Monday, April 14, 2008

Thing #23

I have completed the 23 things and I have to say its a little bittersweet. I have enjoyed learning about all of the tools and actually looked forward to each new thing. I even have friends asking me "what new stuff can you tell us about this week?" But, there are many other projects to be completed, so I am happy to check this off of my list. If there were another opportunity like this, I would definitely participate (even if I didn't receive any credit for it!) Because of 23 Things, I feel comfortable with blogging, but never would have tried it before. I had fun with the image generators, Library Thing, mashups and Teacher Tube. I have already used many of the other tools such as wikis, Google Docs, Google Calendar and podcasts in my personal life. This has shown me that I continue to be a life long learner and that I will have to constantly be learning if I want to stay up to date with technology. It has reminded me that there are many, many new things out there and that learning them can actually be fun. I was surprised by how easy it was to just jump in and do all of these things. I was very intimidated when I began, but have gained a new confidence through this project.

Summing it up in one sentence isn't a simple task. But, I would say the experience is very hands-on and effective. It got even the least "tech-savy" of us to blog, didn't it? We all embedded video, contributed to a wiki, tagged, created a podcast... I think that's pretty impressive considering most (if not all) of us remember when the internet didn't even exist!!

Thing #22

I explored several nings. I saw some familiar faces on the Texas School Librarian Ning! I think nings for librarians are a wonderful idea. Because we are usually the only librarian on our campus, a ning would be a great place to generate discussions with other librarians. It is a place to get new ideas and share things that have worked in our own libraries. While exploring a post on one ning I learned about "Book Trailers" which are like movie trailers, only for books. What an awesome idea! I'm sure as I explore more nings I will discover many other ideas that I had never thought of. A ning could be used in a school among teachers or students to share ideas. I also like the social aspect of it. What a great place to meet new people with similar interests. I have no problems with MySpace or Facebook, but I am not interested in being on either one. I would, however, join one of the nings I explored. I feel more at home there.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thing #21

My group created a podcast for our Mid Term project, so that is the one I am showing. But I have created others with pictures of my family. I really enjoy using PhotoStory because it is so easy and everyone loves seeing the podcasts. I also had Kindergarten students create podcasts about insects they had researched. They absolutely loved seeing and hearing themselves in their "movies." Podcasts are a fantastic tool to use with students. If you haven't tried it yet, you should. It is so simple and the kids love it.

I also created a podcast for my niece's "Flat Stanley" project. She was very excited and couldn't wait to show her class at school.

Thing #20

Teacher Tube and You Tube can be awesome resources for the library and classroom. The videos are simply one more "tool" for a teacher. The great thing about videos online is that you don't have to worry about checking them out or if another teacher has a certain video when you need it. We know that our students are excited about videos. If we want our kids to get excited about what we are teaching, showing short videos can be one way to do it. I thought the video I embedded was interesting and so true. Web 2.0 gives anyone with a voice a place to be heard. Maybe one of our students will be the next to start a radio broadcast out of their bedroom. Only it will be a "podcast" using Web 2.0.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thing #19

I explored thinkfree. It is similar to Google Docs in that documents are stored online. Multiple people can view and contribute to the document. I like this tool because you can control how much each member is allowed to modify the document. This would be useful in an education setting because the teacher could "lock" some parts of the document that she wanted to be static and leave the rest of the document "unlocked" for the students to manipulate. Another feature that I really like is that there is a setting to receive an email update any time the document has been modified. So, you don't have to keep checking back to see if anything has changed. (I could not find a feature like this in Google Docs.) This tool is similar to a wiki, but it is free and, as far as I could tell, there is no advertising on the documents. There are so many uses for documents that are stored online. They are convenient because they can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. They could be used among staff for planning lessons or used among students when working on collaborative projects.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Thing #18

I explored Google Docs. I had actually used Google Docs for our Mid Term group project for this class. We shared documents and were able to modify the documents individually from home and share them with each other without having to email attachments. I really liked that aspect of it. However, I experienced several problems with creating a power point presentation in Google Docs. The program has limited capabilities and kept unexpectedly quitting every few seconds (making me lose any changes in the process). Google Docs is still relatively new and I feel certain they will make improvements over time. The fact that the documents are stored online is their best feature in my opinion. That allows access from anywhere at anytime and makes them extremely easy to work on collaboratively.

Thing #17

I read all of the postings in the Sandbox and made a few comments of my own. It is great to see that everyone is having fun with this learning experience. If we are liking it, won't our students like projects like this, too? I wrote about possible uses for wikis in my last post. I also have been using wikis with my friends, especially when planning outings. Before using them, we would send up to 20 emails about where to meet for coffee. That's too much email about one thing! So, we started using wikis after I learned about them in this class and now our in-boxes are free of clutter. Wikis could be used in the same way at school with fellow teachers and administrators.