Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Week 7 Thing #16

Wikis. Ok, my first knowledge of a wiki was Wikipedia - a site that I hated my students using - after all, why use something that anybody could post on! Where's the authority? Once I told my students that anybody could go in and add or change the post many of them did - especially the post about our hometown! They also discovered that Wikipedia was monitored and was changed back - although who was the authority of our hometown, it was derogatory piece of info I'll tell you that! Well, it served to illustrate to the students that wikis may not be the authoritative resource of choice, but I also taught them to triangulate, ie if they were getting the same information from 2 or three other reliable sources then they could use the Wikipedia source. So that's my experience with wikis.

However, after reading Valenza's post
Ten reasons why your next pathfinder should be a wikilooking at the various wikis from the assignment and taking a web conference through the Ontario Library Association on using wikis with Loertscher's Ban Those Bird Unit research models, I can see the potential here for pathfinders, research projects and library pages. What I am not so clear on is how this will work with our firewalls at schools. I like the fact that with pbwiki (this is from my web conference - we were shown how to use pbwiki to create a space for student collaboration on various projects) you an password protect it and keep it private if you wish and that you can track the edits via student log ins.
I really want to start a wiki and use it as a pd tool - not sure where to start though.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Week 6 Thing #15

After reading the articles on the Future of Libraries, I felt slightly overwhelmed but certainly agreed that libraries need to be very aware of today's patron needs. So how does that fit in with our school libraries? There are a few thoughts:

1. Our secondary school libraries need a major weed - there is too much old stuff on the shelves and students can't see the good stuff due to the 'weeds'.
2. We need to create pathfinders for our secondary students and if we do this district -wide then it will reduce the labour (collaborate). Joyce Valenza suggests a wiki - that's next week's lesson.
3. We need to start using blogs with our students and set up our own library blogs that students and staff. I like the idea of blogging as students progress through the research process - what an opportunity for some metacognitive processing.
4. We need to do more outreach to let students and teachers know of the Virtual Library available to them on our board's reference portal. Too many rely only on Google.
5. Our province has funded databases for all publicly -funded schools and libraries. This has provided very valuable resources to our staff and students and has made the library accessible 24/7. It's part of an initiative called Knowledge Ontario
6. Our public library and the Knowledge Ontario initiative both have initiated an Ask a Librarian service so students can get help whenever they need it.

We're getting there but we have a long way to go.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Week 6 Thing # 14

I played with Technorati today. I searched School Library Learning 2.0 using tags, the blog directory and keyword search. To find these options you had to go to advanced search. When I used the Blog Keyword search, I went to exact phrase and keyed in the phrase. I got 211 hits - all from our online learning community. With the tag search I got over 1 000 then refined the search using Boolean (" ") and got 205. The Hey Jude blog came up as well as the blogs from this tutorial. With the Blog Directory search, I got 17 hits - not sure why and really don't want to take the time to figure out why.

Would I use Technorati with students? I would if I was teaching a lesson on how to recognize authority and refining searches.

I usually find good blogs to follow by seeing who my experts are following - people Like Joyce Valenza, Doug Johnson and David Warlick. Much easier!

Week 6 Thing #13

This week I looked at del.icio.us. I have to say that I was playing with this social bookmarking tool prior to this week's exercise. I certainly see the advantages of having access to my favourites from any computer. I add to my list constantly from work or from home so it is very convenient. I have now added my account as part of my email signature so that people can see what I have book marked. I don't have any PD budget this year for my high school TL/LMSs so I am going to attempt to provide it via emails, blogs and RSS feeds. We'll see what happens.

I see this as an excellent tool for teachers and students. This certainly can be used as a pathway by teachers for students. Another use, which is far more valuable, is for students to use. I don't know how many times students bookmarked sites at school and then couldn't access them at home because the bookmarks were stored on their school accounts and inaccessible at home. This will solve the problem. Another problem that always occurs is the difficulty of students getting together for group projects. If they saved all of their sites to a group del.icio.us account, all members would have access to all of their sources. This to me is one of the most applicable tool (along with a blog account to track the research process).

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Week 5 Thing# 12

I'm not sure that I like this Rollyo thing. I tried using one of the suggested sites to find a quote on learning. while I did find some legit sites, there was also a lot of ad sites that came up on the list as well.

I generally don't have a list of favourite sites that I use. I generally search the Internet for commercial reasons - clothes, furniture etc. - but that is only if I am purchasing something that I can't get at a store. This means that I am rarely in those sites so I don't think that they are classified as a special list of sites. My blogs are on on Bloglines or on my iGoogle page. I guess I could list some of my ed sites like ASCD, and IRA - most of these are on MY Favorites list. if I am doing heavy duty research, then I generally go to my databases - I generally do not search on the 'net.

Maybe I should put some of my favorites into a search roll - when I have more time!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Week 5, Thing #11


I found this link when I was checking out Teachers 2.0 social net work. It's called One Woman's Wanderings with Web 2.0.

There was a couple of things that struck me with this video. The first is that Allanah K. is a 'seasoned' teacher. Secondly, it's about taking risks to try new things.

I am going to share this video with my secondary TLs to motivate them to consider working through these tutorials. I am hoping that some of the TLs will embrace this 2.0 thing and begin to collaborate and provide staff training to the teachers in their schools - that's the goal. Unfortunately, I have no funding so it will have to be on their own time.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Week 5 Thing #10

I quickly went into the Generator Blog and found the Chalkboard Generator and here's what I made. I can't believe the number of sites he had for image generation - incredible!

Here's the link:

I've used greeting card generators before - my daughter was away at school in the Caribbean and snail mail took forever to get there so I used to email cards to her. The fun ones included audio.
I added a zodiac image under My Homework Creations. This one was from Image Chef. The angels image was from Comic Strip Generator.

Week 4, Thing # 's 8 & 9

Since my last post, I have been playing around with RSS feeds. I already had an iGoogle page made so I have been adding feed to that since this is the home page on my computer. I have added a number of feeds: Joyce Valenza's Never Ending Search blog, David Warlick's 2 cents blog, Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk blog and School Library Journal's Pocasts. Having these feeds on my home page is very convenient. The drawback is that titles of the blog posts are given so you have to go into the blog and read for the content - there is no clip that you can read to get a sense of the post.
That's where Bloglines come in. I set up an account and have a list of feeds that are different from those on my iGoogle homepage. These are the blogs and sites that I just want to skim through quickly. I have some books review sites, health sites, etc. I also added a few sites that were recommended in the lesson.
I can't though figure out how to share this. What I get on my screen at Bloglines doesn't look like what is posted on the lesson tips. I have been trying to add my feed list to my blog but haven't had much luck. I'll keep trying.
I quickly played with Technorati and Google Blog Search. When I need something specific, I'll spend more time there. Now I know that they exist, I'll use them when I need them.
I think that setting up a Bloglines or Google Reader account for students would be a neat way for them to keep current on info for research projects.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Week 3, Thing #7: Technology

Technology - when I look back at the beginning of my teaching career, the Commodore 64 was a new technology! Look how far we have come in 20 years! Now I can't conceive of teaching or living without technology.

What to write about?

Well I do love my digital camera - even though I really need to get better at understanding all the features. I really just like to be able to point and shoot. I also love that I can store these pictures on CDs instead of big bulky books.

I also found Skype to be a real money saver. My daughter spent 2 years in the Caribbean going to school and we used Skype to communicate. My son who lives in another city uses Skype to call us. Can you imagine the phone bills if we used the regular phones?

She also posted a weekly blog. This gave me a real insight into her experiences and it helped her connect when she was far from home , family and friends.

I find that I am beginning to take these technologies for granted; maybe taking them for granted is not what I mean, but this blog thing, Skype, etc have made communication so much easier. It is overwhelming at times because technology is advancing so quickly. I just wish things would slow down for a bit so I can take the time to really get good at using them!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Addendum to Previous Post

I got the card to show! Apparently, I didn't get the full html code the first time.

Don't you just love it when you persevere and then it WORKS!!!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Week 3 Thing #5 and #6 : Flickr

Beam Me Up!

Flickr is really overwhelming! I can see that in some ways it can be a big time waster. However, I can also see that it can be an efficient way of sharing photos with family. After having a recent experience in trying to share about 25 photos with my cousin and niece via email ( it didn't work because the file was too big - I ended up burning a CD) I can see that this would be an easier way of sharing once you have set up the account.

I liked the trading card site. I was able to create a card fairly quickly using one of the pictures already on my computer. Off the top of my head, I can see this being used for a unit on Endangered Species - student could create cards based on their research and then create a game of some sort using the cards. I've added another section to my page layout: I will post any creations that I made by working through this tutorial.

OK, here's a photo I found in Flickr. It's a picture of the Mackinaw Bridge in Michigan. I've activated a link (I hope) to it.

I was in Joyce Valenza's Edublog and she had a link called 11Craziest Ways to Browse Flickr
I included it here because it's the topic of the week.

Bottom line: right now this Flickr is a bit overwhelming.

P.S. For some reason the trading card I made didn't come up on my blog. I'll have to try again. Also, I created links to a picture that I found on Flickr and tried to insert it directly to the text area of the blog but that didn't work either.

School Library Learning 2.0 #3(Week 2)

Well that was fun! I was able to create my own avatar using Yahoo's avatar creating site and I posted it to my blog which was also cool!
I wasn't sure where I was supposed to paste the html code but put it into the text box with a title and it worked! How neat is that!
So how would I use this with teachers? I think that for other newbies like me, just showing them how easy it was to set up a blog and to use the tools that are on the 'net will give them an idea of what their students are doing now and help teachers to catch up with their students.
I've been sold on the idea of students and teacher blogging as a way of developing literacy, but I probably wouldn't use this site to do it. We have a site called Ontario Blogs which is an educational blog site that has teacher controls built in. Students' posts aren't published until they have been vetted by the teacher. They even include an extensive help and teaching tips section that includes assessment and evaluation of blogs as part of the curriculum.
I have added the Ontario Blogs link to my List of Favorite Sites - did this on my own! I just followed the same instructions as posting my avatar and found the section for adding links.
So far so easy!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Jumping In with Both Feet

After visiting Joyce Valenza's Edublog, I clicked on one of the links that she posted for the California Library Association's free Web 2.0 tutorials. Well after reading the About section, I decided to wade right in and begin the tutorials, even though this thing started at the beginning of June and it is now August! I'm going to commit to working through as many of the tutorials as I can - with the goal of being able to share what I have learned with the teacher librarians in my district.
So this is the first 'Thing' - creating a blog! I've always wanted to start one but I had no purpose really until now.
Right now I need to create and avatar (whatever that is).