Wednesday, June 18, 2008
This is it--the very last exercise you have to complete for the Fontana Regional Learning program. You've all worked so hard to make it to this point, and I am so appreciative that you've stuck with it the whole way. I hope you've learned a thing or two and had some fun.
To be true to what we've explored and learned, I've created and uploaded a video for you to watch. In order to complete Thing #23, you have to watch this last video and find out the requirements for your final blog post. Make sure you have two minutes to spare and your volume turned on and up. Since we've already taken a look at YouTube, this should be a piece of cake for everyone! The video to watch appears below:
You're within grasp of your chosen prize now! We'll be getting the incentives out to everyone shortly.
Congratulations on finishing!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Through NC Live, the collection of databases that are available for free to all NC residents and students, we have access to over 26,000 titles in both e-book and audiobook formats on NetLibrary (just click on the NetLibrary link on that page)...for free! You can listen to these audiobooks, which range from fiction to language lessons, on your computer, or on your new mp3 player, if you choose that as your incentive! ( Unfortunately, the NetLibrary files are NOT compatible with iPods.) To download materials, you must first create a new account with NetLibrary. However, you are not required to do so for this exercise.
To complete Thing #22 (!):
1) Just familiarize yourself a bit with the structure of NetLibrary's Downloadable eAudiobooks site and get an idea of the types of titles you can find here.
2) Find some information on downloading and listening to the files.
3) Create a blog post: what's allowed and what's not allowed? How does it all work? How would patrons like this site? Did you locate a title that you might want to try out and download?
The word podcast is used to refer to a non-musical audio or video broadcast that is distributed over the Internet. What differentiates a podcast from regular streaming audio or video is that the delivery method for podcasts is often done automatically through RSS. In 2005, "podcast" was named the "word of the year" by New Oxford American Dictionary and with the growth of podcasting over the past few years, it's easy to see why.
Podcasts take many forms, from short 1-10 minutes commentaries to much longer interviews or panel group discussions. Even organizations such as NPR and the Center for Disease Control offer podcasts! There’s a podcast out there for just about every interest area and the best part about this technology is that you don’t have to have an iPod or a MP3 player to access them. Since podcasts use the MP3 file format, a popular compressed format for audio files, you really just need a PC (or portal device) with headphones or a speaker.
iTunes, the free downloadable application created by Apple is the directory finding service most associated with podcasts, but if you don’t have iTunes installed there are still plenty of options. For this discovery exercise participants are asked to take a look at some popular podcast directory tools. Do some exploring on your own and locate a podcast that is of interest to you. Once found, you can easily pull the RSS feed into your Google Reader account as well, so that when new casts become available you’ll be automatically notified of their existence.
There are many, many podcast directories and finding tools out there. Here are just a couple of ones that, unlike iTunes, don't require a software download:
- Oh No: Yahoo's podcast site is gone! Sorry for the bad link, everyone. Try Podcast.com or Podcast Pickle instead.
So you want to learn how to be a podcaster, too? (Optional Resources for those who want to learn create podcasts)
To Complete Thing #21:
1) Take a look at one or two of the podcast directories listed and see if you can find a podcast that interests you. See if you can find some interesting library related podcasts here like book review podcasts or library news.
2) Add the RSS feed for a podcast to your RSS reader account so you will be notified when there's a new podcast.
3) Create a blog post about your discovery process. Which method of finding podcasts did you like the most? Did you find anything useful here? What kinds of podcasts would interest you?
Thing #20: You Tube and online video sharing
Online video hosting sites have exploded over the past few years, allowing users to easily upload and share videos on the web. YouTube served 79 million users with three billion videos in January of 2008 alone! The site allows users not only to upload their own video content easily, but also embed clips into their own sites. Do some searching around YouTube yourself and see what the site has to offer. You'll find everything from 1980s TV Commercials to the YouTube-sponsored 2008 Presidential Debates. There's even a teaser trailer for this year's Big Read selection, My Antonia by Willa Cather! Of course, like any free site you’ll also find a lot stuff not worth watching, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore and see for yourself what the site has too offer. Libraries are using YouTube for publicity and to connect with patrons. Check out St. Joseph County Public Library's A Day in the Life of a Public Library video and McCracken County Library's ad for their storytimes.
To complete Thing #20:
1) Explore YouTube and find a video you like.
2) Create a blog post about your experience. What did you like or dislike about the site and why did you choose the video that you did? Can you see any features or components of the site that might be interesting if they were applied to library websites? If you're feeling ambitious, try using YouTube's embed code to post a video on your blog (make sure you're in the edit HTML tab in Blogger's composer for this).
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Throughout the course of this Learning 2.0 program we’ve explored just a small sampling of new internet technologies and websites that are empowering users with the ability to create and share content. But given time there are so many more we could explore. And although time will only tell which of these new collaborative, social networking and information tools will remain on top, one thing is for sure, they're not going to go away (at least anytime soon).
For Thing #19:
1) Select any site from this list of Web 2.0 Awards nominees and explore it. With so many to choose from, it might be handy to first select a category that interests you (like Books or Personal Organization) and then simply select a tool/site to explore. (Here's the short list if you'd prefer it.) Be careful to select a tool that is free and that doesn't require a plug-in or download. The majority of these free, so this shouldn't be a problem.
2) Explore your selection and create a post about your discovery. What did you like or dislike about the tool? What were the site’s useful features? Could you see any applications for its use in a library setting?
No, this term doesn't have to be an oxymoron. The availability and use of online productivity web-based applications (think word processing and spreadsheets) has exploded over the past few years and for good reasons! These powerful applications provide users with the ability to create and share documents over the internet without the need of installed desktop applications.
One large benefit to web-based applications it that they eliminate the need to worry about different software versions or file types as you email documents or move from PC to PC. Another bonus is that they easy accommodate collaboration by allowing multiple users to edit the same file (with versioning) and provide users the ability to easily save and convert documents as multiple file types (including HTML and pdf). And, you can even use many of these tools, such as Google Docs to author and publish posts to your blog. It’s this type of integration with other web 2.0 tools that also makes web-based apps so appealing. Google Docs can be accessed using the account you've set up for Blogger.
To finish Thing #18:
1) Explore Google Documents. Take their tour
2) Log in in using your blogger user account and password. Create a simple document, spreadsheet, or presentation (or all three!)
3) Record your discoveries in your blog. How could this be helpful for library staff? Students and other patrons? Presentations and programs?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
"Sandbox" is the term that wikis often use to describe the area of the website that should be used for pure play and experimenting. For this discovery and exploration exercise, we’ve set up a whole new wiki for you to play with: Fontana Regional Learning Wiki, hosted at pbwiki.com.
For this explore-and-play-with-wikis exercise, you are asked to add an entry or two to the Fontana Regional Learning Wiki. The topic of this wiki is simple: Your Favorites! Favorite books, hikes, restaurants, etc. All you need to do is play and add your thoughts. To make sure you get credit for this exercise, please post a link to your learning blog on the Favorite Blogs page.
For help on using wikis, see these links:
- PB Wikistyle: If you need help with HTML or the wiki codes, try this.
- PB Wiki Help: A series of how-to/troubleshooting videos to choose from. (Be sure that sound is on!)
Access the Fontana Regional Learning Wiki and look around. Choose the page you want to edit and sign in using the left hand option. See picture below!
The key (password) for this wiki is "FontanaJMS" -- make sure you capitalize the correct letters. Then just enter your name and email address to be able to continue. These measures prevent anyone from vandalizing or messing up our wiki. You don't have to create a new account if you do this.
To get credit for Thing #17:
Favorite Blogs page. That's how we'll know that you've been there. It's easy to do: Type in your blog's name, highlight that text and click the link button in the composer's toolbar (it looks like a little chainlink floating over a globe). A window will pop-up--change the link type from "Wiki page" to "URL" and paste your blog's URL into the window that appears and click okay. When you're all done editing, click the "Save" button at the bottom of the page. That's it!
1) After you've signed in as mentioned above, add your blog to the
2) Add at least one favorite to another of the wiki's pages. And if you feel up to the challenge, you might even want to create a new page for a review of the favorite item you're posting. If you do, be sure to link to this new page so others can find it!
3) Finally, create a post in your blog about the experience and what was easy/troublesome/fun/frustrating/etc.