Thursday, December 17, 2009

RSS, etc. -- Thing 7

I didn't have to set up an account in Google Reader - when I went to that link from the 17 Things blog, it opened up my already-established account (I guess since I have a Google account, that was already included). And it showed that I already could "read" all the blogs of the colleagues I'm following for this 17 Things project.

I added three others:
  • Blue Skunk Blog (Doug Johnson, of the Mankato (MN) public schools)
  • Ed. Week
  • Book Blogs - a place where book lovers share reviews, recommendations, etc. Bliss!

So -- I think this would be a good way to keep up with some people's progress, work, thoughts, etc. -- but as I keep gathering more and more of these "things", I do wonder when I'll have time to keep up. Theoretically this will all make "keeping up" easier and more efficient - and I believe it will -- but since I've done very little in the way of keeping up with other people's work and ideas in the past and still felt very busy, how will I add this to my plate?

I've heard other librarians say that they devote one period per day to their own professional development. Could I do that? Shut the door and just read stuff?

Weebly website - Thing 6

After working with Frontpage for several years to create and edit the RBHS District website -- and after struggling with an online class to learn Dreamweaver so that I can introduce more "bells and whistles" into the district site, this was my first experience with an online web creation tool. My impressions:
  • the result is pretty and professional-looking (kind of like how PowerPoint improved the look of classroom presentations over the previous hand-written overheads or typed-up (or even word-processed) outlines)
  • The options for layout are limited. For example, I wanted to have four columns of photos, but was limited to a 2-column layout. And adding more rows to the "table" of columns wasn't very easy. I did figure out how to split each column into two columns (resulting in four narrower total columns), but text had to wrap, as the width of each column is pre-set. In other words, the webpage creator is limited to using design specifications pre-set by the creator of the Weebly program. This was a bit frustrating.
  • Adding pages was easy. Linking between pages was easy.
  • Linking one word on a page to a section further down that page was not possible. (creating targets). On one of my pages, which will be very long if I complete it, targets would make navigation on that page much quicker and easier.

I will probably use a free webpage creation tool now and then -- especially if I'm helping a teacher to create a Curriculum Page - that way they can update links and resources easily as they adapt the lesson for future classes.

The limitations make it less likely that I will use it for the district website -- but then, I'm hoping we'll be going to a content management system for that site.

By the way, my weebly site is:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thing 5 - Tweet!

My Twitter name is fritzdoreen

1. I found it very hard to find people that I was looking for - so just ended up signing up for almost-anybody. How do you know their twitter name to be able to find them? How do you know if they even HAVE a Twitter account? There are gurus in the world of educational technology, and in school librarianship, that I might want to follow, but I spent quite a while looking for them - even went to some of their websites trying to find a reference to their Twitter identity, and gave up.

1.b - I am following the following people:
  • Creative Commons (find out more about using content responsibly?)
  • Mindy Null - Downers Grove South librarian (but no content in her twitter account yet)
  • Kathy Kreps - another west suburban H.S. librarian -- also just getting started in this Twitter stuff
  • Alicia Duell
  • Joyce Valenza - ed tech person
  • Chris Anderson - the TEd guy?
  • somebody called Delicious Over 50 - sounded like this person is "into" educational technology
  • Also 4Libraries - a school librarian - don't know much more about this person

2. The article about using Twitter in education sounded interesting, but some of the reasons people have liked Twitter (getting lots of ideas in a hurry) I would accomplish using my listserv.

3. Some of the objections to Twitter (hearing about what somebody barbecued for dinner) are similar to my objections to Facebook. I'm tired of hearing that somebody is tired -- or had a rough day -- or they're cooking this or that for dinner. The status updates (really about the only thing I use FB for) become very repetitive for some people -- like they don't know what else to say, but feel compelled to say SOMETHING.

4. No, I don't think I'll use this tool. I'm all set up, so I can check it now and then, but I see it mostly as a time-waster.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thing 4: Google Docs / Calendar

We have already experimented with using Google Calendar in the library - for our shared calendars (trying to keep track of where everyone is supposed to be every day and every period is sometimes a challenge!). Unfortunately, we can't seem to get Noelle or Karen to the point where they can view the calendar, so Alicia and I have to update it and then print it out -- somewhat defeating the purpose.

The Tech Committee had toyed with the idea of using Gmail to replace our school's email - leading to shared documents and other "cloud computing" applications. BUT - - - this would lead to other restrictions, such as a diminished address book (dependent on users to maintain the link to the whole school, etc.), possible leakage to non-RB people for in-house announcements, etc.. We concluded that further study is warranted . . .

But Google Docs has definite possibilities in terms of shared editing of documents -- whether it be for tech planning, lesson planning, display ideas, committee activities, or whatever. I love the idea of not keeping track of which version I'm looking at, of not remembering what pile on my desk I put that thing I needed to do, etc. etc. It will be both fun and interesting to explore the use of this new tool in my professional life.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dee-Lish-Us way to save and share info

So - my Delicious username is fritzdoreen Add me to your network!
I added a few sites that I visit a lot - some of the gurus of educational technology and information literacy. Also some organizations useful for school librarians and educational technologists.

And just for grins, I added the Internet Public Library, which I hardly ever use any more. Maybe I'll find that information is more readily available via a simple Google search. But not that many years ago, this was a wonderful resource for reference assistance using tools not available in all libraries. Hmmm. Maybe another result of the exponential growth of credible (and not-so) information available on the Web.

I'd be interested in hearing how the information available on the Internet has changed other teacher's professional lives -- how do you find good, realiable, up-to-date information, new lesson ideas, resources, and other tools for teaching (and learning)?

Does the library have a role in helping you to find and organize this type of information? For example, did you know about the page on our website which lists curricular resources? Do you ever use it? Should it be updated? Should it be available, but in a different format (like Delicious)? Your thoughts and input, please . . .

Thing 2 updates

Blogs that I am following:
  • Jessica Mauritzen ("I am chewing on 17 things")
  • Noelle Bajohr ("C'est Moi"),
  • Jame Holt ("Chew N Show")
  • Patty Sarkady ("Technology in Education")
  • Dan Mancoff ("Mancoff Chews on This").

Tags I have used so far include:
  • libraries
  • librarians
  • organizing information
  • role of librarian
  • professional
  • skills
  • technology
  • tools

Friday, November 13, 2009

Educators' and librarians' role

This video includes some provocative statements about how we educators are obligated to become citizens of the online information community in order to prepare our students for the society needs of their future.
When information is over-abundant, what need is there for a library or librarians? When people can organize their own information using tools like Delicious, RSS feeds, and so on, how can we support people's efforts to find, organize, and use information?

Why Not?

How could I call myself the Department Chair of Library and INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY if I didn't participate in this new technology initiative? I look forward to learning new skills, new tools for learning, and finding ways to use these new tools with teachers, students, and others in our learning community. And I look forward to working with all the other "students" in this "class" - as we learn and grow professionally together.