Thursday, December 17, 2009

Week 15 - my favorites

I found everything we read and viewed about assitive technology very enlightening. It made me so much more aware of issues and needs of people with disabilities and that there are many ways to overcome what might seem like impossible situations. In line with this, I feel like I learned much from Jurkowski's chapter (12) on tech plans. (I found the entire text to be very easy to read, understand, and apply which is a huge plus!) Pretty much being clueless regarding tech plans, it was a blessing how clearly the chapter was organized and how easy it was to follow. Sometimes in the past I lhave tended to look at documents like tech plans or policy manuals as more trouble than they're worth, but they really make you stop and take stock of the current status of things and put clear goals in place before trying to gallop down a path that could get rocky if not pre-planned well.

The Shelly text was also very good in general because of the great visuals and practical materials. I think I enjoyed chapter 8 the most. Maybe it's just my personality, but I really like reading and learning about ethical issues. It was a good chapter that covered so many things from security and safety to objectionable materials and copyright. The questionnaire on pg. 496 had some really thought-provoking statements. In addition, it was very applicable because I had an issue with a patron accessing pornographic materials in the library where I work - talk about awkward!! I still am not sure with the filters, etc. we have how he was able to access the sites, but he managed. (Just in case anyone is wondering what I did, to make a long story short, I contacted the local authorities because the community has had other issues with this patron and I've been told not to confront him on my own. I work by myself the majority of the time and my board is always concerned for my safety.)

Jurkowski, O. L. (2006). Technology and the school library. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press

Shelly, G.B., et. al. (2008). Integrating technology and digital media in the classroom, (5th
ed.). Boston: Cengage Learning

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Module 5

Having benefited so greatly from this tutorial, how could I resist the plea to link CSLA2's Library Thing? These books are great!

I've personally read some of them and am pleased to say that our library has most of them. Literature goes a long way in helping others understand issues and circumstances surrounding disabilities.

The lesson plans in Module 5 were great too. I liked how activity-oriented they are and that the focus is on making kids aware of what it's like to function with disabilities.

I guess as far as what I learned: my eyes have really been opened as to the variety and quality of technology that is available to help people with disabilities. I think if I eventually find myself employed in a media center, I will be more equipped to promote assistive technology and advocate for students with disabilities. Where I currently work, there is not much need for AT. I suppose the closest we come to AT is our audio books and large print books. For many patrons, using these materials is a choice of preference rather than need, though.

I could easily recommend this course to others. If I hear of someone or a group wanting to learn more about AT, this is the first place I'd send them!

As the focus of this week has been on evaluation, I found it interesting to look at the various places the Shelly text mentions as sources of information for evaluation. Listed is everything from professional organizations to publications to conferences. Two of my personal favorite sources are: colleague recommendations and the web. If something has been tried by several colleagues, you can usually get some honest and fairly accurate feedback about products and services. I have recently used word of mouth (along with some of my own investigation) to see what vendors provide the best periodical services for small libraries. I found the one my colleagues recommended the most to be the company I chose and saved money as well! I also often look at reviews for products and materials - everything from software to books for the library. With the widespread ability for tagging and user-centered websites, reviews are easy to find and generally very helpful.

I really like the rubrics and checklists provided throughout the chapter. I could have used the website evaluation a couple classes ago...! I found the student rubrics helpful too. We frequently mention when it comes to learning, the students are important stakeholders and if we give them the opportunity to evaluate projects, learning processes, materials, etc. it will help us provide more effective learning opportunities and apply different strategies to meet various learning needs.

I'm glad the chapter addressed not just the multi-computer classroom, but also included the one-computer classroom. As technologically advanced as many areas and districts are these days, there are still plenty of limited technology schools. The range of ideas on how to use one computer with an entire class was inspiring.

Shelly, G. B., Cashman, T. J, Gunter, R. E., & Gunter, G. A. (2008). Integrating technology and

digital media in the classroom
, (5th ed.). Boston: Cengage Learning

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Module 4 - Part 2

I can't say I got 100% on the quiz, but I did quite well, especially after reading the introductory information in Module 4. The social interaction tips were helpful - it boils down to all anyone wants is to be treated with respect. There are certain things all of us can and can't do; we just need to capitalize on those that we can. For those with disabilities, that's where AT comes in. I think it's appropriate that at the end of Chapter 8 in the Shelly text, Assistive Technologies are addressed under Emerging Technologies. As we've all proven with our AT plans, there are tons of options (hardware and software) that will help those with disabilities, but there are plenty of avenues where technology can continue to improve. In addition, there is plenty of room for all of us as educators and information professionals to learn more about these technologies and how to effectively apply them to help as many students and patrons as we can.

Here are several sites that I've enjoyed looking over regarding AT:
This site provides all types of information on disabilities and AT with its main focus on connecting people with the technology that will help them the most. Includes information, stories, links, education, resources, etc.
This site is the home of a non-profit organization whose mission is to help provide kids with needed AT.
As questionable as wikipedia can be, I found this site to be quite informative with the definition of AT as well as a lot of the available technology.
Although not as attractive as some of the other sites, this one has tons of useful information for families. It discusses issues, funding, advocating, evaluation of products, solutions, making IEPs and much more.
Blog on the topic of assistive technology, eLearning, mind mapping, project management, visual learning, collaborative tools, and educational technology (as per the heading of the blog.) This blog is a very professional one with lots of interesting archived materials including information on government provisions and plans for AT.

Week 13 - Module 4

First I think I'd like to take a minute and discuss the "netiquette" web pages. Most of the suggestions are so common sense, but as Dr. Farmer mentioned in the week's assignment section and as is mentioned frequently through these pages, many web participants find it too easy to use the computer screen as a mask and blurt out anything, which can be harmful to themselves as well as others. I find it very alarming how people - especially teens - forget that once something is posted on the Web there's no stopping who might see it. The one video of "Sarah" which was linked on the netiquette page may have been a bit cliched, but also very true how far images and text can travel. It's a good lesson in "think before you post!" because that few minutes of fame just may last longer than a person intends and be more embarrassing than ever imagined. We've likely all had a word or two with the teens we interact with about issues like this!

I liked the separate page for kids' etiquette - direct and simple, but again, very necessary. One point encourages kids to share their knowledge. If we can get kids to share their tech knowledge - which they love to do - we could really enhance the learning capacity in the classroom and the library.

As I looked at some of the websites from infospec46, I wondered why they looked familiar, then it dawned on me that I used a couple of the Cyberbullying sites in a pathfinder I did for class last spring on bulllying, which included cyberbullying. (I love how so much of what we learn from class to class overlaps, meshes and enhances the others.) I also enjoyed the tip on taking screen shots to capture evidence of wrong-doing. Sometimes you try to print a page as is and it just doesn't print everything on the page that you need or want. Screen shots are a great option.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Week 12 - AT Module 3

Software is something I've not really thought much about until recently. As Jurkowski notes in the text, "The assumption is that any new computer will come with Microsoft Windows" (p. 19). Having this presumption myself, I don't really think about what will be in front of me when I sit down at a computer, and since most operating systems and basic productivity software comes fairly standard with a computer purchase, I haven't given much thought to what else is available.

I did have to recently give thought to some children's gaming software for the library where I work. An issue with the inability to monitor one computer's usage due to its location has led to the board's decision to have internet access removed, thus the need for some entertaining gaming sources aside from the net. I found myself relying heavily on reviews, both professional as well as user-generated. The two biggest considerations I dealt with were system requirements and entertainment value - not extremely technical, but necessary to give thought to. Thankfully the system requirements were fairly easy to figure out and match with what we have here at the library and from there it was a matter of "collection development" mentality to be sure to select software of interest and use to the kids. That's the extent of my personal experience thus far.

I found it very helpful to consider rubrics/comparison charts. I guess I had a mental one, but to actually physically create one is of greater assistance. It allows you to consistently compare the software so you don't miss looking at certain criteria for one and not another. It also aids the justification process!

I enjoyed reading Chapter 9 in Jurkowski, mostly because it's highly relevant to my work situation right now. There isn't much discussed in regard to AT, but the consideration of evaluating software, especially library automation software, is something that will be of great import in the near future. I think I'd mentioned at some point during a post for our cataloging class that Pennsylvania's subsidized ASP/ILS (Millennium) will no longer be subsidized or supported by mid-2010. That leaves those libraries - including mine - that have used Millennium for the last several years scrambling for new options. Our hope is that the state will present us with another system which they will be willing to subsidize, likely an Open Source system. Otherwise, many libraries will be sorely struggling with decisions that don't leave too many feasible options. Regardless, in the near future we will likely be dealing with everything a transition and conversion entails. If anyone has any info, comments, etc. regarding Open Source automation systems, I'd love to hear it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

AT- Module 2

As others have mentioned in their blogs, I nearly forgot to do this post! I had checked out the links and videos as a precursor to the hardware assignment, then forgot I needed to come back and comment on them! There is a lot going on out there for assistive tech, and it's really great to see what can be done to make lives easier and more productive for people with all sorts of disabilities. I was so awed by the videos of what people are able to do and overcome with AT - going to college and owning and maintaining a business are so much more in the reach of those with disabilities. I think of my own frustrations, issues, and problems trying to accomplish everything in my daily life at work, home and distance ed., and I have no disabilities!

Not having much experience with various disabilities, I have really enjoyed learning about them and what is available to assist each issue. Some AT is quite simple, i.e. a head stylus, but its effects are very dramatic in how they help a person function. It was really touching to see how the computer generated voice capability helped give a person and those around them such a broader ability to communicate and emote. That type of assistance would open up a world of possibilities in teacher-student relationships and abilities!

EnableMart is a great site for seeing all the availability of AT and even assessing what would be helpful to those with disabilities. It seems to me that the hardest area to serve with technology
is hearing impairment. I likely made things difficult for myself when I chose that topic to address in the tech plan, but I found it interesting to scour the websites for what is available. Most of the AT addresses amplification and/or clarity of sound or voice and TTY and home assistance for phones, etc., but I looked for what would be helpful in the classroom setting. This proved to be a difficult task, especially for a severely hearing impaired or completely deaf student. The tablet pc that offers voice to text options for note taking seem to be the best option. The student can observe (sight being the sense a hearing impaired person relies upon the most) everything during class, then have the notes to review and refer to later.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Week 10, cont'd. - Intro and Module 1

In the intro for the Discovering AT blog, it reviews the lifelong learning habits and under exercise #3 it asks what we hope to learn from this tutorial. I have to say I'm hoping to become more aware and rounded in my knowledge of disabilities and how they affect the information seeking process. I'd also like to learn more about assistive technology options to help overcome disabilities and also to have personal knowledge of how to use and apply assistive tech.

I wonder if anyone else looked at the "scorecard" for their state on the site? I really hate to think how deficient so many states are when it comes to providing for the learning disabled. My state of Pennsylvania is deemed "needs assistance" and the money that comes from the federal government as opposed to what is actually allocated is shameful! This which comes from supposed government regulated standards lacks so much implementation! (Looks like those assistive technology tech plans need to be evaluated and properly applied! :-])

JAN, the Job Accommodation Network has a lot of information for employers, employees and others interested in all kinds of disabilities. I was impressed by the wealth of information on it and SOAR, the Searchable Online Accommodation Resource. It not only provides tons of information about disabilities, it helps assess how much assistance a person might need and what to do to accommodate him. For further assistance, it even links to sources to research and/or purchase the needed equipment.

Now, if I can just put all this together to generate a tech plan suitable for doing what Jurkowski quotes (from Information Power) on page 167 of the text, I'll be doing great! It states, "Acting as a technologist (rather than a technician) and a collaborator with teachers, the library media specialist lays a critical role in designing student experiences that focus on authentic learning, in formation literacy and the curricular mastery - not simply on manipulating machinery."

Jurkowski, O. L. (2006). Technology and the school library: A comprehensive guide for media specialists and other educators. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Week 10 - AT

I have to say I was blown away by the information on Microsoft's assistive tech website. Of course the information is geared toward Microsoft products, but there is so much more information on just making the reader aware of what is available to assist people with difficulties and disabilities. I really liked the "Guides by Impairment" section which targets each area of disability and gives the tools available to assist anyone with these issues. The direct link to the web page is:

I also really enjoyed the Universal Design site. I am amazed at what people can think of to overcome impairments and disabilities!
As I began reading over the various sites and information on assistive technology and universal design, I started thinking of examples of where I've seen people using AT. I have a brother-in-law who is severely sight impaired. He is able use the computer daily to do lots of things, leisure to business. He uses screen enlargers and screen readers (I didn't know the correct terms for them until today!)
There is a man at our local DMV who takes photos for drivers licenses who is also severely sight impaired. He uses a very advanced type of desktop video magnifier (much like the one pictured above) which enlarges anything he puts under it and displays it on a screen so he can read it. Anything a person gives to him that he has to see he puts under this magnifier. It's really awesome what he is able to accomplish with it that he would not be able to do otherwise!
This may not be assistive "technology" per se, but I've been made more aware of meeting the needs of those with disabilities of all types at the library. It was made very clear to me of the need to be sure that any videos I order for the library be subtitled/captioned for the hearing impaired. One of my hearing impaired patrons borrowed a video (happened to be "The Color of Magic") and when he returned it, he said he wasn't able to watch it because it wasn't subtitled. I hadn't thought about making sure videos had this capability before I ordered I do! Just some food for thought...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Week 9 - Thing 22 - e/audio books

I have very little experience with eBooks of any sort. I have used audiobooks, and have relatives who use them extensively when they are in the car or doing chores at home. Personally, I prefer the print-to-eye interaction I guess, so I don't often listen to them. The library where I work has a leasing subscription to Landmark Audio Books. It is a nice service that allows for variety with having to purchase audio books that might not circulate well. I have recently suggested our audio book collection to several of our sight-impaired patrons, which is well-received unless they also have difficulty hearing, which is sometimes the case with the older ones! The local school district's libraries have a decent selection of audiobooks which seem to go over well with the students.

Dr. Farmer brings up some good points to ponder in Week 9 assignment overview. Are eBooks/Google good solutions for limited-resource libraries? I think Google Books and the open source/creative commons type of materials are and could be advantageous. At this point, I don't know if eBooks would be as easily incorporated into poorly funded, poorly resourced library. The overview by University of Rochester's website points out that at this time " tight encryption between the content and the device" don't make for easy library to patron access. I had a patron come in a couple weeks ago rather agitated because she had taken part in a phone survey regarding eBooks and all sorts of electronic media vs print sources. She said one question asked if she would ever consider using eBooks exclusively, to which she responded, "Never!" She expressed her concern that the survey pointed toward libraries becoming obsolete - I assured her we have many more services to offer besides simply lending books. :-)

I browsed Questia a bit. eLibraries that offer eBook services seem more feasible - as opposed to the physical libraries - but I know there are libraries beginning to offer these services. The subscription rate is paid directly and the "patron" manages his own account, alleviating the issues of downloading and circulation. I liked the little chart that Questia offers to promote its use. Some are very sensible, such as the fact that the books are never due back and some are a bit comical such as clothing being optional...I guess it gets the point across!!

One other little book service I found interesting was the Book Crossing site. I didn't actually sign up, but was tempted...maybe in the future when I have a bit more time. If some didn't run across it in the Free Book list, it's a site that allows people to freely share books and track where they circulate - pretty cool.

Week 9 - Thing 21 - Podcasts

I've learned quite a bit about podcasts this week. One thing I found out is that podcasting does not require an iPod! I know, it should have been an obvious thing, but never really having dealt with podcasts personally, I just assumed... (we know what that means! :-]) I guess one of the reasons I hadn't explored them is that assumption - no iPod, no 'cast! When I saw the distinction noted on page 36 of the Courtney text I didn't feel quite so ignorant since the author found it important enough to mention, meaning I'm likely not the only one to miss this concept!

One of my favorite tools to promote books is the booktalk. When I ran across the "BookTalks Quick and Simple" listed in the Courtney text on page 37, I had to take a few minutes to check it out. Nancy Kean, the librarian and 'caster, does a really nice job of promoting books for all ages. All the ones I listened to were nicely done with storyteller-like expression, and some including music to enhance the interest. Her web page is simple, but very effective and user-friendly:

Her podcast subscription link is:

I think the text has done a great job of explaining the purposes and possible uses of podcasts in the library setting. The possibilities are only stifled by a lack of imagination and as the text points out, they go way beyond booktalks, library education, news, and local history... I'm thinking podcasts, libraries and teens would be a great mix!

To the right, I've added a link to a library podcast that I found interesting. I have a feeling someday I may end up at a military/government library or a library on a military post, hence the military theme to the 'cast.

Courtney, N., Ed.. (2007). Library 2.0 and beyond: Innovative technologies and tomorrow's user. Westport, CT, Libraries Unlimited.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Week 8, Thing 20 - youtube, etc.

I've tried several times to embed a video from YouTube, but it's not been successful, so I'll just post the link to it.

I watched quite a few library videos. Some were pranks, some were serious advertising info, and some were just a bit silly, like the Mr. Bean one trying to be quiet in the library (search Mr. Bean and library and it'll come up.) The video I chose is a quick one about the "super librarian" being the expert at information location among other things. I think YouTube - and other video sites - can be great assets to "advertising" what we do. In addition, there are some great applications to embedding video into library websites. A quick how-to video addressing locating materials, searching databases, or a video on library programs could all be interesting additions to a library's website. If a library could get public officials and/or local business personnel to do quick blurbs on what how they use the library, it would be great promotional material! (I liked Jack O'Connell Goes Back to School.) One of the other libraries in our county has just built a new library. One of the advertising/fundraising promotions they did was to have local business people on posters and in news ads holding their favorite book, i.e. the podiatrist had Dr. Seuss's "The Foot Book." It was a joint advertising effort for the library and the business. This same type of material could be done in videos for any library.

YouTube is a great site. I think most of us have probably taken some time perusing videos and getting a chuckle or two from them. (My daughter and I spent a ton of time one evening a few months ago watching baby videos, and laughing til our sides ached. There's a great laughing baby montage we especially enjoyed.)

I had enjoyed several of the videos listed on the Classroom Learning 2.0 - the March of the Librarians, Introducing the Book, etc. - before. During our Intro class, Dr. Tunon shared some of them with us.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Week 8, Thing 18 - Productivity tools

Word processing, saving, editing, sharing, etc. are becoming so much easier.  The more I see of productivity tools like Zoho, the more I'm liking them!  This looks a lot like Think Free which I'll be discussing for the final project. 

I am going to try to write here, then transfer it to the blog - we'll see in a bit how successful I am!!  In general, I just love the "shar-ability" of these types of utilities.  I don't know how many times I've tried to share documents through emails and it either cannot be opened by the recipient, or the format of the document gets shifted and is difficult to read, among other issues.

The capability to view documents offline is a great asset too.  It's not possible to be online 100% of the time and sometimes it's nice to be able to work on things on the spur of the moment without requiring net access. 

I'm beginning to really love the whole tagging thing!  I noticed in the general overview that folders can be tagged.  It's nice to be able to remember what a folder contains without having to open the entire file.

I also watched the Google sites tutorial.  I learned something I've been wondering about for a long time!  It showed how to make a word or group of words show up as a link, and I've never known how to do this (don't laugh)!  I've tried it a couple times with this document - again, I'll have to see if it worked!

I like how the Shelly text breaks down the various productivity tools for school and student management, from grade book applications to special needs students.  It goes more into software rather than web-based tools, but at least it gives great ideas on where and how to use them.  

Friday, October 30, 2009

Week 8 - Thing 19 - Library Thing

Yes, I know, my "Things" are a bit out of order, but I wanted to post a couple things before I forget to note them.

Here is my link:

For a first time experience using a tech tool, I have to say Library Thing is one of the easiest and most enjoyable to use! I had absolutely no trouble going to the site and just starting the process, nor did I get "lost" exploring through the site and working between it and Amazon.

I really like how easy it is to pull in all the information about a book from other sites and when Library Thing found more than one possibility for a book choice, it showed the options and I was able to choose the appropriate title. In addition, at one point I mistakenly added the same book twice and it let me know that I had "duplicate" records in my catalog - VERY cool!

When I have more time I will have to go back and do more exploring. I love that you can see other people's libraries and Library Thing lets you know what libraries are similar to yours as well as providing recommendations for other books to add to your own library. The tag clouds and ability to see how many others have the same book in their library are very helpful too.

This is a neat personal tool to keep track of books you've read as well as a great academic tool to help students find appropriate books and/or make lists for their own use while doing reports, etc. Being that library thing actually links to information showing book jackets, reading levels, etc. a teacher can actually see if a student is using appropriate materials for reports and class work.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Week 7, Thing17 - Curriculum

Was anyone else kind of slapped in the face by Shelly's admonition to be sure that we are not using technology to drive the curriculum, but that we use the appropriate technology to enhance the learning process. As I'm learning all of this technology, I find myself wanting to put it ALL to use somewhere! Again, as a public librarian, my view is skewed a bit from the SLMS's, but I can see myself doing the same thing as a school librarian. I'd have to stop myself from thinking, "OK, cool, I've got this tool, now what lesson/activity can I make up to use it?" rather than, "Here's my lesson; is there a tech tool that would really make a difference in how the students learn and respond to the information and would it truly enhance what they're learning?"

I also notice while looking through the WebQuest examples and guides that it was stressed that a WebQuest should not be used as a scavenger hunt, but a tool that will truly allow the students to analyze and apply the information provided on the links given.

Here's the link to my WebQuest:

Week 7, Thing 16 - Wikis

It's really great to have had a bit of experience with Wikis before this week's activities. I have never personally created a wiki, but have interacted on them for other classes. They are wonderful collaborative tools! I had fun browsing through the given examples and suggestions of what wikis can be used for - subject guides, annotating library catalogs, community involvement, and internal library use for staff.

I also really got some great input on our TappedIn session last evening. It was mentioned last night that wikis can be a great addition to Literature Circles in the classroom and there is a nice example given on the Classroom Learning Blog as well.

When I am not so overwhelmed with school and work, I want to start a wiki for a book club here at my library. I've got several avid readers who love to intelligently share books, thoughts and ideas. I would like to begin the club, share the wiki and explain how the wiki can supplement what is discussed during the face to face meetings. The club members can add thoughts and ideas from home, and it would also be available for someone who could not make an actual group meeting to see what was discussed and add his/her own comments.

I think some of the greatest attributes and appeal for the general patron/student is that wikis require no technical skills! Also the fact that it's collaborative and all in one spot (some of us really dislike flipping all over the web and desktop to find everything we need!!) makes using a wiki even more appealing.

As I finished reading the assignment in the Jurkowski text, I really liked the thought of how the end of chapter 15 just leaves the technology door and room for expansion wide open. I don't have my text in front of me (I'm at work, it's at home!) so I cannot quote it exactly, but the gist is that as librarians we need to remember that our library doesn't have to be limited by its physical location. Library 2.0 makes it very possible to extend our sphere of influence far beyond the walls that house the library. Wikis - along with the other 22 Things - make this so possible!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thing 15 - Copyright, Creative Commons

Copyright vs. infringement Mine vs. everyone's
Creative Commons = let's share
Write, sing, play, perform...Whose right is it?

Some of us learned quite a bit about copyright issues and created blogs about copyright last fall. It was an interesting project and I learned a lot about copyright that I didn't even realize should be considered when generating, using, sharing, distributing, etc. information.

I had seen the comic book before and found it a great tool to use with kids while teaching them the importance of not infringing upon other people's creations. I enjoyed the CC video. I like how it promotes the excitement of sharing creations so they can be expanded upon by others. "Sharing" being the operative word and we all realize that it's important not to step on the creative rights of others, especially when it infringes on someone's income!

On the academic side of the coin, plagiarism is just as detrimental. I don't know if any of my papers or projects have been subjected to Turnitin, the anti-plagiarism tool that many schools and universities use now to ensure original works are turned in. I can certainly understand why institutions would choose to use the service with how easy it is to copy and paste not just sentences, but entire works!

Thing 14 (Wk 6 cont'd.)

So, what is it that Courtney (2007) points out that people really want when they search? End-users want to see good relevancy ranking in the results of their searches (p 15). Do all library catalogs provide this? NO! but as librarians, we can employ Library 2.0/Web 2.0 tools to help our users get closer to the Google-like results that they've come to expect of all searches.

The obsessive cataloger might cringe at the idea of library users being able to create their own means of personalized search strategies, but what better way for users to become comfortable searching for and finding what they want rather than what the LOC or a cataloger deems to be the correct subject heading for a particular item? I like tag clouds that show not only what people are tagging, but how frequently tags are used (it's the BIG ones!)

As for Technorati, I find it really cool to be able to search blogs. I played with searching for specific blogs, searching words and tags, etc. It is so much more effective than trying to search Google for a blog! I do have to say I haven't figured out how to "claim" my blog so it comes up as searchable by Technorati. I looked at the FAQs, but some of the terminoloy is a bit foreign to me and I'm not understanding fully what to do. What I have tried doesn't seem to be effective...

Courtney, N., (Ed.). (2007). Library 2.0 and beyond: Innovative technologies and tomorrow's user. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Week 6 Thing 13 - tagging and

“People still think of libraries as old dusty books on shelves, and it’s a perception we’re always trying to fight,” said Michael Colford, the director of information technology at the Boston Public Library. “If we don’t provide this material for them, they are just going to stop using the library altogether.”

I found this quote on one of the SJLibraryLearning2's bookmarked Delicious links. Colford was referring to providing technology and what I'll call "eservices" to patrons who wouldn't normally be reached by traditional library services. I couldn't have said it better myself. I see so much potential in each of the 23 Things we've learned about thus far and they can only provide value-added service to our patrons, students and teachers if we can apply them effectively.

I have seriously been neglecting tagging my blog posts, but I'm going to try to do it more often for practice and to get in the habit, if nothing else. Tagging not only promotes "favorites," it also helps point to useful, authoritative and informative sites and ideas.

I had to do a project on PennTags last fall. (For those who aren't familiar with PennTags, it is Penn State University Library's system of tagging.) This is an amazing example of how useful tagging can be for libraries, especially in the academic setting. Students working on papers, reports or projects can see what other students have used and found helpful. It also allows for groups of students to collaborate and share tags, ideas, etc. I guess what I'm trying to say is that whereas PennTags is exclusive to Penn State, any library can use Delicious to help patrons/students tag and claim for themselves what they deem important and pertinent to their own experience, be it academic or recreational. Students being able to bookmark and tag research material for future use and/or to share with classmates is invaluable - sure beats carrying a bunch of note cards around!

Public library patrons can see what other library users find interesting, good reads, good library services, etc. A little tweaking here and there is all each library needs.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Week5 Thing 12 - Rollyo

My rollyo link:

Rollyo is a very, very useful tool! If it weren't for my computer glitching, I'd have had more fun playing around with it. I created a couple "rolls, but am posting the link to a science themed one. There are some really neat websites out there related to rocks, minerals and the cycle of their formation. I think I had too much fun playing with some of the interactive tools on the websites! :-)

This is a really valuable tool for teachers to gather websites that give good, solid, reliable information for students, regardless of the topic.

School media specialists could use this for students as well as teachers. Finding reliable websites with resources, lesson plans, etc. and grouping them with Rollyo for easy access would show teachers how useful it can be. It's a very easy process to make your own rolls, so a quick tutorial would be all it would take for teachers to be able to make their own.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Week 5 Thing 11 - One Million Masterpiece/ThinkFree

There are some pretty cool sites out there to help educators and librarians. When looking at the topics of the Award winners, I chose Education, and looked through several until I landed on ThinkFree. This site is very nice and fairly easy for writing, putting together powerpoints, etc. and sharing what you've written as well as being able to edit and see previous drafts. It's really nice how you can generate the document right from ThinkFree, so you don't have to bounce back and forth between a Word document and download or upload separated documents to share. This has really nice possibilities for all kinds of classwork from English, Literature, Journalism, etc. and students being able to easily work on group projects without having to be together. I'd say it's very similar to Googledocs, I just haven't played with Google enough to know if you can generate powerpoint presentations, etc.


As I was perusing the Award sites, I came across the One Million Masterpiece site and just had to play with it. I didn't get into all the aspects of it, but I did create a simple, goofy picture which I added to the big picture currently being created. This web site has so many implications for Art as well as Social Studies classes. There are users from all over the world and teachers could use the networking capabilities in a variety of ways for cultural and geographical lessons.


Week 5 Thing 10 Continued

I made a slide show using AP images and Roxio PhotoShow. Hopefully this link will make it visible to anyone who cares to see:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thing 10, Week 5

Here's the link to my poster I made with BigHugeLabs. It was pretty easy to use. My problem was deciding WHAT to do!! I decided to use a quick idea from the PaLA workshop last week with the theme being how to sustain your library in tough economic times. One of the ideas the presenter shared was how we can consider promoting our libraries like a company promotes a product. One of the easiest, most effective ways to sell a product is to put "new and improved" on the packaging. One of the libraries he works with put a huge banner across the upper corner of the outside of the building with those exact words - "New and Improved!" They had people coming in the library just to see what was new...obviously the new books and materials were displayed and presented, but the most important factor they stressed to everyone walking through the door was that the entire staff had a new outlook and commitment to service. (I know, I'm supposed to be concentrating on my technology experience rather than why I chose to do what I did, but I thought this was a great, simple idea and could be applied to ANY library.)

For this project, I garnered a picture from APImages through Power Library (AccessPA). It was easy to upload it with step-by-step instructions on the site. Then I just added my words. These types of sites are great for kids needing graphics, posters, or any type of pictorial materials to add to a project, academic or otherwise. I really like that sites like Flickr, APImages, etc. take care of the copyright issues especially when it comes to educational projects.

Link to image

Link to site

I checked out the link for educators:
It's really cool that BigHugeLabs makes it possible for educators to use this with their students. Most sites require an email address for ID and verification which a website is not permitted to ask for relating to anyone under 14. The educator's link allows a teacher to register their students without an email address!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


After playing with several of the suggestions for finding library related blogs and feeds, I personally found Technorati to be the most useful and user-friendly. I found several cool library related blogs, but I'll only take the time and space to list one: It has some really great information on a variety of library topics including Library 2.0 tools, ALA, current events in libraries, and lots more. I've subscribed to it and will likely find myself perusing it often.


I have a much clearer understanding of what RSS is, that's for sure! I've heard of RSS for a long time and even used a it a bit, but really didn't see the purpose or potential until going through some of the videos and tutorials. One of the reasons I don't "surf" for news and points of interest is because of the time involved. Now there is a solution to the time issue! I'm still trying to completely get the hang of the "subscription" process, but it's coming. At one point I tried to subscribe to a blog and somehow wound up putting it on my Microsoft Feeds instead of getting it sent to Bloglines. I haven't tried Google Reader yet, but will have to at some point to see if one is easier.

My url for bloglines is:

I'm wondering how to get a website to become RSS-feedable. By that I mean, if I wanted to make my library's homepage subscribable to patrons, how would I go about it? If this was touched on in any of the information this week, I missed it. Anyway, I think it would be great to be able to have patrons subscribe to the library website so they could be notified of updates, changes, and new information posted.

In considering other uses for school media centers, I think it would be great if students could subscribe to feeds that pertain to their classwork. I see it being especially beneficial for political science/current events classes. If students have assignments dealing with news and world events, they could subscribe to news feeds and/or topics pertaining to their studies.

Last semester, I had a bit of personal experience with RSS. For the Database Searching class, I used RSS feeds to notify me of new articles that were published on some of the databases I was searching for the final project. If students began a project or paper enough ahead of time, this is a viable use for high school as well. Some of the ACCESSPA databases offer this type of service. Obviously, it's not going to be useful if a search is generated the night before a paper is due, but given some weeks a student could be notified of new articles and information that might be pertinent to his project.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thing 7 (week 3 continued)

I'm sorry if my posts seem a bit disjointed. I do a bit of the weekly activities at a time, when I have time, and I don't get everything into one post. Bear with me folks!!

I guess one of my new favorite technologies has become blogging. The possibilities are endless and I love the edit-ability (I doubt that's a word, but it fits here!) of blogging. I don't know how many times I've posted something or tried something and it wasn't right or not exactly what I wanted and all I have to do is go to the "Dashboard" and fix it! For example, I tried posting the link to my trading card and didn't think I'd done it right, so I tried a new tack. When I checked out my blog, found I had two posts and two links for it. Not liking the first one, I simply deleted the post and viola! I have one decent post and link. I know that may sound really basic to some, but for me it's learning even the simple things that keep me intrigued. I also just see so many applications to blogging, and the ease of integrating other technologies into a blog makes it even more appealing.

On another note, I've had a couple experiences recently that have really encouraged me to promote technology in the library. First, at two different times in the past seven days, I've had patrons ask me about AccessPA and how to go about searching for books and using the catalog. I was thrilled!! One patron was in the library at the time, so I could physically show her what to do and some additional benefits to the database. The other patron was the postmistress who stopped me as I was picking up the library mail. I briefly explained how to go about the searches and borrowing requests, but encouraged her to stop in so I can show her more. What kind of hit me in these experiences is that even though the access and information has been out there for a long time, it wasn't until these patrons had a personal need to know that they sought further help. Can it be said that along with putting the information out there, our jog as librarians also consists of helping people see WHY they need it???

The second experience has to do with a patron who is severely hearing impaired. He comes in about once a week, uses the computers, borrows books and also asks me to interlibrary loan books for him. My usual procedure is to call patrons when their books come in. He cannot hear on the phone, so he gave me a relative's phone number who then would get in touch with him. After several times of calling this third party, it dawned on me that the patron communicates over the phone by texting. I let him know that it would be possible for me to text him directly if he wanted me to and if he was comfortable with that. He was,and now all I have to do is text a simple, "your books are in" and he's there to pick them up rather than having to wait for someone else to remember to tell him. If this were something I was doing on a larger scale or in bigger library, I'd likely see about having the service available through a library chat/text website like aim, for example, to make it a professional library "service."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Things 5 and 6 Week 3

I'm going to try to post a link to a "trading card" that I made. Hopefully it will work! I used to generate it.

I'm finding the more I explore these "things," the more adventurous I become. As I was playing with photos and flikr, I decided to add a photo to my profile which I hadn't attempted before.

I've also done option b of the discovery exercise: used a picture from one of my library's summer reading activities, and tagged it. I was surprised at how easy it was. These sites are very user-friendly and they "mash" with each other very well. has a link to Blogger to make it so quick to share pictures.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Week 2 - creation and avatar

Well, I believe after adding some gadgets and an avatar, my blog looks a little more personable. I had a hard time finding a site that wasn't too involved to create my avatar. I wasn't as ambitious as Valerie to try the talking creator!! :-) My avatar isn't completely me, but at least I had fun creating her! I'm glad through the course of the past year I've learned enough about technology to be ablet to save it and insert it into my blog...I would have struggled with that a year ago! Progress can be seen in many ways, thank goodness!

Here goes...

Welcome to my blog. :-)

I'm thinking this will be a great way to refresh the blogging skills that we learned last fall in Intro. It is actually fun to blog, I just find I don't have the time to do it unless I'm "forced" to in a manner such as this. Maybe I'll find a way to work it into reaching out to my library patrons. I've already got several patrons who regularly write book reviews for me to post in the library, which other patrons rely upon for their next book selections, so maybe a blog would be a way for them to interact even further...hmmm.

Has anyone tried this?