Thursday, December 22, 2011

Introducing Alice

This week Mr Stewart and I have introduced our plans for using digital narratives to his grade 6 language classes.
Both groups participated in a quick introduction to our Weebly website host and to blogging. The Brainpop Blogs video got a few chuckles. We looked at flickrcc and Google advanced image search for reusable, modifiable images to enhance their sites.
A letter of permission was added to the teacher site and forms have been sent home for signatures.
Instructions were given  for creating their web page.
Your new website is about reading. Create a Home page which reflects your understanding about reading and your interest in reading.
Include words and images.

We used Kist's Snowball activity to develop guidelines for blogging and commenting. Interestingly the guidelines for each class that does this acitivity are very similar.

607 Guidelines for Blogging
  1. disagree respectfully (always comes out first)
  2. comment with details
  3. make sense and add details
  4. use good English spelling, grammar and punctuation

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Planning a Grade 6 Science Blog

The following assignment is a Web 2.0 adaptation of
Planet for Sale!
Part One: I am a Scientist web page
  • My Science memories
  • What I learned about air and flight
  • My favourite Science invention
  • My favourite online Science sites
Part Two: Planet for Sale Blog 
POST #1   Introduce yourself and your realty company
    1. your first name
    2. your company name
    3. a logo for your company
    4. graphics
    5. date of last revision
POST # 2   Describe your planet
  1. planet name
  2. number planet from the sun
  3. distance to earth
  4. closest planet-how far?
  5. interesting characteristics
  6. atmosphere: temperature, weather, etc.
  7. surface: crustal activity, quakes, volcanoes
POST # 3   Clearly describe the characteristics of your planet which are most appealing to buyers and explain why the features are important.

POST # 4   Clearly describe suggestions for buyer as to how they might use or enjoy the planet based on the characteristics.

POST # 5  BUY comments 
Try to buy a planet! These comments must communicate to at least 3 other sellers that you want to buy their planet. Your comments will help you find out if their planet is the one for you. Write clear comments and intelligent questions. Check back to see what their answers are.

POST # 6 SELL comments 
Sell your planet! Respond to questions and comments made by possible buyers of your planet. You want to convince them that your planet is the best choice for them to buy.Try to make a sale.

Students are encouraged to include:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Podcasting: The survey says...

Podcasting Survey 2011 using My use of this tool still needs some fine-tuning.
This week Ms Knight and I completed our first collaborative podcasting experience with her grade 8 Science classes. Although we faced a number of challenges the overall engagement of the students and results were spectacular.

When asked what they had learned students responded:
  • science can be fun
  • I can learn without visuals
  • repetition by rerecording helped me learn
  • how to use Audacity
  • how to make a podcast
  • about my water issue and why it is important
  • I would make a great reporter
 Suggestions made by students for next time:
  • more time to record
  • practice more
  • should podcast more often
  • try video recording
  • speak more clearly, more slowly and with more expression
  • work faster
  • pick a different partner
Although some students chose not to publish their podcasts online Ms Knight and I agree the assignment was worth the time and effort.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tech in Perspective
An informal meeting with a board Technology Resource Teacher (ITRT) today made me review the progress we have made implementing technology at my school. A little refresher to put things in perspective.
Library Tech:
  • wireless hub 
  • 13 netbooks + 4 desk top PCs
  • 4 flip cameras
  • 15 headset/microphones
  • Evernote & Diigo added to netbook image
  • Wiki use for social studies and science projects (gr. 6)
  • wiki use for reading strategies demonstration (gr. 7)
  • use of Flickr and FlickrCC resources
  • Glogster presentations (prior to board blocking)
  • Prezi creation with French classes (gr. 8)
  • Diigo recommended for student collection of bookmarks (g.r 8)
  • Bibme accounts for collection of citations (gr. 8)
  • introduction of alternate search engines; Sweet Search, Mashpedia, Boolify and Yippy
  • 16 Sqworl pathfinders for a variety of subject areas (gr. 6,7,8)
  • podcasting with six science classes (gr.8)
  • video creation with two media classes (gr.7)
  • introduction to blogging for eight classes (gr.7, 8)
  • purchase of Weebly Campus Account
  • ten teachers set up Weebly class accounts
  • purchase of PodOmatic podcasting account for school
  • planned PD to introduce Diigo and Twitter as tools for PLN
Tech in the school:
  • wireless hubs on three mobile netbook labs (20 netbooks/ one cart/grade level)
  • use of Google docs at staff meeting and student focus groups
  • VP's from our superintendency visit digitally savvy schools in B.C.
  • teacher attendance at board-wide Tech conference
  • School blogs with student content, photos, Voice thread
Our digital footprint is much better than we thought and growing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Diigo via Skype

Skype photo capture
This evening I was called to a Skype video call with my niece in order to help her configure a new laptop. Her well loved and well used netbook had died and with this death went her favourites.
I was able to convince her to download the Diigo toolbar and join Diigo in order to save her bookmarks where they would be available anywhere and anytime no matter what condition her personal computer was in.
After adding the Diigo toolbar to her Internet Explorer browser we used the bookmarking feature to save Twitter to her Diigo Library as well as a course site for school. She experimented with highlighting text, capturing images and pages and deleting unwanted results. 
We created a private unsearchable group to store her bookmarks and then she started a search for other groups she might like to join. The Music category attracted her and I suggested she browse for groups with larger numbers of members and recent activity. 
Her next step was to download and install Firefox and add Diigo to that browser as well. She seemed pleased with the results and expressed interest in my suggestion to use Diigo to coordinate group research assignments.
This took less than 50 minutes on Skype including time spent with family visiting, waiting for pages to load and downloading Diigo and Firefox.

The End is the Beginning

An accurate reflection on my learning during this inquiry project is illustrated in the following verse by Piet Hein:
“Knowing what
Thou knowest not
Is in a sense

Although I had “little experience with or opportunity to use these tools” (Author, 2011, p.2) and recognized my lack of experience, I hoped that blogging about Web 2.0 technology would provide the occasion for me to learn more regarding “the tools I have read about and explore in more depth the tools that have piqued my interest.”(p.3) I expected to become an expert with Web 2.0 tools but in fact what I have learned is that I may be ahead of some of my teaching peers but I have much more to learn thus my Steps to Web 2.0 journey will not end here.

This inquiry has become part of the process of creating my Personal Learning Network (PLN). I have been able to access, read, bookmark, save and share countless professional ideas and articles through my slowly growing PLN.
Beylerian (2011) tells us that developing a PLN is valuable because ”it’s a global education that you are trying to model for your family and your students.”

I chose to explore Flickr, Thinglink, Audacity, Masher, Diigo, and Blogger (including Google Reader and RSS feeds) but as this blog shows my exploration was extended to include: BigHugeLabs, Jing, Soundcloud, Podomatic, iTunes, Movie Maker (not a Web tool), Tagxedo, Voki, and Clustrmap. I look forward to exploring these technologies further and adding my explorations of new technologies to this blog.

Overall my experience with these Web 2.0 technologies has been successful. I acknowledge that I came across some problems, but these were easily overcome with available alternatives. I foresee that the implementation of Web 2.0 tools in my professional practice will be the area of most frustrat
ion and possibly failure but I am prepared to recalculate my route when necessary.

I hope to continue sharing my learning through in school teacher PD, this blog and Twitter and I will encourage my colleagues to create a PLN using Diigo and Twitter in order to keep up with educational thought and practice.
I will be presenting Understanding Web 2.0 Tools with Brenda Roberts on Wednesday February 1, 2012 at the Ontario Library Association Superconference Pre-Conference  sessions.

I anticipate continued learning and opportunities for sharing with my ever expanding PLN.

This post was compiled from Final Inquiry Project Reflections submitted for assessment December 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Loving Web 2.0 tools

Does loving a Web 2.0 tool require research, reflection, and recall?
Research: Brooks-Kirkland shared criteria used for "scoring" the OSLA Great Web 2.0 Face-Off at the 2011 OLA Superconference during a recent webinar I participated in. 
Identified as Types of Learning Boosts from Technology Peterson (2011) lists:
  • motivation
  • learning how to learn
  • efficency
  • creativity and content creator
  • deep understanding of content knowledge
  • assessing what we really value
  • teaching strategies; techniques and organization
Reflection: What do I think about the selected tools?
  • ease of access  (registration, login)
  • learning curve
  • tech support
  • availability using school network
  • intuitive interaction
  • multiple applications: personal, professional, educational
  • student engagement
  • product
Recall: Think back-how did it go?
  • Diigo (LOVE/LOVE)
    • toolbar to capture, highlight, sticky note, bookmark, annotate, share and send
    • group membership and creation
    • tagging
    • PLN! at your finger tips
    • multiple applications professional, personal and educational
  •  Blogger (LOVE) 
    • simple to learn 
    • gadget gallery and embeddable options
    • tagging
    • searchable
    • no school access for student use
    • Flickr (LIKE/LIKE)
      • absolutely worth the time
      • multiple teaching possibilities
      • flickrcc - great source of digital images
      • tagging
    •  Thinglink (LIKE)
      • simple to learn
      • multiple applications
      • PodOmatic (LIKE)
        • simple to learn 
        • recording and hosting
        • tagging
      • Masher (like)
        • drag and drop timeline
        • simple to learn
        • limited length of video
        • glitches in final frames, embedding

          Saturday, November 26, 2011

          Top 10 Signs That Your Teacher Is A Geek

          I follow @AuntyTech (Donna Baumbach) on Twitter. This morning she posted this: Top 10 Signs That Your Teacher Is A Geek from Fractus Learning

          I must admit I was interested in seeing if my recent explorations of Web 2.0 had changed my "status".
          Nothing really surprised me.
          I recognized most of the tools but still have a way to go...Quora? Foursquare? Gingerbread? Honeycomb? Ice Cream Sandwich?
          I liked the top ten tool used in the post but partial geekiness doesn't get me any answers about what tool it is or where to find it.
          I now follow @FractusLearning on Twitter and Google Reader.

          Friday, November 25, 2011

          Student Blogging Guidelines

          Kist (2010, p.37) offers the Snowball activity as a way to create an inclass (no tech) blogging experience leading to developing guidelines for bloggers.
          Image: 'Snow ball'

          After an exciting Friday afternoon snowball activity, class 701 generated the following:

          Guidelines for Blogging 

          and Commenting
          1. Write for your readers
          2. Use proper grammar and spelling
          3. Make sense
          4. Be polite
          5. Stay on topic
          6. Disagree respectfully

            The best moment was when the T.A. for a student who is visually impaired (and a blossoming writer) told me that the student had loved the activity and really "got it".

          Wednesday, November 23, 2011

          Thinglink in The National Post: Interactive News

          I was especially interested to see this link appear in a tweet  from @thinglink today. Imagine how empowered our students would feel creating something that has been seen in the news.

          Monday, November 21, 2011

          Educating Bloggers

          I've been working to encourage teachers to incorporate technology (recently) blogging in their programs. It is real work.
          'Why Not? - Mixed Media for Transit Art' photo (c) 2010, Jacque Davis - license:
          It begins. 
          • "Why should I?"
            Explain about blogging and its benefits; purposeful writing, authentic audience, engaging kids with technology, options for creative culminating tasks, multiple intelligences, equity, collaboration.
          • "I don't get computers."
            Overcome fears with teacher/teacher librarian collaboration and team teaching.

          • "I don't see how it will fit in the curriculum."
            Blogging allows for flexible content and can be used in every subject area with many options for demonstration of understanding. Personally I have always thought my job as an educator is to teach my students how to think and how to learn.

          • "I told the parents I was going to have my class write more."
            Blogging is writing and for an authentic audience.

          •  "I don't know anything about blogging."
            Let me help. Watch
            these videos.Commoncraft: BlogsBrainpop-blogsStart small. Richardson (2009, p.32). suggests blogging with students can be scaffolded.
          ELEMENTARY: Locate interesting sites, compare and write about the sites and how they might be used.
          MIDDLE SCHOOL: Become experts on a selected topic and identify valid and credible sources.
          OLDER STUDENTS: Reflect on a research topic, build on ideas and comments, create new ideas.

          • "They won't be interested."
            Nieses (2011.para.1) writes in Empowering Students to Leave a Legacy, "
            one great way to create deep motivation for some learners is encouraging them to leave a legacy." I imagine the legacy of the digital footprint of a blog might motivate some.

          Doing the Web 2.0 Quickstep

          As the first few months of my Web 2.0 course pass I have begun to dance the Web 2.0 dance just a little quicker. As a new dancer there have been the inevitable missteps.

          Image: 'Indian dancer ¬ 9363*'

          I have done the Flickr: steps at school without too much stress. I have experimented using Flickr in the library for a few lessons where I showed colour palettes and watercolour paintings. I found a visual of 5 grams of salt for a nutrition lesson and another group used the flickr images on Mashpedia to understand oil spills.

          These Thinglink steps are still in rehearsal.  It is a tool I would like to have our students access on their web pages. It remains to be seen whether the thinglink plugin can be activated on Weebly student accounts.

          The Podcasting steps are a bit more complicated than we thought but with more attention to the technical we will have this tool ready for performance. In order to accommodate class  podcasting we purchased an upgrade for the PodOmatic site for one year.  Some very enthusiastic grade 8 classes have created scripts to use for podcasting their research about issues related to water. Using Audacity which can be found on the school board computer image was simple although students found trying to transfer from Audacity versions downloaded at home to the school version was impossible due to incompatibly issues. We found microphones to use with our netbook labs and the library has purchased our own microphone/head sets. Unfortunately problems developed when the microphones would not record and when classroom noise levels interfered with recording.

          In order to publish student podcasts we needed to contact  PodOmatic support. They instructed us to have students use the same login and password to access and publish their episodes on our podcast channel.
          One more thing: we are looking into a school Voicethread Account
          and a staff learning session in the library to allow more students access to this tool for broadcasting on the internet .

          Video Creating is a dance of frustrations. The students in small groups collected video clips for editing to create commercials for Media Studies. Students were given the choice of using or Movie Maker. To access Movie Maker using school computers is simple as the software is on our school board computer image. Some of the library netbooks required downloading of the software which revealed that Microsoft Movie Maker is not available for Windows XP (the system our school computers use).

          Our first attempt to upload to Movie Maker failed because our flipcamera files are MP4 and movie maker reads avi files.
          'Flip Camera

          An email to our Learning Technologies Specialist gave me the link to Free Studio (supported by our board) to use to convert MP4 files to avi. The download and the conversion took forever! And because we were dealing with two classes and six groups in each class and needed to transfer from computer to computer using USB drives and the librarian didn't think to name the files using student can imagine that day.
          Thanks to the engagement of technology the students were patient while they waited and enthusiastic once their files were uploaded and the editing began.  Thank you to my colleague who was supportive and had a sense of humour.
          I am seriously considering an additional investigation of Animoto for online video editing. Rouleau (2011) writes, "Animoto allows the user a fast and animated video creation tool that automatically adds in special effects with minimal effort." (para.3)

          Still practicing these Diigo steps: Although I have had Diigolet added to my library netbook image and suggested to some students they open an account to collect bookmarks for a research assignment there has been little opportunity to teach with Diigo.

          Blogging is the dance I most look forward to. Blogger is blocked by our board and Edublogs although recommended  by our board as a substitute for Google Blogger doesn't rank highly amoung staff who have class websites. Weebly though, is very well thought of and a number of staff already have accounts. A request to open a Weebly account put to our principal resulted in the purchase of a campus account for 750 students and 30 teachers with the ability for present account holders to migrate to the new school Pro Campus account.
          We have introduced blogging to four classes this week using the Commoncraft videos: Blogs in Plain English., a Brainpop Video about Blogs and the Kist (2010) Snowball activity (p.37) which has been very successful in helping students recognize the need for guidelines when writing blogs.
          I have recreated my BBAT boys' reading blog using Weebly and hope to encourage our boys to read and write using this tool. I am also considering using blogging for my Red Maple Reading Program group to discuss the ten fiction titles selected this year.

          The dance continues and each day I feel a little more sure-footed about the opportunities for using Web 2.0 tools in my school library with the teachers and students.

          Would you care to dance?

          Sunday, November 20, 2011

          My 3 Blogging Hats

          Teaching Hat:
          • engaging students in meaningful writing for authentic audiences
          • student portfolio development
          • literature/discussion circle
          • "supports critical thinking, encouraging students to think and reflect prior to writing."(Trexler, 2010, p105)
          • engaging students and teachers using technology
          • allows all members of a class an equal voice
          • sharing ideas and understanding
          • school library blog
          • student reading group blogs
          • sharing passion for technology in education and school libraries
          • offering PD to teachers
          Learning Hat
          • Personal Learning Community (without a doubt)
          • professional resources available through searching credible sources
          • links to new resources through the blogs I follow
          • collaborate to present ideas to colleagues/followers
          • using Google Reader for updates from blogs I follow
          • life long learning will be up to date, relevant and accurate
          • RSS feeds how did ever live without you?

          Personal Hat: 
          • possibly create a blog to share my interest in watercolour painting (might have to wait now I am on this journey to Web 2.0)
          • developing my voice
          • Should I delete my Facebook account due to a few negative experiences and focus more on blogging?
          • feeling validated by repeat viewers from around the world
          • I think therefore I am a blogger

          Saturday, November 19, 2011

          Blogging/Blogger: Pros and Cons

          -free and unlimited blogs
          -professional, personal, instructional uses
          -unlimited content possible
          -opportunity to share beyond the classroom
          -opportunity for participation by all students in curriculum conversations
          -personalizing with selection of themes, layout, images
          -addition of video, audio, digital images, screen capture
          -links to web sites, blogs, YouTube, web pages
          -embed hyperlinks, video, avatars, widgets
          -RSS feeds allow following of favourites
          -capture favourite blogs in Google Reader or another aggregator
          -tagging or labeling to ease searches
          -allows collaboration
          -socializes information with comments
          -part of your digital footprint
          -opportunity to write for a larger audience
          -helps develop Professional Learning Community
          -encourages critical thinking
          -statistics are available
          Steps to Web 2.0 audience November 20
          -institutional internet filter blocking of blogs
          -Google accounts inability to "talk" to other accounts
          -moderating of comment content may be necessary
          -possible miscommunication or misunderstanding of posts

          From here to there and back again: Qwiki

          I was introducing Mashpedia to a class this week and realized that I hadn't had time to get a handle on all of the sources. I had missed one - Qwiki.
          Luckily, the other resources on the site provided plenty of material.
          Earlier I had come across a truly amazing mind map  E-learning tools and resources for schools and education created by Jesper Isaksson with Mindomo and was trying to learn more about the tools on the page in order to introduce the link to my colleagues as my current event submission this week. 
          Qwiki was listed as a featured tool.
          Back Again:
          Qwiki is a multimedia search tool which provides a slide show using a computerized voice to read the information from a Wikipedia article and includes links to multiple images. It includes options to share on Twitter, Facebook, by email and by embedding. 
          I can imagine how useful our Special Education teachers will find Qwiki. We have a student who is visually impaired who craves information and I am going to search her out on Monday and introduce her to this tool. It will be especially engaging because of the popular culture content wikipedia offers.
          I experimented searching for Free Trade, Inuit, New France, Samuel de Champlain, oil spill, and Canadian confederation and was not disappointed by the results. A drop down menu allows you to select the most appropriate result for your search terms. THIS IS EXCITING!
          The following is a Qwiki about Qwiki.

          View Qwiki and over 3,000,000 other topics on Qwiki.

          Thursday, November 17, 2011

          Google Reader-Reading Blogs: Step Seven

          Don't tell anyone...I follow my own blog on Google Reader. It is just to see how it looks when I update with new posts...but is it really? I am usually pleased to read the new post, and if I'm not it is simple to edit and update.
          It was easy to find blogs to add to my list. Colleagues who read blogs willingly suggest those they follow and my TLDL instructors have offered suggestions too.  I follow some book reviewers, a number of podcasters and the blogs of my group members in TLDL Web 2.0. Presently, Joyce Valenza, Buffy Hamilton, Will Richardson, Dean Shareski, Doug Johnson, Judy O'Connell are some of my favourites.
          Adding a new subscription is as easy as copying the URL from a chosen site and pasting it in the Subscribe box, clicking on the RSS button on a blog and pasting the code in the box, or searching using the Subscribe box and key words. Selection based on content and the average number of posts per week seems to make a difference. Google Reader keeps me in touch with the educational and educational technology writing of quite a few professionals in the field. I follow Google news feeds using the search terms: teacher, web 2.0 and Web 2.0, education.
          Google Reader allows users to organize their feeds in folders. I have created four.
          My remaining subscriptions appear alphabetically. I will need to use more files as my collection of feeds grows.
          The number of unread posts is indicated beside the title of the feed or the folder. Once the updates have been read the number disappears. I enjoy finding bold numbers beside my feeds, skimming through the reading list and watching the numbers get smaller and smaller until they disappear. I have even used the Reader Play feed setting which is similar to a slide show of the feeds.No matter which setting I use I always find something I want to read more carefully.
          Being Read
          Clustrmaps keeps track of visitors to my blog. I am astonished to see that because I have connected Clustrmaps to Twitter the Twitter logo appears on my map when I am mentioned in a tweet.
          As amazing as it seems the above chart shows the country totals of viewers of my blog between November 9 and November 16. Add my blog to your Reader and see your dot appear and help raise the numbers.

          Wednesday, November 16, 2011

          RSS Feeds: Step Six

          I first heard about RSS feeds when in 2010 I read Richardson (2009) Blogs,Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. It has taken me most of the intervening time to get my head around Blogs (I've got four and I'm introducing blogging to eight classes using Weebly campus accounts), Wikis (all of our grade 6 classes regularly use wikis for Space projects and some are using wikis for literature circles) and Podcasts (grade 8 water issues this month!). 
          RSS, what's that? I read and reread Richardson(2009), but for some reason, this "new killer app for educators" (p. 71) evaded my understanding. Even learning RSS means Real Simple Syndication didn't help. It has been like a blind spot, a dead zone, a black hole in my cyber universe. 
          I am not sure when it began to make sense. It might have been reading Trexler(2010) who listed "Feed Creation (RSS or Atom) - method of allowing readers to subscribe to the blog"(p.107) or it could have been as I played with Blogger and added and removed feed and subscription gadgets from my layout or maybe it was that time when using Google Reader I subscribed to feeds so I could follow and keep track of updates to new blogs I wanted to read regularly.
          I think I get it now.
          RSS feeds allow us to collect and organize web resources that may be updated regularly. The feed can be added to a site or blog or aggregator so new items appear in one place. I have added feeds for a few of my favourite blogs to Steps to Web 2.0.
           Sites and blogs may offer an RSS feed button to readers who wish to follow the blog or podcast. Muldoon (2008) provides links to a huge variety of RSS feed buttons to download.

          I inadvertently found that some browsers have the capability of saving and filing subscriptions in a similar fashion to bookmarks.
          "RSS is a powerful, flexible tool that has changed my information gathering habits."(Richardson, 2009, p.83) Right again!

          Tuesday, November 15, 2011

          Fun with your Blog: Step Five

          I am pretty sure I have a strong visual tendency and I feel that graphics enhance my blog posts by creating visual interest. I get excited by some of the silly visuals and some of the interesting graphic representations I have found online.
          Robohash generates robots using your IP address:

          or text:
          Middle School Teacher Librarian and lifelong learner.

 creates avatars that say whatever you like. Students love to create these avatars to add to their wiki projects.
          I wish I could embed another Clustrmap here. I was amazed and thrilled when my first red dots appeared. Check out the embedded clustrmap at the bottom of this page. Which dot are you?

          Tagxedo produces joyful tag clouds using text, twitter, or blog account links. I keep finding cool

          Monday, November 14, 2011

          Finding a Blogging Voice: Step Four

          My voice as a teacher librarian is thrilled by books, new titles and old, especially Canadian and passionate about intellectual freedoms on the shelves and on the web.
          My voice as a technology leader is excited by the possibility of using Web 2.0 tools and technology in my library and in the classrooms
          My voice is regularly frustrated by board of education internet filters and tight controls of forward thinking practices regarding technology. 
          My voice as an educator is pleased by, supportive and encouraging of creative and unique approaches to teaching and learning. 
          My voice as a learner is enthusiastic to experience new things and PASSIONATE to share what I have discovered and always has been and probably always will be.

          The message I want to express as a blogger is that teacher librarians can move our schools into the 21st century and I will post information that is a real and honest attempt to pass that message along. I agree that these technologies "can be used to transform classroom practice and extend the school day in ways that will have a positive impact on student achievement." (Brooks-Young, 2010, p.11)  I am seeking an authentic voice in my posts but the details of the assignment seem to be interfering with my natural style of blogging (or what I think is my style of blogging) although my recent posts feel more like me (with an academic edge)...if that makes sense.  I am developing a sense that if I could write posts more quickly and more often my voice would be less formal and more real, authentic and readable (PASSIONATE). I revisit and edit my blog posts all the time. 
          The (My) Guide to Finding Your Blogging Voice  offers these suggestions:
          • Identify your unique voice.
          • Write like you talk.
          • Tweak it along the way
          • Wisdom comes through risks.

          I would like a voice that is mainly Whale with a bit of Dolphin.

          I hope to take this advice to heart.  I am still looking for my voice. Has anyone out there seen it?
          Final advice-Take my own advice! 

          Blogging A-Z: Step Three

          Always be aware of your digital footprint. "In the 21st century our digital footprint conveys an important image and people should know what that is." (Nielsen, 2011,para.1)

          Break down the walls of your classroom - "connect with people across the world, including experts"(Kist, 2010, p.81)

          Collaborate with others. Create opportunities to engage other voices.

          Draw readers by using widgets: RSS, Twitter, and Diigo feeds.

          Enhance with video, digital images, and embedded graphics.

          Find your voice."I'm still looking!"

          Grow as a writer by learning, reflecting, and sharing.

          Help students engage in preparing for  "an ever expanding information society." (Richardson, 2009, p. 28)

          Interact with those who follow your blog. Communicate using comments on posts and expect comments on your posts.

          Journal-blogs can be used to record, review, evaluate, and reflect on learning "and plan for additional research, as well as help when they begin to write."(Duncan, 2012, p.68)

          Keep on blogging. Don't disappoint followers.

          Link to other sites and interesting web pages.

          Make use of email or external blog links (Diigo) to post to your blog.

          "New technologies... and new possibilities...suggest that education itself is part of the revolution."(OSLA, 2010, p.38)

          "Organize, manage and evaluate the information"(Trexler, 2011, p.95) used in your blog.

          Post, post, post!

          Question yourself and your readers in order to engage and create followers.

          Read blogs by teachers, teacher-librarians, and technology educators.

          Subscribe to other bloggers using Google Reader or another aggregator.

          Tag (label) your posts to allow searching and finding.

          Use blogs to "share successes and challenges with other professionals through Professional Learning Communities and Professional Learning Networks." (OSLA, 2010, p.12)

          Voices need to be real, authentic and I am beginning to think-not too academic.

          Write for your readers. "The Web is evolving to become more of an area for social and idea networking." (Crane, 2009, p15)

          Your posts need to always be professional.

          Zuckerberg introduced Facebook which can be considered a social blogging platform.

          Sunday, November 13, 2011

          Five Blogging Fundamentals: Step Two

          What have I learned about blogging?
          My experience creating and posting to Steps to Web 2.0 has given me some insight into blogs and blogging.
          1. Create a site with an interesting design:
              -preview as you play with the layout to see how things look
              -don't hesitate to change the design if it isn't working (most recently-November 13, 2011)
          Blogger Design Page
          2. Use interesting titles and tags:
              -play with words but be clear about the content of your blog and posts
              -tag each post to clarify content
              -be flexible and creative
          3. Add images, screencasts or videos to create interest:
               -enhance using public domain, creative commons or original digital images
          4. Include hyperlinks to internet sources:
               -include links to items you talk about and sources of further information. Reading on the Web includes hyperlinks which make your blog interactive and enhance content 

          5. Share your passion
              -create a blog for your personal digital videos, photos, your interests, travels, or personal news or opinions
              -read, follow and comment on other blogs that interest you
             -if you want to introduce blogs to your students you need to blog yourself. Richardson (2009) states,"if we want our students to learn from blogs, we have to experience that learning first hand."(p.43)

          Blogging Frustrations: Step One

          As a beginning blogger one of my on-going frustrations has been the school board internet filter which blocks access to any site that is blog or forum related.
          December 2010 -Google's Blogger platform was initially unblocked so that is where I began my blogging path. I created a school library blog with pages for reviews, a wishlist, pathfinder links, and library news posts. I added GirlZONE (girls' reading) and BBAT (boys' reading) blogs. I thought I was off to a great start.
          THEN "this site is blacklisted" started to appear when I attempted to access the sites at school in order to create posts or show students the resources I had linked to the blog. Needless to say my blogging slowed down and eventually stopped at fewer than 50 posts. I requested unblocking and was told Blogger allows adult content so it would not be unblocked and to use instead. The only other possibility was to borrow the principal's override code (changed monthly) to access the site or continue school related blogging from my home computer. Unfortunately, this was an additional step I wasn't prepared to add to my attempts to blog.
          September 2011-Blogger and my blogs are no longer blocked and I created a new Awesome blog to chronicle the good things that happen at our school. I was excited to continue my school library blog posts, updating and adding content upon request or need.
          October 2011-A new internet filter is up and running and everything is blocked again (slight exaggeration but this time even Glogster EDU -a favourite online poster making site is blocked). Our new filter does allow use of an existing teacher username and password override and I can now easily access the blog although students do not have this ability.

          As an aside, I agree with Davis (2011) who wrote in Cool Cat Teacher Blog: The Case for Digital Citizenship in Schools:
          We have driver's education because we want to protect kids from themselves. A car is a powerful machine and can kill.Sex education cannot stop sex among teenagers but it can prevent STD's and have students take it more seriously.  
          Digital citizenship education cannot STOP the headlines of people who do scarring things through improper use of their technology but I believe it can reduce them.
          Digital Citizenship Education can and should take the place of internet filters.
          What is happening in your schools?
          Today-As you will note I am using Blogger for my Steps to Web 2.0 blog. I thought I would try as recommended by our board`s technology department but was immediately frustrated during a long evening of attempting to embed my Voicethread, Autobiography of a Technology User on my Edublogs page.
          I felt I knew Blogger and experienced success immediately when I embedded my Voicethread in a newly created Blogger blog.

          A few additional frustrations:
          1. Using two different Google accounts to access Google Reader and Google Blogger doesn't allow cross posting of sites I find through Google Reader to my blog.
          2. My University of Alberta account does not support following Blogger blogs stating `this service is not available.`
          3. AND the odd time I just can`t get a post to update, load, save or publish.