Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Web 2.0 Mashup

The last parts of my initial inquiry proposal were exploring the iPad and mentoring others about Web 2.0 applications and tools.  As Joanne pointed out to me, the iPad is not a Web 2.0 tool and mentoring didn't really qualify in this category either.  I really appreciate that she did not discourage me from these inquiries, nor did she require that I select different options.  Interestingly, I think she was being the wise Yoda, and knew that "To inquiry inquiry leads."  As I read and commented on my classmates' blog posts, I along with them, realized that we had explored more than 6 Web 2.0 applications, and that often the new tools we found were more interesting and more suited to our needs than the initial tools we set out to explore.

I did use our school's iPad2 during this entire inquiry project.  The iPad was purchased last year by the library but virtually had not been touched.  After some initial issues with the previous librarian's Apple ID having been used to add apps, I was able to use the iPad with quite a bit of success.

I added several apps to the iPad and I also grouped some of the apps into folders - Social Networking, Games, Books, and Lily.  Grouping the apps kept things neat and, in the case of the "Lily" folder, my 3-year old could find the games and apps that were appropriate for her.

I like that I can access my iGoogle page and often find myself reading through feed updates in bed before I do a bit of reading.  I find this much more manageable than my laptop in bed.  The iPad was also a great "gadget" to have during our recent vacation to San Diego for spring break.  My 3-year old was kept occupied in the airport and on the plane - once she got over her tantrum that Netflix wouldn't work on the plane - and we enjoyed looking up information about the places we had visited or were planning to visit.

Reading on the iPad has also been enjoyable.  I am currently reading Crossed, by Ally Condie, the sequel to Matched, another teen series featuring a dystopian society.  I have enjoyed reading the books in an ebook format much more than I had anticipated.  It was extremely convenient on vacation to not have to lug two or three books for the trip - and a lot lighter too.  I also uploaded two free audible books that Lily loves - I will definitely be exploring this more for her.

There are definitely some differences when using the iPad for Web 2.0 applications.  Appearance is the most obvious difference.  In both Facebook and Twitter it is necessary to flip between pages, however after the initial learning curve I did not find this bothersome.  I also like that I had the iPad user manual on my iBook bookshelf and I referred to it frequently in the beginning when learning how to do things like screen shots, creating folders, and saving the incredible art work that Lily had created or the photo essays my 11-year old, Arden, had left for me.

Lily art - age 3
Arden playing with the Photo Booth app - age 11

My principal has let me down a bit with her blog.  She seemed so keen but she has not made it a priority, so it has not become a habit.  I did send her another "gentle reminder" on Monday that she may want to do a Welcome Back post or provide some information about the course selection process that is happening this week.  I do subscribe to her blog so hopefully I will get notification soon that she has created a new post.  I am not going to give up on her and her blog as I think it is a really important communication tool.  Part of the problem is that she is not really excited by, or into new technologies and applications.  Until she sees some positive results of her foray into the Web 2.0 world, her blog will remain a "thing" that I remind her about, instead of a tool.  Berger and Trexler (2010) say in the forward to Choosing Web 2.0 tools for learning and teaching in a digital world, that people who are waiting for the Web 2.0 to go away are "hopelessly mistaken." (Berger & Trexler, 2010, p.vii)  They warn that we must adapt to "shifts in the information and communication landscapes," and these shifts "represent profound changes in the way we do business, the way we do libraries, the way we must educate." (Berger & Trexler, 2010, vii)

So what other things did I explore and adopt in the Web 2.0 world as a result of this inquiry?

My first Glog!
Since I was exploring Web 2.0 tools I thought Hey! Why not try making your first Glog at the 11th hour to show what else you explored?  So I did :)  Thank goodness for scrapbooking and Yearbook experience.  It was fun to make the Glog and I can see lots of applications for this in the classroom.  I just had my students create visual found poems from  The Kite Runner and this would be an excellent tool for that.

On the Glog you will see that I also did my first screencast during this inquiry.  It was to help out our Student Services department in making tutorials to assist students and parents with course selections this year.  It was a lot simpler than any of us thought, and without sounding like too much of a braggart, I did mine in one take!  I have linked the screencast HERE.  I will definitely be adding this to my library web site to direct students to different areas of the site.  I think it would also be a good feature on my class blog for first time visitors - a sort of "Start Here" button.

I am also using Facebook for both my library and the school and created a new web site for our school.  I was able to use many of the skills and information I learned in my inquiry and from classmates to make sure I had strong elements in the case of the web site, and smart settings for the Facebook pages.

I was already exploring Pinterest before this course but I enjoyed helping others see the educational value of this bookmarking tool and I found some great pins as a result.  I also updated my Delicious account and like that it has more of a Pinterest feel to it.  I still prefer Pinterest but I want to explore Delicious a bit more to see if it can win me over.

Evernote is the tool I decided to try to link my devices and to rid myself of paper to-do lists.

One of the things I like about Evernote is that I can create voice messages/reminders.  Now.... IF I had an iPhone I could just use that, LOL, but this does work great on the iPad and I have added it to my iGoogle page, again so it is visible.  I still find myself grabbing a "Sticky Note" for quick reminders but for longer lists I am trying to make Evernote a habit.

The last tool that has been a huge time saver during this inquiry has been AddThis.  By downloading the AddThis toolbar across the top of my browser window I can easily add web content to any of my blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, and hundreds of other social networking and Web 2.0 sites with just one click.  I love that when I find an article on Twitter I can post it to my blog, or when I read a news article I can save it to my class blog to share.  I don't have to look for codes or URLs, AddThis does it for me.  Even when I press the Blogger button, it gives me the option of choosing which of my Blogger blogs I would like to post to, which was a concern the first time I used the feature.  Pinterest is not on the AddThis button bar but they do provide their own "Pin It" button to add to my toolbar that works in the same way.  Thanks to one of my classmates I also discovered that the Bit•ly tool is on the AddThis bar so I can make smaller URLs for Twitter.

This has been a great experience and I look forward to sharing some of my more reflective thoughts and observations in my final reflection.  One of the final things I hope to do with this inquiry is keep up this blog as a place to store educational ideas and applications for my library and technology learning.  I also hope to seek out some professional development options next year, with more of a social networking/technology theme.  But for now... I put this inquiry to rest.


Berger, P. & Trexler, S. (2010). Choosing Web 2.0 tools for learning and teaching in a digital world.
     Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.