Sunday, March 30, 2008


And then it went back to the wrong background after the page refreshed...

Poll Poll Follow-Up

Once I voted on the poll poll, the right background came up - what's up with that??

Unit 4 - ED 668c

Through the PBL experience, I learned more about Bloglines and its implications for classroom use. It was interesting to think on the high school teacher’s level for this assignment as I teach first grade. When I was in high school, and even many college courses, the sharing of current events was common practice. At the time, the main source for these events was the newspaper. While I still think it is important to read the newspaper, and/or read about current topics for a global perspective, it is convenient to collect information on a topic of interest in such an easy way. This assignment was facilitated by my partner and I each focusing on a different aspect of the problem. I focused on the problem from the student’s perspective and my partner focused on the problem from the perspective of the teacher. It was interesting that we both found common ground in this endeavor. We both felt good about the direction in which we were moving, which was definitely a positive. Working online can also present its negative aspects. Sometimes, working face to face can help to construct the solution together. In this problem, we were able to work well together meeting on wimba to discuss how to construct the problem solution. We came to the conclusion that using RSS feeds to facilitate group discussion within the classroom setting could be best for this type of project. Similarly, students completing high school graduation requirement projects, which are much more individualized could be simplified through the utilization of RSS feeds. I hope that teachers recognize the importance of this technology tool.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Avatar Creation

Let's see how this works: meet my avatar!

Poll Thoughts

I created a poll poll with and found some difficulties. The background I chose did not come up properly and the word prefer and the ? were cut off. I think the background options are the benefit because the background to the poll makes it more visually appealing and the results are tabulated by polldaddy. The blogger poll doesn't have a background design, but was simple to implement. Decisions, decisions...


OK - so, to the right are polls, the one with the map background is from and the one above is from blogger. When I was entering the HTML into a widget for the blog, I noticed that blogger has its own polling function so I decided to try out both. Now, I'll make a new poll to vote on which poll you like best...I think I might be going overboard!

Week 10 - ED566E.1

For this week's class we visited Joyce Valenza's school library at Springfield Township High School. This was my second visit to Springfield and I was highly impressed at the lack of overlap in what was presented. Those things that were repeated: igoogle, students blogging in character, and voicethread left an even more lasting impression on me.

The last time I left Joyce's library, I had a note to myself to make an igoogle page, but guess what I did not do. So on Thursday, after I got home, I immediately got to work on organizing my own igoogle page. I truly feel this is a way we can help educators and students organize themselves and the applications that are available on the Read/Write Web. Instead of having a social bookmarking page and a Bloglines RSS feeder, I can now utilize these tools in one place: igoogle. I got to work organizing these things as well as others - like a notepad. I can't tell you how many countless pieces of scrap paper have now been saved from my to-do list making.

Among other new topics presented were: image generator, open courseware, video searching tools,, survey tools (can't wait), bibliography tools, concept mapping, animoto, and avatar creation. To say that my head was spinning would be an understatement! So, as Joyce said - use a take out box and take away two or three things. I've already created my igoogle page (finally - I know!). I'm going to attempt next to embed a survey into this blog and I'd like to create an avatar just for fun. I plan to utilize all the things we learned from Joyce, but not necessarily today. I want to learn by doing, but I want to move forward with a purpose as well. I spoke to my students on Friday about making book trailers for picture books that we read in class and they're floored. It may be more of a whole group project, but one I hope to accomplish this year with my first graders.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Week 9 - ED 566E.1

I really enjoy the hands on aspect of this class. We have the opportunity to try out (almost) everything that we discuss in class. Tonight, we talked about Google Earth and Skype among various and sundry other topics. I'm really happy that we touched upon Skype, because like so many other topics we've addressed in class, these are new technologies that I've heard about in passing, but didn't feel I had the time to explore. When I'm doing it for class, it feels more purposeful and I'm gaining the same benefits. Similarly, Google Earth was great! I'm going to attempt to add a video I found on Google Earth showing a tour of Niagara Falls. I'm excited to share "places" with my students through this format. What a neat way to learn about a place!

Well - I couldn't access Google Earth, but I also looked at pictures on Google Earth of Joshua Tree National Park - another place I've been, so I'll practice inserting a picture instead - here you go!

So - after previewing, I see that it's up at the top right hand corner, I'll have to play with that and I'll try to add a video next week (something to look forward to, I know!)

Additionally, on the website project side of things - I had some trouble embedding widgets into the FreeWebs interface. I found some ways around that however. On the "What's the Librarian Reading" blog, I added an entry about Read Across America and found a page element to add exactly that - what I'm reading (or listening to, watching, etc). When interfacing with FreeWebs on the blog page, just click on the headphones, select books, and type in the title you'd like to add. I did this to add Dr. Seuss books to this entry. I also created widgets from Library Thing accounts designated for K-3 and 4-6 to show a rotating view of our collection on the homepage.

Check out the homepage with the widget (I had to insert HTML, it wouldn't let me add as a technical "widget" but this works just as well!)
Home Page

Check out the blog page with Dr. Seuss selections:
Blog Page

Friday, March 7, 2008

Week 8 - ED566E.1

I LOVE Library Thing! I've now entered lots of books - close to 100. If you'd like to check them out, use the widget link to the right. I began keeping a journal of thoughts about books that I've read - perhaps now I'll incorporate those thoughts here. I'm happy that we explored this application tonight. I'm interested in creating a list of books for "the librarian" for our project website to post a widget to that blog which is titled "What's the Librarian Reading." Check it out here: On The Shelf 4 Kids Website...So Far. So far, so good! I'd like to explore to see if there are more kid friendly services that are similar to Library Thing. I'm also waiting to see how my group has officially designated the age group of this project. As much as I'm waiting to make up my pretend librarian's list, I'm also interested in using this application as a future school library media specialist. On a side note, for the District Library Technology Curriculum Review Committee, I actually visited Springfield today. I was so invigorated by everything that I saw and I can't wait to try out some of those applications as well. As I do, I'll share more!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Attempts at Widgets

Below and to the right are my attempts with a widget connection to "Library Thing" where I've begun to add (adult - not in the bad way) books I've read. Same could be accomplished with children's books for a school library. So, to the right is a widget added as a component of the page, and below as html test in a post. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Unit 3 - ED 568c

PBL 1 Reflection

I really enjoyed the Problem Based Learning model. Setting up a wiki was easy enough, but to truly understand its capabilities, it was best to experiment with a real purpose for the wiki. This is just what we did when we set up the wiki for global collaboration between a US school and a Shanghai school. The problem, being how we would incorporate this technology and to what extent, was a great thinking piece for best practice in how to utilize a wiki. To that end I feel that the positive and negative aspects to this project are one and the same. Learning about wikis through the use of a wiki was definitely a positive, in that it was a hands on learning experience. That said, it could also be viewed as a negative. Perhaps there is more that we could have done with our wiki and we didn’t know how to do it. I often find new tools within applications I am already familiar with, such as Microsoft Word. So perhaps, we are just constantly learning when it comes to technology, its capabilities, and applications.

One challenge that presented itself during this project was the online collaboration for a group. Working with a partner was extremely helpful to have another perspective and feedback for different ideas on how to do the project. At the same time, it was difficult to coordinate a time to work on the assignment together or split the work up appropriately. I feel that we put forth a positive collaborative project and worked well together given the online circumstances.

I continue to feel that technology for technology’s sake is not the way to go and integration is key to education. I think that many educators are still resistant to technology integration within the curriculum, but change is a process that takes time.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Week 7 - ED566E.1 seems like a valuable tool for organizing links for educational purposes. The way you mark links with tags would automatically sort the links for either teacher or student use depending upon the way you utilize it.

Screen capture!! So simple -who knew? Like so many things we've learned in this class, there are many things I'd wondered about and never looked much further into. This, like many others, will serve me well in the future.

We also took time last night to explore some free web server options. Our group decided on . So far, it is very user friendly. There is an advertisement banner, but for the many multimedia options, it seems worthwhile. Our group is really excited about the project and the technological options we can incorporate into our page.