Friday, May 29, 2009

Thing #19 - Web 2.0 Awards List

Lulu - Wow! I could publish my dissertation this way! I wonder if publishing houses watch what's produced here. I searched "gifted" and found a book published by a 7th grade GT class: As Poe Would Tell It. It's students retelling of stories in Edgar Allen Poe style. I also found GATE Poems 2007, a collection of poems by an elementary GT class. This gives students a truly authentic audience. Part of the project could be using other Web 2.0 tools to market the book. It would also be interesting to get a couple of different books and have students compare them to traditionally published works. It's be a good analysis activity to get to the roots of quality writing.

Craigslist - Big fan! My back yard has 3 pieces of toddler play equipment that we purchased through Craigslist. All three were purchased for the price of 1 new. Two needed some cleaning, but the third was practically new. I'm addicted! I would have loved this kind of access when I was a teacher. I spent tons on manipulatives and thematic stuff for my elementary classroom. I could have saved big time using Craigslist. Also, my husband found an incredible math tutor in our area via Craigslist. My hubby did well in online college Algebra thanks to that tutor!

Wufoo - Interesting. I think a teacher could use this to collect data with his/her classroom, if the class has a blog or web site. Maybe they want to survey who is viewing the blog. Maybe they want ideas on a service project. A free account would probably be enough for the elementary level. Secondary teachers might need a bigger account. Being highly visual, I love the presentation of the web site and the forms it creates. I also love the ease and user-friendly tools. They sure have some big name clients!

Thing # 18 - Online Productivity Tools

I'm cheating on this one. I freely admit it. I already use Google Docs so I'm writing about it. One of the benefits is (since I don't have a Teacher Laptop) I don't have to download anything.

I've used Google Docs to collect data during GT professional development. We were brainstorming things that are "sticky" and I had multiple recorders who recorded the brainstormed answers into a spreadsheet. From there we could categorize them and manipulate them electronically instead of on butcher paper.

We're using Google Docs in the High Gifted Program Task Force. We're doing a book study on High IQ Kids. I created a book notes document so the group can create collaborated notes. Each person can edit the document an add the points they think are important. The document helps to structure the thinking a little bit. We're also using it to post information we're gathing about existing programs.

I'm thinking that a wiki might be useful because all of this could be housed in one place. But I like Google Docs for the book notes because we can print that and format it for printing a little easier than in a wiki.

I think Google Docs is awesome for kids. I wish I remembered where I saw it - probably in an earlier "Thing" or a link I navigated to having started from a "Thing" - but kids were collaboratively writing with buddy across the pond. They used Skype and web cams to do face to face discussion when they were all in the shared documents. They also updated the documents in turns. Each used a different color to track their contributions. It was a great. It was a video on the web somewhere. I'll have to look for it.

Thing #17 - Rollyo

I'm always looking for new sources of information, so I like searching the whole web. When I search, part of what I'm looking for is new resources. Maybe for a quick, what do the experts have on this, I could use a Rollyo that I created with my key sources.

I had trouble uploading my bookmarks so I entered some sites individually. I'll have to try uploading the bookmarks again. And maybe adding the Bookmarklet would make it easier for me. My Rollyo is called Gifted Ed Resources. I changed the name after I found TAGT had created one with the same title I originally used.

I definitely see how this would be VERY useful in the classroom. It would greatly narrow the results of searches and ensure the results were appropraite for the audience. A teacher could ensure that students would find the meatiest and most accurate resources. That would save a lot of time and create a safe environment.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thing #16 - Wikis

I love the AP World History wiki! But I haven't found wikis to be particularly useful to me. I think I'm coming to realize I've tried to use them for the wrong purposes. They are more like Google Docs, but with more depth. Everything can be put together in one place. Hmmmm... I've started using Google Docs with the Highly Gifted Program task force. Maybe a wiki would be more useful....

The wiki I did for the Houston Area Co-op is too static. It's a place where I posted a lot of documents. But that's not where the power of the wiki lies, I think.

Hmmm... I'm going to try to get the Google Docs into a Wiki. But my task force may need training.... Lots of wheels turning right now!

Of to the sandbox!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thing #15 - Library 2.0

I'm reading the OCLC link about Web 2.0 and libraries. Having just read The Width of the World blog post by Ira Socol, I'm already primed to think about Web 2.0.

I want to be current. It takes a lot of effort, probably like anything else really worth doing. I fall in and out of favor with Facebook. I'm not sure professionally how to utilize it - though I have one colleague who I can access almost immediately through FB when conventional email doesn't work. I'm really tired of the "Which __ are you most like?" "Five favorite ___". Enough! I don't really "get" Twitter. I'm on, but I don't Tweet much and I don't really understand how to follow folks. I need more instruction, I think. I see these as very social applications. Frankly, I'm not a very social person, so I'm not really surprised that the social part of it isn't incredibly appealing. My husband is very social and is constantly checking. He also has the appropriate tool - an iTouch.

I don't think the problem is inherent to the applications, though. I think the problem is in how I view it, my lack of experience, and my lack of effort in getting to know the applications. I have to have a pretty good understanding and comfort level with them to be able to apply them to my professional life. I'm not there yet.

How does this relate to libraries?

Rick Anderson's response on OCLC, Away from the "icebergs", mentions user education. Where can the average use learn more? Libraries have always been that place for adults. When we wanted to learn something or find out more about it, we went to the library to get a book on it. Now we search the internet. The library can still fill that need for adults. I can go to the library to search the internet. Rather than circulation specialists, the library needs web 2.0 specialists. They'll have to know more than how to Google!

His discussion of having a collection is interesting, too. I agree that libraries are no longer the "holder" of important information. For my M.Ed., I was at the U of H library all the time accessing the microfiche ERIC documents. For my Ph.D., I could get everything electronically from the TAMU library. Now I'm frustrated because I can't get good scholarly articles or research reports in my field. Without my TAMU library access, I can't get full articles. My local library could provide that to me, even for a small fee. (Of course, as an alum, I think TAMU should provide it to me - but I haven't asked, either.)

As a mom, though, I want the library to have books I can check out. Carter loves a book for a few days then is on to a new one. We can revisit some of his favorites, but I like to try before I buy. We found Gertie and Gossie that way.

In reading John Reimer's OCLC article, something he mentioned prompted me to think about how Library2Play is a perfect example of how libraries can use Web 2.0 to continue to meet their users needs. As I mentioned earlier, the library can still be the place people go (not necessarily literally) to learn. And to learn specifically about how to use new technology tools.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Great Books for Older Readers

Please note some of the titles are adult books. Parents and teachers should always read a book before giving it to student or child to read. Some adult books contain adult subject matter that you may want to address - if that's the case, don't recommend that book to a student!

Great Books for Younger Readers

Music is "Please and Thank You" by Mr. Steve & Miss Katie available at Free Kids Music.

Great Books for Gifted Kids

I've put together a presentation on great books that can help parents and educators address the social emotional needs of gifted kids.

To enhance the presentation, I did two Animoto videos. The graphics aren't the best, but it's a great way to share information.

Here are some good places to get lists of books appropriate for GT readers:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Back to the 23 Things

I'm anxious to get back to working the Library 2 Play 23 Things. As I'm thinking about it more and more, I thought I'd try embedding an Animoto I did some time back. I love Animoto.

We'll see how this goes. It's an Animoto of Carter's first year that I did for his first birthday. He's almost 2 now, so it's fun to look back.

If I can get this to work, I'll be ready to try it with professional content!

A note on an issue I had... I used my district email address for my main Google Account (an early step in the 23 Things). Animoto will embed video in your Blogger blog, but only if it's done through a Gmail account. Now that my Google Account is via a different email, I can't get my gmail address associated with my existing Google Account. Hence, no direct embedding. Instead, I downloaded my Animoto and then uploaded it to the blog.