Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thing #23 Overall Thoughts

My favorite discoveries were how to do podcasts and photo stories. They were so much easier than I thought and very doable for me and in the classroom.

The program assisted in my lifelong learning goals because I learned something new this summer, which is always a goal of mine - to use the summer for professional enrichment so I can start the school year with new ideas!

I was surprised to learn about the trading card thing and the ideas I got from other players on how to use them, like for book reviews (cover on one side with a review on the other) and the mish-mash tools. Didn't know so many were available; I had only heard about the Google maps and Google earth combos.

The format was perfect because we could work at our own pace, plus there was a variety of sources used in a variety of media format: documents, interactive programs, videos, etc. Maybe you could set up a central place or blog for comments to make it easier to read everyone else's. There are so many I don't think I connected as much as I wanted to. However, I would participate in other discovery programs in the future.

Awesome discoveries to broaden your mind and outlook with tools to change your school's learning environment to be more exciting and inviting!

Thing #22 Nings

Checking out the Nings for Teacher Librarians and the one for Texas Librarians, both are a good way to network and get/share ideas. I have been a member of LM-Net, an e-mail discussion group for school librarians for many years. One of the drawbacks is that you can't share attachments like photos, documents or videos. That is an advantage Nings offer. I saw photos of activities going on in libraries and lots of good advice on collection development from those in the know! I'm going to join both of those I mentioned! I also want to explore and search some more for groups on other related interests and will recommend the Ning for Teachers to colleagues.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thing #21 podcasts and audio books

Wow, you can really get lost in those Picture Story projects because you can just keep adding music, customizing motion, typing captions, etc. I can see how podcasts might be a little easier. I always write out my book talks and print up what I'm going to say about each book; I could just record them, take a photo of the cover and post them to our library web site in a separate folder, depending what grade level it is. Okay, time to try to post my Photo Story. I tried to register with Switchpod, so I could park podcasts but they had a scripts error on the page so when I hit the Register button, nothing happened. So I don't have a place to park those so I can link them. Maybe I'll try later and it will work.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thing #20 YouTube and TeacherTube

The Evaluating Website Tutorial is succint, to the point. It moves faster than a lot of tutorials and doesn't give the audience a chance to get bored. Quick intro! Love the CARS reminder; good place to start discussion.

Three steps good visualization of global peers, upbeat music, they have to read and watch to get the message! Great, short intro to rev up morale at beginning of school year for teachers. It shows several of the tools, but I think we would have to explain some of them to the teachers.

Love the Texas history video; got to show it to the coaches who teach history. Web site

I like it that you have instructions on how to convert files and/or access them if the videos are blocked by your school's filter or firewall.

There are some good videos on activities in the library and library tutorials for specific libraries on YouTube. These would be fairly easy to make for our own library with a video camera; great way to get the students involved by having them help create them.

On TeacherTube there's a good video from a math teacher on "why I teach math." Now I want to know how he makes math "fun, relevant and exciting." There are also several videos for teaching specific math concepts for high school, as well as a personal documentary of a teacher's first year as a math teacher.

You can find almost anything. If this isn't blocked in our district, I will post a link to it on my library resources page and promote it just like UnitedStreaming's videos.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thing #19: Web 2.0 Awards

Since I was bitten by the travel bug after a visit to NYC, I decided to try out Farecast, which checks flights, hotels and vacation deals across several travel sites at once. Wanting to check out hotels, I typed in a city and my pop-up blocker went crazy. You see, you need to temporarily allow pop-ups from this site because each search prompts opening a different window for each travel site. I got results from travelocity, expedia,, hotwire and priceline. I was surprised Orbitz wasn't included. This is pretty cool because you can check each site for the same hotel and compare prices, but you have to beware of some comparisons and read the fine print because some of the prices listed include fees and others do not so check that out so you can compare apples to apples. Also, if you are a member of some of these individual sites you may be able to get better deals by signing in to those sites first.

I came across a site similar to this earlier this summer and it may have been kayak, the second runner up in this category. In that other one, you viewed the first result and then clicked to view the next and so on. This one is better because it opens all the windows in tabs on my browser so I can click and switch from one to the other fairly quickly to go back and forth. However, I wish there was a way to get the results listed side by side all in the same window. I have yet to find a site that does. If you know of one, please comment!

Two ways this would be useful for schools and students: for coaches trying to book rooms for teams playing in tournaments other places, students who are doing travel brochures for a country (history project) in which they have to do a budget trip and a deluxe trip (my son had to do this for Africa). All right, all right, not much to do with libraries, but I would recommend it for students doing this type of project when they are in my library's computer lab.

Thing #18 Online productivity tools

Just this week I read on one of those blogs I signed up for earlier about Microsoft offer this new Office-type software called Equipt, only cheaper. The article had this quote: "as much as we love free alternatives like, we have yet to find one that's 100% compatible with Microsoft Office" -- Brad Linder, ITLnet Blog. While Open Office is great and everyone can get it free, not everyone you send attachments too will be able to open them unless they go download it, too, and they just might not want to take up hard drive space with another program just to read your stuff. Since we have a license for Microsoft Office at school, I know we won't spend time downloading OpenOffice to every computer at school.

However, Microsoft Office's versions aren't always compatible with each other, either. Students will create something at home, save it on a flash drive and try to open it in our school's computer lab only to have it show up as jibberish because their version at home doesn't match the one we have at school. I always tell them to save documents in WordPad or Notepad, then they can copy and paste it into any wordprocessing document to edit/print when they get to school.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Thing #17: Rollyo

After I registered, I created a search roll for information on multiple sclerosis and current research on that disease using a list of reputable web sites from the government, multiple sclerosis organizations, and health care institutions specializing in MS. However, our assignment said to provide a link to it. That took some searching to figure out how to get to the site and copy the url. At first, I thought I needed to add a rollbar bookmarklet to get to it, but when I tried to Drag this link to your Bookmark Bar --> RollBar, it did not work. Either that or I don't know what my bookmark bar is. So then I clicked on Explore Searchrolls and found that mine was listed under "Recently added." I clicked on it and it gave me a "try it out" page. The link is listed below.

But, when I typed in a keyword and clicked on search, I got nothing. So, I clicked on "Link to this search roll" and got the url below:

After I save this post, I'll try the link and see if it takes me to my searchroll called "MS Info & Research.

This would be useful for teachers to use for guided searches on specific topics for their students as well as me keeping up with new info on whatever topic I want to create a searchroll on.