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!