Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thing 23 - ("twenty-three" - ENGLISH)

My word: USEFUL

I was actually taken back at first when I found out it was intended just for librarians. I thought to myself, "What did I get into?" Then, after doing a few of the things, I felt a whole lot better. I had to think about libraries. Why were they created? How do we use them? In this time of change from recent changes, libraries do need to evolve quickly. As a teacher, schools need to evolve just as quick. If Web 2.0 directly impacts how information is gathered, created, and shared, then preparing students for that future is a must.

23 Things On a Stick not only lifted some of the fog from Web 2.0 for this individual, but it made my technology skills useful again. My abilities with using the internet and other applications have evolved because of the activities I did here. My knowledge and comfort level are back like it was three years ago when talking about "what's new" on the Web. When that unpredictable day of change occurred, the day where my knowledge was now considered the old way, I became stunted. Not understanding or the fear that comes from that is no longer the anti-motivator, but has become the exact reason my commitment is stronger than ever.

I truly enjoyed the things where I got to immediately use the applications available on other sites. Be it with editors or creating files to share, the direct usefulness was valuable to my learning. I also liked being connected out there. Receiving a message from a librarian I have never met was cool. Then, contacting and being contacted in the social networks was a fun experience that I will continue. Sharing picture files and making them available for all was a first for me. Even playing online games connected me real people out there that I would have never met and probably will not ever meet in person, but we met. That's cool.

Thank you for the experience and having me be pushed by your objectives and outcomes to try out some new things that I avoided or did not even know about.

Get a Voki now!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thing 22 - ("zweeanzwanzeg" - LUXEMBOURGISH) - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

I will...

1) Keep Google Reader as my home page. This will have me continue using this page as my main source of gaining information from around the Web. I will keep this updated by adding new, relevant to me RSS feeds. I will also delete RSS feeds that are not so interesting anymore.

2) Use more productivity tools supplied by the Web for school work and personal work. Ta-da List and Backpack are two that come to mind that I can start using this summer or in the fall.

3) Photoshare more often on Flickr using more pictures that I take. I did not realize how easy it was. I took some sweet photo of The House on the Rocks this summer that would be cool to add.

4) Enhance my communication skills in the classroom to the parents by placing some of my slideshows on my teacher website this fall using Zoho Show and Slideshare. I will have better access using the school's PC compared to my Apple at home. I look forward to sharing what the students are learning in the classroom with the technology provided by our district and Web 2.0.

5) Continue using Facebook to stay personally connected with friends. I recently just chatted with a college friend through Facebook's chat feature. I have not seen him in over two years. This really gives me an opportunity to stay in touch with people I have not been doing that with. I also have been connected with old high school friends. Reading what is up with them has been quite entertaining.

6) Look at online games to better educate myself, but I will NOT play these games regularly. I am proud to announce it has been a week since I played Puzzle Pirates. I will continue seeing the positives gaming has to offer, but I will also continue to challenge students and parents to better develop self-control when it comes to gaming. It is not the absence of, but balanced infusion in one's life where I see value.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Thing 21 - ("dvadesetjedan" - CROATIAN)

Well, here was another area that I have not really jumped into. I joined the 23 Things On a Stick Ning at This was probably my first online community besides the others I joined through this assignment. I placed my beautiful badge on this blog and one more widget (a music player) that I could not get working. If you know how to get songs onto that widget, please post a comment with the instruction.

I then went and checked out the other ones listed in this thing. I love movies! So, I thought I would join It took me awhile to fill out my profile. I actually look forward to sharing my thoughts on movies. It will be interesting how engaged I get within this community. I will do my best to show my new Web 2.0 version of ME. I love talking shop about movies, their story lines, and the acting and directing. So, hopefully this may lead to a new interaction for me.

If the security is there, it would be cool for students to interact with each other based on interest. I think we promote this in the classroom by actual person to person interaction. It would be cool for students to meet other students in a safe way using the web and sites like these. It would be good to find out if there is such a thing like Filmcrave for students and other interests.

Thing 20 - ("dalawampu" - FILIPINO)

I have been avoiding Myspace and Facebook for many years because of two reasons: (1) I am a teacher, (2) I am a male. This school year our school district really made an effort to immerse us in Web 2.0. I then created my first Facebook page. I left it blank for many months. Typed in a few words on my profile. This summer, after recently (since starting 23 Things on a Stick) I start accepting invites from friends and started checking my Facebook page once in awhile. It just started to spread from there. I think that your name showing up on people's pages helps them connect to you. I have been in contact with people I haven't heard from in over 10 years.

I think it is one of the most powerful social networking sites. It does connect you because of how it shares how you have been contacting other people on your site. The web grows from there....almost uncontrollably.

I joined the 23 Things On a Stick Group. It was cool to find it there. I made a short post and left it at that. A lot of people posted sharing their experiences with 23 Things On a Stick. Those were cool to read.

Thing 19 - ("on dokuz" - TURKISH)

I found this podcast from the Minnesota Public Radio Podcasts on Jack White's facemelting abilities from Facemelter with Jill Riley and Brett Baldwin. Jack White is one of my favorite artists and I was quite pleased to find a podcast on him.

I have used podcasts before. To me, they are the auditory version of what Blogs had to offer. Ownership and the ability to share your perspective to the world instantly. I think one weakness and maybe a reason why it hasn't caught on like Blogs is a lot of people do not like to listen to themselves (smile). That is just true. Typing out your thoughts avoids that discomfort. Another reason might be the control factor when engaging someone else's content. When I look at someone's Blog I can skim, read thoroughly, or even print it for later reading. A podcast makes you sit through the entire thing for that set amount of time. Sure you could skip forward, but you do not know what you are missing then.

Podcasts are quite novel in the classroom for elementary students. Having the students listen to each other is very cool for them. Posting them on a website for the world to listen to is great, but requires permission. I have used it with poetry before. I did not post them on a website, but the students had the chance to listen each other throughout that week. I look forward to trying to figure what else I could do with podcasts in the classroom.

Thing 18 - ("achttien" - DUTCH)

I have used YouTube many times before this. So, I decided to go try Google Video. It is quite similar. It does link to other sites like Shout if a video was taken from that site. It is too bad these files are so large for some school district servers. To my knowledge, I know teachers have access to YouTube in our school district. I used it before for some background content for students (great for Science and Social Studies). I am unsure if students have access. I will have to check if Google Video is available to teachers or not.

The video I selected is Demetri Martin (found on Google Video and then linked to Shoutfile). He is a comedian that I found online searching for comedians last year. I found his name when I searched for comedians. I then went to YouTube to see if there was any footage. He cracked me up and still does! I recognized him from the Daily Show when he had a recurring role on there a few years back. After laughing and enjoying his clips, I decided to see if he was still doing standup. I found him doing a show down in Missouri at Truman State University in Kirksville. So, my girlfriend and I decided to do a sudden road trip to go see him live. It was well worth the trip. The college theater was jammed packed with a great audience. It was the best standup show I've ever seen. My friends and colleagues laughed at me for driving over ten hours round trip to go see a comedian. I just smiled. Spending time with my girlfriend is always worth it. Laughing together for almost two hours with Demetri Martin will never be forgotten. This is all thanks to a search tool, YouTube, and contacting the college through email about how to get tickets.

Thing 17 - ("sedanbaest" - BOSNIAN)

I have used these tools before for my graduate classes. It does save amazing amounts of time searching for materials to use. I did create a folder a long time ago for my class where I placed content I found for my research paper. Where I found trouble was in the amount of materials I had to go through. The productivity was great....almost too great (smile). I had to be real picky and more specific in some of my searches. These tools, back then, seemed like the future for libraries. It felt like why was there a need for paper bound resources when they could easily be accessed from a screen and gathered by a printer. I can still recall walking up and down the aisles in my undergraduate college library searching for articles. How far we have come in such a short amount of time.

I do not see a quick application for third graders, but I do see how teachers can use these productivity tools. Be it in our own researching or just to gain added information on an issue or topic these are wonderful tools for teachers.