Monday, August 4, 2008

Life after the 23 Things

Okay, it felt good to get the Things done, and I took a break for a couple of days to digest, but now I find that I have churned the information around, and am wondering what I will do next with this. Going back over my previous posts and experiences, I see a few gaps in how these things will fit together, or rather in my understanding of how they fit. I feel the need to refine, and organize this into a more cohesive set of tools for me to use. Sort of like straightening up my toolbench in the garage so that I can find and do what I need. Tools that I am currently enjoying more than I ever thought...the newsreader and, still, and yes, I do keep saying that. Maybe it is time to return to Technorati and Rollyo, and really wrangle them into submission. Aren't the things that were the biggest pains (and the least fun) the ones that call for a bit more attention? Also, my tags in are not quite satisfactory as of yet. Do I feel an OCD moment coming on?

Friday, August 1, 2008

After Thing #23

I did a Wordle on my blog up until this point. Enlightening to see in the cloud which words seem to have appeared most frequently. I must confess, there are words that probably should be more prominent. Food for thought.

Thing #23- Summarize Your Thoughts

What a journey! Although I am pleased to have completed the 23 Things, I was a little bit sad, because these activities have made me feel very intellectually lively, and I have enjoyed the process. Then, of course, I realized, it ain't over! I can keep doing this and learning more as long as I feel like it. This is another starting point, not an ending!

1. My favorite things were del.icio.ous, the newsreader, and just the introduction to blogging in general. The first two are great organizational tools, but I do love the blogging concept, and the thought that there is a global community ready to discuss. I also liked Google Docs quite a bit, and see it as a great help to me in accessing things that I am working on from anywhere, as well as a way to share forms an information with colleagues, students, and parents.

2. This program brought home to me the point that I must not allow myself to stagnate or fall into the "I've always done it this way" mentality. It is a good thing to step out of the comfort zone on occasion, otherwise, how are you going to learn. I had not realized that I was hungry in certain areas, that all of my learning has been channeled into areas in which I already have a certain degree of mastery, and that exploration is key. Take a risk.

The other thing that I learned is that if this is what today's student already knows how to use, and is comfortable with, the opportunity to connect with today's learner is there, right in front of us. We need to teach the student according to their learning styles, not our own, and technology and multi-tasking is the way that kids today operate. The concept of teaching through this multi-faceted type of communication and sharing is new to many educators, but the possibilities should not be ignored, they should be embraced. Challenging, yes, but if the student and his/her education is to be the most important thing, than these tools are essential.

3. Unexpected outcomes! I didn't expect to be this interested. I didn't expect that a lot of these things would make so much sense. I didn't expect the thrill of communication in this medium. I didn't realize that you come to recognize personalities in the postings. That one shouldn't have been a surprise, because who doesn't have particular authors or columnists that "speak to them" but it turns out the everyone has a voice. Also, I see that the possibilities are endless...very invigorating.

4. As far as improving the program, I liked the pace and the order of the program. I wasn't wild about several of the podcasts and videos, since sometimes the voices were such that it was difficult to pay attention to them. Still, I guess you have to use what you can find, and the information was usually good, barring the instances where what they told you that you would see when you investigated the site was not always what you saw. Kudos to CommonCraft; they were the best.

5. Yes, I would participate! I am just starting, and a program like this one really opened my eyes to opportunities.

6. Invigorating!

7. And I am off to post!

Thing #22- Nings

Another cool way to interface! I spent a good deal of time with the Nings, because I am now at the point of trying to differentiate between all of the communication and sharing tools that I have discovered, attempting to figure out "why this one for this activity rather than that one?". Hmmm. It's an effective platform for discussion between like-interested people, and a wonderful way to get ideas, opinions, solutions, and even, as I see from my reading, encouragement. Different perspectives usually help me clarify my thinking when I am stumped.

I particularly like that the Nings have different discussion topics or forums going on, and that you can find them easily. I also like that when you find the right Ning, the topics are of interest, since you presumably have joined that Ning because the people seem to be interested in the same areas that you are. You can introduce a topic for discussion, rather than putting it on your blog and hoping that someone will see it and comment. It's sort of like a huge multi-blog. And of course, many of them have pictures and videos submitted by members, too.

I see this as very helpful professionally (and very informative personally, with regards to hobbies and "extra-curricular interests"). I expect to garner quite a few ideas and suggestions from the other members, and who knows, I may find that I have something to share as well.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thing #21- Podcasts and Vidcasts

Whew, what an ordeal, but I did it! I chose Photo Story 3, and although I guess it isn't that hard to use, the directions for specifics are not very clear. I found the music part the most took me a long time to figure out where to put my music to be able to download it into the product...and I still haven't figured out how to take a clip from the middle of a track, which means that all of my music starts at the beginning of the track. At any rate, it was pretty fun, but time consuming, and my end product isn't quite what I visualized, but it is the best that I can do right now. May try to tweak this one some more...if so I will post about it. Hopefully I will become quicker and more proficient with practice. So here it is...Why Is Gilbert and Sullivan So Great!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

This Is the BEST!

If you don't look at anything else on my blog, check out this video:

Why We Must Move With the Times

This clip illustrates Web versus Library issues in a pretty simple way.