Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thing 23 - I Did It!

1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

I absolutely enjoyed BigHugeLabs and mashups, Delicious, LibraryThing, PhotoStory, and all of the online image creators (http://www.imagechef.com/). I know I will be using PhotoStory with my class in various ways. I will also let students play with mashups and online image creators. They will find this as a fun treat.

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

This program helped me learn a lot of neat things that I can do on the Internet that I never knew existed. Although I won't be able to implement all Things in my classroom, I have this blog to refer back to what I did when I become a librarian. I have also saved Library 2 Play blog on my Delicious account so I will know where to find it if I ever need a refresher. Referring to the Web 2.0 Awards periodically will also help me continue to grow as a teacher/librarian.

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

I was really surprised at how many things Google has to offer. I created a calendar that I plan to use from now on. I also created a request form for parent-teacher conferences where parents can request a conference just by submitting the form. I was also surprised at how much I did not like Things 8 and 9.

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

I'm not too sure how to answer this question. I've never had a class like this and I hope that in the future there will be more classes similar to this one or in the same format.

5. If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?

Of course, YES! (That;s my favorite line from the movie True Lies.) Even though it was time-consuming, I learned a lot and my lessons will most definitely have more technology integration thanks to this program.

6. 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?

AWAKENING! That's my word because I feel I woke up. I never knew so many things existed in the Internet. So many things that can be implemented in the classroom or library.

7. Commenting - This is veryimportant for a community to continue to grow. I'm a person of few words, so this is kind of hard for me to do. But I'm learning!!!

Thing 22 - Ning

A Ning is a social website and social network people can join based on their interests and passions. I check out Ning for Teachers which is http://teacherlingo.com/. This includes blogs from teachers who share their thoughts and ideas. This site has a tab where you can find teachers. You can also find free lessons on many subjects for various grade levels. I think this site will be useful for all teachers. Teachers from a school or grade level can join and share their thoughts and ideas with each other. It's always nice to know that there are others who share your stress and bad days.

I also like Teacher Librarian Ning http://teacherlibrarian.ning.com/. You can seek advice from experienced librarians. When I become a librarian, I will be using this Ning to communicate with other librarians. For now, I will be using Ning for Teachers. :)

Thing 21 - Podcasts and Videocasts

I liked using PhotoStory. One idea I had for using in the classroom is to have students write a story and then illustrate. The teacher can scan the illustration into the computer and create a photostory. The student then narrates his/her own story to share with the class. Kiddos will have a lot of fun with this.

I created a PhotoStory of my trip to China. Check it out. It took FOREVER to upload this video. Is it because it is 5 minutes long?

Thing 20 - YouTube and TeacherTube

Having access to so many videos in so many categories is a good thing. The videos can be used to reinforce a lesson to students or to make a point across to faculty. I know for a fact that YouTube is blocked by my district, but TeacherTube is available.
On YouTube I found a video about the importance of teaching technology to students. It is done in a very cool way. Check it out!

In TeacherTube I searched for Science videos. I found a really cool video about the Water Cycle. It is a song with a catchy tune. I know my students will like the song and it will serve as reinforcement after learning the Water Cycle.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thing 19 - Web 2.0 Awards

Wow! I had no idea there were so many categories in Web 2.0. http://www.seomoz.org/web2.0/short
To start, I think Technorati should have received first place in News and Blog Guides.

I explored many of the sites. I really like Lulu where you can publish your own books, photo books, and calendars. Then you can sell them on the same site and buy other books, all in the very same site.

I already use Pandora for music and was not surprised that it made the list. I like Pandora a lot. I also already use MyXer to download ringtones for my phone. I was pleasantly surprised to see it on the list. I know students would love this site if they don't already know about it.

My favorite was Cocktail Builder. My husband and I like to think of ourselves as "bartenders" and mix our own drinks at home. We experiment at home but never actually share the concoctions with anyone. Having a web site with all kinds of drink recipes will actually help us improve our mixing skills! Teachers and Librarians can use this site to help them unwind after a hectic week!

Thing 18 - Google Docs

I chose to explore Google Docs because I already have an account and I did not have to download anything. It has the same features as Microsoft Office. If you can't afford to buy Microsoft Office, then you can easily use Google Docs. It saves your work under your account. You can also share your documents with others and they can edit them. (Kind of like a wiki.) The only thing that I did not like was that the Spanish accent keys do not work in Google Docs. My students' parents are Spanish speaking and I need to be able to apply Spanish accent keys. Since I am a teacher, I went ahead and created a Conference Request form for parents to use when they want to request a conference with me. I hope they have Internet access and will be able to use the form. The form is in Spanish and here is the link.

I still prefer to use Microsoft Office, but I will use Google Docs whenever I have to share documents with others.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thing 17 - Rollyo

I was frustrated with Rollyo because it was working very slow. Once I got past my frustration I was able to appreciate what Rollyo has to offer. It is a good site for teachers/librarians to set up search engines for students that will limit their search to trusted websites. It will save students a lot of time and meaningful research will be done. Before you read any further, please understand that I do believe Rollyo is a powerful resources for teachers, librarians, and students.

Since I have a unit in which my second graders research one historical person, I decided to create my searchroll on historical people. This was hard because I did a search for other searchrolls on historical people and didn't find any. Since I usually have students research on the web sites that the district provides, I tried to add some of those sites to my searchroll. Lo and behold, most of them needed userids and passwords because, of course, I am working offline and not in district right now. So I couldn't do that. I really don't know of any kid-friendly sites that have information on important historical figures, so if any of you out there do, please add a comment and let me know. I got through the assignment and created a searchroll but I am not too proud of it. I got the groundwork done. When I learn of more trusted sites, I will add them to my searchroll. Here's what I've got so far.

Thing 16 - Wikis

Wikis are a great communication tool. I like the feature that only one person can edit the page at a time. Wikis can be used to communicate with parents informally about upcoming events or where parents can post general questions that the teacher/librarian can answer. I also think wikis would be helpful during or after a staff development. Teachers can provide ideas and other resources for using materials or simply discuss what has been learned in the staff development.

I teach second grade so it's kind of hard to implement some of the ideas provided in the blog, such as taking notes on the wiki. I still think I could use a wiki with my class. I teach a unit where each student researches an important figure in American history. The unit is about 8 weeks long and is concluded with a Living Museum of Historical People. Anyway, as students learn facts about their person, they can add them to the class wiki for others to read. They can do this when it is their turn at the computer center. I think they will have more fun reading about other student's person on the computer than simply hearing them talk. I will implement this this fall and I will post an update on how the wiki worked in my classroom!

Thing 15 - Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and the Future of Libraries

The video A Vision of Students Today was an eye-opener. Even though I could relate to some of the things students wrote, I didn't realize how much of an information era we are in until I saw the video. One quote that was stated was "If students learn what they do, what are they learning sitting here?" It makes me think twice about teaching "from the chalkboard." Other quotes that were intriguing were about writing 42 pages for class but 500 pages for e-mails, reading 8 books but 2300 web pages and 1200 Facebook profiles. That means that most students would rather read material on-line than in a book. That's where blogs, wikis, and podcast come in.

After reading the articles I realized that the library is ever-changing. Some articles called it a community or an experience. Sure, we still have books in our catalogs, but that is not the only material we should have for our patrons. The library must evolve and provide patrons with what they are interested in. This reminds me of Ranganathan's 5 Lawa of Library Science. The fifth law is "The library is a growing organism." Even Ranganathan knew that times change, people change, and technology changes and the library must change right on with them. We don't want people bypass the library as an archives of books, but to be drawn to it as the place to be in the information age.

Thing 14 - Technorati

Even though the pages of Technorati are crowded and distracting, I wish I would have known about this site when I was working on Things 8 and 9. I found this site helpful when searching for blogs (something I had trouble doing when I was setting up my Google Reader.) When searching School Library Learning 2.0 I did get different results. It was interesting.

I think tagging is a good feature. It helps you find information that is relevant to you. I do think it is better for users to add tags than for publishers to do it. It is more personal that way. Tags make it easier to search for information.

Thing 13 - Delicious

I have found a web site that I will use everyday. That's http://delicious.com/
Delicious is a social bookmarking site that works similar to Favorites on the tool bar. I like this feature because you can save your bookmarks on this site and access them from any computer. I have different bookmarks saved on 3 different computers and I always forget to save favorites. Then, when I need a site that is saved on my school computer, I get so mad at myself for not saving favorites. Now I don't have to. I can have all my bookmarks in one place! Another feature I like is that you can search for others' bookmarks and add people to your network. I also like that it added a toolbar on my web browser and my bookmarks are just a click away. Here is what I have so far:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thing 12 - Commenting

I read the blog about using an alias or your real name when commenting. It was very interesting. People choose to use an alias because there may be many people with their same name. I won’t have a problem with my name because it is very unique. I got to thinking that with students we should recommend that they use an alias when they are posting comments to blogs that belong to people they don’t know.

I also read the 10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog. One of the techniques mentioned was to invite comments. I never thought this would be necessary because the link to post a comment is right there. But the author stated that he received more comments when he asked for them. The author also stated that we need to interact with the comments that are left for us. As a courtesy, we should at least thank the person for the comment. We shouldn’t just read the comments.

I commented on Brooke’s 2.0 Blog, Aspiring Librarian, Check This Out!, Excel in Education, and Kindergarten Teacher’s Education Journey.

I found a blog on teaching second grade and posted a comment there. I also found a blog on healthy tips and conceiving because my husband and I would like to start a family soon.

Thing 11 - LibraryThing

LibraryThing is a useful tool to keep track of books I've read. I have read sooooo many books that I don't even remember the titles anymore. Using LibraryThing will help in that area. I check out the groups but didn't join any. Students can join LibraryThing and keep track of their books and get recommendations on other books to read. They can also join groups and share with their friends.

At first, I was so frustrated with LibraryThing because it kept telling me that I needed to turn on cookies. I did everything I could and still it wouldn't let me in. Finally, after a lot of prayer and some language that I'm not particularly proud of, the Thing let me in.

LibraryThing is one thing that I will be using. :)

Thing 10 - Image Generators

I really enjoyed working with image generators. I like the fact that you can order what you created, share with others, and post your creations on Facebook and MySpace. I had already played with Big Huge Labs and Trading Card Maker. I focused my attention on some of the other ones that I did not know about. My favorites were Dumpr, ImageChef, Wordl, and the Comic Strip Generators

In Dumpr, I think the kids will have a blast using Amazing Goo. I really liked it. I also can see my students using Kid-Friendly Image Generators. It’s easy to use and cute. I probably won’t use it for my personal use but I will use it in my classroom.

In Wordl students can create various poems. I can see middle and high school students using Glogster just for fun and it can easily be integrated into the curriculum. The Comic Strip Generators can be used to teach students when to use quotation marks. My nieces already knew about some of these and upload to their MySpace. This means that teachers can implement them in the classroom easily.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thing 9 - Searching for Blogs and Feeds

The search tools that were the easiest for me to navigate were Google Blog Search, Bloglines Search tool, and Edublogs Award-Winners. I thought these were easy to navigate and to find blogs that I might read.

The one that I did not like at all was Syndic8. I found it very hard to navigate because the site is too cluttered for my liking.

I didn't particularly like this Thing. As I stated in my earlier post, I don't really use the Internet to read. I know I'm going to have to get more up-to-date on information and these blogs and feeds will come in handy. I have to push myself to read these blogs.

Thing 8 - RSS and Readers

I had seen the icons on various web pages but never knew what they were for. Now I know. I created a Google Reader and set up a couple of news feeds that I am interested in. Some are personal and some are professional. I don't have many right now because I don't have much time to get on the Internet and read blogs or feeds.

I know RSS is supposed to save a lot of time. I get that. You don't have to go to all these different sites to read what you are interested in. You go to one site and get all the news and blogs you need. My only problem is that I hardly get on the Internet to read. I will try to work on this more, there is a lot of useful information out there.

On a personal level, I can subscribe to friends blogs and celebrity gossip. On a professional level, I can subscribe to blogs and feeds that pertain to my field. I think I wouldn't separate the two for myself.

At the school level, a public Reader can be set up that someone updates. That way all teachers will be able to access it and get helpful information and new ideas.

I like it. But to be honest, I probably won't use it as often.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thing 7 - Cool Tools that Google

I had no idea you could do so much with Google. I personally never use Google to search. I am a Yahoo! gal. After playing with all the cool features that Google has to offer, I know I will be visiting this site more often and conducting my searches using Google Scholar and Google Advance Search.

I create a Google Calendar for my class. I made it public so that parents can see upcoming events. Right now, all I have are the school holidays, but as the school year gets started I will be adding more information. I will include upcoming tests, open houses, and deadlines. Here is the link.

I also played around with Google Earth. It's fun to look up your address and spot your vehicle. I think it will be a great tool to show students other parts of the world and to show various landforms.

I used Picasa Web albums for my personal use. You can upload your photos and share them with friends and family.

Thing 6 - Mashups

I could not stop playing with mashups. I love Big huge Labs. There is so much to do. I enjoyed the Mosaic Maker, Trading Card Maker, and the Warholizer!! This is a great tool to use in the classroom or library. I think the Captioner will be great for story telling. Students can make a story or comic strip using captions on various pictures. Trading Card Maker can be used when studying character analysis or as a way to booktalk a new book. There are so many things you can do with mashups. Check out a mosaic and warholizer of my husband and me and my very own trading card!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thing 5 - Flickr

I thought I was going to have a hard time searching through Flickr, but I really liked it. I like the fact that you can use the pictures without breaking any laws. I searched through all the Creative Commons licenses. I liked the noncommercial license the best because I think it gives you the most freedom.
In Social Studies students learn about monuments so I chose 2 pictures of the Lincoln Memorial.
I also chose a picture of the Presidents sculptures by David Adickes because I love his work and I have visited his studio. It is amazing!

About Me

My photo
Is it possible for one person to be many things? First off, I am a wife. I married the most wonderful man in the world on January 17, 2009. His name is Victor. We are currently enjoying our time getting to know each other even more as husband and wife. I am a daughter. My parents have been happily married for 41 years. Their names are Cutberto and Esther. I am a sister. I have the most amazing pair of sisters. Their names are Maria and Minerva. I also have 3 brothers whose names are Ramiro, Cutberto, and Orlando. I am the youngest of the six! I am an aunt. I have 5 nephews and 5 nieces. I am a teacher. I teach 2nd grade and love it. I teach bilingual (Eng/Span) education, self-contained. Those kids can always make you smile! I am a student. In January 2009 I began the Masters in Library Science program at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. I am enjoying my classes very much. You wouldn't believe how much I have grown and learned in the past 6 months. Which brings me to my last "I am"... I am an aspiring librarian. I have always wanted to be one. I would like to find a job in the district that I work in now, but we shall see where God will take me!