Sunday, November 25, 2007

Catching Up

Goodness! I don't really think that anyone is out there reading this, but I did had the idea that I would keep up posting on this blog after I completed the tutorial, just as a way of reminding myself of new ideas, new tools I learn about, and goals I have. It's been almost three months now.

Well, it's been a very busy fall at work, but I have managed to take advantage of some of the new tools I learned about and experimented with, and have plans to use more. Here's some of what I've done:

  • I've gone wiki crazy!
  • The first one was a tutorial for Eighth Grade students doing History Day research. That one also included experimenting with my first Google Custom search engine. (I liked Rollo, but think students are more into the "brand name" and I also like not having any ads.)
  • I created another very simple wiki as a pathfinder/links page. I have various links pages on my school website created with Dreamweaver, but decided that a wiki one would be easier and more flexible (updatable online, not just on my home computer that has Dreamweaver, and available for collaboration with teachers if they are interested.)
  • I created yet another wiki after I got inspired at AASL to organize my professional life and keep track of conference handouts, links, etc. in an easy-to-access way. I invite anyone who might read this to contribute to it. The password is libraries.
  • I created a wiki for my co-region rep and I to use to plan the presentations for the CSLA Southern Section Workshop in March.
  • And finally, I just created a wiki for my library book club.
  • I used some ImageChef images in my library brochure.
  • I added a slideshow to my library website.
  • I've started using Google Calendar for my library schedule as well as for the school calendar I maintain for the school website.
  • I created a Google group for the librarians in my district to keep track of our emails and archival-type documents. (We talked about either a wiki or a blog, but it seemed like a goup would allow for both the email saving and doc saving options we wanted.)

While at AASL in October, I got a lot of additional inspiration to take advantage of more technology to enhance my library program. I have been wanting to create some online book talks, and decided to try, which I learned about from Joyce Valenza's session, for them. I just added the first one to my library webpage, and plan to create more and have students create more for CYRM books and other books they like.

Unfortunately, I had to leave the CSLA conference early Friday morning when my husband got ill, so I missed most of the conference. Since I was poster sessions chair, I did get to see and benefit from all those outstanding ideas as they were being set up on Thursday (see my slide show of the posters), and I've also been reading CALIB emails with links to some of the session presentations. One by Miranda Doyle especially inspired me to make my library web page more interactive. I am working on a list of items I want to add to it. So far, I added my first voicethread book talk, a poll, and I have plans to add changing book images with LibraryThing (as I have already added to this blog), to embed the library news blog (instead of just linking to it), and a few other items.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Week 9, Thing 23

This has been a great program, and I am very grateful to the CSLA team for putting it together. Here are my answers to the survey questions:
  • What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey? I liked so many of them. I think one of the most fun was Image Chef, and I've already taken advantage of it to make a couple of images I inserted in my library brochure I give out each fall. I really liked all the online graphics generators we explored. I was also especially happy to explore and start using it on a regular basis. Becoming more aware of many possibilities with wikis was also great.
  • How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals? It made me aware of a number of new tools, and greatly added to my planned "to do" list. For example:
  • 1. I plan to use wikis (with which I had no previous experience) for a forum for my book club and to set up pathfinders for research projects. Even though I do already have a website for my library, I think the wiki medium will be more flexible and easier to work with than updating webpages in Dreamweaver and will allow for teacher participation. I am going to have to do some more research to decide which wiki software to use.
  • 2. I have started maintaining website links in, and think that will work better moving back and forth between my home and work computers.
  • 3. I plan to take advantage of the different online graphics generators to liven up my library orientations.
  • 4. I plan to learn more about creating podcasts and have students make book recommendation podcasts in the fall. I might also try to create a podcast as part of a self-running orientation for students who come to our school after the beginning of the school year.
  • 5. I did already have a librarything account, but I want to add more books to it and take advantage of its feature to display books on my website and my blog.
  • Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? Even though I had already used several of the tools in the tutorials, I was surprised how much more there was to learn about them. I was also surprised how many great tools there are out there. Some I had heard about but not had a chance to explore yet, and others were brand new to me.
  • What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept? I thought everything was great. What I never did get to do enough of, though, was check out other participants' blogs. I dipped into a number, but am sure there's a lot of great stuff out there I missed. Perhaps one of the "cheerleaders" could bring some of the top examples to our attention as we work through the tutorials. Also, when I received comments in my blog, I would have liked to have had those peoples' email so I could easily write back and thank them. Perhaps next time we could be encouraged to share emails.
  • If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate? Definitely.
  • How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote CSLA learning activities? Energizing.

Week 9, Thing 22

Wow! I'm almost at the end here! I enjoyed exploring all the audiobook and ebook options. I have a small collection of audiobooks on tape and CD in my middle school library, and I have been trying to add to the collection and promote them since I think they are a great option for ELL students and struggling readers. They aren't as popular yet as I would like, but those students who have tried them almost always come back for more. They are also a great option for those of us who like to listen during long car drives! I will try to take advantage of some of the free options I explored.

I am a little dubious as to how many people can read a long book as an ebook. I know when I tried ebook textbooks for a couple of classes, I regretted not getting the print book. I just wasn't comfortable reading at such length on the screen, and I found it hard refind passages I needed to reread or quote for a report. I guess it depends how long it is and what type of book it is. They are good to know about for finding passages from classics and, possibly for those students who want only to deal with online, not print.

Week 9, Thing 21

I've been exploring some of the podcast offerings, and am amazing at all that's available. I did recently get an ipod for the first time, and my daughter introduced me to itunes. I got the ipod to listen to music and books when I walk or drive by myself. This wealth of offerings will also allow me to listen to news, the latest Harry Potter talk, lesson ideas, and more. I'll have to walk and drive more to get them all in!

I haven't visited the links to how to make podcasts yet, but really appreciate that the CSLA team has assembled these tutorials, since it is my goal to try having students create book talk podcasts this coming year.

More on Week 9, Thing 20

Well, I don't know how I did it, but I just discovered that my blog posting of the Harry Potter/Pride & Prejudice video also showed "Introducing the Book" without my intending it to. I honestly don't remember just how I got the html that did that. I do know that those are the two videos so far I have added to "favorites" in YouTube. I think I have now fixed it, but will need to be very careful if I use this imbedding facility for anything else in the future. I wouldn't want my students to see every video I might have chosen to save as a favorite!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Week 9, Thing 20

I have had some fun searching around YouTube. I love "Introducing the book."

Here's a fun one for those of us who love both Harry Potter and Jane Austen:

I would like to try to start incorporating short videos into library lessons. We all know students like getting to watch movies during class. With easy access to videos on all different topics, I need to try to take advantage of that. I also just got a new MacBook for work and understand it has a video editing feature which should make it feasible to show just clips from videos when I don't want the whole video. I want to explore how that works.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Week 8, Thing 19

Library Thing is really great. I had set up an account a while ago and started using it to store book talks for recent books I've read. I also started adding books I've heard about that I want to read or get for my library. I didn't, though, initially take the time to find out about all the great freatures like displaying book covers on a blog or web page. So, I think I'm going to have to find somewhere else to store the books I want to read or consider adding to my library, since I like the idea of adding the Library Thing widget to my library page as a way of showing what I recommend. I've added a display to this blog for starters to try it out. (You can see it over on the right, below my Avatar.) So many options! Perhaps I can set up two different Library Thing accounts - one for books I've already read and one for books I want to read. So many choices...

Week 8, Thing 18

Below is the I sent document I sent as a draft posting to my blog. Pretty cool - everything came through just as I had it in the docuemnt:

I am trying out Zoho, a free online word processor. It is incredible all the free tools available online. I like the cute emotions icons, like this one -- cool. It seems to have just about all the features you would need, at least for basic documents. For example, here's a table:

Heading 1

Heading 2

text 1g

text 3i

text 2

text 4

I can see that this could be really useful for sharing or collaborating in the future. For example, I recently drafted a proposal for new library software that all the librarians in my district submitted to our administrators. I created the Word doc, emailed it, then compiled all the comments and changes. I could have just created it in Zoho, and let all of them make the changes directly.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Week 7, Thing 17

I really like how the School Libary Learning 2.0 team put together all the links to curriculum ideas for the different types of technology we are studying on the calcurriculum wiki. I did make a small entry in the sandbox and I found a suggestion for using wikis for book clubs and I added a few ideas to it. It felt really strange making changes on a page that wasn't "mine." I guess that's just something that I'll have to get used to if I'm going to use wikis :) !

Last school year, I started using a blog as a supplement to my library web page for events, hours, a few book talks, and book club meeting announcements. Now that I have explored wikis a bit more, I think a wiki would work better for some of this. I think I will try setting up a wiki for the library book club and use it for the book club meeting announcements, but also encourage the members to discuss books, add book reviews, and suggest and vote on books to read and discuss.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Week 7, Thing 16

I read most of the links about wikis and was impressed by all the different ways they are used. The St. Joseph County Public Library Subject Guides are especially impressive. I'd like to promote the idea of using them for class research projects. Last spring, one of the language arts teachers and I collaborated on a project that had students contributing to a blog. I would like to explore whether a wiki might work better. I have two big questions, though, that I guess I'm going to have to do more research on:
  • What are the different options for free wikis, and what are the advantages/disadvantages of each? I didn't find a list of options in any of the resources. (Maybe I missed something.)
  • How, if we use a wiki for student input, can we control any inappropriate entries by students?

So, I guess I have my work cut out finding the answers to these questions :) !

Week 6, Thing 15

Library 2.0 is one of those concepts that, one minute I think I have a good grasp of, and the next minute I think I really have no idea. I guess that's because Library 2.0 is really a moving target. There is always something new. As much as I try to keep up with all the new technology options that could help me do a better job serving my students, teachers, and parents, I never can. For each new tool I learn about, I find out about two or three more I haven't had time to learn about. This School Library Learning 2.0 tutorial has been wonderful in giving me a great boost with Library 2.0, but it's also making me all the more aware of how much there is out there that I'd like to learn about because it could help with the way I serve my users. I know logically that I can never master everything, but I have to do what I can to keep current. Otherwise, I'm in danger of failing to see when and how the library must change if we are to serve our users properly. I was taken with Rick Anderson's "icebergs" analogy - if we don't keep current and open-minded about how and what the library is and does and what we as librarians do, we will fail to be the guides to this ever-changing world of information and access we owe it to our patrons to be.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Week 6, Thing 14

I spent some time today exploring Technorati. The suggestion to try searching for "School Library Learning 2.0" different ways was certainly a good one - the results were different with each type of search. One of the challenges I face with the students I teach is that so many of them try just one search of our catalog, databases, or anything we recommend, and give up when they don't get immediate results. For those students who will listen, I think one of the best pieces of advice I give them is that, if they want good results, they have to be detectives and do at least three or four different searches trying different terms and methods. I know I've wandered here a bit, but I think the advice holds with Technorati - to use it effectively to find something, you have to be prepared to do a variety of searches.

I have liked learning about a variety of tools that use tagging. I can't really see any disadvantage to tags, just advantages. To me, they seem like the current equivalent of catalogers' subject headings, but more free form. I like having books organized by Dewey, but you really need the subject headings or keywords you get in the catalog to make them accessible in a variety of ways. Likewise, the tags used by tools like Technorati and allow for finding sources a variety of ways.

I don't see becoming a regular user of Technorait right now (I already subscribe to more blogs than I really have time to read), but I like knowing about a tool I can use to find blogs if I ever want one on a specific subject. (And, I will remember to search a variety of ways :) ).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Week 6, Thing 13

I have heard of before, but hadn't had a chance to check it out. I had a great time! I really like the concept of being able to access my bookmarks from any computer (it's sooo frustrating knowing I have a site bookmarked at home but have to do detective work to find it from work, or vice versa). I also really like the use of tags (or, to me, keywords) that lets you find a bookmark multiple ways instead of the traditional hierarchical arrangement that limits each bookmark to one spot. It's like finding a book with keywords.

I definitely want to try to transition to using as an alternative to my regular bookmarks. I even saw that you can import bookmarks from your browser. The only problem with that is that I have so many old bookmarks - I would want to do a good edit/delete before I just imported everything to (Another project! :) ) I also want to try using a set of tags for research project recommendations. I have a school library website where I add pages with links for class research projects, but I think using could enhance that, so I am definitely going to give it a try in the fall.

One of the libraries that use tags I checked out and really liked was the San Mateo Public Library. They have prefixed each tag with the high level Dewey classification, then grouped the tags under the classification number. So, you can look at the list of tags on the right side of the screen by Dewey classification category. Very cool.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Getting ideas from others....

I was reading Rob Darrow's blog, and he referred to Kim's blog that has a very cool slideshow. So... I tried creating my own for my daughter's graduation. What fun. Thanks to both Rob and Kim.

Well, I had the cool slide show in here, then I realized that I shouldn't have pictures of people online without their permission. So, I've deleted it from here, but I had a lot of fun making it!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Week 5, Thing 12

I visited Rollyo, and loved how simple it was to create my own little searchroll. I made one for the different sites I have listed as good sources for primary source research for my 8th grade students doing History Projects. Here it is:

I think these Rollyo searchrolls could be really valuable to add to my library webpages for different topics or themes. My only objection is all the interspersed ads. I wish I could have the same thing without the ad listings.

Week 5, Thing 11

Well, I know the tutorial said to start exploring just one site, but I couldn't help dipping into a number of them. And, yet again (my fault, I know :) ), I got overwhelmed. For example, Care2 is a wonderful concept, working to get people to advocate for important causes. But, I felt like I could spend the rest of the day (or my life?) signing the different petitions, and still feel guilty that I exited without "finishing." There is so much great, worthwhile, and just plain fun stuff on the Internet, but I also sometimes fear I'll never get away from my desk!

Week 5, Thing 10

I loved Image Chef and had a lot of fun trying some of the different templates. You can see one here. I also added one to the blog just above my avatar. (I want to make it smaller - I'll have to work on that.) I think I will try adding images like this one to my library blog, which I use for reporting library events, hours, book club activities, etc. It would jazz it up to have a fun image in each posting.
I also really like Comic Strip Generator. I like the idea given in the tutorial to use comic strips for directions. I was also thinking of trying to incorporate some into my library orientation. Last year I created a PowerPoint presentation to go along with my orientation talk, and I tried to include some fun images and sounds. I plan to go over it this summer and try to spice it up a little more. I think comic strips could help with that.
One thing that I can see will be a challenge will be keeping track of all these good tools we are learning about in this tutorial. I am constantly learning about new ideas but it is sometimes a little overwhelming trying to keep track of and remember them all. I keep thinking I need a new way of organizing things, but part of the problem is not just the quantity, but the fact that they are in different forms - emails, websites, files, paper.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Week 4, Thing 8 & 9

I already had a Bloglines account, and have used it to keep feeds of a number of librarians' blogs. In order to learn something new, I decided to try Google's Reader. I just started using Google Calendar to update my school's calendar on our website and liked it, and have also been using Google Blogger, so thought I would try another Google tool. I'm also thinking of going with an iGoogle page as my home page. I'll be a complete Google junky before I know it :). But, I'm going to keep both Bloglines and Google Reader going for a while to decide which I prefer. I am also going to try subscribing to some news feeds, since I've really only used Bloglines for library-related blogs so far. (One of my goals for the summary is to keep up with the news better. Maybe this will help.)

Since I maintain my school's website, as well as my library website, I'm thinking that I should next figure out how I could make these sites have feeds so readers could subscribe to them.

Week 3, Thing 7

It was hard to decide on just one technology topic! A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky to receive a new MacBook from my school district, which I got to bring home and play with to get acquainted with over the summer. The district recently passed a bond fund for technology needs, and is "rolling out" "presentation systems" consisting of a MacBook, Elmo document camera, projector, and DVD player to each teacher. Altho my first two computers years ago were an Apple 2 Plus and a Mac, I've been living in a PC world for a long time now, and need to get back up to speed with Macs.

Well, my new MacBook is pretty cool! I've got a lot I haven't yet explored, but so far I love the Phone Booth, and can see that being a fun way to incorporate photos into both lessons and student assignments. And, the zoom in feature will be terrific when I'm giving a lesson using the computer and a projector and want to focus on something on the screen. You just move the cursor to where you want to zoom in, then press the option key, the apple key, and the + keys together to zoom in. You keep pressing those three keys together to zoom further and further. Then, to return to normal, you press the option key, the apple key, and the - keys to zoom out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Week 3, Thing 6

I have to admit, all the options for doing things with Fickr are a little overwhelming! One I would like to try is which lets you display a Flickr slide show on a webpage. I have a slide show on my website that I created with Flash. However, since I generally update it with a new photo only about once a month, I find it difficult to remember everything I need to know to make it work right, so it can be slow and tedious work. Using a Flickr slideshow might be easier.

Week 3, Thing 5

summer door
Originally uploaded by
Happy Summer! This is a photo of a summer reading door sign my school's "school service" class made for my library door a couple of years ago. They made new door signs periodically for special events, seasons, and so on.

I am posting this photo since it is one of the few I have that doesn't include people, so doesn't require that I get their permission. Doing this exercise is making me realize that I would really like to be able to post more photos on my library website and blog, but am going to have to work on setting up a system for getting permission from people when I take photos of them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Week 2, Thing 4

I just registered my blog with the CSLA team.

Week 2, Thing 3

I just created my Avatar. I first heard about Avatars from Jackie Siminitus at the CSLA conference last November at the Technology Committee panel. I have been curious about them since then, but haven't had a chance to try making one.

It took me a few tries to get the Avatar modifications working, possibly (altho I'm not sure) because I had pop-ups blocked. After I got it to work, it was fun looking for different hair, clothes, etc., and trying them out. As you will see in my Avatar picture on the blog, I am wearing a READ shirt. I love making READ posters, and I was inspired to get going with Week 2 today when I read Jackie Siminitus's CALIB post today about the virtual READ T-shirts. So, thank you, Jackie!

Week 1, Thing 2

I found the 7 1/2 Habits slides interesting, altho (being a bit of a rebel at times) I wasn't willing to actually create a written contract with myself. I also had a little trouble deciding which items were hard and which were easy.

I decided that #4, having confidence in myself as a competent, effective learner, is fairly easy for me, since I take on a lot of new things to learn all the time and usually don't have too much trouble succeeding in learning what I want to.

#5, create your own learning toolkit, is probably the hardest for me, not so much because I can't come up with or find tools, but because I always have a lot of trouble organizing tools in a way that keeps them tidy and easy to find when I need them. (I'm a pile person, and constantly having to sort thru piles to find what I need. On the computer, I can never decide the best way to organize my files.)

#7 1/2, play, is also a hard one for me. I generally feel like there are so many things I must do before I can allow myself play time.


Here is my first posting. I'm very excited about CSLA's new Web 2.0 tutorials program, and I'm very happy that I have more free time during my summer break to work on it. I have already created several blogs, but still have plenty to learn about them, and there are a lot of other tools covered by this tutorial that I haven't yet tried (including some like Rollyo I've never heard of).