Keeping track of things in an online world is for me, a daunting task. I know there's tagging and bookmarking and other great tools. But which do I use? When I read a great post in my Google reader do I give it a star? Do I save it in Diigo or del.icio.us? Do I save it in my Google Notebook? Or do I do all of these things? If I tag it what perfect words can I conjure up? This is particularly worrisome to my librarian's brain. My colleague teases me because my del.icio.us account has a very, very long list of unbundled tags. I counter by telling her that I keep it that way in order to show people how to bundle tags during the workshops I give. AND, I find it hard to remember to assign tags in applications like Blogger. I feel as if my credibility is slipping. I'm a librarian after all, the very person who makes a living knowing where to find things.
Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/silvery/2414538926/sizes/s/
Just checking out my new FREE online subscription to Britannica Encyclopaedia. Not only do I receive free access for a year I can post links to articles which my blog readers should be able to access. Here's the article about Vancouver. How did I do this you ask? Britannica is offering free access for online publishers so if you do your own online publishing check out their offer here.
You get complimentary access to the Encyclopædia Britannica online and, if you like, an easy way to give your readers background on the topics you write about with links to complete Britannica articles.
Last night we had a surprise snowfall of almost 5 inches just when I was going to plant a second row of snap peas in the garden. So this morning after snapping a few photos instead I decided to play with Word's draw toolbar and ComicLife. I have been introducing both programs to students all week and they are loving it. I'm going to visit department meetings next week and ask staff to brainstorm how they might use a set of digital cameras in their classes. Cameras would fit beautifully into English classes as students explore the ideas of theme, mood and setting. I can see them fitting into Socials classes for geography and maybe history if classes are visiting historic sites or museums. Science too seems a natural fit.
Technology has got the better of me. I set up an iGoogle start page and added Google Reader. For some inexplicable reason I set up a Gmail account using a different log in . Now I am unable to invite a friend to view my RSS feed in Google because the two log ins are different and Google keeps trying to set me up with a new Reader account. I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to contact Google for help. If I could I would change my mail account to have the same user name and password as my iGoogle account. I would also love to be able to just send out an email to all those lovely techie people whose blogs I read, asking them how I get myself out of this pickle or if it's even possible. AARGGH! Maybe a knowledgeable good samaritan will read this.
I feel like a guilty spouse. The one-year anniversary of this blog on Mar. 12 passed my notice. It started out as an experiment to find out more about the potential of blogs and the collaborative web. I began trying out CSLA's 23 Things but once I had set up some RSS feeds and began reading blogs on a daily basis I had more than enough ideas to pique my interest and ignite my personal learning quest. From 2.what? my knowledge and skills have grown to the point that I have incorporated these tools into my practice and teach them to my students, and any one else who will listen. Judging from reader comments, or rather the lack there of, I don't have a following. But that's more than OK, no pressure to produce. I have a place to reflect which also acts as a repository for my ideas. Tools I use every day and would not want to live without: del.icio.us - I use this every day. I set up link lists for staff who bring their classes into the library to do research. I use it in the workshops I give to keep the links I refer to current. I have subscribed to other's accounts and appreciate the wonderful resources they share. Google Docs and Google Notebook - I use these to collaborate with colleagues, develop lesson ideas, and promote them with my students. iGoogle - This is my start page with gadgets for Google Reader, Docs, Notebook and blog search. I love the stickies box, the calendar and groups. Google Reader - where all the best ideas come from. Jing and Skitch - what fabulous time-savers! Flickr, Behold - for access to images with creative commons licencing. Zamzar - for file conversion. This has saved the day on many occasions. Wikispaces - This has become one of my faves. I use it in workshops and tell teachers that it is the workshop that keeps on giving as they will have access to the pages (and my del.icio.us account) for a long time to come. I think I may be missing some as they have become so ingrained that they have slipped below the level on conscious use. I'm becoming more proficient with VoiceThread, Animoto (love the recent bonus for educators!) and Comic Life. It has been a wonderfully exciting year. I have loved listening in to WOW2.0's weekly meeting, reading the blogs of educators around the world. On days when turning on the news can bring tears to my eyes I love the optimism expressed by these educators, their wonderful ideas, generosity and dedication. Thanks all, it's been a slice!
Pam Berger has written a post about Learning in the Web2.0 World. She comments on the need for teaching students Graphic literacy, Navigation, Context, Skepticism, Focus, Ethical Behavior. Ideas worth passing on to your administrators and staff.
Hot off the press, the new Katherine Holubitsky book "Tweaked" is out. It's set in NVan and is about a kid who's older brother is addicted to crytal meth. You may have caught the review in the Globe and Mail recently. From the back cover: Gordie Jessup is a good kid, but he's living in a nightmare. His older brother's two-year addiction to crystal meth has left their family emotionally and financially drained. And just when Gordie thinks he can no longer stand the manipulating, the lying and the stealing, things get even worse.
While searching for reviews online I came across Colin Chafer's library site at Howe Sound Secondary. I liked his page explaining REBEL, the school's silent reading program.
The local college summer session brochure arrived today. I see a number of courses which might prove useful for librarians:
Advanced Special Events Planning - Something we do every day. Surveillance Techniques - Oh no, they're not on MySpace again are they? Traffic Control - Yes of course, Ms. C., we already have two classes booked this block but I'm sure we can fit your class in for novel selection. Multicultural Romance and the Culture Clash - Love in the stacks. Iconography - We're all legends in our own time, right?
Earth Day is April 22. To find suggestions for book displays try the following: NoveList available throught the NVDPL. Library Booklists This page links to different libraries offering eco book lists for eco-fiction, green fiction and environmental fiction. If you have some suggestions please add them to the wiki. See the Earth Day Canada site for events, links and resources. TeachersFirst has activities for classrooms.
While I was in the NVDPL site I noticed that they have two new EbscoHost research databases: Student Research Center and Literary Reference Center.
The Learning Activities site has an extensive list of education appropriate gadgets/widgets that can be added to web pages or blogs.
Being connected to communities on the web can be exhilarating, exhausting, enlightening and intimidating. I suppose there is some intrinsic value in feeling like a competent professional one minute and a rank beginner the next. Jeff Utecht wrote in his blog, The Thinking Stick about the advantages of risk taking. Encouraging both staff and students to be risk takers is a big part of my job. Encouraging them to try something new and hoping that it sticks is a daily practice.
I've been looking for a video clip to introduce a workshop on web2.0 tools that I'll be presenting to colleagues next week. We Think seems to fit nicely. It's a matter of survival for teacher librarians to establish communities of colleagues outside the walls of their own schools. In my own practice I have seen my personal community evolve from face-to-face meetings, to email, to wikis, blogs and sharing resources on del.icio.us.
I need to tell them that it's a friendly world out there. That they'll be amazed with the connections they can make. That there's a tidal wave coming and if they don't dive in they'll be swept away. Hopefully I'll hook them with enthusiasm and not scare them off.
It's not a bad thing that we feel like students again. Empathy builds bridges.