Sunday, November 25, 2007
The last session I attended was "Building Bridges between Picture Books and High School Curriculum." The presenters had many ideas for using picture books to introduce subjects studied in high school. I have a hand-out with some of the titles they suggested.
The conference ended with one of my favorite parts of the conference--the author/illustrator brunch. The line for it was already long when I got out of my last session. Everyone wants to get a good seat, but you don't really know what the best seat will turn out to be. The tables are numbered and the numbers are randomly drawn to determine which author or illustrator will be seated at your table. Our table got Mike Thaler. You, like I, might not recognize the name, but you have probably all encountered one of his books. He wrote a whole series that began with The Teacher from the Black Lagoon. The speakers for the luncheon were Pamela Duncan Edwards and Henry Cole. They have worked together as author and illustrator on several books. Their stories about how they came to create books were amusing. They ended their presentation by having Mr. Cole draw a picture while Ms Edwards read their new children's book, The Old House. Look for the picture when you view the PowerPoint in class. Finally, the day and the conference were at an end. As a parting gift, we each got to choose a free book for our library. I'd show it to you, but someone has already checked it out.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Speaking of buying books, I bought the CYRM books for both primary and young adults, as well as some others that were just too good to pass up. There will be cataloging to do when I get back to school.
Later in the afternoon we gathered for the membership meeting. This was a chance for members to express concerns and get feedback from the officers. The day ended with the CYRM Award Banquet. The speaker was supposed to be Karen Hesse, whose books some of you have been reading. She was unable to attend, but the illustrator of her picture book for older youth, The Cats in Krasinski Square spoke to us about how she and Ms Hesse collaborated on the book and how she did the research for the book. It was an interesting evening.
The day began at 8 a.m. with a general session. This is where the new officers and the conference sponsors are introduced. The guest speaker, Paul Janeczko, a well known children's poet, spoke about the importance of getting children excited about reading. After an exclusive exhibit time (That means that we didn't have to skip something else to visit the exhibit hall.), The concurrent sessions began. There were many different sessions to choose from in each time slot. For session A, I chose the California Young Reader Medal 2007-8 Overview, because those are the books we read to the kindergarteners in the spring and because I would like to get the high school students reading the books on their level. Next, I selected a session on new ideas for library orientation, but it was full, so I ended up in a session titled "Web 2.0 Tools--Podcasts, Blogs, RSS, Wikis, and More!" The presenter was in my master's class and always has useful ideas. The last session was "Library Website 2.0: Developing Interactive Websites for Teens"--more good ideas to play with. No conference would be complete without food. I had lunch at a local restaurant with one of my school library mentors: she was the person who first got me started about getting my library media credential. The day ended with the President's Dessert Reception. The food was good and it was a good opportunity to network with other school librarians.
p.s. Remember the raffles? I won the last Harry Potter audibook. a 17 CD set.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I appreciated learning some new tools for my own continuing education. Both writing my own and reading other people’s blogs challenges me to look at new ideas. The RSS feeds will continue to keep me updated on developments in the library field. The discussions about tagging have me thinking about the way students deal with knowledge, making me more open to looking at searching in different ways. LibraryThing may lead to my finally getting my books organized and deciding which books no longer match my interests and should be passed on to someone else.
One thing I hadn’t thought about before starting was that my spell checker needed educating as much as I did. I wish I had kept a list of the words that I added to the dictionary.
I liked the format of the program. Dividing the Things into 9 weeks made it easy to monitor progress and was a motivator for keeping with the program. Having over 3 months to pull the 9 weeks from made it less stressful and allowed for vacation breaks or just unexpected events. Having the September 1 deadline encourages me to finish. There were times when I was slightly overwhelmed by something new, but there was a lot of encouragement available. One of the best parts of the format was that it gave me a framework to work from. I had been to excellent sessions at CSLA Conferences where enthusiastic presenters introduced blogs, wikis and podcasts, but it wasn’t until I did the 23 Things that I could understand and appreciate the value of these web 2.0 tools. When you decide to offer another discovery program like this, I will definitely want to participate. The 23 Things gave me an excellent way to model lifelong learning for my students.
Monday, August 27, 2007
On LibriVox I listened to the beginning of Oliver Twist. It was really easy to access the file and the reader for chapter 1 had a pleasant voice. Audio books are a big help to students who are ELL. Some of our teachers have been reading parts of the lit books to their classes. Assigning students to access books and listen as homework, would free up class time for discussion and analysis of the story.
I’m all in favor of free resources and I know that my students will like the idea of being able to read and listen to free copies of books.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
This time around, I checked out some of the “unsuggestions”. I was amused to see that about 10% of the books on the list generated for one of the books in my collection were ones that I had read and enjoyed (granted some were years ago) and still have in my house. Apparently people who knit aren’t supposed to like science fiction (among other things).
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
This document was created using Zoho. It was not hard to do. The buttons are almost identical to the ones in Word, so it felt familar. One difficulty I encountered was when I was playing with buttons and accidentally toggled the HTML and, not knowing what I had done, couldn't get anything to work. I also created a chart which picked up the background on the text just before it and wouldn't let me change that color, except a cell by cell. Inserting a picture was easy, but I didn't seem to be able to make the picture smaller.
Publishing to my blog was easy and I was able to shrink the picture here. but then I lost it and the page had errors. This is annoying, but not fatal if all you are doing is text.
I keep saying this, but I think this is perhaps the best way to go with those pesky WASC docs that require input from various people. It was easy to put a note on the document and seems easy to set up as a shared document.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I went to post one of my ideas for using web 2.0 on the Calcurriculum wiki and realized that the ideas that seemed so clear when I posted on my blog were too vague to be useful, so I had to go back and clarify them in my own mind before posting them on the wiki. Collaborating on wikis might encourage that same kind of self-editing in students, too. Once an idea seemed ready, I went to the site and uploaded my idea. I found that the formatting needed to be cleaned up when I pasted the idea I had copied from a Word document. This was easily done, because all I had to do was paste it in the pop-up box and let the program reformat it to match the other entries. I found I had somehow inserted my idea at the top, causing it to become the page heading. This was also easily corrected, because deleting what I had accidentally put in restored the page's proper heading. All together, it was not an intimidating experience and I will repeat it when I get my next good idea. I will also go back when I have time and read the other entries more carefully, because the ideas looked useful.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The Albany County Public Library Staff wiki demonstrated how wikis could be used for staff collaboration. This makes me think that a restricted wiki would be the way to go on the WASC tasks my school is working on this year.
The Brentwood school wiki, Sample Literary Circle Wiki (10th Grade English), and Sample AP World History Wiki were impressive examples of student work. While the assignments could have been structured the old-fashioned way, the wiki format enabled the students to collaborate outside the physical and temporal constraints of the school day. The assignments were thoughtfully set up and could easily have been the result of teacher-librarian collaboration. Another thing I really liked about these uses of wikis is that it becomes obvious to the teacher which students are contributing and which are just along for the ride. One of the frustrations of being the librarian is seeing one student struggle to carry her whole group and knowing that the others are taking advantage of her conscientiousness. One assignment I currently do with my library science students that would be adaptable for a wiki is writing their library procedure book.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
I appreciate the distinction that the authors make between Web 2.0 and Library 2.0. I have known librarians who have had a library 2.0 attitude, doing outreach to schools and setting up reader advisory groups. Web 2.0 technology extends the reach of the library. We may not be comfortable with it, but it isn’t going away and it would be foolish to ignore its possibilities for better serving our patrons. This will look different in each library. For my own library it will mean looking at ways to involve the students in the ways the library operates. Certainly a library blog is part of it, but starting a book lovers’ ning and finding a way to allow student reviews in the catalog look like good starting points.
Postscript: On this activity, I used a technique that I learned from 2.0 applications, I looked at the references listed on Wikipedia and decided to read something by the author with the most “authority” i.e. most often cited. The first article I read seemed to be coming into the middle of a discussion, so I ended up reading all the articles listed for Michael E. Casey. Moving from one article to the next is second nature for me (and the reason these assignments take so long). I learned it using a set of World Book Encyclopedias. Using Web 2.0 tools makes satisfying curiosity much easier and certainly more appealing to a generation that can’t remember life before computers.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Tags are an interesting look at how the human mind works. We are programmed to create shortcuts to identify objects and ideas. The subjects in our OPACs are one way of labeling ideas, but not all people have the hierarchical way of looking at things that delights traditional catalogers. (see my earlier comments here) What I like about tags is that they allow for a multitude of entry points for finding information. Just as I might be referenced by my given name, job title, a kinship term, a hobby or physical trait, each one giving a fuller picture of who I am and allowing various people to share their knowledge of me, subject tags allow people coming from different backgrounds to access the same article. Looking at the tags that someone else has used for an article allows me to see new ways to classify the information. That turns upside down the way we present knowledge to students. Often we tell them the subject, then the topic and then the specifics. We test them expecting one right answer. We ask them for the main idea as if there could only be one. What if we give them an article to read or listen to and have them tag it first as individuals and then sharing their tags? One article I read (unfortunately before I began using del.icio.us) pointed out that as more people tag an item, the irrelevant tags become statistically insignificant. If a whole class fails to find the labels we expect, maybe we have failed to give them the right information.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
The SJLibrary’s del.icio.us page , was a treasure chest of information. The temptation is to try to read them all. If I were writing an article on Web 2.0, say for a parent news letter, this would be a good place to reference articles, because they are selected by library professionals. With students, a teacher could set up a link list of pages he or she has selected, or a link to a trusted del.ioci.us site. With technophobe teachers, the librarian could collaborate on setting up a list or encourage a whole department to work together on a page. The students would benefit by exposure to quality information online and also by the teachers working together.
I found that some of the sites listed were so interesting that I had to save them, so I opened an account. I am thinking about importing my old favorites list from Internet Explorer. One of the considerations is whether to copy all my links which include of my interests outside the library profession. I know that as librarians we can justify almost any subject matter, but it feels like too much self exposure to include my genealogy and other subject links to anyone who is just browsing from link to link.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
I am not happy to see advertisements on the hit list, but students will encounter that on most search engines and the ads are at least clearly indicated by the color change.
I can see two ways that Rollyo could be useful for getting students away from going for their favorite search engine. First, the librarian or teacher could set up search rolls for appropriate sites based on teacher assignments and student age and ability. This should result in fewer, but more valuable hits. The second use would be to teach computer literacy to students by having them research sites to create their own search rolls. I haven’t gotten to wikis yet, but it seems like a class could collaborate to create a group search roll with students justifying their additions to a list. If they could convince the rest of the class, their choice would be added to the final search roll. Criteria for website evaluation would naturally be a part of the project.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
The purpose of the site is to twofold. First it lets you easily catalog your book collection. It is even easier than finding the book on Amazon, because all the non-book ads aren't distracting you. Simply typing in the author, title, or ISBN starts a search process that brings a list you possible matches. Once you select the correct book, it, along with identifying material, is added to your list. You can choose to have information from Amazon, LoC, or one of over 70 other institutions. There are 5 different layouts for displaying your catalog. You have the options of rating, reviewing, and/or tagging your entries. The catalog is displayed in the reverse order of entry, but you can search by title, author, or tag.
The second purpose is social. Each book in your library has a note of how many other people using LibraryThing own the same book. If the person hasn't opted for privacy, you can follow links to his or her library and check out what other books are there. You can also set up groups for sharing about books. Some were huge, like the Harry Potter group, some were so specialized that they had only the person who started them. There has to be a way to use this feature for book groups for students, so that they can have discussions about the books they enjoy. There are some authors whose libraries are cataloged, so students may be able to see what their favorite authors like to read. Also, because the books are listed in the reverse order entered the latest entered (probably the most recently acquired/read) are on top, it's easy for friends to see what you've been reading lately.
I joined TeacherLibrarianNing. It was easy to do. There were some interesting postings. At this time I didn't feel that I had anything in particular to add to the conversation, but I am sure that as school begins I will.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
The hardest part was deciding which of my pictures to use. I like the ALA read posters. Maybe I could get teachers to recommend students who enjoyed a book to make posters. (Is this idea copyrighted? I couldn’t justify the cost of the software, but would love to do it with Motivator)
Since I didn’t use badgemaker http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/badge.phpback in week 3, I decided to try it. This will end the excuses I’ve made for not having IDs for the aides and my yearbook staff. As a classroom app, I could see it added to any assignment that called for learning biographical information about historical or fictional characters. Where there isn’t a picture, the student could draw one and scan it for the ID.
http://www.customsigngenerator.com/parody.htm I am not sure if I would use this app, but the discussion of what is parody and how copyright laws relate to it is a great reference for the assignment, usually given by a history teacher, to create a political cartoon.
Images made with the comic strip generator http://www.comicstripgenerator.com/ and the license generator on Imagechef http://www.imagechef.com/ can be used to humorously get across a point.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Feedster—Link to search tips didn’t work. I found a page that told me that Boolean searching works. After seeing the state of my library today, I tried typed in library maintenance. The result was too many listings, many of them for employment. When I tried modifying it to “school library” maintenance and eventually got a white screen. Another search also resulted in a blank screen. I never found out if that meant nothing was found or it was some type of error, because I decided to move on to the next site.
Topix.net—The site must have picked up my location, because it opened with news for Long Beach, which not exactly where I live. I decided to put in my zip code. Of the stories that came up, only one, about a school fight, was in the same city. Following the comments, I ended up reading a juvenile exchange about which poster was more of a man. On to the next site.
Syndic8—I felt like I was reading a foreign language
Technorati—I used search box. When I started to type in “libr..” it suggested “Librarians internet.org”, so I clicked on it. The first 2 items seemed to be about porn. Finally, I did, in a manner I could not repeat, find some interesting school library material. One of the blogs reminded me that School Library Journal would be a good resource, so I added its reviews of books for students at my school to my bloglist.
GoogleBlogSearch- put in "school library learning 2.0" lead me to Tom’s blog from the beginning of this study program which lead me to Joyce Valenza’s blog.
I learned that I need to refine my use of the search tools, before I can effectively and comfortably use these tools. I also learned that I am more likely to follow recommendations of people who I recognize.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Looking to complete the exercise, I wanted to provide the URL address to my public bloglines account. There was no share button, only Forums and Search, but I must have done something right, because this is my public blogroll.
This technology seems like it could be useful for setting up a simple, local (and free) form of learning community by along the lines of what we LMTs are doing this summer. It could be useful for any class, but I can see quick applications for it making my library science classes more interactive by promoting sharing among the 12-15 students spread over 4-5 periods.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Right now I am weeding (or more accurately, avoiding weeding). No, it’s not my library collection or my garden. It’s the 3.5 floppies, CD-ROMs, and even a couple Zip disks that have accumulated on or in my home computer desk. The truth is, no matter how many wonderful things computers enable us to do, technology doesn’t change human nature. A pack rat will still be a pack rat. Just as in the library, it is necessary to evaluate the usefulness of items in the collection and get rid of the outdated ones that get in the way of finding the good stuff. So here goes. Out with the Zip disks—my current computer doesn’t have the drive to read them and neither does any computer I use at work. Out with the 3.5 floppies—the computer industry isn’t installing floppy drives on most of the new computers and anything on the disks can be saved more efficiently on a 40 gig hard drive, a memory stick, or somewhere online. As for the CDs, what criteria do I use? Language Discovery, designed to teach you basic vocab in 4 languages, was written to work with Windows 3.1. It opens, but there is undoubtedly something available online that uses photographs and actually pronounces the words. Complete Atlas & Street Map, ©2000 for Windows 95/98. This is probably still useful, but my husband has GPS in his vehicle, I carry a Thomas Guide that serves me well when I’m away from the computer, and MapQuest, Yahoo Maps or the Auto Club online all plot routes from any computer I am near. Then there are the educational programs I bought with thoughts of self-improvement. By the time I retire and have time to get to them, there will undoubtedly be much better tools available, like, maybe my own personal holographic tutor or an implant that will transfer knowledge directly to my neural network (Did I mention the fantasy game disks?) Oh, well, enough with the procrastination-- time to get back to weeding.
PS: Next job to tackle is the nearly 400 messages sitting in my inbox. Wasn’t technology supposed to simplify life?
Getting me started on technology is not necessarily a safe thing to do.
Today I have been trying to figure out where my most frequently used settings for Word are hiding in the 2007 version. It is maddening. Yes, I know there is a tutorial somewhere, but I set out today to use the app, not to learn it. First there is the matter of the defaults being different. Calibri is not my style—I’m more of a Times New Roman kind of person-- and the aging eyes want at least a size 12 font. I’ve got my rulers to stick around, but the font reverts each time I open a new document. I’ve found spell check, but haven’t figured out to make it automatic yet. At least control-z, my favorite computer command, still works. All this complaining underscores a point; I’ve been hopelessly spoiled when it comes to document production. I learned to type on a manual typewriter. I remember counting letters, subtracting from the number of spaces in a line (OK, I forgot what the exact number was, but it never varied, because there was only one font and one size available) and then dividing by 2 to determine where to start a line that needed to be centered. I remember when bold was achieved by backing up and hitting the same keys again. Make a mistake? Back space, insert correction paper, hit the key as hard as you could made a never invisible correction to a document. Or you could just rip out the paper and start over. I remember tracing maps for reports and looking up info in the only place I knew—World Book Encyclopedia. Technology is a wonderful thing. I love being able to chose fonts, sizes and color. I love being able to insert pictures and create the perfect layout. I love knowing if one way of doing something doesn’t work, I can still work around it and (usually) get the result I want. I love drawing and photo manipulation programs. I love my old Excel and PowerPoint. I love high speed Internet and IMing (takes mothering to a whole new level). I love Google and Wikipedia and Ancestry and Amazon.com. I expect I will even learn to love Office 2007.
I love technology……except when it drives me crazy.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Looking at all the information on mash-ups has my brain feeling mashed up. One thing I quickly noticed is that Flickr has changed spelling conventions. The suffix “r” now seems to mean a mash-up created by interfacing with Flickr technology. I thought I would have to educate my spellchecker, but the Word 2007 that my husband loaded last night (talk about a techno-chock—how could the link to Word not work?!) seems to already be aware of this.
I found the easiest place to try some mash-ups was http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/. Many of the apps look like fun and I the curriculum planning wheels are churning as I looked at them. On the other hand, it is easy to get caught in the techie aspects and spend a lot of time doing something like my magazine cover, that I could have done as quickly in Publisher or even Word and had things precisely where and the colors I wanted.
Friday, July 13, 2007
After hours of just looking, I uploaded a couple of library pictures that were sitting on my home computer. This one is a picture of a library display created by one of my library science students. Each month we have new displays and bulletin boards. The student responsible has to write a reflection on her creative process and include a picture. Since we are currently discouraged from keeping pictures on our server, ths assignment could easily migrate to Flickr.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I admit to having misgivings about the whole notion of blogging. It seems that a lot of time and energy goes into publishing (and reading) thoughts that often aren't particularly useful or even interesting. Learning how to weed (both what I write and what I read and connect to) will be an important part of the learning experience.
What a nifty tutorial that was! I think it would be good for my high school students, especially the seniors. I am considering ways I can encourage my Library Science students to use the learning tool box idea for class assignment. The habit I have always had is #1. Before the web, I used to say that I attended L. A. Times University. Now with the web there are so many options that it leads to what is probably my weakest habit, #7 using technology to your advantage. It is not so much a problem of not knowing the technology as one of being selective in the face of overwhelming amounts of knowledge and limited time. I am hoping that this summer's work will help me get a better handle on the technology.
P.S. I'm planning to show my husband the life-long learner's contract. He is retiring next year and we've been talking about what he will do with his time.