Sunday, April 25, 2010

Final Post?

Well, I did it. I started this class feeling weary of all the new technology, but managed to learn all that was required and more, without too much trouble. The copyright exam was thorough, but not too difficult. I reread many sections as I worked on the exam and found myself understanding the rules better on the second reading. It does not feel as overwhelming as it did the first time. I also felt more relaxed this week with most of my school work done. My resume was completed on Sunday and although it contains most of what I think is important, I don't know if it will be impressive to a potential employer. My experience in the field of Library Science is still quite limited, but that should change as I complete the program. I hope to find some part-time work in a library this year as I need more working experience. I hope this resume will look good enough to get that starting position. Still waiting for feedback from Prof. Allen.

The topic of discussion this week was centered on just two documents on change in education. The first was a story written in the 1930's about people resisting changes needed to survive, even when they were very obvious and the second document was the result of research on the need to incorporate 21st technologies into the curriculum in schools-the tools that students will need for the future. The relationship between the articles demonstrates the cyclical nature of change and resistance in society, and also the need to be an independent thinker that persists for needed changes in the way we live and learn. I saved these article in my Diigo account, so I can reflect on them again in the future.

So the question now is "will I continue this blog for the remainder of my graduate work?" It could be useful, as I believe it was for this class. I love the idea of a blog, but when time is short, it may not get much attention. I started a blog for my cycling activity about six weeks ago and have not posted since! I have never been a writer, so this is work for me. I do love to read what other people are blogging about though. I also read everything that Will Richardson writes about in his blog and on Twitter. He is a real role model for me in his enthusiasm, knowledge and use of web 2.0 tools. Since I began following him on Twitter, I find I use this micro-blogging platform more often. I still don't say much myself though. Will I ever become a dedicated, interesting writer? Maybe if I had more than one follower. As a school librarian, I would like to be as inspirational as Will Richardson someday, so there is my reason to continue blogging!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Almost Done

Well, it was a productive week. Completing i-SAFE certification took longer than I thought it would; its a good thing I did not procrastinate on this as it took six hours. I did not think the last half hour was necessary though and it seemed like an advertisement for the iSAFE organization.

The other project I was happy to complete was my resume. I have never liked creating them, but the timing of this project was great as I hope to have the opportunity this summer to look for a part-time job at a library. It would be incredibly useful for me to have some real experience and get to know some people in the field. I did join the Rochester Area School Librarians this week and I attended a happy hour they held at the Bar and Grill Next Door. I met some new people and talked with a few I knew for quite a while. Ben Griffin, the SLMS at Bay Trail MS is full of information and is about the friendliest guy I've met in some time. I think being a newer librarian, he is happy to help those of us that are struggling to learn and navigate within the field.

I downloaded a new bookmarking tool called Zotero this week, but I am not yet understanding how it works. I am extremely happy with Diigo though and my google reader. I don't know how I would survive this field without them. There is so much information that I want to have available to me and this is how I will do that. Reading an article like the one in the journal on Library 2.0 by Natasha Wanchek had so many links to additional resources that I had to bookmark the article so I can come back to it and continue to check into all of the links. How else would I keep up with so many sources of information? My google reader now has 25 subscriptions-the journal is my newest one, thanks to the link in the article by Natasha Wanchek. I can receive an entire magazine for free! Cool!

What is not so cool is the steady stream of news posts that discuss the job cuts affecting librarians in school and public libraries. I hope this is not going to be a lasting trend. It would not be funny if I completed another degree program in a dying field, like the textile industry in the 80's-thanks in part to President Reagan and free trade. I've worked really hard this last year and sometimes I wonder if it will be worth the time, effort and cost. Let me see some good signs...please!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tools to Play With

I was really hoping our discussion in 568 would revolve around some of the tools that we read about this week. I just love the idea of podcasting for education. I do believe that hearing someone read information can help with comprehension and connect the listener in a personal way to the intent of the message or passage in text. I love this connection when it is well done and enjoy going for long walks with my iPod to hear a book on tape. I also like being able to hear our instructor once a week in the podcast, even though I could get the information by reading the weekly materials and following the syllabus. The portability factor is also a very valuable asset, especially for people who commute to school or for students that benefit from hearing information presented in a format that can be heard again and again. Some like to listen while they get some routine housework done or get a little exercise-I know I can only sit for so long before I become restless or my eyes start to get heavy! Lastly, most younger students love this type of technology.

I also want to try using Jing as a way to capture images or web pages and share them with friends without using links. I think this will work well with Twitter and Facebook, giving me more ways to utilize these tools of communication. As an instructional tool, it seems ideal and I would like to see more examples of teachers using it.

The Copyright WebQuest was an interesting and detailed way to help students or teachers understand what copyright is and how it applies to them. I like the use of role playing to understand the concerns of different individuals with respect to copyright, (librarian, administrator, author and technophile). This is also an hands-on way to develop guidelines to follow on copyright issues.

Digital storytelling seems to be a popular tool used in several of the schools that I have visited this year. I think it is a great way to have students collaborate and create a digital representation of their work, that they can share with the school and the community through the library media center websites. This is a motivating and fun technology tool for the students.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Professional Development

Well, now that I have finished the professional development workshop assignment, I don't know if I'll ever have enough time to do it again, especially if I am working full time. It seems like this assignment took weeks to put together. Maybe if I created a power point more often, it would not be so difficult. This was my first power point and I do think it turned out OK, hopefully Susan Allen will think so anyway! I nearly forgot everything I learned when we had the tutorial on creating power points four weeks ago. This is the type of information that I think you need to use to remember. Also, learning about WebQuests was quite time consuming, but interesting. I'm surprised by the number of teachers who say they have never used one. My son told me he did one once, but did not like it. That surprised me too- they seem like a great learning tool.

This was a long day with not only the prof. dev assignment, but also with it being Easter. I had to do the Easter egg hunt with my son, which he still enjoys at eleven years of age. Then quiche to make for the family brunch. The brunch was nice, but I think we stayed too long as I have not been away from the computer with school work since returning around 3:00pm. Too tired to continue. More later!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tools On My Belt

OK, No more surfing/procrastinating...time to write some thoughts on the week. I seem to feel overwhelmed every week with regard to the amount of information I need to learn about. I want to play more with some of the more interesting tools I am learning about such as Flickr. I have my undergrad in design, so I feel I should be using my love of art, design and photography for educational purposes like presentations, lessons and to develop visual literacy skills in students. I will try to include some nice visuals in my power point.

It was great to learn more on search tools and techniques this week, as there are so many ways to find information. Searchme and TinEye were new features that I look forward to trying out when I get the chance. I also want to spend some time checking out some of the google apps that I had not heard of before, like google notebook, google groups and google alert. I did check out google news sites and was impressed with the vast coverage of news from various sources, including blogs. I bookmarked this site and expect to use it often, if not daily for news. Google also impressed me greatly with Lit Trips for education. This is a great way for students to increase their understanding and interest in a story, and also provides geographical context to the literature.

Lastly, I think I learned quite a bit about the social bookmarking tools that we are using through the readings and discussions. Most seem to prefer Diigo, but I find delicious easy to use as well. I'm not sure if it makes sense to have them both, but maybe eventually I will designate one, such as Diigo for educational information and groups, and use delicious for personal interests. I can access them both from my iPhone too, so for now I will continue to use them both. I am also continuing to add interesting sites and blogs to my google reader acct. I just need a little more leisurely reading time to enjoy them.

Off to another busy week...hop, hop, hop!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

On Line Conferences and the Social Web

This week was full of new information, mostly absorbed through online conferences. I spent a lot of time viewing and taking notes on the content of many different web 2.0 technology tools for learning. I also noted the presentation features that I liked or did not like so I might consider these features when creating my own presentation. I found I had little time to work on the power point with the readings, conferences and discussions that I needed to participate in. I also had a great deal of reading and a lesson plan to develop for another class. Hopefully the week ahead will allow me some time to work exclusively on my power point. Despite my concerns about my work load, I did feel that I learned a great deal this week and I would much rather gain as much as possible from my classes than to work for just a day and be done for the week. I wished I had more time to view online conferences and will try to come back to them again when I have some time. I also liked the article by Doug Johnson on copyright. He is all for protection of copyright-when it makes sense! I like reading about this topic from him because he admits that much of the expectations on Fair Use are unreasonable and thinks too much control is in the hands of the creator.

I also enjoyed reading Will Richardsons chapter on the Social Web and learned much more about tools that I have been using like Diigo, Delicious and Twitter. I honestly did not know what the difference was between Diigo and Delicious. It seems that Diigo is primarily about saving content and Delicious is really great for sharing links in the easiest way possible. A feature that I had figured out for myself on Diigo is the ability to find someone who has bookmarked a site that I am interested in to find more links and resources for information that I need. As Will put it, "It's like someone else doing the research for you". I always love his enthusiasm. His book will not be sold after this class is over as he has taught me so much and I need to try more of the tools and features that he has discussed in his book. Now that I have his Twitter name, I will add him to the list of people that I follow-that should be interesting. I also should check his blog this week! So much information, so little time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

WebQuests and Power Points

I made a decision, finally! The topics that I chose from are all somewhat new to me, so I need to learn them all, but know little about any. I have not read much on webquests and I do think they are a very useful tool for the students learning to use the web for research, so this is what I propose to work on. The Bernie Dodge website has so much information, that it is almost overwhelming. He is the expert on this learning tool though, so I am glad he has provided this comprehensive resource. I must admit that I am nervous about this project as it will take me a long time to put together and I have no experience with creating power points. On the bright side, I will have learned so much.

I also have been working on the iSafe modules and am at the point of implementation. I need to select my class size and grade level, which seems odd, as I do not have a class to work with. I hope I am doing this correctly? I need to get back to this program and clarify the directions. Thank goodness tomorrow will be a quiet day in my home. Weekends are a wash!