Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Edmodo Beginner

I am excited to announce that I am officially (as of yesterday) an Edmodo beginner!  I have joined a class and we are conducting class in the Edmodo social network's learning environment this week.  From my introduction readings, I learned quite a bit about what Edmodo is capable of doing for us.  I was pleased to see that parents can participate (in a limited capacity) as well.  I fell that parent involvement in a real bonus when using a networking site like this.  Social networking sites like Facebook often get a bad rap with parents because of not so positive ways that students conduct themselves while on these sites.

As we begin this week of class on Edmodo, I look forward to experimenting with the features myself and becoming immersed in the use of this technology.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My very first Voki!

I LOVE this!  What a neat tool!  I'm thinking it would be fun to use a Voki on my library page as a welcome message!  What about giving students directions for a task via my class webpage?  Or maybe students can research a location, use that as the background image, and then create a "tour guide" presentation describing what they learned!  This has so many possibilities.  I can't wait to play around with Voki more!

Web tools are so much fun!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Free Web 2.0

I would like to share three FREE web 2.0 resources that I discovered on the internet.  These have great applications for learning in classrooms and libraries.
Blabberize is a free web 2.0 tool that allows you to create your won talking picture, basically a moving mouth on a astill image.  I have used this with students for biography projects.  After students researched a histrical person, they gave their presentation in the form of a "blabber".
Customizable Graphic Organizers is a site with 38 graphic organizers that can be easily edited to meet the needs of your classroom/lesson.
Big Huge Labs gives you the web 2.0 tools you need to do fun stuff with you digital photos.  Some options include creating motivational posters, calendars, movie posters, etc.  These tool can have countless applications to the classroom.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Learning From My Colleagues

This week I had the opportunity to view presentations from peers about topics related to technology use in the school library.  I would like to highlight a few things that I learned about.
Storybird allows users to create a digital storybook.  I enjoyed viewing Kathryn Koller's Storybird creation on how to use this resource in your library or classroom.  I can see this being a very motivating form of writing for students.  I am looking forward to setting up a class and using this with my 6th graders during writer's workshop.  I think that they will love it!
Shelfari is a virtual bookshelf that allows users to rate books, write reviews, create book groups, and have discussions with other Shelfari users.  I learned a lot by viewing Katherine Block's presentation.  This gave me an overview of the features that Shelfari has to offer.  This would be a great tool to place on your library webpage.  I think that it would also be fun to use with older readers (gr. 6-12).  Students would appreciate the social networking features the site offers.  I look forward to testing this out with middle school students next year.
PhotoStory3 is a Microsoft program that provides a simple interface for students to use digital storytelling.  Dyann Vilez did a great job sharing the features of this program in her presentation. I was disappointed to find that it is not available for Mac.  So, I did some additional research to see what else is available.  Tech4Teachers suggested using iMovie, which is what I would have suggested as well.  I also wonder if iPhoto would be a good option?
Diigo is a Web 2.0 tool I have heard a lot about, but haven't really explored on my own.  After watching Kelly Nelsen's video, I will trying this out myself!  I was amazed to see all the ways that Diigo can help me make sense out of my hundreds of bookmarked websites!  Thank you so much Kelly!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Video: Using WikiSpaces for Book Discussion

Here is a video I created to demonstrate how we use WikiSpaces to facilitate student discussion of the Iowa Teen Award books.  This is a collaborative effort between myself (the teacher librarian) and our middle school literature teacher.

It was supposed to be simple.....

First attempt to record: My daughter says, "I have to go potty."
Second attempt: The garbage truck drives by (very loud) and disrupts my audio
Third attempt: Oops, I forgot to set the Keynote presentation back to slide one.
Fourth attempt: The telephone rings about halfway through my recording.  My husband.  I got mad at him because he was "supposed to know" I was recording!

This is just not my day.  I finally got a recording that I was proud of on the FIFTH attempt.  Great!  The rest will be no problem!  Upload, get link, share.

Not quite.....
My Focus on Presentation was supposed to be simple.  I was to share a technology tool that I use in my library with my peers.  That's not too difficult, right?  Well, it shouldn't have been.  I was an expert on my topic, WikiSpaces, and I have recorded many videos in the past few years.  This time I wanted to try something different.  I wanted to use Jing to record my presentation.  I have heard so many good things about Jing, I wanted to give it a try for myself.  Capturing the video was simple and the product was good quality.  I was happy with it.  The problem set in when I attempted to upload to Screencast.  I kept getting an error message.  It would not work.  I contacted their customer service and got a response back a few hours later.  The technician directed me to several articles on their "help" page, all of which I had read PRIOR to contacting them.  I was disappointed.

So, I saved the movie to my desktop and tried to upload to YouTube.  That didn't work either because YouTube does not recognize .swf video files.  Bummer.  Third times a charm...right?

My third idea had to work!  I would just use one of the many free online video converters to turn my .swf video into a .mpeg.  No problem.  After downloading 5 different converters, I was still no further ahead.  It just wasn't my day.  I should also mention that I was now almost 3 1/2 hours into the process.

I was frustrated and mad.  I finally decided to go back to a resource I have used many times, Screencast-O-Matic.  I recorded my presentation again, clicked the "Upload to YouTube" button, and 20 minutes later it was loaded!  Wow!  30 minutes, start to finish!  That's all it took??

I wasn't sure if I should be jumping for joy that it worked so smoothly, or really upset that I wasted so much time trying to get Jing to work!

Thank you for listening to me vent,

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Automation Systems: Week 1

As week one draws to a close, I reflect on what I have learned and all the new questions that I now have.  I have researched many library automation systems and discovered that there are many to choose from!  I was very surprised to discover that the more popular systems in Iowa libraries were not even mentioned in the main reading selection for the week.  I will continue to look into automation systems because my school district will be updating next spring.  We had tentatively decided to upgrade to Alexandria's newest version, mainly because of the price quote we received from them was the cheapest.  However, the discussion is still on the table and we have not locked into anything yet.  This issue is important to me and I want to make sure that I make the right one.
I look forward to the technology aspects of this class.  I love to use technology and try to integrate it into my 6th grade classroom whenever possible.  I can't wait to learn from my peers and add to my tool chest of Web 2.0 resources.  There are so many great resources out there and it is constantly changing!  I guess that makes our job that much more interesting.
My goal for this week is to find other educational/ library blogs to follow.  I want to expand my PLN through reading other blogs on topics of interests.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

First Entry

I'm looking forward to learning about blogger throughout this course.  This is my first blogging experience.  I have thought about using a blog with my sixth grade students this fall.  I'm considering it as a tool to replace their "writer's workshop" notebooks.  Hopefully this will give me a good feel for how it works, so that I can make an informed decision before school begins again in the fall.  This should be fun!
Let the journey begin.....