Sunday, July 13, 2008

Thing #7 - Communication tools

Well, I've successfully avoided this thing for way too long. I found as I went through the directions that this was a very long thing. So... email is as essential to my life as anything. I wish it had been in existence during my school years - it would have sure been easier to stay in touch with people and not lose track of each other. How nice to shoot off a quick message as I think of something, and know I'll get a response later when the recipient reads it and has a chance to get to it.

IM gets a less enthusiastic endorsement. In the classroom, there isn't a good way to make use of this with other professionals during the day. Our students don't have access to this during the day either. For a librarian, however, there may be more opportunity. For example, a teacher doing research for a lesson may IM the librarian, looking for assistance. The immediacy of IM is a huge advantage, the lack of access a deterrent.

Text messaging is like IM, but portable. Again, our school does not allow any cell phones to be in operation during the school day. The video on the 23 Things website showed a positive use of text messaging, but I would guess that there are 50 personal text messages sent in the library for each one with media purpose! Distractions are as old as time itself, so maybe schools need to reconsider their policies anyway. Personally, I need to add text messaging unlimited to my phone plan if I expect to continue frequent "conversation" with my own daughters. For them, voice messages and sometimes even phone conversations are old tools for them.

I have been part of a Google group before, and it is another positive tool. My experience is that group members use it often and post to it often - for awhile. Once the urgency of the group's work has faded, so does group participation. It's convenient since you can go to it as you can, rather than the time constraint of an IM conversation.

Webinars and podcasts offer new possibilities that are exciting. A webinar allows many people to participate in an event or a speaker without being physically present. And if that gets archived so it can be accessed at a different time, too, making the information or speech or conference available to many more people. I have friends who rave about downloading podcasts to listen whenever they have time, or in the car, while running, etc. I am a very poor audio learner, however, and don't enjoy podcasts for the most part. While that is a skill I need to improve, for now it limits how often I am likely to use podcasts. I get tired of the pace of podcasts, for one thing. Some topics I am interested in, but don't want quite that much information! An article or a website can be skimmed, zooming in on most important information, rather than being forced into the pace of the podcast. For example, as I post this to my blog, I've had a podcast from the U of M about podcasting running in the background. It runs over half an hour! That's far more time than I want to commit to this. One area I truly like podcasts are for tours, a walking tour of a city or an exhibit tour at a museum.
I'm looking forward to moving on to a new thing. I've been "stuck" on this one for far too long.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

#6 online image generator

Image hosted @ - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
What fun! The image generators take the word template to a whole new level. Students could make country "trading cards." Libraries can make trading cards for special "books of the month."
I'm still not sure how much about me that I want on the web. Professionally it is fine, who I am, where, etc. Personal information and photos are another level, and I'm working on overcoming my reluctance on this.

Monday, June 23, 2008

#5 more fun with Flickr

My Presentation
Here's where I've been so far!
Make yours @
Make yours @

Flickr is becoming my new favorite website. I enjoyed the mashups and see lots of potential. For this post I've included the maps option from Big Huge Labs and a desktop collage from splashr. Be sure to click "my presentation," too. I wish that mashup had shown up as an image rather than a link as did the map.
There are many options for kids to use photos creatively and produce profesisonal looking results. Since Flickr is blocked on school district computers, it's really a moot point. In the meantime I may use some of these mashups to enhance presentations.
In the library, poster size mashups could be used to point out certain sections of the library. Another option would be a group of photos about an author, a book setting, and the like. As tools become more available for display and presentation, our expectations of ourselves rise significantly!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

#4 Photosharing with Flickr

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Flickr is an experience that could easily take many hours of each day! What an exciting way to share places and spaces. I really like the geotagging feature. This quickly allows you to see places around the world and a variety of sites within each. Sometimes ones that don't belong get in there during the map search, and that is just a good reminder that with any social site the viewer can't put 100% faith in what they see. I also ran into some trouble using the add image to post feature of Blogger.
This photo is found at It reminds me of my time in New Zealand neary 4 years ago. This fern represents new life, new beginnings, and growth. It is found in many Maori carvings.

Teachers will enjoy the tag search feature. You could create a lesson comparing McDonald's around the world. Math teachers could easily use this to explore geometric shapes. Students could also gather photos for a project and share them easily by having a group created for the class. There's a lot of potential for digital storytelling using images. As always, having students credit the source remains a struggle. A media specialist in the school can help guide this process.

Monday, May 26, 2008

#3 Keeping Up

I've been a longtime fan of RSS feeds, using them for personal interests like nutrition and professional updates, such as Teacher Magazine. Until now, I've just used Internet Explorer for this, and it's gone well. At a glance I can check some favorites or not, as I have time. Following the directions of the 23 things blog, I subscribed to Google Reader. So far I don't like it. It's confusing to set up and use, and while some might find the grouping of feeds helpful, I find it annoying.
I put the reader on my iGoogle page and will give it an honest try for a few days and then decide if I'll keep it or not.

#2 What is Web 2.0 and why should I care?

I hope to learn from the 23 things experience how to join my love of libraries as a resource and my love of geography and places. So, my goal is to learn about each thing and think about how to relate it to both of my interests. Somehow it makes more sense than just thinking about each in isolation.
So, for now, I see a Geography "room" for people to blog, for example, about favorite places. At the same time, a moderated conversation leading to the best online resources that match it. For example, the library travel blog may choose to focus on Stonehenge for awhile, inviting "expert" content to be added from people who have been there. The blog moderator would provide additional info about weblinks and print resources for people who want to learn more.
The power of 2.0 is helping to join people with others who share their interests and ways in which haven't been seen before, potentially in a worldwide dialogue.

Start looking!

You can find Geography everywhere if you try. Where would you find this picture?