Thursday, October 18, 2007

Week 4, Thing #8 and Thing #9, RSS Feeds and Newsreaders

This week's experience was about RSS news feeds and readers. I didn't know what an RSS was, but once I learned about them, I started to notice the logo everywhere. I set up an account with Bloglines. At first I was confused because I thought that if I subscribed to several feeds, somehow that would show up on my email account or something. Finally, I realized I would still have to visit the Bloglines site, but all my subscriptions would be gathered in that one spot. I see from looking at Google reader that if you use Google a lot, it is easy to get to their reader from their main site.

I found there is quite a variety of information available in this format. Again, as with other parts of technology, the biggest challenge is figuring out how much is useful and at what point things just become overwhelming. You could decide to limit your subscriptions to just things pertaining to work, or personal interests, or a particular subject. I do find that reading blogs is not very interesting to me. I guess I would rather just have a conversation with someone. I miss the back and forth exchange of ideas when I am reading it in isolation and responding in a vacuum. So while you can get some ideas from library blobs, I don't think I would genereally subscribe to them (at least I haven't found one I would add yet). Still, it is good to keep looking at things and to know the tools to use when you find something you want to keep track of.

I don't think I was too surprised at the variety of subjects available. Like all of technology, at first you discover the service, then it doesn't take too long to be surprised when someone doesn't use the service. I thought organizations like sports teams might do some of this but I think they must still primarily use email to communicate with their fans. One other thing to consider when choosing subscriptions, too, is to consider the reliability of the source. For example, I subscribed to one of the catagories in the Reader's Club, but then realized that I need to check out who is writing the reviews before using their advice to buy library books. I didn't find any standout unusual sites to write about this time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Week 3, Thing #7

Reading through some of the other blogs, one of the writers raised a question about the amount of time technology takes. It really is a mixed bag, isn't it? On the one hand, technology enables us to do so many things that weren't even possible a short time ago. Is anyone else old enough to remember Dick Tracy and his 2 way wrist TV? Or Maxwell Smart and the phone he had in his shoe? Now, I see kids in real life talking on their cell phones every day. My children, who live halfway around the world, are almost as accessible by phone and email as if they lived down the street. I can communicate and get information in a fraction of the time it used to take. It really is a whole new world.

On the other hand, there are so many possibilities that it can be overwhelming. Even just the few things we have already learned for this class simulate all kinds of ideas of ways I could use them in my library. Start a blog! Put photos on my website! Make posters and bookmarks! The problem is: what things am I doing now that I am willing to give up in order to add these new projects? I know we often think of technology as being a time saver, but in reality, the new things we do tend to soak up plenty of time. It becomes a priority and time management question. There are lots of good things to do. What are the best?

This is the question each of us must answer. Seeing technology as a supplier of tools to accomplish our goals rather than having our activities driven by the possibilities raised by technology is the key to choosing where to best spend our time. It is a question each of us must answer, and re-answer, as we examine our practice and priorities. It is good to be aware of the possibilities that technology provides us. It is even better to chose wisely which will serve your goals for your library and your students.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Week 3, Thing #6, Creating a Magazine Cover

Tomorrow is my daughter's birthday, so I took a picture from her summer travels and made a magazine cover with it. I can see a lot of uses for the mash-ups and tools in this section. A few ideas are posters advertising books, trading cards with different fiction genres on them, and recognition items to encourage reading. It was easy to do and fun.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Week 3, Thing #5, Images

I explored Flickr and took some pictures of my library so I could learn how to upload them. I liked using Flickr. It seems like an easy tool to use to manage and organize photos. I can see how useful it would be to be able to use photos in blogs. Now, I'd like to figure out how to put them in my website as well. That may take working with the tech team since they manage the school's web presence. The picture at the right is a view of the library from the circulation desk. Now, I am going to try to insert a second photo of the reading area in the back of the library and a third of the teaching area.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Week 2, Thing #3, Avatar

This process is interesting because you can't really get an exact representation of yourself, but this is an example of the kind of thing kids will spend a lot of time doing. They are used to investing time in customizing their ipods, computers, etc. I have more of the mindset of taking something out of the box and just using it, no customizing necessary. This was good practice in learning how to do something that I normally would chose not to spend time on.

Week 2, Thing #3, Setting Up A Blog

This wasn't too hard, although it is a challenge remembering all the user names and passwords I have, and which ones go together. The days of having one bank account, one credit card and one email address are long gone. I'm looking forward to learning the Web 2.0 stuff and seeing how I like recording my progress this way.