Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Things 8 & 9: Photo Sharing, Customizing Blogs

We're halfway through the program! Give yourself a pat on the back and a big high-five for making it this far. You'll now have over two weeks before Things 10 and 11 are posted, so hopefully you can catch up and catch your breath (I know I will- I've been trying to keep at least one step ahead)! I've already been hearing some great things that people have been doing with some of these tools- keep it up and spread the Word! One of the goals for this program is to extend the skills and knowledge of our faculty and staff, so those of us in the program can pass along some of these Web 2.0 tools to our colleagues.

Thing 8: Photo Sharing

You may already have an account with an online photo sharing site, or perhaps you've had friends or family send you a link to their online albums (I subject my nearest and dearest to monthly updates). Photo sharing sites have progressed beyond being warehouses for photos, however: many let you edit, crop, organize, share, add comments, tag, create photo groups, and even apply cool effects to individual photos. We're going to be exploring Flickr, which is one of the most innovative photo sites around. You'll be creating a Flickr account, uploading some photos to it, tagging those photos, and then posting a slideshow to your blog (Customizing Blogs is Thing 9). "She's crazy!", you might be saying. But I'm not, trust me. You can do it! I chose this Photo Sharing Thing to occur right before the break so you'll have time to take some pictures you'd like to share with us (and borrow a camera, if necessary). If you don't have access to a digital camera, you can talk to the AV department here and request to borrow one over the break.

Your goal for Thing 8 is to create a Flickr account and upload at least THREE photos, one of which should be a picture of you doing something related to teaching/technology/reading/chewing- something specific to this program, basically. The other 2+ photos can be of anything, but ideally would be taken specifically to share with the group. You should then TAG the photos with keywords and tag at least ONE of the photos with the keyword "17 Things" (to use a two-word tag you have to put the phrase in quotes). Make these photos PUBLIC (you have to check a box making them public), so that we can search for them on Flickr. You should then write a blog post about your experience with Flickr and make sure to include your Flickr name so we can find your pictures.

Here are some resources to get you started:

  • Flickr Tour
  • Flickr FAQs
  • "Classroom" groups on Flickr (school-related photo groups that have been created by teachers)
  • The App Garden (these are cool apps that Flickr users have created- there's one called FlickrPoet where you paste in the text of a poem, and Flickr pictures are matched to the text- so your poem becomes a poem in photos)
  • BigHugeLabs (lets you do fun things with your photos like make them into movie posters, photo booth pictures, add comic book captions, etc.)

To complete Thing 8:

  • Create a Flickr account
  • Take and upload at least 3 pictures, one of which should have something to do with the 17 Things program
  • Tag your pictures, and make sure at least one picture is tagged "17 Things"
  • Make your photos public
  • Write a blog post about your experience
  • Post your Flickr account name
  • Search for and check out other participants' photos on Flickr! My Flickr name is "mrsduelllibrary", and you can see my first few pictures in the "Slideshow" feature on the sidebar of my blog.

Just for fun (optional): Create something fun using one of the Flickr third party applications or mashups and include the results in your photo stream or post into your Thing 8 blog post.

Thing 9: Customizing Blogs

One of my favorite things to do with my blogs is to add little gadgets and widgets to my sidebar, which gives your blog a more personalized feel. Your task for Thing 9 is to customize your blog by adding at least THREE gadgets or widgets to your sidebar. These can be found in the "Layout" tab at the top of your blog editing screen. Just click "Add a Gadget" in the sidebar, and choose a few things from the list of choices. One of the gadgets you choose should be a SLIDESHOW, which will then let you link to your Flickr photostream, displaying a running slideshow of the photos you uploaded in Thing 8. So cool. Other gadgets you can choose to add include a poll, a video, some HTML/JavaScript, a list of your favorite links, or even just some text.

To complete Thing 9:

  • Add at least THREE gadgets to the sidebar of your blog
  • One of the gadgets must be a SLIDESHOW that links to your Flickr photostream

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Great PowerPoint Video

I'm just posting this video because it's awesome. I've been looking for a good, short, student-friendly video about how to avoid creating BAD PowerPoint presentations, so I think I'm going to show this to the freshman classes with whom I'm currently working on a Big6 research project (their final product is a group PowerPoint presentation, although I'm going to encourage them to try Web 2.0 tools or Google Show as alternatives). I think this video really gets across some of the things you've got to watch out for when creating PowerPoint presentations.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Things 6 & 7: Creating Websites, RSS Feeds and News Readers

We've just about made it 1/3 of the way! Yahoo. Congratulate yourself on coming this far. Now let's keep going! We'll be learning how to create your very own website using either or, and then you'll learn how RSS feeds and News Readers can help you stay up-to-date with your favorite websites, blogs and online newspapers.

Thing 6: Creating Websites

Having a website of your very own used to be the stuff of dreams, but now it's become a reality. Creating a multi-paged website used to require familiarity with Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage, in addition to having an FTP program to upload HTML files, plus purchasing a domain name and server space. Have I lost you? Do you have any idea what I'm talking about? Who cares! It doesn't matter anymore, because all you need now is access to the Internet and some content you'd like on the web. You don't even need to be creative because these tools do the design for you! Ahh, web design for the armchair techie. You'll have the choice of using two different website creation tools: Weebly or Yola.

Watch the following video, which describes how to use (and why, as a teacher, you might want to have a website):

You can use websites to do so many different things. Check out Christine Stiel's Creative Writing class website, created using See how she has created multiple pages for each project? Or you could have each page be a separate class. You could even have students create websites as a culminating project. Here and here are examples of final products created by my husband's social studies classes (password: mcculture).

To complete this Thing, you will choose either Weebly or Yola, sign up for an account, and create a multi-paged website. It can be simple, without a lot of content, but it should at least have a structure. It can be professional or personal. Once you've published your site, post the link to your new website in your Thing 6 blog post.

To complete Thing 6:
  • Create a MULTI-PAGED website using Weebly or Yola
  • Write a blog post reflecting on your experience creating your website. Was it easy? Difficult? Will you actually use this website, or will you create another? How could you incorporate website creation into your professional or personal life?
  • Post the URL (web address) of your new website

Thing 7: RSS Feeds & News Readers
There are a lot of websites out there, and most of us have certain websites that we check regularly. Now that we are all "following" different colleagues' blogs, we have even more websites to check. What if you could check for updates of all your favorite blogs, online newspapers and other regularly-updated sites by visiting one simple page? That's the beauty of RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication. You may have noticed that some of your favorite websites have little orange icons that look like this:

This orange RSS icon lets you know that you can subscribe to the website using a news reader such as Google Reader or Bloglines. You simply have to create an account with one of these news readers and then start adding websites that have RSS feeds. Watch this Common Craft video to learn more about RSS feeds and Google Reader:

Your job for Thing 7 is to sign up for either a Google Reader or Bloglines account, add the blogs of the colleagues you're following, plus at least 3 other blogs, online newspapers, or websites to your reader. Chances are, some of the websites you already visit a lot have RSS feeds available! Post about your experiences with Google Reader or Bloglines, if you think you would use it, and how you could use it professionally.

Here are some education-related sites with RSS feeds to get you started:

And here are some award-winning blogs from people in the field:

So, to complete Thing 7:

  • Sign up for Google Reader or Bloglines
  • Add the blogs of the colleagues you're following to your new reader account
  • Add at least 3 other blogs, online newspapers, or websites
  • Write a post reflecting on your experience with RSS feeds and news readers

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Things 4 & 5: Cloud Computing, Twitter

Now that we're getting a little more comfortable with some Web 2.0 tools, we're going to take the next step and explore collaboration with cloud computing in Thing 4, and then we'll look at microblogging sensation Twitter in Thing 5.

Thing 4: Cloud Computing

Do you ever find yourself working on a document, spreadsheet or PowerPoint at home and wishing there was an easier way to access it at school, or vice-versa? Have you ever lost a flash drive (I know our students have!) or had your computer crash, erasing all of your work? Or have you ever had to work on a group project and had to email a document around and around so everyone could edit? So cumbersome! Google Docs is a Web 2.0 application that is part of the new wave of "cloud computing", where documents are saved in a "cloud" (on a server somewhere), and can be accessed from any computer around the world (this was Allison's part of the video). Watch these videos below for a quick explanation:

And just for fun since we ARE working in a high school :)

I've created a document called 17 Things Ideas, where I've asked people to add an idea for how we could use some of these Web 2.0 tools in a school setting. I have saved it as a "Public" document that ANYONE can edit, just to make it easier for this exercise, but you can also choose to allow only certain people editing rights. Open this document and add an idea or two.

I've also created a shared calendar , but in order to edit it, you've got to create a Google Calendar account. You should just be able to go to, sign in with the same username/password you use for Blogger, and then sign up for Google Calendar. Once you've done this successfully, send me an email and I'll give you editing rights to the shared calendar. We were having some trouble getting people set up with Google Calendar here in the library, however, so if this doesn't work, I will figure something else out!

To complete Thing 4:
  • Add an idea or two to the 17 Things Ideas shared document.
  • Accept the invitation to edit the shared calendar and then add an event (you can make one up, if you want)
  • Reflect on your experience using Google Docs and Calendar. Could you see yourself using these tools?
Just for fun (optional): is another online application that allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows. The slideshow I used during the Institute Day presentation was created using Zoho. Check it out and post about the differences you noticed, and which tool you liked best.

Thing 5: Twitter

Willie Nelson does it. Ellen does it. John McCain does it, too! And now it's your turn. No longer is Twitter mainly used to let the world know what you had for breakfast: surgeons use it to instruct medical students, politicians use it to update their constituents, and educational leaders use it to share new ideas and engage in dialogues with interested "followers."

Read "Twittering, Not Frittering: Professional Development in 140 Characters" from Edutopia, and then create a Twitter account for yourself. If you're comfortable with this, set your account as "Public" (that way we can all find you on Twitter). If not, then I think you have to approve individual people to be your followers. If you choose to be "Private", please give me "mrsduelllibrary" permission to follow you! Do a few Internet searches to find leaders in your area, and chances are that they will have a Twitter account (for example, I might search for leaders in the world of school librarianship). "Follow" at least three of them, post your Twitter name to your blog (mine is mrsduelllibrary), and then let us know who you're following.

To complete Thing 5:
  • Create a Twitter account
  • Find at least 3 people to "follow"
  • Re-tweet at least 3 of their posts
  • Post your Twitter name to your blog
  • Tell us who you're following
  • Reflect on your experience using/reading about Twitter. Do you think you would use Twitter? How could it be applied to a school setting?
Just for fun (optional): Tweet a few of your favorite lessons or activities in which you take part here at RB. You never know who might re-tweet YOU!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Things 2 & 3: More With Blogging, Social Bookmarking

Congratulations on making it to Things 2 and 3! I hope everyone is as excited as I am about all of the fun and exciting tools we're going to explore during this Web 2.0 journey. Before I go on, I wanted to point out the "Tracking Spreadsheet" on the sidebar to the right. This is how I'll be keeping track of who is in the program and who's already completed which Things. If you notice that I'm missing something for you, just email me.

Thing 2: Doing More With Your Blog

Blogs are great for keeping up to date with other people, so for Thing 2, you'll be commenting on and following some of your colleagues' blogs, in addition to tagging the posts you've created so far. First, choose at least five of your colleagues' blogs (see the sidebar on the right), and comment on their first post or on their video. Commenting on blogs allows us to ask questions of one another, make suggestions, or simply to reply to what has been written or posted. I will be commenting on various blogs throughout the 17 Things to Chew On program. Once you've commented, you should then "follow" those blogs. Oh, and "follow" this blog (17 Things to Chew On), too. As you can see in your own blog, I have "followed" you- so you can now see my picture on your blog's sidebar. Now when I log into my blog and look at the Dashboard, I can see what's been updated on the blogs I'm following! Cool, right? Let's try to share the love, so if you notice that someone's blog has not yet been "followed" by anyone but me, you might choose to follow them. Also, let's "tag" the posts you've created so far. Tagging allows you to categorize your posts, which is really helpful if you blog regularly. If you look at my Bulldog Banana Bread blog, you'll notice on the sidebar to the right that I have a bunch of different keywords listing all of the different subjects my posts have been about. That's because I tag each post with relevant keywords. What keywords will you use? Finally, write a blog post telling us who you're "following" and also what tags you created for your first several posts.

So, for Thing 2:

  • Comment on at least 5 people's blogs
  • Follow the 17 Things to Chew on blog AND the other blogs on which you commented
  • Use keywords to tag the posts you've created so far
  • Write a post about about who you're "following" and what tags you've used so far

Just for Fun (optional!): Upload a picture to your profile. It can be a picture of you or of something else you want to represent your online self. Having a picture makes your blog a little more personal!

Thing 3: Social Bookmarking

The next Thing we'll be looking at is social bookmarking using Delicious, which will help you organize all of your favorite websites (this was my part on the Web 2.0 Fairy video!). Watch this explanation from Common Craft and then sign up for a Delicious account. When you first look at Delicious, check out some of the "Fresh Bookmarks" and "Popular Bookmarks" to see how they have been tagged.

Once you've created a Delicious account, add and tag some of your favorite websites. Post your Delicious username on your blog (mine is mrsduelllibrary), then, once other people have started posting their Delicious usernames, add a few of your colleagues to your network. You can add me first just to see how it works. When you're finished, create a post and relect on your Delicious experience. Do you see this as a useful tool? Would you actually use this? How could it be helpful in a school setting?

So, for Thing 3:

  • Create a Delicious account and add websites
  • Add me to your network (mrsduelllibrary), then add a few of your colleagues
  • Create a post about your experience AND post your Delicious username

Just for Fun (optional): Add the Delicious buttons to your toolbar on your HOME computer (it won't work on your school computer- it will just get removed when you re-boot). I tried it and it was pretty simple, plus now it's even easier than ever to bookmark new websites! Just click on "Help" at the top and find the "Need Tools?" section and follow the directions from there.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Welcome to 17 Things to Chew On!

Welcome to 17 Things to Chew On! This is a 9 week overview of what Web 2.0 is really all about. Some of you have a good idea, but haven't seen a few new tricks. Some of you haven't got a clue and are sick of hearing about all this tech gobbledygook! Whatever your reason for joining, I hope you gain a better understanding of how this concept is changing the way we work, play, and even educate.
If you feel any of the tasks are easy, please offer your help to others. If you are lost, please ask for help. Partnering up with someone is another great way to work through this. If you have questions, please ask anyone in the group!


Part 1:
Set up your own blog & add your first post. Your first post can be a simple "Hello" or a paragraph on the video (see below). Once you've completed this step, email me your blog link.

Part 2:
Assuming we all agree that technology is changing education and teaching (for right or wrong)... support that idea with a video. Place that video on your new blog (either as a link or as embedded video).

Example video:

Some keywords for searching: collaboration, "24/7 education", "open learning", "web 2.0", "school 2.0", edtech, connectivity, social networks+schools, "personal learning networks, "education+think tanks", "21st century skills", "flat schools", "creative education", "new schools", "student centered learning", remix

Just for Fun (optional!):
Watch part of or all of this TED video ("Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity") and comment here on my blog.