Since I had completed the 23Things on my own when I first found out about the program I was amazed at the differences. The PSLA version of 23 things is not the same as the 23Things I did on my own a couple of years ago. I love that 23Things is available to use under a Creative Commons license because I am thinking of developing a version for my district to introduce our teachers to what is available on the Web. It could be completed for Act 48 credit through the district with assistance from those who have completed the 23Things. Somehow though I wonder how many more things could be explored. There is so much more out there than can be explored in just 23Things. But it is a starting place and enough to get teacher’s feet wet. To improve the 23Things program I would simply enlarge it. Make 23Things be the starting point and then have teachers go on from there. 23Things is e-learning at it’s best. 23Things is lifelong learning! Now for the journey to continue!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Free books a librarian’s dream! Free books are wonderful whether they are physical books or e-books. E-books are another way to get kids to read and or listen to books. I often recommend audio books to special education students but I require them to have the book in front of them as they listen. Finding free sources of audio and ebooks is wonderful. FriedBeef’s Tech is a website that touts itself as the ultimate guide to the best places to get free ebooks. So many of the books in the public domain are now available as PDF files and can even be read on my iPhone with a free application called “Stanza.” I enjoyed exploring the site LibriVox because it has both a listening and ebook catalog. As a birthday gift a few years ago my son gave me a year’s subscription to Audible.com. Since then I have won a grant from Donor’s Choose and I got 2 iPods for my library that I allow students to check out loaded with audio books. Most of the books I have are in the public domain so it is easy to find ebooks that go with the audio books. Students love using technology in this way and it makes reading fun even for the most reluctant readers. I love audio books and ebooks.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I have been looking for and listening to podcasts for a couple of years now. Some that I listen to regularly are: Cranky Geeks, Geek Brief TV, and Jumping Monkeys (I also like TWIT but have been focusing on Jumping Monkeys because it is more relevant to elementary aged children). I also like Tekzilla. David Warlick has a podcast but he does not produce shows on a regular basis. His last episode was #103 and was posted in mid December. My new favorite podcast to recommend to teachers is CultureGrams Training. Our district purchased CultureGrams but there has been limited training. The podcast helps learn to use the program and offers curriculum guides. Booktalks Quick and Simple is Nancy Keane’s daily booktalk for books for grades K-12. I listen to podcast through iTunes but sometimes I like to go directly to the websites because often there are show notes with clickable links. I have blogged about Jumping Monkeys before when they did a show on the Baby Name Wizard.
Unfortunately YouTube is blocked in my school district. Actually, I understand that some of the content can be questionable. As part of this exercise I clicked on the Librarian’s Manifesto and was shocked that nude pictures were included. I had planned to embed that video here but once I saw the nude photo decided to look for something more appropriate for an elementary librarian. And, I found MrMarshall1’s video that was just placed on YouTube in November. It is called “How to locate a book on the library shelves.”
I like YouTube and frequently look for videos on the site. Now that Google is no longer accepting videos YouTube hits on Google searches will become more prevalent. I like the idea that you can embed the videos from the site right onto a blog, wiki, or website. Library catalogs would benefit from having videos embedded into them, then when a student or patron was looking for Martin Luther King speeches, they could click and actually see the video of the speech.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Zoho Writer. When I went to Zoho to create a new account I found out that I had already set up an account. I had to reset my password so that I could explore the site further. I guess I never really used Zoho Writer once I started using Google Docs. I like using Google Docs because it is so easy to remember one password for Gmail and all of the other Google applications.
The link to the video on how to use Google sites was pretty simple. I hope it is as easy to use as it seems.
Zoho writer is easy to use. I like the idea of having students use this online word processor so that they can begin typing in school and then go home and login and continue right where they left off. It would be good to use to take notes as well. In fact, I am using it to take notes for a graduate class this week. I used Zoho Writer in both Firefox and Safari and it seems to work equally well in both browsers. I like the page about the benefits of using Zoho Writer. Zoho Writer is another example of how the world is becoming a leveled playing field for all, even those that can’t afford the cost of Microsoft Word. Here is a free alternative which the benefit page says will export as a Microsoft Word document. I am going to explore Zoho Notes next; it is a good alternative now that Google Notes is going away.
I created an account LibraryThing and quickly added some of the books that I most recommend to my students. As expected the book Because of Winn Dixie was very popular but some of my other favorites were not as popular.
And the thing I like the best was LibraryThing Local. It is billed as a gateway to thousands of local bookstores, libraries, and book festivals. I clicked around and found a calendar page for my local library (not that I would not find the same thing with my bookmarked link to my local library). Still, if I were not clicking around I would not know that there is story time for infants and toddlers tomorrow, a day off for me. I am going to take my grandson to story time tomorrow since we will both be home together tomorrow. I also like the idea of the Early Reviewers Group. I would love to get free books for my library in exchange for an early review of the book. I also wrote a review for the book Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins while I was on the site. I am going to add some more books so that LibraryThing will make some recommendations for me.
I enjoy using wikis. I have used wikis to collaborate in graduate classes and I have set up a wiki for my library. Arrowhead Library Wiki is yet another way I can help my students focus on information that is useful and worthwhile. I have not set up a wiki for students to edit yet. That is something I have been trying to do in collaboration with teachers in my building. I would like to see the next research project become a wiki. I started researching Internet Safety and Cyberbullying in the hopes that I could get it to become part of the library curriculum. I have not kept up the wiki but plan to use it during my district’s strategic planning to help technology committee members collaborate on Cyber-safety for our children. Conference wikis like the one started by CSLA are fun whether you are able to attend the conference or not. So much information is shared on the wiki that it can help you learn from the conference attendants and speakers without attending the conference. I am a member of or have started 25 wikis on wikispaces alone. I like wikispaces better than other wikis but if I am going to be able to use wikis with students it will probably be one like pbwiki because my superiors believe it is safer and offers less exposure for students. I did check out the educators pbwiki. It is filled with helpful information and links. I can see using this wiki for my own professional development.
I have several favorite wikis that I use as part of my own professional development. One of my favorite two wikis on the net are the LM_Net wiki where LM_Net list serve members can post documents since the list serve can not handle attachments.
The other wiki that I frequent often is Eduwiki.us. It is so filled with resources that I can spend all afternoon exploring and never hit the same website twice.
I went to the California 2.0 Curriculum Connections Wiki on pbwiki and took a look at the 65 ideas listed for using a wiki for collaboration towards a common goal. I love idea #5 where students become responsible for creating pathfinder lists of links to reference information. By putting the links on the wiki all students in the group or class have access to the information. As a librarian I love that the wiki models proper citation of sources and a bibliography at the bottom of the site. I have to give more thought to starting a book talk wiki for my students to add their opinions about the books they have read. Collaborative book reviews can also be posted to our Destiny library catalog. I also added idea # 11 about Wordle to the Online application and Tools page.
I totally agree with Rick Anderson from the University of Nevada who says we need to be putting more of our limited resources into digital collections. The students in my elementary school are more motivated to look for information on the Web than to finding that same information in a book. I want to create lifelong learners and wonder if students will even be using books, as we know them, in the future. We need to prepare our students for the future. And I agree that I want my student patrons to be able to access library material from home. And while I also agree we need to become more user-centric and make searching easier, I must disagree with Anderson’s contention that “if our services can’t be used without training, then it’s the services that need to be fixed—not our patrons.” I am sure he is talking about adult patrons of his university libraries so I will excuse him. K-12 students on the other hand, need training in using library databases, proper Internet and database search techniques, and using the various digital mediums available to them. It is up to school librarians to give students the paddles they need to navigate digital waters. In Anderson’s analogical terms, it is up to school librarians to make this happen one student-one little oar-at a time.
Michael Stephens’s article, “Into a new world of librarianship,” reads like a 21st Century librarian’s mission statement. At least it reads like the mission statement of a librarian trying to prepare students for the future. I agree that school librarians need to embrace Web 2.0 tools and teach their students which tools are worthwhile for education. Students need to be exposed to Web 2.0 tools in the classroom so that they know how to interact with such tools on their own. I love that Stephens puts the users needs first and calls for the librarian to nurture “a living, breathing technology plan.” I love that Stephens gets Librarians who embrace Web 2.0.
In school libraries Web 2.0 means we are blurring the lines between librarianship and technology integration. Librarians must be technology leaders in their schools. Library 2.0 means we need to teach our students digital library skills as well the ethical use of located information. Library 2.0 may mean our print collections become supplementary to out digital collections in the future but instead of being afraid and burying our heads in the sand we need to become informed, educate ourselves in the new technology and lead the way. Librarians need to be the one building bridges across the digital divide, and modeling what good digital citizenship looks like for our students and colleagues.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
To try to find some links for the Inauguration I did a search on the word and found a satire blog site. I will keep looking for some sites to use with my students.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
If you are like me some of the stresses of teaching every day, budget freezes, preparing a budget and book order for a new library, and being on 2 strategic planning committees for which you must actually produce something, and learning about RtI so you can support teachers with data and more, can take a toll on what you are doing in the classroom or library. Of maybe it is just your perception of what you are doing in the classroom. For 3 years I had fun, fun, fun! I hated snow-days that took me away from my library and my kids. This year with all the extras on my plate I was loosing my fun, I was loosing my joy; then I read Coolcatteacher Vicki Davis’s blog post about “The Cellist of the Sarajevo.” (Please follow the link to the left and go read it now; it will inspire you as it did me). Vicki dubbed her post “The Cellist of the Schoolyard.” And, it makes a lot of sense. The classroom/library is my first priority, I am in this for the kids, my library may be the last place they can find fun (read hope) in school. Nothing against wonderful teachers but with all the stress of testing on them the library needs to be fun. As I commented on Vicki’s blog, the greatest among us is the servant of all, the one who brings joy, hope, and fulfillment to others. I had almost forgotten why I became a librarian. I needed this reminder to live above the noise and be the music. I need to be the cellist of the library (not literally because they would run away screaming). In order to create lifelong learners, I need to give hope, make learning fun, and be a servant with a smile again. After all, librarians are the ultimate search-engine!
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Jeff Utecht did this How to Use Del.icio.us:
Liz Davis did this one:
I subscribed to the SJLibraryLearning2's Bookmarks through my Mail program. I also made the site part of my network on Delicious. I enjoy using Del.icio.us. It allows me to save bookmarks that I use with my students on more than one computer. I also create different tags for students to use as pathfinders. I enjoy looking at the sites that have been saved by the people in my network. I use Del.icio.us and Twitter as my own personal learning network. I often recommend Del.icio.us to teachers in my building that are taking graduate classes and doing research papers. Del.icio.us helped me keep websites in order while doing research and I like to recommend it. I also suggest it to high school students. I do not have my elementary students create Del.icio.us accounts but I do model its use. It is important as a librarian to model the use of tools that students will be using as they continue their education. To my mind Del.icio.us is part of lifelong learning!