Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The End or the Beginning?

At times, I despaired of being able to finish with 23 Things, but I am so glad that I pushed on to finish. As I looked back over the list, I think my favorite "things" were the ones where I could be creative, like Flickr and its mash-ups, the Avatar, Animoto, and the online image generators. I feel like I understand the whole concept of podcasting now and would like to explore more about how to make podcasts. Now that I'm more comfortable with the whole general concept, I'd like to go back to the beginning and get the connections that I missed.

During this process I realized that I have been WAY behind the times! I have heard of many of these technologies, but didn't see their importance to me. One thing I learned is that much of their value lies in the sharing and networking that they make possible. The RSS feeds let information come to me, so that I spend less time searching for it. My goal is to identify the programs that I want to maintain and to look for ways to improve with them. At the rate that technology changes, I think my goal may be to keep my head above water!

Some unexpected outcomes were that I actually like RSS feeds. I created as many accounts in Google as I could, so my Reader and calendar, maps, weather, YouTube and more are right there on my iGoogle page. I have been a day ahead of when I usually find out about news. I know I'll keep up with that page. Another result is that blogging doesn't intimidate me anymore since we've had to make so many posts. I was REALLY surprised that a program like Animoto exists for free. I also found out alot about my family from Facebook....their friends and how they present themselves to the world. I'm not sure they want me to be that up-to-date!

I'm not sure what you could do to improve the program. Maybe you could reserve a few rooms at the PDC for us periodically to meet with others on our own for support. I would definitely participate in any future discovery program. How else are we going to learn? Reading about the technologies is one thing; using them is another.

One of the influences this will have on me is how I keep up with library world news. By selecting a few blog feeds from people I respect, I hope to be better informed about new library ideas. I will also use the online image generators to spice up presentations. I would also like to look for creative ways for the students to express themselves, either through participating in some type of group created in Ning or maybe Facebook. Thank you, mmw and ds, for pushing us in areas we didn't know we needed to go.

Thing #23 - Creative Commons Copyright

With the easy availability of so many images and audio on Web 2.0 sites, I am very grateful that someone established Creative Commons. What a great idea to let authors of online resources decide ahead of time that they want to grant permission to share. This new type of copyright is very understandable, even for students. Since many of them are also creators of digital files, I think they would actually welcome the guidelines, since it will protect them and also require users to give them credit. It's a win/win situation.

Under the Credits on the Learning 2.0 site we have been using, there are attributions showing that the content was modified and adapted with approval. The license shows that there is permission to remix and to share as long as credit is given. It was fun looking at the original program and seeing how many other are also doing it.

As a school librarian, I could use this either on my personal sites, like a blog or podcast or anything that I choose to put on the Internet. As students put together digital presentations, I'd like to teach them about the Creative Commons License. At school they are currently blocked from using many of the sites that have video and audio that they could use, but hopefully some of the sites will be made available to them in the future.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thing #22 - Animoto

Animoto was fun to play with, and the results make you look like a professional film editor! I noticed that one of the suggestions was about keeping the size of your photos small, so I uploaded the program they suggested (VSO Image Resizer). It worked great, changing the sizes of my photos all at the same time. I wish I had had time to search for Italian music, but the upbeat tune works OK. The photos are from my recent trip to Rome. I would like to try putting together some of our recent field trip too.

Thing #21 - Podcasts

In looking through Educational Podcast Directory, I found a great site right away. Under Student and Class Broadcasts (Secondary) I was very impressed by Hopkinton High School Library book talk podcasts. What's more, they have been doing it since 2002. They record book talks over their state's award winning titles, similar to our Tayshas list. Here is their link if you'd like to try it: Book Talk Podcasts

In searching the different directories, it is obvious that many libraries have podcasts. Some are about books, some feature authors or speakers they have had, some advertise programs they host. I noticed that some of the podcasts had not been updated in a while. It would be important before beginning to decide if regular podcasts are possible for your library. I also learned that if you put "book talks" into the search box, you find out that lots of authors are doing podcasts about their latest books!

In iTunes I found a podcast called "Cool Tools for the Library", featuring a different Web 2.0 tool with each episode and how it might be used in an educational setting. The podcast is presented by graduate students in the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University. I subscribed and added it to my Google Reader.

Thing #20 - YouTube

The interesting thing about YouTube is that anyone can create a video and upload it. The topics are unlimited, some inappropriate, and they range from very creative and humorous to ridiculous. I was suprised how many instructional video clips that I came across. What a great way to show how to do something new. Watching how many people create great videos makes me want to learn how to edit video better and mix slides in with it. (Is there a PFK class idea here???)

I would love to do something creative with the library rules that we talk about in Freshman Orientation. The more humor is used, it seems like the students remember it more. So I found a clip that I embedded on the rules at a Jr. High. One interesting feature I noticed was that you can create playlists on any topic. You could have several videos on hand to emphasize whatever you are teaching.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Thing #19 - Go With the Flow

I am glad to find these sites because I have seen some awesome mind maps on some of the sites we have been exploring. I wondered how they were created! I looked at all the sites and Gliffy and MindMeister were the only ones that sent me a confirmation email quickly. Gliffy seems easier to use than Inspiration because of the ability to drag and resize easily. Also, it has several groupings of images to use. I have been wanting to re-arrange my living room, so I created a floor plan. I'm going to add new elements and move some of the furniture around virtually. I could probably send the link to my sister, who is much better at visualizing than I am, and she could improve it in no time!

One of the things I liked about MindMeister is that you can put ideas down on a page without having to worry about the box formatting. I created a mind map of our student aides' shelving assignments. When I printed it, it was off the page, so I had to change the page setup to make it fit. I see it mainly as useful for planning, probably not to create anything for a class. They also have good tutorials on the help page. never did send me an invitation, even though I requested it twice.

As with all of the Web 2.0 sites, the ability to share your ideas and files with others is central. Sharing the editing of documents will really assist any group project.

Thing #18 - Discovering Web 2.0 Tools

I decided to look at what is new in the Search area, thinking I may find a new search engine for students or myself. Like everything else in Web 2.0, the search engines are now able to be customized to search only the areas you want, and then you can share the results with others. Other users can also modify your lists. I looked at Rollyo. You can create your own search engine by specifying categories and tags; you can even look at what sites are popular with other users and quickly add those to the list you search from.

This is another example of creating a product with your own "circle of the wise". It is similar to, except that the group of bookmarks you have under any one tag can be searched by keyword. For example, if you have some expert health sites that you trust, you can search all of them for any new condition you want to research. I really like that fact that you can pick and choose from others' suggestions.

One possible caution about this type of tool is that you can limit the answers you receive by the type of sites chosen to be in your search engine. This may not be a problem when you are searching for facts, like diseases or history. But if you are trying to form opinions about a social issue, like economics or homelessness or ethics of cloning, etc., you have to be sure and include sites that have both sides of the issue.

There were ads on the search results, but not any more than the typical search engine. I think I would like to use this site personally, but it may be a bit much for younger students, who haven't developed their evaluation skills fully. High school students would probably love the customizing feature, but may still benefit more from Nettrekker or databases for their projects.