Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thing 9

Today I looked at various sites that helped me find new blogs to read.

The easiest search tool I used was probably bloglines, although because of the search term I used (ESL teacher) I did not get many results at all on any of the sites.

I didn't like syndic8 at all- it looked like a message board place and i don't do those very often. For me it was too hard to get to the actual data.

A fun site I found was Awful Library Books, which is posted by librarians going through their collections and getting rid of obsolete books. I also found a few good resources for ESL teachers.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thing 8

I have been using Google reader for a while now, as a way to have all of the blogs I read sent to one place. When I first started using it I was reading lots and lots of blogs, especially those of people I don't know at all. It was really handy to have everything in one place.

Now that I've been using it for a long time, I have noticed some pros and cons. The good things are that I don't forget about a particular blog. If there is a way to have an RSS feed, I use it and send the blog to my reader. That cuts down on my reading time. I also like keeping my list private. It used to be in a blogroll but I prefer now to keep what I'm reading more private.

One negative thing I have noticed is that I comment less on other people's blogs, because in order to comment I would have to click on the post, load the comment page there, and then comment. I also receive fewer comments, and I have to think it's because of the same reason.

Over time I have changed my priorities and instead of 40-50 blogs I am now only subscribed to about 20, and very few people I don't know in real life. I really have tried to focus what I read.

A teacher could definitely use this to keep up with the latest news on a particular topic, and to foster a sense of community. It's a great resource.

Thing 7

Today I explored Google applications. I'm very familiar with Google docs, where you can create a document and access it on any computer that has internet access. I have my address book here, so that anywhere I am I have my contacts.

You can also share it with people, like I did on this one.

I forsee this being helpful to share lesson plans with parents who want to know what is going on in the classroom, or recording data gathered in class for students to access at home.

I had never used Google scholar before, but evidently it's a way to search research papers and scientific evidence. A great way to find only reputable sources. I did a search for sunflowers and it looked pretty handy.

I had also never seen Google labs. Lots of current experiments in science using technology. Good times could be had by a high school science class.

Thing 6

Today I got to look at some fun mashups off of Flickr. One of my favorites is called retrievr, where you make a basic sketch and the application searches flickr photos for pictures that are reminiscent of the sketch. I love the way it makes me think about perspective. To me what I drew was a blue squiggly line. To the "eyes" of the application it was something else entirely. Kids would enjoy seeing their art and perspective being interpreted by a program.

Another stunning one I explored was called mosaic maker. I told the application how big I wanted the mosaic, and then entered the tag terms "blue nature". The results I got were fantastic. One could also use pictures from your classroom to post on the bulletin board.

I have used mashups in the past, like the one that shows what sea level rise would look like interposed on the google maps. They are a great tool for using other people's findings to make your own interpretations.

Have you ever used mashups? What is your favorite?

Thing 5

I found this neat picture by Richard Faulder on flickr. Joel and I are big fans of wild roses because they don't require as much care as some of the fancy ones we find nowadays. They've lived in the wild; they're hardy.

What kind of roses do you like best? Do you have any in your garden?

Thing 3

The professional development program I'm using this week is called Library 2 Play. They have 23 things I can do to learn more about the internet and ways educators can use these things to further the learning of their students. I'm excited to do this because even though I've been blogging since 2005, I'm sure there's lots of programs out there that I've not encountered and that would help me in my quest to be a lifelong learner.

I also made a cute avatar on Yahoo...

I originally started this blog to tell family members and friends about the kids and about goings-on in my life. As I change, the purpose of this blog has also changed. I still occasionally share stories about the kids, but more often I use this as a forum for sharing big things I've learned. My blog is not for little things anymore- it's my journal. It's the way I record my Christian walk and my lifewalk.

Thing 2

This is the first in a series of posts I will be doing as part of my professional development I am undertaking this summer.

As I think about life-long learning I find that one of the easiest things for me to do is taking responsibility for my own learning. I often jump into new projects doing things that I have never done before. I also tend to choose my own learning topics, although sometimes people give me learning assignments too.

One of the hardest things for me when starting new learning or being a lifelong learner is to set goals. I find that sometimes I jump into things without a long term goal in mind, or without asking myself if I really want to start an entirely new line of thinking. For instance I may decide I want to get into scrapbooking without thinking too much about how much money is reasonable to spend on it and if I have the time to scrapbook as much as I want to.