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!