Thursday, April 3, 2008

It's so easy being green!

Green it is!

I received the green and love it! Thanks to Mesquite ISD Library Services for helping us become better librarians and then rewarding us for it! Thank you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

23 Things Epiblogue

I can't believe I'm finished! After I ignored my blog basically the month of December, it was so difficult to start again after Christmas break. I started by working on Thing 9 which seemed to take forever. I was discouraged. The end looked very distant. I am so happy I've both seen the light at the end of the tunnel and passed through it! My technology skills have never been superior but I definitely feel more confident after the 23 Things. I know the inquiry method of learning is essential because you really do learn by doing. If I were sitting in a class looking at an outline of the 23 Things via powerpoint, I really wouldn't be learning much at all. I recall "fondly" the hours on the computer at home trying to post or embed! Now that it's over! But is it? I don't think so.

I know this is only the beginning and if our library is going to be modern and vital and attract students, we are going to have to start using this new (to me) technology. In looking back over the 23 Things, there were quite a few I think I will continue to use because of its usefulness in the library or because it's just plain fun. Edublogs, flickr, Google Reader, Image Chef, Custom Sign Generator, Comic Strip Generator, LibraryThing, Facebook,, wikis, Zoho, youtube, podcasting, and Animoto were my favorites!

I really want to continue using these applications because I know from experience if I don't continue using what I've learned in a workshop or course all that knowledge will atrophy over time. The I-pod Nano (red, please) has been a great incentive and I appreciate all the effort and time it takes to coordinate and maintain an online course like this. I really hope I do not waste your and my effort. I really do want to begin using these new technologies and that is my intent. What is the old saying? "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." It may be baby steps but I'm pretty pleased with my progress.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thing 23

Copyright. It's simple to find copyright for books. Not so simple for online information, images, music. My goodness...I read a little bit of that copyright comic book and it opened up many ideas I had not considered. It's very frustrating how copyright laws are interpreted. I know copyright ensures that the copyright holder earns money so that he/she can continue to produce works we want to read, see, or hear. But it seems the copyright laws from the 1980s have made copyright much more convoluted and confusing. The poor documentary makers who have to pore over every millimeter of film to see if they've captured a copyrighted image is an example of this confusion. If an image of a Coca Cola sign ends up in the film, does the director have to contact Coca Cola for a release? If a man is singing "I Did It My Way" in the film, does the director have to contact Frank Sinatra's estate? What a headache! Thank goodness it's not my job to decide the answers to these questions! But because intermediaries (read: lawyers) get involved to make these kind of decisions, money is always involved.
What a relief that there are some people out there who recognize that many artists, writers, musicians, scientists, and even politicians might desire to share their work with others without the involvement of intermediaries and big bucks. I had never heard of Creative Commons before. The Creative Commons license allows the copyright holder to keep his copyright while inviting certain uses of his work. It's a link between full copyright which is all rights reserved and public domain which is no rights reserved. Creative Commons is some rights reserved. It would allow works to be used without costing a lot of money.
As I was looking for an example that shows a work modified from the original, the most obvious is our Learning 2.0 Through Play. Look at the bottom of the page of each Thing and you'll see the credits citing the use of Creative Commons. Some other great examples can be found in the article about Creative Commons in Wikipedia. I was intrigued with The Public Library of Science which is an open access forum for scientists to read, download, copy and use any way they wish. There are core principles to follow in doing this and cost may be involved. It is not necessarily free. I recall when I was trying to help a student find some online research information for a Science Fair project and was stopped by not being a paid subscriber to a science journal. The Public Library of Science is just one way the internet has become more communal and collaborative and generous, I suppose you'd say.
I look forward to continue to finding websites with shared audio and video and other images with Creative Commons licenses. Some rights reserved seems pretty fair use to me!

Animoto Video: Horn Faculty Reaching for Success

Thing 22

Animoto! What fun! This was so easy even I could do it! As well as a child of 10! I'm kind of pumped about it and I'm thinking about other short videos I can make! I also noticed on my original video that a head was cut off and I need to go back and restore it if possible. It was a very easy process and didn't take long to do. What usually gives me problems is figuring how to get it back to my blog but, again, Animoto walks you through the steps and makes it very easy to post your video.
I am curious of the cost to make a longer video and might be interested in that later. Right now, it will be fun to create mini-vids for free! It is exciting to be successful in something I would never have done on my own. Animoto makes it easy to be successful.

Thing 21

I watched the Podgrunt video and I appreciated the simple explanation of what a podcast is: an audio- or videofile delivered to your computer. You need a podcatcher which can be the I-tunes program on your computer. Easy peasy! You don't absolutely need an I-pod but I'm happy to say I am convinced one is in my near future!
I tried to access all the podcast directories listed but could not get into or I do plan to go back and access these sites when I am not blocked. I looked at Educational Podcast Directory and at first wasn't sure what would work with libraries. I found that Information Skills or English Language Arts had some possibilities. In looking at the English-related podcasts, I added YA! Cast to my Google Reader. It's a series of book talks for Young Adult literature and it looks like something I can really use. One of my main goals is to learn more and more about YA literature and I hope I can find other podcasts on this subject.
I looked at Yahoo podcasts but I wasn't very impressed. At least, I didn't find videos I think I could use as a librarian. When I searched for "library" videos, I got some results I was afraid to open! There are some weird people out there!