Saturday, April 11, 2009

Week 9: Thing #23 Creative Commons

"Welcome to a new world where collaboration rules." This quote from a TeacherTube video, Creative Commons - Copyright Solution, is a wonderful overview of how the Creative Commons works and why it has become such a global phenomenon where millions of images, works and music are available for free. It's philosophy centers around refining your copyright, not giving it up. They provide free copyright licenses online where owners decide what aspects of their work they would like to share with the public to reuse and remix for free.

Having benefited from the Creative Commons to create and complete the 23 Things assigned in this course, I appreciate the direction that the internet is taking and the willingness of its users to share what they post. I have learned so much from this course and from the blogs of others taking this course with me. Thank you all for sharing your ideas, resources and projects. I'm looking forward to being a contributing member of the Creative Commons through projects I help create with my students using these newly acquired Web 2.0 tools.

Here is the video I found on TeacherTube describing the Creative Commons:

Week 9: Thing #22 eBooks & Audio eBooks

After having Tumblebooks as part of our school's online library resources, I was excited about exploring more eBook and Audio eBook options. Unfortunately, World EBook Fair requires a fee to access and search their database. Granted the annual fee is only $8.95, but I couldn't find a way to sample one of the books to see if it was worth subscribing to. I was able to search the Gutenberg Project's database, but had difficulty finding a link to browse their subjects. I tried an advanced search using the term "children" for subject, "English" for language and "Audio book, Human-read" for category and got 26 results. I decided to listen to an audio reading of the Velveteen Rabbit and learned that the recording came from LibriVox. The voice was not to my liking, but realize that narrations are done by volunteers and won't always insure consistent high quality. When I broadened my search to "any" for category, I found 329 books, which had many fairytales and folktales listed.

When also searched the Best Places to Get Free Books link, some of the listings were a bit misleading. is not a free service; instead it only gives you a 14-day free trial.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Week 9: Thing #21 Podcasts

As a half-time music teacher, I am embarrassed to say that I still don't own a ipod, and have been slow to incorporate the use of podcasts in my library program. I created an enhanced podcast several years ago as a way to advocate for instrumental music at the elementary level. I interviewed students who were in our Morning Musicians program using Garageband, and then added slides to the recorded interviews to complete the project. It was very powerful for the board to hear these young voices speak about how playing an instrument makes them feel and so my first experience with podcasts has influenced how I see them: as an advocacy and assessment tool, rather than a teaching tool.

Since I was unsuccessful accessing Yahoo's link, as well as TechSavvyGirls podcast and When trying to download a visual Chinese podcast on, I got stuck with the downloading process, so I decided to focus on iTunes and the Educational Podcast Directory. I have to admit as a visual learner, I struggle with podcasts that are solely audio, but do see their educational benefit. On iTunes, I didn't find a lot of podcasts that appealed to me, but did end up subscribing to NPR's Education podcast. I found the Educational Podcast Directory to be the most useful. Under the Elementary section, you can see a lot of examples of student-created podcasts. Unfortunately, the student and class podcasts are not searchable by subject so I found myself randomly selecting pocasts in hopes of finding something relevant. EPN's subject specific podcasts directory was much more helpful, but still many of the podcasts are labeled only as numbered episodes, so it was difficult to identify the content quickly. I was able to find storytelling podcasts, as well as booktalks listed under the English Language section. One podcast came from Storynory, which provides free, downloadable audio stories for children. I love the storyteller's British accent and enjoyed listening to the Fox and the Wolf podcast.

The Beginner's Guide to Podcasts & Podcasting provides a useful outline for creating a 10-minute podcast:
  • 10 seconds: Intro music or audio
  • 20 seconds: Introduce the podcast. State the title, your name(s), and the purpose of the podcast. Also state the URL where your podcast and the show notes can be found. Introduce your guests, if any.
  • 10 seconds: If you have any sponsors, mention them now!
  • 20 seconds: Provide a brief outline of your show, if you have a script; if not, state here what you plan to talk about.
  • 9 minutes: The main body or discussion
  • 20 seconds: Wrap up the discussion, outlining your main points. If you have guests, take this time to thank and acknowledge them.
  • 10 seconds: If you have sponsors you’d like to mention again, now’s the time!
  • 20 seconds: Introduce the podcast once more. State the title, your name, and the URL of the podcast and show notes.
  • 10 seconds: outro music.
I would like to create a podcast with a group of boys from our school's Graphic Novel book club and ask them to review the newly purchased graphic novels they've read so that other students can benefit from their book club. I'd like to include photos, including the cover of the book. Can you use Voicethread to create an enhanced podcast?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Week 9: Thing #20 YouTube

I use YouTube quite a bit to look for short videos that might act as hooks to a lesson, as well as provide background knowledge through image and sound. The problem I have faced using YouTube in the school is the fact that our school district blocks this this site. One way around it is to use a free video converter site, but I need to do the conversion at home where YouTube isn't blocked. I use to do my conversions, which convert the movies to Quicktime. Teachertube is another good resource, but often doesn't have the videos I've found on YouTube that I'd like to use in the classroom.

The video I chose to add to this posting is called Dancing by Matt Harding. Our school just finished a ballroom dancing artist-in-residency program and the joy, etiquette, teamwork and breaking down of barriers that resulted from our kids dancing together reminded me of this video. As one comment about the video stated,"Different language, same dance, same happiness ... the world is connected. This video gives hope. Thank you for that."

Week 8: Thing #19.1 Alaska Digital Pipeline

Every time I explore EBSCO, I come away learning something new and impressed with how user-friendly their search site is! After watching a very informative tutorial on EBSCO 2.0, I created a My EBSCO acoount, added a folder with articles I found searching under the terms Storytelling and Education. I also utilized the Find Similar Results option, which gave me even more relevant articles, easily downloaded and saved as a Search Alert. I also signed up for Journal Alerts for the following journals: Arts Education Policy Review, Design for Arts in Education, and Music Education Research.

I decided to use this assignment to help me with a collaboration project involving a 3rd/4th grade class. The classroom teacher and several specialists are working together to help students research significant roles and people throughout Alaskan history to create an Alaskan Living Museum. I found a ton of resources on SLED's Arts, Literature & History section, including an interview with Benny Benson, which I shared with a library class after reading Benny's Flag and discussing the difference between primary and secondary sources. But, the goldmine find of my searches was LitSite Alaska's Digital Archive Partnership which has digital stories on almost every aspect and perspective of Alaskan life told through written text, audio and historical images. Check out this digital story about Patsy Ann: Juneau's Official Greeter (she's Juneau's most famous dog!)

Prehistory and Alaska Timelines:
Russian Alaska:
Gold Rush:
Wartime Alaska:
Alaska Statehood:
Native Alaskan Stories:
More Stories & Perspectives:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Week 8: Thing #19 Library Thing

I played with Library Thing early on in the course when I began seeing other class participants' book lists in their blogs. The lists are visually appealing and make any blog look more attractive! I added titles for an upcoming summer class that I am teaching this summer and practiced adding tags for those books. I also learned how to add a book list to the sidebar on my blog. It looks like the format for adding a book list as a widget has changed since then, and I like the older version better. You were able to select size, as well as determine fixed height or width. Unless I overlooked something, I don't see as many of those options available anymore. I needed to use both the advanced and customize options to create the look I wanted for this assignment's widget.

Because I had more experience with tags through the Technorati assignment, I did spend more time using the tags feature. I even created my own "tagmash" by combining elementary and graphic novels. Unfortunately, I only got one result - The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but the results page offered related tags and tagmashes to help improve my search. I decided to add some of the books from the Must Have Graphic Novels Primary list found on Joyce Valenza's teacherlibrarianwiki space, which I mentioned in an earlier posting on wikis. I tagged each entry and created a widget for this post.

Here is my Elementary Graphic Novel book list:

Week 8: Thing #18 Zoho Writer

I thought I would share the Digital Storytelling Planning sheet I created for our after-school Digital Storytelling club. I decided to try sharing the document through Zoho Writer's blog posting feature. After signing-up and reading the Zoho benefits page, I imported my document and played with the formatting. When I posted it to my blog, the document was WAY TOO BIG so I changed the font size to 8 pt and imported the document again. It's still a bit too long, but was a good exercise in exploring and playing with Zoho's tools. I decided to publish this document so that it would create a permanent URL accessible to anyone. By clicking on the link at the beginning of this post, you can access the document. I also explored the 50 different templates they have available for folks to use. These templates were not as exciting as some of the other Web 2.0 tools we've looked at in this class, but definitely have a practical use!

Week 7: Thing # 17 Sandbox Wiki

I explored all of the topics in the Raven About 2.0 Curriculum wiki and came away with more ideas of how to apply Web 2.0 tools to the curriculum. I liked the Sharon's idea of having the students create their own Avatar to put on their library cards. What a creative way to spice up a procedural task! Deborah also collected and posted some great links on SmartBoards, which our library is trying to meaningfully integrate into our instruction and model for staff and students. Here they are:

Under Image Gererators, Robin described Moo Cards, which I am very excited to try! Moo Cards are business cards that you create and personalize using images from Flickr or other sources.

Here is a short clip on Moo Business Cards:

Robin's post reminded me of BigHugeLab's blog which shares ideas and applications that could easily be used or adapted for the classroom. In fact, I found a blog post dedicated to BigHugeLabs in Education which linked me to a site called WEB 2.0 Wednesday Challenge, which is a weekly challenge for students and educators to use web 2.0 tools in the classroom. What a great resource! BigHugeLabs is the challenge for Week 8 and along with the challenge was a list of ideas for teachers:
  • Use the badges to create name tags for field trips.
  • Use the Trading Cards to create Flora and Fauna Cards
  • Create an Avatar to use as with your online presence
  • Students created National Park trading cards.
  • Create Movie Posters to share about a book or time in History.
The movie poster idea would be a great final project for a 3rd/4th grade class at our school who is collecting images from the Alaska's Digital Archives for a historical timeline. Again, I am amazed at how powerful the circuitous route is!