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.