer crashes, there is no chance to recover the file.

All in all, I think Google Docs is a cool idea. It's probably really nice if you're out of town without a computer but have an iphone or a blackberry and need to work on a forgotten assignment. As for sharing documents with teachers from the library: unless it's a big campus-wide or department-wide collaboration project, it would just be simpler to post documents to the library website, use a wiki, or email a document if it's to an individual.

Dix-sept (or Thing #17): Rollyo

I really like the idea behind this site. From a librarian's standpoint, this is even better than social bookmarking, because it doesn't take the search out of researching. It's also a good way to introduce our younger students about the process of how to use a search engine to get what you need for researching a topic. I created a math/science search engine because i'm into math and i'm on a tight schedule and had sites already on my mind at the ready. But I could have just as easily collected sites for social studies, or literature, or music, or anything else. Signing up for an account was free and simple. Creating the engine was just as easy. I highly recommend showing this to teachers and fellow librarians in the district.