Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wordle


Visit this website and learn how to create a Wordle!


Image Chef


ImageChef.com Poetry Blender

Visit this website and learn how to create these exciting images!


ImageChef Word Mosaic - ImageChef.com

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thing #23 Summary of the 23 Things Experience

1. What were my favorite discoveries or exercises on this journey?

The journey itself was a wonderful (and sometimes frustrating) experience that I wouldn't trade for the world. I started out with a lot of fear, very little knowledge and experience with technology and zero knowledge and experience with Web 2.0. I've gained so much confidence now. My failures turned into triumphs and taught me so much.

I think my favorite activities were (1) creating the blog and using it to write about my journey (2) creating my avatar (3) playing with the online image generators (I showed my husband these applications and he still plays with them. He loves to put himself on the cover of golf magazines and then posts them on Facebook)

The most useful thing I learned about was Flickr Creative Commons. I have used it consistantly since the day I learned about it. I even earned a technology t-shirt at my school for doing a presentation on this website to my Kindergarten teammates. I also think the social bookmarking sites are extremely useful. I plan on signing up for Diigo and introducing it to my teammates. It will definitely help us organize all the websites we use.

The most frustrating thing about these new Web 2.0 discoveries is the inability to use most of them in Katy ISD.

2. How has this program assisted or affected my life-long learning goals?

Just as Vaughn predicted in a comment she made on Thing #2 7 1/2 Habits for Life-Long Learning, I now have the knowledge and confidence to use technology to my advantage in my work and personal life. I have already integrated Flickr CC and Glogster into my instruction, created a Wiki for organizing study groups, posted my avatar on my Facebook page and created several photo stories for personal and classroom use.

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised me?

The first unexpected outcome was that I can actually embrace Web 2.0 technology now. I also didn't realize how much fun it is to participate in a community of learners through blog comments. I love to comment on other's blogs and look forward to reading the comments on mine.

4. What could you do differently to improve upon this program's format or concept?

Honestly, the only thing I would say you could do to improve the experience is to check the links occasionally and take out the ones that don't work anymore. Otherwise, I'd say the program meets all the goals and objectives it sets out to meet.

5. If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would I choose to participate?

Yes! Technology is always changing and evolving. It's important to continue to grow and learn.

6. How would I describe my learning experience in one word or one sentence, so you can use my words to promote 23 Things learning activities?

Worth the ride!

7. Now go and comment on some of the other player's blogs!

Sure! I'm off to make some comments!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

#22 Nings

Oh my goodness, I could spend days exploring all the things in Ning! Oh no, I'm rhyming again. Of course I gravitate to all things Kindergarten. In the Teacher Lingo Ning I found this blog post from a blog entitled "Look at My Happy Rainbow" My journey as a male Kindergarten teacher. It really hit home that as teachers we have so much influence over our student's lives. At times we are the center of their world. What a huge responsibility!

I joined Kindergarten Teachers Ning to give it a try. Kindergarten is its own little world and I love the idea of being able to network with other teachers about my profession. I also like the fact that you can add your blog to the site. It's a great way to find interesting blogs to follow.

A absolutely love the Teacher Librarian Ning! The forum is so helpful. I love reading about librarians helping librarians. I've noticed that they are asking questions similar to questions I've been having. For instance, there was a post entitled Copyright discussion on photos (images) in Web 2.0 tools about where to put the attribution when using an image from Flickr Creative Commons. I've always wondered that myself as I've been using images from the sight in creating glogs and photo stories.

All in all, I thing Nings can not only be helpful in professional development but also in the classroom and library. Teachers can create a Ning to use as a collaborative learning environment. Students can join and post videos, websites, pictures that they find about a particular subject. Discussion forums can also be created. The fact that Nings can be private means it's a safe environment for learning. Librarians can create a Ning around a book club and facilitate discussion forums. What a wonderful tool!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Thing #21 Podcasts and Videocasts

I've always wanted to learn how to create a Photostory. Our team uses it every year to display pictures from our "Pay it Forward" project. This year our project was called "Stuffed with Love". We asked the parents of our Kindergarteners to donate a new stuffed animal and we took over 200 stuffed animals to local hospitals, fire stations and police stations to give to children in crisis.

My first attempt at creating a Photostory videocast was not without challenges. I don't have a microphone at home so I decided to put in text slides instead of narration. Photostory doesn't have a feature to add a blank slide but I found a wiki online entitled "Blank Slide Instructions for Photostory" that gave explicit instructions. When I was ready to add music, I thought that Photostory had music that I could use without worrying about copyright, but for some reason I couldn't figure out how to do it. So I did a "Google" search for "Creative Commons Music" and found dig.ccmixter which is a website full of music safe for podcasts. I chose the music I wanted and copied it to my music folder. After that it was easy to add to my Photostory.

So here's the final product of the Life Cycle of a Butterfly:


video

Thing #20 Explore YouTube & TeacherTube

Of course as a Kindergarten teacher I'm always looking for ways to engage my students and keep them excited about learning. Young children love to sing. We use songs all the time to teach skills such as phonics and phonemic awareness. We even have a song that teaches how to "Reduce", "Recycle" and "Reuse" for Earth Day. So I went searching on You Tube for Kindergarten songs. Here's one from Hooked on Phonics that teaches rhyming. I hope this works!




So, I'm going to end my post by saying "Thanks 23 Things for helping us test our Web 2.0 Wings! Ha Ha! I know, I'm corny. But I teach Kindergarten, what did you expect?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thing #19 Web 2.0 Awards List

I enjoyed exploring Wufoo. Wufoo is a tool that helps you collect data over the internet. You can create applications, surveys, invitations, registrations and online orders using their colorful theme templates or create something from scratch. It has a tiered pricing plan ranging from free to $199.95 a month depending on your needs. They will host all of your forms or you can put them into your existing website. You can organize your information by creating reports and building graphs based on the data collected. It has a great video tour that explains how to create a form.

I can see using this tool as a librarian to register families for campus events, to create questionnaires for teachers for staff development needs or collection development input. I think the report and graphing feature would be extremely helpful in using the data to make needs based decisions.

As a Kindergarten team, we could create an information form for parents to fill out on their incoming Kindergarteners which would give us valuable information in placing them in the right class. We could also use it for registration for our field trips.

Even though there is a cost for using the service, I think the campus as a whole would benefit from using this tool.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thing #18 Online Productivity Tools

Well my first impression of Open Office is WHAT DO I DO WITH THAT BLANK PAGE? Even the "first time users" link didn't help me. I searched all around the different tabs and couldn't even find how to start a document. Maybe I'm blind! I also don't like the fact that I have to download it to my computer. I definitely won't use this product.

Google Docs is more user friendly. Since I already have a Google account I just clicked on the link and I was connected. Several advantages include: 1) it's free 2) you can access your files from any computer that has internet access 3)You can use their templates and choose from thousands. 4) You never have to create anything from scratch 5) You can upload your existing files. 6) You can collaborate on a shared document without having to email it back and forth.

However, since I'm not used to the format, it's easier when I'm in a hurry to create something from Microsoft Office because I'm familiar with it. I would like to spend more time getting familar with Google Docs because I see the advantages to having my documents available to me at work and at home.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thing #17 Rollyo

Rollyo is a great Web 2.0 tool that educators can use to create their own search engines for students, other teachers or personal use. Creating a searchroll for a specific subject with safe and relevant websites will save all users a lot of time and frustration.

I really liked the video created by Bruce Goodner. It was an excellent tutorial of how to create an account, set up your searchrolls but more importantly how to link it so that your students can use it as well. He's such a great example of how participating in 23 Things can help educators help their students and their peers with the knowledge gained.

I set up a library education search roll with links to websites that I've been using for our discussion questions and projects. I hope you have time to check it out.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thing #16 Wikis

I like the fact that Wikis are quick and easy to set up and can be used in so many ways. In Kindergarten, we could use a wiki to create a grade level add on poem or story. We could also publish individual student poetry and make a page for each Kindergarten class. A grade level Earth Day project could involve setting up a wiki with 3 pages (reduce, recycle, reuse) and ideas for each could be added to the page. A wiki could also be set up to coordinate our grade level events such as our Kindergarten Rodeo Day. Supply lists, parent volunteers and station maps could all be coordinated and edited easily. We could also create a resource page for Literacy Station ideas and websites.

Wow! I better get to work on all these new ideas! :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thing #15 Web 2.0 and Library 2.0

The article "Away from the Iceburgs" talks about the need to move away from the proverbial iceburgs or practices and attitudes that could potentially lead to the downfall of libraries. While moving away from the old school of thought we should be moving towards making the user our number one priority. Our goal as librarians should be to meet the needs of our patrons by getting the information they need in their possession easily and quickly. Information should be available wherever the users are - at home, at work, at school. Ease of access and use are key.

The article "Into a New World of Librarianship" acknowledges the fact that embracing Web 2.0 tools is necessary to meet those needs. A librarian should become a "trendspotter" by reading about up and coming technology that will affect library services and the users and be ready to integrate new technologies into the ever growing and changing array of library services.

I think the bottom line is if a librarian always keeps in mind that we are serving the patrons and always searches for better ways to do so, the library (either physically or virtually) will never become obsolete but rather continue to be an institution of learning and growing.

Thing #14 Explore Technorati

I think there is great value in using Technorati over search engines like Google to find blog postings. I like the Key Word Feature better than the Blog Directory using tags because you can get most specific in your search. I tried several searches using both methods and came up with the same number of results. But when I searched in the Blog directory I had to click the "blog post" button to get more results which is an extra step over searching with the Key Word Feature.

What I found interesting about searching topics using Technorati is the vast array of conflicting opinions about the same subject. For example, I searched using the key word "Kindergarten" and found one post that suggested Full Day Kindergarten was more beneficial than Half Day Kindergarten. Then there was another post that said that Kindergarten was a waste of time.

I also did a search on my favorite American Idol contestant, Alex Lambert, that didn't make the top 12. My husband can't believe that I'm still lamenting over the fact that he was booted off before he even got started. I love his voice even if everyone says he's not a great performer. His tone is like a young Rod Stewart. And there's just a sweetness about him that's so endearing. If you haven't had a chance to hear him click here.

Oh yea, back to my assignment - tags are great!

Thing #13 Tagging and Delicious

I think social bookmarking is ingenious! I was just complaining to myself that my husband adds so many ridiculous websites to our favorites that I have to weed through his to find my important ones. Ha Ha! I was going to suggest setting up folders in our favorites but bookmarking is so much better because you have your important sites at your fingertips no matter what computer you're using. (We have 2 in our office)

Also, I can't tell you how many times someone in my school emails me a great website and I look at it but don't know what to do with it afterwards. I can see using this with my Kindergarten team by bookmarking sites for Literacy Station ideas and online literacy and math games for our students.

I can see using this as a librarian for sharing websites with other librarians on various topics and using it as a discussion forum. It's also a great tool for helping students with research by bookmarking safe sites for topics the teachers have assigned.

I can also see the benefit for the librarian student. Currently, I have a folder on my favorites entitled MLIS with websites I find that I want to refer back to regularly for research and general information.

I wonder which Social Bookmarking site is the best? I know my librarian uses DIIGO. I like the highlighting and post-it features but it seems a little more complicated than Delicious. Does anyone have an opinion about which site is the best and easiest to use?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thing #12 Creating Community through Commenting

Reading about how to create community through commenting was very inspiring. At first this journey was all about the assignment and learning Web 2.0 but now I'm beginning to buy into blogging, reading other's blogs and commenting in a meaningful way. I enjoyed reading Cool Cat Teacher's tips on How to Comment Like a King (or queen). I learned how much power and credibility a well thought out and meaningful comment can bring to a person's blog. I also learned that it can create credibility for you and draw others to your blog.

I thought it was interesting to read the comments on 10 Techniques to get more comments on your blog. When I came to a negative comment, I couldn't help think about the Darth Vader mentioned in Cool Cat Teacher's blog. Not only do comments like this tear down the blogger, they ruin it for everyone else who's enjoying the blog and has to read such negativity.

I enjoyed commenting on other blogs from our class. Books Are People Too had an excellent article in Newsweek about firing bad teachers. The article evolked some interesting emotions in me as I read the author's take on our current educational system. I hope others read it and comment as well.

I wanted to comment on blogs other than those about education so I spread my wings a little and "googled" blogs about faith. I came across the Women of Faith blog. It was so refreshing and made me laugh out loud. I commented on Patsy Clairmont's article entitled "Breathing Space". She says her biggest struggle is "how do I get away from me? I often get on my own nerves." I love it!!! Her ideas and other's comments are very practical and uplifting.

I also found Beth Moore's (Living Proof's Ministries) blog and not only commented but became a follower. I've been taking her Bible Studies for years and have grown in my faith by leaps and bounds.

I'm so glad we had this assignment!

Thing #11 Library Thing

I've really enjoyed exploring Library Thing. I added 26 books and rated each one. I'm always looking for good books and new authors to try so I really like the recommendation feature. It's just like getting recommendations from Netflix when you rate movies you've seen. Like Netflix, you can see the list of recommendations and the books that you've read that are similar. It gives me options I would have never chosen on my own.

I also like looking at the members that have a similar library to mine. I visit their site and see what books are the same as mine and what books they've recently added. It gives me new ideas for books I might like to read.

The review section is helpful too. I always like to know what other people think of a book before I read it. You just have to watch out for "spoilers".

I searched through different group options but didn't find any I would be interested in following. I like such a wide variety of books and it seems like most of the groups are focused on one author or genre.

Thing #10 Online Image Generators



How fun! The comic strip generator is so cute. Here's the image I created. I had to copy it and save it as a JPEG because the upload image feature didn't work.



The Custom Sign Generator had many fun options. I used Fake Magazine Covers to create this image. It was easy once I figured out how to download my picture. My niece Julie Stayton won the State Championship wrestling at 148lbs. It was so exciting so I decided to give her a magazine cover. She deserves it after the successful wrestling career she's had over the past 4 years. This was her final match after over 100 wins and setting a record at her school for the most wins. She's the one in the red from Katy High School. Maybe I'll post it on her Facebook page!

I really liked using the Word Mosaic tool in Image chef. I can see many uses in the classroom. I chose the "heart" image and used it to write a simile: "You are as sweet as a drop of honey". It also allowed me to add a "drop" image into the text. Way cool! You could also use it for displaying metaphors, onomatopoeias, rhyming words, alliteration etc.

Happy Face Generator has a great feature where you can create a free logo. I created this logo to represent my blog however I'm noticing that it's not very clear. That would be a problem if you actually wanted to use this for a business or a school project.

I created this image at Big Huge Labs at the FX tab. You can take a regular photograph and turn it into a piece of art.
I've really enjoyed this journey through all the online generators. You can be as creative as you want. What a great opportunity for our students to synthesize information and display it in a creative format!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thing #9 RSS Feed Search Resources

Now that I'm somewhat familiar with RSS feeds, I've really enjoyed exploring all the search options available. Bloglines seems similar to a Google search in that there are many results with each topic searched. However, many of the results are unrelated to the topic so I wasn't very impressed with this option. I could have spent days exploring Edublog's award winners. I particularly liked the blog Creating Lifelong learners. Mathew Needleman is an amazing teacher and I was excited to see that I share many of his educational opinions. In his most recent post, Mathew shared an assessment chart that is so simple and very eye opening. Reading the red dots vertically shows a struggling teacher where as reading the red dots horizontally shows a struggling student. Topix.net was not my favorite. I found it extremely cluttered and unappealing. Technorati was my favorite because it's so organized. You can search by post or blog and in many different categories and subjects. I found it very user friendly. All in all Thing #9 was a very fascinating journey!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thing #8 RSS Feeds

It took me 2 times to go through Thing 8 and I still only have a small handle on RSS Feeds. Granted, the first time I went through it was 8:00 p.m. which my body seems to think is my bedtime. I subscribed to American Idol because that's my favorite show at the moment. I really enjoy that I can read everyone's new blog postings without having to open up each one to see if there's anything new. I see how teachers can use this new technology by setting up RSS feeds for students to follow current events or useful blogs. It makes sharing information and collaborating much more accessible to the web 2.0 user. I feel like I still have a lot to learn about how to take full advantage of this application but right now I'm just enjoying the fact that I know what an RSS feed is!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thing #7 Google Tools

Wow, I've only known Google as a search engine and never even paid attention to anything else it offers. I have tried Google Maps before but I usually use Mapquest to get directions. So it was a fun experience exploring all the different Google Tools available for free.

I created a Google Calendar and customized my own iGoogle page. I really liked the To Do list and I added it to my iGoogle page, but I have no idea how to put a copy of it in my blog. I tried right clicking, copy and pasting but I couldn't figure it out. I can see how some people would really enjoy the different games it offers although I'm not a game player (no time, maybe when I retire!) I added Simply Recipes to my iGoogle page because I love to cook and am always looking for new recipes.

I saw a few gadgets that could help in teaching. One of our units in Kindergarten is "Nighttime". It would be fun to track the Current Moon Phase during and after the unit. I also liked My Stock Portfolio. Economics teachers could use this application and have their students create their own stock portfolio and track its progress over a period of time. There is so much more to explore in Google! I wish I had more time.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thing #6

Good grief, can someone PLEASE help me with this "adding an image" problem! It didn't look like this in my preview!

Thing #6 Mash ups and 3rd Party Sites


I spent a long time exploring Mash ups and 3rd Party sites. I have to admit, I am still a little confused about API's and Apps. I had some problems with Huge Labs accepting my membership. After signing up and trying to create a mosaic of my wedding day, I kept getting kicked off. When I tried to sign in again, it wouldn't take my password. When I had my password sent to my email, (it was a new one) it wouldn't work either. I finally had to re-sign up under a different email address. I looked at several web apps but couldn't navigate very easily to try any of them. I really enjoyed Bookr. As a librarian, I could see using this at all grade levels. I created a Kindergarten book that students could easily create after our field trip to the zoo. Here is the link but I'm not sure if it works. Zoo Animals by Mrs. De Luna


I also tried jigsaw and created this puzzle of my daughter Lindsey. And of course I had to make a trading card of my trip to New York. It would be fun to do one for each place I visit over the years. Overall I would say this was a great learning experience but I still have a lot to learn!

Also, can anyone tell me how I put these images embedded in the middle of my print instead of at the top?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thing #5 Explore Flickr


This week we are learning about adjectives in my Kindergarten class. I'm excited to search Flickr for pictures the students can describe using adjectives. I found this picture by using the descriptor "old lady". I'm interested to see what adjectives my students use to describe her.
I also really enjoyed reading about "tagography" case studies. My favorite was "pickleproject". I can't believe people actually come up with these crazy things! I love this resource and can't wait to share it with my Kindergarten teammates.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thing #3 Setting up Blog and Avatar

What an experience! Before this course, I didn't even know what a blog was and thought an avatar was blue. I did encounter some problems with Google giving me error messages and I must admit I became frustrated at times. But I stuck with the process and I can't tell you what a sense of accomplishment I feel. It's a rush! I wonder, can I use my avatar as my facebook profile picture. Anyone know? I can't wait to read other blogs and comment. Hmmmm, how do you do that?

Thing #2: 7 1/2 habits for lifelong learning

In order to be a lifelong learner, I believe you have to be open to learning from anyone in any situation. I think learning requires a positive attitude even in uncomfortable situations. I enjoyed reading the 7 1/2 Habits and recognized myself in all of them. I think the easiest habit for me to follow is #2 Accepting responsibility for your own learning. When I'm passionate about gaining knowledge in something, I throw myself into the learning process with gusto and love every minute. My weakest habit is #6 Using technology to your advantage. My main obstacles to developing this habit are lack of knowledge and time. I'm looking forward to all the knowledge and applications I will be learning in this course!