Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thing 15

I haven't been regularly checking my bloglines subscriptions. I scanned through the posts since my last visit and read a few that interested me. One post led me to create by own avatar at a site it described ( I get distracted by fun things easily.

I unsubscribed from two blogs that just didn't fit my interests well. I accidentally hadn't selected a folder for one of my new subscriptions that I added today, so I slid it into its proper folder. I also renamed the Detroit Free Press news feed. I don't think I subscribed properly to their feed. It's not showing up as having any posts in the last week. Obviously, the Free Press has had headline news in the past week! So, I subscribed to the Detroit News feed too. That one appears to be working. I'll wait and see what happens with the Free Press and delete them if it doesn't work.

If there were blogs I visited regularly, having subscriptions to them through Bloglines would save a lot of time. However, I feel like I am constantly overwhelmed by having too many things I am supposed to read for work and having no time to read things I want to for my own enjoyment. So, I don't know if I'll be able to get into the habit of checking Bloglines regularly. The couple of blogs that I already read regularly for fun send me emails when they have updates, so...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thing 14

It was easy to sign up for Delicious and add the buttons. My username is jcottey. I really like the convenience of the buttons on my toolbar. It is also easy to add bookmarks to Delicious by pasting the url into the box on the Delicious site.

Against your instructions, I also imported my computer's bookmarks into Delicious. I have over 300! This is going to take me a while to tag them all. They're still organized on my computer, so I'll be able to find things while I'm still working on this project.

As a media specialist who provides resources to teachers, I can add sites to my Delicious account that may be useful to them. Of course, then I would have to get them to go to Delicious. Have to teach them some new tricks... I often email teachers sites that I think they would find useful, but not too much because I don't want to overwhelm them. This would solve that problem. Also, I could keep track of all the sites I have sent them so I can refer to them later.

I work in an elementary school, so the research projects are at a basic level for the young grades. For older grades especially, I could add sites to Delicious that could be useful for their research on various projects. We could choose a specific tag so everyone could easily find the sites related to any given project. It also could be fun to add author websites that students would enjoy. So many possibilities!

Thing 13

I have been thinking I should move my bookkmarks to Delicious for a while, so I am happy that I will have to do that in the next thing! I haven't had any problems finding my bookmarks on my computer (I am a librarian; I can organize fairly well), however, issues arise if I buy another computer and don't transfer my bookmarks. I can see that Delicious will also be helpful for sharing sites in an educational environment. My bookmarks are mainly sites for my personal use, but I could make more use of bookmarks in the social-bookmark world and share sites with colleagues.

The tips for tagging article brings up good points. I will refer to them when I start tagging my own social bookmarks.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thing 12

Ooh, I had already added some gadgets from the blog's list of gadgets to be added, such as a list of followers and a page header. I just added a poll to my blog. I always love voting on polls when I find them on other sites!

I found one at Widgetbox from Scholastic that delivers news geared toward students. Widgetbox has an option to install directly to blogger, so I did. I discovered that tool after I couldn't get the first embed code to work. The news box is in my righthand column now. I could also change its frame color.

Let's try to embed again:
Well, Java, Flash and MySpace codes don't work (didn't think the last one would). I think I finally found how to embed the code for the widget in a blog post itself, instead of in a separate box. It requires me to enter my email and password. I'm not comfortable doing that at Widgetbox. Let's try someplace else.

I like PBS Teacher Activity Packs' organization by subject. Embedding attempt number five:

Well, that ^^^^^ didn't work. I clicked on Blogger at the PBS site, and they want my Blogger name and password too. Nope.

Google gadgets:
I give up. I need to go to sleep. Again the embed codes aren't working for me. I am in the "Edit HTML" tab at Blogger, so...

I belong to some online communities. I have formed some good friendships from chatting online and exchanging posts over the course of years. We all meet such a small number of people in our face-to-face lives, being online exposes us to many many more people. Belonging to a community centered around a certain interest allows me to interact with people who like what I like and enjoy talking about it.

It's easy to send quick messages to people at Facebook, MySpace, etc. I may not have time to call people on the phone to chat, but I can keep in touch and share daily bits of my life with friends through quick online interactions. Students may enjoy the same.

Thing 11

We have so many participants in our class, it was hard to choose which blogs to click on! I found a couple of fellow librarians and read and commented on their blogs. I also found some fun videos people had posted in Thing 10. I generally clicked on the blogs based on their titles. I guess that teaches me that I should name my blog something that is relevant to its content so interested readers can find it. Several blogs I clicked on didn't have any or many posts, so I tried again...and again.

As the how-to-make-good-comments articles mentioned, don't comment unless you have something new/interesting/relevant to say. I often feel like my comments are just in the category of "good job," so I don't want to comment. I'm more of a reader than a commenter by personality.

It was nice to receive a comment from someone who isn't the instructor, although your comments are well-received too! It makes one feel validated.

If I had students blog online, I would want other students in the class to comment. If there are a large number of students, perhaps each can randomly be assigned to follow a certain group of blogs to guarantee that everyone is being read and commented upon. I would also make sure to give feedback to their blogs.

Thing 10

I saw the musical Rock of Ages off-Broadway in the fall and loved it! It has moved to Broadway, and here is a sneak peek from their rehearsals:

I chose this video because I love music and musicals. I am going back to New York in May and plan to see the show on Broadway.

KeepVid and PWNYouTube worked very easily to download videos. Thanks for the fair use instructions. I like the idea of using a flash drive to take the video to school--much easier than burning the video onto a CD. Not all of our school computers are new enough to have USB ports, but some of them do. Zamzar looks like another easy option, although more time-consuming, if KeepVid and PWNYouTube do not work. It had numerous annoying pop-up ads though--some were blocked and some made it through.

Thing 9

I was already a member of YouTube and have used it quite a bit for posting and viewing videos, mainly for entertainment, not work, purposes. I find it easy to search for videos and to rate videos and leave comments. I subscribe to some people's videos so that I am notified when they post new videos. That's a nice service fromYouTube. I commented on Taylor Mali's video ( and rated some videos by singers I enjoy.

YouTube is blocked at my school, so it is frustrating to search for and find good videos, but not be able to play them. I guess I could do something time consuming like finding a video copying site, downloading the YouTube video to my home computer, copying it to a CD and taking it to school. I don't even know if that would be good to do in the world of copyright...

Anyway, I found an uploader who reads aloud some children's books while the cover picture shows on the video. I guess if I had laryngitis, I could use this reader while I showed the pages of the book. ;) I think I may find more useful items for school at TeacherTube and SchoolTube...

TeacherTube has more relevant videos, but I haven't found a ton for the library arena. The videos I have watched have been nice, but nothing I would use in my teaching. Subject areas seem more popular topics for videos. And, oh my goodness!, it is super slow and has just refused to run some searches. I don't know if it's just today or my computer, but I would get frustrated if it's always like this. I liked that it has "channels" that break the videos down into areas, but there is only an elementary channel--nothing for libraries. I wish the elementary channel had further subject divisions.

SchoolTube had more hits for general library-related searches, such as "library" or "books", but not for specific topics, like "Dewey Decimal". The site ran much faster than TeacherTube. I didn't like how the results for my search only showed the partial title for the video. I had to click on each video to see what it was about, which wasted time. SchoolTube seemed to have more videos made by students or with students in them. An idea from SchoolTube is to have students make videos giving book reviews.

YouTube is my favorite of the video sites in how it is set up and how it runs, but it has the least useful videos for school.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thing 8

I really like spelling with Flickr ( I was being picky and trying to find my last three letters as lowercase letters, but then I got the Scrabble "A" and had to keep it. I love to play Scrabble. I couldn't get the embed code to work to post my name picture, so I saved it to my hard drive. However, it would only save each letter individually. So I added each letter to my blog separately and, after a couple of tries, got it to look like this, but I couldn't get it in a nice line like "23 Things" is for their blog. This tool is one of the most fun for me, but I don't quite know how to use it properly. Also, the dark blue font on a black background was not visible to my eyes! I had to highlight the page to read what it said.

Looking at Flickr pictures in specific colors ( makes me feel artsy and as if I want to do something creative. Too bad I'm not terribly creative when left to my own devices. It is really interesting to see the multitude of photos available in every color of the spectrum.

The Flickr Montager ( was interesting, but not all that effective in creating one large picture. The individual pictures are too small to appreciate separately, although I did discover that if I rested my mouse on a tiny picture, I could see it a bit larger. The whole picture doesn't clearly represent the design for which it's aiming. I would like to be able to select which picture is used for the overall large one. I searched "cats" and "dogs."

Flickr Sudoko ( could be very addictive to sudoku fans. Thankfully, that doesn't include me because I have enough internet addictions with which to fill my time. Now, Flickr Memry ( is one I could become addicted to...mindless fun. I am going to forget I ever saw that website.

I made my permit for Ginger at I saved it to my computer to be safe and then clicked "share" to see if I could get a code to embed here. Well, that asked me to set up an account. When I tried to go back to the previous page, my badge was gone. So, I still haven't figured out how to embed photos in my blog, darn it. There are a lot of other fun tools at Big Huge Labs (
There are many fun things to try at Image Generator ( It seems to be a listing of other sites that have image generators. Some require registration or even paid membership. I tried out different hairstyles at They weren't so great. :)

I can't figure out how to move pictures around in my blog. I'd like to be able to slide them to different locations. I also wanted to put one at the bottom, which isn't an option.
This was the most time-consuming "thing" so far. There are just so many photo tools to explore.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Thing 7

I actually already had a Flickr account, but I haven't done anything with it for awhile because I haven't organized my pictures. I hadn't added tags to my previously-uploaded photos. I also hadn't paid attention to the public-versus-private option.

In the school setting, pictures taken by teachers or students could be uploaded to Flickr to share. It could be photos from a field trip, an event at school, a classroom activity, or anything. If students' are in the photos, the setting will need to be private for the safety of the children. Flickr also has nice products teachers could buy. A teacher could organize the class pictures into a book to be printed and kept as a memento.

In searching Flickr, students could use the public domain photos for their own projects. It would be important to discuss with the students which photos they are allowed to use. The Library of Congress photos aren't nearly as exciting as the vast quantity of amazing photos on Flickr. So, students will need to be well-versed in the copyright guidelines. Art teachers could use Flickr to look at artistic photos with a class and discuss them.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thing 6

I chose this picture from Flickr from the Library of Congress photos. After our very long winter, I am longing for spring and warmth and sunshine, and the flowers made me feel like summer. I am ready to be done with grey snow and cold dampness. Flowers would be welcome right now.

Most of the Library of Congress photos are in black and white. These flowers were in color, making them even more appealing.

I did not know about Creative Commons licensing. After reading about it on Wikipedia, I find it an interesting concept.

Thing 5

Every time I title a new blog entry, I think of Dr. Seuss' Thing 1 and Thing 2. :)

I really like the toolbar button to subscribe with Bloglines. It is the simplest way to subscribe to an RSS feed and saves the time of looking around for an RSS button.

Searching for blogs through Google Blog Search and Technorati showed the overwhelming amount of blogs that are out there. Their general search tool often gave a lot of hits that weren't really about the topics for which I was looking. My search term may have been mentioned once in one blog entry, but the subject of the blog was quite different. Searching the tags in Technorati helped get better results, but there are still so many blogs!

Using RSS will help me keep track of blogs that I enjoy without having to remember to visit each individual site.