Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Week Eight, Thing Ninteen

I was already a bit familiar with Library Thing, due to "Thing Eleven", but I did not create an account at that time, so this has been fun.

For my Library Thing list, I am still focusing on the Dust Bowl, but I picked a mixture of nonfiction and fiction because I feel that this will help me to reach more students. The books I have selected can be found here.
(You may have to click on the collection "Dust Bowl Webquest Support Texts" to see them)

Just for fun, I also made a list of some of my favorite books, some YA and some adult, a few poetry collections, but all wonderful. If you are interested, those can be found under "favorites" in my catalog.

This site is remarkably similar to one I discovered last year, I don't know if I can link the list that I created there, but I'll try (again, these are just books I have read/enjoy, not related in any way to my webquest).

Here are my GoodReads books.

Has anyone else used GoodReads? I think I prefer it to Library Thing, actually, and I can't believe I have forgotten about it all this time.

Week Eight, Thing Eighteen

Success!!! The post below is posted directly from my Zoho took some tweaking, but once I clicked the right place, it was really easy...

I feel very tech savvy at the moment. Go me!

blog post

Ok, so I am going to fiddle with this and attempt to post my week eight, thing eighteen blog here.

Zoho Writer seems really user-friendly, and the first thing I have noticed is how closely the toolbar mirrors the Microsoft office toolbar.  We had a training session on SMART boards and other technology at my school last week, and the trainer mentioned that a lot of the add on technology has modeled itself on the Office layout, since most users are more familiar with that.

I really like the templates available through Zoho, and I think those could come in handy in the future.

Overall, this is a fairly easy technology, and I can certainly see the value of being able to have a "living" document that is accessable to more than one user at a time: I can really see the application of this tool for businesses and corporate meetings.  Perhaps something like Zoho can be used in schools to facilitate team teaching between teachers of different subjects/grades, or even between teachers at different schools.  I think the online education program in my state could utilize this technology, so that all students taking an online high school course would have access to ALL the different teachers' works. try to post to my blog!

Week Eight, Thing Eighteen

Let's see if this works...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Week Seven, Thing Seventeen

Here's the link to a web quest I have just created which utilizes my Rollyo page...I may make modifications before I use it with my students. The research topic is the Dust Bowl.

EDIT: After checking the link, it appears that the most recent webquest is displayed there, not the one I created...

I am a bit confused how to make this work...any suggestions? I have saved the webquest as a file, but how can I attach it here?

I have posted the file for the webquest at in the "sandbox". Since I am struggling with attaching a file to my blog, that would be the best way to access my webquest.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Week Seven, Thing Sixteen

First, I have to say that I am a bit ashamed with myself that I never sat down and put two and two together...I have been aware of and using wikis since I started this degree last year, and yet it never clicked that this is what Wikipedia is. Despite my shame, I now have even better ammunition when I forbid my students from using Wikipedia to do research...

Ok, embarrassment aside, but still talking about Wikipedia. I was a bit turned off by the layout of the St. Joseph County Library page, since it so closely resembles Wikipedia. I think, for me at least, the similarity in lay out sends the message to me that this information may be as potentially inaccurate as that on Wikipedia. Even in a quick and easy Wiki, layout matters and visual appeal can go a long way to make a page work for users.

I LOVE the sample literary circle Wiki for 10th grade English students. In fact, before looking at this page, I had already begun to conceive of a very similar idea for my middle school students. I hadn't thought about quite how to structure such an assignment, but this site has given me some great ideas. Now I just need to decide how to implement this: in small groups as a project, or as the whole class during a certain novel/unit.

Out of the classroom and into the media center, I could also see a lot of use for Wikis. For example, there could be a book recommendation Wiki for a school library, where students and staff could edit and post their opinions about different materials found in the library. For a public school, the Wiki would need to be constantly moderated by either the librarian or another adult, to make sure the postings are appropriate for school and district policy (no foul language, etc).

Bottom line is: I love the idea of a public Wiki, and I WILL be utilizing this technology with my students this year and in the future.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Week Six, Thing Fourteen and Fifteen

Technorati is an interesting tool. I certainly found more blogs covering a greater number of topics this way than my usual browsing technique, to click "next blog" at the top of my own blog page and scroll through random works rather aimlessly.

As far as tagging goes, it seems like a fairly positive thing. The only draw back I can see is that tags can be whatever the author thinks they should be: there is no shared vocabulary (or if there is, not one that is shared by everyone). It seems that for tagging to be most efficient, there should be set tag terms (much like the vocabulary for cataloging and searching) so that bloggers who choose to tag their work can maximize the effectiveness of the tag for other readers. I have absolutely no idea how such a list could be put into place, considering the global and relatively unmoderated nature of blogs and blogging, but if there were a way, it would be really useful.

It's funny, but as much as I have been hearing and using the term "libraries 2.0", I haven't really stopped to think about what this means. The term, to me, completely demonstrates the shift that not only libraries, but popular culture, have undergone in recent years. Libraries are no longer thought of solely as repositories of books under the care of matronly librarians: now, patrons expect to be greeted with technology such as internet use, tutorials, video presentations, and basic word processing. Gone are the days of a tangible card catalog, gone are the days on written records. The library holdings can be accessed via online databases, and the circulation desk uses programs such as Destiny and Athena to keep track of the materials in and out of the library.

The technologies that typify 2.0, however, are icing on the cake: library blogs maintained for the entertainment of others, or to provide readers' advisory services, tagging, bookmarks, and Flickr all being used to better serve the community in an unlimited variety of ways. Library 2.0 applications offer unlimited uses, and I am excited to be starting my library career at a time when these technologies are available and increasing constantly.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Week Six, Thing Thirteen

I can certainly see advantages to Just speaking for me as an individual, I have three computers that I regularly use: my desktop, my school desktop, and my laptop. Although all my personal bookmarks are on my home desktop, I utilize all three computers for lesson planning and assignment creation, and I am constantly confused as to which computer has which bookmarks saved. Up till now, the way I have worked around this has been to email useful links to myself, and then bookmark them on each of my three computers. There are MANY more useful things I could be doing with my time, so I think I may explore further, at least for my teaching-related bookmarks. I don't often bookmark things for my life outside the classroom, so I don't think I would see a use otherwise.

I am considering using this tool instead of the Rollyo search roll I created when my students conduct their might be easier to direct them to a set of bookmarks rather than a site-specific search engine...I have over a month until I had planned to implement the lesson, so I have some time to continue experimenting before I make my decision.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Week Five, Thing Twelve

Rollyo is my new favorite technology tool. I love that I was able to create a list based around the Dust Bowl and link all the great resources to one place. My students will be reading "Out of the Dust" in a few weeks, and I created my search roll with the intention of designing a webquest around the links for my classes...hooray for killing two birds with one stone!

Here's the link to my search roll

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Week Five, Thing Eleven

For this activity I explored an "honorable mention" in the category of books, found here

Oh. My. Goodness. If I had found this site (had it existed) when I was a small child, I would have been in heaven! I used to pretend I owned a library, and I frequently counted, categorized, and made lists of the titles and authors that I owned (I remember being particularly proud that I had over 500 books in elementary school). Library Thing allows users to catalog their own personal collections of books. It's instant (no typing in MARC records, hooray!) since it pulls cataloging information from publishers and libraries all over the world.

Once you have added books, you can share your lists and cross reference with other users, making this a book club and library system rolled in to one.