Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thing #23: Summarize Your Thoughts

  1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
I enjoyed playing with PhotoStory, Rollyo, Wikis, online image generators, and mashups.
  1. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
This program has helped me to realize that I am capable of learning about and actually using cool programs and tools of the internet for my personal life and for my professional life as a teacher.
  1. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
I did not expect to want to bring blogs into my classroom, but I am determined to bring more technology into my language arts class. Students will have tons of fun and probably not even realize how hard they are working!
  1. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
I really can't think of much; you guys did a great job providing us with videos and other web resources to explain each thing. I especially loved the videos from the Common Craft guys!
  1. If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?
Yes, I would probably participate. I enjoyed the fact that I could work on this program from home over the summer, even after having a baby!
  1. How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities?
I explored 23 "things," but I left with a million ideas to use in my classroom!

Thing #22: Nings

I'm glad that I read the 7 Things You Need to Know About Ning because I went into this thinking that a Ning and a Wiki were the same thing. Obviously, they are not! I had a little bit of experience with a Ning when Cheryl had HawkSpace up at SWMS for students to talk about books. I explored some of Ning in Education and read a discussion about Nings in middle school. I would use a private Ning in my language arts classroom to have students discuss books and characters. However, I will be teaching sixth grade this next year. One of the posters on the Ning asked how to get around COPA as most of the students are under 12 years old, and I know that with HawkSpace, students had to be at least 14 to join. Some of the other posters on that particular discussion mentioned using other platforms like Moodle, but maybe it is best to just stick with a blog and Wiki for my younger students.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thing #21: Podcasts and Videocasts

I like playing with PhotoStory! I had taken a class on how to use this back in September of last year and had hoped to incorporate it into my curriculum while working on poetry with my students, but I was advised to work on other projects and therefore didn't get to use it with my students. :( I'm determined to get it in this next school year though. I think it would be great for the students to use for short stories, poetry, songs, etc. Here is a PhotoStory that I made with pictures of my son, Trip.

Embedding videos

Let's try to embed a YouTube video...

Hmmm...for some reason, when I view my blog on Internet Explorer, the videos work! When I view my blog on Google Chrome, they do not play at all.

Thing #20: YouTube, TeacherTube, and Zamzar

I thought that I would have a lot of fun with this thing, but I was actually a little aggravated while searching for videos, especially on TeacherTube. I would really like to incorporate educational videos into my classroom. This past year, I used the Discovery United Streaming videos while working on our Holocaust project. I thought it was great a great resource that is already in the district. It also was very easy to search for videos that were actually relevant. I used Blinkx to search also, but it brought up the most random videos ever, so I don't think I will try using it again. I guess I'll just give it time when searching for videos on TeacherTube and YouTube. Here are some videos that I liked from TeacherTube:

This one is inspiring for teachers who want to use blogs in the classroom:

This is one that I could use to inspire students to write:
Okay, something is not going right when I embed these videos. I copied the code for the embeddable player and pasted it in the Edit Html portion of my post. What else should I try?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thing #19: Web 2.0 Awards

I enjoyed exploring this thing. Some of the sites were not free, but they sound like they would be incredibly useful. Mango would be great for me to learn (or re-learn) conversational Spanish in order to better communicate with some of my students and their parents. I know that there are free podcasts available on iTunes, so I may try those instead. Also, Backpack looked really neat and would be great to use with a team of teachers. You could keep all of your meetings, schedules, documents, and reports in one place for the team to view and use instead of having to e-mail or call each other.

I currently use Twitter as a status updater. I have been on Facebook for years to keep up with friends from elementary, high school, college, and work. My husband set up a profile for me on Linked In, but I have never really used it. He tells me that it is more like a professional Facebook to use to network. Also, I just used Zillow yesterday after my mom told me about it. It was neat to be able to see what your house and others in the neighborhood were being appraised for.

Several of the resources that we have already played with in 23 Things made the list. However, I explored three others that could be beneficial to my own needs. I liked .docstoc a lot. I will definitely use this in my classroom next year. I was able to find documents for character analysis, plot diagram, and a really helpful document with writing prompts- 501 to be exact! Lulu was another site that I visited. There you can create and publish your own books of writing or photos and then sell them! My husband's Memaw and I have been working for a few years on a book that she wrote about the family's history. I have edited it for her, but she has just kept it sitting on a cd. I can use Lulu to print up her book and distributed among the relatives. The last site that I visited that is helpful to me personally is MothersClick which I can use for my new parenting needs.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thing #18: Online Productivity Tools

I played with Google Docs in Thing #7 and didn't really enjoy it at the time. Now that I took some time to play around with it, I like it a little bit more. I also played around with Open Office Writer. It is fairly easy to use, and it had a lot of neat features that I don't think you can use on Microsoft Word unless you know all of the secrets. For example, I was able to easily draw pictures and add symbols to my document. (I'm sure you can do that on Word, but I just have never figured it out after years of use!)

I really don't see too many disadvantages to either platform other than the fact that you may have to take some time to explore and use tutorials to create documents, drawings, spreadsheets, etc. I think there are many advantages to these platforms:

* You can send people to a link of a document or presentation instead of having to remember to attach the document to an e-mail.
* Ease of use
* You don't have to spend outrageous amounts of money on Microsoft Office.
* People who don't have Microsoft Office (or maybe have outdated versions) can view your documents and presentations. This is especially helpful in my situation. Many of my students have a computer or access to a computer, but they do not all have the Microsoft Office suite, as it is very costly. They can create documents or view documents from me without having to purchase expensive software.

Here is the very basic presentation that I made using Google Docs.

Thing #17: Rollyo

Wow! Wish I had known about this when my students and I worked on a Holocaust project in May! Rollyo allows the students to search for information from reliable sources as established by the teacher, and therefore, frees the teacher from worry that the students will be using information from unreliable sources. I don't think students would feel restricted by this at all; in fact, they would probably be happy to not have to sit through a lesson about what kind of websites are trustworthy, and they would have their search limited to "good" information only.

I created a search called "Baby" to help me answer those random new parent questions. My search looks for information from the following sites: Baby Center, Parenting, Pampers, WebMD, and Mayo Clinic. My son has been eating a lot compared to what we were told in the hospital, so check out what I found from my Rollyo search.

Trip is here!

Well, he is finally here! We went in on Sunday night to be induced, but Trip was not responding well to the contractions. After trying three times to induce, it was decided to go ahead with a c-section- talk about a VERY strange experience! Trip was born at 12:41 p.m. on Monday, July 13, 2009. He was screaming his head off, and speaking of his head, it is covered in hair! We did not expect that at all!
After my surgery, I went to recovery, and Trip went to the nursery. Most women spend about 2 hours in recovery, but my temperature was low, so I spent an additional two hours there, covered in blankets and was even put under a heater. When my 96.5 degree goal was reached, I was wheeled out to see Trip in the nursery's window and then to my room. Within a few minutes, his pediatrician and one of the nurses brought him in so that I could hold him. After just two minutes with him, they told me that he was going to the NICU because of some breathing problems. Robert, his mom, and my parents were all able to go up and see him in the NICU.
Later that evening, the NICU pediatrician called and told us that he had an elevated white blood cell count, so they were keeping him for at least 48 hours. I didn't get to see him again until Tuesday at lunch. Robert and I went every couple of hours to sit with him and feed him. By Wednesday, Trip was moved into the stable room of the NICU and was eating like a champ. We waited anxiously until 11 that night for the call that Trip was going to get out of NICU and stay with us and in the regular nursery.
We didn't get much sleep that night, as Trip decided that he liked more than the standard 2 oz. bottle offered. He and I got the all-clear on Thursday, and we left the hospital at 2 p.m. on Thursday. Robert and I are adjusting to life with an eating, pooping, crying, and sleeping machine! Our dogs, Mercedes and Berlin, are trying to figure it all out as well. As tired as I am, I am so happy to be home with our little guy and can't imagine doing anything more exciting than just staring at him!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thing #16: Wikis

As always, I love the Common Craft videos. You would think that since I'm "young," I'd get all the technology stuff like that, but I definitely am a "watch and learn" kind of girl. As I mentioned in the sandbox, my husband and I have been debating different ways to get my students to submit reading responses over the internet. When I first started reading about wikis, I thought they'd be the perfect solution to my problem. However, after looking at the slideshow Wikis: A Beginner's Look and thinking about it, I have realized that my tween students may not all be mature enough to contribute to a wiki for an assignment without being vengeful and deleting their arch-enemy's post. Instead, I may use wikis for students involved in group assignments. They can use the wiki to create lists of tasks they still need to accomplish, who will bring what supplies, etc. Students could also use a wiki to brainstorm ideas or contribute to a test review. While exploring some of the wikis suggested by 23 Things, I came across a 10th grade classroom's blog. I'm even more inspired to start blogs for my classes, and this way, students can respond to a question without clogging my e-mail inbox and not be able to delete any of the other students' posts.

This will probably be my last blog post for a few days. I'm headed to the hospital tonight to be induced and will have a son sometime tomorrow! I'll post pictures when I get back. Goodbye for now!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thing #15: Library 2.0

Hmmm...where to begin on this thing? After watching the video, A Vision of Students Today, I found myself torn. Not too long ago, I was one of those kids sitting in the huge lecture hall, bored to tears, thinking of my weekend plans, and trying not to fall asleep while the professor who barely spoke English rambled on about metamorphic rocks. I could empathize with those kids, yet I was also a little offended as a teacher. Were they trying to tell me that my existence as an educator was not important? Am I not beneficial to my students because I'm not allowing them to submit assignments via MySpace? Could my job be outsourced to someone in another country who sets up some Powerpoints and reading assignments for my students to complete online?

The answer is yes and no. Yes, in the idea that you could just sit your students down in front of a computer, have them watch some videos, take a quiz or two, and possibly learn something in the process without ever having to deal with another human being. No, in the idea that although technology can be awesome and beneficial, human interaction is so vital to the development of children.

For example, my uncle-in-law is an award-winning administrator and someone who I respect very much. I aspire to go back to school and earn a degree to be a secondary school administrator as well. I have a few options, but the two that stand out most for me are:

1) Earn my degree via classes online through Texas A&M University- It would be nice to have a second degree from my alma mater, I could stay at home and learn without having to leave my son, I could self-pace myself easily, etc.
2) Earn my degree the old-fashioned way and take night classes at the University of Houston- I would have to sit through classes after working all day, find a babysitter for my son if my husband works late, spend money on gas to drive, etc.

Option 1 sounds the best, right? After much thought, I hear the echoes of my uncle, "Earning your degree online seems economical, but think of all of the camaraderie you'll lose. If you take classes at the local university, it's easier to network and make friends with people in your field who you might want on your team as your career advances." Although I am very capable of navigating the web and taking classes online, I truly value one-on-one time with my instructors and classmates. Sure, you can have an online discussion or post to blogs, but sometimes, it is more important to have those discussions and A HA! moments in person with the help of your peers or teachers.

So where am I going with this? It is the 21st century, and I think it is time to merge both schools of thought. You know the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" Well, I think the whole 2.0 world is calling for us to keep the things that work but add some of the new and innovative technologies to effectively educate our children.

I like how Rick Anderson says, "But if our services can’t be used without training, then it’s the services that need to be fixed—not our patrons." I am just imagining my 80 year-old, recently widowed Nana walking into her local library to pick out a book, only to be bombarded by a computer instead of a librarian to help her with her search. (For the record, I have the coolest Nana on the planet who has signed up for a class at her local library to learn how to use a laptop and the internet so that she can e-mail and shop online.) I would hope that the computer would be a user-friendly, self-explanatory service vs. a hinderance to my sweet little Nana. After reading from Michael Stephens' perspective, Cheryl Laucher pops into mind. (Sorry Cheryl, I'm going to toot your horn yet again b/c you're so awesome!) I grew up going to the local HPL where the librarians shooshed us if your voice was anything more than a whisper and acted annoyed when you asked them for help in searching for a particular book. I admit, after growing up with this mind-set, I do get incredibly frustrated with my middle-schoolers when they are being loud in the library. However, Cheryl is the exact opposite of those crotchety, old, shooshing librarians. She has set up fun stuff for the kids like HawkSpace and a Beat the Rap competition. She is always helpful to both teachers and students, and she truly encourages us all to use technology to better our classrooms and ourselves.

With all of that in mind and with the completion of this project, I find that it will be very easy for me to go back to school in the fall with my technology goals already written. I am determined to find a way for my students and I to build a classroom full of innovative yet user-friendly technologies BUT without losing too much of the beneficial human-interaction that so many of my tween students so desperately need in their lives. That wasn't TOO long-winded now, was it? :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thing #14: Technorati and How Tags Work

Apparently, I'm not digging the week of tag-related things. I understand their validity and how they can be useful, but I'm just not feeling sites like del.icio.us and Technorati. (I'm sure a lot of techies love it; I probably would too, but keep reading to find out about my experience...) After watching the video about the updates to Technorati, I was excited to try it again after much disappointment with the site in Thing #9. However, the site looks nothing like it does in the video. It is not set up anything like it is in the video. In the video, it makes the site seem VERY user-friendly, but when I got there, I was incredibly overwhelmed. You cannot search for tags and blogs the way it was described in the video about updates.

When doing the keyword search for "school library learning 2.0," I found that the same results came up for blog posts and blog directory, but a different list came up in tags.

I searched for "new parents" on my own. If you search for this in posts, you get incredibly random, off-topic blog posts that have absolutely nothing to do with the search. When you search for it in the blogs, you find blogs that are more relevant to the topic. I found Dear Dr.MOZ Baby Blog and The Opinionated Parent. When I go back to Technorati right now and search, I come up with the screen that I posted at the beginning of all of this. (Not just once, but several times!) I don't think that I will be claiming my blog anytime soon. Maybe one day I will be inspired to be the next Cool Cat Teacher, but for now, I'm totally tagged-out!

Thing #13: Tagging and Discover Delicious

I personally did not enjoy this thing AT ALL! I understand the point of del.icio.us, but I guess I'm not so advanced in my technology needs and skills that I would use this if I was on someone else's computer. I have not figured out how to really share my bookmarks with other people, but I'm sure that it would be beneficial to use with my students and peers. I plan on keeping a website or blog for my classes this next school year, and I feel that I could just as easily share bookmarks on there vs. del.icio.us. I did like how you could see the most popular and even all of the sites that other people on the site have tagged with a particular tag. I would be careful about using this in the classroom with immature students. I'm sure the site wouldn't necessarily open in the district for the students due to firewalls, but I still don't need a student to click on a particular tag to see what is most popular only to come across highly inappropriate sites/titles.

Just a few quick questions/comments:
1) Why did I watch the video about podcasting? I enjoyed it, but I don't really get what that had to do with this exercise.
2) Ma.gnolia does not work; the site says they are to start back up sometime this summer.
3) In regards to Thing #12: Is there any way that I can be updated if someone has left me a comment somewhere on my blog other than me just looking through my blog?

Social Studies teachers: Check this out!

Read about this on my Google Reader today from Free Technology for Teachers: Flight simulator on Google Earth. Check it out by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thing #12: Creating Community Through Commenting

This thing was difficult for me because I prefer to just "lurk" and read websites and blogs, but here I am, out of the shell and commenting away on perfect strangers' blogs! I very much enjoyed reading How to Comment Like a King (or Queen!) by Cool Cat Teacher. She made it easier for me to get our there and comment. The etiquette discussed by Drape's Takes is important to me and reminded me of one of my education courses at Texas A&M where we taught students in Taiwan English via the internet. We have to remember that as bloggers, we are reading words, not sitting there having a face-to-face conversation with a person, so we don't know if someone is being sarcastic and funny, or if they are genuinely trying to hurt another's feelings with their comments. I used to read the message boards on The Bump (a website for pregnant women), but people were so catty and snide that I got tired of the site and jumped ship. So I think the most important things to remember about blogging and commenting are:
* Remember internet etiquette
* Hyperlink to help out your readers (Also, this can serve as free advertising to your peers!)
* Respond to comments when possible
* Attempt to make comments that are helpful
* To get more comments, ask questions in your blog (Vaughn is excellent about answering mine!)

I commented on the following Library2Play blogs:

I ventured over to Dr. P's Blog due to the mention from Cool Cat Teacher. He is a principal in Arizona. (I'm very interested in becoming an administrator.) While on his blog, I found his mention of Chris Lehmann, a principal in Philadelphia, and went on over to his blog, Practical Theory. Both bloggers have similar "circles" as Cool Cat Teacher, and I'm looking forward to reading what they all have to say about education and administration. Alright, I'm blogged out for the day! Good night to all, and please feel free to leave me any links that you think might be interesting about teaching, administration, being a new parent, etc!

Thing #11: LibraryThing

LibraryThing was fairly simple to use. I'm going to have to play with it some more to get things really going, but I went ahead and added a widget to my blog so that people can see my visual bookshelf. I currently use weRead on my Facebook page to keep track of the books that I have read, am reading, and want to read. However, I like that LibraryThing has groups and discussions, as well as a lot more reviews than what I currently use. This is beneficial to me as a language arts teacher. I will be able to use it to find out some great new books for my students with the recommendations guide, and I can also use it as a "cheat sheet" for when I have to conference with students who are reading a book that I have no clue what it is really about. (Sorry, you couldn't pay me to read the Harry Potter series, Eragon, Bluford, etc.) Also, I've only been in a book club for textbooks, so it would be nice to become a part of a book discussion without actually having to leave my house or classroom.

Thing #10:Online Image Generators

Okay, this was my favorite thing so far! I had way too much fun, and if I kept playing, I would never get to this post! We have a long-standing joke about how Stan from the cartoon American Dad is the cartoon-version of my husband, Robert. (We even looked for American Dad figurines to put on our wedding cake, but we didn't find them in time!) These image generators were awesome! If I had this much fun playing around with them, I am positive that my students would have a blast. My favorite generators were:

Comic Strip Generator (where I made Stan)
Foto Trix (where I made Robert)
Image Chef (where I made baby Holland)
and Wordle

Comic Strip Generator and Foto Trix would be great in my LA classes, as we already use blank comic strips to allow the students to use their words to convey what is going on in the picture. With this web generator, I wouldn't have to go searching through newspapers, I could just search through the site. There were a lot of different things you could do on Image Chef, but with the picture I created of baby Holland, you could use the site to make rewards and acknowledge students who did a great job on a project or by being an outstanding citizen. Wordle is definitely a program that I will be bringing into my class to make signs and maybe tags for group assignments. The only thing that I did not like about it is that I couldn't figure out a way to keep my words in order if I wanted to have it make sense; I couldn't take a quote from a movie or book and keep the words in order.

These generators will come in handy when students are ready to publish pieces of writing, teachers want to create special reminders of assignments, or if you want to have a fun and unique warm-up.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thing #9: Useful Library-Related Blogs and News Feeds

I was very inspired by Cool Cat Teacher's post about creating my circle. I loved how she summed it up:
" Let me ask you this: if you were able to read the writings of Abraham Lincoln, or CS Lewis, or Ghandi, or Dale Carnegie on a daily basis, would you have done it?"

I think it is very easy to see why she won Edublog's award for Best Teacher Blog. Therefore, I went ahead and added her to my Google Reader. It will be very interesting to see what she has to say in the coming weeks as I gear up to go back to school.

The easiest search tools for me to use were Google Blog Search and Blogline's search tool. Edublog was set up very oddly, at least I thought. (And, they do not apparently know how to spell the word them... great, an education site that does not spell properly!) Syndic8.com and Technorati were frustrating to me (even after attempting to watch the tutorial).

I found a blog that I have added to my Google Reader using Blogline: Free Technology for Teachers. This blog also won an EduBlog award in 2008. I chose to add this blog to my feed because I am getting an ActivBoard in my classroom this next year, and I would like to be able incorporate more technology into my classroom than I did this past school year. I will be looking at both of the blogs that I added to see who is on the blogrolls as suggested by Cool Cat Teacher to continue forming my circle of the wise.

Off-topic, but something I would like help on: How do you do a snapshot of a website to include in a post? I'm going to go Google it and see what comes about, but if you beat me to it, please let me know. Thanks!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Houston: We have Twitter!

Okay, I am Twitter-fied. Follow me!

Thing #8: RSS Feeds and Readers

As mentioned in my post earlier this morning, my husband is a Google Reader addict. After talking with him about the gadgets I played with on Google for Thing #7, I found out some incredibly shocking news: My husband follows Ashton Kutcher on Twitter!!! I just about died laughing. (Apparently, the actor's Twitter page is "really funny sometimes.") So I went on to set-up my own Google Reader.

I like what readers are all about- get the headlines without having to deal with all of the ads and pop-ups that are usually associated with just regular web-surfing. It's like getting the newspaper without having to deal with the giant Macy's advertisement for their sale on summer swimwear or Mac Haik's great discounts this week only! I also like the fact that I can organize my subscriptions, so I can make part of my reader for fun stuff and another part for educational/work-related stuff. Also, it is great that you can share the top stories with friends, families, and co-workers with just a click of a button. (This is how my husband has been keeping me in the loop with random celebrity gossip without me actually having to start back up on my Perez Hilton addiction.)

I think the second and third questions for this thing can be grouped together in my instance. My reader is going to allow me to stay updated on the latest happenings in my district and advice from fellow teachers. It can also be used for pure entertainment. Luckily, I have the option to separate the two worlds, so I can hop on my reader to be Professional Teacher Allie, or I can scroll through Celebrity Junkie Allie headlines.

Here are some of the sites that I have subscribed to:
Cheryl's blog (SWMS librarian extraordinaire)
The Book Whisperer (A LA teacher in Texas who blogs for Teacher Magazine)

Any more suggestions? I am very interested in LA teacher blogs.

Also, I think I will be checking out setting up my own Twitter page. It may be the best thing to do with the child on the way.

Thing #7: Cool Google Tools

Happy 4th of July! I thought that I knew Google fairly well, but apparently, it is still full of surprises. I use Gmail (even though I don't totally love the format), and I use Google Chrome to explore the internet because my computer seems to hate Internet Explorer for some reason. Let's do a quick walk-through of the various Google tools mentioned, shall we?

Google Alerts: I signed up to receive a daily alert about baby/infant care (for obvious reasons). I think this tool is pretty neat. I had a horrible addiction to celebrity gossip sites like Perez Hilton, and I had to go cold turkey. I could use this tool to keep up with Jon and Kate's latest drama without getting sucked into an entire website of celebrity drama. (Don't worry, I won't be signing up for an alert like that, but I could!) My husband uses Google Reader to keep up with all of the websites he reads and the latest news in finance, diesel racing, and movie info.

Google Calendar: My husband and I both already use this feature. (He is better at keeping his part of the calendar updated than I am, but I'm working on it.) It is nice that we are able to share our appointments and meetings with each other online, and if I keep at it, we won't have to ask each other when a doctor's appointment is or what time we're supposed to meet some friends- we can simply check the Google calendar. I could use the Google calendar to create a calendar of assignments and due dates to share with my students as well.

iGoogle: I'm sure this feature is very valuable for some people to use as a homepage. As mentioned on the Library2Play blog, students could use this as their homepage and keep up with their assignments for various classes, athletic practices, birthdays, etc. I personally will not be using it as my homepage, as I prefer to just use our district site as mine, so that I can keep up with what's happening.

Picasa Web Albums: I have a few family members who like to use this site instead of Flickr to share their photos with everyone. It's very accessible and a great alternative to just using Google images search.

Google Scholar: This seems like a simplistic approach to research and probably a better fit for students as the information that pops up is from scholarly literature vs. doing just a simple Google search. This way, you don't really have to worry as much about the legitimacy of the source. However, the information appears to not be suited for middle-school students, and I will probably stick with using some of the other sources geared towards kids that we have on our library resource page.

Google Advanced Search: I actually just used this feature a few weeks ago when I was looking for safari photos to use in my son's nursery. I had originally used Google images to search and had found some great pictures, but when I went to enlarge them at my local Walgreen's, the image sizes were so small that they would become grainy if enlarged to the size that I really wanted. So I used Advanced Search and narrowed the images down to larger .jpg sizes and was able to get some really cool pics that enlarged beautifully and are now hanging up in Trip's room.

Google Earth: When this feature first became available, I thought it was really cool. If I am going somewhere that I have never been, I can view the place from the street so that I know what to look for as I am driving. However, sometimes it can be a bit creepy knowing that people are able to type in my address and view my house. All in all, a useful tool, but possibly too useful for robbers and bad guys!

Google Docs: I thought this was going to be great, especially for those people who always forget to hit "Attach document" when sending an e-mail. However, when I attempted to create a document to view and e-mailed it to my husband and myself, it came up with errors that said I was not allowed to e-mail people to view it. I'll keep playing with it, but I was disappointed that it would not let me do what it says it is supposed to do.

Google has some great tools for students and teachers. I could see a social studies class using Google Earth, a language arts class using Google Scholar, an art class using Picasa, etc. Something that I'm very interested in and would like more information on is setting up a classroom website with calendars and homework pages. I know that a lot of teachers at MMS use this for their classes, and even though the majority of my students may not own computers, they are always at the local libraries getting on MySpace and Facebook, so I know that they could access our class site as well. Any suggestions for a good one to use?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thing #6: Mashups and 3rd Party Sites

I have been MIA for a short while now, but I'm back in the game. This thing was interesting- I loved all of the stuff to do with Big Huge Labs. The picture I've included is from Warholizer of me and my husband with my horse, Bella. Kids and adults alike would have fun playing around with all of these- definitely gives me an idea for places to go to make cool products next year with my LA students when they're ready to publish pieces. Mappr seemed neat, but I also like Yahoo! Travel Trip Planner. I think I may use this when my mother-in-law comes to town to stay with us when the baby gets here. Flickr Color Pickr was great, especially for an HGTV junkie like myself; it reminds me of the inspirational color wheels that some of the designers use to get clients to pick room colors. I definitely want to play with the Mosaic Makr, but you have to sign-in to use your own pictures. When I get more than a few minutes, I will take advantage of that little gizmo. Can you say Christmas card 2009?!?! Oh, and apparently, I figured out how to link inside my post...sorry if I got a little link-happy! :)