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.