Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Week 9 Things 20, 21, 22 and 23

I do not see YouTube as a valuable tool for the education community. They catalog videos using 12 categories. This method creates a need to wade through a lot of rubbish before finding anything appropriate. The site also lacks a means for users to filter their searches. Our district blocks students from accessing YouTube but they do allow access to teachers. I queried our Director of Information Technology about the district's decision to block YouTube. He informed me that the primary reason for blocking it was because the content is often inappropriate and there is no means to filter appropriate videos from inappropriate ones. Additionally, it tends to suck up to much bandwidth creating other problems. I do not see any component of this site that would offer anything of value to our webpage. I would prefer to rely on United Streaming and TeacherTube.

For the podcasts activity I had to get a password from our IT dept. that would allow me to bypass the district's Websense filter. I browsed through,, Yahoo podcasts (which is shutting down 10/31/07 - hmmm!), and the Educational Podcast Directory ( The Educational Podcast Directory is the only site that wasn't blocked by our Websense filter. It was also the site that I found to have the podcasts that were most relevant. Sirsi Dynix Institute has made available multiple podcasts that would be of interest to librarians. I listened to "Teen Second Life: Library Services in a 3D World." I can see how podcasts can be utilized for teacher/librarian professional training. Podcasts could be a great asset to our home/hospital students. We can provide them with pre-chosen, teacher prepared podcasts that would cover the subject area that they are missing at school.

I missed the opportunity to download from World eBook Fair for free. eBooks and audio books can be put to use in a school in a variety of ways. It is a great venue for reluctant readers, ELL, foreign language classes as well as another great resource for home/hospital students. LibriVox would prove useful for students researching authors or literary genres. Of course, the commentary attached to each selection would not be a credible reference source but listening to the readings would be beneficial and a fun addition added to their project. It may also be the only means students have to materials that are out of print. Adding a LibriVox link to our library page would be expanding our collection.

Even though the Sept 1st completion date passed I was determined to follow through and complete the twenty-three Library 2.0 Things. There were times I felt slightly overwhelmed by the material presented but for the most part I was overwhelmed by all the other projects I found on my plate as a result of the start of the new school year. Our district is co-hosting an author visit with our public library as part of their 'The Big Read" program with the National Endowment for the Arts. This has taken up an enormous amount of my time. I wish that I had completed all of the Library 2.0 projects earlier as Zoho Writer would have come in handy while working on this project. Oh well, next time! I have just a few more tasks left before finishing. I am excited to begin implementing all the new ideas I have as a result of this course. I will try to keep this blog up-to-date with the progress my library and school make in the 2.0 world.

Week 8 Thing 18 and 19

Zoho Writer (and other online production tools) would prove useful for students, teachers and librarians; they can easily work between home and school, at the library and with multiple partners. I created an account and then used Zoho Writer to create a schedule for my upcoming 9th grade orientation. It was a simple project and easily accomplished. I spent some additional time perusing what Zoho Writer had to offer and was impressed with the variety of tools offered. I did want to investigate further Zoho's presentation tool but I'm under a time crunch and didn't get the opportunity to do so. But it is on my 'to do' list.

With LibraryThing I have trouble keeping on task. I could easily spend all day at this site and still want more. It is so easy to use. I have plans to use this as often and in as many different ways as possible. I have been looking for an easy means of introducing new books to my students and teachers. For me this has always been one of those well-intention but seldom completed tasks. But now it will be like playing! I suggested to several teachers that they should use LibraryThing as a means to catalog their classroom collection. This is a project that they could assign to a TA (student assistant). Personally, I wouldn't want to let a student have all the fun but to each his own!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Week 7 Thing 16 and 17

My past experience with wikis has only been through Wikipedia. Which I have discouraged teachers and students from accessing as a valid reference tool as it has no guarantee of authority. Until participating in Library 2.0 I had no idea that wikis were a genre of their own with multiple applications. I am very surprised by the diversity of uses for wikis. I enjoyed checking out other uses for a wiki. "Wikis in Plain English" @ and the "Library Success: A best practices wiki" The Book Lovers wiki created by the Princeton Public great and it is something that a class/teacher/library could easily undertake.

Our senior English program is undergoing a complete overhaul; a new teacher and a new focus. I have already collaborated with the incoming teacher about publishing a senior class magazine but now I am taking to her the idea of a magazine wiki. The online format would allow for ease in composition, editing and publishing. An online format would virtually eliminate publication costs as each student can print their own copy. This is the idea that I added to the California Curriculum Connections wiki - idea #26.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Week 6 Thing 13, 14 and 15

I immediately thought of several people who should take advantage of Our District Librarian most definitely needs to become acquainted with He is organizationally challenged and needs any help he can get! My daughter is currently enrolled in two masters program and would be a great asset to help keep her many projects organized. Personally, I like the advantage of accessing my bookmarks from anywhere. I had several occasions that this would have been useful while on vacation.

I didn't discover anything surprising or interesting during my exploration of Technorati's popular blogs, searches and tags. These 'most popular' were typically pop culture searches. Personally, I am not an avid follower of pop culture so I did not find this exploration interesting or appealing. The advantages/disadvantages of tagging depends on the purpose for the tagging. I see tagging as a tool whose greatest value is determined by individual users. It is probably most beneficial to that user as a personal bookmarking system.

I agree with Michael Stephens (Into a new world of librarianship) point that "Librarian 2.0, then, is the 'strategy guide' for helping users find information, gather knowledge and create content." Students should have access to a wide range of literature and research materials. We should also provide them with access to a wide range of tools that allow them to tailor this information to suit their needs. As an educator, I teach my students how to gain access to the information they need. I also want to teach my students how to manipulate this information using the tools, which are so common within our culture, to serve their needs. In Rick Anderson's Away from the "icebergs" he addresses the issue of our insufficiently staffed libraries. I couldn't agree with him more though I am sure this is a little bit like 'preaching to the choir' but the longer and louder we sermonize . . . Anderson also references the patron-to-librarian ratio at the University of Nevada, Reno. I don't want to make any implication that high schools and universities are in any way comparable but I would love to have a 680 to 1 ratio. I'd be in hog heaven. Currently, mine is more than twice that. I find reading the blogs, articles, or soap-box sermons of my library peers very enlightening. Some of my best ideas are a result of these readings. My commitment to Library 2.0 will start with turning my Pathfinders into wikis, creating a podcast of our library orientation and starting a book(s) discussion blog(s). I also need to put together a presentation for my teachers about Library 2.0 and what they can incorporate into their curriculum. I better get busy!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Week 5 Thing 10, 11 and 12

Visual Poetry -
Thing 10: This is something I can really get into - so many possibilities . . .
I used Image Chef to create the star filled with the words Enterprise Hornets complete in 'black and gold' (our school colors). The comic strip generator will be used to add some pizzazz to the library orientation presentations, student's library FAQ sheet, new teacher packet. I have been compiling ideas for a new website so I will be definitely be revisiting these sites for that project.
Thing 11: I am already acquainted with Library Thing so I was delighted to see that it was on the short list for Web 2.0 Awards. I signed up to use this web tool. I really like the feature 'suggestions of what to read next'. After 'do you have a 300 page book?' this is the most asked question I hear. Usually this isn't a big deal but I am not a big fan/reader of fantasy and I struggle with on the spot recommendations. I will keep this open on my desktop so that I can quickly refer to it. The other feature that I will put to use is the accessibility to my Library Thing account via cell phone. This will be convenient to use while perusing the bookstore shelves. Another web tool that I came across during my discovery activities is montage-a-google ( I found this to be a creative and fun tool. Check it out!
Thing 12: I created a 'pathfinder' for a Vietnam/1960's project on Rollyo. So far I am not buying what they are selling. Perhaps I am missing the point. I prefer to compose pathfinders that include print and multimedia sources and not strictly websites. My intention is to make these pathfinders available via our website when we redo it. Also I was not successful in adding the link to my blog - unless some way somehow it miraculously appears! Unless someone can show me the finer points of Rollyo I will never use this tool. Thing 12 was a bummer after having so much fun with the other two activities. Oh well . . .

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Week 4 Thing 8 and 9

I admit that RSS readers have tremendous potential; students could use them for research projects, teachers for a quote of the day or anyone to keep up on personal issues. I will definitely introduce this to my teachers. In fact, I am considering putting together a presentation that includes all the tools that I am discovering through School Library Learning 2.0.

Since I am a current user of other Google offerings I chose to use Google Reader for this activity. I added several fun but useful subscriptions to my new RSS account but I know that I won't keep up on it unless I have specific project that I am working on. Heck, I have email that I haven't read that is two months + old! We'll see. I am anxious to read the comments of other bloggers regarding their ideas for RSS's uses.

After exploring the search tools for RSS feeds and blogs (thing 9), I found Google the easiest to use (clean and simple). Topix was also a contender, simple to navigate and it offered the novice direction with their "Read the Blog", "Talk in the Forum", "Edit the News" sections. Most of the others were too 'busy' and unappealing for my tastes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Week 3 Thing 7

Today's technology offers so many exciting options. My mind is buzzing with ways for incorporating some of these new, fun ideas. How cool for students to use Mappr, Flickr and any of the other tools available to jazz up their projects. Even better, how cool for my students if their teachers used these tools to jazz up their presentations! I might have to track down a few teachers over the summer and introduce to them these tools.