Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Flickr Comment

After reading Lyle's email today about problems with Flickr, I tried to go to the website at school. As usual I typed in Disney World and was most astonished at what I found. The second picture in the list was a picture of a very large woman who was sitting on a bench eating. The caption claimed that they were talking about obesity and food addiction.

It was quite apparent by the description of the person who posted the picture ,that it was taken without this woman knowing. They made no effort to blur or hide her face in any way. My heart just sunk. How horrible is it that anyone can take a picture and post it on the Internet for everyone to see and use.

I am SICK TO MY STOMACH about this picture. I read the comments posted by other Flickr users regarding this picture and most were not very kind and supportive or related to food addiction or obesity. It was just an opportunity for people to make unkind and hateful remarks about a woman who doesn't even know her picture is on the Internet.

HOW CAN THIS BE OKAY! I was going to flag the picture but technically it did not meet any criteria that Flickr has for questionable photos. I just cannot get this poor woman out of my head and how horrible she or someone she knows would feel if they knew this picture was out there.

What is wrong with our society that makes people think this acceptable? If this truly were for the purposes of a discussion on obesity of food addiction and you truly had concern for people in her condition, you should have covered her face.

I truly am sick over this!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Is it the end or only the beginning?

 Red, we can help others too!

I must admit I never thought I would finish this project and not because it was too difficult, but simply because I was too overwhelmed to get started.  After our first day of training, I had completed the first four items but my progress quickly came to a screeching halt.  My first hurdle was long overdue - I didn't have the Internet at home.  I know it is hard to believe that someone in my position could survive without the Internet at home, I just never had a real need until this assignment.

I tried to continue working but the need to override everything and the difficulty in viewing pictures initially on Flickr brought my enthusiasm and progress to a halt.  The second workday (months later) brought me the motivation to get working again.  With the help of a wonderful friend and fellow blogger, I was able to hit the ground running.  The ease with which I was able to progress and the quiet time I have found in the library the first two weeks after the Holidays, gave me the opportunity to bust a move!  While my back is sore and I feel like a blob for sitting at my desk or on my couch for hours on end the last two weeks - I did it!  

My favorite discoveries along the way include: Google Reader, RSS feeds, online image generators, LibraryThing, Del.icio.us, YouTube, Animoto, and online productivity.  The ease with which we moved through the assignments made me realize that such new ideas and products are right at your fingertips and not so scary after all.  While the initial thought of completing 23 things was overwhelming, this format was very helpful.  Everything we needed to be successful was right at our fingertips.  I am not sure I would take the time to go out and search for online tutorials and explore such programs unless I had a direct need in my library.  By exposing us to so many programs and sites, we were able to think about new ways to use them in our library without even knowing they existed.  It seems like the authors of this assignment did all the hard work and we were simply able to "play and learn".  Thank you for making this possible. 

I would definitely continue such a discovery program and would love to have updates in the future.  One or two assignments a month would be very beneficial to our success in the library and definitely manageable given our crazy lives in the library.

I will definitely continue to use several programs on a regular basis and found them to be a great asset to my life.  I appreciate the knowledge this has given me and I have already begun to share several programs with my coworkers, family, and friends.  We must pass this information along to those we serve or all of this hard work will have been wasted.

Thing #21 Podcast

It is hard to believe that this is my last "Thing"!  I find the idea of a podcast interesting and see that it could be used in almost any educational setting.  However, I keep hearing our guest speaker discuss the idea that it is not a podcast if it is not updated regularly.  For this reason, I am not sure a podcast is something I would utilize in my Library.  I see myself using audio files instead of a formal podcast.

Having said that, I did explore several of the podcast directories and found some to be more helpful and user friendly than others.  The Educational Podcast site was difficult to navigate and I found most entries to be individual classes posting their projects.  While this is exciting for the creators, I am not sure it would be helpful for others.  I felt like I had to sift through a lot just to find anything of relevance.  Again, I think it is a terrific place for students and teachers to post items that would be useful for them, I am not sure an outsider would find a lot of that content relevant.

The Podcast.net site was much more user friendly.  However after searching a few school related topics (elementary library and children's literature) I am not sure I will subscribe to any pod casts at this time.  I would like more time to read through several entries before I add them to see if I find them to be a reliable source.  It seems to me that anyone can post an entry and much like the Internet, you must be somewhat skeptical of the author.  After reviewing some of these sites, I may decide to add them to my Google Reader in the future.

After reading a few other posts, the idea of TLA presenters (or any speaker) posting their sessions is quite interesting.  I am not sure they would do such a thing because it may prevent further engagements thus limiting their livelihood.  However the idea of being able to review a speakers presentation is exciting.

Thing #16 Sandbox wiki

I really enjoyed exploring this site and look forward to watching it grow.  I decided to post something that I had actually worked on with a teacher in my building.  I had a 4th grade teacher come to me needing help with her spelling words for Bilingual students.  Some students were having trouble studying their spelling words and could not get help at home because their parents were not familiar with the words in English.  We finally came up with idea of a podcast or audio file.  We made an audio file that she will either post or copy on CD for those students in need.

I like the idea of a central location (the Learning Through Play Sandbox wiki) for sharing ideas within our district.  Since we do not meet as often as we used to this is a great way to share the wealth of knowledge that exists within our circle of librarians.  I will definitely be looking to the LTPS wiki in the future when I need fresh ideas to kick start my program.

Thing #15 Wikis

I must admit I have waited  to work on this assignment until the very end because of my fear of the unknown.  After watching  yet another very informative video "in Plain English" as well as many others, I have a very clear understanding of what wikis are and how they work.  

While I am not sure how many applications there are for my Elementary Library at this time, I do see the possibilities for professionals (both teachers and Librarians) to be endless.  I would love to see the Mesquite Librarian wiki continue to thrive as well as a Mesquite Teacher wiki to be created.  Teachers are so limited in time right now, but the need to share and receive great ideas is always important.  If a wiki could be created with both grade level and content areas in mind, I think teachers and students would benefit.  While some ideas are shared via the CSI curriculum, it appears to be limited to just a few authors.  We have a wealth of Master teachers in Mesquite and we need to open up a forum for these terrific teachers to share their knowledge with everyone.  This is an exciting thought that I would love to see the subject coordinators explore.  I would love to see a uniform template used instead of each coordinator creating their own to make it more uniform and user friendly.  If it is not easily accessible and easy to use, it will not be used!

I found the list of suggested wikis to be informative and added a few to my del.icio.us site so that I may explore them more in the future when I have time.  I explored the Mesquite ISD Library Policies and Procedures wiki and at first was confused how this format would be beneficial (rather than a strict document format), but after further review I found instances where a wiki format would be very helpful.  The opportunity to share ideas for Bluebonnet voting, Mockingbird ideas, Children's Book Week, etc. is great.  This is a better format than email and the manner in which it is saved is more effective than saving  or printing every email.

I guess I shouldn't be afraid of the unknown, it wasn't so bad after all!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thing #18 Discovering web 2.0 Tools

This is the second time I have looked over the list of Web 2.0 Awards.  I first looked at Zillow and while I found it interesting, I am not in the market for a home so I am not sure I would use it at this time.  It would certainly be helpful if I were looking for a new home or trying to look at home values in my neighborhood for tax purposes.  I will be honest, I looked at the home values of friends and family and I am not sure of the accuracy (I must also say I felt a little weird, like I was invading their privacy).  I would assume they get their value from the county tax assessor so I am not sure how often it is updated based on new home builds, and additions and upgrades.

The second time I looked over the list I decided to explore Yahoo Answers and found it very helpful.  I decided to explore a more personal matter (how to remove rust and other residue from the bottom of my iron?).  This website was very user friendly and the layout was terrific.  While I certainly wouldn't set my kids loose on this website, I would certainly pass it along to my friends and co-workers.  I look forward to cleaning my iron today with a Brillo pad and white vinegar.

I decided to look over the entire list as well and was not surprised to see many of the sites we have already been exploring on the list.  While I'm not sure I would check this particular site regularly I will certainly keep it in the back of my mind in the future as a good reference tool.  I hope the Learning 2.0 website will not be taken down any time soon because I find myself using it as a great reference tool when I want to revisit particular sites.  

I will also take this time to confess that I spent several hours on YouTube the other night just "playing".  What a great place to explore clips on people of interest.  I was able to view interview clips as well as performance clips of people I might never have been able to see.  What a blast!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thing #23 Creative Commons

While I understand the concept of creative commons, I was completely lost on the website to find the items that did contain the creative commons "license" (if that is the right word).  I watched several of the videos provided on their site as well as our assignment page and found them all to be very helpful.  One diagram made it very clear that Creative Commons is simply the middle ground between full copyright and public domain.  Another video clip said it was time to "refine the rules of copyright" which I completely agree with in the age of the internet.

The idea of copyright is something that we must continue to explain to students at a very early age.  While the idea that you can use someone else's work or ideas is very basic at the Elementary level, it must still be addressed.  As others have stated in their blogs, I would love to show the "Disney" video that explains copyright to my teachers.  The Disney clips themselves might keep the teachers interested while the very important idea of copyright is addressed.  I think we are all a bit guilty of using the "fair use" or "for educational purposes" argument because we simply do not understand the laws.  It is a very gray area and we must do our best to work our way through it and not ignore it.

As I stated, the website itself did a great job of explaining creative commons, but I would love a tutorial on where to find things that one could use with creative commons.  I would like to see a sample video clip as well as the disclaimer as to what portion one may use and how they may use it.

It could be that I am getting tired after an entire work day of "play" and it was right in front of my face, but I must continue to explore the site to see what items could be used with my students and teachers.