Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thing 23

As I finish my experience with classroom learning 2.0, I must say I am surprised on what I have gained from this course. As I've mentioned, a lot of what I learned I have already applied in my personal technology use. I now know what an RSS feed is and use it daily. I am addicted to teacher tube and can't wait to post a video of my own. I tried a wiki with my students. I update my classroom blog daily and have received some positive feedback from parents and students regarding their use of it. So, overall I would call this course a raging success.

My critiques are few...I wish that the links on the blog page opened in a new window, instead of taking you away from the 23 things blog. It was a pain to always have to go back in order to remember what my blog topics were. I never did get the video from Thing 15 to work (after downloading it, going to the original site, and waiting patiently for it to load). And, I thought a few of the topics were a little hard to follow (and I consider myself pretty up on technology). But, again I have taken more from this course than I have from many others I've been a part of. Kudos! :)

Thing 15 (finally)

My favorite and simplest description of library 2.0 came, not surprisingly, from wikipedia. I think wikipedia embodies many of the ideas of library 2.0. It shows that learning is not a one way process. When I learn, I can also contribute. Nothing on the internet displays this as much as wikipedia. It assumes that people working collaboratively can increase knowledge and understanding. I think most communication on the internet is like writing on a bathroom wall. It's unclear, crude, and leaves you feeling a little dirty. But wikipedia is the exception to this rule. From a favorite TV show, to a historical figure, to a philisophical concept, I am smarter after I read wikipedia. And, occasionally I like to think I help make others smarter with what I add. This is exactly how I see library 2.0. You shouldn't be the only one who leaves smarter when you visit the library. I think the old stereotypes and perceptions of libraries need to give way to the vision of a place where learning is happening everywhere. From web applications, to individuals offering their knowledge and gifts to educate the community, libraries should always be seeking new ways to become centers of learning, research, and understanding.

Thing 22

I actually found World Book Fair to be a little difficult to use. But, I also found it fascinating. I read an article on the site about how 100 years ago, the big story in newspapers was about Andrew Carnegie's libraries that were starting. I hadn't really given much thought to the history of libraries before, but it was fascinating. And, I can see how ebooks and elibraries are the new wave of the future in that regard. I am still a fan of real books-nothing replaces the joy of lounging with a book on a summer afternoon! But, I think as more and more aspects of life are tied to the internet, ebooks will become more and more popular. And it's good to know that there are some free options out there. Even if physical books end up on the decline, it is good to know that the spirit of the public library will continue.

Thing 21

Oh, podcasting. I am a podcast addict. This American Life, Selected Shorts, and The New Yorker Fiction podcast are a few of my faves. I actually listen to them at the gym when I work out (which my friends make fun of to no end). So, I enjoyed perusing a few podcast directories outside of iTunes (although I still prefer to use itunes-it links so easily to my ipod!) But, I really liked the eductation podcast directory. It was fun to look/listen through some of the middle school podcasts, and to get some ideas for using podcasts in my classroom. It is one of my summer goals to get familiar with creating a podcast and find a way to incorporate that into my teaching next school year. It's great to see how other middle schools are doing it.

Thing 20

I am pretty experienced with youtube...I use it to find whatever clip is getting talked about, we had an unfortunate incident with youtube and our students posting fights this year, I have a youtube video on my myspace page (yes, I have a myspace. Leave me alone.). There are great things about youtube-the vast quantity of material, subscribing to channels, etc. The downsides-it's blocked at school, there is a lot of junk on there, etc. So, I am actually going to focus more on teachertube-which I have gotten a lot of use out of lately. One of my colleagues posted a test prep video on there, we found "Top Ten things you don't learn about teaching in college," a Soldia' Boy spoof that I NEED to recreate at Carnegie, and this video, which I LOVE: 

Oh, Julie Andrews. You are indeed my hero.

And, here is my friend Felisa's video:

Thing 19

I actually already made a librarything account a few years ago. I am indeed a "cataloguer at heart." I have excel spreadsheets of my books, movies, and CDs on my computer (which I justify as a way to keep track of which items I lend out to my friends). However, I had sort of forgotten about and neglected my library thing account, so it was fun to revisit it. I read through some reviews of my books, found links to other books from some of my favorites, and realized I should really get rid of a few books. ;) I also liked reading reviews and finding others who had books that are not common. It was fun to find "my people" when it comes to certain favorites. For me, librarything is definitely a fun pastime, but not really an educational tool (at this point at least).

Thing 18

I found Zoho to be very user-friendly and intuitive-especially as a word user, blogger, etc. I created a test-document and can definitely see the advantages of creating documents online. I would love to use my flash drive less. I'll have to try a test print to see how easy that works when I get home.

I then tried to post my test document to my blog, but to no avail. Hmm...I'll have to mess with that more, but there is always good ol' copy/paste if I really need to get something from my Zoho account onto my blog. :)

Thing 17

I added onto the learning 2.0 sandbox wiki. I don't have a ton of observations about it, because I am pretty used to adding to wikis. I am one of those "white and nerdy" people that Weird Al sings about who "edit wikipedia." But, I will say that it could be fun to create a story that everyone adds to, which is what the learning 2.0 wiki is right now. I think the kids could get into that (with supervision, of course).

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Thing 16

Yes, I know I am going out of order...the video for thing 15 is taking FOREVER to download, so I am skipping ahead while I wait. 

This week's assignment had to do with wikis. I was excited because I am a huge fan of wikipedia. I use it almost daily for anything and everything. I love the idea of a website based on the idea that people can be good and contribute to something positive online. I've also recently tried using wikis in my classroom. It was a good experience, and I look forward to honing my skills with this technology. 

I explored the booklovers wiki, and I loved it! I read reviews of books I have picked up at Barnes & Noble, but was never sure about-and added a few things to wishlist. It gave me the idea to create a wiki for my students where they recommend books to read over the summer and talk about what they're reading. I may be naive in believing that my students will actually read something this summer, but maybe it would encourage them to read if they knew they could contribute to a wiki about various books, and stay in touch with their friends. (Although, one of my classes could not understand that it was not myspace-they kept sending messages to everyone saying "add me.") 

I think wikis are a great classroom tool, and a fun way to get all students involved in the learning and creating process. 

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Thing 14

I explored technorati and did some various searches for things of interest. I think it's a great tool-it's definitely beneficial to have a search engine that is just for blogs. I also can appreciate the importance of tagging your posts if you want your blog to be viewed by the masses-it makes collaboration much easier. I looked up This American Life, my favorite radio show/podcast, and came upon a blog where people were naming favorite episodes. I ended up making a list of episodes I'd like to check out on their website, which was great.

I have been giving some thought to the idea of having my students create blogs. It seems like it could be a great ongoing assignment-to have them comment on things we discuss in class, or to do assignments online. But, it also seems like it would open up a can of worms in other ways. I don't want to have to monitor all of their posts or be the blogger police. But, I think it would also encourage them to write more. They are all on myspace (whether I like it or not), but there seems to be very little actual writing done on that site. A blog might be an appealing way for them to journal. I dunno. But, the other cool thing would be having them tag their blogs and seeing if we could get people commenting on and reading their blogs from around the country/world, introducing them to the positive side of the internet being a global community. I'll have to talk to the tech coordinator at my school and get his take on the pros and cons of this idea.  (This may have been a little off-topic, but I wanted to process that and see if anyone had any comments.)

Thing 13: Magically Delicious

I checked out delicious, and I can see that it would be really useful, especially if you had a network of teachers that could share with one another. I was thinking of talking with my department at school about all of us making accounts-this way we could collaborate and share with one another, even when we can't meet together to swap our technology ideas. I also like it for personal use, since I love discovering new websites and tools from my friends' blogs. My sister introduced me to wikipedia a few years ago, and that in and of itself has changed the way I learn! It's also great since I have three computers I regularly use, so the bookmarking feature would be convenient for me on a personal level.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Thing 12

Today I created a rollyo searh tool ( Basically you can create a search engine just for you with websites you like/trust so that only those ones come up. I would love to use this in the classroom. I sometimes have my kids to research projects using the internet. I would love to have a search engine pre-created of websites I know are academic, fact-based, and 6th grade friendly. I think this would be a great classroom tool and I am looking forward to using it with my next internet research assignment!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Thing 11

I feel like I should post about some educational website I discovered, but I have to choose my new addiction/time-waster, guess-the-google.  It shows you a collection of images that show up under a google key word search and then you have to guess the key word. It's addicting. It's fun. I can't think of any educational value to it. But I love it anyway. makes you think logically? It familiarizes you with google? Yeah, okay. But it's super fun!

Thing 10

My favorite image generator was definitely the "Warholizer," where you can upload an image and have it changed into the style of Andy Warhol's famous Marilyn Monroe portraits. I love it!
I could definitely see using this in the classroom. During the summer program I usually teach we get to do art (which is rare for me), and we d
o a Warhol activity with pictures of the students photocopied onto transparencies and then they decorated them with marker. I would love to incorporate this website into that lesson.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thing 9

Well, Thing 9 is to find new blogs that interest you using search tools. I played around with both the bloglines search tool and the google blog search feature. I found a technology in the classroom blog that I really liked on the bloglines search tool. It covers some of the challenges of using technology, but also focuses on the many positives. Very cool.

I liked both of the search features, but was a little preferential toward the google one. Perhaps just because I am comfortable with the google format and the bloglines one is newer to me? But, I can see myself wasting some time on both of them, searching for the blogs of strangers. I wonder if any strangers are reading any of my blogs? Hmm...they should comment to make me feel important. :D

I can also see this being a good way to network with other teachers and to expand my understanding of other people. Blogs are definitely a window into someone else's world in a unique way. You see things from their perspective and can see how people perceive themselves, which I always find fascinating. 

I am digging this online class. I am learning new things already, and am relieved that I know what the heck RSS stands for. I feel way less ignorant already!

Thing 8

Today I learned what an RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It's basically a way to check several favorite websites all at once. 

Lately, I have been checking several of my friends' blogs daily. I love seeing what my friends' adorable children are up to, reading my sister's hilarious and intelligent posts, and reading Bean's blog (yes, I do find it interesting. No, this does not mean I have aperger's syndrome). 

So, an RSS is my new favorite thing. I set up the blogs I check daily and it tells me all at once if they have been updated. This way I don't have to check out everyone's to see who has new posts. LOVE IT!

You can also add news feeds and other features. This might need to be my new homepage. 

Educational uses...hmm. I'll have to give that one some more thought. But, the fact that it saves a busy teacher some time definitely counts as an educational advantage in my book!

Thing 7

"Yes, I love technology..."

Kip says it right in Napoleon Dynamite. I love technology. I know I functioned without a laptop, cell phone, or ipod throughout college. But I'm not sure how.  I feel super spoiled by technology. No need to make hard and fast plans-I'll just call you on my cell phone when I get there. My Thomas Guide collects dust in my back seat because I either mapquest it or use my handy-dandy GPS-a must for someone lost as much as I am! 

But, I also know that the technology curve moves along. That is one of the reasons I am doing this class. I have no idea how to make a podcast, or use photoshop, and am just discovering how to make a wiki. Even at twenty-five I catch myself saying, "I have no idea how to do that" when it comes to computers. And I know that this is the mentality that will make me obsolete in the future-especially when it comes to middle school teaching. So, I commit to be a lifelong technology learner. I figure if my grandma can send me an email, I can figure out how to use wikispaces. 

Thing 6

This week I learned about mashups-basically when you combine two web applications to create a new one. I used the one recommended by classroom learning and chose a trading card maker:
You can upload your photo and make a trading ca
rd. Super fun...I'd love to figure out a way to have my students make a trading card. Maybe for a Greek
 God or Goddess for history? Or for another historical figure. Hm, I might have to try that one.
But first, here is my trading card:
You love it. :D

Thing 2

I think I was already supposed to do this post...oops.

The first assignment was to listen to an online lesson about the 7.5 Habits of Lifelong Learners and to post about which habits are both easiest and most difficult for you. So, without further ado...

Easiest: Create a Learning Toolbox
A learning toolbox is defined as the tools you need to learn whatever you are working toward. It includes books, technology, classes, mentors, friends, and webpages. This is totally me. When I want to know about something, my first thought is to "wikipedia it!" This has replaced googling it as my go-to, in fact. From there, I tend to seek out friends that are experts and basically force them to explain something to me. If I still want more info, I head to trusty old and order a book on the subject. I think I am pretty good at gathering resources.

Hardest: View Problems as Challenges
Well! You didn't say learning a new skill would be hard! I am very easily frustrated. When I am learning something new and hit the wall, I tend to crash into it and then run away crying, rather than find a way to scale the wall. I remember trying to learn to snowboard. Despite my notorious lack of athletic ability, I thought I could probably learn to snowboard. Yeah, not so much. And, when I am not good at something, I tend to be done. I think it comes from being pretty adept at school as a child. I tend to pick up book knowledge pretty quickly, but acquiring new skills is another issue. I need to work on rising to the challenge of the things I want to learn, rather than deciding that "I didn't really want to learn how to do that anyway!"

Thing 5

I feel like I am posting about The Cat in the Hat...but where are Thing 1 and Thing 2? 

Anyway, this week's assignment was to explore, which I could totally get lost on for hours. After searching all sorts of things, I have decided to post about this image:

It's a picture of a homeless man named Walter. You should really look at it, and read the accompanying description. I chose this picture because I am really drawn to homeless people. I am actually planning on starting to volunteer with a homeless ministry through church. But, my post will be about my moral dilemma when it comes to the homeless:

Do you give them money or not? 

I generally operate under the philosophy that it is on their conscience what they use the money for and it's on mine to be a compassionate person. If they don't really need the money or are lying, that's on them. But if I drive or walk on by, it's on my conscience.  And, frankly, if I were homeless I might occasionally want to buy a beer, I'm not going to lie.

But, recently a colleague mentioned that she does not give money to homeless people because she believes that they should seek out the organizations that can really help them-not only with their immediate needs, but with long-term help to bring them out of homelessness. Her point is that if they are not successful panhandling, they will be forced to get help from an organization (which is where she directs her funds). 


So, what are your thoughts? Give freely and leave it up to them, or walk past the person and donate to the organization?

They said to make a test post...

So here it is. This is my blog for my Classroom Learning 2.0 class. I can't imagine too many people will be interested in this, but if there are any Carnegie people who'd like to take a gander or who want help with the class, give me a shout-out!