Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thing 18.1 ...More on Wikis

I tried to start a Wiki today to post meeting minutes for a non-profit I volunteer for. However, I was disappointed that in order to have a private Wiki on Wikispaces you have to pay for it. I don't like the idea of the meeting minutes being public, but I love the idea of keeping them on a Wiki. So I am off to search for a private wiki I can set up for free. Does such a thing exist?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thing 23

I think my concept of Web 2.0 has changed. In the beginning, I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into. Now, I find myself clicking on any link related to Web 2.0 throughout the Web. This project has definitely made me expand my Web related horizons and convinced me to keep expanding them by discovering new things all the time.

I think my favorite Things were Thing 6: Nings and Thing 12: Your Choice of Web 2.0 Tools. I have already created a Ning for a group of moms in the area, and I have been using Wordle and BeFunky to jazz up the various blogs and sites I post to.

I really liked the format. I liked being able to work on it in my own time because my actual time at ASH is limited. And my availability for the normal technology trainings is even more limited with ASLC being at the same time as many of them and a lack of 7am babysitters.

I would definitely participate in the future. In fact, I hope there are another 23 things. I have recommended the 23 Things Blog to my friends and my dad. I have been very impressed with the range of Web 2.0 tools covered and that they are not all just things for the classroom only. Everything seemed to have so many uses! Thanks for creating this opportunity!

Thing 22.1

I also found StoryJumper. Wow, what a great site! It's for creating children's books. You can create and post a book for free. If you want to have it printed it costs. Starting at $24.95 a book. The free aspects of the site are great. There is also a link for teachers to create accounts for student use. The students can access it at school, or you can click to let them have home access, too. I can definitely see using this site both at home with my kids and in the ASLC with the kids there. I am really glad I took the time to explore Go2Web20!

Thing 22

I taught my friend and fellow teacher how to use Screencast-o-matic. She teaches first grade and was complaining about having a better way to set up directions for her kids to follow independently on the computer. Screencast-o-matic was perfect for her! She could create a step by step narration of what she wanted the kids to do. She even was able to do separate steps separately, so their computer work was able to step up a notch. With the ability to record her voice as she clicked on different items, it was easy for her first graders to follow along and complete projects. Also, she said an added bonus was that when children were absent, she was able to let them complete the project from home by simply viewing the same Screencast-o-matic film.

Thing 21

I have been following some friends, family and John Quincy Adams from 1809-1810 so far. I am still not sure how I like it. I've never posted before, just followed a few others. Mostly, I don't check twitter. I am more likely to check my Facebook page than my twitter account. I know more people on Facebook and besides John Q's line a day diary, I haven't found anyone that I want to keep up on through Twitter. I guess maybe I need to look a little harder?

Thing 20.1

Bonus Material...

I checked into Scribd and found some really great documents. I love new recipes, so I was quick to click on this recipe book. Who doesn't like Mac and Cheese?
25 Mac & Cheese Recipes by Gooseberry Patch I am creating a family recipe book. I think this is a great way to share it when I am finished.

Thing 20

Slide Share is an amazing site. I wish I would have known about it a year ago when I was using more presentations in the classroom. This year I haven't been using as many since the age of kids in the ASLC is younger. I was also excited to see that OpenOffice presentations were able to be uploaded. We use NeoOffice at home and it was difficult to create a presentation at home and bring it to ASH to use with my kids. I browsed through a number of presentations and really thought that this one was well made and interesting:

I created a project last year for the ASLC where we learned about and then created mosaics. At the time, I used a PowerPoint presentation to teach what a mosaic is. I found the following presentation on SlideShare that would have really been nice last year. It has great picture examples of various mosaics.

Thing 19

I explored a few of the podcast directories, but found it just made more sense to use iTunes. Since I have a Mac and an iPod, it was easier to download and sync my iTunes with my iPod. I have listened to podcasts before about various topics. During my searching this time, I found Grading Michigan Schools, an interesting collection of podcasts documenting all kinds of learning and education around Michigan. I found a few other interesting podcasts and subscribed to a few, so yes, I think I'll be listening to more of them soon. Thanks!

Thing 18

I chose option 1 because although I had signed up for PBWorks, back when it was PBWiki, I have never actually used it. I added my favorite restaurants and animals to the site. It was very easy to use and I was really impressed with it. I can imagine all kinds of uses for a wiki. And with the ease of use it's not something that others have to really 'learn' to use. It's pretty simple. I would love to do a project with the kids in the ASLC where we use a wiki to collaborate on something. We are currently learning about science with James from the Cranbrook Science Center. It would be great to do a project with the kids to bring together some key points from our science days with Mr. James. Now to put something together!

Thing 17

I heard of and played around a little with wiki's a few years ago. I haven't really had the opportunity to use them in the classroom. My husband loves Wikipedia, which I also think is a great tool, but you have to be careful how much credit you give an article in it. I mean it's written by everyday people. The information may or may not be accurate at the time you read it. I think that is a really important point about Wiki's when teaching them to children. A friend of mine is a college professor and he can't stand it when his students use Wikipedia as a source. It isn't a credible source of information when it comes down to it.

On the other hand, Wiki's are great ways to collaborate on creating a project, like with the Kindergarten Counting Book. It's not only cute; it's an incredibly useful and an amazing project. I can also see Wiki's really useful for organizations. Back in my days volunteering with Amnesty International, I think a Wiki would really have come in handy in posting a document and having people be able to change it, add to it, etc.

I think in general, the education Wiki's seem to be for small groups to have privileges versus the other Wiki's, like Wikipedia, where almost anyone can post. Also, I've seen blogs related to events, like conferences, etc., I think posting a Wiki and letting everyone comment would be a lot more useful.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thing 16.1

I wanted to take this opportunity to jazz up my blog. As a reminder, here is what my blog used to look like.

And you can see what it looks like now. I went to Shabby Blogs and added some decor. Enjoy!

Thing 16

Stick Figure Family at FreeFlashToys.com
Make your Stick Figure Family at FreeFlashToys.com

I found it pretty easy to create and post my widget. Some widgets are definitely useful. I remember visiting one site that used to have a digital clock widget. I hated it. I always felt like I was being rushed to read the site, or I was being reminded of the time I was wasting. It really distracted from the site.

Along with my family above, I also added a search bar for searching for things in my blog specifically. I really like this on other sites, so I thought it could be useful on mine, too.

Thing 15

Wow! Using Screen-o-matic was incredibly simple! It was such an easy process, I'd say any students could use it, even young ones. Here's mine.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thing 14

I am amazed by VoiceThread. I love it! I wish I would have had this tool back in college for all the group work we had to do. I can really see using this tool for so many things. I really like the idea of posting pictures and thoughts for students to comment on, but even more than that, I love the idea of kids commenting on other kids work. Very cool!

This teaches so many things, including constructive criticism. And why not comment on random people's work? Especially kids' work!

Thing 13

I checked out YouTube. I've watched countless videos on there in the past. It's an amazing tool for sharing... everything. There are definitely some unbelievable videos on there. My most recent uses of YouTube include playing this video for my son when he wanted me to read him another book when I had lost my voice.

And this is probably one of my favorite videos right now. It's hillarious! Especially when you are a babywearing mommy, like I am.

Thing 12.1

I also wanted to share my Wordle of my favorite poem, because I thought it turned out really great.

Wordle: Jabberwocky

Thing 12

I looked through a number of the Tools on the list. I regularly use Weebly for both personal and professional reasons and I love it! It's so easy. I've created Web sites before from scratch, programming html, and I just don't have the time for things like that anymore. Using Weebly has it's limitations, but for basic sites, it's a wonderful time saver.

I think my favorite from the list is the first one, BeFunky. Because who doesn't enjoy doing this to their photos...
The original.

The cartoon.

And the horror flick.

Thing 11

I checked out Delicious. I guess out of everything so far, I see the least potential for me in social bookmarking. I have an account and I just don't find it that useful. In theroy, it sounds great, but I seem to spend more time searching for things with Delicious than I would without. It is interesting seeing what other people are tagging; and yes, I do occasionally find something that was worth it. I just don't see me using it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thing 10.1

I just discovered this wonderful site that I think might be considered a mashup, although it doesn't really mash two things... take a look. It's called "let me Google that for you." Basically, you can Google a question and send the link to the person, with a little edge. For example, if someone asked, "What is the longest word in the dictionary?" you could simply tell someone to Google it, or go to lmgtfy.com and send them a link to the answer. A tip is to click on 'tinyURL' to make the URL of the page with the question smaller to paste into an email.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thing 10

I looked over a number of the mashups. I immediately liked the spell with Flickr one.

{4/365} S for Sarah chocolate letter O P black on gold H letter I A

letter J IMG_5574_3 IMG_5540 letter O n

So I spelled out my kids' names.
It was also fun to play around with colors on Flickr color Pickr.
The HousingMaps would have been really useful in combination with Zillow, which maps houses for sale on the regular lists with MLS numbers, which we used a lot when we were looking for houses last year.

Thing 9

Originally uploaded by Robin LaRoy
Although, I have no recollection of doing so, I apparently at one point uploaded a few pictures of my son as a baby to Flickr back in October 2006. I started by properly tagging the pictures I had on there. Moving on from there, I checked out the upload options. I love my iPhoto and was hoping to get a plugin that I could use to upload directly from iPhoto. Unfortunately, the only one available was created my a Flickr user and is not free. However, I decided to try out the free jUploadr program, also created by a Flickr user. I like the ability to do batch editing, and I can drag photos from my iPhoto to the jUploadr to edit and upload easily. I like the idea of keeping photos safe. We currently backup our photos on an external hard drive, but that is still in the house, so in case of fire... well, hopefully we have time to grab the hard drive. And that takes a lot more than uploading to Flickr.

I think I probably will use Flickr more regularly. I often share photos on Snapfish, just because it easily allows my family, whom are not so tech savvy to view and develop the photos in a program they recognize. And then I use mpix and shutterfly to make books and photos for myself.

I like how easy it is to go from Flickr to blogger. I have a family blog that i regularly post to and if I am already uploading to Flickr, blogging it is just step a step away.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Thing 8

I started to make a Pageflakes page, simply because I liked the name better than NetVibes, but I was disapointed to see the big ad permanently placed on the top right of the page. You can't move it; you can't delete it. Then, I checked out Netvibes. I really liked the ability to create a customized page. However, currently I use Firefox and I love the Bookmark toolbar where I can put lots of my most frequently used bookmarks. I started to reorganize this to be on my start page, so I can go there and get to all the other sites I regularly visit. It's a lot of work, but worth it in the end. I needed to organize everything anyways.

One feature that I really liked was the ability to make different tabs, so I can keep professional links in one place, or hobbies in another. It makes it easier to keep the information organized in an easy to read manner. Plus, it's so easy to move things around, from tab to tab, or around on the page you are working on. I love it!

I think this could be very useful for students. Especially with the capability of creating different tabs. The students could be asked to set up a school tab, where they can check on their teacher's blog or a news site for current events. It would help the student quickly access all kinds of information without wasting time and having to type in URLs all the time.

Pageflakes and Netvibes are different from Google Reader because they allow you to keep tabs on more things, not just blogs and RSS feeds, but your email, facebook, weather, and other sites.

Thing 7

I read a lot of blogs. Mostly, I just peruse them when I have the chance. I had heard of readers before, but was hesitant to get it all figured out because I knew how addicting it would be. Now, I've done it. I've set up my favorite blogs in my Google Reader, and a few news feeds, too. I suppose it does save a lot of time, but it also makes it *too* easy to read way too many blogs. But at least it's quick when I read them now.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thing 6

Wow! I had never even heard of Ning before and I love it! It's wonderful to find networks of people with the same interests. It's reminds me a lot of MeetUp.com except instead of finding people locally, it's world wide. If you were blogging about a very specific topic and wanted others that were also interested in that topic to be able to find your blog, blog it in a Ning. For example, if I wanted to blog about my new violin, and have other people also interested in violin give me pointers, I might blog within the Violin Society Ning.

Creating a Ning for students to use would be great. The students would be able to converse about their lessons, projects, thoughts on something that happened in class, or even help each other out with homework through the network. Of course, it could be overwhelming for the teacher, feeling that he/she must keep up with everything that was posted on the Ning, but I think there is definitely some potential there.

I know I am going to join a few Nings and pass a few on for others to join, too!

Thing 5

I wanted to start this blog post by saying that I love the social networking in plain English video. I sent a link to it on to my mom, because she might actually be able to understand social networking after that video.

I think LinkedIn sounds like a great resource for a lot of things. Finding a job or a speaker, would be a lot easier through LinkedIn. I do think the education field is under-represented on it, and that may actually prove to make it not as valuable of a resource as it could be. Since the more people in a field and in your network increases your odds of finding what you are looking for on LinkedIn, an educator is probably at more of a disadvantage than an engineering firm or an advertising executive. That said, I think there is a lot of potential on LinkedIn.

The only other social networking site I regularly use is Facebook. Facebook is much more of a personal site, finding old college roommates and high school friends. While this is fun, it rarely helps you meet any need professionally. Whereas, LinkedIn is a professional site. Helping people network their skills and livelihoods to make connections and meed professional needs.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Thing 4

I am generally not a blog commenter. I mean I occasionally leave a word here and there, but generally speaking, I don't often hit the comment button. As silly as it is, I never really thought about how nice it is to get a kind comment on something you wrote online, whether it's a blog post or a facebook posting, or anything else. And the two posts about how to comment to blogs really got me thinking: I guess I need to comment more on the blogs I read. I commented on a few of the blogs in our 23 Things community. It really does help complete the community circle.

Thing 3

I've read a lot of blogs. I regularly have a few that a read and subscribe to as well. I read them for inspiration, for amusement, for updates on friend's lives, for recipes, for fun and for learning.

I perused the blogs on the list and absolutely loved number 16, Patricks Update
. It definitely is a great use of comments on blogs. So often, you read a blog and all the comments are so negative. People can't seem to keep their mouths shut online either. But this is wonderful. I am amazed at how quickly so many people came to see this 5th graders blog and were thoughtful enough to leave him the encouragement it sounds like he needed.

I also really enjoyed Twenty-Five Days to Make a Difference (Laura Stockman)
. I especially liked the post I linked to that she got the 'Proof Positivity Starfish Award'. It's amazing to think of all the people inspired to do more to help others, just from reading a blog. I know I was!

And the duck blog was just cute! And a great way to get kids thinking creatively about the world around them and commenting.

Thanks for the Technorati link. I love finding new ways to organize the Web. I guess that's part of Web 2.0! :)

Thing 2

I guess what interests me about Web 2.0 is how interconnected the world has become. It's crazy to think how much has changed because of Web 2.0 and the social interactions people have because of it. When you met someone 20 years ago you didn't exchange emails, 10 years ago you didn't 'friend' them on facebook, 5 years ago you couldn't find them again and know who all their friends are, what their hobbies are, and what their thoughts were on the person serving the coffee they picked up from the corner shop on the way to work that morning. Now, for good or bad, it's all possible.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thing 1

I decided, a little late, to join the '23 things' project at ASH. It sounds like a great idea. Exploring the Web. Learning new things. And... my favorite number is 23. Perfect!

Did this project make anyone else think of Dr. Suess?