Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thing #10 (Week 5)

charlie-brown-classroom comic strip

...my 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. CNN.com, 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