Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
-St. Francis of Assisi

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Online Image Generators

library quiet animecute-kitten-cat_www-txt2pic-com
My first atttempts! I'd like to create a series of "signs" for the Library that are fun, attention-grabbing and, hopefully, effective. I made these through Comic Strip Generator and then uploaded them to Flickr for sharing and printing.


I spent a little time exploring Rollyo and can't say I was impressed. I have not felt the need to pare down the search engines I use. I could see some potential in the classroom: a teacher could set up specifics sites to search in a particular subject, for example. As for the Library, I want to broaden my search capabilities, not narrow them down to particular areas.

I went to the CSLA site to see how others liked this tool and found similar results. The best part of that was reading the blogs of others who are in the process of doing this course! ('Misery loves company'?)

More Document Sharing

I have just finished putting my busy family's schedules onto Google Calendar. I have created a separate calendar for everyone's schedule, so that they are all color-coded. Am thinking seriously about trying this at school - (1) in order to keep a "Master Calendar" and (2) so that I can direct colleagues there when trying to schedule Library visit times. I may also just begin putting the schedule directly on the school's Library Calendar, since they are beefing up on-line security somewhat. Regardless, having all events posted on Google Calendar will help me to at least keep track of my family.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Online Productivity Tools

I played with Zoho Writer and GoogleDocs a little bit this week - I tried to publish a table on dancing librarian to accompany the "Parallels" blog. Here is what I found: GoogleDocs were easier, more intuitive to use; but it was far easier to publish to my blog through Zoho. It seemed I had more to learn about the Zoho editor, whereas GoogleDocs felt closer to the Microsoft tools I currently use. Both would require more learning time on my part; I am more inclined to go to GoogleDocs just because of name familiarity.

However, when a teacher told me how she had just finished creating a massive spreadsheet encompassing all the vocabulary which needed to be taught through the year and I told her that GoogleDocs would allow her to upload it to the Web so that she could view it easily at school, she said she relied on her flash drive for that. Don't know how she would feel about having this info exposed to share with others.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Quiet Zone

My creation
My creation,
originally uploaded by vmcpherson.
Now I'm playing - sort of. I am wanting to remake my "Remember to Use Quiet Voices" signs. This is not exactly what I want, but if I keep playing with it....

Library-Related Blogs

An hour or so of clicking last night took me far and wide - and back home, again.

While I had already taken a look at the TeacherLibrarian Ning, through the chance comment I received and talked about here, I had not tried out any blog-search services as suggested in the course outline.

I did as suggested - went to "Bloglines" and typed in "school library," without the quotes, and was disappointed with the results, to an extent. Most of the references were about school, perhaps about libraries, but little of it looked interesting. However, on the sidebar I noticed the "School Library Journal." I had viewed articles from there before, but had no idea of the resources, nor the broad gamut of subjects it carried. I subscribed to feeds for three - "Education News," "Information Literacy," and "Library Tools and Trends."

So I then tried "school library," with quotes and found two things worth pursuing: Doug Johnson's "Getting the Most from Your School Library Media Program," written for Principal in January 2005; and "21 Century Learning @ Your Library," written by a member of the Colorado Association of School Librarians, Nancy White.

The first blog/article led me look at how principals might evaluate their school library program - which is very helpful input as I make my plans for next year: the second led me to some very interesting sites, some of which I have put into; some at Google Reader. This also meant learning how to organized my Reader categories, because it is getting too full to browse easily!

Recommended sites: the discussion wiki at the International Society for Technology in Education, (following Su Eckhardt's lead at the CASL blog), the Librarian Philosopher blog (he has comforting advice to new librarians on June 28th); and Resources for School Librarians.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thoughts on Web2.0

"Blogging," "wikis," "podcasting," even YouTube was a thing of mystery to me a year ago. When I attended my first explanatory sessions, I thought, "what a great outreach tool!" And then I began reading the blogs of other educators, and think about their thoughts. This has provided not only a connection with others whose mindset is similar, but personal growth as well.

And here is the truly amazing thing to me - how we quickly we can connect with others, thanks to these new web tools. I finally worked up the courage to comment on the blog of one of my web heroes - Will Richardson. One of the other people to also comment there then put a comment on my personal blog. We are connected, it turns out, not just by maintaining similar ideas, but she is also a Librarian. And she knits (something in which I also have an interest). However, she lives in upstate NY!

This is not the first connection I've made - a few others have found my blog when I quoted them - Ben Wilkoff, for example. Again, I have really learned a great deal from reading his material - and put it to work, in creating all my school planning on wikis, and in preparing a section on "Internet Safety" in an upcoming staff development of which I am a presenter.

So the connections keep me interested in pursuing technology; and every library organization in the country seems to be "encouraging" additional knowledge in this area as well. Personally and professionally, I am being challenged to expand my technology skills and knowledge. That's a good thing, in my opinion, and it keeps me sympathetic to my students and other staff who are trying to learn this stuff, as well.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Library 2.0

"Discovery Exercise:
1. Read two or three of the perspectives on Library 2.0 from the list below. Create a blog post about your thoughts on any one of these.
2. Library 2.0 - It's many things to many people. What does it mean to you? What does it mean for school libraries?"

I am only now learning what "Web 2.0" means...Library 2.0 was still a mystery. Here are a few quotes that are helping my perspective:

From Michael Stephens: Librarian, Blogger: "Web 2.0: Where Will it Take Libraries?"

Into a new world of librarianship

Librarian 2.0, then, is the “strategy guide” for helping users find information, gather knowledge and create content...This librarian recognizes how services might be enhanced by the Read/Write web and how new services might be born in a climate of collaboration...This librarian understands that the future of libraries will be guided by how users access, consume and create content.

From Library 2.0: Service for the Next Generation Library

By Michael E. Casey and Laura C. Savastinuk -- Library Journal, 9/1/2006

"The heart of Library 2.0 is user-centered change. It is a model for library service that encourages constant and purposeful change, inviting user participation in the creation of both the physical and the virtual services they want, supported by consistently evaluating services. It also attempts to reach new users and better serve current ones through improved customer-driven offerings."

From School Library Journal

Say good-bye to your mother’s school library

By Christopher Harris -- School Library Journal, 5/1/2006

"On the face of it, we’re talking about using blogs and podcasts. The heart of the concept, though, is not about the tools, but rather the communities and the conversations that they make possible....
"Digitally re-shifting your school library is about harnessing the power of new ideas like Web 2.0 to help fulfill the mission of school libraries. It does not necessarily mean discarding the old, but rather reconsidering what works best in meeting new challenges in a changing educational world. It’s all a part of helping students become literate users of information in order for them to have successful careers in school and beyond. Remember that for some students, a rich school library experience may be their only library experience. Let’s use every opportunity to help our students engage the joy of reading and the power of information."

My analysis is that, my library is still back at 1.0, maybe 1.7 or 8. I am becoming more familiar with the Web 2.0 tools, in order to increase the resources at my fingertips. What I've found with the use of those social networking capabilities is that the "communities and conversations" are increasing. Thus, my library has expanded because of my increased awareness and comfort level with these tools.

I've copied these quotes to my library planning wiki, as well. They reinforce the State standards for "Quality School Libraries," which I am trying to incorporate into my goals. Librarians are supposed to be supporting the effort to create "information literate" students - and that definition encompasses the world of technology.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

How long the road

How long the road
How long the road,
originally uploaded by vmcpherson.
I created this "Motivational Poster" using one of the third party applications through Flickr - fd's Flickr Toys. Definite potential here. The fun part was then linking it all to this blog.



This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Flickr is fun, although I don't know what I'll do with it or in it yet. I've uploaded some recent pix, put some of them on the map, grouped them, tagged them, and viewed a few photos from random picks by Flickr. I can see - maybe - using the map application in the classroom.

More fun was a brief foray into their third party applications - I hope to create some posters and notecards later this week. I especially enjoyed playing with the tool that would let you "sketch" something, then find pictures that matched in shape and color. Again, don't know how I'll use this, and I don't have that much time to play these days!

Fortunately, it took very little time to determine how to upload and organize pictures. I like the privacy feature, as well!

Friday, July 6, 2007


One recent evening, my husband & I browsed YouTube for all of the old folk and rock'n'roll songs we loved and could remember. I was astounded at the footage we found! How the internet can take up alot of time...

My introduction to YouTube was through the "Numa Numa" song - something silly played at school one day, for which I was seeking a particular video. Somehow, from there I found Introducing the Book, which still makes me giggle.

Other than entertainment value, YouTube has both educational and marketing ideas. Even ALA has posted videos, as well as many public libraries across the country - check out those from the McCracken County Library in Paducah, KY (like, The Adventures of SuperLibrarian). Not everything found is appropriate, of course.

My absolute favorite video, recently re-made, updated and sent out to this group a couple of weeks ago, is by another Web hero of mine, Karl Fisch. I watched Did You Know/Shift Happens at the Adventure of the American Mind Conference, and it made a life-altering impression. Versions of this can be found on Teacher Tube (which is gradually adding things beyond boring lectures) and other places.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


At one point, I decided I'd like to be Vicki Davis when I grew up - one of the Women of Web 2 whom I consider to be a Wiki Queen. It was her presentation that introduced me to wikis, when I was attending the Adventure of the American Mind conference last February. The whole point behind a wiki, it seems to me, is to provide a web-based collaborative site that a broad or selected group might edit.

I had the opportunity to try one out this Spring, when one of our teachers celebrated 10 years with the school. Since most of her early students were in college, and presumably using the Web 2.0 tools, I established a wiki to which we invited alums and families to contribute. A friend who has been a part of the school as long as I called roughly 50 families, and got current e-mail addresses for students. She also put out word on Facebook and MySpace. In that two weeks, we uploaded pictures of the original classes and had over 30 contributions!

Since then, I have created a wiki to coordinate a conference, create a planning space for my library projects, and one for this course. I have found Wikispaces easier to use than PBWiki - and also less expensive for the no-advertising levels. My biggest surprise is the reluctance of those invited to get in and modify the space. Overall, it is surprisingly easy.

So, how many of us use more than one computer during the day? I was always frustrated at home because I'd run across an interesting web site at work, and didn't remember how I got there. Enter This is a wonderful little "bookmarking" tool that allows me to save any site on the web to one place. It requires no RSS sign, or anything else, AND you can share your bookmarks with friends who also have accounts. In addition, you "tag" everything so you can sort through it easily by subject. It has been a great help!

The trick is, coming up with some sort of system for your tags!

RSS and Newsfeeds

I have skipped over "Flickr" with the intention to play around with it during some free time this summer.

It has taken me some time to get used to the thinking behind RSS - but now, I think it is the best thing around. One major problem with following so many blogs, which I have posted on my home blog, is the time it took to scroll through the list on a regular basis. Not every posts every day, so there was a lot of wasted time, as well.

No more. Rather than using Bloglines, I tried out FeedReader, and have settled on Google Reader.
Any of these aggregators will search through all the blogs to which you have subscribed by clicking on the little orange image. I go to one site, Google Reader, and scroll through that list - the titles in bold have not been read. If I want to go to the site, I can, or I can read the latest info right there. It's great!

23 Things - Week 2 - Blogs

At the CAL Conference last November, I attended a session on "Keeping Current with Technology," led by Emilie Satterwhite and Steve Lawson, two Colorado Librarians. It covered Blogs, Wikis, Feeds and Podcasting. I was struck by what a great marketing tool blogs could be, and how feeds could be utilized to track postings. Wikis and podcasting went over my head at that point.

As I was about to facilitate a class that was more like a book club, I decided to use blogs as one means of turning in book reflections. That is when I began my blog - I wrote book reflections to use as examples. About half of my class chose to blog, also. While I had not figured out feeds at that point, I did receive e-mails when they posted, and could see a count of how many times they posted. I enjoyed seeing how they set up their blogsite, and just reading about their impressions of the books they read.

Once the course was over, I was going to delete my blog, but an author about whose book I had written found his name and sent me some positive comments. That was exciting enough for me to give my blog a new lease on life.

I was able to connect my students to authors of books they had read. Encountering local authors at the Colorado Teen Lit Conference in April, I explained what I'd done with my lit course. They were interested in seeing what the students had written, so gave me their e-mail addresses to share with the students. That was a positive experience all the way around.

Another useful way to use blogs: I attended a conference about the Autonomous Learner Model, led by George Betts, and blogged about the sessions I attended on a nightly basis. I then directed our Head of School to my blogsite - and she was thrilled to see what I had been learning.

23 Things - D12 Learning 2.0 - start

I actually began this project in April, inspired by many things. One was this quote:
March 20, 2007

ACRL releases essay on technology and change in academic libraries

The full essay and an expansion of that conversation are at

The summit identified three essential actions libraries must take to achieve the necessary transformation and remain vital forces on campus in the years ahead:

* Libraries must evolve from an institution perceived primarily as the domain of the book to an institution that users clearly perceive as providing pathways to high-quality information in a variety of media and information sources....

I'd found the "23 Things" list at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County blog.

I viewed the "7 1/2 Habits Tutorial" at that point. Here is the list, for reference:

7 1/2 Habits of Lifelong Learners
Lori Reed
Training specialist, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County

1. Begin with the end in mind - determine what your goal will be
2. Accept responsibility for your own learning
3. View problems as challenges
4. Have confidence in yourself as a competent, effective learner
5. Create your own learning toolbox (books, classes, technology, mentors, friends)
6. Use technology to your advantage (should be a tool to make your life easier)
7. Teach/mentor others
7 1/2. Play, be curious, read!

I like their "Learning Contract," as well: