Finding My Way

Confessions of a life-long learner . . .

MOVED TO EDUBLOGS!! July 31, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karen @ 5:50 pm

My blog, “Finding My Way: Confessions of a Life-long Learner” has moved from WordPress to Edublogs.  Since Edublogs is powered by WordPress, this is not a very dramatic move (though there are a few differences between the services).  The main reason I moved is because Edublogs is — you guessed it — focused for educators.  So, the help section is particularly helpful for teachers and the forums contained teaching-related threads which I think could be very helpful.

Plus, the blog provided by Edublogs (theEdublogger) is great!


On A Stick: 11 April 2, 2008

Filed under: 23Things,Collaboration,Productivity,Web 2.0 — Karen @ 2:01 pm

Before looking into Delicious more thoroughly a while ago, I didn’t think it was anything I could use.  Now I kick myself whenever I accidently use “favorites” instead of delicious — inevitably I want to access that saved website elsewhere, but I can’t remember enough about it to find it . . . and I would have it instantly if only I had saved it to delicious.

While I haven’t started to use the networking capabilities, I see their potential.  How many times do you email links to coworkers?  Steps could be eliminated by establishing a network and common tags.  Steps are also eliminated by just sharing a bookmark (i.e. since I just blogged about wikis, check out my bookmarks:

One of the bloggers I subscribe to has started using the “Daily Blog Postings” function — I can quickly scan what this “expert-in-the-field” thought was important enough to bookmark, and it can lead to some good, new information.

I think this was one of the more interesting “Things” for me when I started learning about it I had such a misconception about its purpose.  To quote a couple of songs from the 60’s and 70’s — “I can see clearly now” and “I’m a believer.”



On A Stick: 10

Filed under: 23Things,Collaboration,Lib 2.0,Web 2.0 — Karen @ 1:38 pm

(Again, apologies to MILI participants . . .)

“Wiki Wiki” = Quick.  And that has been my experience with wikis — they are quick to set up and use.  I remember someone asking, “Sooo, it’s basically just a website, right?” and I’d say yes — a basic website that anyone with access can edit.  Again, I think this goes back to the book “Wisdom of Crowds” — there are a lot of people out there with a lot of good thoughts and information on a multitude of topics.  Isn’t it a good idea to have places for them to share their information?  And then isn’t it a good idea that other people can either verify or change that information?

We’ve talked about multiple uses for these at MILI — handbooks, curriculum organizers, student project organizers, book reviews, school websites . . . the options are nearly endless.  I really like the examples that are given throughout pbwiki.

Here are wikis I’ve made or helped to make:  (password: mili)  (when I showed this to an MLIS class, the instructor said that she had a paradigm shift seeing a handbook online instead of as paper in a binder.  Currently, I would be the only one to edit this, but if I were to have one at a job, and leave that job, my replacement would have everything at his or her fingertips and be able to change it easily.)



On A Stick: 9

Filed under: 23Things,Lib 2.0,Web 2.0 — Karen @ 12:54 pm

(My apologies to any MILI participants who know this already, but I want to share some of what we’ve done concerning collaboration with the 23ThingsOnAStick participants.)

I would describe GoogleDocs as the most “life-changing” tool for me . . . and I think I could venture to say for the school librarians we work with in the Metronet Information Literacy Initiative.  Since I use a lot of different computers, I’ve always has headaches with losing my flash drive . . . or having it not being compatible with the computer I’m using . . . or emailing myself documents when I don’t have a flash drive and will be working on a different computer later . . . or saving something on a hard drive thinking I’d be back at that computer, but end up working somewhere else . . . on and on.  And this happens to a lot of school students, too, as school librarians can attest when they are trying to help students print something right before their class.  In fact, I’ll share a post from a school librarian who is thinking about beginning a school-wide initiative for all students to use GoogleDocs.

Anyway, now with GoogleDocs, I have everything with me all the time everywhere.  I love it.  And that is not even taking into account the collaboration capabilities, which are amazing.  Some of my favorite things are that docs can be published as web pages, that you can compare changes between different revisions, and that multiple people can collaborate on one page at once — in the slide show and spreadsheet applications, it can be 50 people at once!  (I think it is only 10 for the regular docs.)

So, in short, this has made my life a lot easier.  I think that if I were in a more traditional work setting, I’d try to ask myself before most emails, “Could this be accomplished more efficiently with GoogleDocs?” 



On A Stick: 7

Filed under: 23Things — Karen @ 12:32 pm

Email:  I have started using gmail, and for the most part I like it.  I love how the conversations are organized by “tabs” rather than a run-on list like regular email.  I find that I miss not being able to “star” in my other email account.  I’m getting used to giving tags to the emails, but I wish I didn’t have to scroll down so far to view my labels — I didn’t figure that out for a while . . . I would like if you could just click on a label in an email and it would take you to all of the messages with that label.  Also, since I no longer use Outlook, I miss some functions with that — but not much.

I.M.:  I’ve really only used this in gmail, but I do like it . . . it’s easier than a phone call in some cases, though I have called somebody in the middle of a chat because it would be easier to communicate that way.  The Library Journal article about this is really good.  I definitely think it should be a part of public libraries’ reference services. 

T.M.:  I tm quite a bit, and it is extremely useful in places where I can’t (or shouldn’t) be talking on a phone.  I’m of the generation though where I could never do it prolifically.  The few times I’ve texted in front of people, I’ve felt extremely rude (unlike the kids who text other kids while talking to other kids, etc.).  Also, I’m an English major, so I have a very hard time not using punctuation (particularly apostrophes) and correct spelling.  I find that I’ll condense come words (“tho”) no problem, but that I can’t misspell others — I’m not sure why.  This would be the main reason I would balk at this for reference.  At least with I.M. I can use correct spelling and punctuation . . . I’m not sure that I don’t think I would want to be send text messages as a professional.  However, I really like the idea of receiving standard emails from my library about overdues, new books, or events.  Do any libraries around here do that?


On a Stick: 2

Filed under: 23Things,Lib 2.0,Web 2.0 — Karen @ 11:21 am

I had started a post about this based on the readings provided, but I’m scratching that to just write from my heart 🙂  What is Web 2.0?  It is an empty shell until users add content.  I am amazed over and over again at how participatory this new age of technology is.  I distinctly remember saying to myself in college “I am never going to have a job that involves technology” because I knew I didn’t have the mind or heart to be a “techie.”  Yet here I am, heavily involved in technology and — for the most part — enjoying it.  I thank the “techies” who are able to build the types of technology which allow me — a lowly “non-techie” — to participate. 

In many ways, web 2.0 is like democracy . . . it can get messy, but for the most part it can allow the will of the people to happen.  (Perhaps Google is the equivalent of the Supreme Court and we have to ensure there are checks and balances to ensure my statement above is correct?).  I think a lot about the book “The Wisdom of Crowds” (which has its detractors) because it kind of blew away my concept of “expert” and showed me that “more” can be “smarter.”  That’s the potential I see for this web 2.0 world . . . that it has the potential to make society smarter, more collaborative, and more free.

As for “Library 2.0” I liked the following statement from Sarah Houghton, quoted by Michael Stevens, requoted by John Blyberg, and posted by 23ThingsOnAStick:   “Library 2.0 simply means making your library’s space (virtual and physical) more interactive, collaborative, and driven by community needs. Examples of where to start include blogs, gaming nights for teens, and collaborative photo sites. The basic drive is to get people back into the library by making the library relevant to what they want and need in their daily lives…to make the library a destination and not an afterthought.”

While some may argue that libraries have always been “2.0”ish, I say that there can never be too much effort made toward helping libraries be “interactive, collaborative, and driven by community needs.”  And if it takes a new, trendy term to keep that concept at the forefront, I’m all for it.


On a Stick: 3 January 21, 2008

Filed under: 23Things,Lib 2.0,Web 2.0 — Karen @ 11:07 pm

I love my Google Reader . . . it is a great way to keep up with what is going on ‘out there’ in addition to keeping up with what is going on with MILI.  Since I didn’t need to set up an RSS aggregator for Thing 3, I decided to do a couple other things.  First, I went through my list of subscriptions and deleted feeds I don’t really like.  (It’s a pretty good clue that you don’t like a blog if, after reading it for a while, you start clicking ‘Mark All as Read’ even though you haven’t read any of the posts :))

Then I decided to look through my “starred” posts to see which blogs I star the most so that I could recommend the blogs which have been most useful for me.  However, this appeared to be an overwhelming task since I have starred hundreds of posts and there is no way to put them in order by blogger.  THEN I discovered the “Trends” option in Google Reader . . . Lo and behold, the Reader keeps track of my Top 10, Top 20, and Top 40 blogs according to how many times I’ve starred the blogs’ posts!  Yea!  So, according to my Trends (and excluding MILI blogs), my most-starred blogs are

Librarian in Black

Tame the Web

Larry Ferlazzo’s Website of the Day for Teaching ELL . . .

Web 2.0 in the Classroom

Now that I think about it, this isn’t a truly accurate depiction of my recommendations because I often do not star the valuable postings . . . Rather, I often go out to the sites a blogger recommends and then add them to my “favorites” for future exploration.  Therefore, based on my own subjective preferences rather than the objective Trends, I also recommend:

Doug Johsons “Blue Skunk Blog

Joyce Valenza “NeverEndingSearch

Learning 2.0

Then, I added these seven blogs to the blogroll on my blog.  Of course, my preferences will probably change as I discover new blogs, so from now on, I’ll just update the blogroll.