Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanks for the experiences

Thanks, Fiona, Syba Signs and YPRL for this course. Perhaps I would never have found the time and inclination to do many of these activities otherwise in my busy days. I have come to a new understanding about the nature of access to information in C21 - pretty important for a school librarian! I even like having a blog and I am quite inspired to use some of these new resources in my teaching and library management, and hope to be able to help other colleagues to do the same.

#19 Rollyo

I could use Rollyo to collect together a number of blogs about YA literature and search for information on new fiction books which may be suitable for the school library. One of the difficulties with this type of fiction is that sometines it's hard to know just how appropriate a book is until I've read it, despite recommendations on the cover from various reviewers.

At school, this facility could also be used to search for information in just the sites that are useful to students, such as EdNA. I imagine the experience of thousands of results for a search term could be very frustrating. Rollyo could also be useful to people looking for up-to-date news and political commentary.

I received the response on the Rollyo site of could not connect - too many connections more than once - I have to defer my greater exploration of this possibly very useful resource until later in my life.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

#22 Ebooks & #23 Audiobooks

I liked Librivox, as I enjoy listening to voices on my little MP3 player, and this gives me another source of resources. Could these free files also be downloaded and catalogued into the school library?

Like many other readers, younger and older, I prefer the traditional version of the book, although I have to confess that I haven't used ebooks personally. This will be one of my aims in future learnings. Wikipedia gives an interesting comparison of the advantages and drawbacks of books vs. ebooks. One of the future uses of ebooks could be for school textbooks as students like the electronic access to information, and if there is an economic advantage schools could take it. The environmental argument is also worth consideration, as perhaps in the future paper books will become rather special items to own and value, somewhat like horses did after the invention of the car. Unfortunately, paper books do tend to deteriorate over time, as my bookcase attests.

Audiobooks are quite well used in our school by readers who are obliged to read for assessment but do not like reading words on a page. They are a valuable resource. MP3 players may become a tool much more used in the school environment for educational rather than entertainment purposes. I am reminded of the use of podcasts which appears to have various school applications.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

# 21 Online Video

What a great collection of resources from the commons. We used to buy educational resource video tapes at about $100 each for the school library! Needless to say it was a carefully condsiered purchase. I am now in the process of culling them from the collection.
I was thinking that the Brady Bunch clip of Time to Change might be good to show colleagues who are slow adopters of technology. I also liked the Learning to Change video from Australian Educators.

I've used YouTube at school for various resources - it is available to teachers on the network but blocked to students. I guess the aspect of teaching users to use the web responsibly remains significant - network managers can't just keep blocking everything!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

#20 Podcasts

I've enjoyed many interesting podcasts from ABC Radio National as I walk around near my home. I was delighted to explore the recommended sites and find there are more sources for my interest.

There are numerous applications for this technology in the school situation, notably a task I know of at my school where students create a fictitious radio interview with an author of a novel they have read in a wide reading task. The hard part is getting the teachers to accept and use the technology.

I've included the RN Book Show to my Google Rader subscriptions. Now I have to get into the habit of checking the feeds there!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

#18 Wikis

Wikis seem to be central to the idea of the read-write web as there can be many contributors on a topic of interest to all. There seems to be more emphasis on the community than on the individual who began the wiki. There is a difference to sites such as social networking or social bookmarking where the centrality of the individual is more significant.
The applications of wikis seem to be enormous in an educational setting. I've just bought the book by Will Richardson on the use of blogs, wikis and podcasts in the classroom. I hope to find further inspiration and some more structured strategies there.
I can see that a wiki on reading from the collection of the school library, my workplace, would be a good place to begin, as that is certainly a shared activity.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

#17 Delicious

Like many other web 2.0 sites, is blocked to students by our school network. I can see the point of view of the manager, but the time will come when we must teach students to use the sites responsibly instead of banning their use.
They are, however, available to teachers, and I am pleased to be able to access the favourites which I had on my home computer when I am at work. I am also very pleased to be able to search for sites which are relevant to me in work and for personal use which have been bookmarked by other users. Who needs Google?
Like all the other applications which we have looked at in this course, it will require more careful investigation and time to explore. I hope in some months' time it's something I use easily and frequently and that I have given examples to my teaching colleagues so that we might share and promote resource based learning.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

#15 RSS Feeds

I'm still transitioning between the use of the web as a consumer and as a contributor, so I really like the idea of the RSS feeds where the information can come to me. One of the problems I've found so far with Web 2.0 is re-organising my time so that I might be a contributor as well, and this application is certainly a time-saver! I've added the feeds on iGoogle to my Google Reader, as well as some other ones that I'm interested in, such as Inside a Dog. I like ABC's Radio National, too and will add some of their programs to which I like to listen.
I'm quite excited about the prospect of being well-informed on topics which are interesting to me, and maybe even the news and current events!
This application could be useful to me in the local school setting where students may blog and the feed may be added to my reader, as Mark Wagner comments in his ITM blog on RSS feeds which we read as part of the introduction to this topic. In my personal life, new blogs by friends and family overseas could be added, which would save me looking to see if they've written lately.
Learning about the use of RSS feeds has been a positive experience!

Friday, October 2, 2009

#14 Facebook

The article by Paul Allen is revealing. ABC Radio National was discussing Facebook last week on Life Matters, too. In fact there's no shortage of articles on the subject to be found in the media. I guess the bottom line is that online social networking is here to stay and as a person who works with adolescents it's important that I know what it is, how it works and how to use it to best advantage. I do not at this stage want to be their friend, alas, or even a friend of my adult children. No doubt that will come as the use of Facebook expands significantly beyond the younger age groups.
Perhaps the use of Facebook is more extensive amongst people who can spend more time at their computers and who have less direct face-to-face interaction in their workplaces. I do anticipate using this application mainly for social purposes in the future when I have more time for such activities.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

#13 My Space

This social networking site has no value for me at this point in time. I can see how it might be used by public libraries to engage adolescent and other clients, but possibly not in my school situation, as social networking sites are not encouraged on the school network. The concept of maintaining cyber friendships at the moment is disagreeable, as I struggle to keep up to my work email.

# 12 Flikr

This is a photo of a creek in my geographic vicinity. The object of posting it is to demonstrate the skill of adding a photo from flikr to my blog. I'm pleased to learn how to do this, and to have the blog and the link to flikr set up so that I might use it in the future.

Monday, September 28, 2009

#11 Library Thing

Now this is an application I really like! I look forward to exploring it more and have added it to my iGoogle desktop. It is certainly useful for my own reading - 20 others have posted about the book I'm currently reading, and I found out more about it. Recommendations of similar books flowed as soon as I added 3 books in one of my favourite series to my library collection. I intend to investigate adding it to the OPAC at my work library, and to the library website (under construction).
I keep a paper list in a notebook of the books that I read - now they can go into the 'Read but unowned' collection on Library Thing.
Being a member of a group of like-minded people is reassuring - being an adult who reads predominantly YA books often puts me in a group of one in face-to-face discussions. My Library Thing catalogue is still quite small, but give me time.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

#10 Image generators

I used to make this logo. Mucking around with the image generators reminds me of when I first started to learn how to use computers way back in the 90's. One of the things that newbies liked to do was change the desktop settings, the background, the colours and whatever else we could change. Web 2.0 image generators are sophisticated tools to allow our creative expression to develop and to make publications more engaging to the reader/viewer. I feel that my visual design skills are significantly underdeveloped, and it would require hours more of my time to fully explore and become proficient in their use. I guess small steps will be in order.

Monday, September 21, 2009

#9 Exploring Virtual Worlds

To really explore virtual worlds would take lots of time. I'd like one of the Time-Turners that Hermione had in HP3. Experiencing second life would put a big dent in my first life - not at this time, thanks.
I can see that there is great potential for educational use of virtual reality, but I think lots of PD for teachers would be in order.
Perhaps in the not too far distant future, web users will naturally expect web pages to be in 3D, just as we expect films to be in colour, not b & w, or print texts such as books to be more visually engaging than they were some years ago. Does it enhance the users' experience? Perhaps it depends on the desired outcome.
Online games are popular with lots of people and will no doubt continue to develop to new levels of technological sophistication which gamers will come to expect.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

iGoogle is a convenient way to oganise my desktop and access gadgets. I think I will like it more when I make time to read the blogs which I can add to my iGoogle desktop, and when I make time to experiment with it. Like anything new, it takes a while to become familiar with it and use it to best advantage. Perhaps it suits people who spend lots of time sitting in front of their monitors, whereas my day is often consumed by ineraction with students.
As for working at Google, I'd like to work somewhere as stimulating professionally with such a fantastic work environment, but I'm not sure I'd make the cut at Google! No wonder Google is the most used internet site in the world!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Google Books

Thanks to Google for a huge book catalogue. It encourages browsing and gives useful information and links. It's interesting to see the cover view, and also consider the national character of books of different countries in each each genre. Young adult books on Google Books, for example, seem predominantly American publications, yet there is a very healthy YA book industry in Australia and other countries. I like the My library page, to which I plan to add various titles which I'd like to buy or borrow. I can find out if a particular title is held and available at my local library, and if not, where I might find it. Maybe I'll add a review one of these days.

Google maps

Google maps are fun to use because of the variety of views available. With the edit facility, all the maps should be correct in the course of time, as there are some errors in the maps currently. The country road on which I live is shown as a through road when it is in reality a no through road, an error which caused a visitor from the city to experience a much longer trip than he had planned. I like the street view, the satellite view, and the save and send facilities.
I plan to investigate the locations of places in the US to which I am travelling in the holidays so I'll have more prior knowledge of the destinations.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I think the idea behind Google docs is great. I've created a document which will be of use and can be edited and changed as time goes on. I'm reminded of the concept of the creative commons - it seems a bit overwhelming to be part of it! I'm from the generation of passive absorbtion of information, and come into the I's in the Myers-Briggs personality types. I'm working on more sharing!

Friday, August 28, 2009

#2 Create a blog.

I'm pleased to have finally created a blog after harbouring vague intentions to do so for some time. I work in a small secondary school as a teacher-librarian, and I'm writing this blog as part of an online course on Web 2.0. I love my job and I love reading young adult fiction.