Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Things 10 & 11: Social Networking and Online Book Cataloguing

Alright, onward and upward! Here we are back again, it's 2010, and so let's kick off the new year with Things 10 and 11: social networking and online book cataloguing. I know that getting to this point has been a lot of work. You should be proud that you've stuck with it and made it this far! Hopefully you've already been able to make use of some of these Web 2.0 tools; I know I have!

Thing 10: Social Networking

Social networking is a polarizing topic. Some people think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, while others won't touch it with a ten-foot pole. All of us fall somewhere within the spectrum but, like it or not, social networking is a reality and is where most of our students spend at least part of their time. According to a survey of freshman students taken during Freshman Orientation this year, 60% had a Facebook or MySpace profile. If the same survey was administered to juniors or seniors, this number would undoubtedly be much higher. Harnessing the power of what's already being used by students is the impetus for looking at social networking in an educational setting. You won't be required to create a Facebook profile for this Thing (or share the one you may already have) because using Facebook with students is really a separate issue. We will, however, be looking at a Web 2.0 application that allows users to create their OWN social networking sites! So imagine having your own little Facebook world entirely of your creation, with only members that you invite or grant permission to join.

We will be exploring Ning, which is the most well-known social networking application. Here at RB, Patty S. has already been using Ning with her RB16 News students. We'll be taking a look at her RB16 News Ning as well as the Ning I've created for the 17 Things program. Hopefully it can stick around and can be a resource for the whole school once the 17 Things project is over. Hey, a girl can dream, right? For Thing 10, you will be exploring the Ning I've created for RB. Look at all of the different features that are included, such as the Forum Discussions, photos, videos, members, and poll. You can add so many more, too, such as chat, news, events, and even a live Twitter feed! One thing that's unfortunate is that, unless you upgrade to the professional version of Ning, you are subjected to sidebar ads. Please to ignore!

To complete Thing 10:

  • register for Ning
  • explore RB16 News' Ning
  • request to join Riverside Brookfield High School Ning
  • respond to at least one of the Forum Discussion topics
  • respond to the poll
  • post your thoughts about your experience with Ning and what educational value (if any) you could see in using this with classes, teams, activities, etc.

Just For Fun (optional):

  • add a photo (you can upload from your computer OR link to your Flickr account)
  • create your own Ning and post the address on your blog (we'll think you're so fancy!)

Thing 11: Online Book Cataloguing

This "Thing" is more for fun and for personal use, but you may find that it has potential for classroom use as well. If you're a reader, it's always a good idea to keep a list of what you've read so you can make recommendations, look for books by the same author, and well, because sometimes it's just fun to make lists. Several online book cataloguing sites have popped up in recent years, each of which allow you to create your own "book shelf", tag books, find forums to join, get recommendations, and see what other people are reading. Three of the most popular are GoodReads, Shelfari and LibraryThing. For this Thing, you should visit each of these sites, take the tour or read the How It Works section, and choose one in which to create an account. Try adding 5-10 books, create tags for them, add them to the appropriate shelf, and anything else that strikes your fancy. I have account on LibraryThing, username aduell. Check me out! I also have added a gadget on the sidebar of this blog that shows random books from my LibraryThing.

To complete Thing 11:

  • Explore GoodReads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing
  • Create an account in one of them
  • Add 5-10 books
  • Add tags to each book
  • Add book to the appropriate bookshelf (if applicable)
  • Post your username and which application you used
  • Post about your experiences using the application. Would you use this? How and why? Could you see any way to use this in a school setting?

For fun (optional):

  • Add a gadget to your blog displaying books from your account (each of the three applications has an option to get the code to embed onto your blog, website, etc.)