Sunday, September 7, 2008

Thing 21

Much later than I had wanted to do so, I have finished my book trailer for The Thing about Georgie by Lisa Graff, one of the books on the 2008-09 Texas Bluebonnet Award reading list. Now that I've done it, the next one will be better, I'm sure.

I'd used Photo Story in the past, but not to try to introduce a book. Next step: adding narration!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Thing 20 the Tubes

YouTube is blocked by my district, but TeacherTube is not. I explored both and found some interesting things. For one, this video on Eliljah of Buxton, created by Scholastic Publishing, is on both sites.

And I found at least one author, Lurlene McDonald, who has several videos on YouTube. This is one of them:

And just because I actually saw it when it was on "Saturday Night Live," Jesse Jackson reading Dr Seuss.

With students so conditioned to watch videos, it's obvious why it's so great to have access to those that could be used to improve a lesson.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thing 19 Web 2.0 awards

There were a few surprises as I went through the list. First, there were the "missing links" -- sites for which the links no longer worked. I didn't try to find those elsewhere, so they may just have different URLs. I tried and tried to get into Vufind, but couldn't get the site to work.

The second surprise was that I was already familiar with some of them because of the "23 things" program.

And, for those that I found that had educational uses:

Swivel: this site explores and compares data, graphs, and maps. Both math and social studies teachers might be able to use this site to locate data or to practive reading charts and graphs and both students and teachers could use it to convert data into charts and graphs. The Swivel confectionary helps import Google spreadsheets into Swivel, so those who have learned to use Google Tools from one of our earlier lessons could find specific use here. On the other hand the Swivel Toolbar enhances Microsoft Excel so those spreadsheets could easily be Swiveled. Since library circulation figures are already in an Excel spreadsheet, this might be a way to view them graphically.

PBWiki: Another way to take collaboration online. Just need to check from a campus computer and see if it's blocked.

And for personal use:

Zillow: nice site to find a retirement home.

Oodle: I found a free kitten for my sister on this classified ads search site.

Thing 18 Online Productivity Tools

I played around with both Google Docs and Open Office. While others have found Google Docs preferable, Open Office has a drawing program that I didn't find in Google Docs. Google Docs has templates for school and teachers. Familiarity with other tools carries over to use of these. Google Docs would be especially useful for working on collaborative projects. As I looked at the templates, I realized how easy it would be to set up a calendar there.

The main advantage to Google Docs is the ability to work on the documents from any computer; the disadvantage to some is the necessity to register. Because of the other attributes of Google, however, I think that others might wish to register and explore those other possibilities.

Just because of the number of users and popularity, Microsoft Office has more templates and bells and whistles. For just basic, quick use, either of the other programs is very quickly mastered and usable.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Thing 17

I have played with my Rollyo account for several days. I created a search for all the jobbers I use for book orders and other library materials. It should be interesting to see if I remember that I've done this and use it as I intended once school begins.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thing 16

Wikis offer a wonderful "committee meeting on my time schedule" that works for so many educational uses--from the group faculty discussion on improving the science curriculum to research projects. Unfortunately, most of the examples I found were for middle and secondary students. I would like to explore wiki use for elementary students. I think that, by setting up the structure and dividing the tasks among groups, this would be an excellent way to research a topic.

I found a wiki used to provide information about Roland Elementary School. When I consider how difficult it seems to be for some teachers to update webpages, this is probably a quicker way to provide information to parents. Here is a list of suggested ways to use wikis in schools--the idea to use a wiki for literature circles is one I'll think about.

The Texas Bluebonnet Award Reading Program will soon be inaugurating a wiki for suggestions of activities and displays to use with the reading list. This is will be a very useful collaboration if librarians and teachers across Texas will be willing to add their unique creations to it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thing 15

Wikipedia defines Library 2.0 in this way: Library 2.0 is a loosely defined model for a modernized form of library service that reflects a transition within the library world in the way that services are delivered to users. The focus is on user-centered change and participation in the creation of content and community.

To me, in an elementary library, it means organizing services so that they are user-friendly and listening to feedback from students to allow student participation in design and/or creation when possible. For example, I am anxious to begin school and show students how to use the new Destiny update which allows them to rate books or leave a text review.

For school libraries, it means continuing to move towards flexibility, participation, and collaboration. My greatest concern is in the area of participation, not for myself or for my students, but for staff who continually feel that time doesn't allow them the time to explore online tools. And, just in case one of them stumbles across David Warlick's guide for becoming a 21st century educator and reads step one (Find two or more other educators in your school who are interested in learning and using emerging information and communication technologies. It would be of enormous advantage if you can include your school's library media specialist.), I need to have some of these 23 things ready to pull out and dazzle.