Friday, November 12, 2010

Lost in the Clouds

I had fun playing with the word cloud generators. I've used Wordle before and Debbie and I have introduced it to staff at Tech Time. I find it easy to use, I like the many choices of font and color, I like the randomize feature and the layout selections. I used Wordle to create a cloud of my library's mission statement and really like the way it came out. I might use something like this as a cover for my annual report, or as a sign near the entrance the library.

Next I tried Word it Out. For my test run, I created a cloud for our student volunteer Tech Squad. Word it Out seemed to have fewer options than Wordle, and I missed the layout option of inserting words vertically as well as horizontally. I didn't find the results as appealing.

My attempt at tagxedo failed, since I wasn't able to download the application at home. I would like to try it though, as the shaped clouds looks so professional.
I enjoyed looking through the galleries to see how others are using these tools. I found book reports (Pride and Prejudice and The Outsiders), poetry and autobiographies. There were resumes, state reports and love letters. I found a wordle on bullying that was both effective and gut-wrenching. This is a tool that has many possibilities.

Finishing strong

When we first came up with the idea of an online component for the years' professional development we honestly had no idea if anyone would do it. It is time consuming and sometimes frustrating, and it would be purely voluntary. I thought if 4 or 5 people from my school participated I would consider it successful. Well....
On Tuesday we had eight blogs submitted. I was psyched--this was double the amount I had anticipated. But when Debbie and I heard that the other schools had nearly double that amount our competitive juices started flowing. On Wednesday teachers rallied between parent conferences to visit the learning commons and set up their blogs. There was cheering and high-fiving as each new blog was launched. By the end of the day on Friday we had 18 blogs submitted! There was a spirit of comradery in the air and a nice feeling of teamwork. It was fun, and I am so proud of everyone who took the time to complete the first DLC.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ugghhh--why do you want my phone number?

This afternoon we had a lab full of eager, willing teachers ready to set up their blogs for the first Digital Literacy Challenge. Then we hit a roadblock. Why does blogger want to verify each of our identities by personally calling or texting us? This came out of nowhere, as many of us with multiple blogs haven't been required to complete this invasive step. And it is just the kind of thing that stops folks who really don't want to be setting up a blog in the first place and makes the task seem huge. Ugghhhh. This is all about showing the staff how technology can help them--not make them confused and frustrated.

Our group is great, though. They didn't throw stones, rotten tomatoes or even wise remarks. They said they would do it and be back on Friday to try again. I love them. I really do. Awesome co-workers really can make or break your day. They make mine every single day of the week.

So blogger-I'm really disappointed in the way you behaved today. I've been your friend for a long time and you let me down when I needed you. Let's hope Friday works out for everyone.

Off we go

After many, many months of planning, we kicked off the year-long technology staff development on Friday. I think the entire team of technologists and librarians were excited and anxious to see how our staffs would respond to this initiative. It went well (for the most part.) Paul from Apple was phenomenal, inspiring us to move forward and think different.
Verizon Thinkfinity is an amazing educational resource, but I don't think that came across in the presentation. I'll definitely follow up with additional training for staff.
Off we go, down the path on an exciting adventure--as a staff and as a union.