Saturday, April 17, 2010


It's been a great journey through the world of "23 Things". Here are my thoughts on my experience.
Favorite Discovery?
I enjoyed looking at award winning blogs from educators and librarians from around the world. When I'm learning something new I always look for those people who are doing it well. I found a lot of great blogs to follow by looking at the award winning Edublogs.

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
I've always enjoyed learning about new technology but 23 Things has helped me learn how to apply it in the classroom to increase student achievement. I have a SMART Board and six student computers in my classroom and I have an obligation to my students to bring web 2.0 technology into the classroom. I am going to continue looking for ways to bring more and more technology into my classroom.

Unexpected Outcomes?
While I know I enjoy working on the computer I'm surprised how much I enjoyed sitting down to work on 23 Things and surprised how long it took me to complete some of the "things".
Improvements to 23 Things? How disappointing that we can't access Library2Play, our own blogs or many of the web 2.0 tools on our district computers. I can see that this group of future librarians is going to shake things up in the district as we advocate for our teachers and students.

If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate? You bet!! We learned a little bit about a lot of things but I think next I'd like to learn a lot about a few things. I'd like to focus on 3-4 web 2.0 tools and really learn a variety of ways to apply them to classroom learning.

How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities?
23 Things opened my eyes to the power of web 2.0 tools for the classroom.

Thing #22 NING, no longer free

Just announced this week, Ning will no longer be free and they will be phasing out this option. Looks like teachers and librarians will need to find a new option. You can read about their rational here. Steve Hargadon, who created Classroom 2.0 Ning blogged about this on his blog about the changes to Ning including a link to a Google doc to post alternative networking options.

I took a close look at the Teacher Librarian Ning that was started by Joyce Valenza (who seems to be in the middle of all things library) Currently there are a lot of resources about the benefits of a well staffed library to student achievement including the video below.

Find more videos like this on TLNing

There are also a wide variety of examples of student work, a discussion boards to exchange ideas and a calendar of events throughout the country.

Thing #21 Podcasts and Video Casts

Creating podcasts and videocasts are a great way for students to demonstrate learning. Photostory is so simple to use and is accessible on our school network computers. I created this project in less than 15 minutes with great results. Because of its simplicity, Photostory can be used with younger students. Students need to be sure to use images and music that is not copyrighted. They can find images from Creative Commons and can choose music from Photostory to include with their project.

I have my iTunes account set to automatically download several podcasts onto my iPod including This American Life (from Chicago Public Radio) and The Moth. I love to listen to these in long car rides.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Free Stuff!

I just found this on the internet and thought I'd share it. The Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book by Terry Freedman is a free ebook filled with a ton of ideas, information and projects that use web 2.0 technology!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thing #20 YouTube and TeacherTube

TeacherTube and YouTube are two video sharing sites that teachers can use to enhance instruction. TeacherTube was developed specifically for educational use that has video, audio, documents and photos and can be accessed in most districts. In my classroom I use videos from United Streaming. This year I have a SMART Board in my classroom and seeing the videos on a larger screen has made showing videos more effective and engaging. Teachers can also provide a link to the video on her class web page so that students can access the video outside the classroom for reinforcement or studying. This helps all the students in the class including English language learners or those students with special learning needs. I found this video about using technology in the classroom on TeacherTube.

Thing #19 I know what I'm doing for the rest of the night! :)

There's something about Awards lists and top 100 lists that makes me very happy. It's like being in a really good bookstore and sitting down and spending the afternoon browsing. Someone has already done the work for me and compiled a great list of web resources and websites. Here are some of the things from the Web 2.0 Awards I found that were interesting if not totally random:
  • A compilation of one sentence stories. A one sentence story is a great writing assignment however there is quite a mix of content with these stories.
  • My girls have been buying t-shirts from Threadless for years. It was great to see it as the top retailer in the Web Award list. Threadless is a "community based t-shirt company with an ongoing, open call for designs submissions" People submit t-shirt designs and visitors to the web site vote on the design. An art teacher could use this web site with students and students could create a design and submit it for consideration.
  • UrbanSpoon has restaurant listings with reviews and ratings from for restaurants in cities and towns around the world. I'm sure that there's an educational application but I also love websites like this because I'm frequently away for weekends away in different cities.
  • I was excited to take a look at Picnik, a photos and digital image website but ended up being disappointed. It was recently acquired by Google and it's well organized and easy to use however most of the really interesting editing features require a premium membership that you pay for. Disappointing. I still use Google's Picassa to organize and edit my photos and have been happy with it. It's fee,easy to use and well laid out, like most Google products.
  • is a network of library content and services from around the world. There are over 10,000 libraries currently connected to this web site.

Lots of great web sites to look at!

Thing #18 Google Docs

Guess what? There's a CommonCraft video for Google Docs that simply and clearly explains how Google Docs work and the advantages for using it.
I looked at both Open Office and Google Docs and prefer Google. I like the simplicity of the page and the fact that I don't have to down load anything.
As a special education teacher I am frequently working on paperwork, lessons, and curriculum materials on several different computers and often have a several different versions spread between three different computers, memory sticks and disks. With Google Docs I can access my work from any computer and always have the most current.
After learning about Google Docs I've had a real paradigm shift in how we work in collaborative groups and I'm planning on using Google Docs for my next group project for class.