Monday, August 24, 2009

Thing #23 -- Thoughts and I wish this wasn't the last!

Must all good things must come to an end? I just read that Lawrence Lessig's blog is ending. I was interested in his discussion of "socialism" and the Internet, a term he does not endorse. I did not want to post this last Thing because it meant that I have finished the course. Really, the truth is that this has shown me how much I have to learn and need to explore further.
I wasn't sure what the Discovery Exercise meant about an example or attribution that shows this program has been modified from its original.
My favorite discoveries were many -- flickr, LibraryThing, image generators, but mainly blogging itself. Blogging has replaced the content in newspapers in many ways since newspapers, in my view, are the product of their owners and not a free press. I like that I am able to subscribe to many blogs through RSS feeds, as well as newspapers, tweets, and anything else. So much was enjoyable in terms of extending my knowledge of Internet tools, I believe I have barely scratched the surface. I wish in some ways that my job had not been cut so that I could introduce all this to my colleagues. I am hoping my district will undertake using this and classroom learning 2.0.
Because I am now retired I hope to make use of all these tools to further my desire to create histories of people who have been written out of our history books. My parents and their friends contributed to a better world back in the 1930's and 40's but their stories have never been told. I hope to write them to appeal to young people, so they know there are people who were willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good. Additionally, I will be finding all the new books I need to read by referring to many of the sites I found during this course.
Surprises -- everything was surprising! But in actual fact, the surprise was that the turtle could learn enough and at a pace that allowed me to finish. If I couldn't do something one way, I often found another. And this slow learner knows there is so much more to learn, but now looks forward to doing so.
Please, please, please do offer another course like this. In just the few years you have been teaching School Library Learning 2.0 there have been so many changes. I would like to see some of the links updated if that's not too much.
One sentence: Twenty-first century learning involves so much more than the passive intake of information on the part of the learner, and allows the learner to create, change, and evaluate the learning environment.
Not the best, but certainly a begining!
(P.S. The turtle image is from )

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thing #22 - eBooks and Audio eBooks

How timely a topic this is when we are discussing the possibility of eTextbooks for schools. California already has several free textbooks available online for schools to use. The real issue here however is access to computers and the Internet. Many of our students in Los Angeles do not have a computer for their own use. I believe one of our Calib colleagues stated that we are awaiting the unveiling of a low cost alternative to Kindle that can be made available to all students. So...what do I think about all these books being made available online and electronically? Mixed emotions. I am in the middle of adding my home library to LibraryThing right now, feeling and touching and reading each one. The idea that I might not have books to hold in my hands and flip through at my own pace is disturbing to me. However, I also see the tremendous value of sharing the notebooks of Jane Austen and the original Alice's Adventures Under Ground for all the world to see and enjoy! And to listen to someone reading them at the same time is positively delicious. Somehow I think that both the physical and electronic book will exist for some time to come. But eventually, we will be saving trees and eliminating the nooks and crannies for silverfish (this year I've been inundated with them!) and other bugs to hide. I suppose eventualy we will go to museums to see the last examples of Gutenberg's invention. Interesting to me is that I didn't consider that people can self publish their books online -- books that probably never would have made it in the publishing world otherwise. One site I visited was mostly self-published books, ones I admit I had little interest in reading but can see the overwhelmingly democratic nature of this process!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thing #21 -- Podcasts

A problem I have with podcasting is that I am a visual learner. I don't like listening to books, speeches, podcasts, etc. as I need the written word to follow. My mind begins to wander instead of concentrating on what is being said. I looked at the different sites for podcasts and found the best ones at -- "ALSC Blog Podcast" seemed to be the most relevant. I tried to share to my RSS feeds a podcast from this but don't know if I was successful. The Yahoo link didn't work and I think I had to go to iTunes to get the Yahoo podcasts. I am also a kinesthetic learner -- the combination of listening and writing works well for me. That's how I passed college lecture courses. I took word for word notes sometimes from famous lecturers -- probably still have the notes somewhere. However, I do see the beauty of podcasting. I first learned about them from Julie Drake at the LA County Office of Education who gave workshops on how to do podcasts. It was cutting edge!! The best thing she shared was a podcast by her expert that he did with his two children who were evaluating a sport they were watching. It was fun and especially great to hear the children. So the educational applications are there -- book talks, interviews, step-by-step instructions, etc. etc. Now, another colleague uses Voicethreads. How does that differ from podcasts? And is it easier to do? I'll have to find out.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thing #20 again -- another thrilling video

I just couldn't resist -- I had to add this one to my blog. This was the highlight of my experience as a TL -- because we were destroying the myth of the shushing, grey-haired, stuffy librarian!! And I think we did a wonderful job, while promoting our fabulous CSLA organization for ALA. I would do it again in a heart beat if we had more time. We threw this one together rather quickly and had very little time to practice. I hope others will consider entering the competition. We also met two fabulous children's authors: Mo Willems and Jon Scieszka, who were the MCs. I have a photo of one my fellow book cart drill team members with her stomach signed by both of them. I have to get permission from her to publish this photo.

Thing #20 -- YouTube--video sharing sites

For six years I was the cataloger and convener for LA's Audiovisual Media Library, so I have some fairly developed opinions about videos. When our funds were cut in 2004, I continued to make videos available to our schools -- these were all educational, short, quality videos that had been vetted by subject area teachers in English/Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Science, Health, and the Arts. It was truly a teacher-centered resource -- unlike textbooks or other offerings. I searched for websites that would explain the importance of visual media in order to mount the case for reopening my library, or, at best, providing on-demand programs to our schools. This was supposed to be done by our TV station (KLCS) but has only been implemented in a small number of schools, because it is costly. Teachers need videos. I did not see the value of YouTube until I performed in our wonderful "California Girls" book cart drill team at ALA in 2008. There we were, on several videos, and on YouTube!! What a thrill!! In addition, I admit to loving the emails I receive from friends that show unlikely animals supporting each other in the wild, all courtesy of YouTube. I can see the educational value of course -- students can be so creative and expressive with videos!! This year a Board Member encouraged students to enter their videos in a competition showing the effects of budget cuts on the schools. What a great idea!! And several were truly excellent.

So for this post I chose the video about the new Kindle since it shows a funny battle between a book and a kindle. I am already lamenting the loss of newspapers (I still subscribe) and can't imagine curling up with a Kindle. But then again, it's much easier to travel with a Kindle.

In perusing YouTube for possible videos I did come across some interesting new sites: one in particular was for WizIQ -- free online teaching and E-learning with web conferencing. So much of YouTube is commercial or to push a particular platform. But libraries can benefit from these new resources, as well as the many tutorials that teach how to use Web 2.0 tools and more. I am interested in archiving photos and documents, and I found a video about this as well. So these sites are a valuable, free resource for cash-strapped libraries (aren't we all!!).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thing #19 -- LibraryThing

This was easy for me as I had joined a year ago, thanks to a colleague who recommended it. I have entered 50 of my books, two were nowhere to be found. I'll have to enter them myself. The only issue I have is the many listings people make of their books (or booksellers on more likely) contain errors. So I am often unable to find the exact copy I hold in my hands. This is disturbing. I sometimes add facts in the tags to correct some of the description. I found the blog LibraryThing for Librarians which talked about adding older books and how they are trying to make it easier. The two books I couldn't find surprised me -- one is by David Horowitz, about Berkeley in the 60's -- perhaps he destroyed every copy he could find since he now renounces what he did? I noticed that the biggest group is Librarians Who LibraryThing and that makes sense. Others like to be challenged to read books. I plan to add all 4000 + books to LibraryThing but wonder if I'll ever finish. I couldn't figure out how to display the dewey number, only the LC classification shows in certain views. Some of my books are very popular, but most are fairly obscure. The conversations about books seem to take people all over the map. Book lovers love to recommend books!!
I had already added a link on my blog last week when I saw this was one of the "things". Useful site but I'd like to improve some of the choices. Perhaps I should enter them myself but that takes time!!
I love this image since I need about two rooms to hold all my books. I forgot about the 2000 inherited from my parents as well. I'd like to have a house of books.

Thing 18 -- Online productivity tools

I am thrilled to learn another online productivity tool with Zoho Writer. I set up an account and started a document easily, inserting an image, changing font and page layout, etc. etc. I love the idea that one can access one's documents from any computer and save them. I am going traveling for five months and wondered what would happen if my computer crashed and I lost all my work. This way my documents can be saved online. I understand there are sites you can pay a fee that will do the same, and this is probably a good idea as well. But this one is so easy to use and has many helpful features. If I get a new computer, I won't bother having to buy Office Works or expensive software programs. I have already used Google docs. with my fellow librarians and others. We have a website and google groups for our Los Angeles School Library Association. It makes communication much easier and allows for more private conversations outside the work setting.
The image you see here is the one I uploaded to Zoho for my ID because I couldn't upload my photo. Too big!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thing #16 -- should be #17

Somehow I got ahead and posted my last entry as #17 and it should have been #16. So this one will have to be listed as #16 but it is really #17. I visited the California Curriculum Connections wiki (so glad Web 2.0 was added to the CDE website!!! -- Congratulations Jackie, et al!!) and read all the wonderful ideas people have added. I think the applications are endless. I know from my experience that most of them would not work unless content area teachers are collaborating on these projects. Wikis in particular would work well if they are assigned by a subject area teacher and then evaluated by the teacher librarian, who could make excellent suggestions for more content, etc. Visuals seem particularly important -- the ability to add photos, videos, podcasts. I particularly liked the idea of students creating their own avatars. These could be used for blogs especially. But my main feeling is that students will participate when they are encouraged to do so by their content area teachers -- and are involved in projects that are collaborative in nature. I left a comment on pbwiki but not on the California Curriculum Connections wiki. I loved the page for CSLA 2.0 Team and Friends that features everyone's avatars. WebTools4U2Use is a great link!!
Today is a good day to go outside and enjoy the sunshine at Echo Park Lake!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Thing #17 - Wikis

Having looked at all the links for wikis, I wonder if this is a tool that is hard to maintain, or is being replaced? The most active wikis seem to relate to conferences (CSLA conference wiki) or ALA (which has many wikis, all of which seem to be kept up to date -- all useful). The ones I enjoyed most were those that recommended books to read (and then linked to their library catalog if you were lucky to live near that library). Library Instruction wiki didn't work on my browser -- I tried it many times. A wiki called Blogs About Teen Library Services very helpful, as was Library Services: A Best Practices Wiki." I have to admit a prejudice against Wikipedia, starting with an entry about my father. I do not generally trust blogs or wikis for information, and question the source of it. But I might also say that Encyclopedias are not necessarily always "correct" -- they all have biases. Perhaps the interactive quality of Web 2.0 is a good thing, allowing a reader to enter information that s/he feels is relevant or more up-to-date. How about Interactive Textbook Wikis -- since we cannot afford to buy new textbooks? We can enter our own information, inviting experts in the fields to weigh in on the content. Wikis are an interesting tool -- but I wonder if they are being replaced by other tools? Face-to-face interactions will be a thing of the past?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thing #15 - The Future of Libraries and Web 2.0, 3.0, 4.0

Having read all the essays suggested and more, I am not sure I am any closer to an answer than I was before I did the research. These articles are by scholarly, knowledgeable people in the library field. Their breadth of knowledge is so far beyond my small world of school libraries in Los Angeles. I thought I would start even closer to home and talk about two family members' feelings about libraries and the Web. My husband, a lawyer, uses online databases to help with his cases. He searches general topics of law and doesn't find anything. He must know the name or number of a specific case. He prefers to go to the closest law library and talk to the librarian. My daughter who must use the Internet constantly for work (she is a teacher) and who urged me to sign up for Facebook just so I could see the newest photos of my granddaughter, does not like to read and told me that librarians never helped her. (Yes - she means me, too!) She also does not like doing research on the Web and asks me to do it for her. The differences between them are that the first is a reader, loves Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, and Samuel Beckett, etc. and the second is a talker and a doer. My daughter is changing lives by investing her time in her students. My husband is helping clients. Both are contributing to the world, and both have a totally different outlook towards libraries and the Internet. Perhaps it is generational -- my generation prefers face-to-face interaction (online college classes just seem so unreal). The students we are teaching today are socially connected through the Web -- Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, etc. etc. They think nothing of using Google to find answers, and Wikipedia is okay too. My vision is that students of the future will walk around with Acer or Asus type computers, interacting with people all over the world to find answers, make contributions, create documents, artwork, videos, and more. Teachers will be remotely viewing students' work from the comfort of home, perhaps? Textbooks will all be online, and research will too -- Wikipedia has a student/school version now that they say is more authoritative than the old Wikipedia. Not just anyone can change the entries, and scholars are doing the research. Is this good? Is this real? It doesn't really matter because it is what is happening. So where do libraries fit into all of this? I think of a CSLA colleague who seems to successfully navigate the world of the web while simultaneously reading and recommending books to her students and friends. Her energy and enthusiasm seem boundless and so appealing! She does an excellent job of promoting her library!! An essential skill for all of us to emulate. Did I answer anything in this blog? I don't think so. I still have so many questions about the future of libraries. I still want my paperback book at my bedside to read into the wee hours. But I also like that I can find my mother's favorite books - not long out of print -- on Google books -- St. Elmo by August Jane Evans, written over 100 years ago. She died with it at her side.
I want students to read and to think and to be critical. I don't care if it's a paperback book or the World Wide Web. Life long learners are what we hope to create -- and if Web 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 + helps to do this, then more power to the Web. But I still think we need the people who can navigate the students towards the best resources, tools, and interactions.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thing #14 - Technorati with tags for blog posts

Whew! I don't think I'm ready for prime time Technorati. Searching the site wasn't all that friendly -- I tried several ways to search for "School Library Learning 2.0" and the results were incredibly varied. One search even gave two different results within a few minutes -- went from 84 results to 76. Is the blogosphere changing that rapidly that 8 blogs can be wiped out in minutes? At first the Tags search wasn't working at all. Also, one has to look at "any authority" versus "some authority", etc., in order to find results. I had to change to "any authority to get any results for Tags Only search. I'm not sure how helpful this is for a library. I think it's helpful for getting your blog out into the world -- I did find many of our CSLA bloggers there. Marie Slim's blog was amazing. How do you find the time???
Actually, my favorite result of this perusal was that the Huffington Post is the #1 Blog in Favorites or popular blogs. I thought that was interesting. Does it mean that it's mostly these types who read and write blogs? Or does it mean that people are interested in creating real dialogues about real problems? There are certainly a varied group of folks writing for Huffington Post which seems a good thing for information literacy. But would you recommend this as a source of information for your students? Not sure. As for tagging, it does seem critical. I never did access the list of 100 tags. I hope it works in future. I was curious that I got such strange results when I searched "education" -- none of the blogs were related to education. I clearly need more time with Technorati.