Thursday, July 30, 2009
I am always humbled whenever a student knows more about something technological than me. This program was an opportunity to better understand 2.0 technologies. Some of the "things" I was already using or had used in the past, like YouTube, IM, wikis, podcasts, blogs, Flickr... In these cases, the "thing" was a refresher or gave me new insight into how I could use it in the library environment. Some of the "things" I personally did not like. I am not, for example, likely to visit Twitter very often. However, I felt it important that I know what it is and how it works so I can better understand the mainstream. A few of the "things" I've wanted to explore for a while, but never got around to until now- like Facebook and Delicious. I didn't think I had enough time for Facebook, but I've learned that it makes keeping in touch very efficient. I will definitely keep up with my Delicious account- I'm adding and tagging websites all the time. The image generators were a lot of fun. I used one to create an image for our school library website. Some of the other "things" I didn't see a need for now, but filed away the information for later. One technology that was not on the list was widgets- like Animoto. This might be something to consider for the future.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
When I began this program, I was working in a high school library. Now I am about to open a new elementary school library. I could certainly adapt the 23 things to both scenarios. Many school librarians offer professional development to staff. Many of the 23 things would be very useful for teachers, who, in turn, could pass the learning on to their students. In teaching these "things" to teachers, we are also helping them to better understand the students who already use these technologies. Were I still at the high school level, I would pass the knowledge on to my two co-workers. At the elementary level, I will pass it on to teachers during staff development and to students during weekly lessons. Sometime during this year, I will probably cover blogging, wikis, tagging/Delicious, image editors/generators and podcasting in some capacity.
Monday, July 27, 2009
I've never been a huge fan of podcasts. I had a professor who gave a few podcast lectures and I didn't seem to get as much from them. I guess that I'm just not an auditory learner, which I realize does not reflect the rest of the world. I was not very impressed with the school library podcasts- some were taking forever to load, some were missing altogether. One school library had some audio trailers for books that appeared to be recorded by students. The quality was okay. I moved on to the other library podcasts. Sunnyvale had a good quality lecture on podcast. (I didn't listen to all 75 minutes.) The storytelling podcasts from the Orange County Library were also good quality and I could see myself using something like this in my school library. I skipped over some of the technical podcasts. A special exhibit at one library was described in a podcast. I've seen similar usage of podcasts at museums. My overall feeling on podcasts is that audio is more effective when paired with something visual in most cases. We have the technology to do both, so podcasts seem a little outdated.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
The first time I went to You Tube was probably a few years ago and I've continued to visit every once in a while. The last time, my daughter and I were looking at trailers for the latest Harry Potter movie. To be honest, I never looked up library stuff until this week. I started out with a book cart drill team performance. I thought the song ("I Want to be a Librarian" by Haunted Love) featured in the performance was a crack-up, so I looked up the video. I went on to watch a few trailers- for txshare, for a school library, for databases... I thought one library tour I watched was a good idea and I enjoyed a library contest submission. There were a number of interviews- I watched one with Stephenie Meyer at TLA. There were clips from a game in which I'm guessing the objective is to annoy the librarian. (Many of the clips enforce the librarian stereotype.) You Tube is potentially a very useful tool, but you would have to let people know where to find anything that you've uploaded- on your webpage, newsletter, etc. because people aren't likely to happen upon it serendipitously. Because of copyright and legal issues with posting pictures of students online, I would be leery to create something of my own and put it out there for the whole world to see. For professional development and instructional purposes, I would use the mini tutorials. I saw a Facts on File database tutorial, for example. This is particularly helpful with your visual learners. When I'm struggling with something, I might check You Tube for help from now on.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
For the most part, Google Docs is comparable to Microsoft Office, but with perhaps a few less bells and whistles. I would have to use more advanced applications in order to make a fair comparison. My documents tend to be fairly straightforward, so I could easily use Google Docs for my own purposes. It might also be more efficient to use the templates created by other users- over time there will be far more templates shared through Google Docs than offered through Microsoft. Google Docs would be great for library patrons who don't have a computer at home. They could save their documents and access them wherever they go for Internet access. Because our Internet goes down every so often, I like having the software on my computer so I can save documents to my hard drive just in case. I like the ability to easily share docs, but I don't think adding an email attachment is that big of an inconvenience. The only thing on Google Docs that I'm fairly certain I will use is the forms- very cool, especially since it can compile the data on a spreadsheet for you in real time.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I have a love-hate relationship with Wikipedia. It is a useful resource for certain, but students treat it as an authoritative site way too often. Some people don't realize that it can be modified by anybody. I was working at a high school and a geography teacher (& coach) was allowing his students to use it for a research project. He appeared genuinely ignorant when I explained the nature of wikis and suggested some alternative sites better suited for the task. Don't get me wrong- wikis definitely have a place in education. I recently attended a workshop on library 2.0 technologies where the instructor posted most of the workshop information on a wiki. We could go to the wiki and modify some of the samples set up there or refer back to it later. A class could create a wiki for a particular project or assignment and everybody could take some ownership of the final product. When I went to Wikipedia today, I looked up "gerbil" for my daughter who wants to get one as a pet. I was paying more attention and noticed that the content was peppered with dispute and lack of reference notations. When I checked the discussion, there were some rather inappropriate comments. Under "view source" it said that the page was semi-protected to prevent vandalism, so apparently there have been some problems with this particular page. If you want students to appreciate how inexpert Wikipedia can be, checking the discussion is very enlightening. The page was rated "B," which is interesting because I didn't realize that pages were graded. My overall feeling on wikis is that they have a lot of potential, but should be used with caution.
Monday, July 13, 2009
When initially reading about LibWorm on the N. TX blog and "About LibWorm," I was pretty excited- this might be where I'd find those school librarian blogs I was looking for earlier. Once I started doing some actual searches however, I was a little disappointed. If I were looking for a particular book review, for example, I could find what I wanted pretty easily. But when I started looking for particular lesson information, I only came across some very general information. I did come across some cool stuff serendipitously. I found a feed that had a link to a cool hoax site that would be useful for teaching website evaluation. When I started skimming the school libraries feed category, I found more useful stuff, but not necessarily what I was looking for when I set out. FYI- I thought the "What is RSS" description was very good and would have been useful in explaining Thing 7.