Thursday, January 7, 2010

Week 9 Thing 23 Copyright and Evaluation/Feedback

I really enjoyed the leisurely exploration of all these resources. Many I had been introduced to during workshops at conferences, but never revisited them, forgot about them, or didn't really take the time to figure out how to integrate them into my everyday library world at school. I got LOTS of great ideas and inspiration from seeing what other librarians were doing--sometimes to the point of feeling rather like a dinosaur close to retirement:) But I do what I can and try not to get anxious about not doing enough.

Learning about all these online resources, most available for free, has shifted my perspective from being limited by budget to accomplish only what I can using purchased software and machines, to looking out in the "cloud" for my resources to share with teachers. I'm now trying to push them that direction as well.

Week 9, Thing 22 ebooks

I have to admit, I have been reluctant to accept eBooks. I find reading on the computer is not easy on my eyes, and the thought of reading from a cell phone is just laughable to me! I can barely see what's on my cell phone as it is. However, I looked at a colleague's Kindle a few years back at the Librarian's Academy in Anchorage, and I was really impressed with how different that was from the computer screen--much better. I would like to get a kindle, but they are rather spendy, and then you have to buy the books! I tend to be an avid library user, and am perfectly happy with just print books. I think this will change eventually, and I will want to get some sort of device, but I keep waiting for more free options.

In looking at the World EBooks site, I did find some free resources, and read a vintage children's book online--but again, my eyes are very sensitive to light, and a longer book would do me in. I think that someday if I take a long trip, I would then have a good reason to go ahead and buy either a Kindle or the one a friend recommended because it is not as proprietary as the Kindle...was it the Nook or something? Anyway, someday when I'm richer have need to travel lightly without a stack of books in my bag.

I was truly impressed by the wide array of available materials online, honestly, and feel like I'm missing out by not joining the ebook bandwagon. I know our library now has audiobooks available for downloading, and I have not yet done those. I took a long trip last summer, driving down through Canada to the lower 48 with a friend, and she had books on tape we listened to, but I found they put me right to sleep! For driving, I need music. I couldn't figure out why I kept getting so tired and having to turn the wheel over to her, but I now believe it was the books on tape! I do have to say that looking at the listings in LibriVox, and finding that they are FREE! got me very excited. I could easily see listening to those while I cook dinner, or work in the garden, just not driving! I think I will promote LibriVox to my staff and parents of students, and make sure the high school librarian knows about it.

At school, I am busy helping kids make podcasts of their stories, little informational eBooks about what the first graders are learning about bears, in the form of KidPix podcasts which I then post on my website for parents, so I am involved in some small way in the production end of it all!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Week 9, Thing 21 Podcasts

Podcasting is one of those technologies we have used a lot already. We have students making them for various assignments, including a recent poetry assignment. The students recited their poems into a Garageband podcast, and then we added photos taken of artwork they created to represent their poem. The teacher uploaded these to his website for parents to hear and see.

I hadn't realized that there are podcast directories--I will definitely look into those for podcasts that I can use in the library, or my teachers can use in the classroom.

I love the iTunes University, especially the University of South Florida, College of Education, where they have the Lit2Go podcasts of many books read aloud, and the Tech-Ease Classroom tech help. We have used the Tech-Ease podcasts with our fifth graders as they are short, single-topic tutorials on different technology skills that we teach.

Week 9, Thing 20 Teacher Tube and a few sites

I hit on a great video about Internet searching right off the bat! It is done as though it were American Idol with the three competitors being Google, Uncle George, and the Librarian...quite cute and makes a point I think even my fifth graders would get! I tried to embed the link here, but kept getting an error, so I provided a link instead!:

TeacherTube video: American Idle: Information Resources

What I really liked about this clip is the use of humor to make a very real point about the importance of using valid, verifiable resources, and the value of librarians in helping the public do just that. I look forward to searching for other clips, and perhaps making a few, that teach a small point or skill about libraries--especially geared toward the elementary level. There are several videos I've seen in the past that I would like to provide links to from my library website, such as the "Did You Know" classic about how the Web 2.0 phenomenon, and the changing demographics are radically altering our world.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week 8, Thing 19.1 Alaska's Digital Pipeline

I went immediately to the LitSite Alaska Workbooks, and then followed the purple link to "Alaska Kids" and found some GREAT activities for our fourth graders who do a study on the various regions of the state. I am going to add the direct link to this site to my school web page so our teachers can access it easily, and then somehow work it into their curriculum. Much on this Alaska Kids site is under development, with a Coming in 2010 image on the pages, but if the rest of it is as good as what is up so far, I'm excited!

When I went to the Alaska State Museum Site, I was immediately put-off by the very legaleze looking form that popped up and I had to agree to terms and then enter the site. The next page was a simple search box for me to type a subject in. No explanation anywhere along the way or any sense of welcome to the site. When I searched "gold rush" I got a list of artifacts, many with photos and basic facts about the item. Good for what it is, and for adult researchers, but not a site I would use with kids.

On the other hand, the Alaskan Digital Archives are quite impressive, and I foresee many uses there for my elementary kiddos. I am thinking again of our fourth graders and their Alaskan unit. Perhaps finding a photo or artifact in this site, and then creating some kind of a tech presentation about their item/person/fact to share with the other fourth graders.
Very exciting possiblities! Can't wait to share it with my fourth grade teachers!

Week 8, Thing #19: LibraryThing

Okay, so I had to really work at liking this site. First glance was "Oh my, so I have to go upstairs to the library, start listing manually all the books on my shelves and then what?" Seemed like a time waster. But once I dutifully loaded about six or seven books I've enjoyed, and then got in and started playing around with the different features the site offers, I am now admitting it has potential. Lots of potential. The reviews, the ratings, the links to events around specific authors and books, the suggestions of other similar Okay, so my next question is how does one post ones's library collection--say the over 10,000 v0lumes in my school library? I'm sure there is an easy way to upload all our records so they show up on there, but how? I looked around and couldn't find it.
I created a widget link to my collection, but am not sure what to do with it. That's as far as I've gotten, and then I needed to go shovel snow. Back to the real world. I sometimes think there is too much virtual reality going on in my life these days, and I have to draw the line somewhere! I would like to know an easier way of uploading all the library's books, so people using this site to search for books would find items we have available! Anyone have advice on that?

Week 8, Thng #18: Zoho 1st impressions

Note: the following was created in Zoho Docs and "shared" with this Blog by simply typing in my username and password! amazingly simple! I then went to my Blog, selected the pencil for editing and added this info and the "week 8, Thing 18" in the header.

Zoho 1st impressions:

  • I like that I can switch from feature to feature within the Zoho suite and how they are all linked.
  • I LOVE that you can work off-line and then it syncs when you get back on-line
  • I LOVE the presentation tool, and that you can show your desktop to your on-line presentation participants! This can be very useful for doing tech demonstrations for people who are in various locations.
  • I really like the features of the presentation tool, and that you can import a presentation you've created in PPT (would like to try using Apple's Keynote and see if it works as well)
  • Tried out the spellcheck and am impressed with it
  • LOVE that I can go back and save previous versions
  • Am intrigued by the idea of using this in a classroom setting, or in a staff meeting situation, where collaborative note-taking can make for very rich, complete notes and allow for speculation, questions, observations, especially from those who are less comfortable with overt verbal contributions.
  • Can't believe it is all free! How revolutionary!
  • Plan to email the link to it to all my colleagues at school!