Saturday, May 31, 2008

006.7 Apture: Unflattening the Web

Ok...a new tool with lots of potential.

Apture

I found it while perusing thru my favorite blogs...at Weblogged. Then I read more about it here and watched the tutorial. Even Creative Commons chimed in.

My first attempt ended up in the blog post below...basically because I didn't understand what was going to happen when I added the widget. Check out what happens when you mouse over "New math." That is a pretty mild example. (Make that a really mild example)

Here is a very rich Apture experience. Watch out! Once released with your click, it can be a bit overwhelming if you aren't prepared.

I am adding some terms here to see what happens when I "apture" them!

  • Texas
  • Chihuahua dogs
  • Oatmeal raisin cookies

It is in beta (so what else is new...all cute things are in beta, permanent beta).
It is free. Yes, you have to register.

Forgive me if you land on my blog for the next few days and encounter the tutorial. It pops up automatically. I'm not ready to turn it off because I'm not comfortable with exactly what I have added! i.e. I'm a tad confused...my naturally state!

Update Note: I got a comment regarding this almost as I pushed the publish button...this won't be an issue for you...only pops up for me!

And if you are not seeing anything when you mouse over...it could be the added info is blocked where you are.

O, and the meaning of my subtitle...
comes from the site itself...and a few thoughts of others that I read


Apture provides the first rich communication platform allowing publishers
and bloggers to easily turn flat pages of text into multimedia experiences

Guess we will see how it goes!

Friday, May 30, 2008

371.3 Educational Technology: A Summer Adventure

Technically, this the last day of my 33rd year in this adventure called public school education...from the teacher's side of the desk. Then there is that traditional 13-year run that I did as a student. So 46 years. And of course, I spent a good part of the remaining 10 years of my life on this earth preparing to make the transition from one side of the desk to the other.

I was barely started WAY back when that little historical event called Sputnik plunged us into an educational revolution of sorts. "New math" was the biggest trauma I remember from those days. There were very pleasant experiences as well, but I only remember the effects "new math" in 7th grade had on me...and more importantly, on my poor dad who tried to help.

More recently, I have been immersed in a different kind of educational revolution. It's not new. It actually has been bubbling up since about 1980...at least in my little corner of the world. For me, I think this summer marks, not the pinnacle because it's not stopping, but at least a very significant stop on this exciting journey.

My district made an important decision this last semester...laptops for all campus certified personnel. But more importantly, I see it as the keys to a vehicle that will take us collectively as an organization, a system, a group, a team on a very exciting ride thru this thing called Web 2.0, Learning 2.0, Library 2.0. Yes, we are all on different levels, but at least now, we are riding in the same bus!

The web and all it implies has also finally been accepted as a legitimate means to learning success...NOT the ONLY means, but a very important tool in the toolboxes of our students and teachers. Many of us have known this for a long time and have worked hard, very hard some days, to use it in spite of roadblocks on many levels. For me, it all seems to have come together at this point in time...a "perfect storm" effect so to speak, but a positive storm!

Personally, I have had some great experiences this past semester working with various groups in discovering new tools and ways to use them. I have been charged up, jazzed up, or whatever you want to call it by the enthusiasm surrounding me. Summer promises even more opportunities to continue my rejuvenation.

Now to the graphic....

I am attending NECC this summer...mostly because it's so close, but more IMPORTANTLY, I finally am treating myself to an education technology experience on a national level. I want to see it (and all the exciting people that go with it), taste it, smell it, hear it, touch it...just because I can. I can't wait...it couldn't have come at a better time for me. And I promise it will be fodder for some posts! (yes, I heard those groans from some of you.)

The graphic represents the winning button that will symbolize the experience...it's going to given away in limited quantities from what I understand and I plan on getting one. (BL--you might say I am obsessive about getting one..finally I am obsessive about something!)

More about it. The Creator (who has given CC license to the design so I can post it!)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

027.6 Definition of a Library: The "My Space" Version

That never-stops Joyce Valenza of Neverending Search has provided us with a video to use as food for thought once again. She had her students tell us about their library / the space as they see it!

My personal favorite--the very first description...especially where the narrator speaks with such reverence and adoration about the magnificent collection of American History "classics." Be still my heart! I recognized almost EVERY title and cover on every shelf. I can close my eyes and almost drink in the fragrance of wonderful friends and fond memories of the many hours spent with those books and the children who experienced them. Such fine times!

I think the students spent quality time talking about both their print and technology-related experiences, as well as the enjoyment they got out of the library for both scholastic and personal pursuits!

One tiny sad thought for a brief moment...several wonderful descriptions/tours are given with virtually empty "spaces"..but in the end, it became the lively place I knew it must be.

If we saw a narrated tour of your library, would we recognize it as a happening place like these kids do?

Enjoy!


Find more videos like this on TeacherLibrarianNetwork (hope this shows in district)

P.S. We gotta get some of those flippy cameras going in my circle of influence and see what kind of good stuff can come out of them!

P.P.S. Need to explore the ning as a source for parking space for videos and other large files! I forget about it. Can it be used thatway?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

006.7 The Ying & Yang of Blogging

Been away for awhile for a variety of reasons. FINALLY felt I had some things to say...and the TIME to say them.

Write the first post...BANG...my blog has been declared a spam blog! Ugh? The results of such a dubious honor? You have to type in those ridiculous "drunk" nonsense arrangements of letters EVERY time you edit, save, or publish. Sure, I'm used to doing that when I comment. No problem. Want to do my part to keep spammers away.

HOWEVER, when it has to do with original posts, those crazy letters are on steroids...they are bigger, thicker, skinnier and more of them. It takes me about 4-5 attempts to get through EVERY time I edit, save, or publish. One time, I was having so much trouble "reading" the letters, I used the handicap sound out the letters option!

On top of that I had to contact the powers-that-be and declare (beg) that I am not a spammer, but instead a modest little librarian blogger from Texas. I had to wait four days to be absolved of my sins (although I have NO idea what I did to bring on this suspended state of free-flowing communication form.)

NOT fun!

But THEN...

One of the education world's premier bloggers (and one of the world's most generous commentors) COMMENTED on MY blog...he thanked me for some nice thing I said about some of his ideas...

But THEN...

He admitted that he too has human frailties in that virtual world known as Second Life. He can't land ("gracefully"...read-- crashes?) I can't sit. He can't land. I feel...so...much...better!

I think I might just have to do that happy feet thing again!

Gosh, I love blogging. You have the most interesting adventures...and never spend a dime (or a bucketful of dimes) for gasoline.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

363.7 Space Junk: Outta This World Pollution


Saw this on Posey Galore, a new visitor to my blog.

Part of me is totally fascinated by the picture. Part of me is sad because of what it shows.

On one hand, I feel better about the state of my work area, and even my dining room table. On the other hand, I feel guilty that I am as much of a slob in my world as we all appear to be in our world.
x
What is it? All the junk we (as in anyone who travels in space, sends things to space) have dumped in space! For the last 50+ years...since Sputnik. The photo originally came from the site European Space Agency (ESA). Please go to the site...there are several groups of photos that break down the "junk."
Some statistics from the explanation:
Since the launch of Sputnik on 4 October 1957, more than 4,600 launches
have placed some 6000 satellites into orbit. Currently about 800 satellites are
used operationally for science and other applications. Space debris comprise
the ever-increasing amount of inactive space hardware in orbit around the
Earth as well as fragments of spacecraft that have broken up, exploded or
otherwise become abandoned. The debris field comprises burnt-out launch
vehicle upper stages, dead or inactive spacecraft and other objects ranging
in size from as big as an automobile to microscopic dust.
Some books I found on the subject of space debris in our collection
Junk in space. Maurer, Richard. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, c1989
Pollution in space. Asimov, Isaac. G. Stevens Pub, 1995.
Space garbage. Asimov, Isaac. Dell, 1991, c1989.
Space junk. Asimov, Isaac. Gareth Stevens Pub, c2006.
Space junk : pollution beyond the earth. Donnelly, Judy. Morrow Junior Books, c1990.

Some more online info
Space Junk
ABC Science & Society Space Junk presentation including an animation (large file!)
BBC Science & Nature Space Junk
See full animation (106K)
National Geographic Space Junk Cleanup Needed
Podcast: Space Junk

Ok, now to find the box of trash bags and the file boxes I have bought over the last several months!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

793.932 Another Second Life Adventure

Because of my membership in ISTE due to my planned attendance at NECC this summer, I got an email from one of my favorite bloggers, Blue Skunk Doug Johnson about a talk he was going to give this evening on ISTE Island in Second Life. (nope not open in district)

It was going to start in 15 minutes. Plenty of time I thought...and an opportunity to "hear" someone I had been reading for some time now! I also needed a reason to get back into Second Life and experience it again.

Ha! 45 minutes later I got in and only caught the last part of the talk.

When I opened Second Life, I was notified that I need to download an update or I would not be able to use the site. My possessed computer took FOREVER connecting to the download and then I had to wait for it to do its thing.

Ok, ok..only 10 minutes into the program. I clicked the transport address from the email and landed on the right island...with absolutely NO clue what to do next. I looked around and around and saw no one. Then I started hearing voices...barely. Dug up my headphones. Eureka, I was at least hearing the talk.

And as always, someone showed up and asked if he could help. Sorry, I did not get his name...but I think he is a "docent" for the island. He was great at explaining what I needed to do and was VERY PATIENT when I explained I moved slowly! BTW...he had a cool vehicle...forgot to "screen shot" it. Anyway, I walked carefully, managed to stay out from UNDER any buildings thistime, flew a little and crashed only once.
So I finally show up at the location...the screen is full of Blue Skunk's cartoons and they are talking away...and there is not one single person in the audience, but I see all kinds of names on the screen. There was 25 minutes left of the program so I just quietly listened and watched the typed comments on the screen.

Some points from the talk:
1. Human vs. machine
content filtering done by a machine cancels out the human's ability to discriminate what is appropriate for what situation...not a good practice, but "we" all do it!

2. Self-empowered or self-discovery type staff development...a good thing! Score one for my circle! We are doing that again this summer with our 23 Things...opportunity for educators to learn on their own with help/support, but the self-discovery of knowledge is a key component of the experience!

3. Blue Skunk reminded us of one of his favorite statements...# of kids in the library is in reverse proportion to the importance of the next visitor. Boy, that has been the truth for me in SO many cases!

4. Sometimes technology can be over used. If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything becomes a nail! His analogy...going online and finally finding the population of Bolivia from a 1995 CIA Fact Book vs. thumbing thru the current World Almanac that is probably sitting relatively close to the computer. not sure I know a lot of libraries that have a current World Almanac anymore, but I definitely understood his message. The right tool for the right job at the the right time!

Gosh, I wish I had heard the whole thing.
O, also ...You can download his book Machines are the Easy Part, People are the Hard Part: technology in the Schools for free here.

P.S. I loved his voice (my first time to hear him)...sounded just like what I had imagined from reading his posts!

And I KNOW inquiring minds are waiting...........................


patiently............................................


NO............................................


I did not sit down because I could not remember how!

For the uninformed...it's ok. You hadda be there to understand!
Just know that this Second Life thing is never gonna be a strong suit for me...I will keep trying, I know I will...it will just be continue to be pitiful. I just know it will.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

371.2 Some More Thoughts on Change in Education

From David Warlick's 2¢ Worth blog is another video titled Learning to Change with a group talking about education and the need for changes for a variety of reasons.
It was a YouTube video in his blog and I went ahead and put it through the ZamZar process so it could be viewed in district. (changed it fro flv to mov that could be uploaded into this blog)

video

Points to ponder:
1. U.S. Dept of Commerce ranked education 55 out of 55 for its level of IT.
2. Kids could be rich content developers using 2.0 tools...if given opportunity!
3. Technology is not really a choice anymore...it is an environment.
4. Classroom system vs the need for a community system.
5. Using a formula based on factories of a hundred years ago instead of embracing 21st century ways.
6. Children live in "nearly-now."
7. School is only one place kids learn
8. Give teachers global connections if you want students to make global connections
9. Right-answer vending machine testing does not match the skills needed in the 21st work force

Listen for the 21st century list of literacies!

It's worth 5 minutes of your time.