Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thing 47: Evaluation

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more This is the last thing for More Things - I have enjoyed these things almost as much as I did 23 Things. I am hoping that there will be even more things to explore. I enjoy having this kind of format from which to learn things that I wouldn't normally know about or take the time to check out. I live for deadlines - - if I never had a deadline I would truly get nothing done but reading.

Thing 46: Webjunction Minnesota

Webjunction Minnesota
I think that the most useful part of WJMN is that it is kind of a "one stop shop" in that there is so much information available at the site.
I like the opportunity to take courses, the fact that as a member those courses are available for no cost is a HUGE plus.
I enjoyed the Library Services - I am always looking for ways to make the library "the place to be" for our students and this site offers a place to get ideas from other people who have the somewhat the same mind set.
I can't say what kinds of Minnesota-specific services I would like to see on the site as I have not had a chance to see what all is there, much less to see what might be missing. I can't wait to spend enough time on the site to find out if there is something MN specific that could be added.

Thing 45: Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is something I haven't really checked out before or used. The one site that I have used something similar is on LibraryThing.com. The site offers clouds for the authors that are in your library.

I didn't realize that I was already in "the Cloud" because of the sites that I am currently using. I am not sure that that makes me more or less comfortable.

I love the idea of saving information outside of my own computer and being able to access that information from other places, thus not having to carry around my laptop all the time. I have an account with LibraryThing and it has saved me untold amounts of money. With my list of books saved on their site, I can access it whenever I am shopping for books. I no longer end up buying additional copies of books because the cover has been changed when reprinted. I also am able to check for which books in series I have so that I can stay up to date on series as new books are published.

GoogleDocs is a resource that was introduced to me in 23 Things on a Stick and I have found that it could be useful to teachers in so many ways. I love that the information is stored off-site and therefore the students are able to work with it from various locations. I believe that this tool is helpful to improving productivity. Peer editing and group work are made much easier with this application.

The only disadvantages I see to the cloud would be that some people, yes even now, do not have access to the internet once they leave their homes or school. Although this seems like a disadvantage, these same folks are no more disadvantaged by the cloud than they are advantaged by it, as they are limited in their ability to use it.

I have seen a cloud computing site that you can use to find authors. I have to spend more time looking, as I can't remember the site name, but once there you type in the name of an author and the cloud you get shows you others that write in similar form or similar subjects.
ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Thing 44: The Economy

This thing is interesting - I have never been one to worry a lot about the economy - either you have money or you don't right? Well, I have never been burdened by an excess of money, so investing and watching stock trends has never been my thing.

What's going on? - - - I found MyMoney.com to be a useful and helpful source. NEFE is one site I looked at, but didn't check it out too far.

Banking 2.0 - - - I looked at the various on-line banking sources, but already have my own on-line system set up, which I truly love having as a resource.

Ways to Save - - - I love the Feed the Pig site, I didn't even mind the talking pig.

Driving - - - I drive an old Jeep wrangler so fuel efficiency isn't a phrase I can use when I talk about my driving experiences, and I'm not in a position to or inclined to change my mode of transportation (although I do listen with a bit of jealously when my friend talks about 37 miles to the gallon). I checked out GasBuddy and though that was interesting - although it couldn't find gas prices for my area - no big deal, I get gas on a regular basis and already know what the price is - not that it would matter, if I have to drive (and I do) I have to get the gas regardless the price.

Cell phones - - - I checked out the various cell phones, but already have a plan - which never seems to be up.

General Pennypinching - - - Wisebread is a neat site.

Sell your stuff - - - I had heard of Craigslist, many people I know have used it. I didn't know about freecycle before this. They both seem like great sources. Many people I know have been very successful at using Ebay to sell items.

Shopping - - - Thrift Store Finder was a great idea! I do like thrift shops (I also like antique shops) so it was fun to look in various areas to see what kinds of shops were offered in the various towns that I spend or plan to spend time. I love to shop on-line and amazon.com is one of my favorite places to go. If you are an on-line shopper, check it out.

Coupons - - - Fatwallet is very useful. I don't ever remember to clip the coupons from the newspaper and this site offers the ability to find coupons for the places you are already planning to go.

Self Sustainability - - - I have NO intention of ever raising chickens. It is the one creature that hasn't made it into my world - and it was a close call, Animal Science class and a daughter who loves all creatures....need I say more. I also skipped the gardening sites - I have a black thumb, I know it - it really doesn't bother me. I have a few house plants that struggle daily to stay upright and green - that is enough for me, a garden would be SUCH a bad idea. I have tried in the past...everything looks like a weed when it's small.

Thing 43: On-Line TV and Video

This thing is one I started checking out with some trepidation. I am not a television viewer. I have not watched TV in more than 10 years, unless I was at the home of someone else and it was on already. Although I do watch a lot of CSI when I dog sit for a friend of mine who has satelite. I do watch a lot of videos and DVDs. I tend to have a movie of some kind playing as background noise while I work at home. Hulu is something that I have just recently heard about from a friend of mine and had yet to take the time to check out, which now I am able to do. I had heard a lot about the Dresden Files from a co-worker and checked that show out for this thing. I could really get into being a computer TV watcher - not good - really don't have time for that. The Journeyman was a good find too. I hope that I can find the time to watch all the stuff I queued without taking too much time away from everything else I have to get done.

Thing 42: Music 2.0

I had used the internet music sources before, but it is not something that I think to use on a regular basis. I think that for some people these choices might well replace broadcast radio, but not for all people. I don't bring my computer with me everywhere I go and I don't use my cell phone for anything other than actually calling people, therefore nothing will replace broadcast radio for me. The stations that I have used: Pandora and Live 365 are both really easy to use and both make listening a pleasure. The one problem that I ran into was when not using the computer it would go to sleep - thus cutting off my music supply. I also have an affinity for sound coming from a larger source than my computer speakers - not that I have the music that loud - too old for that - but I just like more of a surround sound. I do know that some folks have their Pandora run through a surround sound speaker system in their homes and it works great for them. That is just something I haven't tried yet.

Thing 42: Music 2.0: Widget

Thing 42: Music 2.0

I went to my Pandora account and created a new station. Listening to music on the computer while I worked on my things didn't occur to me until this thing, although it should have. I have been listening to my iPod while I worked.
I added the daisy flower clock as my widget.

Thing 41: Mashup your Life

I set up and account with superglu.com and set up my feeds. I will be using the account for the next few weeks for sure while I check it out. I am not sure if this is a feature I will continue to use after those few weeks - but we will see. I will keep you posted on this blog.

Thing 40: Mashup the Web

Here is the mashup that I created.

Thing 40: Mashup the Web

Thing 40: Mashup the Web
I have a Pandora account already and enjoy listening to music from the site. It is easy to use - cost free and you are able to select the type(s) of music you want to listen to. When I started using Pandora I didn't know it was a mashup.
BookTour was fun to check out - I searched for a few of my favorite authors and found the site easy to use. This mashup is one I will use again - both in the library and at home.
LibWorm is an interesting mashup. This one I can see using quite a bit in the library.
Wheel of Lunch is super fun. Click to check it out.

Thing 39: Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling is very appealing - I used the scrapbook generator page. I didn't think it was as user friendly as I would have liked for it to be. I was hoping for the option of adding text. I did check out a number of the other options for this thing, but didn't want to subscribe to any certain one or create an account at them just yet - so I used the site that I did. I hope to spend more time finding a program that works really well for me personally, but right now I don't have the ability to print the pages that I create, so I will wait to do that. I have made scrapbooks on snapfish.com in the past. That site lets you design your pages and your book, then prints, binds, and mails it to you. It is not an inexpensive option.

Thing 39: Digital Storytelling


This is the scrapbook page that I created. We are planning to build an outdoor pizza oven on our patio and this is a photo I found on google. I am hoping to be able to create some sort of mosaic oven like the picture.

Thing 39: Digital Storytelling

Thing 39: digital scrapbooks: I think that this is a feature that many of the teachers would find interesting and useful for various projects in class. I don't see it as being useful to the library except for perhaps making scrapbooks of the students who spend a lot of time there or for the reading club member scrapbooks. I do believe that as a personal tool, it is a great choice.

Thing 39: Digital Storytelling

Thing 39: I was excited to try this thing as I am a scrapbooker (no, we are not all like the ladies in the movie "New In Town"). This thing is probably the more appropriate place to tell about the Storyteller program I mentioned in my post regarding phototales. I have been trying to use the scrapbook generator page and I am having troubles uploading my pictures successfully.



Thing 38: Screencasting

Okay - I just wanted to add that the screencast works great on the blog! Yea! I checked out a bunch of the samples, but the Peter Rabbit link didn't work for me. I looked at all the resources for screencasting and then went to the video tours and demos in the "Do" section of the thing. I chose screen-cast-o-matic for the first attempt at screencasting. I chose that one because it seemed user friendly and that is what I needed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thing 38: Screencasting

Screencasting:

video

Making the actual screencast was so much easier than I thought it would be. I used screen-cast-o-matic. The uploading was trickier than the creation. I recorded my screencast without audio as I don't have a microphone handy here at home. I am planning to record another screencast once I have a mic because I believe that this is a great tool! I feel that this could be used in our library as well as at home. I exported my screencast to my flashdrive so I could bring it to school with me in the fall and use it as a learning tool for my reading club. The timing on this Thing was perfect - I just got a call from a reading club parent who was wondering how to get to and get around the reading club site. So now I have the information for her in a user friendly format! I inserted my screencast as a video and it took a long time to process. It apparently needs to buffer now too - I am hoping that it runs in the blog. If there is an easier way to get the screencast into the blog - please someone shoot me a note!

Thing 37: Photo Tales

Photo Tales: One True Media photo tale was easy to make, but the features are only free if you don't add or change anything about your photos once they upload, if you do there is a fee. I just learned about Photostory 3 as well, it is a similar program that is very user friendly and offers some additional features without the fees.

Although these programs aresomething that will use at home, there are not something that would be of use to me in the Media Center, but to the teachers in their classrooms they would be great. I can think of many different uses for these programs for many different subjects at school.

Thing 37: Photo Tales

Thing 36: Comic Relief

\Toon\

I found this comic on ToonDo. I thought it was appropriate because this is so me - trying to convince the kids every day.

I checked out all the sites - made a couple of my own comic strips - (no, they weren't funny) - but I lost two of them in my attempt to get them on my blog - one I saved as a pdf but I can't get that one on here either. Don't worry, you're not missing out, my children always tell me I'm not funny - thank goodness they can't see the proof.

Thing 36: Wordle

Wordle: thing 36This is a wordle. What a fun tool.

Thing 36: Comic Relief









Everyone must have thought it was time for a break because this things is called comic relief!


Useful Generators:
CutePDF is one that I use a lot. I tend to recommend it to others when they are looking to put documents onto their sites as it is a free download and it is very user friendly.

BigHugeLabs is a wonderful, fun site that I tend to use quite a bit. I learned about it in 23 Things and have been telling people about it since.

I also love imagechef.com, I used that site for the picture in my last post.

Imagegenerator: this one could become a time sink for sure - very fun.

CitationMachine is a tool that is readily used at our school by many students. I have often wondered how much easier research papers would have been when I was in school if we had had access to these kinds of tools.

TOO MUCH TEXT!!!

ImageChef Word Mosaic - ImageChef.com Just wanted to take a break for a minute - after all that serious writing has been going on. I looked at my blog and was shocked at how unfriendly all that text looked. So -

Thing 35: Books 2.0

I love LibraryThing. I became a lifetime member when I was working on the 23 Things. LibraryThing is something I have been looking for for a long time. I have always tried to keep track of my book collection, but it has been difficult. I have almost 6,000 books ranging from picture books to teacher resources and keeping a paper record has been a nightmare. I went and looked at shelfari and goodreads again and they look great too, each group has it's +'s and -'s. I might try joining shelfari and goodreads for the book reviews and ideas and such, but not add my books to their sites too-it would take too long.
I did join lib.rario.us thinking that I could use this site for cataloging my extensive movie collection, we will see if that gets compeleted. I will wait to take the time to enter all those movies after I have finished all the rest of the more things on the list. I have only added two as yet, just to get the feel for how the site worked.
The idea of books on my phone does not appeal to me at all. I do have and regularly use a cell phone, but not for reading. I would never want to hold my phone long enough to listen to a book. I enjoy audio books - but only listen when I am driving or doing chores - neither of which are condusive to not having your hands free.
I really like the readers advisory links. I signed up for booklamp and have started a list on "What should I read next". I can't wait to use the features from this thing at school. I can't count how many times I day I am aksed, "What should I read?"
What's Next is going to get a lot of use in our MC, but Which Book? and Book Stumpers won't. I didn't even look at Book Calendar as my "To Be Read" list is already long enough without the daunting temptation of a new book idea each day.
On-Line Book Communities: offered a lot of great choices, but I have enough book discussion groups already, so I didn't join any more.
Book Group: I plan to suggest Booksprout to some of the 9th grade girls at our school, they seem to be interested in this kind of tool. I might be able to integrate Booksprout with the reading club we already have.
The audio book and book swap suggestions may be of interest to our students, I will be placing a list of these sites in our media center.
The Book Review section will be very useful when putting together a list of books for ordering.
I love the children's book ideas - seems to be a great way to bring technology together with reading to a young crowd.
I don't feel that the book rental places will be of use to our students. I don't know how many of the parents would be willing to pay a monthly subscription fee when the media center is available to the children each day for no cost.
Book Crossing is a great idea - it was fun to see where books are being released in my area. I joined and will be releasing my first book next week.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thing 34: On-Line Answer Sites

I think that some of the appeal of the on-line answer sites is the ease of not having to find the right person to ask and being able to get those answers 24/7. I also believe that part of the appeal of on-line answer sites is that a person can ask any question about anything while being anonymous.
AskMetafilter - I checked this one out first and it seems that most of the questions I see being asked are more of a personal nature - not educational. You also have to be a member to ask questions on this site, which to me makes it less useful in a school setting; and the fact that membership has to be paid for makes it unusable for young students.
ChaCha - I didn't even check this one out because cell phones and portable devices are not allowed at our school and this site is for mobile devices.
AllExperts - I like this site. I think this one could be useful to the students. I like that it has a homework help link that is divided into catagories that are broken down enough for the kids to be able to find the right area pretty fast. I don't know that they will care which person they get the answer from, but being able to ask more than one "expert" the same question is beneficial.
WikiAnswers - okay, now I guess I won't ever suggest this site to any student. I went to wikianswers.com (clicking the link on the More Things site) and asked, "Who was the 12th president of the United States of America?" and the first hit I got was about ovulation and it got detailed....not student friendly. Everything listed below my question was related to pregnancy. Not exactly what I was looking for.
Yahoo!Answers - this site is user friendly. Type a question on the line and you are given all kinds of options for the answer. I think that this site would be great for older students (middle and high school) but offers too many choices for the younger (elem) students.
Askville - this site doesn't appear to be as direct to your answers as I would be looking for - although it doesn't seem to have so many social questions.
Answerbag - this again seems to be a social networking question/answer space. I did ask the same president question and although I didn't get an inappropriate answer - I didn't get the answer I was looking for either.
Mahalo - once again - seems more social networking than educational question/answer.
folkstown - lots of twitter going on here. I think that for research and educational questions this is not the place I would send a student.
Snappyfingers - this too is not the site I would send students to for research.

Most of the questions I was seeing on the answer sites listed where not the ones I hear in the media center. Sometimes I get questions of a more personal nature, but those are usually from students who know me outside of school. I can't say that I would be comfortable handling those kinds of questions from my students; and I can't say that most of the sites that seem social network oriented would be of too much help to them in an educational setting. I don't feel that these sites are competition to the reference library.



Thing 33: Travel 2.0



I already finished my blog on travel 2.0, but even though I said no one would be interested in my photos I still wanted to share one. I had a blast driving in the mountains. I took this picture on our way to Estes Park, Co.

Thing 32: Google Maps & Mashups

Okay - so you can't really see my map that well - this is the 39 clues map - the journey from the first three books of the 39 clues series from Scholastic. You have to click around, zoom out a bunch to see the map. You can however click the link below labeled 39 Clues Journey, it will take you to google maps and you will be able to see my map and read about the journey. Please check it out.
View 39 Clues Journey in a larger map

Thing 31 - More Twitter


By TwitterButtons.com
I have been working on more twitter and I don't think that I will ever tweet in any other way than just on my computer from home. I only use my cell phone when I have to and I am the world's slowest texter - so even with the limited amount of text in a twitter , it would take me too long to write it to actually make it a tweet.

I have added my name to the education directory. I took some time to see what all those educators are tweeting about. I added the twitter button above as my visual, but I wanted to add the bird from the directory page because it is so cute - not sure how - any suggestions?

Stages of twitter: I have gone through stages 1 & 2, skipped 3, but I am sure to stay here at stage 4 where I am. I don't see myself as a microblogger anytime in the near future, but the first time I looked at twitter I was at stage 1 - so we will see what we will see.

I am following LThing on twitter too - so I can now twitter my books to librarything - I don't know if I will use this feature or not.

As far as what I think twitter is? - I think that twitter is a tool that will be used a little by many, a lot by some, and none by a few. Where am I in that list? I am in the used a little catagory. I will probably check in from time to time to see what is up with the folks I am following.

Thing 30: More Ways to Use RSS and Delicious

Quick review of Thing 30 - this is actually working out great, I just went to Techspo on Monday and learned that I can add and RSS link to my club website so that parents, other teachers, and students can subscribe to our page! This is great - so I have been looking at RSS feeds and ideas about RSS for days. I have also started using delicious more now that I have it linked to my igoogle page. I have been sharing Delicious with co-workers and friends and am getting positive feedback on both fronts.

Thing 29 - google tools

Thing 29 - google tools: this thing I didn't really have to review as I am still using the google calendar (which is an awesome tool - I love the email reminders) and I still get all the google alerts that I set up when I did thing 29 the first time. I like the google alerts most in that they come to my email and I am able to look at them in my own time and see what is going on.

Thing 28 - Customized home pages -

Thing 28 - I chose igoogle as my customized homepage - I love it! I tell everyone how fun it is to have your own customized page. I have fractals as my background and I love seeing the different ones when I log in. Small thrills - what can I say. I have added Things to Ponder on the advice of my fellow thinger - it's sad how many times I will refresh my page to see a new ponder, yet one more time sink! I love that I can have my delicious bookmarks right there on my page with my email link and all the other stuff I like to get to fast.

Thing 27 - again - Twitter

To a T Letter W e letter E t
Okay - I gave twitter another shot - I could come to like it. I has the feel of a sort if IM - but not. I am still sure that I won't have a lot of time to devote to twitter - I do like it.

More things!


I am going back and reviewing each of the things because it has been a month since I was on task. I have reviewed Things 24, 25, and 26 so far. I am planning to look at twitter one more time as well. I am hoping to see more this time. In review, I still love some of the original 23 things and have to go to them often and they still make me smile.

Summer is here - I can work on my things again!

I am so pleased that summer has finally arrived - with it, the rain - and I have time to get serious about finishing more things on a stick. Wish me luck and continue working my way through the things - some of which are going to be tricky.