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.

Thing #17 Rollyo

Rollyo, such a simple concept. Why didn't I think of that?? Rollyo allows me to narrow down my search and only search web sites that I add to my "roll". This is a great tool to use in the classroom when you want students to search specific websites that you've preselected. This keeps some control over the quality of the content they're looking at. I personalized my search engines for recipes to include my favorite cooking websites to include our family's unique (translate-incredibly challenging) dietary needs.
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.

Thing #16 Wiki Wiki

Although wiki's are probably the ugliest thing on the web there are an incredible amount of uses for them in the classroom and school library. Princeton Public Libraries have a great example of a book lovers' wiki that was developed as part of a summer library reading program. Looking at that wiki made me want to get to my library and check out some new titles. The interesting part of this wiki was the book reviews that were submitted by members of the summer reading program. I was interested to see that there were reading incentives in the form of a raffle tickets that can be earned by reading and participating in the monthly book clubs. Even adults need an extra incentive to get us to participate sometimes! You get to read and earn restaurant gift certificates...sounds good to me!
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.

#15- Learning 2.0

As a mom of a college sophomore, A Vision of Students Today, made me think how different learning today is compared to my college years. I love how the information was presented in the video however, the overall tone was that these college kids are powerless to make changes...I'd like to see a follow up video where the message focuses on the solutions and possibilities.

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.

Thing #14 Techno-tagging

Sounds like there is a little bit of a controversy between how tagging is used on the internet. The history of tagging was discussed in the Chicago Tribune article, Tag, you're it. Tagging was invented by programmer Joshua Schachter who went on to develop Tagging, as he sees it, is people driven. People decide what content they want to tag and what tags to use rather than having advertisers decide what/how to tag something. Schachter believes that this democratizes tagging because it keeps it "people powered".
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

Thing #13 delicious tagging

Do you LOVE Common Craft as much as I do? The videos are so simple and clearly explain the current topic. Pure Genius!
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?

Thing #12 "comments anyone?"

Giving and receiving comments on blogs is a lot like being an active participant in class. Teaching a class during which no one asks questions, no one adds to the discussion and no one disagrees is a lonely business. In these situations it's easy to question whether your teaching is making a difference. Blogging is the same way. I hadn't really thought about how to encourage comments on my blog however the article 10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog has some great suggestions including asking questions, asking for comments and responding to comments when someone writes one. Anyone tried these suggestions yet? Do they work?
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.

Thing #11

It's spring break and the weather has been glorious so I'm just now sitting down to look at my "things". I took a close look at "Library Thing" and decided very quickly that I'm not a fan of the web site. I realize after looking at so many different web applications with this assignments that there are features to some sites that I don't really care for. Library Thing has too much print on the home page (and the print is small), too many tabs, too much to look at. I like web pages that are clean and well organized. I did sign up and begin building my book shelf but soon turned to Shelfari. I checked out Shelfari after hearing good things about it from classmates and immediately got pulled in. I built a shelf and had fun adding books that I've read to it. I spent some time adding tags and rating books too although I'll have to go back and do that when I have more time (when will that be?). I joined two different groups; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, and Libraries and Librarians. The Library group has a lot of interesting discussions including using Shelfari in the library, banned book week, book mold and what one book would you have in your library if you had to choose.
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.