Saturday, July 26, 2008

Week 9, Thing #23: Final Post

How I Spent My Summer Vacation
I wish I had kept track of the time I spent on this course. It was time well spent. I knew something about the 23 Things before starting this class, but I had never used most of them. The best part of RAW for me was actually using the tools to create stuff. Reading is no substitute for doing, and this class gave us the chance to do things.
The interconnectedness of Web 2.0 really needs to be experienced. Moving information between applications is usually simple and seamless. I love the fact that all you need is internet access and a browser to take part in Web 2.0--no costly or extra software.
I thought that the class was well organized and sequential. The Discovery exercises and resources were a good way to learn about our topic. And I learned a lot from reading the blogs of other people in the class--and being able to leave comments for them. I read a lot of good ideas in our blogs for incorporating these new tools in our classrooms and libraries.
The class also emphasized having fun as we explored, and the fun factor is certainly part of Web 2.0. Comments and feedback from other students and instructors were helpful too.
I discovered tools that I will use in the library, and tools that I can share with teachers and students. I am concerned about students using some of these tools in my library because we went to a thin-client server last year, and it doesn't handle video applications very well.
I found the textbook to be useful. It gave us a good overview of the subject with plenty of examples. The articles and the appendix also listed many great sites and organizations we can go to for further information.
The tools that I am most excited about are VoiceThread and del.ici.ous. These will be the first two tools that I present to our staff, and I can hardly wait to see if teachers like them as much as I do.
I am glad that I took the time to complete the 23 Things this summer. Thank you instructors and fellow students.
Sonic Shade/robert

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chapters from Web 2.0 new tools, new schools

I read chapters 1, 7, 9, and 5. In fact, I took the book to Las Vegas in June and thought I would accomplish something there. My only accomplishment was to lose some money playing Blackjack. So I came back home to read and this is what I discovered.
Chapter 1
The scariest thing about this chapter is the first sentence: “Think back to when you were in school; consider how different everything was then”. I believe that we only have to look back 5 years and see how different everything is, especially in Education. Chapter 1 points out how our online world has changed our work and our educational environments. The main skill that we need these days is adaptability. These web 2.0 tools are part of that adaptability and we will need to know when to use these tools and when to adopt new technologies that will replace our 2.0 tools.
Our text authors say “…the Web is now a participatory, interactive place where we create information collaboratively and share the results”. Collaboration is the key to web 2.0, both at work and at school. As teachers, we should be able to provide our students with these tools.
The authors point out that web 2.0 is a transition from isolation to interconnectedness, and that end users now can do many things that once had to be done by programmers. We are moving from just presenting information and then testing, to a collaborative project-based type of learning that these new tools allow.
The new tools only require a browser and Internet access, and I think the chart on p. 23 is a good comparison of web 1.0 and web 2.0 ways of working. As the authors say, these new tools offer “interconnectedness, immediacy, interactivity, communications, and community”.
Chapter 7
Chapter 7 involves online safety and security. This topic gets more complex as we move to Web 2.0. These topics include security, filtering, copyright, security, and ethics.
This chapter takes a closer look at all of these areas and offers information and solutions to these problems.
I had not considered the fact that our AUP’s would need to be updated to cover Web publishing. The authors list 4 good ways to rework AUP’s on p. 144. In fact, the whole chapter offers suggestions and further resources for ways to look at all of these online security problems.
Copyright laws seem to be more confusing than ever with music and video downloading. The Creative Commons system seems like it can do a great deal to make copyright easier to understand and use. I am going to explore Creative Commons further.
One thing that our school lacks is an online awareness and safety program. At the very least, we should do a survey of student awareness. I also liked the online safety guide wiki created by Vicki Davis in her classroom, and it could be replicated as a project in any school.
My favorite quote from this chapter was “Teenagers too might come to the conclusion that availability equals permission”. This brings us to ethics and I liked the “Student and Teacher Information Code of Ethics” that is included in our book.
The section on parental involvement was especially interesting to me. The suggestions and resources listed in this section offer a wealth of information that we can get to parents.
Online safety and security are more important than ever, and this chapter offers ideas, solutions, and resources that can help us deal with our problems in a thoughtful way.
Chapter 9
This chapter takes a look at the future and some promising ideas for schools. One of the main things I got from this chapter is that we need to have students using the same tools in the classroom that students use at home. This was meaningful to me because I have avoided some of the new technology like cell phones and instant messaging. Perhaps it is time for me to take another look at this mobile technology.
Another sentence that made me think was “Everything anyone could want is someplace online”. That used to mean information, but now it really means everything.
“There is a gap between what is and what should be”. David Jakes wants us to close that gap, and that is where professional development can help. Our school district is certainly trying to create useful professional development opportunities for teachers that will increase their technology skills.
I was interested in the organization School 2.0, so I visited their website. There is a lot of great information and tools that schools, districts, and communities can use to “develop a common educational vision and explore how that vision can be supported by technology”. The toolkit and resources on this site are important.
The future is almost here.
Chapter 5
Professional development is the topic of this chapter. The authors look at old models of professional development involving technology, and then discuss some new models. The chapter talks a lot about creating a “community of practice” approach.
One of the major problems with new technology is that often the hardware and software is provided without adequate training. Everyone knows that this is a problem and there are many plans out there addressing technology integration. Even Congress recommended 7 steps to implement technology in our schools (p.100).
Even good training will not create real change unless there is also ongoing support. Our school district is making progress in providing both the training and the support. If workshops don’t change classroom behavior, they are not successful.
Much of the chapter concerned community of practice. This involves 3 dimensions, joint enterprise, mutual engagement, and shared repertoire. Further reading reveals that this is a culture of learning involving a collective effort of understanding. The culture of learning must include: “a diversity of expertise among its members, a shared objective of continually advancing the collective knowledge and skills, an emphasis on learning how to learn, and mechanisms for sharing what is learned. There are many suggestions here on ways to implement and improve these communities of practice.
The chapter ends by listing some professional development ideas for using blogs, podcasts, and wikis. And once again, there are good organizations listed with URL’s, so that further exploration is encouraged.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Week 9, Thing #22: ebooks/audio books

My first stop was the World eBook Fair. It was nice that we hit it during a free trial period. I used all of the searches available on this page: World eBook Fair, Internet Archive, eBooks about Everything, Project Gutenberg, and IMSLP. I searched by author, title, subject and had no trouble printing and saving books.. I looked at the "Browse Collections" button to see an A to Z list of collections available. I am a big fan of Project Gutenberg and I always enjoy checking out their Top 100 lists. I was surprised to be able to search for music on the IMSLP database.
I was most impressed by the LibriVox site. I loved being able to hear books read aloud by volunteers. I was able to download the etext of "Little Men" from the Gutenberg site and then go to LibriVox and have the text read to me as I followed along. I like the way you can subscribe to hear a chapter a day in iTunes for LibriVox books. LibriVox is a great site and I am tempted to volunteer my voice to them.
I also looked at "Best Places to Get Free Books". This is a large list of ways to get ebooks and to exchange real books. Several sites also do serialized daily downloads of books. This might be a good way to get in a little pleasure reading every day.
The last place I visited was the Noel Wien Public Library catalog to look at their list of audiobooks that are available for download. This collection has grown since last year and I am sure its popularity will continue.
I am still struggling to enjoy reading literature on a computer screen. The words are the same but something is different. Maybe a Kindle will change my mind. I do love the free access to materials that these sites are providing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Week 9, Thing #21: Podcasts

For this Thing I looked at some podcasting tutorials and then examined the podcast directories listed in our Discovery Resources. I used iTunes to subscribe to the NovaScienceNow podcast. doesn't seem to exist any more, or at least I could not find it. Using the Educational Podcast Directory I also subscribed to One Big Head, which is a podcast by Jeff Moore-- (Observations, philosophy, opinions, unsubstantiated rumors, flotsam and jetsam--the desk of a typical educational technology specialist). You can check this podcast out at One Big Head.
I found a wide variety of podcasts available from these directories, including author podcasts and podcasts on podcasting. I discovered lots of good podcasts for science subjects and quite a few podcasts for book reviews. When I searched for 'library news' I found lots of podcasts from libraries around the country.
Podcasting seems like a good activity for students. Last year I worked with a teacher at our school to record and post some book review podcasts on our school website. We kept it very basic and parents and students enjoyed listening to the podcasts.
I am sure that we will try to refine things this year.
And I am including a picture of Chitina with this post because I just got back from there.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Week 9, Thing #20: Teacher Tube

I hope that I have embedded a TeacherTube video about banned books in this post. I chose a banned books video because I am interested in the subject and enjoy talking to students about censorship and banned books each year.
Since YouTube is blocked from our school district, I had never bothered to look at it. For this class, I did spend some time with YouTube and I have been happy and disappointed at the videos I have found. There are many useful videos on a variety of school subjects (and lots of tutorials), but there are also a lot of useless and violent things like girl fights. I have learned that YouTube has an incredible number of music videos and concerts--in fact, I have been unable to think of a group that is not listed in YouTube.
I set up a TeacherTube account and selected a couple of videos to add to my "Favorites". I was sorry to see that I could not post directly to my Blogger account, from TeacherTube, but it should be fairly simple to embed the video. I will find out in a minute.
I looked at all of the suggested videos on the RAW page, and then spent more time than I meant to looking at topics of interest to me. The buffering times were slow for most of my videos (Sunday a.m.). Many of the TeacherTube videos are by students or classes and that should make our students more attentive.
I emailed a good video on the periodic table to one of our Science teachers, and I expect to send more videos to teachers when the school year starts.
The "related videos and tags" button is useful and led me to some good information.
I also spent some time with Jumpcut, although I did not sign up for an account. I hope to try it later.
I have also tried to download a video from TeacherTube and convert it using Zamzar. I am currently waiting for an email from them telling me that my video has been converted from the flv format.
I cetainly see TeacherTube as a good source for video on a variety of school related topics.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Week 8, Thing #19.1: Digital Pipeline

Well, it looks like the statewide databases are going 2.0.
For this assignment I looked at all of the tutorials on the Digital Pipeline homepage (Introduction, Narrowing, Advanced, Viewing, Using, and 2 Accounts and Advanced features). I thought the tutorials were useful for users, but I found the male voice in these tutorials to be annoying. There is no excitement or interest in this voice, just a monotone that puts me to sleep. I did like the tutorial idea of searching for information on the gas pipeline.
I already had an Ebsco account so I signed in and did a little research about Wikipedia and saved the articles to a folder. I also used journal alerts and search alerts for the first time. I believe that I should spend some time with teachers showing them these features that can be useful for special searches and journals over the course of a year.
I really like "Consumer Health Complete". I searched for "skin cancer" since I visited the dermatologist last week. I found articles, pamphlets, diagrams, animations and videos on the subject. The tabs at the top of the Results screen made it easy to find drug information and alternative sources of information on my topic. Our Health teacher will really like this site. I know I will be using it for myself (next up for me, migrane headaches).
I found that School Library Journal is available for viewing on Ebsco, and I looked at the databases under "More". I did not know that LISTA was there (even though I was unable to log on to it from home).
And now, Ebsco 2.0. I watched the flash movie for the new features that are coming this month (?). The movie was so slow it was hard to watch, but the features are great. This is really a useful upgrade. Features I am looking forward to include: the simplified search screen with search options on a pulldown menu; the relevancy bar; the date slider will be fun for students to use; breadcrumb search capability; images, with preview and quick view; the preview article icon and the ability to add to folders from preview; cite button for citation help; and the similar article button. All of these features are improvements and should make student research easier.
I don't know what we would do at school without the statewide databases.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Week 8, Thing #19: Library Thing

Library Thing has lots of information about books, and lots of opportunities to write and talk to others about books. I set up an account and added a few books. I used my avatar in my profile. This site had the easiest registration that I have run across. Now I can list and make notes about books that I have read. I can discuss these titles with others who have the books in their library. I can join in discussions about "Talk Topics" and can join groups such as "Librarians Who LibraryThing". My "local" tab lists bookstores in Fairbanks. It was easy to tag books, rate them, and comment on them. I can use this site at work to list books that I am booktalking, ordering, or thinking about ordering. I can also discuss purchases with other librarians who have a particular title, or I can pose a question for others to respond to. I like LibraryThing and expect to use it and tell others about it.
I added a Library Thing widget to my blog and also have added it to this post. For some reason the widget is only showing covers for 3 of the 5 books that I entered.
I noticed that my ratings were in line with other reviewers.
The "Zeitgeist" tab has some interesting information. I am sure that I will be using Library Thing at school and at home.