Friday, December 18, 2009

Final Reflection

This semester we were provided with valuable resources that will help to carry us throughout our careers. I felt that the most valuable book that I read this semester was the Courtney book. The Odin and the Shelley book had valuable information, but much of it was basics that I was already aware of. Courtney's Library 2.0 book provided me with some new information that I can use in my library. Two of the chapters were particularly helpful because I did not know much about the technology that was described and how it could be used in libraries or in the classroom. This included:

Courtney- Chapter 2 - This chapter talked about Catalog 2.0. I currently use an online catalog in my library at school, but this chapter provided additional information that will help me to choose an online catalog if we ever need to change to a new one. The chapter talked about features that are important in an online catalog in order to locate books. One thing I found interesting is that it is important to talk to the users about what they find useful in an online catalog. The book mentioned that librarians are often asked what features they want without regard to the users. The features mentioned provide some suggestions of what is important for users to have in an online catalog. I am going to use this book as a reference in choosing new online catalogs and evaluating our current catalog. I also found it interesting how the chapter mentions that catalogs can be modeled after social networking sites, allowing users to friend others, add tags, and rate and review resources. This chapter was very useful.

Courtney- Chapter 6 - This chapter talked about mashups and how they can be used in libraries. Prior to this course, I was unaware of what mashups were and that I was actually using them. Mashups are basically combinations of two web sites to make a different product that can be useful to users. This chapter combined with the online course helped me to see how mashups can be useful in library services. Applications like Library Thing help users to locate new books of interest, share book interests with others, and locate books to purchase or borrow. There are a variety of interesting mashups that can help libraries connect with users or help to serve their users and I was glad I got the chance to learn about them.

This course was extremely relevant and useful and I will carry what I have learned throughout my career.


Brandi Wynkoop

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Assistive Technology - Module 5

I thought the sample lesson plans were really thoughtful, especially the first one. Having students choose a disability and then describe how a person with that disability would accomplish a task really allows students to put themselves into someone else's shoes. Oftentimes people take for granted the abilities that they have and forget that not everyone has the same physical or mental ability. This lesson will help to make students aware of others. The second lesson plan will also make students aware of the feelings of others with disabilities. I am going to keep these lesson plans on file for future use.

1. I would say that through this course, I have learned the challenges that students with physical or mental disabilities face. I have learned that there are plenty of devices and simple accommodations that can be made to help these students. As a result, I am going to look into purchasing some of the assistive technology devices for my school to help my students.

2. I think this tutorial can be useful for any teacher, librarian, or technology coordinator. I am going to tell the other librarians about the tutorial so that they can adapt some of their lessons and look into some of the devices available. The tutorial helps teachers become aware of the challenges students may face.

3. When I looked at the LibraryThing list, I was surprised that I had already read a good amount of books on the list. I didn't really even realize that many of these books had characters with disabilities until I thought back on it. Stories that have characters with disabilities help students to relate to these characters and sympathize with them. I think it is important to have a wide variety of books available and I am going to look into purchasing some of these.

This course really helped to open my eyes to accommodations that I can make and ways to help students with disabilities.

Assistive Technology - Module 4

When I was completing my undergraduate degree a few years ago, we were required to take a special education course each semester. At first I wondered why I would need a class of that nature if I didn't intend to teach special education. However, I soon discovered why it was necessary. In this ever changing world, students are being diagnosed with disabilities more often than in the past. Laws mandate that these students be taught in the least restrictive environment, which usually means inclusion in the classroom. Therefore most teachers will have at least one student with a learning or physical disability (usually many more than one student). Through these courses, I learned about using people-first language, which really made me aware of how I speak about students who may have a disability. I noticed that many of these terms were on the online quiz.

The YouTube video really reiterated how people with disabilities feel when we act different around them. It seems to me that most people with a disability just want to fit in and it is important as teachers and librarians that we treat all students the same. The quiz was an interesting way to see how we can use people first language and ways to act around people with disabilities. The main thing to remember is to act normal. I especially found it important to get on the person's level and speak as you normally would. With the increasing numbers of students with disabilities, we must learn to treat everyone the same and give everyone the same opportunities.

There is a Center for Independent Living in the city where I live. I was interested to read about the services that are offered. These centers teach people with disabilities the skills that are needed to live independently. This is so important. Also the center advocates and offers counseling and peer services. Along with an entire list of services, the center offers assistive devices to those who need it. I never knew that a center like this existed, but I can see why it is so important. There were not any Assistive Technology Centers listed within my state, but again I can see why this would be a useful resource.

I found several assistive technology websites that seemed useful. They are listed below:

1. Family Guide to Assistive Technology: - This is a guide that was prepared through a branch of the U.S. Department of Education. It introduces parents to assistive technology and gives ideas of ways assistive technology can be used. It is important as teachers or librarians that we work together with parents to find the best accomodations for our students.

2. Assistive Technology Training Online Project: - This is a site that provides teachers with information about assistive technology for students in the elementary grades. It provides links, tutorials, basic information, and resources.

3. AbleData: - This is a website that provides resources and information about assistive technology for people and students with disabilties. This site helps people locate websites, locate products, and locate grants and other funding.

4. Microsoft's Assistive Technology Site: - Although this site is primarily used for selling assistive technology devices, it does provide some useful background information about assistive technology. It also provides resources, case studies, and information about how to make the computer more user-friendly.

5. National Public Website of Assistive Technology: - This site can be used for adults and for students. It provides a list of items avalaible to make life a little simpler. Users can search by activity or by type of product. A wiki helps users connect with each other.

I was glad that I got the chance to learn a bit more about manners, both in person and online. It was interesting to read about how people with disabiltities feel when we treat them differently. I also like exploring some of the sites available.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Assistive Technology - Module 3 Software Reviews

I wrote a brief review for each of the software products in the discovery exercises. My software selections will be posted in the discussion board. I hope this is what we were supposed to do for the blog!

Inspiration: The Inspiration software is created by the Inspiration Software company. The price is $69.00 for a single license and $895.00 for 20 licenses. This software is designed to be used primarily for educators to assist students by providing visual tools that can help students learn in a variety of ways. The software is designed for students in Grades 6-12, although Kidspiration is also available for students in grades K-5. This software seems like a great resource for teachers. It helps teachers to create story maps, graphic organizers, charts, pictures, exercises, etc. that will help students to learn in a variety of ways. I really liked the various options it has and the website provides examples of lesson plans that help teachers get an idea of what the software can do. I am going to look into purchasing this item for my own use. I think it can help teachers become more creative and appeal to the varying learning styles of our students.

Kurzweil 3000: The Kurzweil 3ooo is a software that is created by Kurzweil Education Systems. This product comes in three different versions. The learn station is $395.00 and allows the students to open documents from the Internet or those that are already on the computer. The Color Learning pack is $1495.00 and allows students to scan items into the computer in black and white or in color. The Black and Write Learning pack is $1095 and allows the user to scan items into the computer in black and white only. This is tool that allows students to instruct the computer to read documents aloud. I am going to be requesting a similar tool to this. I think that this is an excellent tool to have for students who are visually impaired or students with learning disabilities. It helps students to make meaning of text and decipher unknown words.

Windows Demonstrations: These assistive technology devices are provided by Microsoft and are mostly included in Windows packages. I never knew that there was an Ease of Access section in the control panel. This area helps users who may have disabilities that impair how they are using the computer. This section has a tool that allows the user to input information about themselves. The tutorial then goes through and recommends settings that can help the user. This includes magnifier, adjusting displays and settings to make the screen easier to see, changing text sizes, having words read aloud, functioning with the keyboard and the mouse, functioning without the keyboard and mouse, speech recognition, and much more. I was amazed to see how many adaptations are available on my computer. I tried some of these out and found that they were actually useful to me. Sometimes more advanced software may be needed, but it is helpful to know that these are available if necessary.

Infoeyes: This is a free program that allows users with visual impairments to contact a librarian and ask him or her anything. The system uses iVocalize software to allow the user to make contact with the librarian. This seems like a useful tool for students who may have visual impairments. It allows the user to speak with someone and ask reference or other important questions. I thought this was a great tool that every educator should know about.

After looking at a few options available, I can see how these tools would help students with various disabilities. I was glad that we got the chance to examine some of these useful tools!

Assistive Technology - Module 3

Again, I never realized how many software packages were available that can assist students with disabilities. I was amazed at how many options there are for students who are blind, students who have difficulty speaking, students who cannot hear, and students who have learning disabilities. I thought it was great that many of these companies will allow teachers or students to test out the software to see if it is right for the school setting. This is important when budgets are restricted and librarians must choose the appropriate software fairly quickly. I enjoyed testing out some of the software and will definitely keep some of these options in mind for future purchase.

As mentioned in my hardware selection, I have a large population of students who have learning disabilities. Some of the assistive technology available can be useful to these students both in school and at home. There are a variety of software packages that read words aloud to students. This would be useful for students who have a hard time deciphering words, especially on the Internet or computer screen. Also, voice recognition software could help these students to type on the screen with ease. Oftentimes when students with severe learning disabilities type into Microsoft Word, the computer is unable to correct spelling because it is severely misspelled. With a tool like this, students could speak words in and the computer can type them out. There are so many tools that can assist students with learning disabilities that it is hard to limit the choices to a reasonable amount!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Assistive Technology - Module 2

Wow! I never realized how many types of assistive technology devices were available for those users who have physical disabilities. When browsing through the sites that provided these devices, I found some products that I feel could be useful in my library to assist students with disabilities. These are items that can be used to assist students in learning tasks and for student's personal use of the computer.

The first product that I thought could be valuable is a screen reader. A screen reader is a device that takes the words on the screen and reads them aloud to the student. This device is useful for students who have vision problems and for learning support students who are unable to make sense of the material because they cannot figure out what the words are. This could be easily added onto a few of the computers in the library to assist students with physical and learning disabilities.

The second product that I thought could be useful is the word completion software. The accommodations that need to be made in my library are primarily for learning support students. This software requires the user to enter a few letters into the computer and it will then provide the user with words that match the letters he or she entered. This can be useful for those students who have a hard time spelling words. Sometimes spellcheck is not enough to really correct errors in some students paper. This tool will provide students with learning disabilities some extra help when working on the computer to complete projects or assignments.

The final product that I feel could be implemented into my library is the reading pen. The reading pen allows the user to run the pen over words and it will read the word aloud. This is something that can be used in the library to assist students with hard to read words. It would need to be closely monitored in case of theft, but I think that it would be useful in a place where the meaning of words in so important. I am going to look into adding some of these devices into my technology plan.

I thought EnableMart was the most useful website that was provided in this weeks blog. It provided a wealth of products in eleven different categories. I found the products mentioned above through this site. It lets the reader know what each product can be used for, which is very helpful. I am going to bookmark this site to ensure I have a resource for locating assistive technologies.

I am glad that we got a chance to look at some useful products for the library. Many times when creating a technology plan, assistive technology devices are left out of it. Looking at these sites reminded me that it is important to meet the needs of all students and not just some. I also noticed that many of these devices do not have to be just for the students with disabilities. Many of the devices can be useful to any student. I thought this week was interesting and relevant.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Assistive Technology - Module 1

In my undergrad technology class, we learned about a variety of disabilities and how technology can be adapted to meet the needs of all users. However, I have not thought about that in a while and so have forgot how important it is to make adaptations to ensure that each student has an opportunity to learn. Watching the YouTube videos and exploring the sites given reminded me that it is important to consider each student and that it may be necessary to think outside the box to reach every user.

Discovery Exercise #1: After looking at the National Federation of the Blind's site, I realized how important it is to be prepared to make accommodations for students who are hard of seeing. This site provided a variety of strategies and exercises that can be implemented into a classroom or library. It is important to remember that not only can a teacher learn Braille to assist a student with sight difficulties, but sighted students can learn too. I think it is important to explain to students that there are many ways to communicate with each other and that reading Braille can be a fun and interesting skill to have. The Braille is Beautiful kit would probably be a good place to start. This kit helps teachers show students in their class what Braille is and why it can be useful. Students can have fun learning about Braille and also use it to communicate with classmates who have vision difficulties. The teacher should be a leader in showing students that this is something that needs to be taken seriously. This site showed many other programs that would be worth looking into. It is important to make accommodations so that all students can have the same learning opportunities.

Discovery Exercise #2: The Job Accommodation Network seems like a great resource for people with disabilities. Oftentimes when people have a disability, the individual (or their family) may think that they will never be able to have a normal life or a job. This site, however, can help people with disabilities find a job that can match their abilities. There are many companies throughout the world that are willing to hire people with disabilities and give them the training and accommodations that they need. I really appreciate this site. Also, the site provided a list of products that can be useful to help these people fit into their jobs. These products can also be used in schools and libraries to make accommodations for students.

The other website, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, provided a variety of resources for teachers that can be useful in a classroom or library. This site provided information on a wide variety of disabilities that I am going to bookmark to help me learn more about students in my classroom. The site also provided a section on universal design that I think was very interesting. It helps teachers to make accommodations in the classroom to ensure that all students receive the same amount of accommodation.

When using technology, it is important to remember that not everyone has the same abilities. Technology has given us a chance to make changes to ensure that each student can have the same chance and the same opportunities. I am looking forward to learning more about how to make accommodations when using technology in my library.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Week 9 - Thing 23

I feel like I really learned a lot through this course. I am pretty good with technology, but I was able to take away new strategies that I can use in my classroom. I had never used podcasting or mash-ups before, so I was glad to learn about these new tools. Also, although I knew how to use blogs and wikis, I was able to find ways to implement these tools into my classroom.

My favorite exercises were using the mash-up tools. There are so many programs out there that range from useful to entertaining. New tools are constantly being added and librarians need to find ways to take advantage of these technologies. I learned how easy it is to use these tools and that almost any technology can be manipulated for a library purpose. I really want to start adding some of these tools into my library instruction.

As a librarian, it is important to be knowledgeable and available to help patrons navigate through the online world. This course has seriously assisted me in learning new strategies and techniques. I thought the course was well mapped out and was just the right length for a short course. I would recommend it to others and thought it was a great journey to complement this class.

Week 9 - Thing 22

This site was pretty interesting. There are a ton of books available online. I found the search engine slightly hard to use. Also, I wish that this site provided a browsing tool or a subject search so that users could find information more easily. I had a hard time finding useful books. All in all, I think a site like this could be useful to libraries. Sites such as this can be used to compliment a libraries collection and provide patrons with easy access to other books outside of the collection.

I have been thinking about getting a Kindle or other reading device. I keep putting it off because I think that I like the feel of a book in my hand rather than holding an electronic device for hours. I enjoy turning the pages and smelling that new book smell. However, I also think that the Kindle looks neat. I have been getting most of my books from the local public library and from my school library, so I would not like having to pay for new books I wanted to read on the Kindle. Either way I think that e-books are going to be a part of the future of libraries and I am interested in learning more about them.

Week 9 - Thing 21

I do not have much experience with podcasts. I had never even listened to one before today. As The reading this week complimented this topic very well. I especially liked the ideas that Courtney gave for libraries to use podcasts. This technology is ideal for booktalks. I was able to locate several useful sites through the podcast directories that had booktalks for kids and teens. I may try to use these in my library to advertise some of the books that we have. I am going to become more familiar with the podcasts and choose some appropriate booktalks to play for my students. I added several booktalk sites to my RSS feeder. It was very easy to use and subscribe to.

Libraries can use podcasts for a variety of purposes. Storytelling can be done through this tool. Also, when a library has an author visit or a special artifact, a podcast can be used to make sure that all patrons are able to view or hear the event. I think that this is a technology that will continue to grow as time progresses. I was very glad to be able to learn about podcasting.

Week 9 - Thing 20

I have used You Tube quite often in the past several years. I personally like to use it to watch music videos or to listen to songs that I want to hear. It is really easy to use and the videos load and play very quickly. I like the auto complete feature on the search bar because it leads to other videos that I may be interested in watching. I also like that it provides the viewer with links to other videos from the person that uploaded the video you are watching and it provides related videos that the viewer may be interested in. The discussion board can be helpful and interesting.

My biggest dislike is that there are so many videos on the site and most of them are homemade. This sometimes makes it difficult to find the right video because you have to sort through all of the junk videos. However, I know that most users like this site because it allows them to add their own videos, which is a plus from that point of view.

Libraries can use this site to provide their patrons with instructions. Many of the videos on this site can give useful information. For example: my boyfriend was trying to learn how to tie a tie. So, he found a video on YouTube that walked him through it. Librarians can lead patrons to this site for demonstrations and instructions that may be more useful than reading it in a book.

This is the link to the video I chose: It is a Dewey Decimal Rap that I just found and it is hilarious.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week 8 - Thing 19

Using Library Thing was really easy. I have been using a site called Good Reads to keep track of all the books that I have been reading for the past couple of years. Both of these sites provide the same features, but I think I like the appearance of Good Reads a bit better.

I was able to locate at least six books that would be appropriate for fourth grade students. These books give information on the Solar System and will be useful when the students are trying to locate data. It was interesting to read reviews that others wrote and to see how many people had these books on their lists. A few of my books had comments that other's made, so I could see what they liked and disliked about the books. One of my books had as many as 182 fans and one had as little as 3. I think it is neat to see which books are popular and which are not so popular.

Some of the features that I really like are the recommendations, being able to search other's tags, and the links that the site gives to purchase the books. The rating system also helps the user to see how well-liked or disliked a book may be. Library Thing seems like a user-friendly site that would be easy for students and teachers alike to use. I will definitely look into using this site in the future.

This is the link to my Library Thing catalog:

Week 8 - Thing 18

When I set about making my account for Zoho Writer, the first thing I noticed was that it looked very similar to Microsoft Word. I made a list of books I wanted to read and used features such as underline, bold, numbering, save as, etc. At first, I didn't see why this would be beneficial to use over Microsoft Word, but once I thought about it, I realized that this would be useful since I use several computers during the day. Documents can be created and saved on Zoho Writer and then accessed from any computer. This is useful to me because the computers at my school do not work too well with thumb drives. For some reason, once a computer has read a thumb drive, it will only work with that one. This makes it hard to transfer documents back and forth from school to home. I am not sure if I will definitely use this site, but I can see it's benefits! I had a hard time trying to post in my blog from Zoho Writer, which was slightly disappointing. I will have to keep trying.

I also viewed the tutorial for Google Sites. This seems like a tool that could be useful in schools and libraries. It creates a common site that various members of a group can access and edit. I think that clubs and classes within schools can use this as a central meeting place. Libraries can use this to hold book club meetings, as a place for librarians to gather, etc. I definitely want to try to use this site. I am so glad that we are learning about all of these useful tools!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Week 7 - Thing 17

Well, this week I made a webquest on the Solar System and also redid my Rollyo so the links would go along with my new topic.

The new Rollyo link is :

The link to my webquest is:

The sandbox wiki is a very unique idea. It lets the user know that a wiki does not have to be about something important, it can be used to get to know others and for entertainment. Wikis are a great idea because the user is not required to have any knowledge of html. They can simply edit the page using user-friendly icons and options. A lock can be put on a wiki so that only certain people can edit it. I think that a wiki can be used for any setting that involves several people's opinions or input. It can even be used as a classroom webpage, although access may be limited to a select few. Wikis have become a very important tool that can be used in school and libraries, and just about anywhere!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Week 7 - Thing 16

Wow... after looking at all of the various ways that libraries and schools are using wikis, I am amazed. One way that wikis can be used is for professional development and training. Many wikis are developed so that librarians can read about trends, practices, or news within the library profession. These sites can then be edited or added to by others who have knowledge on the topic. These sites are great because it is an easy way to discuss library related topics with peers and can be added to by just about anyone.

Another use for wikis in libraries is to provide patrons with information about new books and resources. Librarians can add information about a new item and patrons can view the post and make comments. This is a great way to promote reading. Patrons within the library can provide reviews, criticism, and recommendations. Many patrons will enjoy hearing what others have to say. Also, libraries can provide posts on programs and events that involve the library. Patrons can add to these posts, ask questions, etc. Wikis can be a great way to market and promote the library.

Finally, libraries can use wikis to provide patrons with information about a variety of topics. Similar to Wikipedia, some libraries have created information pages that allow their users to learn just about anything. These can be updated by other users to keep the most up-to-date information. Wikis seem like a tool that can be very helpful to libraries and their patrons!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week 6 - Thing 15

Library 2.0 means something different to everyone. When I first heard about it, I thought it was just using Web 2.0 tools in the library environment. My opinion on this has since changed. I have now come to think of Library 2.0 as something different. It is librarians reaching out to members of the community to help them find information. Prior to the widespread use of the Internet, librarians would wait for patrons to come to them because eventually they would. However, now that the Internet is almost available in every household, this can no longer be the case. Many patrons view the library as no longer necessary. Librarians must make it known that we are more necessary than ever to help our patrons sort through the information overload that comes with the Internet. We can no longer sit by and wait for patrons to come to us, we must advertise and go to them. This can be done through Web 2.0 tools, by marketing, or by simply approaching patrons when in the library. Library 2.0 is not just a technology thing, it is an attitude that librarians must learn to use.

I decided to respond to the perspective of Michael Stephens in his article "Into a new world of librarianship". In this article he talks about what the Librarian 2.0 should be. He goes on to explain the the librarian 2.0 will find the proper tools to meet the needs of patrons and also to reach out to patrons. This person will not buy tools just for the sake of having them. Instead the librarian will purchase tools that will provide a wealth of information and also tools that will appeal to patrons. This person will make good decisions that will appeal to users and will be an expert in these technologies. I thought this was a very good point of view. Once librarians start to realize the wealth of technology is available, they may feel the need to subscribe to everything. I think it is important to recognize a few great tools that will reach patrons and meet their needs rather than a large amount of average tools that will not do a great job. It is important to be knowledgeable of technology purchases and follow through with the tools. Library 2.0 is on the rise and I think it is going to improve how libraries function and reach out to patrons.

Week 6 - Thing 14

When I first read about Technorati, I did not really see why it would be useful. Since I have not previously used blogs as a primary form of communication or expression, I could not understand why others would want to search blogs. However, after starting a blog and looking at my classmates blogs, I have realized that blogs can contain valuable information that could be useful in my professional. career. Technorati is a tool that can help distinguish between personal blogs and blogs related to topics that could be of use. I used the advance search options to locate information by blog, by tag, and by blog content. It was interesting to see what results came up for each one. It was also interesting to look at some of the most popular blogs and popular search terms. I experimented by trying some of my own tags to see what popped up.

After looking at several sites that employ tagging by users, I am able to see the advantages and disadvantages to tagging. It is an easy way to enable searching by terms. The author of the post can easily assign subject terms to the post so that others who are looking for a similar topic will be able to find it. On the other hand, since there is no standard for subject terms, users may not be able to locate an item because of variations in spelling. The Shelley text did point out that even though this may be so, the user will be able to locate enough hits to find something that will serve their purposes. I think tagging is a great way to share sites with others and I am going to look into it in more depth.

Week 6 - Thing 13

I started a account last year because we were examining so many valuable links that I wanted a place to keep them all. A account comes in handy when I am accessing several computers because it keeps all the links in one central location without losing the links when I am on another computer. When I first started adding pages to my account, I did not use tagging or see the use for it. However, reading about tagging in the Shelley text has helped me to see the advantages of tagging. Tagging is an easy way of allowing users to locate information through common terms. Although there are not standard subject terms used by this system, it is fairly logical that the user will be able to find useful sites by searching any term.

I think that a social bookmarking site is an easy way to bookmark pages, but I also think that this can be used as a valuable research tool. Users can easily search for any term to locate potential information sources. Also, libraries can create pages that can assist patrons in finding reliable sites that can assist them in finding the information that is needed. One nice thing is that folders can be created to separate pages into folders for easy access. Libraries can provide a link to their page to refer users to a central location for many useful web pages. I think that social bookmarking is something that will be on the rise in the coming years and it is something that libraries can use to reach out to patrons. With so many patrons using the Internet rather than libraries, this is a way for libraries to help those patrons locate safe, reliable sites.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Week 5 - Thing 12

It was very easy to create an account of Rollyo and to create a searchroll. Since I started my job this year, I decided to try to create a lesson that I can possibly use in my library. I am going to teach a lesson related to famous children's authors. The lesson will probably require the fourth and fifth grade students to research one of their favorite authors and the author's books. The students will then create a presentation and poster which they will tell about in class. I decided to create a Rollyo of some favorite children's authors that the students may wish to use. It was very easy to add sites to the list and create the searchroll. Check out my children's authors searchroll at: I think that Rollyo has a definite place in a library or school setting. Teachers and librarians can create searchrolls on various topics. Students can then access the searchroll and go to teacher approved sites to research topics. I think that this is definitely something I will try to utilize in the future.

Week 5 - Thing 11

After hearing so much hype about Twitter, I finally decided to check it out. At first it seemed overly simple... the user enters in a short message about what they are doing right now. My first thought was "Who cares?" I decided to join to see how it works. I still think it is simple, but I started to see why some people like it. It is a way to keep in touch with a group of friends in a very short time. It is very convenient to be able to make comments from a phone while on the go. Instead of texting a bunch of friends to let them know about plans, a quick message on Twitter can notify a large group at once. The implications for schools or libraries can be big. Libraries can use this tool to notify patrons about events going on at the library. Updates can be made often as the event approaches so that patrons are reminded. Librarians can also make updates about new books and resources in quick blurbs. Schools may not be able to use this device because it is social networking, but it could be used to remind students of events, forms that need to be turned in, or homework assignment reminders. With so many new tools, it is going to be hard to choose the best ones to use in the work environment!

Week 5 - Thing 10

Wow... I just spent a ton of time fooling around with image generators. There are so many neat things that can be made. I found a generator that allows the user to create a puzzle out of the photo. I made one of my dog, Holly. This tool is available at: I also made a comic strip, a mosaic, a trading card, and a bunch of other things. This could be a fun hobby from now on. I'm glad I got the chance to learn more about this. Image generators can be useful in schools and libraries. For example, the trading card generator can be used for characters in stories. I really feel that these tools can have educational uses. Also, libraries can use these tools for promotional ideas on Facebook, blogs, etc.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week 4 - Thing 9

It was really easy to fill up my reader with library related blogs. Since I signed up for Google Reader, I decided to use the search tool within Google Reader. I clicked on browse for stuff and used the search tools to locate blogs about libraries, children's books, and teaching. Each search produced a large number of results. I chose some of the blogs that I was interested in reading. I also went through some of the sites that were listed on the 23 things site. I found the awards site to be interesting. Blogs on any subject are very easy to find.

Now that I have been using the RSS reader, I suddenly started noticing how many sites have their own RSS feed. It is actually kind of amazing that I haven't looked into this tool before now. Subscribing to sites is very easy to do and I found most of the tools to be self explanatory. As I use sites in school and at work, I am going to be keeping my eye out for RSS feeds that can be useful in my career. I am so excited!

Week 4 - Thing 8

I don't have much experience when it comes to RSS feeds. I tried to subscribe once to a Young Adult book site called YAReads. I pressed the orange RSS button and it was added to the area where my favorites were. It was OK, but I didn't see why it was so great. Then I watched the video about RSS feeds and realized that this could be much more useful if I had a RSS reader. I decided to sign up for the Google reader and everything started to make a lot more sense! I added a few sites that I was interested in from the 100 library blogs and some other sites I frequent. The site also automatically added the blogs I was following on blogger. Now I get why people find this tool so useful. Now I won't have to log on to each site and blog to see what changes have been made; they will all show up in my reader!

Librarians and teachers can get a lot of use out of a RSS feed reader. Teachers and librarians can subscribe to education related sites to receive constant updates on news, technology, lessons, and more. Also, librarians can use this as a marketing tool. When patrons subscribe to a library's feed, the library can advertise events and resources to reach out to patrons. I am definitely interested in learning more about these feeds and I will be sure to use my reader to subscribe to my favorite sites!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week 3 - Thing 7

I decided to blog this week about a technology that I have been integrating at school... the Promethean board. For those of you in schools, the Promethean board is like a SMART board, just a different brand. Our school district just purchased a number of these boards and they have been installed in several classrooms and in the library. This board is used like a black board. The user uses a "pen" that is used to write on the board. The difference with the Promethean board is that it only has one pen and the user chooses the tools from a toolbox on the computer.

This board is really useful in the library. I have created a few PowerPoint presentations to introduce my students to the library. I created a presentation about library rules and procedures and also how to care for books. The board also comes with an accompanying site that has already created presentations to be used on the board. This saves time when it comes to showing presentations.

I'm interested to hear if anyone else has used this technology and what creative uses they have thought of.

Week 3 - Thing 6

Wow! I can't believe how many mashups there are that involve Flickr. I never would have thought of most of the things that are available. I tried to look through most of them and I could see how many of them would be useful. (I did like the librarian trading cards! I might have to get one made after me.) I chose two Flickr tools to blog about. One is a tool that I thought could be useful for the library and one tool was just hilarious and I felt the need to share.

The tool that I thought would be useful for libraries is the Color Fields Colr Pickr. This tool allows the user to pick any color from a color wheel. Various pictures in that color are then displayed. I thought this was really neat because the user does not have to have a certain topic in mind to find a picture. Projects that are being created can integrate photos based on the projects color scheme to make different posters, signs, etc. I really liked this tool and thought it was very creative.

The fun tool that I found was the Flickr Chia Pet. Using the tool, the user can add a photo of anything.. a pet, a person, a thing... etc. Then using the tool, this app will add green hair on the photo... making it look like a Chia pet. When I was reading about the many tools, this one made me laugh out loud. Can you imagine giving someone a picture of them as a Chia pet? Too funny...

I am going to have to look more at these mashups and their uses in libraries. I am interested in seeing what my classmates found as useful.

Week 3 - Thing 5

I have never used Flickr, but I have used other similar photo sharing sites, most specifically Shutterfly. I have heard how Flickr can be beneficial to teachers and librarians, and after fully exploring the site and creating an account, I have an even greater knowledge of this. I liked exploring the map feature that allows the user to search for any location in the world and find photos that were taken there. I looked for places like Machu Picchu, Easter Island, Myrtle Beach, and Florida. I have always wanted to see Machu Picchu and Easter Island, so it was really neat to see the pictures. As for Myrtle Beach and Florida, these are my two major vacation places, so it was great to see what other people like to do.

I think the tagging feature is what really makes this site useful. When others place tags on their photos, it makes it extremely easy to search for pictures that can be useful for the learning environment. Teachers can use this site for geography, science, social studies, and much more. I am definitely going to take some time to explore this site in more detail. The groups section is useful also because it allows a group of people to collect images centered around a common theme or topic. Libraries and classrooms can create groups with others to share educational photos.

As for the exercise... I did create an account of Flickr, bur since I was not at my school's library this weekend, I could not take a photo while I was there. Instead I chose to find a unique picture that I wanted to share with all of you. This is a picture of downtown Pittsburgh at night... It looks beautiful! I chose to share this because it is where I live and it seemed like a pretty picture!

Flickr Photo - Pittsburgh at night

Originally uploaded by macwagen

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Week 2 - Thing # 3 and 4

This week I was a little behind in my readings because of the short week. Sorry for posting so late. The only experience I have had with blogs was in one of my classes last semester. We were required to create a copyright blog to share about our experiences with the class. I like the idea of being able to gain more experience with blogging this semester. I still need to figure out how to add more personal touches to my page. I want to try to be more creative with the layout and such. Sorry if it's boring for right now... I'll be working on it soon. I had fun setting up my blog and registering it. I am looking forward to the other activities that will be coming up and also reading my classmates blogs.

I enjoyed making an avatar. I have never really created one before and it was great to experiment with all the options. I had a hard time posting it, so I made it my picture and also added it as a posting on my blog. (Just figured it out like 5 minutes later haha!!) Looking forward to working with everyone!


Week 1 - Thing # 1 and 2 - 7 1/2 Habits of Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning is something that I think a majority of us already value. Seeing as this is a Master's program, this is a path that we have chosen in addition to our undergraduate education. We decided to pursue a degree that would help us to continue to learn, and library and information science is a field that will help us to learn, and to teach others to learn, throughout our entire lives. I feel that I have many of the qualities and thoughts that were mentioned in the 7 1/2 qualities presentation. Some are definitely more present than others, but each quality is important and is something that I will work on developing in the future.

The quality that I think is the easiest is "begin with the end in mind". I am very goal-oriented. When I make a decision, it is usually because I have thought out what will happen because of that decision. It is easy for me to know what I want and to figure out the steps that will help me get there. I constantly make lists that will help me to accomplish my goals and often reflect on the actions that I need to take to reach my goal. (I also think that "using technology to your advantage" was another quality that I find to be very natural. I use technology constantly to find out more about whatever is going on in my life. I often use technology to help me to reach my goals and to make life a little easier.)

This brings me to the quality that I find the hardest. The hardest quality for me is "view problems as challenges". Although I am very goal-oriented and know how to reach my goals, I often have trouble when problems come along. I often view small problems as huge, which is not a good quality. I am a big worrier, too. The only good thing about this is that it helps me to keep the goal in mind and to get done what is needed. In the future, I need to view problems as learning experiences and not as a huge deal. Maybe one day...