Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bonus Activity!!!

How do I spell relief? I-P-O-D! What a great reward that will be for challenging myself to try so many new technology and communication applications! Some of these exercises are things my children are used to; now I can not only speak in their language, but I can enjoy an iPod like they do, too!

Some of my favorite discoveries were Animoto, YouTube, flowcharts/mind maps, online productivity sites, LibraryThing, and the ever-popular avatar. The first day we all worked together at MMS, I really thought I was flying since I completed the first four exercises in one day (with lots of help). I immediately hit a road block with Flikr because I am a little camera-shy when it comes to uploading pictures and saving them properly. Since several applications built on that skill, I bogged down and resorted to my girls for help.

As for Take-aways, I was able to utilize the mind map and create a sample one for a teacher the day after she mentioned needing a way to organize research topics. I also filled a library need by creating a floor plan on Gliffy. It was fun, relatively easy, and I've used the product since completion of that activity. Of course, the blog and avatar (which has changed clothes twice!) have been ongoing useful and fun tools. I haven't added to my LibraryThing yet, but I did sell a teacher on it, and she's having a ball creating an account for the books she allows her students to check out from her classroom.

I knew my life long learning as a librarian would be just that--an ongoing process. I never dreamed it would take such curves, leaps, and bridges that would urge me into such advanced forms of communication. Reading about Library 2.0 made me realize that sitting still in my learning would make me obsolete and in need of weeding. I am thankful for this gentle challenge that let me dabble in new areas before having grand expecations put on me.

I think this program's format is perfect. It is flexible and self-paced. I wouldn't change anything (except maybe to get rid of that countdown clock. It raised my blood pressure! LOL I would definitely be interested in another discovery program of this sort. If not for this one, I would be in the dark in soooooo many areas.

When I struggled with certain exercises, I would ask myself if I would ever use these applications. At the time, the answer was NO. Now I'm seeing ways to use these collaborate and exciting tools to make my job easier and to make my library webpage and program more appealing to the technology savvy kids we have today. I hope to take some of the summer staff development offerings to brush up on the skills I DID master and to get schooled on the ones I didn't. Using these skills regularly will make it easier for me to get on board and stay there. I think I knocked a few bunnies off this Dustyshelf since October. Thanks!

Thing #23

The Big C (copywrite) basically means "all rights reserved" and "ask permission." CC (Creative Commons) means "some rights reserved" and "go ahead and use it creatively." Creative Commons compliments copywrite, and allows it to be refined to the artist's decision. Hmmmmm.

Creative Commons seems to be the answer for this and future generations who find entertainment and enterprise in using other people's works. I think it is great that so many people are willing to put their creations out in public for others to use. I just hope the responsibility for changes made to the original are never placed on the originator of the book, photo, video, etc.

I enjoyed the Get Creative and Wanna Work Together videos because they put the information in that human-readable language that I need so desperately when it comes to technology and certainly legal issues. The comic book was a neat idea, but by page 26 I found it tedious and quit it.

This is an example I found of someone being really mad for having his image taken from Flikr and put into a YouTube video. He makes a good point, and he also seems set on getting paid for it. He probably wouldn't be thrilled to know I'm furthering its viewage by posting it on my blog. Did I violate here as well? If so, sorry Dude. I'm on your side.

In middle school, we try to urge our students to use data bases and approved websites so they won't have to deal with copywrite issues among other things. I have had students try to get pictures off website that couldn't be printed. I told them they were copywrite protected. I'm not even sure if that's the real reason, but they bought it! I think I need more education on this and will then have to provide some for our teachers before approaching the students with it. There are a lot of questions still for which I need answers.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thing #22

Whoopee! Thanks for winding saving one of the best challenges for last! Using Animoto ended up being a very rewarding task. It took lots of steps and a little waiting, but the end result is so worth the wait.

I tried this exercise at school and was disappointed because every video I tried to preview, including the sample one in the lesson and the videos our librarians who have completed Thing #22 made, would not load. I watched the little dial go around for up to 10 minutes on several videos and finally gave up. I guess it had something to do with the district filter (once again). When I tried at home, it was a breeze. My daughter helped choose the photos from our family vacation to put together my video. She wasn't excited about the music choices, but I think it's neat how Animoto promotes up-and-coming artists this way. Hey, why not! Also, the distraction videos were fun to watch while my video was processed. (Be sure to notice me in the cruise ship's library!)

I think short Animoto videos will be fun to have on my library webpage. The most recent pictures I have from school are the spelling bee pics, so maybe I'll try to put one together since I have a speller advancing to the county bee. I need to double check on the permission guidelines to use student photos first, though. Animoto definitely has a place in the library. It would be great to promote Lone Star books and our Celebration Station field trip, Caught Reading photos for Teen Read Week, student presentations over library research units, and much more. Fun stuff!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thing #21

This podcasting exercise is one I'd like to retake during the summer staff development sessions. I like the idea, but I couldn't really find anything useful to put in a school-related blog. I DID find a cute "morning radio show-type" team called 2 Guys Named Joe, and their segment on The Joy of Flikr was really funny and useful. They talked about how much more beneficial and space saving it was than sending multiple emails with tons of pictures to family and friends. They also talked about setting some pictures to private, the commenting option, the ability to resize images and order prints, creating groups, etc. The trouble was that it was really long--I mean reaaaaaaaaally long. I was afraid it would take up too much bandwidth or whatever. (Did I actually use that word?) I couldn't get to open, and I liked Podcast Alley's sections like Top 10 for January, 5 Newest Podcasts, and 5 Featured Podcasts to give someone new like me a place to start. It just seemed like there was more musical content than anything else. I added a podcast to this post just to see if I could. It's not something I'm in love with, though. I whole-heartedly admit, I need much more work in this area.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thing #20

I chose this YouTube video after an English teacher at my school told me about it. Quite clever to connect Harry Potter with The Giver! It was really easy to apply to my blog, too. I expected it to be more complicated.

Some features on YouTube I like are the star ratings, the counter showing the number of viewings, the What's Showing Now feature, and the comments opportunity. There's a lot of information on this site, and I think you can find a video on just about anything! The search was easy and gave me more than I could ever imagine about any subject I typed in. The "librarians" search proved to be quite interesting--ranging from educational to silly to very raunchy! Those were NOT filmed in MY library!

I can see where movie trailers, author interviews and readings, library facility tours, and literacy promotions can be used constructively on a library website. Students would love this technology, especially since they are so familiar with it. I've seen quite a bit on several kids' My Space pages.

Thing #19

I like to have things organized, and I see many ways the sites in this exercise could have benefitted me when I was teaching in a classroom. Still, there are many benefits to me as a librarian in the mind maps and flowcharts presented. I found very easy to use and think students would find it appealing also. It is cute (technology language) how subtopic bubbles are called babies and fun to see the small explosions with fire that come up when a user X's out of a bubble. Color options also make this process fun, but how many schools allow printing in color? Not mine. I thought it was interesting how the creators of the site included the "team's" professional information, including credentials and college degree info. I had a reading teacher ask me yesterday how she could streamline the brainstorming for a research project over the 1960s that just seemed too broad. I was excited to tell her I'd make a mind map online from her general ideas that she could then edit and tailor to her specific needs. I finished it this morning, and she was thrilled!

I also found great benefit in playing with Gliffy. I used the floorplan feature because, sadly, I have used a hand-drawn seating chart for the library for seven years now. I was impressed with the variety of symbols one can use to create various floorplans. The only trouble I had with it was getting the width small enough to fit on a standard sheet of paper. I made adjustments in the width column, but it never changed. I'll play with it some more, but until then, I did the old manual job of copying and taping it together and shrinking it on the Xerox machine. Still, it looks much more professional than the sketch I've been using for so long. Gliffy is a site to remember, to share, and to use.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thing #18

I spent three different days looking at some of the fun and useful (or not) sites. I was familiar with craigslist because my husband had used it before. It is a good tool to use for buying and selling just about anything! It's a much easier way to find common and not-so-common items than ebay. I tried to peek at Cocktailbuilder, from home of course, but I kept getting the "cannot connect to the server" error. Maybe later. I found listdump very interesting and easy to navigate. One list focused on the most beautiful moutains in the U.S. It was interesting because it provided pictures and information for potential travelers. The site also provided the opportunity to comment and save the info. The tags on the sidebar were helpful as well. I saw one list, though, that made me think this is something to be careful about using at school. It was a list of douchebags: a classy online way of bashing people! The list (of course I looked at it!) ranged from Pres. George W. Bush (not a surprise) to Jesus Christ!!! I was thinking about lists of favorite books in varying genres, but I can just see my middle school students getting on the douchebag list instead! Hey, it was on the Top Lists section...I didn't go searching for it! :0

I am still trying to work out an online collection development list for the middle school librarians and got stuck again on thinkfree. It seemed easy enough, except I cannot figure out how to make the columns on the spreadsheet long enough to accomodate book titles, author's names, etc. The tool bar is very minimal, and I can't find any help sections. This was my second attempt to make an editable, online spreadsheet. It will happen, ladies. If you give it a try and succeed, let me know!