Sunday, July 26, 2009

Teacher uses of social media professionally

WGBH recently did a study of how teachers currently use social media in a professional context and projected uses in the future. Through these focus groups they found that teachers want to find high quality materials for their lessons. They see three main purposes for social media:
  • "Finding appropriate rich media resources, activity ideas, and lesson plans more efficiently.
  • Learning from and communicating with other educators.
  • Storing, organizing, adapting and sharing rich media resources and related materials in one place."

WGBH Teachers' Domain Pathways Stage II Evaluation: Focus Group Report

The Unquiet Library 2009-2010

Buffy Hamilton, a school librarian in Georgia, has posted a mindmap of her library for the next year. Many of the technologies we talked about in class, plus quite a few more appear on her map. She sees the following roles for the library media specialist:
  • Change agent
  • Information sherpa (I interpret this as a guide)
  • Learning architect
  • Learning concierge (gatekeeper, chief assistant)
  • Innovator
  • Inspiration agent
  • Ambassador of information fluency
If we want to introduce valid uses of these technologies in teaching and learning, we need to take on all these roles.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pulling it all together

It seems overwhelming to keep up with all the sources of information on web2.0. A post in Musings about librarianship by Aaron Tay entitled Aggregating Sources for Academic Research in a Web 2.0 World looks at this issue for academic research and offers a wide range of tools. While he talks about researchers in higher education, many of the same tools could be used by teachers and librarians for their own professional development and eventually by their students. I need to check out FriendFeed to see how it can pull things together.

Communicating with "Your Tribe"

In the blog Social Media Schools (November 19, 2008) , Darren Alff talks schools and social media. See the exerpt from his posting below as we think about our role as school library information specialist. He describes the role of leader of the school tribe of students, administrators, teachers, and community. This sounds like an appropriate role for use as we help others learn about these technologies as well as support the curriculum.

Should Your School Be Using Social Media?


"... I first of all need to be able to communicate with my tribe and reach them in a way that is both comfortable and convenient for them. I need to be able to reach my tribe when, where, and how they want to be reached.

For this reason, I don’t want to rely solely on one means of communication. Instead, I want to be everywhere and anywhere my tribe might be. This might mean that I communicate with my tribe via my website, my blog, my local newspaper, my community websites, magazines, email, postal newsletters, RSS, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Plurk… and anywhere else my tribe might be found."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Library Web Services

In an all-day workshop on APIs and mashups, Karen Coombs of the University of Houston offered numerous examples of how libraries can enhance their catalogs and websites. Her materials can be found at While I don't see school librarians doing coding in PHP and XML, I do see using some of the widgets on a library webpage and even playing around with creating really simple ones on their own. There were also interesting suggestions for linking from an online catalog to resources elsewhere (e.g., book covers in Amazon or LibraryThing), reviews, etc.

Yahoo Pipes is a simple way to find some already created mashups as well as find some and modify them to meet your needs. Try out creating a mashup from multiple RSS feeds on specific keywords.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Facebook and libraries

Will Richardson put out a question about use of Facebook in K-12 and got no examples. I think in most cases it is blocked and/or there are issues with using it with younger students. David Lee King created a screencast of how public libraries might use Facebook with his library as an example. At the same time there was a recent study that seems to indicate the biggest new group of users of Facebook are over 30, especially those in the 50+ age group.

Do you see a role for Facebook in K-12 education? Do you see Nings as providing some of the same features in a constrained environment? Is it the environment or the connection with friends (including those geographically remote) that is most appealing?

Move to online

While this article is talking about academic journals, I think digitization and online online is definitely the move for academic information. The question is how far behind is K-12 nonfiction? If that is the case, how will school libraries support users of information in a largely online environment?

Check out some of these posts

Joyce Valenza is encouraging bloggers to share their favorite posts. Check out the ones she has chosen at

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Music editing online

I'm not a musician, but Jam Studio looks like it has possibilities for creating soundtracks for multimedia projects. All you need to do is be able to pick chords that seem to go together and you're started on composing a piece. Give it a try.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tips for Teachers

101 Tips, Tools, and Resources for Teaching Students about Social Media is really for teachers who need to learn about it themselves. While it is geared to higher education, there are useful resources in Internet safety and managing one's online presence along with links on blogging and using Twitter.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Podcasting and cell phones

Check out this site for a method to create MPG3 files using a cell phone. This could be another method to create those files for podcasting.


I found using the NECC Ning a bit confusing, but there were a few useful things about the conference. You might want to look at the wiki they created. It has presentations from several leaders in the field. I thought David Loertscher's ideas on the school learning commons to spark some ideas.

Sixth Sense

You may have watched the movie by this name, but here's a new technology that changes how we might interact with technology. Think about what this could mean for how we interact with the world in the future. Think about where the information is coming from.

Animoto and free / licensed media resources

After looking at Animoto as Nancy suggested, take a look at the Children's Crusade example ( I think it is a good example of how we might teach media literacy by focusing on the power of carefully selected images and limited text.

Related to that, you might want to look at some free media resources. Sounds Aboundz is a great tool to purchase for royalty free music and GarageBand loops offer the ability to create original music, but there are other sources on the web you might want to check out.

Creative Commons Search ( does the same type of searching as the search box in Firefox for CC. It searches multiple sites. provides links to music under Creative Commons licenses.

FreePlayMusic ( has free MP3 music downloads.

The Internet Archive ( has video and audio in the public domain or under different types of licenses.

BlipTV ( has video, some with Creative Commons licenses (largely TV shows).

FindSounds ( is a search engine for audio.

Stock.xchng ( has over 350.000 quality stock photos by more than 30.000 photographers.

SoundSnap ( has sound effects that can be downloaded for a monthly fee.

Are there any others that you use?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Following Versus Subscribing

Following is a new feature of Blogger. Here is the difference between adding yourself as a follower and subscribing to a blog (which is really the same as adding it as a RSS feed).

Follow: This allows you to let the blog writer and others know that you are a fan of this blog.
To use:
  • Click on the Followers widget.
  • Choose to follow it publicly or privately.
  • This will show your icon on the blog page and put it in your Reading List.

Reading List / Subscribing: Your Blogger Reading List, located under your list of blogs on your dashboard, enables you to subscribe to any blog with a feed. It will update instantly each time a new post is published on any blog in your Reading List.
(See Blogger Help:

To Use:
  • Click on the "Blogs I'm Following" tab under "My Reading List" on your Blogger Dashboard.
  • Click on the blue "Add" button
  • Insert the URL of the blog you'd like to follow in the URL box.
  • Click the add button.
  • You can follow publicly or privately.
  • This will also add this blog to your Google Reader account.

Keeping track of all your tools

There are so many tools that can be used to connect with others on the web. As you begin to find and then narrow down the ones that you follow over time, you might want to look at some of the personalized start pages like iGoogle, NetVibes and PageFlakes to pull it all together in one place. I personally use iGoogle, but NetVibes has a nice feature that you can make a public page for others to see. This would allow you to create a personal page for your things and a public one either for teacher resources or for student resources. You can add different tabs for different types of users. I haven't used PageFlakes, but I have heard of librarians using it to create subject pages for their schools.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Setting up your own blog

Everyone should have a blog set up by the end of the week. Make sure to post your blog URL and the email you use to the discussion group. Four more things you'll want to do:

1. Go to Customize tab and then Settings. Under Comments, either allow Anyone to comment or Only Registered Users. If you do the latter, you will have to add all of us by email addresses (see picture 1).

  • Only Registered Users: if not logged in already, visitors will be prompted to log into Blogger before leaving a comment. If they don't have an account, they can create one.

  • Anyone: anybody in the whole wide world can leave comments

2. Under Permissions, allow anyone to view the blog.

3. Set up a page on something like iGoogle, My Yahoo, NetVibes, or PageFlakes so that you can follow the blogs of each of your classmates and me. Put in the URL of each blog to follow it.

4. Go into each blog, read the posts, comment on at least one posting in each, and add yourself as a Follower by clicking the Follow button in each.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New resources on Web2.0 tools

I just "attended" an Elluminate session lead by Joyce Valenza and three other school librarians. There were many ideas and resources shared, but the two sites you have to check out are:

Both offer excellent information on uses of Web2.0 tools in schools.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Digital Research Tools Wiki

This wiki collects information about tools and resources that can help scholars (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) conduct research more efficiently or creatively, organized by research activity. While it has many more sophisticated and commercial works, there are also a number of free, web-based tools that could have K-12 application.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A post on Will Richardson's blog referenced this article:

Social Studies

Current Practice

Seminal Articles


Volume 1, Issue 1 ISSN 1528-5804

Print Version Commentaries Submit A Commentary

Carroll, T. G. (2000). If we didn't have the schools we have today,
would we create the schools we have today?
Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education [Online serial], 1 (1). Available:

The article, written in 2000, promotes the idea of schools becoming networked learning communities where both teachers and students are active learners. It notes:
"Each member has a role as a community learning resource.
  • If you are an experienced learner in the community—practiced at solving problems—you have a role to play helping others to learn. You may bring past knowledge and experience, and you will learn more as you help them learn.

  • If you are a young person or a novice at learning in a particular field, you still have a role to play as you construct your own knowledge and understanding, and through that process contribute new insights, experiences, and creations that enhance the learning of others in the community."

In a Web 2.0 environment where collaboration, participation and creativity are possible and students and teachers can all participate, these roles could be supported in Carroll's "learning communities" (not communities of learners of learners where individuals are engaged in his own learning. Hopefully in this class we can move away from the transmission model of teaching to a more two-way learning mode where we learn from each other.

It's an article well worth reading and thinking about where you see education and schools moving and how we can get to the point where we focus on learning.


After my first experience of creating a quick and dirty presentation in VoiceThread, I can see many uses of it as a presentation tool that allows collecting feedback. It even allows drawing on an image or video to highlight a specific point to make the feedback or comments more pointed.

In reading today, I saw a heading of a presentation:

Edublogs Live! VoiceThread: A 21st Century KWL

That raises the image of using it not just to collect feedback on an image but also for brainstorming questions and learning what a student knows, wants to know, and even learned about a specific image.

Value of blogs in education

If you are wondering if blogs have any value in your classroom, read Stephen Downes's posting on Blogs in Education (April 2009): It provides an overview of some of the uses as well has benefits for students.

Another article to review is Anne Davis's Rationale for Educational Blogging (EduBlog Insights, 2007):

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Getting Started in Blogging

One of the most important features of Web 2.0 is the ability to not just read what is posted on the web but also the chance to share one's own ideas with others and get feedback. Many of us may be following blogs for news, personal interest or professional development, but few of us are actually maintaining our own blog.

For most of us, it is uncomfortable at first to share our ideas with the world, but if we expect our students to do it, we have to first become comfortable doing it ourselves. For this class each person will have a blog to reflect on what we are doing in class, communicate with others in the class, and begin to develop their own ideas on how web 2.0 tools might be used in classrooms and libraries.

Image uploaded on April 3, 2007 by acroamatic: (Creative Commons license)