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:

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.