Saturday, April 17, 2010
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.
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.
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.
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
Saturday, March 20, 2010
- OneSentence.org 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.
- WorldCat.org 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!
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.
As a librarian it would be important to let your teachers know about Rollyo and how it can be used in the classroom for research. The TeacherTube How to Video would be the perfect tool to use to show teachers how to get started.
Thinking back to the first week of class I appreciated the class wiki and the opportunity to "meet" the other members of our class.
When I'm working as a librarian I would love to try to start a book club wiki with my students and have them write reviews of the books they've read.
Great quote from The OCLC website by Rick Anderson and I couldn't agree with him more: "if our services can’t be used without training, then it’s the services that need to be fixed—not our patrons." As librarians we need to work hard to get our services and resources easily accessible for teachers and students. Michael Stephens discusses "technolust", that as librarians we need to be always mindful of what our mission and goals are to to be sure that the technology we're considering are meeting the needs of our patrons.
On Diane Chen's School Library Journal blog, Practically Paradise there has been a very emotional exchange of comments to her post "get out of my profession" in which Chen discusses her frustration with librarians who are afraid to try something new or embrace the possibility of change. Chen isn't saying that every librarian needs to be totally immersed in the web 2.0 world but that we need to be willing to look at new things, be open to possibilities and be willing to try. Complacency in any profession leads to stagnation.
I took a look at technorati and searched for blogs and posts about autism and found 721 blogs related to autsim and 183 posts. What I noticed after looking closely many of the blogs had very little to do with autism however "autism" was one of their tags. Of the top ten blogs listed four blogs were directly connected to autism. The other topics included a conservative commentary, gluten free cooking, parenting, grandparenting. The blog posts were more interesting although I like the articles I've been reading through my Google Alert better. I don't have to weed through so much.
I love looking at top 100 lists and enjoyed checking out some of the top blogs. I have some new news blogs to read during lunch this week including. Looking at some of these blog sites makes me realize that I can move past CNN and the network for my news and I think I'll find that I'm much more inflrmed about what's going on in the world.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Glad that someone thought up social bookmarking because my favorites folder is bursting at the seams. I have things printed out, saved under favorites, on my desk top and in my documents and now I can organize all this information from the web using Delicious. I can't wait to get started...only I've already run into a problem and I need some help from my fellow L2P bloggers. Did anyone else have trouble installing delicious buttons to your toolbar? When I right click I do not get the option to add links. Any ideas?
I was always confused about what name to sue when I'm blogging or commenting but the article Blogging Basics 101 helped me understand that the different reasons to use your real name vs an alias. It's frustrating to me to see comment left by people who use an alias and leave really rude, or insensitive comments (I see that a lot on news web sites) Another blog I like to follow is Teaching All Students and left a comment there for the first time.
I'd like to continue using Shelfari personally to get recommendations for books to read and keep up with some of the groups there. I'd like to introduce my students to Shelfari this spring and then add it as an option to their summer reading assignment. I'm always looking for ways to encourage my students and their parents to read together at home and to really share positive reading experiences together. This would be a very motivating way to keep track of the books they read at home.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
okay....had a wordle but I hit a tab and it disappeared! Ahh the frustration of technology. I've gone back to the website to remake my wordle but the web page is down...won't make my collage. A good example of how a good activity can go bad. Same thing happened today during class when my Smartboard wouldn't work right before a lesson.
I had a great time exploring all the image generators....I'm glad to have a reason to play around with all of this and learn how to use them. Most of these image generators are very easy to use and require just a few minutes and a little bit of creativity. The trading card generator was easy to use and has 100 applications in the classroom; any unit we study can be made into a trading card. Right now we are reading a story about life in a pond. My students could each choose an animal that lives in the pond and create a trading card. We can use Wordle as a prereading activity as we build our background knowledge. As a small group activity the students can brainstorm words that relate to the new topic and create a word cloud with their words. Image Chef is just plain fun!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
If that's true then building your "circle of the wise" can be an important way to manage the information that comes your way on the web and let's you know what the best in the field are thinking and talking about. I'm finding I like my blog dashboard better for keeping up with the blogs I'm following better than the the Google Reader. My blog dashboard is just simpler and cleaner.
I found a lot of interesting blogs to look atEdublog Awards found lots of blogs to add to my dashboard: Teaching All Students is a blog about the use of assistive technology in the special education classroom Free Technology for Teachers is a blog that reviews free technology and provides suggestion for integrating it into the classroom. John Spencer:Musings from a Not-So-Master Teacher has a funny post about his proposed "TAD Talks". Tad being Ted's (from Ted Talks) younger, underachieving brother. I appreciate his self deprecating sense of humor.
I like to use Technorati to search for new Blogs to read. I'm finding over and over that I prefer blogs, readers and websites that are well organized (no surprise), visually clean with columns clearly well defined and without an overwhelming amount of print or advertisements. The Top 100 list is especially helpful due to the tabs on the side indicating what blog's category (ie "top 100 political blog)
I don't like Syndic8.com. I'm sure if I were stuck in an airport with nothing but Syndic8 to search I could keep busy for hours (I'm a news junkie) but at first it didn't hold my interest.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Just saw the Google ad during the Super Bowl...so creative and incredibly adorable. My older daughter is going to study abroad in Paris next year so it really made me smile. I love smart advertising.
I added iGoogle as my homepage and customized it with news links, recipes, art, daily quotes, weather, a pet hamster :) and top rated YouTube videos. I already can see that having iGoogle as my home page will be both helpful and a distraction. When I sit down to work at my computer I usually check a few web sites and emails before I start working. Now my distractions are well organized. Interesting quote from quote of the day;
"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." - Jim Rohn
I signed up for a Google Alert to receive relevant Google results about "autism". This will be helpful in keeping up with current information on topics of interest. I'll add other alerts if I like the results.
I've been using Google's Picasa ever since I've been taking digital pictures and appreciate the simplicity and ease of use. It's very intuitive and is visually well laid out and I'm able to do a lot of editing to my pictures there. I downloaded my first Picasa Web Album without too much difficulty and made a mosaic of some of my pictures.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Recently, I was catching up on the news on the MSNBC website and came across a great interactive map of Haiti (couldn't access it at school) that combined a Google map with video, photos and articles. It really gave you a sense of where the news was coming from and when they were combined with images it provided comprehensive information.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Setting up a blog was like every other thing I do these days with new technology. I'm not sure what I'm doing, I take it a step at a time, go back and read the directions if it's not working and then I surprise myself when it works out.
The habit that comes easiest for me is habit #2, Accept Responsibility for Your Own Learning. Whether it's at work or in my personal life I seek out ways to keep learning and become better at what I do. As my role as a special education teacher has changed over the years I have sought out ways to continue learning including seeking out staff development, learning from co-workers or observing successful classroom teachers.
I don't always "begin with the end in mind" (habit #1), and as a life long learner I don't alway think that is a bad thing. Some learning, like going back to school to get my library certification, has a very clear end in mind. For me, sometimes the end doesn't become clear until I've learned a little. Like the 23 Things. I have no idea what I'll be learning but somewhere along the end will become clear....I think.
"I dare say you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." -Lewis Carroll
I have no idea what Web 2.0 is or even one of the "23 Things" but I'm ready for a new challenge.