Thursday, August 30, 2007

Week 9 #23 - Summary - Yeah I made it!

This has been an amazing journey with lots of surprises. Now that the new school year is about to begin, I have been rejuvenated to share all this fun stuff. Our computer aide is really going to fall in love with everything. I can't wait to present the program in our first staff meeting and invite our entire staff to embark on their own journey.

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

My favorite discoveries were Image Generators and Flickr. I believe it is the kid in me.

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

It has forced me to stop and try to think outside of the box. I am sometimes a little timid when coming up with ideas for fear that they will either fail or flop.'s long as I learn something!

Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

I did not think that the majority of these tools could be used in the elementary setting. Kids certainly couldn't handle this. Once I stepped out of the above box and put things in a child's perspective, I realized that there was something for everyone, every age. It just means a little more effort may be required.

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

I would have liked a blog/site that we could go to ask questions and view responses. The Team was always just an email away but I would have enjoyed reading what others were questioning. The Sandbox did have the "Water Cooler" section that is being designed. I think it will become a popular hangout.

If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?

Absolutely. Technology is always going to be moving forward. Weren't 45's the rage not too long ago?

How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote CSLA learning activities?


Irmapince - you can finally go to sleep
libladylib - thank you for "nudging" me into this

Week 9 #22 - ebooks and Audio Books

Working in an elementary school library, I discovered ebooks very quickly. It was a way for me to "read" a lot of the new books without viewing them. I could listen to a couple as I was preparing dinner or cutting out bulletin board displays. Sometimes I would get distracted because I wanted to view the pictures as well. Our school has also used them to further reinforce necessary skills for our Special Education classes, RSP program and our ESL students. Tumblebooks is not a free source but offers a wonderful selection of children's books.

Week 9 #21 - Podcasts

I discovered podcasting about 6 months ago. The developer of our district webpage program, EdWeb, was updating our current version and asked my opinion on its value to our staff. One of the elementary teachers within our district was also testing its benefits. He uploaded his using an iPod. I, however, not owning one nor a microphone, investigated other options for creating a podcast. GabCast was a great alternative for me. I created a free account. Using a telephone and connecting to a specific voice mail, I was able to record and save my podcast. The message was saved and easily accessed via their website. GabCast gave me the opportunity to stay within my budget (zero), create a podcast easily within my classroom without district filters via the telephone, and post them on my web page. So easy.

It would be a great opportunity to collaborate with teachers and align their curriculum with library book talks. One of the ways we are looking into is to have students read a Social Studies supplemental reading, write a review, record their review and post it as a podcast on the class and library web pages. These books would also be "featured" in the library.

Here is an example of a GabCast podcast:

Gabcast! Podcast test #1

Week 9 #20 - Discover YouTube

I became aware of YouTube when my kids set up their MySpace accounts. They were always calling me into view another video that they found. Since then I am always looking at different things. There are some great positive library videos out there.
I just couldn't stop at just one I have three.

#1 - I couldn't pass it up. It's always fun when you find a family member or someone you know featured in an online video. And yet, freaky.

#2 - I just love the imagery in this video. Libraries, books and reading really do make a difference!

#3 - Just for fun. I laugh every time I see this video.

Unfortunately, in addition to some really great stuff there is a tremendous amount of inappropriate material as well. YouTube would have to be very closely monitored in order for any filtering system to allow it's viewing. Perhaps there could be some sort of view only tag that districts could embed into a video link so that you could not wander from its location. Not sure this would be accepted by districts either. Many, like our own, have cut so many budgets that there are barely enough tech reps to handle phone issues let alone deal with the Internet issues.

Week 8 #19 - Library Thing

This is a great tool. What a wonderful way to showcase titles on a library website. It sure was 100 times easier than creating a slideshow. 10 minutes versus 10 hours per book!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Week 8 #18 - Online productivity

I love Zoho. I can't wait to share this with our 6th grade teachers. Currently our district allows for students to save to a "w" drive. However, this drive is stored on a district server so therefore not accessible from home. Many of the students save their work to disks or flash drives(which are not longer allowed) to upload to their "w" folder. Often their Word version is not compatable with the school's or they saved their file onto a non Rewritable CD. This would solve all of these problems. A student could access their documents from any on-line computer and modify to their heart's content. Filters and parental consent would be an obstacle to address, but well worth the effort.

Ah...I'm figuring out these wikis

Today while waiting in a doctor's office I thought of a way that we could introduce wikis into the classroom. I know that there are multitudes of applications but I need to take baby steps to get familiar with everything. Every year our GATE students are responsible for creating a play to present to the entire school. I am not part of the GATE instruction; however they meet weekly in the library on Friday afternoons. Quite frequently I am present re-shelving the weeks returns or cataloguing. I have the opportunity to observe.

The students decide upon a theme, revolving around a subject supplied by the teacher. They are responsible for dividing into groups and electing individuals to be in charge. For example, they would select a Director (overall coordinator), props (with one student in charge), script (with one student in charge), etc.

The wiki could be created by the teacher to coordinate every one's efforts for the production as a whole. Each individual group could add their link to wiki their individual progress. The group managers would be able to see how the group was working within their designated categories and the teacher would be able to oversee everyone...stepping as needed. It could be done quickly rather than on a weekly basis.

Sometimes it is a little more intimidating for me to step outside of the box. Oh...another flash as I type....I will post this in the "sandbox".