Tuesday, June 30, 2009

practice podcast...

my first podcast in audicity...

Father's Day 06/09

Three Interesting articles...

Bloom's Taxonomy Blooms Digitally
This graphic shows where some of the web 2.0 activites fit in the Taxonomy... the article explains each section in much more detail.

Bloom's digital taxonomy map

Mind map of Bloom's Revised Digital Taxonomy

Elements coloured in black are recognised and existing verbs, Elements coloured in blue are new digital verbs.

The Ideal School Library - By Darren Draper
This is a compilation of reader comments about what the role is of the library/librarian. You can add your own ideas...

Five Reasons to Use Wordle in the Classroom by Terry Freedman
One of the really cool suggestions is to use Wordle as a way of summarizing a presentation - for the graphic learners this would be a immediate and clear representation - for the teacher it may be a sobering snapshot of what the students really 'learned.'

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Flickr + iPhoto + geotags

I am very intrigued by the idea of finding picture taken by different people at the same geographical place. As a teacher of social studies that would have been an amazing tool. I spent lots of time searching youtube for videos on Niagara Falls, the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes, the Appalachian Mountains and other geographical places in the United States. I never thought of Flickr. With only the longitude and latitude I could have found pics from those places.

I took a class this spring on iLife 09 and I remembered the instructor talking about linking iPhoto to Flickr and using the places feature.

So - that is what I started to play with. Oh my!!

I can download my photo to iPhoto. Use the places feature to find the place the photo was taken on a map. Connect that place with the photo and send to Flickr. Then in Flickr - I can open the maps feature and it will show me where that place is on the map and connect it with other photos taken in the same place...


Now - I'm not really sure why I want to do that for my home - but for traveling it would be really cool to be able to track your photos across your trip.

I seem to remember something about the new cameras having that infor imbedded in the metadata for the photos...can't remember for sure. One more thing to play with! :)

A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Flickr...The photo answer...

This chapter was very interesting. I wished more than once, that I had read it last year when I was teaching 4th grade. There were so many things that were mentioned that I wanted to run right out and try.

First though...this answered a plaguing question that photos produces...How do you send them to parents in a way that doesn't shut down their email server or your own. I have made many recommendations over the past few years - but each fall I would get the same questions. My standard response was to send one pic via email then you know that it will not be a problem.

Instead - Flickr is the answer. So the teach can upload all the pics she want and invite the parents to visit her Flickr account. Brilliant!!! I'll have to share that with the elementary teachers in the fall!

I loved the Jane Goodall camp example! What an excellent way to show the level of learning the student had experienced. It was so much more than a report copied from the pages of the encyclopedia. Instead, the student had to really understand what life was like at the camp and illustrate! What a fun assignment for the student and for the teacher to grade!

I also really liked the idea of looking for specific images to illustrate concepts or items. So - I have just finished reading Chandra' Wars by Allan Stratton. It takes place in a fictitious African country. It mentions a Baobob tree and the amazing sunsets more than once. So - I went looking for pictures. I included one with a creative commons license that allows me to share it.

And then I went off on a tangent... I'll post about that separately - this is getting too long!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Diigo, Twitter and all the other little tweets

I read this chapter with much interest. I started a Diigo account during Information Literacy last semester. I've played around with it quite a bit and am so impressed. I am a horrible one for bookmarking a thousand things and never quite making it back to them. This really helps me to organize what I know I will use. I've joined several groups and get updates from sites other people have shared with that group.

I know the learning curve is not very steep, but I still wonder how readily the teachers I work with will accept this. It's just one more thing...or is it. I think to really make this stick - there will have to be very clearly stated benefits in the professional development area. I would welcome others with ideas about that.

And then there is Twitter...I just don't get it. Really... why do I care that JohnB went to the grocery store today and they were out of his favorite soap?

I have an account and have spent bit of time playing around. But, I haven't really found it too amazing. I did go back today and begin following more people - maybe that is part of my problem...

I would love to find out from my staff who is twittering and how they use it. I know several who use it to stay connected with college friends. Could those people be the ones we look to as we try to incorporate this into more scholastic endeavors? I really liked the idea of students tweeting back their comments during a field trip!

So - tweet away as I stick to blogging. I think I'm just too long winded! :)

A Bump on a Blog and Miller's English 10 Classroom Blog

I want to start out saying...WOW!!!
These are two very different blogs and both are very impressive.

A Bump on a Blog is an English class blog from Indiana. The blog is maintained by the teacher and filled with all kinds of interesting youtube videos and other bits of information. The final two entries in the blog are a letter to the parents explaining why the class is using a blog this year and the list of dos and don'ts for the students. Both of these are very extensive and interesting. The student list even includes what will happen if you break the rules - a great bit of info from the beginning.

I started linking to the other listed blogs. These were student blogs and the principal's blog. It looked like the students simply blogged about their life - no real specific direction - and included links to other student blogs and websites of interest.

The part that really impressed me is that the teacher was using this blog to communicate directly with her students and the students were using the blogs just as all beginners - to blog about themselves and prom and boring Friday nights.

Miller's English 10 Classroom Blog is something all together different. Here is a teacher from Connecticut who takes his technology VERY seriously!! The blog itself is different discussion questions that students need to respond to - their comments are listed for each of the posts. That is not the amazing thing.

The amazing thing is the extensive use of technology that Mr. Miller has pulled together. This is a perfect example of a filing cabinet blog. From this blog there are links to numerous wiki pages. The first wiki is a google calendar with the assignments listed. Other wiki page provide details about the major assignments for class. He uses Slideshare and Animoto to demonstrate what the students are supposed to do. The Slideshare powerpoint walks them through a paper he calls iSearch and the Animoto is a graphic illustration of a quote from a book.

That is just a sampling of what is on this site. It's one that English teachers would love to browse for the content and techie watchers would love to browse for all the ways he applies stuff...

It is all so organized and clear. It's a great example of how it can all work together to benefit the students.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

RSS and flying the friendly skies

I read this chapter with much interest. I knew about RSS due to the blogs that I've been following. But I didn't really KNOW about RSS.

It sort of reminds me of flying in an airplane. I understand the physics of how a huge airplane can get off the ground - but I really DON'T understand the physics. It makes me more than a little crazy when I start to think of it as I'm taxiing down the runway.

RSS makes me feel a little the same way. There is some type of amazing magic that goes on behind the scenes and my blog post flies the friendly internet. And that's really all I need to know.

As I read the chapter I clicked and signed up for each of the RSS options. It was very helpful to have someone explain ways these cool gadgets could be put to use. I'm really impressed.

I really liked the Richardson's PageFlakes example. It is always helpful for me to see what I need to strive for. Then, I am willing to wait until my skills grow to that point. That's how I felt about PageFlakes. To see Richardson's page laid out helped me imagine how I will be able to personalize and create what I really need. At this point - I don't know what that is.

I need to spend time on the Google reader - really use it. Read the links and decide how to fit this into the routine of my life - then I'll be ready to tailor make it to fit my needs.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The end of day 2

When I arrive at home after a day like that today, I find it hard to reenter my other life - the one where I am a mom. I want to hole up on my porch and play with the tools we looked at.

But, my family beckons. So - as a good teacher I split myself right down the middle. I ate supper (my husband was the cook tonight) with my family. Then, as they all wandered off to watch TV, or read Twilight, I settled into my chair and began to play.

That made me think about what Sam said today about laptops and teacher time. I think that being a teacher allows you to make choices that you may not be able to make in other jobs. I can choose how much more or less I want to do. The curriculum is there in front of me - and I get to decide how much of me I put into that curriculum.

That works both ways. When life outside of school takes over - during graduation or SLIS project times - my students didn't suffer when I cut back on some of the extra stuff. But, when I focus on creating new and interesting ways of presenting the same material, I and my students are more engaged and life is good! :)

I've chosen to spend lots of my own time learning technology tools. But, I wouldn't do it if I didn't truly enjoy it. Time playing with Diigo or podcasts is not drudgery for me. Instead, I like the puzzle of learning new applications and imagining ways to use that with kids.

So, for better or worse, this is my hobby. It just also happens to be my job and I think that makes me a VERY lucky person.

Comparing Blogs - Educators...

Whenever I start reading other educators blogs I slowly shrink...

They are thinking about such big things and such important topics. I am thinking about grading math journals and making sure I have the key to the library so I can get to the printer. It's not that I don't think about these same topics, but to discourse about them is more than I have the courage to do.

So - here I go stepping outside the comfort zone...

As I am reading Evan Abby's post about the role of a librarian, I want to just say...WOW!!

I actually posted a comment...my first in all the lurking I do! :)

The other thing that strikes me is the depth of thought present on these big topics. These writers clearly immerse themselves. They are the resource, the ones who are doing the content work... So in our model, they are the classroom teachers...right.
My job is to take that content and apply it to the world I live in. Hmm... I think I just grew a little.

Now for the evaluation part.

I also looked at Richardson's Weblogg-ed.

Both sites are easy to navigate. Richardson's is much larger with numerous tabs and places to visit. That also makes it a little more overwhelming. There are just so many places to go and look.
Both make commenting easy.
Both seem to know their stuff, are well read, and connect to many other blogs and sites.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ch. 2 Weblogs: Pedagogy and Practice

I've been a blogger for a while. And I must say I agree with the excitement of comments. It's what makes it worthwhile...but the reality of my experience is - comments are few and far between.

So, although I resonate with the quote..."There was something really powerful about easily being able to share resources and ideas with a Web audience that was willing to share back what they thought about those ideas." (pg. 17) It didn't happen for me personally or for my classroom. We added a sitemeter to the page in order to track the number of hits, after the comments remained at 0

It makes me wonder...what steps do I need to take to build my audience? And, is that really the purpose of the blog we created?

I think that's something the creator of the blog needs to consider as the blog is created and added to. Is the goal of the site to interact with the wider public, the school community or the classroom? After all, there are other reasons to blog.

I think the online archive idea is really powerful. It connects students to the web in a real, concrete way. Perhaps that should be the first goal - and leave the audience building as it grows.

Personally, one of the ways I've used blogs the most is to keep up on technology and educational chatter. I follow a whole host of blogs - just sort of lurking in the background and reading the content. So - I am contributing to the whole no audience problem. Hmmm....

Now - how does this apply to my life as a librarian? I have maintained a book blog of my own reading. I hope to start a book blog of students reading. The purpose will be to make recommendations of books in the collections that other YAs may want to read.

I also hope to spur more teachers to create blogs. I want to do more research into the class portal idea. I think that would be very appealing to many teachers...

I helped the to other 4th grade teacher begin blogging - almost against her will. I am including a picture of a post on the class blog that she created...it shows how an anti-techie can be turned! :)