Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thing #23 - Final Thoughts

I actually did it! After some major setbacks (like accidentally deleting my entire blog, starting a new blog, and recovering my original blog - which can be found at, and nearly giving up, I finished. From this I learned to slow down, not to do important work late at night when I am tired, to never blog in bed, and to think before I click! The ethic of persistence was also reinforced for me through this experience.

I enjoyed the experience immensely. Though I may not use all of the tools in my work or my personal life, and though I may not agree ethically with some of them - especially in the school setting, I feel it is important to learn about them and how they work. Our students and children are using many of them - and we need to know! I felt that the program was well-organized and researched. It was easy to follow - using "common man's language." I so appreciated the efforts of those who put this program together for us! The only suggestion that I have has to do with tracking the blogs of others involved in the program. Because so many people were registered, and because so many of the blogs had no activity, it was time-consuming and frustrating to see other's comments and experiences with each of the tools/23 things. Could the blogs be arranged by how far along the blogger is in the program? Or could the accounts that are inactive somehow be weeded out or put somewhere else? I feel that I could have learned a lot more from my colleagues had this process not been so time-consuming - you know, the whole collective intelligence thing. I wanted to more easily consult their blogs!

I warmed up to the whole blogging concept. I found the assignment calculators, the wiki discussion, Flickr, YouTube, and the podcast tools especially useful.

I would definitely participate in a "next step" program. If anything, I will look at this site: to continue my learning.

If knowledge is power, I am a more empowered person and Media Specialist as a result of this experience. Thank-you!

Thing #22 - What Did I Learn Today?

In the ALA TechSource piece, we are again reminded of the definition of Web 2.0:

"It is a model for library service that encourages constant and purposeful change, inviting user participation in the creation of both the physical and the virtual services they want, supported by consistently evaluating services."

In addition, at the beginning of this "Thing" it states that learning about Web 2.0 tools has been "changing, challenging, and exciting." This has truly been all of those things for me. I like having a goal when I am learning - to be forced, in a way, to learn. Though choosing to participate in this program has been completely voluntary on my part, I felt pushed by the format and the goal to progress and to finish. Change is hard for me, and that combined with my busy workload makes things that seem unnecessary things that I avoid. I think this is probably a common sentiment among many in the profession of education. We are constantly asked to do more, to keep up, to change...And that is not easy. I am so glad that I took on this challenge. Many who started with me fell by the wayside, so I think just finishing is a major accomplishment (especially after I accidentally deleted my entire blog). All that I learned is icing on my professional cake. I have learned so much. The most important thing that I learned is that there is so much out there in the Web 2.0 world that is exciting and useful - and that anyone can learn to use these things. The more experience one has with these tools, the less daunting they seem.

I was happy to find this site in the comments at the bottom of this "Thing":

I wanted to continue my learning, and along comes Library 2.1! I also want to go back and work more with the tools we looked at in the "23 Things on a Stick" program. I am hoping that the site will be kept up so that we can refer to it over the summer. I would like to try some new things in our Media Center next year with some of these tools. For instance, I would like to add the assignment calculators to some of my presentations and use the "Introducing the Book" YouTube video that I found in some of my book talks.

There is so much out there to experience, read, and learn. I got hooked into an article I found at the LISNews site. It was called "Reading...A Topic of Controversy?" I read about their RIF story, read the original article, then read all of the reader comments, and that lead me to an awesome article by Therdora J. Kalikow, entitled, "Reading is Fundamental: It's Also Subversive." Kalikow, the President of the University of Maine, concludes, "Mothers are always right. Reading is dangerous. But not reading is even more dangerous." I am currently leading a massive reading initiative, and this will come in handy.

I also found this awesome video for National Library Week at The Shifted Librarian Site! Hilarious!

Thanks to all of you who set up this program! You rock!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thing #21 - Beyond MySpace; other Socail Networks

Visit 23 Things on a Stick

This was interesting to me. I like the idea of social networking more when there is a purpose - a network based on an interest like books or crafts appeals to me more than a space whose purpose is strictly "social." I signed up for my Ning account, added a member badge to my page (or thought I did - kept getting an "error message" that the code wasn't complete - did anyone else have that problem?), and commented in Aurora's page (and got an e-mail notification that I had a comment on my Ning account - and, sure enough, I did).

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thing #20 - Libraries and Social Networks

I looked at the social networks as both a parent and as a librarian. Though I knew most of what I read in the TMCNet article and the Pew Internet and American Life study, a few things I found interesting. For instance, I thought that the number of teens using multiple means of communication would be higher. I had also never thought about the fact that my generation uses e-mailing much more that my son's generation to communicate. My son only e-mails me because he knows that it is the easiest way to get in touch with me. I do text message, but rarely - I use my cell phone for practical purposes and safety mostly. I rarely check my messages. I have an instant messaging account but never use it because I would have no one to IM with, as none of my friends or family members use it. I realized also that my son is definitely a Multi-Channel Teen. He IM's, texts, uses his cell phone almost exclusively, etc.

I decided to look at MySpace to begin. It disturbed me that the first thing I saw was the "Suckle on My Teet" video which included obscenities and sexual material. I don't consider myself a prude, but the thought of my own 14 year old coming across that really bugged me. Also, the privacy issue always gets me. As I have said before, I have no desire to make my thoughts, etc. public. I do, however, think that knowledge is power, and it is important for adults to be aware of social networking and its pros and cons.

Thing #19 - Podcasts

I first listened to a "pondcast" of a Minnesota Wild game with my son. We played it on iTunes. I looked at the four resources suggested but didn't find anything that really "rang my chimes," as my dad is so fond of saying. I then did a google search for book review podcasts and found the "Just One More Book" website that featured a podcast of a book that I had recently purchased for our Media Center - Greatness, Gratitude and Generosity: Piano Starts Here by Robert Andrew Parker. However, one could actually play it from the site. It wasn't required that one download the podcast - it was called a "podcast." Was it?

Then I subscribed to WPSU Bookmark and listened to several young adult book reviews, including Deadline by Chris Crutcher.I recently read Before I Die, which sounds as if it has a similar plot to Deadline. They would be great to pair together. I love Chris Crutcher and will definitely put this book in my future read pile. I also listened to a review of The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah. The young woman who reviewed the book was clearly impacted by the book. The Coldest Winter Ever was one of few "Urban Fiction" titles we had in our collection until recently. I noticed that our African American students kept coming to this book over and over. I also noticed that there was a group of kids whose needs we weren't meeting. I bought a few "Urban Fiction" books and started using the term in my book talks. Soon the students were using the term and asking where the books were that were about them. So I totally expanded this part of our collection and have found a whole new group of readers coming back to our library over and over! Some "Urban Fiction" books are seen by some as very "edgy." However, some of our students come from very "edgy" lives. All students deserve to see themselves reflected in the literature they read. There needs to be something for all of our readers. Jim Trelease tells us that all it takes is one "homerun book" to make a reader of a non-reader. For many of our students, the Urban Fiction collection is where they found that "homerun book." Eventually, they will spread their wings and gravitate to other things.

The WPSU podcast site was an awesome find. I will use it with my students!

Thing #18 - YouTube & Other Online Video

This is in honor of Karlyn, a fellow staffer who runs our Break Dancing Club. I looked at several break dancing videos, but I thought that this was appropriate for high schoolers. I also found a great video called "Introducing the Book" on Google Video, which would be hilarious to use in my first book talks with students - this is how you read a book - kind of how many of my parents' generation feel about using a computer. Funny! We do block "YouTube" (I thought it was interesting that many of the video sites linked back to YouTube, which is "king") at our school so I had to do this part of the project at home. It was much easier than I expected!

P.S. On Google Video, did anyone else watch the "Student and Teacher Fight in Classroom"? Yikes! I would have given the cell phone back and left the classroom and gone for help.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Thing #17 - ELM Productivity Tools

I am very familiar with ELM, the Electric Library for Minnesota. I use the ELM provided databases daily in my work. I like the idea that ELM makes so many resources available to all Minnesotans - I realize that it requires access to a computer and the Internet, which many may not have at home. However, the public library provides free Internet access to all Minnesotans.

After performing a search on youth smoking, I created a search alert - had it e-mailed to me, rather than an RSS feed.

I also created a web page via Academic Search Premier on Best Books (pictures of the Top Ten books in our Media Center with links to the author's official website) - I didn't finish it, but this is something I could easily do at a later time. I had never looked at this option before - I didn't even know it was an option. What a great tool for teachers and Media Specialists to use to collaborate on resources for student projects.

Loved the option to e-mail search results to another person that I tested in ProQuest - this is a super easy way to get information to teachers when I do research for them. I sent an article entitled, "An Unmanageable Circle of Friends; Social-Networking Web Sites Inundate Us With Connections, and That Can Be Alienating." I loved the irony in the title!

Anway, lots of good things here. It is good to be forced to really look around these databases - to do more that simple and advanced searching. Teachers don't have time to do this - so it is good when we have more things in our bag of "tricks" to suggest to them to make their lives easier and to help them help kids to be more effective researchers!