About Me

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I live on a ranch in West Texas, where my husband, son, and I raise a few cattle. Our only crop is feed for the cows and my husband insists he is a "rancher" rather than a "farmer," although the place we now call home used to be his grandfather's farm. I drive 75 miles to Abilene for my job as a University librarian. I love the job and the drive.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thing 23 - Celebration!

WOW. I had no idea of all the things I would be learning! I've added a lot of new knowledge about what is available on the web and Web 2.0 tools, but I have also added a whole new skill set.

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
My favorite discoveries have been Flickr (although I knew about it, I had never navigated in it), mashups and all the cool online image creation tools, TeacherTube and knowing how to embed videos. Professionally, the most helpful discoveries have been Google Docs, wikis, blogs and how to find relevant ones, and Ning.

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
No question but that this program has expanded my outlook, afforded me new skills, and built my confidence in meeting the challenges of new technology. I now feel prepared to help move my library forward toward 2.0 or whatever is next. I also feel I can intelligently join into the professional conversation regarding the tension between what our users need and want and what libraries want to be doing.

Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
I am totally surprised at how much I've learned! And I am amazed at the talented people in the world who share their abilities freely on the web, and those that constantly push its limits and force it to evolve.

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
I really liked the format, and I think you have provided links to a variety of information. You might be sure that all the links go where they need to (Furl and Magnolia come to mind. And could you make sure Ning for Teachers is really a Ning?) I especially loved the Common Craft videos!

If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?
Yes, in a heartbeat.

How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities?
23 Things is a door to a million learning opportunities.

Now go and comment on some of the other Players' blogs.
I have, and let me comment to you that I really appreciate Spring Branch ISD opening up this learning opportunity to those of us beyond your doors. It would not otherwise have been possible for me to learn these Things! This is what Web 2.0 sharing is all about: offering your knowledge, your expertise, your time, to all regardless of geography, without a cost barrier, and without prerequisites. Thank you very much!

Thing 22 - Ning

I have a Facebook page but I hardly ever check it, because I haven't had the time to figure out all the bells and whistles so it totally itimidates me. In fact, I didn't join Facebook, I just recieved an email that I had a Facebook page - how does that happen? Anyway, I haven't joined into social networking, but this Ning looks far more civilized.

Ning for Teachers looked more like a blog or a website to me, but I was very impressed with Teacher Librarian Ning. Navigation is intuitive; Ning seems to be very transparent. I like the Group and Forum tabs; joining a group or joining in a discussion would be very easy. I must share Texas School Librarians Ning with my elementary school librarian friend. As of yet, it doesn't have an "elementary school librarian/media specialist" group, so maybe she can start one!

I found a Relevant Libraries/Librarians Ning that really interests me. Their tag line says, "This network was created as a place to explore, discuss, share, collaborate and learn from others about what it takes to remain relevant in the world of academic libraries and librarians." I can see that Nings would be very useful for teachers for student academic projects and for personally keeping up with campus activities or professional discussion. To heck with Facebook, I'm joining the Relevant Librarians!

Thing 21 - Podcasts and Videocasts

Well, I downloaded PhotoStory and enjoyed playing with it. I've made a short podcast about life on our ranch, mainly because the only pictures I have are of cows... :) And I am probably the only person in the universe who doesn't download music, so I have none to add to my podcast because I really didn't feel that any of PhotoStory's music offerings fit my pictures. Also, I don't have a microphone, so I used titles on my pictures rather than narration. For now, this is what you get.

But it is amazing that I can make a video!

Thing 20 - YouTube and TeacherTube

You could spend hours watching videos on YouTube and Teacher Tube. Here is one from YouTube that I would like to share: This Librarian 2.0 Speculates on the Libary 2.0 Debate

I also really enjoyed this video, A Librarian's 2.0 Manifesto by Laura Cohen, 2006, but BE WARNED, it includes one topless photo (arty, not distasteful), which is why I didn't embed it. I wondered all the way through how any of the pictures related to the text, and I don't think they do at all - they seem to be from an exotic vacation. I really relate to the text so it's too bad that the one photo will keep it from being shared in a lot of places.

I have to include the ad for Texas History Portal because my library (Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene) has some collections included there.

From TeacherTube, one of my favorites that speaks to the 2.0 future is Did You Know 2.0

Having access to all of these videos will really enhance any presentations and I think people really pay attention to video, so it can be used to illustrate a point or promote discussion.

Thing 19 - Web 2.0 Awards List

First, I had to find out what SEO was: consultants for search engine optimization. OK. The Web 2.0 Awards List was very interesting, and I think this category list will itself be very useful and fun to explore. Of course, many of the tools we have explored in our 23 Things are listed.
I explored Docstoc and at first glance found sample cover letters, curriculum vitae, and application essays that will be very helpful for my neice who plans to apply to law school this fall. Being a government documents librarian, I had to check out the Current Events and the Politics and History sections. The site contains documents written by individuals, businesses, agencies, and other entities, and you can find all sorts of items, both previously published and never published. One of the current features is Sonia Sotomayor's Senate Questionaire. The Education section could be very helpful to teachers. Of course, you can store your own documents there, either publicly or privately.

Since I am interested in creating a wiki for our library, I checked out PBwiki.

Thing 18 - Online Office Tools

I explored Google Docs. This will be so handy for collaborative work at the library and for committee work. I serve on both a Texas TLA committee and a national ALA committee, so of course much of our work has been done by email. Keeping up with everyone's changes is a challenge, but this would make it easy. Collaboration regardless of geography, hurray! Also, this might be a good idea for my subject database list, rather than a wiki, but I will definitely do one or the other so that all of our subject specialist librarians can edit their subject areas.
I uploaded two documents from my home computer (emailed home from the library) that I will now be able to access both places without having to email them back and forth.
I really liked the functionality of Google Docs. You are able to insert comment boxes to draw attention to changes or problem areas, and you can insert flyovers (explanatory text that will appear when you hold the cursor over a link). I think that is so cool! I also like the fact that you can create templates for a spreadsheet so you don't have to keep formatting separate pages. I found the instructions and guides very straightforward and easy to understand. There are so many advantages to using this on any shared project, and your document, spreadsheet, or presentation can actually be published as a webpage when completed. This is a wonderful collaborative tool.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Thing 17 - Rollyo

Rollyo is a great tool for searching the web and ensuring quality results. The video by Bruce Goodner of Spring Branch ISD was a wonderful tutorial for Rollyo. I can see that this would be a very good tool for research projects, especially in middle schools and high schools. Not only is it useful to limit searches to authoritative sites, but the process itself can lead to class discussions about why that is important, critical thinking, and analyzing web results. I made a Rollyo for Library 2.0 because libraries and technology is what 23 Things is all about!