Saturday, August 8, 2009

Thing 11 1/2

1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
Many are favorites:glogger, Skype-although it would be even better if we could build a "network" of users to communicate with, YouTube/Teacher/Tube-and the many video sites using these tools; Touch apps-using my LG Vu; screencast; slideshare; and digital citizenship.
2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
Taking part makes me explore areas I would never find either due to time or interest. It forces me to step outside that box of comfort and explore.
3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? Yes, I had tried Skype before but wasn't successful. However, I enjoyed conversations with a couple of my fellow colleagues this time and really enjoyed using the program. Now, I have encouraged my son to load the program so we can stay in touch easier when he deploys. Also, I've been reading how more and more authors are willing to visit using Skype. Screencast was fun, easy, and so useful and I will be using it this year for sure.
4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
I would like to continue the summer learning - it is such a convenient and sensible way to learn new skills while getting flex hours. If we can work on building learning communities that work together on projects that might be very interesting.

Thanks for another great learning opportunity that keeps us ahead of the pack.

Thing 11

I spent a lot of time on this topic because I plan to improve the lessons I taught last year on Digital Citizenship. My goal was to find student friendly sites where I can have students actively participate while constructing their learning. While many sites were good I found Cool Cat Teacher and
(thanks to VaughnL) to be the most useful.

Digital Citizenship covers so many teachable topics such as:
Internet safety-surfing safety, personal safety, courteousness, and cyberbulling
ethics-plagiarism and copyright
literacy-finding and using information AND evaluating resources

While I believe that as a librarian it is my responsibility to educate students about being digital citizens I also believe that students need these ideas re-enforced by their classroom teachers and most importantly their families.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thing 10

Virtual World has been around for awhile but I have hesitated to explore prior to this summer. I joined a list serve to get ideas that I could use in our school library and it was an email from the ALA that enticed me to go out and explore SecondLife. Because I was interested in the book The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger I wanted to hear the short excerpt from the book created by SecondLife. In the process of going to Story Hour Garden I created my avatar, Elana, and learned how to walk, sit, fly, and move about different locations within SL. While I am sure students would enjoy the adventure, the sites I looked at required a minimum age of 13 to actively participate, which prohibits my elementary students from creating a SL. However, that doesn't mean they couldn't enjoy short presentation of books using the same idea. I am just not sure I am ready to dedicate the time needed to become proficient at SL, instead I think I will wait for them to simplify the process or for me to learn more technology.

Thing 9

PowerPoint was new when I was an undergraduate and I remember presenting one of the first student created PowerPoint presentations in one of my classes. At that time we saved things on floppy disk and after creating the PP and saving it I still wasn't sure I would be able to play it on the computer in the classroom because it may not recognize the program version I had used. Well a lot has changed since then and PP has become a widely used media tool for presentations. In the classroom I often had my students create PP presentations about the materials they were learning. A common problem with PP presentations was the ability to share the created PPs because of differing versions or computer platforms. Well Slideshare will help eliminate this problem since those I share a PP with will not have to be concerned with the version or platform I used because they will be able to access it online without a problem. Tools like Slideshare will make it easier to import PP presentations to any location that has Internet connections without having to take a file with me on some form of storage device. Students today will find this useful as they collaborate with classes around the world on various social network sites. They will be able to borrow ideas from others student PPs or even collaborate with students from around the world. It's that "flat" classroom idea where students around the world work together to construct their learning.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thing 8

WOW, I had so much fun with this and I can't wait to put it to work this fall to create tutorials for students and teachers! Last summer I took a technology course that required me to download and use CamStudio for one of my projects. I found it to be complicated and intimidating. Not so my experience with Screencast-o-Matic! Not only did I not have to download yet another program onto my computer, it was so very simple to use, re-record, save, and download. I enjoyed the whole experience and I can imagine students and teachers will find it easy to use as well. The hardest part for me is knowing what I want to say, saying it without error, and then being able to be ok with my voice-well, it's hard to listen to yourself! What I've attached is the start of a tutorial I plan to forward to one of our new librarians so she can easily edit her school webpage.

Thing 7

Well I spent too much time exploring videos but I enjoyed watching them and getting ideas of things to do with our students. While exploring a video site for the youngest viewers, totlol, I found a video on shadow art. When I tried to copy it to put into my blog I was sent to YouTube. Since YouTube isn't viewable within the district yet I had it converted using Zamzar.

Later I tried a and I found a video my kindergarten teachers might be able to use for their five senses unit the first of the year.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thing 6

I went to the Apple store and even signed up for a class but when I got there they were so busy and the workers I did talk to didn't know where I was to go to for the class. I got so frustrated that I just left. Many people are buying the iTouch and iPhone so I have had a chance to watch people play with their "toys" and it is amazing what can be accomplished with these small tools. So much so that I probably will make it my next phone when my plan is up for renewal. During my recient library internship I had hoped to help students and small groups that were using the iTouch for Problem Based Learning so I could become more familer with the tools before they were put into my own library but I never had the opportunity. I am still not sure elementary students are ready for this type of technology yet since they still lack some very basic computer skills. Even students at my home school lack these skills, and our teachers do a great job of exposure to technology and making sure they are learning how to use MS products like word, powerpoint, and even publisher. They creat products using Flickr, animotos, and trading cards and these basic skills are helpful for students to understand and use tools like the iTouch. However touch screen computers might be a better fit for elementary with the shift to iTouches later in middle and high school.
For now I have a poor woman's version, the AT&T LG Vu, and that has been enough of a learning curve although limited since so many apps are intended for the iPhone. I will continue to play with my touch screen phone and try to become more familiar in preparation for our new tools this fall.
Having wikipedia off limits for awhile due to mischevious students is very sad. We may have to handle this type of problem on a greater scale once we have more technology available for students to use and why AUP's even more vital.

Thing 5

I began to use Facebook as another way to keep in touch with friends, family, and collegues and I really have fun participating. However, recently I have found that my network has grown in ways that I'm not feeling as comfortable with and I may need to make some changes. It goes along with the idea of including our students as "friends". Social networking has blurred the line between aquaintence and friend. Friends who I am able to visit with and who know me well enough to be understanding when I have a bad day, laugh when I crack a joke, or just "talk" in a casual tone together are different than those people who are aquaintences. Aquaintences are people I haven't kept up with over the years, don't know well yet, or feel I need to maintain a more guarded relationship with-students and their families. I wish social networks created various levels to include people in instead of just accept or decline. Since they don't, I may need to migrate to more than one account so I can separate the groups.

I tried Twitter just to see what was going on...and I too don't care when someone is eating or other too personal details to mention in my opnion. However, at the encouragement of our library director I have been spending time exploring special people, groups, and interest and am finding wonderful resources. I can see this as a great tool for students to learn from specialist in content they are researching or have an interest in. Our son use to tell us he didn't need to go to college because if he needed to learn something for his job he could just go straight to the pros to learn what he needed. Well I tend to agree it is a wonderful way to learn and broaden our horizons to learning. Although, that piece of paper you get when you graduate from college makes finding the good jobs easier-as he found out!

Back-channeling is still new to me but I have tried it whenever I have had the opportunity. I think it could be used for staff/student trainings as a way to answer those questions some people just can't wait to ask during presentations or trainings. I think it could help eliminate that talk that gets meetings and class off task and help keep us on schedule.

Thing 4

While still in the classroom I had used Teacher Tube to post student work.

Texas Project

When I posted this my students felt so proud of their work and enjoyed sharing with their families. It is great validation of student problem based learning.

Since I felt comfortable using YouTube and TeacherTube I thought I'd explore the U.S. Government Tube and found this site that would be great to use with grade level study of ocean life:

Ocean Explorer

With so many of our classrooms having the ActivBoard and projector teachers could project these sites in the classroom and students would feel like they are there. While actual experience is the best this certainly is a great alternative for students who often lack real life experiences and for schools where field trip money is dwindling.

Thing 3

I've tried Skype once before and had problems with it slowing down my home computer. I thought I'd try loading and using it on my school computer. I didn't have any problems loading it onto the computer since I did it from home. However, I have noticed that my computer seems slower loading and processing my commands. I've changed the settings so it will not automatically load when I start my computer in hopes to help with this problem.
Finding other people to converse with over the computer was much easier this time since it has been included as one of the 11 1/2 Things. I was delighted to connect with another "beach" player and not just type text but actually have a live conversation. I had to admit to the other player that I wasn't sure I'd want to invest in the webcam since I often work on the computer in my PJ's, no make-up, and my hair not combed. Mrs. Jetson had the idea of a mask she could hold up in front of the video camera while on the phone...I may have to check into that if I get a webcam!
While reading some of the other links it seems Skype has had problems with user "buy in" and use of the free product. This is the main drawback to using it as a tool at school. While reading The Learning Librarian's wonderful post and instruction manual she mentioned that finding classes that are evenly matched in age and experience was the biggest problem with her first efforts to create collaboration between two classes. For now it might be easier to accomplish within a district where you could collaborate with between various buildings but the same grade levels to share common learning. I would love to try it with a staff meeting to introduce our technology this fall or maybe district leaders could "visit" our schools to welcome up back in August instead of everyone trying to go to the Coleman Coliseum at the same time...anybody have some ideas they would like to work on together?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thing 2

Wordle is something I've been exploring this summer and I used it to teach a group of summer school students technology skills making spoonerisms using their names.The sample above is a recent effort to describe the middle school library where I was doing my internship. This is a tool that can be used for writing, to describe things, spelling, vocabulary, exploring main ideas with groups and so many other ways.

The voki was fun but I had trouble getting the hair just right. When I have more time I'll go back and work on "me" a bit more...or maybe dye my hair. I'm thinking it could change email having a voki "talk" to the recipient. I may try that with staff when I have a library announcement :-)

Gloster was interesting and I have hopes that I can add it to my blog easily as a link between the blog and my library webpage in an effort to advertise activities and the library webpage. This would make a cool way for kids to create an interactive poster on a topic being researched such as Texas regions, birds, ets.

Booker was cool to explore. I liked the fact that some teachers were using it for student work. The poetry book I looked at was a good use of poems in a book that can be shared electronically. This could easily replace making a book in publisher and then it has the advantage that it can be shared without the worry of compatibility.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


While following some of the new 23 Things class members for 2009 I liked how easy it was to become a "Follower" on each blog and then read their blog additions on Google Reader. Since I didn't have that widget I thought I would add it in case others wanted to follow my blog. Next, I'm going to set the blogs I am following up so that I can read them right from my blog page thus making my life a bit easier.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thing 1 Inspiration and Registration

The student in the video had a great learning architect. Stop and think about the steps it took to get the student proficient enough to build his learning network and create his own “textbook”. It didn’t happen over night or suddenly by becoming a high school student. The skills used took time to learn. Start with typing, he had to learn the alphabet and how to read first. To determine fact from opinion he had to be exposed to more than himself, his beliefs, and to discover facts from opinions. Then he had to be able write out his findings and share ideas in a way that others would understand what was being said so they would buy into his ideas. I see the teacher’s role as the learning architect who must determine the timing and flow of the needed core knowledge as guided by the TEKS. The librarian’s role is to help connect the resources with the core knowledge. Teacher and Librarian can then bring the two together using technology.
I am about to find out if a librarian can also play the role of learning architect when the new school year begins since I will have a more flexible schedule that will allow me to work with students and teachers. I believe that teachers are a vital piece since they have to see the importance and understand that connecting the learning can and will meet the TEKS. If I don’t include them in the learning they will only see my lessons as another interruption in their daily lessons, especially those who are not tech savvy and are reluctant to use the connectivism methodology of the 21st century learner.