Monday, November 17, 2008

#23-Is This Really the End? Or Just the Beginning ...

Wow! I'm on my last exercise. I'm sure glad we only had 23 things to do instead of the original 43 things this program was based on. I'm very glad I participated in this because I learned so much. There is a lot out there on the web that I have never heard of, and this opened me up to a whole new 2.0 world. Already, I have taken some of what I learned and am telling our patrons about it. We have one person that coordinates volunteers and takes the lead on big projects. She was trying to put together information she gathered into coordinated sign up sheets. I told her about the online productivity tools that were collaborative and would make that job so much easier on her. We are going to sit down next time she comes in so I can show her where to find them and how they can work for her. She was so excited! I had another patron that said she needed to sit down and catalog all her books. I told her how she could easily do that with LibraryThing, and she too was excited. I love learning about new things-technology related things really excite me. I stretched myself by trying things I have never done before (as documented in my blog entries). I do have to say that it was difficult to do at work. I was committed to using that 1 hour per week at work to do this, but in reality that only happened about 5-6 times. The majority of this was completed on my own time on my computer at home. Again, I would like to receive the Creative MP3 player as my prize for completing this program. I plan to review these lessons to look at them more in depth. I also plan on continuing to learn about and use these web 2.0 applications. They are so awesome!

#22-Media and Book Downloads (or "You are almost done!")

I chose to explore TumbleBooks because it was something that I had never looked at before. I have taken the Overdrive training, but have never actually downloaded anything. I own an IPod which you can't use, so that is why I chose the MP3 player as my reward for finishing these exercises! I'm familiar with MyLibraryDV, but again, have not used it. My son is always on our computer playing a game that is a memory hog. I don't feel like I even have enough memory to experiment with the movie downloads. So back to TumbleBooks-I think this is really cool! It was very easy to use and I would feel quite comfortable helping patrons with this format (though it is so easy, I don't think they would need much help). While I believe it is best for parents to sit down and read to their children, I think this format has value in supplementing that. The storybooks would capture a child's interest because of the incorporated movement and the way the characters are given voice. I can also see the value in having this format available through the library when it comes to mixed language homes. We have several patrons that have parents that only speak Spanish, so I doubt there is much reading going on at home. This could be a real benefit to them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

#21-Podcasts, Smodcasts!

I am familiar with podcasts. I use ITunes and have even downloaded some podcasts-from Sunday sermons I want to hear again to information about Biltmore Estate we used when vacationing over the summer. I had did notice that you could subscribe to podcasts, but I thought, "Why?" at the time. Now I am understanding why. If you followed something you were really interested in, you could be notified when changes or updates are made through your RSS aggregator. What I like about ITunes is that the podcast is ready for you to download to your IPod the next time you get on. I did use to find and subscribe to podcasts in my Bloglines account. It was easy to use, but it would tie you to the computer in order to listen to or watch the actual podcast. I found a podcast on book reviews and subscribed. I think it is only updated monthly and I'm not sure how many books are reviewed at this point. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but with a little more searching, I'm sure I could find something that was a better fit. Thinking about how this could be used in a library setting is a little tougher. I guess you could set up an aggregator with a variety of subjects for your patrons, and search and subscribe to podcasts that would be helpful and informative to them. I would be interested in looking at examples of how more creative people have used this technology in a library setting. I took a quick look at how to create a podcast. I don't have time to do this right now, with the holidays looming, but I do plan on going back and looking at this some more. Wouldn't that be something if I could create my own podcast!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

#20-You Too Can YouTube

I have gone to YouTube and watched videos before, but I have never tried to do anything else with it. I did use the embedded code and upload a video to my blog (at the bottom of the page), which I had never done before. I chose this video simply for the sentimental and entertainment value, which is what I mostly use YouTube for. I searched for how to videos-I guess I never thought of using it in an educational way before. I found a series of videos by gliteratti that was designed for library volunteers. It demonstrates the tasks that volunteers are assigned to do. I thought that was a good way of using this technology. They could go to one place and watch a short video on the task you wanted them to work on. If the task was different the next time, there would be another video they could watch for that. It would save a lot of time on training. Managing volunteers is a huge job. The constant turnover, irregular schedules, and sheer number of volunteers can lead to confusion about who knows how to do what. This is something that can really help. I would have to think more about features or components that might be interesting if applied to library websites. As it is, I'm not really sure how correct it is to be copying and publishing this stuff elsewhere.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

#19-Discovering Web 2.0 Tools

After reviewing the two lists I was feeling overwhelmed. There are so many interesting, fun, and helpful applications out there that I never knew about. How could I choose just one? I decided to look at Backpack (as previously mentioned, I am a very practical person). This is an application that is meant for a business and it brings organizational information together in one place. Like many of the things we have been looking at, it is collaborative. I'm starting to see the power in that! Two useful tools are the calendar and reminders. You can have individual calendars or group calendars and the calendar can be color coded. You can easily see if someone is working, at a meeting, or gone. Reminders can be e-mailed or texted to your phone. There is a newsroom page where group communication can happen in one place. No more sticky notes or to do lists floating around! Again I want to say that all of this is collaborative, so if someone posts a message in the newsroom about a problem they had in the morning, and it is fixed on the evening shift, that can be updated by those users. There are lots of other useful features as well. I see great potential for this to be used withing a branch or department of the library. I think it could really streamline things and open up channels of communication. It seems to be easy to use-though I did not sign up for a free account at this time. This application took first place in the Web 2.0 awards under organization. Check it out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

#18-Web-Based Apps: They're not just for Desktops

I am exploring Google Docs and this looks very familiar. I am going to try to upload it to my blog (wish me luck). My son bought a new laptop last year and it only had a trial version of Microsoft Office on it. It surprised me as that is usually standard issue. I wonder if these online tools are the reason? I'm going to try and upload this now and will write more about my experience.

Wow, that was easy. It worked the first time too! I really like this application. It was easy to understand, simple to use, and very practical. I can see myself using this again. This would be great for students working on group projects. They could just go online and add their portion. This eliminates trying to work around schedules and physically getting together. I think it would make for a stronger project as they peer edit also. This application is a keeper in my book.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

#17-Playing Around with PBWiki

I found this difficult. Again with more time, I probably could figure it out, but I struggled trying to do what was laid out in the exercise. It took a bit for me to be able to sign on-that should be simple! I had a hard time figuring out from the resources where to go to create an account. Then there was the invite password-which I did read others comments and was expecting that, but struggled getting to the place where it would work. Once there, I found the list of favorite blogs and used the edit button to add mine, but I had problems there too. I tried to add the brackets like the instructions said, and that didn't work. Then I tried to add a link, and that didn't work. I finally just typed in my blog address and saved and that worked. I don't know if I was in the wrong place to do the bracket thing or what???? I did also go to another page and add a favorite place, and did the same thing with no problems. Getting used to the Wiki would take some more time, and I still think it has a lot of useful and practical applications. I just had a bad first time experience.