Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thing #11.5 -- Library 2 Play 2


1. My favorite: Posting to YouTube and using Jing for simple! Jing I will definitely use on our library web page. And I was all excited about using Skype, until my daughter said a friend warned her about it bringing in viruses...and then she started getting email invitations from the "non-friendly" type to join Skype conversations. Is Skype a virus issue?

2. Lifelong learning: When I think I've learned it all...turn on the computer! Every minute a new (and FREE!) program comes out that makes life just a little more exciting ...and easy.

3. Facebook: I was VERY apprehensive about starting a Facebook account and was debating closing it when the course was through. Then a long lost friend I have not seen in 25 years asked to "friend" me. When I responded affirmatively, we had a wonderful reminiscent conversation (real-time chat) online...and she was in England! It was fabulous and thanks for that.

4. It wasn't you that had to make the was me. During 23 Things I was using dial-up Internet and stayed frustrated during the entire ordeal. It was like have dangling chocolate right inside the gate and I couldn't reach in and get my hands on it. Because of 23 Things I invested in high-speed Internet at home and it is the smartest money I spend. This time around, 11.5 things was a blast. Is there another one coming???

Because of 23 Things and 11.5 Things, I will start a LUV2LEARN tech blog for my teachers, posting new technologies for them to try with tutorials, links, examples, and suggestions. I am also revamping my library web page for students, where I will include tutorials through screencasts, video hosting, and PowerPoint slideshares. I will also try to include Animoto book trailers along with other research links. Will it get done overnight? Nope...that's why Webster invented the word "ongoing!"

Thanks to Spring Branch ISD Libraries for allowing those of us in tiny "one district, one librarian" worlds an anchor for learning in the digital world.

Thing #11 -- Library 2 Play 2

I'm glad digital citizenship is included at the conclusion of this course. It has been much in my thoughts as I "played" with each tool. I could see so much potential for education, and then a dark side would show where I saw some drawbacks to each one too.

These are the 5 points I will make during library orientation on digital citizenship:
1. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.
2. The first hit is not always the best.
3. Keep it safe -- for you and me.
4. Be the nice guy.
5. Make smart choices.

On purpose I did not use any of the current watchwords - critical thinking, problem solving, responsibility, evaluate sources, effective research, lifelong learning as in the ISTE standards for students. Do I want them? Absolutely! But I know that when I start throwing out these terms, that students are becoming immune to these repeated phrases and when they start hearing them...they tune me out. I've chosen simple terms that encompass all these kid language -- short and sweet.

I like Cool Cat Teacher's simple matrix -- The student needs to learn literacy, safety, etiquette, and searching strategies. I want to add one more dimension to her matrix -- the TEACHER and the student need to learn these four aspects. I find that most of my teachers don't fully understand each of these aspects and that lack of understanding trickles down to the student when they accept just anything from the students...because the teacher doesn't know any better either. When my teachers become more discerning and demanding of higher quality and safer practices, then my students will be more likely to deliver.

We need to follow this simple philosophy in the digital world as well as other areas of education: EXPECT IT -- DEMAND IT -- GET IT! If we do not, we will continue to produce inferior products from uneducated students led by uniformed educators.

With the help of the TEA website, here are my 5 pointers for teachers too:
1. Create only meaningful activities and expect quality products.
2. Demand best practices and safe work habits.
3. Know and enforce rules and guidelines.
4. Practice what you preach: know how to use a program/Internet site yourself before turning your students loose with it.

Life doesn't have to be complicated to be effective...neither does technology.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thing #10 -- Library 2 Play 2

I am now Shay Fairlady in Second Life! I created an avator that looked 18 (which I am not), which could explain why I attracted conversation from another avator (who claimed to be 18 and from Columbia!) Explaining that you are a school librarian old enough to be his grandmother sometimes deters unnecessary conversation!

Anyway I changed my pant color on my avator (just to say I did), walked all over Help Island (and out into the sea!), sat on a chair on a patio, walked inside a building and sat on a ledge (where I met the Columbian...moral: be careful where you sit!). I also chatted for a while with him (before he found out why I was REALLY there), built a triangular wedge on a patio (that could possibly be a handicap ramp, although it was not pretty but pretty much in the right place), and tried out most of the gestures (glad I wasn't blowing kisses when the 18-year-old newbie stumbled by).

I tried flying (because I thought it would get me off that confounded island), but that didn't work (I just flew around over the sea). When I created an account, though I signed up to be on that cruise ship (naturally), but I did not start out there and never figured out why or how to go somewhere else.

Based on what I read about SL, I think going to the other places and exploring would be fun and educational too. Using the build feature would be great to stimulate creativity, solve problems, and be daring with imagination. I like going in with a friend and working together as a team to build something or accomplish something. That would be a fun challenge. I would want my students in a controlled area...controlling who could get in. Would that be the part that costs real money...getting your own space?

I like the book club idea, although I need to figure out how to get to the library first! Wander if that young Columbian knew the way...maybe I should have followed him!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thing #9 -- Library 2 Play 2

Regardless of the web site used to share PowerPoint slide's a great idea. Teachers can share work created and not have to reinvent the wheel for all presentations. Students can share slide shows created in class. There's a great wealth of info already out there.

I tested a couple of hosting sites by uploading a PowerPoint I had already created. The first upload was to SlideShare. The slide show is a program presented to a teen read club at our public library this summer on Genealogy for Teens. It was relatively simple registration and short wait time for upload. After choosing tags, titles, categories, etc. I then clicked Public and waited while SlideShare converted my PPT...which took less than 30 seconds. It allowed me to view online or embed.
Observations: None of my animations work in SlideShare, however there is an embedded YouTube video and if you click on the video icon it will link and play in YouTube. Also all my font styles do not transfer.

I also tried uploading the same PPT Genealogy for Teens to AuthorStream. They asked the same basic registration questions and it too only took a few minutes to upload. It too had to go through the conversion process which took just a little longer than SlideShare. It also gave the link and html embed.

Genealogy for Teens

Observations: Voila! All the animations work and YouTube will play in the link. What I noticed on both platforms is that both will allow you to go to full screen with the PPT and the quality looks pretty good, but neither will let you advance to the next slide in full screen. My pick goes to AuthorStream because of the animations. Yet I agree with Joyce Valenza that it doesn't hurt to search in several hosting sites for PPTs that might be useful in your library or classroom.

I also took a look at 280 Slides as an option to Microsoft PPT. Even though it does not have as many bells and whistles, I like the fact that it is easily accessible via the web and students who do not have the Microsoft package on home computers can still work on projects at home and then convert to MS PPT at school.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thing #8 -- Library 2 Play 2

I cannot believe how incredibly easy Jing is!!! All these years I've been going from student to student telling each one (over and over) how to do something on the addition to giving them complete written directions. This is the best thing I've learned so far and plan to make many tutorials.

I chose Jing over the others that I looked at primarily because it is the one I've read the most about so I figured that it had to have some good pointers...and it did. Super simple to download. The screencast video tutorials within the help site told me exactly what to do. The video screencast I created was only my second try. I would have kept the first one...but I didn't realize the mute button was on!

My students use a free online bibliography generator called NoodleTools. The tutorial I created shows them how to create a free account. New User Registration on NoodleTools. I plan to create other short ones on creating citations for a book, database, web site, etc.

I linked the title to the link. I also followed the directions and created a new button to embed the html code into my blog, but I can't figure out how to find the code from the video in history. I know the tutorial in Jing said it is now on my clipboard, but I don't know how to access my clipboard. Can somebody help me?

I went to this site How to Find a Clipboard Viewer and got this shortcut on my desktop. It will show the embed code but it will not allow me to copy it. What am I doing wrong?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thing #7 -- Library 2 Play 2

I have tried to provide online video resources for my teachers for years, but in the past few years our computers and internet connections got so slow that they could not watch anything I found...if I could see it myself. I am excited that in the coming year, we are getting new computers, greater speed internet, and video projectors for all our classrooms. This should be a great resource for the classroom now.

I have used Hulu for some time now to watch movies, but have not considered it for the classroom until now. One of my favorites with the anniversary of the moon landing was found there. It is SpaceRip: Apollo 11: To the Sea of Tranquility. It would be great to use in our Earth Science class.

I have learned to let the video buffer before trying to watch it by clicking the play button and then immediately clicking the pause button and waiting a bit. Mine works better this way. Also Hulu videos have more controls available from the original site than from an embed.

Also, in most cases it would be best to download a video you are planning to show in the classroom rather than play it straight from the internet site. Some of the advertising surrounding the video screens on some of these sites is not very appropriate for students.

I used Blinx to search for videos on the Texas Revolution and found this on YouTube. It is an excellent emotional reading of Travis Letter at the Alamo. It would make a profound difference in our Texas history class to watch this video. The only action is actually the words of the letter projected on a flag background...but the reading is great!

I tried embedding this video from the Blinx site but wasn't successful, so I went to the original YouTube site and embedded from there.

I found a remarkable video on the NARA site from the Lyndon B. Johnson library of a recorded phone conversation between Johnson and Truman. It's unique as a slide show inside a video. American History classes would get a unique perspective of a Texas president in his own words...and it also has Lady Bird Johnson speaking as well. Unique conversation between 2 former presidents.

I did not realize so much of PBS was video online. Lots of educational things going on there. I did not find a way to make all these videos full-screen. However on many sites, going full-screen lessened the visual quality, so showing these on a large screen with a video projector will lose many students. A suggestion would be to go to the computer lab and assign a video to watch individually so the small screen (and better quality) would be an asset, and provide an assignment to do while watching the video. That way, individuals could work at their own speed (stopping and starting when needed) to complete an assignment using online video.

One of my favorite videos is A Fair(y) Use Tale so I used Google Video search to find it again. It sums up fair use and copyright pretty good.

On Joyce Valenza's site I tried searching for Anne Frank on SearchForVideo (since we read the biography in 8th grade) and found this: Anne Frank - My Heart Will Go On through Live Video. It is a music video and a good example of Remix Culture using clips from the movie, historical photos, set to a song not usually associated with Anne Frank....but in this case fits well.

And NeoK12 is awesome! Definitely something to tell teachers about.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thing #6 -- Library 2 Play 2

Although this Thing will be a little complicated for me (I do not know anyone with an iPhone and do not live in a town with an Apple Store), I will do the research anyway and see where it leads.

The first thing I found is there is a graphing calculator app! Wow, we provide graphing calculators for all our students via library checkout...and they cost $100 each! We could save thousands of dollars if the students could each download their own for 99 cents from the iTunes store. But...we can't have cell phones in school, but if we did....these would be cool.

I also liked Stanza, the free app that allows you to access and read over 100,000 books and periodicals on your iPhone or iPod Touch. This would be a great asset for students doing research and not finding the book they need in our small library. Also great for having "something to read" at their fingertips, anytime, anywhere.

And my science teachers would love Starmap for finding constellations, planets and shooting star zones. It does cost $11.99 though.

Google Earth is an awesome computer app so having it available on iPhone would be great! Reading a novel in class and it mentions a earth and find it immediately. Talking about a current event in another part of the earth and find it at the point of discussion. Discussing rainforests in earth to the hot spots and see what they look like right away. Great idea!

Searching for ways to download apps to iTouch, I found these helpful sites:

How to Download an Application on an iTouch
Kathy Schrock's iPod touch online applications for education
And my favorite Learning in Hand by Tony Vincent, a former school teacher who pioneered educational handheld computing. It's a simple straightforward site with simple explanations.

Libraries can create a video tour of the library and loan iTouch phones to play them on such as done by Baker Library.