Sunday, December 6, 2009

AT Module 5

1. What one thing did you learn, and what will you do differently as a result?
Again, I find it very difficult to pick just ONE thing I learned from this tutorial. I think it has all been incredibly valuable, and it's hard to place exactly what I will take with me in my future working with children and the public; as I come across new situations, I am sure I will view them from a new perspective. The lesson plans in this module and the etiquette have probably been the most influential. (Although the hardware and software really demonstrate the ways that people with disabilities can complete tasks independently... like I said, it's hard to pick just one).

2. Do you plan to recommend this tutorial? If so, please elaborate.

As a member of my school's technology committee, I will certainly recommend this tutorial. We are always on the lookout for new information, tutorials, and resources to share with our staff. This will be incredibly helpful for increasing awareness of needs, etiquette, assistive technology, and helpful resources.

3. Do you plan to read or recommend some of the Recommended Reading books or add them to your collection? Will you link our LibraryThing list to your blog? If you have a book recommendation or have read one of the books that does not include a review, please send us your own review so we can share it.
I will probably return to this tutorial after I have completed my graduate program. At this time, I have found it incredibly difficult to read anything other than materials required for coursework and for my job as a classroom teacher. In the future, I would like to consult some of the materials mentioned in this tutorial, and will certainly add some of them to my own Library Thing.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

AT Module 4

#1 - The students at my school are at an advantage because of the many people with disabilities with whom they interact on a daily basis. From the obvious disabilities like students in wheelchairs, students with vision impairments, and a teacher with one arm, to the hidden disabilities as mentioned in Discovering AT, our students view these as part of everyday life in our community. We invite the MD School for the Blind to perform a concert every year, and they invite questions from the students at the end. Our students are curious about people who are different from them in any way, but this also includes adults (we are VERY different to our 6 year olds!) and volunteers who work interesting jobs. Our students are used to both low and high-tech AT, like those Jurkowski mentions on p. 106. From pencil grips and Braille to talking calculator and screen readers, they are a part of our school community as much as pencils and computers are. I try to establish a cooperative classroom environment, where my students feel safe and accepted. My class this year is especially outgoing - always offering to help a friend, from holding a hand to lead someone to the cafeteria to reading together.

#2 - I was happy to do well on the quiz! From my first undergrad class in education, we've been taught PFL, or "people first language," so the first part was especially easy. I felt a bit silly about one of the "Ten Commandments.." I often catch myself saying "Let's see what..." or "see you later!" to a visually impaired student, and try to say something else instead. The quiz reminded me that I don't have to change my language, and should talk to these students the same way I would talk to others.

#3 - According to the CIL search, there are 7 Independent Living Centers in MD. I researched Making Choices for Independent Living, Inc., which is the closest to me as it is located in Baltimore. It is the oldest and largest CIL in the state, dedicated to helping clients take control of the decisions in their lives. MCIL provides numerous resources and holds events to benefit their clients. I was disappointed with the lack of recent updates on their website, however. They encourage the community to speak out against "Inaccessible Technology," and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As Jurkowski notes on p. 80, even websites featured in schools and libraries can be inaccessible due to easily-fixable components like font and color schemes.
I had some difficulty with the ATA website, but was able to read some of their inspirational success stories.

#4 - There are so many helpful sites about AT, it was hard to pick just five. I tried to include a variety:
1. Family Guide to Assistive Technology:
Created by Parents, Let's Unite for Kids in 1999, this website is full of information from definitions, to examples, evaluations, and case studies. Although there are no bells and whistles (black text on a white background), there is a wealth of information that can help an overwhelmed family get started, or serve as a reference.
2. AbleData: "AbleData provides objective information about assistive technology products and rehabilitation equipment" You cannot purchase products through AbleData, but you can search products in numerous categories, read reviews, and find retailers online.
3. Assistive Technology Training Online Project (ATTO): Created by the School of Public Health and Health Professions of The University of Buffalo/State University of NY, this site includes AT Basics, tutorials, help in decision-making, and resources. I've bookmarked this site, as the information and tutorials are geared toward those working with elementary students in need of AT.
4. ablebody: Ablebody features the latest publications and news regarding AT and people with disabilities. A blog, "profoundly yours," is included, as well as news articles, expert opinions, and new information regarding assistive technology.
5. EnableMart:
This retail website includes AT in more than ten categories, including vision, learning, hearing, and many more. As a future school library media specialist, I need to have access to purchase AT for my school, and Enable Mart offers an incredible variety. It also features information on educational purchases, and purchasing AT through a school stimulus plan.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Assistive Technology - Module 3

Wow! There was so much to look at this week, my mind is swimming! I had some trouble getting my rubrics into my blog, so here's an overview.

First, I installed the trial of Inspiration. My school actually uses this software, and has it installed on all computers in classrooms and the lab. I attended a PD training about it a few years ago, where I learned some of the many features included. The concept-mapping is wonderful, especially because you can change the format into notes and outlines to help visual learners transition to more formal writing assignments. Our school also uses Kidspiration (I think of it as a younger brother of Inspiration), which has many of the same features aimed toward a younger audience. I use this frequently as a first grade teacher. There are pre-made templates in science, math, reading, and more! It also allows teachers to create and save their own templates for all students to use. I love the text-to-speech, and so do my struggling and strong readers alike! All of my students have found some success with Kidspiration, and it can easily be adapted for a variety of abilities. Some students will simply drag pictures into appropriate categories, while others will include labels, sentences, notes, and more.

Kurzweil 3000 was completely new to me, which made experimenting with it rather exciting. It seemed to take just short of forever to install and set it up on my computer. It was worth it! I had fun playing with some of the things it can do. I like how it reads what you type, and then reads the sentence back naturally after you add punctuation. Even questions are read correctly! (I can imagine using this to show my young writers how their writing sounds. They read the words they WANT to say rather than what they actually write on the page.) I played with the different options for reading, like phrases, speeds, etc, and even threw in a few spelling errors to see what would happen (they were read phonetically). I also liked the definition, spell, and synonym features. I can only begin to imagine how many students at my school could benefit from this! The options to use the toolbar, create a new document, upload, or scan an existing document make it incredibly flexible. I even copied and pasted some lines of chat from gmail and it read them to me!

InfoEyes is a fabulous idea! I like how the service ensures a person can get the answers they need even if their own local library is closed at the time!

I plan to share the Windows demo page with my technology committee at school. This is something we can ALL do with little to no assistance, and few people know about it! I will recommend incorporating this into one of our PDs for staff, since all school computers use Windows. I'm not sure how much we would be allowed to do on the computers in the lab (unless we reset things after making a change), but this could be especially useful for a classroom computer station!

My software choices for my tech plan are on our class DB!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Assistive Module - Week 2

The video (We can because we think we can) was amazing. Beautiful. Inspiring. A great reminder of how physical limitations do not have to limit a person's ability to live (not just exist) and create.

The keyboards were AMAZING. I looked at every single one of them, finding myself more and more fascinated by what can be done, and the innovative ideas that can enable students of all different abilities and disabilities to complete the same tasks and objectives as their classmates. I thought the single-handed keyboards were especially interesting, and it took me a little while and some re-reading to understand how they work.

My hardware plan is posted on our DB. I chose visual impairment, since that is directly applicable to my school (although certainly not the only choice, of course). Sadly, I do not know of much assistive technology available to our visually impaired students. We have many wonderful professionals and paraprofessionals who do absolutely incredible work with our students every day. I am waiting until after I complete this project to investigate what we actually have as far as AT. My colleagues with impaired students in their classrooms even have difficulty with the lack of AT/lack of knowledge about it. One was wondering exactly what her student would do if her class went to the computer lab. This sounds exactly like the Tapped In discussion regarding the role of media specialists in IEP meetings. At the very least, there should be some discussion among the staff who make decisions and work with students with special needs.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Assistive Technology - Module 1

I am excited for this step-by-step instruction in assistive technology. Much of what I now know has come from working as a classroom teacher. I've been exposed to many new ideas that have really impressed me ("Wow! Who thought of that? What a great idea!").

My school is a designated "visually impaired" school, so browsing through the NFB website was really interesting for me. Aside from the usual range of strengths and needs among our students, we are set up to specially accommodate students with a range of visual impairments. Those who do not attend MD School for the Blind attend our school. This means our students are constantly interacting with students with visual impairments. From braille writers to brailled books, letter tiles, 3-D illustrations, canes, and MUCH more, our students have been exposed to it all. Braille technicians support classroom teachers with materials, while providing direct instruction to the students regarding assistive technology, braille, and more. Classroom teachers are incredibly creative when it comes to making everyday teaching accessible to all students. This can include objects for a visually impaired student to hold during literature (ie - reading about a tiger, so he can hold a stuffed tiger, feeling the ears, tail, teeth, etc) or introducing other students to the ways the impaired student experiences the world.

As a first grade teacher, many of my students are just beginning to learn language, so examining print from a different perspective, like braille, is accepted as just another way some people learn to read. We've certainly had some interesting discussions as teachers about how to teach and assess reading strategies with visually impaired students, especially when it comes to decoding.

I explored JAN, and learned about how it helps employers, people with disabilities, people who work in rehabilitation, in order to make workplaces more accommodating.
I also explored the NCLD link for teachers, and was actually disappointed. Most of the information I found said to look to the student's IEP for their accommodations. This is common sense. I suppose the site could not really give more than that, as it would mean they'd have to make many generalizations about the needs of students with learning disabilities. The site does provide helpful information for teachers and parents about what learning disabilities are, and how they factor into a child's learning.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thing #23 (Week 9)

I can't believe it's over already! Many of the "things" were new to me, or I explored them in new ways over the past few weeks. The biggest thing I got from all 23 was a new confidence in my own abilities. I'm still no expert when it comes to Web 2.0, but I am much more willing to try, use, and incorporate new things in my teaching and my own life.

I found all of the things and discovery exercises to be quite fun, and just challenging enough that I could approach them without hesitation. I like how the program walked us through each thing step by step, with plenty of support and resources. The classroom and curriculum tie-ins gave me new ideas about uses as a teacher and a future school library media specialist.

Some of the award-winning websites will remain bookmarked on my computer forever. I can't wait to make my own librarian trading card when I finally become a librarian! I couldn't pick a favorite "thing" from this whole list - I gained something new and useful from each one.

Thing #22 (Week 9)

E-books... such a fabulous idea! As a devoted book-lover, I will never give up the experience of holding a book in my hands - the smell of old paper, the faded pages, the history of something held and read and loved by many other people. I can appreciate the idea and advantages of e-books. Readers like Amazon's Kindle allow freedom - users can carry numerous books in the space of one, all stored on their device. New technology has increased the quality of display, the colors and fonts, and interactive options like underlining and highlighting.

Websites like the Web Book Fair allow users to access some books for free, while others can be purchased for reading or listening through a variety of retailers.

Numerous projects are under way to provide more books available in digital form. Issues of copyright and authorship must be considered, especially when content is available for free.

Thing #21 (Week 9)

Podcasts come in handy when you get no radio reception in your cinder-block-walled classroom. All the CDs in my stereo at school are classical or kid-music, and anytime I put my earbuds in my ears, someone inevitably walks into my classroom or I get a phone call immediately after. My rescue to the endless quiet on early dismissal days or when I'm working before or after school is the ability to listen to podcasts on NPR. I love the freedom that I can listen anywhere - either directly on my computer, or on my mp3 player. I like how I can listen to a favorite show again, or pick up where I left off.

Podcasts open up great opportunities to educators and librarians. Book talks, book reports, or other non-traditional means of sharing information will certainly motivate students to create and to participate in material.

NPR Podcasts

Thing #20 (Week 9)

"Web 2.0...The Machine is Us/ing us"

I watched several of the suggested videos from Classroom 2.0. This one, "Web 2.0...The Machine is Us/ing us," was my absolute favorite! It gives a great explanation/demo of Web 2.0. It's almost a little Web2.0 in a nutshell. A bit like the "fairly use tale" about copyright, it uses the subject to tell about itself. From html to xml, blogs and web searches, to handwritten and typed text, the information is written and presented in context. This video would be a great introduction for someone who was unfamiliar with Web 2.0. It briefly shows some of the many applications while explaining the history, purpose, and potential. I especially liked the ending, and how the creators remind us how this new technology requires us to rethink our ideas of concepts like copyright, authorship, and even our relationships.

Some of the other videos were just plain fun. I loved the library dominoes (but could not imagine having to re-shelve all those books!) and the introduction to the book (makes me feel a little bit better about when I have had to call the tech help desk in the past!).

The ability to share videos gives even more potential for sharing information and ideas. One of the award-winning websites mentioned in Classroom 2.0 is "I'm Cooked," where amateur foodies can share their own food-network-style cooking videos. I haven't explored many more of the library or education based videos other than those suggested in this week's tasks, but I'm sure I would find a wealth of fun and informative videos out there. I'll put that on the back burner for now, since I know I could easily get lost (and lose track of time) exploring some of what's out there.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thing #19 (Week 8)

I'll admit it, when I first read that Library Thing involved cataloging, I felt a knot in my stomach due to the intense and overwhelming workload of our cataloging class.

I was happily surprised with Library Thing. It was incredibly user friendly (and, fortunately for me, required no application of MARC tags or LC Subject Headings - something at which I am certainly no expert)! I chose to search to find my books, and came up with many more than five for my project - I was able to narrow down to seven. Because my web quest requires students to research an environmental problem in the Chesapeake Bay, I chose non-fiction books that explain the Bay's ecosystems, environmental issues, and preservation efforts. (Included is my husband's book, Maryland Workboats, because it discusses the plight of watermen as the harvests dwindle due to overfishing, overdevelopment and pollution. That, and I could not resist adding his book to my new Library Thing!)

I can see many applications for Library Thing. As noted in CL2.0, it could be used in an elementary school library media center to organize and catalog books. Teachers could use it to recommend books for friends, colleagues, or families - I am thinking of putting a link in my school web page to recommend books that tie in to our curriculum. Professionals could share literature and comment on instructional implications or helpful strategies within. It would be a great way to keep track of books one has read and would like to read. As a good old fashioned book nerd, I appreciate all the applications and possibilities available with Library Thing!

My books:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Week 8

Hello, Zoho!  I'm impressed with how easy this is to use!  I've used Google Docs before (without knowing it) - I realized this when I went to try some of the discovery exercises with it, and found a few documents that had been sent to me still in my folder!  When I opened them, I had no idea! 
I like the possibilities offered by these online productivity tools.  I work on computers at home (2 different ones), at school (all over the building from my classroom, the lab, other classrooms, etc) at different schools for training, etc.  I always TRY to carry my flash drive, but I've forgotten it before, or have even had one stop working when I was away from home.  In the past, I would e-mail documents to myself (thanks to Google's gmail!).  Now, I could very easily work on the same document from anywhere and not worry about losing it or forgetting to save it.  (I'm noticing the frequent auto-save, which is a nice feature). 

Zoho Writer is also pretty intuitive to use.  The tools are similar to those in Word, which makes them familiar and easy to find.  I can certainly see myself using tools like this in the future!  ( now when I'm posting it to my blog!)

Saturday, October 24, 2009


There's the link to my Web quest! This is for intermediate students (grade 3 - 5ish), especially those living in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thing #17 (Week 7)

I tried to play in the sandbox, but I didn't find much there! I'm definitely still a novice wiki user, so maybe I just hadn't dug in far enough, but I was disappointed about the amount of information in the Classroom 2.0 sandbox wiki. I created a page, although I could not figure out how to get anything on it (do I create something in Word and then upload??), and then I'm not even sure where it went. Maybe it's my lack of experience, but I found this a bit difficult to navigate. I'm not quite confident enough yet to use a wiki that assumes I'm an expert; I still need a bit of hand-holding and guidance to walk me through this sort of activity.

I'm definitely nervous about putting my WebQuest together. It's been years since I've done one, and I could definitely use a bit more guidance this time around. We'll see how it goes!!

Even though this was difficult for me, I can still appreciate the applications of wikis. The environment they create is one of sharing and collaboration, two things all educators value.

Thing #16 (Week 7)

I have used wikis for group projects, but only since beginning Clarion's program. I was hesitant and a bit intimidated at first, as with most very new technologies. The experience was wonderful, once I jumped in! All of my group members lived far apart (in different states, even), worked different schedules (I usually signed on very late at night/early morning), and were available different times. Through the wiki, we were all able to contribute, see what our friends had already added, make changes and suggestions, and successfully complete the project.

I was impressed with some of the ideas presented in the sample wikis. The wikis on the Wiki Hall of Fame had certainly earned the honors bestowed upon them. I especially liked the teacher librarian wiki. I plan to share this with my colleagues, especially the copyright friendly image sources.

Wikis open up so many options for sharing and collaboration, something teachers (and teacher-librarians) need more and more, and have increasingly less time to accomplish. Wikis allow us to share ideas on our own time, and provides an environment for collaboration.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thing #15 (Week 6)

The Fair(y) Use video was absolutely brilliant! I've grown to appreciate and take more interest in the complicated world of copyright since our course in it last year. My interest in freedom of information is growing exponentially, and this video appealed to me for numerous reasons (I could go on, but will spare you all since that is not the actual point of Thing 15).

I checked out the Creative Commons website, along with the copyright comic book, both of which I wish I had known about during my copyright class. The more I learn about copyright, the more it fascinates me. It both protects and prevents the work of artists, as depicted in the comic. It is complicated, costly, and frustrating. Some of the cases described in the comic seemed so ridiculous (charging $10,000 for a ringing cell phone that played the theme from Rocky in a documentary!!). Costly licenses often result in the disappearance of influential and instrumental works.

Through the course of our discovery exercises, I have come across Classroom 2.0 titled or related blogs and websites that are not Classroom 2.0. They have all appeared to be educational in purpose, but I don't remember seeing any kind of credits or acknowledgments to the original.

Freedom of information and copyright are topics I could see myself studying more in the future. Maybe someday I'll make my way out of the elementary school and into this world.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thing #14 (Week 6)

...and another little icon adds itself to my toolbox. Welcome to my world, Technorati! (Yet another little icon/tool I have seen, heard about, etc and now added to my life)

I did a few searches for "Classroom 2.0" and was surprised I didn't find much. (When I searched the tags it came up with a totally blank page - something must not be quite right there). I looked at the popular blogs and tags, and might need to add "Boing Boing" to my RSS. This is the most popular blog in the WORLD and it seems to be very deserving of that honor. Discussing topics like fair use, freedom of information, new technology, advancements and tools online, and much more, it's captured my interest, and many awards as well. I was not terribly surprised by the other popular blogs and tags, which included news, technology, and blogging, to name a few. I was a bit amused that the #5 search in the top 100 was "men."

I created a Technorati account and "claimed" my blog. This is just what it sounds - stating that I "own" my blog. I also read a bit about how to tag my blogs, something that sounds much less difficult than I initially imagined. I know absolutely NO html, so I figured this would be out of my capabilities, but Technorati makes it sound so easy!

Let's give it a try... here we go!

Thing #13 (Week 6)

Just Delicious! ...make that,, actually. This is another lovely little tool I have seen everywhere and heard of, without having a clue what exactly it was. While I was checking out the tutorial, I went ahead and created an account. This was remarkably easy, and all my bookmarks were imported in just moments. I wish I knew about this earlier! On several occasions I have been away from my own computer and unable to remember a bookmarked website. Usually, those I use at school (e-mail, grading centers, shared resources, HR, etc) do not come up in an online search. Now, I can get everything I need wherever I am! (Yay!)

I also love the idea of being able to share bookmarks and comments with others. This would be a great resource for students who are learning researching skills. They could share bookmarks on their topic of interest (or on just about anything else for that matter). Teachers could certainly use this as well. My colleagues and I share resources, including links, on a regular basis. This could allow teachers to comment on what they found useful, as well as what might be a waste of our precious time.

In a matter of a few short weeks I have added several colorful and helpful little icons to my toolbar.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thing #12 (Week 5)

Oh Rollyo, a great idea without the best execution. I made my first searchroll early this week just to play around. I looked for kid-friendly sites about ladybugs, since my first graders will be watching their lifecycle unfold firsthand in our classroom this spring. As some of our classmates noted, it was VERY slow, no matter which web browser I used, but otherwise quite simple to use. Sadly, after I finished my entire searchroll, the site went down and I lost everything! That was quite frustrating, to say the least, especially after the SECOND time it happened!!

I made my searchroll for this project around the Chesapeake Bay. My school has been a "green school" for several years, and is up for re-certification this year. There are numerous steps our students take in order to earn and maintain this status, so I thought this could be a helpful resource for the project. I have always had an interest in the preservation of the Bay, and met my husband while sailing and teaching aboard the skipjack Martha Lewis. Our organization's mission included preservation, education, and maintaining the heritage of the Bay's tradition of working watermen.

I have included kid-friendly sites and a few teacher resources that will provide more background information and links to educators. The links geared toward students are interactive - offering games, virtual experiments, and even a web quest from another school in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Topics include the landforms of the bay, water type, watershed, pollution, invasive species, native species, habitats, history, restoration programs, and much more. I think the Living Bay Online site is one of the best, since it is full of photographs, kid-friendly facts, links to information, and quizzes and games where children can apply their new knowledge. I had lots of fun playing around on the site, and I didn't get through even half of what was available!

Here's the link at long last:

(You can see the 12 websites I selected for this search roll by clicking the "list of sites" below the search bar.)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thing #11 (Week 5)

When they said we'd be having even more fun on Classroom 2.0 this week, they were right! As a serious food-nerd, I was happy to see there was a "food" category in Web 2.0's list of award winning sites. I checked out the top two, which were quite different, but both fabulous!!

"Im Cooked" is a bit like an amateur Food Network. Users post video clips of themselves cooking favorite recipes. The video format makes difficult steps easy to understand, much more than a simple recipe. I am telling myself I will NOT post a video, because once I start, I have a feeling will not stop!

I also loved "urbanspoon." This site lists restaurants in a given area (Baltimore for me, of course). Top rated restaurants, published reviews, and reviews from the general public are featured. Menus, price points, and some photographs are also available for some restaurants. You can even search by neighborhood, which is a pretty handy feature.

I've bookmarked both of these as favorites, and am almost afraid to explore more of the award winning websites, at least not until I'm finished with this degree program and have some time for a bit of fun!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thing #10 (Week 5)

charlie-brown-classroom comic strip colleagues and I often note that at the end of a long day teaching first grade (especially at the beginning of the year when we have to give the same direction over and over) we all begin to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher to ourselves. I get SO tired of hearing myself talk!!

The image generators were FUN! I like the idea of using the comics to make instructions students (and parents) will read and follow! When I'm able to work on my desktop computer (where all my digital photos are) I look forward to playing around with the Image Chef much more. I can see letting students use this to create posters where they can put themselves "in" a book as a new or existing character. The applications for this are nearly endless!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thing #9 (Week 4)

I started with the Google Blog Search, since I find Google's many other applications convenient and easy to use. The blogs that came up on the home search page were related to noteworthy topics in the recent news (swine flu, politics, etc). When I searched Classroom Learning 2.0 as suggested, my own blog came up as the first hit! Interesting! I wasn't expecting that, but it makes sense considering how so many tools (including my own blog) are linked through Google. I like the search options through Google - sorting by relevance or date, and specifying a date of publication. I also checked out the option to "Browse Top Stories" in several different categories.

I decided to branch out and try another search as well. I looked at Blog Pulse (the first hit for my Classroom 2.0 search was in German!) and liked some of the features. The option to view a blog's profile looked helpful, although it was down when I signed on. This search tool does not offer browse features, which I sometimes like to rely on for new ideas or when I'm just plain out of ideas. It did include options to search for "featured trends" that showed some popular topics.

Finally, I played with some of the award winning blogs from Edublog. I added Blue Skunk Blog, which was a favorite librarian blog. I'm always looking for some insider knowledge, since I have NO experience working in a library!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thing #8 (Week 4)

RSS feeds are new to me. I've often noticed the icons, and even clicked on it once or twice without knowing what I was doing. I can certainly see the advantages of having all my regular updates in one spot. My igoogle page already provides some of these features (and the Google Reader can be added to that page - how nice!) so the idea is not entirely new. I like that I can get updates all at once, especially those pages I would like to visit but don't always have time to do so. This is incredibly helpful for those of us in the information profession who need to stay current on as much as possible, but also have numerous time-consuming responsibilities in addition to educating ourselves.

In addition to all of our class blogs that I am following, my feed includes both fun and informative subscriptions., Comedy Central's Joke of the day, Readers Club Latest (book reviews), Simply Recipes, and Unshelved (librarian comics & jokes - suggested by the 2.0 tutorial). Since I also use Google for e-mail, I can share my subscriptions and view those of my friends through gmail. I'm sure I will get new ideas for my own RSS from this kind of sharing.

Thing #7 - Just for fun

At first, it was hard for me to think of a "technology-related thing" that interests me this week. It has become such a part of my life that I don't really think about it most of the time. I check my e-mail accounts and facebook more than once a day. I research news or answers to questions online. I use online catalogs and databases to find information. I update my webpage for parents to learn about what's new in our classroom. This week for the first time I set up the option for parents to place their own orders for Scholastic Book Club. Unfortunately, there have been problems logging in so far, so I can't say too much either way about it. I'm looking forward to families being able to place their own orders, pay for their own books without having to send me checks, and earn more books and points for our classroom library!

I use facebook more than I'd like to admit, but still less than many people (I hope!). I had an interesting conversation with an old friend I ran into last week. We were close in high school, drifted apart, and both wound up teaching. We would rarely chat when meetings brought us together in the same place. After we both wound up on facebook and ran into each other while shopping, we talked for nearly an hour! The conversation included how awkward it can be to bridge the facebook to reality gap; when running into a facebook "friend" in the real world. We've both admitted to avoiding that "friend." I signed up at the request of a real life friend, but I read posts by aquaintances as much as anyone else. Sometimes those are more interesting since I don't have the context of the person's life to provide some background for what they have to say.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thing #4,5,6 (Week 3) Part 2

Another fun Flikr photo from my photo-genius friend. He actually does not love this one, but it's a great shot that shows the mind of the photo-obsessed artist. (It's a favorite among his friends, colleagues, and those visiting his Flikr page for this reason). Upon first glance, it's violent and scary, until you realize that the "headshot" is simply shot with a camera. The images he used as the "splatter" (for lack of a better term) are personal favorites that demonstrate his style and approach to photography.

(This photo was used with permission of the photographer.)

The editing and effects on this photograph were done with Photoshop, something with which I have absolutely NO experience. From seeing what can be done with mashups (the posters, trading cards, etc) I am excited to try more of that approach to editing pictures, and use them for library promotions, school websites, newsletters, etc.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thing #4 (Week 3) Part 1

I've become somewhat familiar with Flikr over the past few years. A friend of mine who has always had a talent in photography has had an account for some time now. He is now a (very) successful graduate of Atlanta's Creative Circus, and maintains his page for fun (not his professional site).

He was my Man of Honor in my wedding last summer, and unofficial photographer (I wanted to be sure he would be in some of the shots, and that he could put his camera down if he ever wanted to - which didn't happen very often). He took some of the best shots from the wedding, and this one is one of my favorites. Since this is kind of cheating and a bit self-indulgent, I'll post another later.
(This was used with permission of the photographer).

Thing #3 (Week 2)

I already had a Blogger account set up from a previous class (which I had completely forgotten about), so that part was easy. Prior to that class, I have used blogs before as well, so I think I can handle this with no problem.

Making the avatar was fun, and I can see how people become obsessed with them! Some of the options were just so silly and random, I wanted to throw them in just for fun (picture a girl with a penguin on a leash, holding a surfboard, with a purple octopus floating by just for starters...). Obviously, I had a VERY difficult time exporting her to this blog. I followed the directions, read and reread them about a hundred times, and consulted the Help section on Blogger. I tried pasting the HTML for my avatar just about everywhere I could on the layout page, and still couldn't make it work. I would LOVE some help in this area!

(So, I got her into this post, but not on my overview page... is this the way it's supposed to be?).

Yahoo! Avatars