Technology Blog- Wall Wisher- 11/26/12

For this week’s technology journal, I chose to explore WallWisher. The practice wall that I created can be found here: http://wallwisher.com/wall/w23iskabnq. I chose to explore this tool because it seems like a simple alternative to a website. I have a hard time keeping up with a website, but since this is just drag and drop I might be more inclined to keep up with it!

For the most part I really like WallWisher. It is very simple and easy to use, and I like that it opens attachments in new windows instead of making the reader open up Word. I also like that there are small previews of each wall post so that you can look at what you’re going to be opening before the reader opens it. The only thing I disliked about WallWisher is that, at first, I could not find a way to post PowerPoint presentations. The only way I could find to post them was to make them public in my SkyDrive, get a link, and post that link. While kind of inconvenient, I was glad to find a way that worked.

The WallWisher website makes WallWisher very easy to use. One of my favorite parts of getting started with it was the ideas on the sign up page. Without it, I would not have known where to start with my wall. The instructions and the “Help” page also made WallWisher very easy to use, but for the most part it is simple enough to figure out on your own.

I think once I get around to creating an updated website, WallWisher would be a good source to use. As a community library, a lot of our patrons are older. If I wanted to link to a way to download books onto the Kindle, post about new arrivals, or link to book reviews, it is simple enough that our patrons who struggle with technology could navigate it.

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Reading Journal- Van Meter Library Voice- 11/12/12

For this week’s reading journal, I explored Van Meter Library Voice. It is an online blog written by Shannon McClintock Miller, a Teacher Librarian (among many other things) in Iowa. While looking through the reading journal options that I have not used already, I was very drawn to the Van Meter Library Voice author’s energy! She seems so excited about libraries, teaching, and learning, that I thought it would be a good, refreshing way to start out my week in library science! Her blog can be found here: http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com/

I read quite a few entries by Shannon, mostly because she does such a great job of connecting ideas and making them interesting and relevant, that once I started I had trouble stopping. The first couple that I read were about Biblionasium, which to me appears to be a kid-friendly version of Goodreads of Shelfari. One was about her discovery of Biblionasium, while another was an update on how her kids were enjoying and using it. The Biblionasium entries also connected to a couple that she wrote about eBooks and MackinVIA. I also read updates on a couple of conferences that she presented at, the “Genre Neighborhoods” she set up in her library, as well as her library’s new “Book Swap Shop.”

I loved that not only did Shannon tell her readers about exciting new tools, but she gave us the benefits of it and how it can be applied in library class. Also, as I have mentioned, Shannon does a great job of making what is going on in her library sound SO exciting. As I was scrolling through her posts, I did not look at dates. I thought that all of these posts had to have been over the semester’s time (reorganizing her library, setting up the swap shop, and presenting at a conference, ALL while teaching?! Come on.) As I looked at the dates I found that all of these were written in the past couple of weeks. The Van Meter Library Voice made me feel so inspired to start being a more active librarian for my Elementary School kids. As a High School teacher, I do pretty well with suggesting books to older kids, but it had never occurred to me that perhaps our library is not very kid-friendly. While I adore Shannon’s energy and excitement, she certainly makes me feel like a slacker!

This is absolutely a blog that I will keep checking in on. She is full of great ideas (such as the Book Swap Shop) that I would love to implement something similar to. While I know this cannot all happen right away, I think that using the Van Meter Library Voice will be a great motivator and tool for professional development. Reading Shannon’s writing made me excited about all of the prospects you have as a district librarian! I think I will do a little more research into Biblionasium as something I can talk to my Elementary school teachers about. I don’t think I will have the privilege of teaching library classes to my younger kids for a few years still, but once I do I think that the Van Meter Library Voice will be a great tool to use.

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Technology Journal- Diigo- 11/4/12

For this week’s technology journal, I explored Diigo (Digest of Internet Information, Groups, and Other Stuff.) My Diigo profile can be found here, although there is not much on it right now: http://www.diigo.com/profile/rebekahhoffman I chose to explore Diigo because its ability to highlight, annotate, do post-its, etc. was very attractive to me for research purposes. Honestly, though, I wish I had explored Delicious, because my experience with Diigo, whether it be because of the website, my browser, or my own ineptitude, was very frustrating.

On Diigo, I like the idea of being able to highlight and annotate right on the computer. However, when I attempted to do that (I tested on one of our reading assignments for next week,) it did not work at all. I could not get Diigo to highlight the document, and every time I tried to place a post-it they moved around and did not end up where I wanted them. I also like that you can join different groups. For example, I joined EdTechTalk, and there are a lot of different resources (EdModo, Google Tools, etc.) posted as well as creative ways to use them. While the groups are a great way to obtain information and ideas from other educators, I had to spend a lot of time sifting through irrelevant information before I found anything I could use. In addition, when I tried to search tags such as “libraries” or “education,” it took a while to find a person or group with enough hits to make following them worth my time.

Diigo has a lot of great information pages and tutorials (Diigo 101, Diigo in the classroom, etc.) I watched a few of them to see how Diigo could be used in the classroom, and I think i will try to spend some more time getting to know the program before I write it off completely. After all, the difficulties I came across could all come down to user error. However, I think I will keep an open mind and check out Delicious, as well.

I think if I could figure out how to use Diigo well it would be a good research tool for students in my library. In our school, the students are not allowed to access their e-mails for fear of cyber bullying. If I could teach them to annotate with and use Diigo, it could serve as a much more eco-friendly way of saving sources than printing them all out and writing on them. 

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Reading Journal- The Daring Librarian- 10/29/12

For this week’s Reading Journal, I explored The Daring Librarian blog. I chose to look at hers because I need a lot of help when it comes to using technology in all areas of my life including the library (some of my teacher colleagues make me feel so far behind!) She seems like a good resource for practical technology use.

It is a bit difficult to summarize exactly what I read, because I ended up doing a lot of clicking around and exploring (which I’ll talk more about in my response to the resource.) One interesting post that I ran across, however, was about Banned Website Awareness Day. I think the reason it stood out to me was because it left me feeling very conflicted. In my English classroom this year we celebrated Banned Books Week in all four of my classes (not in my library, unfortunately, because I forgot the dates and was not as on top of things as I should have been!) Obviously, during this week we talked about the dangers of censoring texts of all kinds. At the same time, in my library we do block different websites. Now, my library does not block many of the websites that The Daring Librarian links to (http://mluhtala.blogspot.com/2011/04/whats-blocked-in-schools-whole-lot.html😉 since we are a community library we even allow social networking websites and YouTube. However, the kids are not allowed to access those websites during school hours without my or the assistant librarian’s permission. In the Daring Librarian’s post, she makes a good argument for allowing these websites, including teaching the students responsibility, that the educator-side of my brain really responds to. The other part of my brain, the one that is in charge of the legal side of the library, says absolutely not. What if the kids are doing things that can get them into trouble on school grounds and in MY library? I do not want to deal with that. This posting made me feel so hypocritical- teaching the dangers of censoring one form of information while simultaneously censoring another- but I still cannot decide how I feel on the issue as a whole. I especially do not know if I would feel passionately enough to attempt to change library policy.

That turned into a long summary. So, I’ll drop it and respond to the source. At first, the Daring Librarian’s blog seems so overwhelming (but somehow in a good way!) Her blog is aesthetically pleasing, gives picture examples, and various links to other resources. From the blog, I ended up following her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/gwynethjones) and checking out the TL Virtual Cafe (http://tlvirtualcafe.wikispaces.com/.) Both seem as though they are full of resources that I will be able to pull from. Already I have started monitoring the #TLChat on Twitter and found some great resources. (Because of it, I’m thinking Twitter should be my next Technology blog.) I love the way that the Daring Librarian focuses on being a teacher-librarian or being a resource for teachers AS the librarian.

Mostly, this source really made me think. Specifically, it made me think about my internet policy as well as the ways in which I am not using the technology available to me. I think I will keep reading The Daring Librarian mostly through Twitter, because she seems to post on Twitter more often anyway, and I think I will keep monitoring the #TLChat for tips and resources on being a teacher-librarian.

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Technology Journal- SlideShare- 10/22/12

For this week’s technology journal, I created an account on and explored SlideShare.I chose to look at this tool because I LOVE that SlideShare supports the idea of the free exchange of ideas, knowledge, and materials. As a Librarian as well as a literature and writing teacher, I am obviously very supportive of that way of thinking.

I like that it is easy to search and navigate SlideShare. Not only do they have a search box, but you can “browse” by what is popular, most downloaded, featured, and most “favorited” as well as by channel. I also like that you can make your post available to everyone or available to just one specific group of colleagues, students, etc. In addition, you can search popular topics like technology, education, humor; there are even full books available on here! Unfortunately, there is also a lot to sift through before you hit gold. For example, when I tried to find videos on library science or information on libraries, most of them were three to five years old. If we are talking about classical books or the Dewey Decimal System that can be okay, but technology moves so fast that watching a tech presentation that is five years old is most likely a waste of time.

My overall experience with the tool was a tad frustrating. A lot of the videos I found in search were outdated, but if I browsed long enough there were some on libraries and technology in libraries that were more current. When I tried to find a tutorial to see if there was something I did not understand or was doing wrong, the intro videos weren’t so much tools to learn how to use SlideShare, but an introduction on why you SHOULD use SlideShare. Luckily, though, the site is set up a lot like YouTube, so once I found a good, current slideshow it led me to other related, current resources. In addition, and I think I have mentioned this in a previous post, slideshows like this one are much more beneficial to me if I see them during or after a real presentation. It is very hard for me to learn from something like this without the information on the slides being explained. I worry that if I use similar presentations to try to present information to patrons and students, they might run into the same problem.

Despite all of that, I think this is a tool i could use in my library. Once I get a real website up and running, a SlideShare account could be a beneficial place to post research tips, book suggestions, book reviews, etc. so that patrons, students, and teachers can access them from home or school if I am not around. Because you do not need an account to look at the presentations, it would be a great way to integrate free, public information with my library users.

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Reading Journal- Library Media Connection- 10/15/12

For this week’s journal, I explored Library Media Connection online. I chose to look at it because of its easy access to book reviews, articles, webinars, etc. The resource can be found here: http://www.librarymediaconnection.com/

For the most part, I focused on reading the book reviews on Library Media Connection. It was a rough week in my library this week, and all I wanted to do was read about and order books. (I feel as though technology integration is a fight I will be fighting as long as I work here- this week I couldn’t even bring myself to read about it.) I read through the 2012 selections as well as some 2011 ones, because some authors and selections in my library are very outdated.

I really enjoyed using the resource itself. There were podcasts and webinars available for free that I will probably look at at a later date. The book reviews as well as the articles were organized by month and year, so they were easy to access and sort through. I think I would like to start receiving the magazine in order to get the most use out of Library Media Connection, though. There were some articles I saw listed that I would have liked to read but (I think) are only available in the physical magazine.

The content itself was wonderful. The reviews are listed as Highly Recommended, Recommended, Additional Selection, and Not Recommended. I loved that they included “Not Recommended” books, because by including them I could help recognize what to steer away from. They were also organized by subject (i.e.- counseling, science, health, etc.) I got a lot of good ideas from the book reviews, including purchasing a book for the Jr. High science teacher entitled “47 Things You Can Do for the Environment”- a book aimed at teens and how the small things they can do help save the Earth. (The Jr. High Science teacher is very environmentally-conscious, and tries to teach his kids to be, too.) I also got some great suggestions for Easy books such as “Bedtime is Canceled” and “Leave Me Alone: A Tale of What Happens When You Stand Up to a Bully.” The only disappointing thing about the content (and I acknowledge that this is of no fault of the reviewers) was the amount of fairy tale books that came back as “Not Recommended.” I love fairy tale stories as well as fairy tale spoofs, so I would get so excited every time I was about to read about one, only to see that the author seemed to miss the point.

Overall, I think I’ll keep going back to Library Media Connection. It seems as though it will be a good tool when it comes time to order books, as long as I can get my library out of the habit of only ordering what’s safe.

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Technology Journal- YouTube- 10/8/12

For this week’s Technology Journal, I chose to take a closer look at YouTube. Obviously I have used YouTube before, but I chose it because I have never explored the website as a library and/or teaching tool, and I think it will be very beneficial in coming up with creative ideas in both areas of my life. The channel that I learned to manage can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpBYRWL8o5ZOu4bVNXhX8nA?feature=mhee

Overall, I think this YouTube Channel and the subscriptions I chose based off of the list will be a useful tool for me. I chose to subscribe to TedtalksDirector, HarperKids, SimpleK12Team, Scholastic Teens, and PenguinYoungReaders. There were quite a few things that I like about the tool, such as the easy access to “book trailers” through different channels. One especially cool one I found was a hidden “Superhero Test” advertising a YA book. The student could go through and figure out what kind of superhero he would be, but the parts of the test themselves are not searchable. By putting videos like this on a library’s website, YouTube could serve as a way of getting students interested in books they otherwise might not know about. I also like being able to sort videos into different playlists. So far, I set up a playlist for Library books, Library Tech, Teaching (English), and one called “Just For Fun” that will have videos that are still educational but may not fall into any of those categories. This will be beneficial once I get more videos watched and favorited because I won’t have to remember how to search them or look through all of the videos that I have saved at once.

While YouTube is obviously very user-friendly, getting started with it was a bit of a pain. I ended up just creating a new e-mail address, and at first had trouble distinguishing between my YouTube profile and the Google+ profile that is automatically set up (I’ll partly blame that on sleep depravation.)

There are quite a few ways that YouTube can be used as a library tool; however, I feel as though it will need to be used subtly. First of all, YouTube is blocked at my school (I know, I know- not an excuse!) but I can work on getting it unblocked on the library computers. In addition, there is a negative perception of YouTube as a time waster. While it will be beneficial in hearing about new books and getting creative ideas for promoting books and technologies as I discussed above, I cannot really spend time on it at school without getting some questionable looks. While I will absolutely keep checking back to the channels I subscribed to for book, promotion, and activity suggestions, I will mostly need to do it from home.

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October 7, 2012 · 10:39 pm