Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thing 11.5

Wow! I was determined to make it through all 23 plus 11.5 Things this summer! Being a brand new librarian, I have enough mountains to climb. I figured I could at least get the knowledge base for technology before I step into the position of a media specialist. I have learned so much this summer.

1. My favorite discoveries on 11.5 have been Bookr, and using Animoto. It is so fun to put together movies...I can see my students getting excited about it also. Bookr has been a blast to use with my grandchildren. They have made information books this summer about Dinosaurs, Trucks, Butterflies, and Babies. The thrill I saw in their faces as they used the technology to create their own books ...becoming authors... was well worth the time spent learning these "things." I also love Skype. I practiced this with another librarian. I would love to use this with students to collaborate with foreign school libraries.

2. My learning goals have not really changed. I have always striven to learn more in whatever profession I have chosen. What has changed is the vast array of tools that I have found to make that learning so enriched. Besides opening a door to those tools, I have also come out with a much more open mind. I really shunned a lot of things on the internet as fluff in the past, reserved mainly for entertainment. Now, I see how these tools can actually become mind tools for the learner. In grad school we learned of Johansen and his idea of mind tools. He talked about technology should not be a babysitter, but a mind tool in the hand of a creative learner to expand his own thinking. All of the "things" I have experimented with fit this profile. I was very impressed.

3. My biggest surprise was how many tools are out there. I had no idea there were so many image generators or blogging tools. My biggest takeaway is that I can do this. I was really fearful, that I would not be able to figure these items out and actually manipulate it to utilize them for production. When I actually used the itouch the other day, I could actually figure out how to download to it. When I used the Macbooks, I could use the flip cameras and create movies. I can use Flickr, Animoto, and others with ease now. So it was just the sheer awakening that these tools are for everyone and anyone can be taught to use anyone else...especially students.

4. I would love to see a wiki added for comments and discussion when a tool is utilized. The wiki would show a running conversation, unlike a blog highlighting one person's thoughts at that time...even though I have gotten fond of blogging.

Thank you for making this training available. I have truly been enlightened this summer.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Retro to Thing #6

I went to a Technology Petting Zoo today at the Media Center. It was great being able to look at the technology, navigate, and actually use the tools myself. I say myself...but we actually worked in groups to look at the different items, including MacBooks, flip camera phones, and the itouch. Working in groups made the tasks so much more stimulating. We were able to bounce off of each other in our discoveries. When using the Itouch, Shirley, the librarian, and I kept saying, "ooooh, look what I found!" With our co-exploring we found so much more than doing this alone. This made me think of my students. Sure they could sit down and enjoy the educational benefits of this technology and grow all on their own. But working with others causes us to grow in our zone of proximal development. By listening to her, I widened my base of knowledge to include so many other downloads, than what I could have done by myself. Problem solving also goes to a new level with a peer. As we used the itouch, there were several blunders made by she and I. We would help each other out of them, and keep going with the technology. As far as downloads, my favorites were the information and quizzes on the presidents, and the Barnes and Noble reader. I can't wait to watch my students experiment with all of these cool and exciting tools for technology.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tree Octopus Video for Your Enjoyment

Digital Literacy-Thing #11

Digital Citizenship is so important. Just as citizens of one of the best democratic societies in the world requires responsibilities, so does the life of a citizen on the World Wide Web. Dr. Bell showed us in library classes, how there are so many bogus sites out there on the internet. I used these last year with my fifth graders. I told them since they were getting ready for their science TAKS test, I was going to help them with their studies. I displayed the "Tree Octopus" and began to read the facts on the website.
No one said a word, and they were entranced with the image on the screen of an octopus climbing the side trees. They were shocked when I told them this was bogus and there really were no tree octopi I used this as a hook to teach responsible web surfing. After teaching the areas of credibility and reliability points of research tools, I sent them out in groups to look at websites and tell the credence of sites I gave them. It was very interesting to watch these web detectives search and discover seemingly reliable sites had so many disparities. I think if I now could extend this lesson further, by teaching them to use sources discreetly when researching. I would point out that some very good sources still need to back up their claims for factual information. Students need to be taught the identifiable difference in a virtual game and the internet as a whole. Playing for real is a whole different scenario in life than keeping Mario from falling between the bricks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Second Life

My avatar is Grace Swordthaine, in case any of you are looking for someone in Second Life to discuss library things!

Thing #10

Second Life...very interesting! My experience is varied. I am going back to all that my education has taught me. Study to show thyself approved! My first mistake was to get an account, pick my avatar and just start moving. I bumped into so many walls, it should have put me in a coma. I was very frustrated and logged out. The next time I tried it, I went back and looked at all of the videos for movement, changing appearance, chatting, and joining groups. So, this time, I successfully searched for some interesting worlds, chose a home, changed my appearance, joined all of the groups Barry mentioned, and explored. I met two avatars. One was running away. The other was changing clothes (a little embarrassing, even for an avatar). I was a little frustrated at not finding someone to chat with. But I am learning this new environment slowly, but surely. I have to agree with others, it is fun and stimulating. To use with students, I think it would be a good way for students to explore, chat about subject material. I would love to see some book clubs for kids in this virtual world. I am always looking for book clubs. They called me the book club queen at my last school. I wonder if there is a crown for this in Second Life? Oh the possibilities of royalty? Probably not... I most likely will start with servanthood...something I am going to learn a lot of this school year.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thing #9

This was a very exciting find today. I have gotten so tired over the years with the same old, same old powerpoint slides. I have also wondered what about all of those presentations made all over the world that no one has access to. Voila! Slideshare to the rescue! I found some great idea presentations that are free to anyone to use. Now I will spend some time searching for orientation, book talks, and author presentations. I could definitely use these. As far as students, this is an awesome tool for students to be creative with their presentations, share them, and receive feedback from others on their creations. Those students who do not have ppt at home can use the 280 to build them. It should all be about access and giving the world the tools for success.