Thursday, July 21, 2011

Reflection Island

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

I would have to say that I have two favorites: Skype Island and Excursion Island. I really liked learning more about Skype so that I can start seriously considering using it in the library. I already knew a little about it, but I have not actually ever used it. This class sort of "forced me" to stop, research it, and consider how I might use it in the library.
On Excursion Island I absolutely loved that you posted the sites that are all neatly organized and list so MANY of the web 2.0 tools that we could possibly be using. Last year we learned about some of them, but I don't really remember you posting sites that links to so many and organized so that we can find what we might be interested in.

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

As I get older I have learned that technology is growing and changing faster than we can keep up with it. If we are not in the game, learning and using it regularly we are going to be left behind. That's why I like this type of class so much. We get to do this in the summer at our own pace. We can take the time to really dig deep and learn things that help us personally as well as professionally. I especially love that I am able to show my 12 year old new and exciting things that can be done on the web. Usually it is her showing me. I even think as parents it is important for us to be informed and using all the things that our kids are using, but that is a totally different subject. I won't get on that soapbox! Ha!

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

I have tons of take-aways! I guess I would say that I am most surprised by how many tools I can take back and share with my teachers!
4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

I really like the format! I am not sure that I would suggest changing anything. I did really like when you added the followers on your blog. I know it sounds silly, but when I see others pressing forward and moving ahead of me, it makes me get busy, too!
I really think that both years have been very organized and well put together. I also feel like this class is so much more beneficial than going and sitting in a class and focusing on one topic. We learn so much more this way. I know we are actually spending more time too, it just doesn't feel like it. I hope you are able to keep finding new things to add so that we can do this each year. I love it! Thanks for all your hard work!

Excursion Island

First of all, let me say, Excursion Island is not for the ADD at heart! :) Oh my goodness! I spent two days playing around with these tools! I couldn't get off the computer! I finally had to MAKE myself stop to do this post. So, here we go....



For your Excursion Island post first reflect on the Horizon Report. What do you see as the most important emerging technology that will influence schools?

After skimming the report, I would say the most upcoming would be the Mobiles section. Everything we do these days is becoming interconnected. I was reading the other day about Apple's new Cloud app. It is going to intertwine the iphone, ipad, ipod, and computers. For example, when you take a picture with your iphone, it will automatically go to all your other devices and then store on itunes. It is becoming so that EVERYTHING we do is somehow connected to the internet. And since this is the case, we expect to have service WHEREVER and WHENEVER we go. Not just any service, either. We want reliable, fast service that will allow us to do whatever it is we need to get done.


Take some day trips into the Web 2.0 websites. Choose one to really explore. Why did you choose that one? What turned you off to the others? What are some of the Web 2.0 tools that you will try next year and why?

I spent the most time on Cool Tools for Schools. That site is just absolutely amazing. It is layers and layers of tools and information. I wouldn't say that the others turned me off necessarily, I just felt like this one was organzied very consisely and clearly. I could easily get around it and tell what I was looking at. I added it to my Delicious account so that I can go back when this class is over and play some more. I have a list of some of the tools I plan on sharing with the teachers on my campus. I still have not done the Wordle tool within one of my lessons, so I am planning on doing that. Some of the tools I plan on sharing are Smories, Study Jams, Createagraph, and Classtools.net.

Take a look at some of the fun tools. Play! Do you see any application for these in your classroom?

There were so many that were applicable to the classroom. I am overwhelmed by it all! I personally see applications with the createagraph tool. There were several times last year that I wanted to use a Venn diagram to compare/contrast books. I was really wanting to do that with my Starboard. I never could afford to purchase Kidspiration. WEll, now I can get it for FREE with createagraph! I played around with it and it is very easy to use!

Do you know of any other tools you can share with everyone? Put a link to the website in your post.
Here are links to the three I love the most:
http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/
http://classtools.net/education-games-php/venn_intro/
http://www.smories.com/

What do you think of the SlideShare tool? Would you share it with teachers and administrators?

Oh my goodness, yes! This should really open up some space on Harold. Many times that is where my teachers and adminstrators put their powerpoints so they can share with their team.

What would the applications be for your teachers?

Easier way to share, share, share!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Trying again...


Glitterfy.com - Summer Glitter Graphics

Happy Summer!

I am just playing with some of the new web 2.0 tools I am learning about!

Search Island

I was totally amazed at all of the different options for searching. I knew about some, but others were brand new. I love, love, love that there are specific search engines for multimedia, blogs, and podcasts. These sites will definitely save lots of time!
I really like the blinkx site. I found myself needing videos last year to put into presentations for teachers AND students. I would usually try YouTube, but the things you get from that site aren't always of quality.
I do not think that there are any that I would throw back. You NEVER know when you need specific things. So, I would definitely keep all of these on hand. In fact, I did add a link to this site on my delicious account so that I will always have these on hand.

Skype Island

I love the idea of Skypeing with an author! I am especially interested in this since I know our budgets will be cut heavily this year. I appreciate all the lists of authors who are willing to visit with schools using Skype. I have not researched the authors in depth to decide which one I might like to use, but I plan to do that more this summer.
I have been burned before with virtual discussions. The worst time was when Scholastic offered a special virtual visit with Mrs. Frizzle. I created a login and then prepared all of our technology so that I could broadcast the virtual presentation. I thought this might be best so that we were not all trying to log in at the same time and bogging down the internet on our campus. Then at the specific time, I had all the teachers stop and tune in to our broadcast. Well, big surprise, it NEVER would work. I also never figured out why. This was very frustrating to all of us and very embarrassing for me!
For this reason I think that my first few experiences with Skype need to be in a controlled small group environment. I am just very nervous about involving a large group until I decide whether or not this will work for me. So, I think I would like to choose an author and book then host a book club to read this particular book. Once we have finished the book and discussed it among our book club, I would like to invite the author to Skype with the group about his/her book. I just think that I would be much more comfortable in this small environment.
As far as what it would take, I think I have almost all that I need. I would just need my laptop projected onto a screen, Skype loaded on the laptop, a microphone, and a webcam (which I don't have but could easily get).
If this book club session goes well I would also like to share this with our faculty. Probably the best way to share with my teachers would be to invite them to one of the sessions and/or have the kids involved talk to them about the experience.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Libro Island- School Library Journal

When I first started my job at Ney, this magazine came to my library. I really enjoyed reading through it. I would also use it to read book reviews and make decisions on my purchasing. However, with budget cuts over the past couple of years this magazine was one that I had to cut. Sadly, the subscription cost is very high! I am so embarrassed to say that I did not know that this website was available! Oh my gosh! For the past few years I have gone without using this magazine and it's valuable reviews when all along it was available to me free online. I am very thankful that this has been pointed out to us. I feel so goofy overlooking it.

I would have to say that my favorite part of this one is the book reviews. I can't wait to save the link to this site on my desktop so that I can access it for book reviews at anytime!

http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/csp/cms/sites/SLJ/Reviews/PreToGrade4/index.csp

Libro Island- AASL

Once again, didn't even know this existed. And once again, all I can say is, WOW!!! I love it!! All the sudden I feel like I am having brain overload over here! I am finding so many cool things that I am afraid I won't remember it all to go back and play around with.

At first when I saw this site, I was disappointed that it was ANOTHER ALA site. I was wondering how ALA could have so many companion sites and not have overlapping information that is the same on all of them. I am pleasantly surprised that this is not the case. Each companion site holds it's own information. I am so excited at all the stuff I am finding!!!

I like the lesson plans section found at: http://aasl.jesandco.org/
However, I am sad to say that there is very little for the elementary librarians. I do think those of you who service the older students will find lessons that you may be able to use. It seems like I am always looking for new, fresh, and exciting lessons to implement. I was hoping this might be the place, but there wasn't too much for me.

Best of all, though is the section on the Top 25 websites for teaching and learning.
http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/guidelinesandstandards/bestlist/bestwebsites.cfm
Oh my! This part of the website is AWESOME!!! There are 25 web 2.0 tools listed here that teachers can use to teach their classes. My mind is spinning! I can see this being a yearlong professional development opportunity at my school. We could pick a few of these tools to learn and explore each week throughout the school year. I plan on sharing this idea with my principal to see if this is something I can do for my teachers to give them new, exciting tools to use with their teaching! Can you tell I am excited???

Libro Island- ALSC site

Wow! I have used the ALA site in the past and not once did I ever realize they had an entirely seperate portion dedicated to the Children's Library! I really like this site!
My absolute favorite section of the site is the portion that focuses on a list of great websites for kids! I don't know how many times I have teachers as well as parents ask me for good sites for their kids. I LOVE that this is a one-stop place to find valuable sites! I can't wait to share this with my teachers.
http://www.ala.org/gwstemplate.cfm?section=greatwebsites&template=/cfapps/gws/default.cfm

I also really like that this site dedicates sections to educators and parents. The educator portion would be valuable for teachers to use when looking for good book lists and also suggested websites.
http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/alsc/audiencemenus/educators.cfm

The parent section has a lot of valuable information! They can find everything from information on the Caldecott and Newberry awards to resources in helping their child to read and even information on navigating the net with their child. I plan on posting a link to this portion of the site on my own website!
http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/alsc/audiencemenus/parents.cfm

Libro Island- YALSA site

This site is focused on the Librarian that services the teenage reader. This really doesn't apply to me, but I still found a few interesting things to pass on. I noticed several papers had been posted on hot library issues as they relate to teens. These could be used when arguing these points to an administrator. These were all found in the Professional Development Center portion of the site.

I also found under this section a subsection labeled, Toolkits. While browsing around this section I found a few things that the high school librarian might possibly use. For example, I found a premade pamphlet on Social Networking that could be used by the High School Librarian while teaching online social networking safety. All of this can be located at:
http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/profdev/professionaldevelopment.cfm#resources

Libro Island- ALA site

I usually end up using this site several times during the year. Typically I will use it to access lists of award-winning books such as the Caldecott list, Newberry list, and the Coretta Scott Kind award list. I really like that all these (and more) can be located in one general spot: http://www.ala.org/ala/awardsgrants/index.cfm

After playing around on the site I found that I like the section on Reccomended Print and Media. This part of the site has several different lists of suggested books. It is seperated into various categories like young adult, early childhood, etc. I really like to review lists like this when doing my ordering so that I can make sure I am buying what is deemed good literature by a respectable site such as ALA's. http://www.ala.org/template.cfm?template=/CFApps/awards_info/browse.cfm&FilePublishTitle=Awards,%20Grants%20and%20Scholarships&stype=R

I also like the online professional learning opportunties that are offered on this site. I looked through them and some looked really good. Of course many of the courses I was interested in cost money (which is something none of us has), but it is nice to know that the opportunities are available.
http://www.ala.org/ala/onlinelearning/index.cfm

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Libro Island- VOYA site

I am not a huge fan of this website. I feel like it is too busy and my self-diagnosed ADD will not allow me to focus on any one item. I am also not sure that it is as relevant for me being an elementary librarian. However, I did give it a try and looked around. I would say that my favorite gem from this site would be the book lists for middle school readers. I plan to refer back to these when my seventh grader "just can't find anything good to read". The top shelf fiction book list from 2010 can be found at: http://www.voya.com/2011/06/14/top-shelf-fiction-for-middle-school-readers-2010/

Libro Island-Part One TXLA site

I use the Tx Library Association's website throughout the school year. Typically I use it to get information on the current year's Bluebonnet list. This is my go-to spot to get the list, get the annotated bibliography on each book, and sometimes purchase products, such as bookmarks for the kids related to the current year's list. Here is the link to access that information: http://www.txla.org/TBA

The new "gem" that I found on this site is a list of librarian blogs. I especially am interested in the early childhood blog. I will admit I rarely have time to sit down and read a blog, but when I do, this is one I would like to take a look at. :)
You can find this list at: http://www.txla.org/member-blogs