Thursday, December 17, 2009
The two chapters I most enjoyed were chapter 4, Podcasting for Libraries by Chris Kretz and Mashups and Web Services by Weic Schnell. The primary reason I have selected these two is because they were my introduction to the topics of podcasting and mashups. In each article I made many notes and stars in the margins.
Kretz's article provided a comprehensive history of podcasting along with instructions on how to get started with podcasting. This is just what I needed. It also provided many examples of library podcasts for booktalking and teen services. I visited many of these sites and marked a few on my Delicious. I also signed up a for a few feeds as a result of this article. Lastly, and importantly Kretz introduced me to the term "podsafe music" and the legal issues surrounding this medium of communication.
Schnell's article was also largely informative. API, SOA and geotagging were all new concepts to me. Combining complex online systems like Google Maps with others to create new content is exciting. The possibilities are endless and stand to make an impact on how libraries interact in an online environment. I admit to not completely understanding all the technical lingo connecting to computer programming, but I certainly understand more then I once did.
I am glad I had the oppotunity to explore this text. I will definitely be keeping this it for future reference.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
What one thing did you learn, and what will you do differently as a result?
The two things that stand out in my mind as a result of these exercises are first that it is always time to teach students about differently abled individuals and not just when one is in the classroom. Demonstrating sensitivity and always expecting compassion are life lessons that extend beyond school walls. I think research project on various disabilities is a great way to expose middle school students to the the reasons for disabilities and challenge them to find ways that differently abled individuals can prosper in the world The second conept that will stay with me is the idea of universal design.
Do you plan to recommend this tutorial? If so, please elaborate.
I would gladly recommend this tutorial to my principal. It would serve as terrific professional development exercise. Educators need reminders that there are tools out to there to assist them in teaching students with disabilities. My eyes were certainly opened to how technology can assist in the classroom.
Do you plan to read or recommend some of the Recommended Reading books or add them to your collection?
Gladly, my collection already has some of the listed titles, but I will definitely review it when it comes time to order new items for the collection.
Will you link our LibraryThing list to your blog?
Surely. Here is the link to readings that contain characters with disabilities.
If you have a book recommendation or have read one of the books that does not include a review, please send us your own review so we can share it.
I posted a review for the book Petey by Ben Michelson. I wish it were more detailed. I read it some time ago, though. Nevertheless, it was a powerful read and I remember the feeling it left me moreso than the plot details.
Monday, November 30, 2009
If librarians and teachers intend to use web 2.0 technologies in the classroom they need to model and teach online etiquette. This is the only way for students to interact in a formal capacity while online. I like the idea of having students sign a contract to as a kind of online "code of conduct" to ensure accountability to their online behavior.
The topic of cyberbullying is one that should concern all educators. While reading the links on this topic I came across the story of Ryan Patrick Halligan. This young boy committed suicide as a result of online bullying. His father now visits schools, tell his son's story and encourages compassionate behavior online and in life. Ryan's story was featured in a PBS video titled Growing Up Online. It was very powerful if anyone is interested in checking it out.
I often think it would helpful is librarians used back to school night as an opportunity to provide information to parents on this topic.
On a lighter note, I had fun exploring the smiley dictionary. It might a fun thing to share with my students.
Monday, November 23, 2009
The assistive technology software I broswed this week was very impressive. Watching students use the iCommunicator tool was so cool! It's amazing how one device can change a person's world. Its also interesting to note that disabled persons are always trying to keep up with the latest technologies to better assist them. This must be costly and perhaps even tiresome, but exciting, as well.
I was aware of certain voice activated and voice recognition tools, but what I found most impressive was that they are fully integrated into commonplace programs like Microsoft Office. This quality really levels the playing field.
I enjoyed exploring all the software. The Wurzeil 3000 was impressive. I wasn't able to download it, but I watched multiple tutorials. Its amazing to think one small device can transcribe text so quickly and effectively and then the software can allow the user to manipulate it so easily and in so many ways. I did wonder how long it might take for a teacher to upload an entire chapter or more into the Wurzeil 3000, but the benefits might make it worth it.
Inspiration is a program I used long ago and never forgot. I have long been promoting the program to my technology director. Downloading the 30 day trial allowed me to play with it again and see how much it has improved since I used it last. It's a terrific program: user friendly, multiple applications, meets a need that Microsoft doesn't offer.
Here is one simple and effective way I could use Inspiration in my classroom. Each semester I complete a research project with 8th grade students on the an influential African American. The students follow the Big 6 Research method. The fifth step is to synthesize the information collected. This step can be challenging to demonstrate, but with Inspiration it would be much easier. The students could use Inspiration to diagram the categories of information they have collected. I would create a model for them to pattern their work after. Creating this graphic organizer will be the ultimate tool in preparing the students to compose the rought draft of their research paper.
Monday, November 16, 2009
I was really in awe of the YouTube video of the woman from Florida with Cerebral Palsy who works as a graphic artist. Truly unbelievable. I had a student with Cerebral Palsy and kind of a have a soft spot for this disease. If you do too here are two great tween reads that incorporate a character with this ailment. Petey and Stuck in Neutral.
EnableMart is an amazing site! I was quick to tag it in my delicious account. I browsed the site and saw a lot of nifty gadgets, but I was most taken by the first item I came upon. The ReadingPen is an assistive technology that I think could immediately integrated into the teaching practices at my school. There are many struggling readers who would benefit from this piece of technology. At a high school level it is very important for teens to have independence and take ownership of the challenges they face. Being able to use this tool to decode unfamiliar words or learn the correct pronunciation of a word is often a question a teenager would not ask, but to be able to find out for themselves with the help of this device stands to be very beneficial.
Another technology that could assist students will limited fine motor skills is the BigKeys Keyboard Plus. Such a simple solution can make such a big impact. It stands to level the playing field for many children who struggle in this capacity. I worked with a student who really labored when typing. He constantly made mistakes and it was painful to watch him struggle. What a difference this tool would be for him!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Nevertheless, when I entered the teaching profession and my classroom I taught many multiple, and severly learning disabled students. Some were even physically disabled. I guess you could say I recieved a crash course in figuring out how to intergrate their needs into the class's objectives in subject areas from math, reading and science to time on the playground, during the class play and field trips. Working with these students proved to be an extraordinary experience and taught me to always plan ahead and be considerate of all learning styles.
I especially liked reading about the concept of universal design. This was the first I have heard of it and feel strongly that its aims are for the betterment of all people and their compassion towards those with differences.
Now to focus in on the task at hand.
I took quite a bit of time to explore the National Federation of the Blind. I found myself thinking of Annie Sullivan teaching Helen Keller. I adore the story of the Miracle Worker and often marvel at the Sullivan's persistance to reach Helen and teach her to teach herself. If I were confronted with a similar, albeit smaller challenge, to welcome a blind student into my classroom I would do the following things to prepare myself and my students:
- label items in the classroom with braille
- invite a guest speaker to meet with students so that they may have a question and answer session
- permit time for my students and myself to learn Braille
- create activities that challenges students to use other senses in place of their vision ie: name that tune
- challenge students to think creatively to find tasks and strategies that can be done successfully without using their sight
- take time for daily read alouds
- auditory cues to begin new tasks or showcase a particular behavior
- find ways to showcase the student as an individual separate from his disability
Job Accomodation Network was another new find for me. I think their initiative should be valued by school systems for the sake of the students as well as their faculty, staff and administrations. There are many teachers who have disabilites and are effective at what they do. They serve as remarkable role models for their students. On this site they had a terrifc page that listed all kinds of disabilites, links to possible modifications, and best of all links to companies that sell products to make it easier to integrate modifications to improve the quality of the learning environment for the individual student. What a great resource!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The 23 Things program has affected my lifelong learning goals by reminding me to always welcome the new. At times, the amount of new technology is overwhelming and there is often the temptation to not explore the latest; however, as a librarian I must. Once I welcome the new it is important for me to be selective, find a purpose for the new technology and integrate it in the meaningful way. My role as a school librarian demands that I support many different teaching styles so I must always strive to try new things for the benefit of those faculty members.
Throughout this experience I began to think of education in a new ways. This was something I didn't expect. I have come to realize that I need to spice up my expectations of my students and I need to be a brighter beacon to model digital citizenship to the students, facutly and adminstration in my school.
Another surprise was the opportunity to network with other librarians. Following so the blogs of so many different kinds of librarians was a great opportunity. I found it very beneficial to see their unique points of view and use them as inspiration for new ideas for my own library and its resources and programs.
There is little I would do to change the format of this program. I really loved it. In fact, I would consider modeling a unit of study of my own after it. The 23 things programs was exploratory, collaborative and current. The only small criticism I have is I would have liked to have learned more about technology hardware. This is an area I would like to improve upon. I also would like to learn more about screencasting, which was not addressed in this program.In a word I would describe the experience of the 23 Things as exploratory. This experience was very much based upon trying and experimenting. What you put into it was what you received in return.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Downloading the text of a book or an audio file to be listened to are excellent resources for school libraries. In my experience special education teachers are particularly eager to take advantage of audiobooks, but truly, listening to a story is a completely different way to enjoy a book and could be integrated into any classroom, regardless of the kind of learner.
Currently, my school's library has very few audiobooks in their collection. Just a few books on CD, but I am very interested in expanding this portion of the library's collection. I have been eyeing Playaways for some time. Playaways are individual MP3 players with a single book already pre-loaded onto it. They even comes with headphones. Here's a link if you'd like to take a look. I think they would be a fantastic addition to a school library collection, although they are a bit pricey. They could circulate as support for teachers and students or just for fun!
Recently, I was researching databases to purchase for my school library and the salesman pitched the company's line of ebooks. The company was Gale and their ebook collection was impressive. Had I had the funds (isn't that always the case) I would have strongly considered purchasing a set or two. My school has several classrooms that are equipped with laptop labs and ebooks are a great way of extending the library's resources beyond its walls.
I have never inserted a video into a blog, so here is my first attempt. I struggled to figure out how to do this, but never fail. I found this YouTube video that taught me how! Here it is, if this is your first time, too. :-)
Here is another video on how to use a Flip Video camera. A great tool that could be used to create videos in the classroom, that could be posted on YouTube.
I checked out a number of podcasts that Kretz mentioned with regards to teen library culture. I subscribed to a few via my Google Reader. Here are some links to make it easy for you, if you are interested.
Nancy Keene's Booktalks Quick and Simple - Grades K-12
Isinglass Booktalk Podcasts - Grades 7 & 8
Teen Podcasts @ the Cheshire Public Library
OCLS Teen Podcast
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Google Docs is a breeze to use. I'd like to practice sharing a document with some of you. That way we could practice manipulating the text and viewing the changes of the document. Leave me a note in the blog's comments and I will invite you to participate in the a shared Google doc. http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AQBUCQ-h4vapZDQ5bm1zaF8yaG01cmozZjM&hl=en
I could see myself using a Google Doc for classroom projects. It could also be used when collaborating with staff members on grade level or departmental matters. It could also be a great way to communicate with students who are a part of the library's teen advisory board. In fact, shared Google Docs could be very helpful for advisors of extra-curricular activities because often times it is very difficult to get all the members of clubs and activities together. Google docs could be a great remedy. Google Sites may also be a way to coordinate a library's or club's information.
This is my first experience with Zoho Writer. I wanted to experiment with it before Google Docs, because I expected Google Docs to be the ultimate in productivity tools, but I have to say Zoho Writer has most of what I need and use. It was a cinch to create an account and very user friendly. I like the tabbed browsing menus. It never seems to take more than two clicks to do anything. I especially liked that you could tag documents, save templates, and import existing documents (even from Google Docs). This makes it very easy to migrate your existing documents. It is also impressive that Zoho saves the history of each document. Very cool. This could be key when using it in a classroom setting. I could see myself using Zoho for sure.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The second thing that struck me is that it would take a lot of time to insert all my library's books into Library Thing and that may not be a good use of time. However I did take a look at the groups and talk links and there I found the treasure. Library Thing is a terrific way to network with other librarians and get ideas for your own. Within a few clicks I read a few easy to library games to do during Teen Read Week or National Library Week. This is invaluble. As one of two librarians in my district I am always in need of someone to brainstorm with. Library Thing could provide that for lirarians, like myself, that run solo in their buildings.
My WebQuest is a project on natural disasters that I have done with 8th and 9th graders. I have selected 5 titles that could be great resources for this project. http://www.librarything.com/catalog/mwells2920
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
I liked seeing that some wikis represent a teacher and his/her courses. Other wikis revolved around a unit of study. I most enjoyed surfing around wikis that librarians maintain to support the teachers and curriculum in their schools. I gathered great ideas for links and pages that would be helpful to the community served. For example: book lovers, MLA and APA citation support, SAT Prep, pathfinders, copyright friendly sources. I could have browsed for hours and hours, but the best part is I am turbo-charged to get my wiki started to make it an integral part of my library. I am sure it will change the way the library is perceived by the students, staff anf administration and most importantly, how it is used.
Lastly, I was really impressed with Wikipedia's sets of external links for library blogs and wikis. The list of links went on and on. Kind of ironic how Wikipedia houses so many resources for librarians and yet librarians' feelings towards Wikipedia runs from hot to cold.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Secret Life of Techie Librarian
Searching by tag was my favorite way to search. I am beginning to get a clearer understanding of the scope of tagging. Searching a term like "technology" returned a great many results. Narrowing the tag term to "classroom_technology" helped me locate topics of more interest to me.
It is interesting to think of this method of cataloging along side the Cataloging and Classification course we're taking. Tagging has far fewer rules than the AACR2R, that's for sure. It is also a more natural way for information organization to take place.
Monday, October 5, 2009
I really believe social bookmarking is a skill students would benefit from learning so I created a short unit for my Research Skills class. The unit requires the students to explore the web, tag, bundle and share their links with classmates. The students really enjoyed getting their accounts set up and I feel confident they can use this tool in the social and academic aspects of their lives.
There is also a teacher in my building who successfully uses Delicious. Students who take her course sing her praises because her page makes their ability to succeed in her course much greater.
Actually, I have a small problem with Delicious that is standing in the way of making better use of this tool. Maybe one of you could help me. As I stated I have created a small unit using Delicious in my classroom. Therefore I have two Delicious accounts, my personal account and one I created for the purpose of my lessons. Currently, my computer displays the Delicious toolbar; however it is for my classroom account, not my personal account. For the life of me I haven't been able to figure out how to de-activate the wrong Delicious account and activate the right one. My browser is Internet Explorer and I have scoured the menus to correct this matter. If anyone can help, I would be most grateful!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Unfortunately, I was not completely satisfied with Roll-yo. It was far too slow to do any function, particularly the search. I can't imagine teenagers waiting as long as I did for searchroll to conduct a simple search. I consider myself patient person, but the length of time it took to do anything was a bit ridiculus.
In the past I have used Google's Custom Search to create searchrolls and I've been very satisfied and it didn't take nearly as long to accomplish the task!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Anyways, on to RSS feeds. The concept and implementation of RSS feeds is something I am very familiar with, but not something I have integrated into my daily life. I have a Google account and so therefore had a Google Reader that was going unused. Once I took the time to check it out I realized all the blogs I have been following for this class were already loaded in the reader. Google never ceases to amaze me. It was much easier to keep up with the blogs via the reader, but I felt that it was a little less personal since it was in the plain text format. I do enjoy interacting within each individual's blog. Within the reader I also felt less compelled to reply to each of the bloggers. Again, it seemed less personal. Although, I enjoy the ease and one stop shop quality of the reader I am not overly eager to begin using it in an everyday fashion, but I will try.
In an effort to collect some feeds, I located http://www.feedzilla.com/ . I can't imagine you wouldn't find a feed that would interest in you. I selected a feed on parenting, my favorite sports team and a bunch on libraries. I began looking for library feeds on School Library Journal and was overwhelmed by how many feeds they have. Tons and tons! (in case you are still looking for professional feeds)
Whew! I hope RSS's streamline the information I need and doesn't cause information overload!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
SmileBox was easy to use and the basic membership allowed for all that I needed to create a slideshow. I could have spent hours, but was able to create a nice product very easily and quickly. I was a little disappointed to not be able to import my pics from Shutterfly where I have a photo library. I am beginning to see that Shutterfly is not as accessible as say Flickr when it comes to photo sharing. Shutterfly was not even included in the top 10 evaluated photo share sites in the link we had to read. Perhaps I should consider another photo storage site if I plan on doing more mashups like this one. Which may be the case, because it's so easy and fun.
Here's a looksee at my little guy.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I attempted to apply my new understanding of mashups by creating a trading card. I met a library from Penn State who had an awesome superhero-like trading card and thought it would be fun to generate one for myself. Unfortunately the layout was too simple for my taste and didn't seem jazzy enough to intrique a teenager.
So I went to plan B. I created a movie poster of a book I recently read for this summer's Teen Lit course. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers was a realistic portrayal of an African American young man in Vietnam during the war. Myers's story was stirring and vivid. Making the movie poster was easy, fun and I thought a new way of getting students to share reading experiences with classmates. Technically speaking making the poster was easy. The trickiest part was locating and finalizing an image. I did this by doing a tag search of Flickr's common. I saved the image I liked and added it to my photostream. This took a little trial and error,but now that I know the path it will be easy to repeat. Mashups are not that complex after all!