Monday, December 17, 2007
|Alexis, Sherman||Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian|
|Anderson, Jodi||May Bird Warrior Princess|
|Anderson, Laurie Halse||Twisted|
|Chopra, Deepak||Buddha, a Story of Enlightenment|
|Clare, Cassandra||City of Bones Bk 1: The Mortal Instruments|
|Colbert, Stephen||I am American and So Can You!|
|Cooper, Susan||Dark is Rising|
|Coville, Bruce||All books by him!|
|Coyne, Kevin||Marching Home|
|Cross, Shauna||Derby Girl|
|Gaiman, Neil/Charles Vess||Stardust|
|Gilbert||Eat, Pray, Love|
|Giles, Gail||Right Behind You|
|Green, Tim||Football Genius|
|Grisham, John||Playing for Pizza|
|Gruen, Susan||Water for Elephants|
|Hale, Shannon||Book of a Thousand Days|
|Hosseini, Khaled||Thousand Splendid Suns|
|Jinks, Catherine||Evil Genius|
|King, Laurie||The Moor|
|Kingsolver, Barbara||Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life|
|Levitin, Daniel||This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of Human Obsession|
|Marr, Melissa||Wicked Lovely|
|Maurer||Beyond the Wall of Resistance|
|McCarthy, Cormac||The Road|
|Paver, Michell||Chronicles of Darkness|
|Perotta, Tom||The Abstinence Teacher|
|Piccoult, Jodi||Plain Truth|
|Pullman||The Goldan Compass|
|Radish, Kris||Elegant Gathering of White Snows|
|Senge||The Fifth Discipline|
|Thompson, Victoria||Gaslight Mysteries|
|Vrettos, Adrienne Marie||Skin|
|Zafon, Carlos Ruiz||Shadow of the Wind|
|Twilight Series: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse|
|Penny from Heaven|
|Black Book of Secrets|
|The Alchemist: Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel|
|My Swordhand is Singing|
|Third and Long|
|Terror on the Tide|
|Peter and the Starcatchers/Peter and the Secret of Rundoon|
|The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy 1943-1944|
|Ina May's Guide ot Childbirth|
|Birthing from Within|
|The Birth Partner|
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
My favorite quotation is this:
" The Bible clearly states that God has made the heavens, with all their host, and the earth, and all things that are in it, and the seas, and all that is in them, and He preserves them all. (Nehemiah 9:6) God himself preserves the earth (and the oceans and the atmosphere), not governments, not environmentalists, not anybody else."
Soooo we can do as we please! GOD IS GOING TO PRESERVE THE EARTH even if we continue along with our wasteful and damaging ways! Why don't I feel relieved after reading this news...
On another topic, here is an interesting article about Yahoo!Answers, which I suspect may be trusted by both students and teachers. http://www.slate.com/id/2179393/pagenum/all
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
- Blog with emphasis on librarianship and web 2.0...what's not to like about that? This blog is called LibraryCrunch ad is the work of Michael Casey, public librarian and web aficionado. If you look soon, there is a cool picture of Santa getting his caffeine fix at Starbucks. He sprinkles cool pics throughout his blog, another thing to like. And there are sound files too! Here is the address: http://www.librarycrunch.com/
- Here is another great blog (obviously I am grading an assignment where students must locate and explore a blog): http://www.techsavvyed.net/ by Ben Rimes. Today's posting has a cool site where you can create virtual dice to study probability at which, for the heck of it, I created an imaginary Magic 8 Ball with choices like no, yes, never, maybe, etc.: http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks1/maths/dice/
- Here is the tinyurl for the dice: http://tinyurl.com/nvoy5
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
- Alan Lew--I somehow missed this leader in Web 2.0 instruction, but just added him to my Twitter list. His page for that venue is: http://twitter.com/alew and from there you can find his other pages.
- TwitterLit! Wow I love this site and, while I had heard of it, had not visited until it was mentioned today by a student. Twice a day you get literary teasers, first lines from books plus links to Amazon if you are intrigued by the lines. There is also a site for kids! You can subscribe via RSS or have the teasers sent to your twitter. Fun site! http://www.twitterlit.com/
- And guess what? While I was typing, I remembered the site I wanted to share from yesterday. It is a site for teaching kids about phishing, and I think will be helpful for users of any age who need to learn about this somewhat confusing term. The site is Anti-Phishing Phil, where Phil the fish teaches the term in a game format: http://cups.cs.cmu.edu/antiphishing_phil/
- I had not visited this blog before, and it is a great resource for YA books and librarians who work with teens: http://www.teenlibrarian.com/blog.html
- Excellent educational use of a wiki is demonstrated at this site, which has received a good deal of attention for its presence. It is maintained by a computer science teacher at Westwood Schools, GA: http://westwood.wikispaces.com/#tochome5
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
But this day is really all about Holly. She will continue to distinguish herself as a writer, presenter and scholar, and most of all as an inspiring professor. I am proud and lucky to with with her! KUDOS AND CONGRATULATIONS HOLLY!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Also, I picked up some new websites:
- ELGG (http://elgg.org/) is an open source social networking environment that I did not know until today. Doug Johnson shared it in his blog, and evidently it is a good one for school use.
- Truth or Fiction? (http://www.truthorfiction.com/) Like Hoaxbusters or Snopes, this site will help squelch rumors and expose hoaxes.
- The Loch (http://www.theloch.com/index.html) There is a whole website devoted to Paul Zindel's book The Loch and, it appears, an upcoming movie.
- The New York Times offers a treasure trove of lesson plans! Take a look: http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/lessons/archive.html
- One of my students had Holocaust survivor/author Inge Aeurbacher as a guest. Here is her website: http://www.ingeauerbacher.com/default.htm
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Go to Richie's page for a copy of the news article. I hope this article and others will raise such a hooraw that those who fired Richie will have heartburn resulting from that as well as today's turkey dinner. Here is a link to his page and article http://www.myspace.com/richiespicks
And omigosh, he has a MySpace page! Of COURSE he got fired...
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Today I am working on an article that I need to submit for my next column, “Belltones,” which appears in Information Today’s journal, Multimedia&Internet@School. By the way, I am not just self promoting when I recommend this journal. The articles and columns in it never fail to disappoint me. They are always useful and enlightening and I feel honored to be included as a columnist. Anyway, I am using the increasingly ubiquitous Microsoft Office/Word, 2007. I am still getting to know Office 2007, and have to say that the adjustment is taking longer for me than did previous Office updates. Right now I want to do a word count. In the good old days I just clicked on Tools and found my option. NOW I have to click through the various options in the “ribbon” menu, and then find the tool. I am mildly irritated to have this additional step forced upon me. But here is what is worse. I don’t use word count all the time, and thus I am not sure where to find it. I am going to set my timer on my beloved new iPhone and see how long it takes me to find word count. Here goes….Oops first I have to find the phone…off for that! OK after I found my phone I started up my timer, one of the features I really like on my iPhone. Then I started looking across the top of the page at tool bars, seeking Word Count, my old friend. I tried Home…not there. Next I tried View…nope. Finally I went to Help, which by the way is a little bitty question mark in a circle up top and to the right. When I searched Help for Word Count, I learned something that did, I admit, make me feel a little stupid. WORD COUNT IS THERE ALL THE TIME!!! If you just look down to the bottom, left hand corner, you see word count busily keeping up with you as you type. But I did not know to look down there…I was used to looking up top, and old habits die hard. How much time did it take to “discover” what was hidden in plain view? The process cost me 3 minutes and 43 seconds of my life. What’s more, I NOW remember that I went through this same process a couple of months ago, and then forgot. As I said, old habits…and on top of everything else, the experience left me feeling like a doof, not something I need from my software.
But this is the thing about Office 07. The changes are many, and not always intuitive, in my opinion. I realize that the other side of the coin is many added features. But at what cost? Lots of people will never use these nifty bells and whistles! But they are going to have to acclimate to the new office suite, because it is likely to be foisted upon them at work or with newly purchased computers. So I ask…is Office 07 a good or bad thing? Wonder what other people think?
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Here I am on the plane headed home after what has been an incredibly informative and stimulating Internet Librarian/Internet@School West Conference. Not only is this the ONE conference where I learn more than at all others combined, it also takes place in beautiful Monterey. I know, tough gig, but someone has to go. This year, not surprisingly, the buzz was all about Web 2.0. Another big theme was gaming, and this area has taken on new potential in my thinking. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to just put down some thoughts about the conference and what I learned, without looking back at any of my notes, the conference schedule, the book of presentations, or anything. The idea is to see what was compelling enough to rise to the top of the rich broth of ideas, impressions, tips, and other information that is bubbling in my creative cauldron after this intense week of learning and sharing with colleagues. So here are some things right off the top of my head. When I get home and have all my resources handy and time to go through them, I will post again and follow up on these and other things that I want to share that I learned this past week.
· You can podcast from your phone! There is a number you can call up and then when you talk into your phone, your comments will be recorded. Then you can send them as a .wav file to the location of your choice. I have not tried this and do not remember the URL or name of the service, but I am dying to try it out!
· This is another fun phone trick: You can use this Internet service to set up for yourself a free phone number in any area code in the US. So if you want to sound high-falutin and give yourself a ritzy code, you can. If you have clients/friends in that AC, they can thereby leave you messages without having to call long distance. Then you can call that phone from your other number(s) and check your voicemail. Another thing you can do is have THAT number call your “REAL” number at a certain time. That would be handy if you were headed for an event and wanted an excuse to leave. You could just answer the call from yourself and say with regret that you have been called away.
· Ask.com’s new layout is cool. They call it the 3D display. There are three columns presented when you get search results, each offering a specialized type. I will talk about this more, but it does make a lot of sense as far as offering choices to the searcher.
· Layout in general is a theme I noticed with sites. The goal of many home page services, blog aggregators, and searching tools is to come up with cool and innovative ways to present information via layout. Google continues with its traditional list by and large, but is ranking results a bit differently in recognition of the fact that people are more and more interested in video as opposed to just text.
· Some searching trends include
o personalized searching
o blended searching
o social searching…more about these when I can refer to my notes and get online.
· Ask.com again…this time maps. They have some very cool features
o Ask gives not only driving directions, but also WALKING DIRECTIONS. They are the only search engine to do this.
o In Ask, you have drawing tools at the bottom of a map. One thing you can do is use the circle tool to select a small specific area on a city map, maybe several square miles or less. You can then search within that area for locations such as restaurants, theaters, businesses, etc. So if you are in San Francisco and hungry for sushi, you can do a search of your immediate surroundings and find what is nearby.
· Wikipedia is here to stay. As librarians, we should join in, tending it like a garden. School librarians and administrators should keep an eye on entries for their schools. What, your school does not have an entry? Are you sure? Have you checked? Your little darlings may have put one up with all kinds of creative information. If you have one, and many schools and school libraries do, you need to check it frequently to see how your scholars have been tinkering with it.
· Gaming belongs in libraries. I am so out of the loop on this that I really did not know how may purely educational games there are out there that are beyond reproach. Furthermore, the creative teacher/librarian can use the more popular games as hooks to get students interested in their subjects or in the library and its services.
· RSS—you need to be informed about its value and use it to share your web presences and to gather what you want from the net.
· Right before I came out to this conference, I was a little worried because I feel that I am spread out all over the place on the Internet. I have information at Blogger, PBWiki, Flikr, Picasa, my university web pages, a domain that we bought for our department, several email addresses, Nancy Pearl’s BookLust wiki, the Librarians’ Ning, Twitter, and I am probably leaving something out. But this week it occurred to me that this is not necessarily a BAD thing. Being out there a lot is a way to communicate with lots of people. What I need to do is something I am proud to say I have already done. Just before I left for the conference, I made a page at my PBWiki site where I provided links to all the other places I am on the net. Regardless of whether other people use this, it will help me to keep up with everything and simply my life. Good for me!
· There are many more things, and likely more important things, that I need to call up and share. But my computer battery is on the way down, so I will save them for later.
In addition to this conference being wonderfully informative, it is always lots of fun. Here are some fun-stuff memories:
· The other night I was being shown to a table at a restaurant on Old Fisherman’s Wharf where I was going to dine alone. Someone called out “Mary Ann! Come sit with us!” To my amazement someone in a group of what I would call “younguns” recognized me from my presentation and they made me welcome at their table. It was great to visit with all these enthusiastic and savvy young librarians! On the way out, on of my new friends noticed my name tag and said “OH! I know YOU!” I had just signed on to follow her on Twitter a day or two earlier and she recognized my name! She was…Desert Librarian! Very fun and cool person and my new ftf Twitter buddy!
· Another night I enjoyed dining with a librarian I have known virtually for a long time, but had not met ftf. And of all things, she is a Texan. Carolyn Foote, Westlake High School Librarian, gave a great presentation about working with administrators to get them involved in Web 2.0 learning, both as a service to them and as a way to gain access for teachers and students. Her positive and constructive ideas are worth locating via her presentation online. I will look for that URL to share. We had a great time talking about our common interests and concerns regarding web access and the need to make it more reasonable for kids and teachers. It seems a little ironic that we had to travel to California to meet, when we have been in the same place many times at Texas for other conferences.
· Walking down to the harbor and watching the harbor seals is not to be missed. They look like big birds balancing on the rocks in the bay.
· The events that are part of the conference are wonderful. One night there was an exhibit to highlight the opening of exhibits, with delectable refreshments. Another night there was an evening presentation on gadgets and also featuring a really cool project that involves videotaping libraries and librarians across America. There was a 3rd evening event that I missed, but wish I had been around for. It was held at the local library and highlighted various libraries and what they are doing with Web 2.0.
· I did give myself a treat the last half of the last day. I drove back up the coast toward San Jose, where I met my flight today. I spent last night in the nearby town of Half Moon Bay, a little coastal village with wonderful shops and restaurants.
· Best of all, I am heading home feeling fine! Last year on the last day of the conference, I fell on a hiking path and broke my wrist. I flew home so high on painkillers that the plane may have been optional. By the time I got through the subsequent surgery, it was hard to remember the many things I had learned. THIS time I want to do justice to my experience by sharing my new found knowledge. I hope to do that soon, within the next three days, while my notes will make sense and my recollections will be accurate.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
- We started off the day with two very sharp, classy ladies (I am using adjectives my mom always used as the highest possible accolades she could give). First Cynthia Leitich-Smith talked about her life and books. I have already been plugging her blog, Cynsations, at my wiki site, but learned she also has a 2nd blog which is more about the craft of writing and also about spooky stuff which of course ties in nicely with her latest book, Tantalize, which is of all things a vampire story set in AUSTIN, TEXAS! What's not to like about that? I cannot wait to start in on my copy. If you have not been to her sites, stop reading, go now, and then come back! I will give one URL: http://spookycyn.blogspot.com/ Once you go there, you can get to her other sites by the links provided. You will find all kinds of great information and fun for you as well as for your students!
- Next we got to hear from Joan Bauer. I have been a Joan Bauer fan for as long as I can remember. Rules of the Road is one of those books you just cannot forget. And now there is a sequel! You probably know this but I did not, due to the extreme geekiness of my present life and job which focuses so much on tech and not so much on books. Anyway, she was such a memorable speaker. What presence! What a sense of humor! Hearing her was a huge treat for me! You can find her online at: http://www.joanbauer.com/jb.html
- Next we went to breakout sessions and I was lucky enough to attend one on podcasting from a dear friend, Dr. Bobby Ezell, also of Sam Houston State University. He did not just talk about podcasting, he had us make one, in less than one hour! I sat with a former student and super librarian, Dean Boyd of Livingston, TX. We made an interview podcast about an upcoming silent auction to raise money for the senior class at his school, and HE IS GOING TO USE IT!!! How cool is that? If you would like Bobby's super easy handouts about how to use Audacity (freeware) to make a podcast and then how to easily save it as a web page just using MS Word, leave a comment or email me and I will send them. Bobby has a great knack for making things easy and his step by step comments will get you up and going in no time, as evidenced by the fact that everyone in the session left with a working podcast to upload. When I get the link for ours, I will share it!
- After lunch I wandered around, thinking I might stop by my office and do a little catching up before the last author talk. But I ran into a great old friend, one of those people with whom you can get right back into a conversation as if you had seen each other yesterday when in actuality it has been several years. She is Lynn Morris, librarian extraordinaire of Frank Elementary in Klein, TX. She was going in to hear De Cee Cowin, storyteller, and I fell in behind her. WAS I GLAD I DID THAT! This man is a fantastic storyteller! He has the timeless ability of storytellers to cast a spell over his audience and take you away to another place, this time Osaka, Japan. Not only does he tell a great story, he then talks about the connections these stories have to all cultures and to the human condition. If I were still a school librarian, I would be contacting him ASAP to ask him to come to my school. We all left his presence a little bit wiser. Here is his website: http://www.deceecornish.com/
- Finally the last session of the day came around. The morning session was for the ladies, with Cynthia Leitich-Smith and Joan Bauer speaking. In the afternoon session, the guys were front and center. First we heard from Cynthia's husband, Greg Leitich-Smith. He, too, is a writer, with several fiction books out for "tweens." He gave a delightful review of his past, and a cute little tyke he was, and also shared a great story of the evolution of the cover for his book, Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo. The final cover looks great, and thank goodness they did not stop with one of the earlier iterations. His site is: http://www.gregleitichsmith.com
- Last but not least was Mo Willems, who did not disappoint! He was clever and soooo funny and even got some great audience involvement going where at one point attendees acted out an early reader book, and everyone learned how to draw a pigeon. Yes, even I can draw a pigeon now! He really made me see how the different elements of a picture book such as size, shape, page color, size of illustration, number of words on pages, and other details, are carefuly thought out to achive the desired creative expression. I am sure you know Knuffle Bunny and his other books, and here is his website (I love all the cartoon characters in the bar at the top of the page): http://www.mowillems.com/
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
I am off to sign up and then report to my wiki and practice my presentation. Otherwise, I will have to go to 43 Things or TadaList and nag myself online!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
From: drmaryannbell, 2 minutes ago
This slide show is about how to use technology readily at hand in teaching K-12.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I was thinking about this yesterday as I relaxed during a heat treatment at the physical therapy clinic where I am receiving treatment for something aptly called frozen shoulder. Heretofore when I was lying on the nice padded table with pillows placed around my arm and shoulder, enjoying the lovely mild electric/heat treatment, I would let my mind drift, maybe thinking about a work project and how I would approach it. Another thing I might do was simply meditate, going through some of my repertoire of memorized Biblical passages and other inspirational ones, such as the Prayer of St. Francis and the Serenity Prayer. But yesterday I brought a new friend with me...a brand new iPod. I really enjoyed listening to my favorite lowbrow music, a mix of traditional country and Americana, with a heavy dose of Texas musicians including my own daughter, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Merle Haggard, Lucinda Williams, Alice Stuart, Gillian Welch, and lots of others. Even better was listening while doing my pulley exercises and using the hand bicycle. The music made these monotonous tasks much less boring and tiresome. But as I listened I did think about this new experience. Now I was NOT giving my undivided attention to the art of thought. And next time I have therapy, I know I will want to use the iPod again. It makes me wonder about people of all ages, but especially youngsters, who are never unplugged. I see then on the walking paths, on campus, in cars, and really everywhere. Do they ever just stop, be still, and think? Do we ever encourage kids to do this during school hours or at home? Don't we always scramble to keep them busily occupied, and even fill previously quiet areas with music or other sound to keep them occupied? Is this all to the good? In my graduate days I wrote a paper comparing American and Japanese educational environments. One big difference between the two, I learned, was importance given to silent time for thinking. Americans really seem to discount and also shy away from this. Now with all the wearable and easily carried technology to engage us, I wonder of anybody does ever stop and just think. And further, I wonder what it means to our society that we do not?
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I took a trip down memory lane yesterday. I visited the periodical stacks at my university library. To tell the truth, it has been years since I have gone to the shelf and pulled down a tome, and riffled through the pages of a bound volume, hoping the article had not been cut or torn out by some other long-ago reader. It felt a little funny to be back there, even though I am on the same campus all the time since I teach at the same university where I got my MLS. Back in the old days at SHSU, library classes were held in this building, and on the same floor where I found myself yesterday. I could remember being there every week-end in the early 80’s when I was working on my degree. I could look in the little conference room where I had catalog classes with my hero, Dr. Bonnie Thorne. It is a storage room now. For those of you who remember her, Bonnie is doing great, retired, and looking amazingly unchanged from when you had her for a class. I found the volume and article, which was from 1995 and no longer available online, and made a few notes.
Looking at the article was another memory-lane experience for me. It was by Dr. Doug Rogers, director of the doctoral cohort to which I belonged in the late 1990’s, and still inspiring students at Baylor University. This article was the linchpin of his views on technology and I wanted to refer to it in an upcoming presentation. I want to talk about the article in a future posting but wanted to commemorate my library visit and search in this one. The questions I could not escape were…
1. I wonder how much longer all these resources will be here? The musty smell of all those aging pages was, if anything, more intense than I remembered.
2. I wonder when I may be back over her to do a search for a print article? I still use the library for books, of course, but for journal articles, no—online databases generally suffice. Of course my fields are educational technology and librarianship, and 99% of the time I want the most recent information possible.
Am I saying print files like these are passé? Do I advocate disposing of them? Emphatically not! Even in my field, I just proved the ongoing value of those bound volumes. My BA is in English and history, and I certainly know that scholarly thought regarding these realms does not get dated in the same way as information may in other fields. Indeed, my reason for seeking the outdated article, which is about educational technology, is to point how timely the premise is some twelve years later. Long live libraries and the treasures they hold until the time comes when I need that one remembered gem and find it waiting for me on the shelf!
- Packaging was a bunch of sturdy brown cardboard boxes. They did not reveal contents which is frustrating because, with several, you have to examine the thing inside to figure out what it is. What I mean is, there was one box that contained an external CD drive. It was in a larger shipping box that held other stuff as well. It took me a minute to figure out what the thing was because the box really did not say.
- Frankly, documentation is lousy. Packaging is mundane. After all these years, one might think that competitors would learn from Apple about the little things like these...
- The stylus was missing. OK that is not Motion's fault. Computer services handled the computer first and installed software, etc. They carefully packaged everything back up, but the sleeve for the stylus was, alas, empty. Since I already have an HP tablet, I tried that stylus, and was happy to find that it does work. BUT I think every tablet computer should come with at least two styluses (stylii???) Come on, people lose those things. Next on my list is to try to find the missing one and request that more are ordered.
- I was not the one who originated the order for this computer, so was not that familiar with it. I kept looking for the keyboard. THERE IS NONE. Unlike my HP, this computer comes with the assumption that you will use it just with screen/stylus, choosing between the three modes for text input: handwriting, single letter entry, and on-screen keyboard. At first this dismayed me, but the idea is growing on me. After all we really want this thing for conferences, etc. where the keyboard is less important. Handwriting recognition works great for me. My handwriting is OK, not pristine but not physician's scrawl either. So I am fine for entry.
- Another box held a large supplemental battery that is the same size as the computer and attaches to the bottom. Good for extended use, I am sure.
- The best thing about this gizmo is its weight. My HP feels like a ton of bricks in comparison. I can and will look up the weight, but right off am saying that it is very light.
- It is also very sleek and slim. I think my Motion and my iPod like each other...
- Conclusion? This is not someone's workhorse computer, at least not mine. But for conferences, meetings, etc, it is very, very cool.
- Take a look! Here is their website: http://www.motioncomputing.com/
- Oh my, Apple does know how to package things! I was presented with a small black box, about the size of an index card, gently encased in shrink wrap. Getting into the box did NOT require a screwdriver, blowtorch, or even a Leatherman. Indeed I just used my thumbnail to barely break the wrap and peel off. Opening the box was like opening a jewelry box. The top lifted off instead of having an end flap. It is a nice sturdy box, the kind you actually WANT to keep with the loose ends that go along with the device.
- Inside was nestled a sleek little black wonder. It makes my previously beloved iPod look white and clunky. Yep, I am fickle. Out with the old! In with the new!
- With the old iPod, there was a disk to install. That would have been an issue for me since I want to install this to an HP table computer that lacks a disk drive. Not a problem! As soon as you hook your iPod to your computer, you go right to the Apple site, register, and get the software you need.
- Of course you end up at iTunes with lots of music, books, etc. for sale but what the hey? I LIKE iTunes. I have not bought anything though. Not yet...but...
- THERE IS NO POWER CORD! How cool is that??? You just charge up by hooking up to your computer. I think that the old one was that way too, will have to check.
- My new lil' buddy went right to my previous collection of iTunes music and synced without even being asked. It did ask if I wanted my pics done too, and of course I said yes!
- How about documentation? Well there is not that much but this device is so intuitive that you don't NEED much.
- I had the little wonder up and good to go in less than 30 minutes, including syncing with my previous music and images.
- Do I love Apple for their style and user-friendliness? YES I DO!!!
- In fact here is a little secret I will share...as soon as I get a chance, I am going to finally allow myself to get an iPhone. I am hooked after playing with my nephew's this past weekend. He has been using his for several weeks and gave me the affirmation I have been using, a positive reaction from a fellow gadget lover who has been using the phone for several weeks, enough time for the novelty to wear off.
UPDATE SEVERAL HOURS LATER...I took Iola for a walk and just got back. I do have a habit of naming inanimate things that I really like:
- My car is Yolanda Dos Honda (Yolanda Uno gave up her life to save mine in summer 06 rollover)
- My titanium heart valve is named Fido. He never fails me!
- My Sony Vaio laptop is named Vera.
- And now...my new iPod is named Iola. I never named the other one.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
They also have pages for two other famous locals, Edna Ferber and Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Thinking of my own home town, I can come up with several great topics of local interest that could also be unique resources for others. San Marcos, TX could feature a page about President Lyndon Johnson, for instance, since he went to college there. Royalty free pictures could be available of the school buildings that were there when he attended, and the house where he lived (now a museum).There are certainly people around who knew him, and it might be possible to offer some interviews. I wish I had thought of this idea when I was still in a junior high library. It would have been a great project with kids just at the right age...
Monday, October 1, 2007
Survey Monkey is a "free" service whereby you can post questions and invite participants to respond online at the site. All that is required is registration. I had visited the site in the past, and had participated by responding to some surveys, but had never tried it out until last week. Then I got the idea to poll people about Web 2.0 participation, and especially ask how they feel about blogging. So I went to SM and registered. Setting up the poll was easy. I had a little fun playing around with various color combinations and background styles. I keyed in some ranking questions and also some open-ended queries, because to me on of the best things about polls is gathering people's comments. Once I was satisfied with my product, I took the URL that SM provided and checked to be sure it worked. I also forwarded the address to two friends who tried out the poll as well. Then, confident I was ready, I announced my poll on my favorite listservs, LM_NET, EDTECH and TLC, and waited for results. Alas, although I got a couple of takers early on, I got many more messages from people for whom the URL did not work. Instead of taking them to my survey, it just took them to the main page and asked them to register. Evidently the URL was not compatible with some (many) people's email providers At that point I was pretty peeved with Survey Monkey, and tempted to give him the boot out of my virtual life. Before doing so, though, I decided to give Mr. Monk one more chance. I converted the URL to a shortened tinyurl and posted this to the listservs.
Voila! That evidently solved the problem, and I ended up with 83 participants, having hoped for only 40-50. Next, I went to the survey site and analyzed the results. Voila again! I got a nice display showing both numbers and percentages for responses, and also displaying all comments. All Right! I thought! Now to share!
That is where I have to ask the question...is Survey Monkey sneaky or just clever? When I clicked on the button for displaying results, I got a message that my little primate friend would not do that unless I paid for upgraded service. And he is proud of this service, to the tune of $200/year! My first reaction was...forget it! I will just share on my own. But I really liked the display as it appeared at the site. I wanted all those nice people who had participated to see the final results of the poll. And I knew that I was going to refer to the poll in a couple of articles and presentations. I decided that I would cough up the money, opting for convenience and nice looking presentation of the data. So what is the best way to describe Survey Monkey? Sneaky? Clever? I think SM is both. I could have repackaged the data and avoided the cost, and having used the site still would have been worthwhile because it was a great way to collect responses. I made the choice to go ahead and pay the fee. Either way, the site does offer an easy way to conduct informal or even formal polls. Take a look: https://www.surveymonkey.com
And here is the URL for those results! For goodness sakes visit...after all I paid for it!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
A variation on this is humorous author names. Back in the old days when we did inventory with shelf list cards, I can remember getting slap happy with my assistant over some author names. It would start out with names like Quackenbush and Pinkwater. Then we would start noticing that certain names were just perfect for the book subjects or titles. Was it fate that determined that the Van Wormers would write bird books? Doing inventory this way tends to make you slap happy after a while anyway, and by the 500's aisle we would be rolling in the aisle.
One other direction you could take with kids would be to think of funny names for book characters. Right now none come immediately to mind, but I know there are lots. Anyway, if you are interested continuing this thread or suggesting ways to have fun with students and names, here is a place you can add comments!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
OK, another analogy from me...this time I am talking about the mall. Or maybe the movie theater. The thing is, people regularly let their kids off there and pick them up several hours later. One thing kids do at the mall is go to computer stores and open/update MySpace accounts. And at the movies, kids have been known to.....well, you figure that one out. I am not saying parents should not let kids go out in public, though sometimes I think some parents let their kids be unsupervised in malls at too early ages, and for too long. But what they need to do is teach their children to be smart and safe wherever they go. And that goes for social networking sites too. Paranoria about social networking sites is NOT the answer!
Friday, September 7, 2007
- This is a great way to advertise your blog. You could post an inviting Twitter that would lure people there.
- Another really good way to use would be, as a librarian, to send out very short book reviews.
- A lot of Twitter sites, both librarian and teacher, are open only to subscribers.
- On the down side, many sites, including some that at first glance seem to offer promise, have not been updated in a long time. To really use Twitter, it seems to me you would need to post frequently.
- This teacher's Twitter looks interesting, and his blog more so: http://twitter.com/steerwasher
- Alli_librarian--gives short takes on books read, which I do see as a viable use for Twitter. In fact this is one of the best examples I saw of constructive use: http://twitter.com/alli_librarian
- Teacher 2.0--this one mostly points you to a blog, but in that sense could lead you to some interesting information: http://twitter.com/teachers2
- If you had a very specific plan, it could be that Twitter would be your solution
- There is a lot of chaff and not so much wheat if you go searching and looking for Twitters with substance.
- For someone who wants to use it with a phone and to keep up with friends, it could be lots of fun.
- For me, it does not resonate enough that I think I will be a regular user. It looks like fun, but I know myself well enough to know that I will likely just end up being one of the many people out there who have not updated in months.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Every parent and educator should visit this community and see what it is all about. We should urge parents to teach their children safe and smart Internet use, certainly including the use of online communities like MySpace and FaceBook. As someone said the other day regarding how to find resources about online safety, two words come to mind: Nancy Willard! Do a search for her name, use her resources, and you will be well on the way to helping yourself, your colleagues, your students, and their parents.
So what about MySpace? First of all, its original intent was to provide a place for artistic types such as musicians, writers, and artists to meet, share their work, and exchange information and ideas. Of course it has grown exponentially, but this is still a very large part of what goes on at MySpace. Now you can find everything from religious groups to zoos with a healthy dose of library sites included in MySpace sites.
As part of a class assignment, I am asking students to find and describe one GOOD/constructive MySpace site, and also offer one "bad" example that is the type of site you would want to steer youngsters away from. In keeping with my pledge to do the same assignment myself, here are my "good" and "bad" sites. There are so many good ones I have trouble picking. As for the bad, I know there are lots but I do not intend to waste my time seeking out a large number.
First the BAD and a disclaimer. I am not going to post a link. I don't even suggest you do this. But I thought to myself, how can I find a really terrible site? I thought of an organization that exists for men who seek to justify their interest in child predation. I don't even want to name the organization but you can probably figure it out. I did the search and came up with some very troubling sites. I just do not want to go further in this blog with a description of what I found, but it was convincing evidence that MySpace has offensive sites.
OK, I thought, how about something more likely to turn up for a kid? I did what I suggest you do. I went to MySpace and did a school search. I searched for my own high school alma mater and for current students. I did find sites tnhat looked to me to belong to kids younger than the age limit. I also found sites where too much information was offered for the safety of the users, regardless of their ages. I found one without looking too hard that I would want to know about as a parent. The page beloned to "Sexy Kitty," who says she is 16 and posts with a lot of profanity and general silliness. She could easily be younger. She does not have security set for her page, so it is out there for all to see. This is the kind of page that is all too common, and with close reading I could no doubt track her down. I already know what she looks like and the small town school she attends. I am betting her parents have no idea that page is out there, but I found it quite easily.
NOW FOR THE GOOD:
Visiting the bad examples is not fun. It is enough to make me question the entire community. What I need now are compelling GOOD examples. They are most definitely there. Here are some constructive types of sites:
- Political sites...think of any current Presidential candidate and visit his/her site. This is an environment that cannot be ignored in an election year. Howard Dean taught a lot of people that back in the previous campaign when he spread his information via the Internet in the early stages of the campaign.
- Libraries. There are some fantastic library MySpace sites out there! Here is one: http://www.myspace.com/libraryloft I just used the first one I came to, because there are so many. This one does offer a blog entry about MySpace safety with a link to Nancy Willard's site.
- Church Youth Groups: You can find a lot of these site, but not browse them because they appropriately are secure sites for their members. Here is one: http://groups.myspace.com/Trinitypresbyterianchurch
- Musicians and artists:
- My daughter booked a coast to coast tour from her MySpace site. She is an independent singer/songwriter, specializing in Americana. Here is the link: http://www.myspace.com/emilyherring
- Don't just go to hers, though. Here is one I really like, because he is an artist as well as musician, with amazing original and creative work in both areas: http://myspace.com/grayart
- Here is a publicist who works works with a lot of musicians, including my daughter: http://myspace.com/americanmediapro
- OK all of those have some connection to my daughter, but there are hundreds of others out there. Try any musician or artist you have ever heard of and see what I mean! If the person does not have his/her own site, there will be a fan site.
Well, the other day I got an idea for updating an assignment for students in my class, Internet for School Librarians. The purpose of this assignment is to get students to explore educational Web 2.0 resources. My experience is that many of them have little or no experience in this rapidly growing area. They may be familiar with the term "blog," but most seem lost when I mention "vlog," "twitter," or even "podcast." Many are quick to tell me that MySpace is BAD, but admit they have never visited the site at all. This is the gist of the assignment:
1. Visit Wikipedia and report back. Tell about at least two entries. One should be an article that you would allow students to use and another an article that you would not recommend.
2. Visit MySpace. Describe one good and one not so good page that you see.
3. Visit one educational podcast. Describe.
4. Visit one educational wiki. Describe.
5. Visit one educational ning. Describe.
6. Visit one educational twitter. Describe.
7. Visit one educational podcast. Describe
8-9. Visit two outstanding blogs: librarian or teacher. This is three separate entries, one per blog. Tell about them each in turn.
In addition to asking students to report on their impressions of these sites, I am pledging to do the same. Thus, in future postings I will report my feelings about the above mentioned resources. Not everything resonates with everyone. While I find all aspects of online communication interesting, some to not appeal to me personally. This is as it should be! If we all try to blog, vlog, podcast, twitter, IM, email, and otherwise express ourselves, we will spread ourselves far too thin! As I go on my personal odyssey through various online entities, I will share my impressions. Meanwhile I wonder, which ones resonate with you?
Thursday, August 16, 2007
- In one instance, ALL responses to applicants were blocked as SPAM by a district. I had to make several calls to convince the powers that be in that district that emails from my university address about an opportunity for their people to get a master's degree free of charge did NOT CONSTITUTE SPAM.
- And now this: I sent out a message this morning to 70 applicants. So far I have gotten blocked by two districts, stopping seven messages. Why? In the body of my message, I gave out the address to my blog. Evidently even mentioning a blog is dangerous. I know it is a four letter word but good grief! I am thinking some others right now. So...I will go back and remove the terroristic use of the "b-word" and see if the message gets through. I also gave a wiki address. I am going to leave that part in just to see if the messages get through anyway, as a little test.