Thursday, October 29, 2009

Week #8 - Thing #18 - Google Docs

What more can you say? Google rocks! The more I learn about Google the more I think, I could teach an entire unit of web 2.0 technology around Google!

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.

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.

Week #8 - Thing #18 - Zoho Writer

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

Library Thing

Tonight I explored LibraryThing. I had heard about Library Thing, but never took the time to visit it. The first thing that struck me is that it is a wiki!

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.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Web Quest

Here is the link to my WebQuest on natural disasters. It is called Safeguard Earth. It is targeted for middle schoolers grades 7, 8 or 9. I have successfully carried out this project before at the middle school and upper elementary grade levels. It is a fun project for research.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Week #7 - Thing #16 -Wikis

One of my goals when I return to my classroom this year is to create a wiki. It has been a goal of mine prior to this weeks focus on wikis, so having the time to explore many librarians' wikis was a lot of fun. I really believe that a well prepared wiki can help bring the library to the classrooms in my school that use the mobile laptop labs.

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

Link Challenge

I am taking blogger classmater of 23 CLouds blog up on her challenge to link other classmates' blogs to my blog in an effort to improve the rank of each blog on Technorati. Here goes.

I link:

23 Clouds


Secret Life of Techie Librarian

Artzy Librarian

Loud Librarian

Week #6 - Thing #14 - Technorati & Tags

This was my first experience with Technorati. It was an impressive search site. I like that you could filter your search by authority. This feature is a worthwhile one to share with students. It demonstrates that intelligent web users know the importance of using credible sources. I liked seeing the authority ranking of each site. While I was exploring the site I also decided to claim my blog for this class.

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

Week #6 - Thing #13 - Social Bookmarking

I have been using Delicous for a while now and really enjoy it!. It makes life easier and actually makes me feel very equipped and prepared for many information needs. Tagging and bundling is "the" way to keep my web links organized. Whenever I have spare time I love revisiting my Delicious account to further tweek my tags so that they work optimally for me.

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!