Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thing 23: Final Thoughts

23 Things on a Stick has been a wonderful experience. The format of being able to focus on one Thing at a time made the learning manageable, even when there were several parts involved to one topic. I appreciated being able to pace myself on my own time line, and doing it over the summer allowed me to devote big blocks of time (good thing, too, since the hours would fly by!). There was a variety of learning experiences so it was not all reading, which helped keep the pace going. Look at Thing 22 for a list of the highlights, although I am really excited about flickr and BigHugeLabs because those are tools I know I will be using at my schools.
The added incentive of being able to earn CEU's was the reason I kept going when I got bogged down on social networking (I am too old and introverted to take to this idea automatically!) No matter what the Thing was, it was easy to see the value in knowing about it and applying it to my work experience.

23 Things was great because at no time did I feel like pulling out my hair or run screaming from the computer!

Thing 22: What did I learn today?

Here is a list of resources I plan to show students, show staff, and/or use personally:

ELM is a source that is already on our school's homepage, but it deserves to be highlighted to students and staff.
NetLibrary is another source that is great because it keeps track of where you get your information.
BigHugeLabs will be great for creating motivators for student and staff use.
Google Desktop will be another source for documents and spreadsheets, especially for collaboration with staff.
Crazyegg might be used for our school website, at least to see if anyone is actually looking at it!
Flickr will be very useful for storing and finding photos, and Picnik for modifying those photos.
WorldCat and LibraryThing will be good resources.
My tada list has already been started and Continuing to Learn about 2.0 will be added.
OPAL and WebJunction will be used for professional development, as well as podcasts from Education Podcast Network.

While I am currently not a fan of social networking, I do see the value and don't doubt that someday it will be part of my repertoire. For now I am extremely happy to focus on creating a website and blog to use for work. I will definitely keep this blog and all of the resources that I can refer back to, so my list of tools will continue to grow. I may not be a cyber-librarian yet, but at least I have the bug now. The key will be to try to keep up with all of the new things coming down the road. There are other media specialists in my district that have participated in 23 Things, so when we routinely meet we will be able to share how we've used any of these resources, and review and explore new tools.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thing 21: Beyond MySpace

The abundance of social networks makes my head spin! Like everything else on the Internet, there is a social network for anyone and everyone. I've known about WebJunction, but have only taken advantage of the articles and contemplated some courses. If/When I enter the world of social networking on my own, it will probably be with Teacher Librarian Ning because it is related to work. It looks like a great way to bounce around ideas and get useful advice.

The idea of building social networks at the library seems to be an excellent idea for using the Internet to target the cyber-generation and a natural extension of library services, especially with the use of automation at the public library. Everything is automated and going to the library can have absolutely nothing to do with interacting with people. Even the librarians are in plugged into computers, appearing to be very formidable behind their desks. Perhaps they are answering patrons/clients questions online.

Just as e-books will never totally replace print materials, a cyber-librarian will never replace the flesh-and-blood kind, at least I hope not. I hope there is room for a variety of approaches to libraries since every kind of approach offers their unique advantages.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Thing 20: Libraries and Social Networks

I created a myspace page, which really does not have a lot to say, so apparently I am as shy on the internet as I am in person. I can see the value in the social networking, especially as a way of keeping in touch with people, especially over time. I know both of my college-aged children use myspace, and I can imagine their surprise when they find their mother as one of their friends! I can see how it can be a way to feel connected to a group, but I can also imagine it can be just as isolating as real life because you can always be comparing yourself to the "popular crowd".
The thing about being able to type anything and have it posted immediately is that it makes boundaries invisible. Yes, you have a choice of being more private, but you have to edit the page to do so. The default is to include everything. I can see how this form of communication is best used by mature, discriminating audiences. Unfortunately it can be open to anyone with an email account.

Thing 19: Podcasts

Podcasts are an excellent tool for those who are auditory learners. In school they would be very valuable for those students who are distracted by visual stimuli. Many students could re-listen to the content of a class and learn much more. Podcasts would be great to listen to while on a car trip.
I particularly enjoyed Education Podcast Network, finding a number of podcasts that had valuable information. This would be another avenue for personal development which would be easy to access. Podcastalley was another pod cast directory I found easy to use, especially when just browsing.

At this point in time I cannot foresee using podcasts in my classroom, at least not in the next year.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thing 18: You Tube & other Online Video

Video is a great way to capture people's attention, whether it is on a blog, website, or in a classroom on a smartboard. While hours upon hours can fly by when browsing videos online, if you are specific about what you want, it is relatively easy to find a video that is pertinent. I chose this video because it addressed the needs of low income children and an innovative solution. The power of books cannot be underscored enough, and the message needs to get out to the general public. I can see adding videos to a school or classroom website for entertainment and education. Plus it is extremely easy to use.

Bringing Books to Children