Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Little of This and A Little of That

I have been experiencing an information overload over the last three weeks. I liteally feel like I have been doing eight to twelve hours of reading for my classes and literally I have. That doesn't even include class work or assignments. So for my blog post this week, I am going to comment on a little of this and a little of that.


In past teaching experiences, I get very frustrated trying to make concise lectures and discussions with my students. I have so many great ideas flooding through my brain, that I have a difficult time staying organized. One tool that will help me better organize my thoughts and provide instruction to my students will most definitely be Podcasts. I plan on maintaining a wiki or blog for my library or classroom and I will have a direct link to my podcasts. For our class, the Podbean has worked quite well. I opened an iTunes account and subscribed to the podcast. I then download the podcast and listen to it as I travel to UB on Tueday nights. I also began downloading the NPR education weekly podcast and other talks given by Wil Richardson. I taught myself how to open an iTunes accoutn, download music, organize my music and podcasts, and how to put them on my iPod and take them off. I could do none of that before taking this class. It was a frustrating task at first and the directions to do this were not great. But, I sought out tutrials on the Web and looked up info in Richardson, and now I can do it all by myself. Yayy!!

Video Publishing

I watched a couple extra webinars a few weeks ago after finding the first one I watched to be so informative. I found a website that has pre-made avatars that allows you to make your own short videos, with limited editing and work. The program does most of the work for you, but it does not allow you full movement of the avatars and it takes an awful long time to download. It was made especially for history classes and as a history teacher I was immediately hooked. This would be a great way for students of middle and high school age to teach information to the rest of their classes. Teaching another person a concept or skill is the best way to learn the skill your self. Several techniques in the class have used this model and made me personally more knowledgeable about computer applications.


I am very excited to learn more about this new technology. I observed it being used at the webinars a couple weeks back and I loved how it blended voice narration with actually showing instruction on the computer. I have found and bookmarked lots of great sites for tips on the most effective way to screencast and where to locate a freee download. The webiste is user friendly and helps you learn to screen cast with simple and straight forward directions. I have read the directions and hunted all over the site for useful information. I hope to make my first screen cast, as practice, before Fall 2010 classes begin.

Like many students in our class, I feel bombarded with computer applications, web technology, and emerging digital resources. At the same time, I feel eager and excited to experience them all. I wish I could really sink my teeth into more of these tools and strategies, but I have a great start thanks to this class. The day I can respectfully resign from my waitressing job because I have been hired to work as a school librarian will be amazing! I'll be getting paid for being an information junkie, but I'll have the time, talent, resources, and need for using all these great tools instead fo just learning about them.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Copy-right police or just copy it 'right' and no police

Our class discussion this week revisits the issue of who should be advocating for copyright compliance in your school. It really is an important topic and I am glad our prof brought this discussion back to the forefront. In Simpson this week, she focuses her attention specifically on copyright permissions. I know I may feel this issue has been really drawn out, but, professionals do not seem to get the hint despite their co-workers and co-teachers best efforts to make them aware and informed about copyright issue. My first suggestion to understanding copyright is 'use common sense" and "don't be lazy about asking questions and seeking answers". Fair use guidelines can be a tricky topic, but if you follow the rules of fair use in Chapter three you will be a-okay. As a librarian, I hope to extensively collaborate with other teachers to get out the word on copyright laws and fair use practices. Teachers have a daunting task of making sure all their students are academically and personally successful. To achieve this goal, one must be organized and plan ahead. If you do your teaching homework, get organized, and plan ahead you will be in good shape. If you have never been to creative, or lack creativity, this is really important. Seek help to solve your creativity issues and do not forget to solicit suggestions from students. How would you do that? Well, if you have your heart set on using or showing copyrighted materials, send out your requests six to twelve months ahead of time and then be persistent. If you hear no response, it is time for a change of plans. If you want to avoid copyright hassles, make up your own graphics, artwork, music, etc. to enrich your class. There are hundreds of sites that will assist you in making any kind of video, poster, music, movie etc. that you could desire. If this isn't your cup of tea, head to Google and start searching for programs to help you ignite a creative spark. You may find a hidden talent you never knew you had. I really believe we should be models of honesty and integrity to our students inside and outside the classroom.

Here's my opinion on how educators and copyright permission (from our class discussion)

"I think teachers should take charge of this themselves. Maybe a group of teachers could create a sample 'copyright permission' form, sort of like a graphic organizer, that prompts the teacher to fill in certain important items: company & address, name and date of work, reason for request, financial gain or no financial gain, reason use would be most useful, and the teacher could bring this to an office staffer who sends out these requests and helps keep them organized. Possible outcomes; the teacher will feel strongly about using this and will take the necessary steps to get permission, they will create an original song/art for their own use, or they will do nothing, but will know they are being deceptive. This reminds of a web seminar from a couple weeks, when the male presenter pretty much said, look if you're not an organized person who will plan way ahead of schedule, get creative and take ownership or your work and create something yourself. "

I do not want to be a clone for the copyright police. If educators and administrators could just copy and use the things the right way, there would be no need for police. I could handle being copyright consultant,it just sounds more helpful and friendly.

Friday, April 2, 2010

You can't judge an E Reader by its cover.

with all the buzz about E Readers, I cannot resist putting in my two sense. I think E Readers are a wave of the future. Don't get me wrong, when I see a book by Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Piccoult at a yard sale, I scoop it right up, if it's under a dollar. Books are for sure the best bargains I find at yard sales and church rummage sales. However, when I travel, packing all those extra bulky books takes up alot of room. But, I love being able to swap my books with friends when I am done. So, do I support E readers? It depends. For me as an avid reader, I love the idea. I was given a Kindle by my loving fiancaille for Christmas. It is amazing. I can download hundreds of free books at . The new Kindle now supports PDF and TXT files and I can send personal documuents to my Kindle by either downloading them to my PC and using a USB cord to transfer or my using the Kindle's own wireless Whispernet and send it to my own personal Kindle's web address. The features are endless. My Kindle rocks! Do I suport them in schools or any E readers for that matter?........

YES! I think we need to strongly consider design before deciding if E Readers will work for all students. For example let's look at what Kiplinger's Magazine calls 'The Big Three'


Books available – 400,000
Newspapers – 69, Magazines – 40, Blogs 7,000
Memory – 1,500 Books
Wireless Download – Yes
Battery Life – 7 days with wireless on: 14 without
Screen size 6’: Full size 8.0 X 5.3 X 0.4 inches

Books available – 1 million
Newspapers – 20, Magazines – 20, Blogs ???
Memory – 1,500 Books
Wireless Download – Yes
Battery Life – 2 days with wireless on: 10 without
Screen size 6’: Full size 7.7 X 4.9 X 0.5 inches

Books available – 200,000
Newspapers & Magazines - ? , Blogs - dozens
Memory – 350 books
Wireless Download – No
Battery Life – 2 weeks without wireless
Screen size 6’: Full size 6.9 X 4.8 X 0.4 inches

If you visit each E Reader site, you can see all thier features. Although I understand the other E Readers have been developed as assistive technology for exceptional students, I think these E Readers may be a good supplement or replacement to textbooks, school books, and popular books for specific age groups. The process to acqurie and implement E Readers would be long, but I feel , worthwhile. I would chose the Kindle.

Other important features of the Kindle:
-Send personal PDF files to Kindle from home PC or MAC
-Read in sunlight with no glare
-Download magazines before they hit store shelve
-Manual flip screen to view in landscape or horizontal mode
-Travel the globe and download books anywhere
-Automatic library back-up
-Charge with USB or plug in to electrical outlet
-Full Image zoom
-Wireless access to Wikipedia
-Limited web browsing
-Free Kindle App or IPhone or PC
-Text to Speech with voice control options
-More options in the near future

Check out this link to see for yourself.
I think the initial steep price tag of the Kindle would be replaced with a high quality and effective E Reader.