Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thing 23: Final Thoughts

My favorite "things" that I know I will continue using are:

  • Facebook - granted, I already used it before taking this class
  • My Blog - I am toying with the idea of maintaining a blog for my classroom, but haven't figured out how that would really differ from Edline, so am still thinking that through. I have though, talked some friends into blogging about their upcoming cochlear implant surgery and their experiences while studying abroad in Munich, so should I have some sort of experience that I feel people would want to know about, I am happy to have the know-how to start blogging about it.
  • - will be one of the first places I search for things on the web
  • Library Thing - I have 3 friends! :) and love having a place to find book recommendations
  • U of MN Assignment calculator - love it!
  • online document collaboration - if I can talk my teaching partner into using it too.

Thing 22: What Did I Learn Today?

I believe that one of the most valuable things about working with kids is they keep you up to date. They make it almost impossible not to stay current in pop culture and technology, or at least current enough to have heard the buzz words - new musicians, TV shows, celebrity gossip, and new web-based tools. Completing this class has given me the confidence and the curiosity to take the next step and actually get online and TRY these new tools.

I was pleasantly surprised at how relatively little trouble I had while trying the tools within the 23 Things on a Stick curriculum. I have learned that getting in there and trying a new tool is relatively painless and does not commit me to "having to use it" if I don't like it. Not trying it does not help me learn anything and may keep me from finding something that I find really valuable. One of the biggest barriers to doing this is the lack of time, so I like the idea of setting aside 15 minutes a day to keep up to date.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thing 21: Other Social Networks

Visit 23 Things on a Stick

For this "thing", I joined the 23 Things on a Stick Ning group. I also joined the Classroom 2.0 Ning group.

Visit Classroom 2.0

As I stated way back in "Thing 2", I feel that much of the hype about Library 2.0 is directly applicable to our classrooms, and I began this journey hoping to find new tools and new uses of old tools that I can use with my students. From the few minutes I spent poking around on the Classroom 2.o Ning site, I am confident that I will find ideas, answers, and inspiration here.

Thing 20: Social Networks

After about 2 years of saying I'd never join Facebook or MySpace, I had to eat my words in early June. Several of my friends had already joined Facebook, and eventually I caved. I am glad that I finally did join, as I've been able to reconnect with some people I have not had contact with for YEARS! In addition to finding and communicating with old friends, I have joined a couple of groups - "Minnesota Football Fans", "Vikings Fans", and "Delta Gamma-Lambda Chapter" - and taken a quiz to find out which Disney Princess I am (Belle). I believe that Facebook is the fastest growing social network because you have more control over who does and does not have access to your profile, making it feel more private and secure.

Thing 19: Podcasts

For this "thing" I created an account on and subscribed to the "Dave Ramsey Show" podcast. I took Dave's class "Financial Peace University" this past winter, but have only been able to find his radio show broadcast locally late Sunday nights, which is not a time I can listen. I miss his wit and common sense, so am happy to have this "Tivo"-type technology for radio.

Thing 18: You Tube

I don't automatically think of You Tube as a source of relevant content for my class. I am not one of the millions of people who browse You Tube for entertainment purposes, and I certainly have never uploaded video to You Tube. But, I was able to find some content on there that is suitable and entertaining for my class, as shown above in the claymation on Punnett Squares.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Thing 17: ELM Productivity Tools

Where was this when I was in college & grad school? Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM) eliminates the need to actually "go to the library" for research! In college, I found Walter Library so big and intimidating, that I actually would go back home to the Burnsville Library where I was comfortable, when I needed to do research...lucky for me I was only about 25 minutes away. :) Now, I have access to all of this from my own living room - wow! The folder tool is cool, no more useless printing of materials you "might use, so better print because you'll never find it later". I will definitely refer my students to these online databases when assigning research projects...seems much more reliable than google searching. Thanks for opening my eyes to what we have available to us in Minnesota!