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Glogster! No, not monster – Glogster! March 23, 2010

Posted by fafeeley in Uncategorized.
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Bill Gates has nothing on me these days. I am finally settling into my new SUPERcomputer at home. There have been a few issues with applications and hardware that aren’t quite ready for Windows 7. Some will probably never be ready, and I regret that I see no way around the planned obsolescence build into the computer industry. See The Story of Stuff next time you have 2o minutes to spare. Other than those few Windows 7 issues it’s smooth sailing at home. To be prepared for an upcoming change from my current library software to a centralized library automation system (an exciting opportunity provided by the fantastic CPS Department of Libraries) I made an arrangement with my principal for the purchase of a new desktop PC for my checkout desk at work. My longstanding computer was VERY limited. The new one was delivered and installed today. So it bears repeating. These days Bill Gates has nothing on me!

I learned of yet another online tool this week called Glogster! Described on its home page as an, “original educational resource for innovative and interactive learning,” Glogster invites you to “Poster yourself.” In the spirit of transliteracy and cross-pollination, it allows users to create digital posters that combine audio, video, text, graphics, and links to just about anything. Like Voicethread.com, it provides yet another option for communication, presentation, and/or self-expression. To get familiar with it we were assigned to create a “glog” about our libraries. I included a few photos, some audio clips that I “grabbed” from my webcam, a very short video of myself speaking which I also “grabbed” from my webcam, graphics with links (one to my school’s website and one to brief video about the Battle of the Books program), and an embedded link to a YouTube video about a visit by the Cubs Caravan that I hosted at my school three years ago.

As with most of the tools new to me in this program, there was a frustration factor at the beginning as I figured out what the tool can and cannot do. Glogster is clearly designed for use by students. It’s very simple with a limited number of options. I did not locate any help functions but managed to figure out most of it by trial-and-error. I already find it quite easy. Although I haven’t figured out all the administrative options yet, it appears clear that this tool allows teachers to have a great deal of discretion with regard to student privacy and student-generated content.

I have not figured out a way to embed my first “glog” into this wordpress blog (WordPress is a LOT more complex than Glogster!). For the moment, I will simply include a link:

Fran’s glog about the Inter-American Magnet School Library

Regarding the use of this tool with students, I intend to use it first for an open-ended self-expression project rather than as a vehicle for reporting research findings. I will suggest that the kids use it to introduce themselves, express themselves, and share things they are passionate about with others.

I hope you like my glog! And I thought glog was a hot alcoholic beverage to stave off the cold of winter! What did I know?

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Fran Feeley’s Blog by Francis A. Feeley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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More on transliteracy… March 17, 2010

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I received a comment last week from Bobbi L. Newman of Librarian by Day. It was my first comment from a librarian power blogger, and I am really excited about it. She read my post Transliteracy and the New Literacy and suggested that I read some definitions and reflections about transliteracy that she posted on her own blog: Defining Transliteracy.

While exploring Ms. Newman’s blog I also enjoyed this video about the future of publishing. Definitely check it out and watch it all the way to the end!

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Fran Feeley’s Blog by Francis A. Feeley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Second Life: Meet Paco Asadar! March 17, 2010

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It’s been a week filled with tech wonders!

First of all my new SUPERcomputer finally arrived after three delays. I knew when it finally came it would be a mix of joy and anguish (see The Agony and the Ecstasy). Most of the data transfer effort went well, but I really struggled with transferring Microsoft Outlook 2002 data to Microsoft Outlook 2007. I was quite dismayed to discover that after making a purchase of this magnitude (and the purchase of the “Dell Premium Warranty”) neither Dell nor Microsoft was willing to offer me any support for my problem without charging me for it. I found each guilty of pushing the responsibility back on the other. I found out the hard way that I had forfeited Microsoft software support by having Microsoft Office preloaded by the manufacturer. In the spirit of learning, resourcefulness, and self-reliance I explored many online solutions, attempted several solutions, and even consulted with more expert friends. Finally today I threw in the towel and ponied up $50.00 for the fix.

So now – in addition to a great big screen, snappy design features, and a bevy of fun new beeps and bings – I am able to run multiple applications again simultaneously. Oh, Joy!!  iTunes, Outlook, First Class, Firefox, and even SECOND LIFE!!!!

Yes, Second Life.

I have made it clear in the past that I have resisted many available communication tools (See The End of My Resistance? …) . Of all the online environments that seemed the most dubious in value, Second Life was at the top of my list. About five years ago college classmate Kevin Guilfoile wrote a very well received book called Cast of Shadows. Major portions of the work take place in Second Life, a term which was not on everybody’s lips yet. And frankly, the book scared the hell out of me! In more recent years I became aware of the use of Second Life as a professional tool and periodically received notices about meetings and events from the Chicago Public Schools Department of Libraries, to which I said, “No thanks!”

When I enrolled in Project ELITE I knew the day was coming when my avatar would be born, and that day came last Thursday. Here is PACO ASADAR (on the left; exotic, I know) on his birthday posing with a couple of his Project ELITE classmates. I don’t know who is who yet, but aren’t we all pretty?

We had lots of fun at our first gathering in Second Life. Of course in reality we were already in the same room, which sped things up a lot! I befriended my classmates, joined some groups, and selected some places that are professionally interesting. With my new computer and operating system (Windows 7) everything is different but bigger and better, too! On Saturday I played around with Paco. I accidentally took off his pants, created a new pair, missed the old pair, and finally managed to suit him up in his original blue jeans again. I showed off Paco to guests on Saturday night, and they were quite fascinated and especially enjoyed watching him fly.

Today I attended my first meeting. The Project ELITE instructor (known as Elaine Tulip in Second Life) arranged for American Library Association Presidential Candidate Sara Kelly Johns to speak to interested librarians at the “ALA Island.” I arrived late due to a required update download and couldn’t figure out how to sit down. Almost everybody else was seated on comfy looking stacks of books. The experience was good! The sound was good. The format was good. There was a PowerPoint presentation. I was a little confused about the etiquette. There was an ongoing chat for everybody, most of which consisted of questions and comments directed to the presenter. It appeared that other group and one-to-one communication was going on simultaneously also. I suppose I will figure out the etiquette and what’s possible in time. After the presentation I enjoyed a one-to-one voice chat with Elaine Tulip, and the quality of that voice chat was as good or better than Skype’s. Another hurdle overcome!

Here’s another shot of PACO!

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Fran Feeley’s Blog by Francis A. Feeley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Transliteracy and “The New Literacy” March 11, 2010

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I have to admit that I am one of those educators bellyaching about the decline of proper English language usage and the hastening of this horror by the array of communication tools used by people of all ages. In the spirit of rigid conformity to proper usage (I was educated by nuns after all), I was delighted to see that my iPhone provides spellcheck and other features that permit me to easily create texts and other types of messages IN COMPLETE SENTENCES. I refuse to utilize the popular shorthand options in my communication.

I was happy to see another perspective on the question of the impact of communication tools on the quantity and quality of writing by people of all ages. I came across the following article by Clive Thompson in Wired Magazine (9/2009) – while browsing Bobbi Newman’s blog “Libraries and Tranliteracy.”

Bobbi Newman’s blog: http://librariesandtransliteracy.wordpress.com/

Clive Thompson’s article: http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/17-09/st_thompson#ixzz0hb7Y4fLi 

The most salient points were 1. people of all ages are writing much more for an audience that extends beyond a single teacher/professor which makes the experience more purposeful; and 2.more people of all ages continue to engage in the task of  writing in a wide range of contexts long after their formal education ends regardless of occupation.

This reminds me of the advent of the printing press in terms of revolutionary aspects. The Internet has often been compared to the printing press, because the introduction of both to society exponentially increased access to information by the masses. The aspect of this that is just settling on me is that in the world of Web 2.o, the participatory aspect has also increased exponentially. So people are PRODUCING. Of course most people’s texts and blogs don’t command a very wide audience, but the potential is there for wider sharing. In the case of my own Web 2.o production, I have the expectation that at least one or two people will read my work, view my online photos, etc. And that inspires me to produce something that meets a minumum level of quality (with more thought that I would put into, say, a voicemail). A perfect example of this was my recent posting of reviews of books I have read on Shelfari.

http://www.shelfari.com/franfeeley

I wrote reviews of some of my favorite books from the past few years. I am sure there are thousands of reviews of each of the books I posted. But dedicating myself to the task, I identified the key aspects of those works that resonated for me. I wrote no detailed “book reports” but rather found myself employing the “concision” touted by Clive Thompson as a documented benefit of engagement in Web 2.0 environments. In other words, I got to the point! And, no less importantly, I enjoyed it!

Moving on to the concept of transliteracy, the term is new to me, but from what I gather about it up to now it’s productively utilizing (managing? juggling? coping with?) multiple tools and platforms simultaneously. It’s all about integrating tools and services in order to fully realize their potential.

It became apparent early on in this course that we would be engaging continually in transliteracy skills (even before I heard the term). We are using multiple communication tools and punctuating our usage of them with cross referencing. For example, you can access my Flickr photostream from this blog. I am utilizing Creative Commons to share work posted on this blog and on Flickr. I can access all my e-mail accounts and Facebook on any PC or my iPhone. Once my students reached a certain level of mastery with PowerPoint, I taught them how to convert individual presentation slides into JPEG format and upload those JPEG images to Voicestream to create digital stories. I can take photos using my iPhone and then upload to Facebook or Flickr, send them by e-mail or text, or save them in an organized way in my PC for later use. For years I meticulously maintained my OUTLOOK and iTunes data, never anticipating that I would be able to access them so easily on an integrated hand-held unit. Who knows what other new tools and services will be available! I suppose transliteracy is about keeping up, being flexible, and being welcoming of new innovations.

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Fran Feeley’s Blog by Francis A. Feeley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Agony and the Ecstasy March 6, 2010

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The use of technology is often the agony and the ecstasy.

For example, today’s agony was struggling way too long to figure out how to insert a Creative Commons license onto my blog entry. And the ecstasy? Suddenly noticing an html tab in the area where I create blog posts, inserting the html provided by Creative Commons, and seeing the CC license magically appear in my blog post (see below!).

ALSO from today, the agony – struggling to figure out how to use Creative Commons licensing on FLICKR. And the ecstasy? Receiving a comment about a blog post from earlier today from the ONE AND ONLY friend who subscribes to my blog which explains how to do it! I am having a digital global community moment here!

I still enjoy iPhone ecstasy when I send and receive texts, e-mails, and photos; take photos; check the moon phase; map my way to anywhere; use the voice commands; use the voice activated Google application (really, it kills me every time); and travel near and far knowing that ALL my information and ALL my communications options are at hand. The agony? Dropped calls, Cubs games, and street fairs.

I have been enjoying the ecstasy of the new laptop computers installed in my library computer lab. The agony here is that I ordered a new Dell desktop with all the bells and whistles for my home from Dell five weeks ago when I was first admitted to the Technology ELITE program, but the delivery date has been pushed back twice already. My six-year-old computer is on its last legs and can’t keep up with my demands.

Classroom ecstasy: demonstrating online resources with a computer and a projector to a riveted student audience! The agony? A one-day late fee of $.20 (that’s twenty CENTS) at the public library (resulting from an overdue book club title) preventing me from accessing the online databases provided by the Chicago Public Library while being filmed for my national board certification.

When if fails, it’s catastrophic  (okay, not catastrophic but at least inconvenient!). When it works it’s miraculous (truly, miraculous).

I stumbled upon an article this week (not in the usual Google reader way) but on PBS.org

http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2010/03/pew-report-shows-mobile-news-use-spreading-in-us060.html

Twenty-six percent of American adults are reading news content every day on cell phones (not 26% of cell phone users – 26% of the general adult population). These “on the go” types tend to use their mobile devices in robust ways and get news from a variety of sources and a variety of platforms. Reading the news on a cell phone was not one of my reasons for upgrading to a better phone, but the iPhone apps for the New York Times, NPR, and the Huffington Post are among my most used and enjoyed applications. In this case the ecstasy is having something to engage my mind even on the rare occasion when I am without a book. The agony? Tired eyes.

Check out my VERY COOL Creative Commons licensing!!!

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Fran Feeley’s Blog by Francis A. Feeley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons March 6, 2010

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I fell WAY behind in my Technology Elite work in part due to my ski trip and in part due to the feeling I get in my stomach when I think too much about copyright law and the role of librarians as the guardians and enforcers of said laws. Let’s face it, it’s murky stuff! Many of our constituents – teachers, students, and administrators – often just don’t want to hear about it! And I have just reached the point where my students don’t respond to references to bibliographies and citations with blank unknowing open-mouthed stares. I am not eager to add more layers of complexity to a responsibility they often meet grudgingly.

So on to Creative Commons! I think I have made this more difficult than it had to be. But on the other hand I still have many questions that I hope to have answered at our next LIVE meeting on March 11.

Creative Commons is a free online service that provides a mechanism for creators and users of information of all kinds to share their work and/or borrow, use, and adapt others’ work within a range of parameters chosen by the creators. The videos provided on the website (which I definitely plan to share with my middle school students) provide an excellent introduction to the concepts:

http://creativecommons.org/about/what-is-cc

We  Technology ELITE participants were required to create a print pamphlet, brochure, or bookmark to promote student awareness of and proper use of Creative Commons licensing. That part wasn’t so difficult, although I did struggle with downloading the graphic images provided by the site. I still don’t know why that was so hard.

What I struggled with even more was generating a Creative Commons license for this blog. There were step-by-step instructions for how to do it with various other blogging services, but none for WordPress.com. The Creative Commons website generates html that when uploaded properly to a blog or other website will display the Creative Commons licensing selected by the creator. I have not managed to do it and have put it off for another day.

I also tried to generate Creative Commons licenses for the hundreds and hundreds of photos I have posted on FLICKR. The Creative Commons site lists FLICKR as an online environment where CC licensing is being used on a large scale. I was unable to find any instruction on how to establish CC licensing on the Creative Commons site or the FLICKR site. I submitted a letter requesting help with this issue to FLICKR.

At this point I see my students using Creative Commons more as information creators than as users. Our assignment referred to “seeking written permission to use items not covered in Creative Commons (even if covered by Fair Use).” But I don’t quite understand why the innovation of Creative Commons would have any impact on longstanding Fair Use practices.

I will need to work out a lot more about this service before I introduce it to students. The copyright concepts are fairly clear to me, but right now I am really struggling with the mechanics.

On a much more enthusiastic note, I really like the way the information on the Creative Commons website (especially the videos) frames the worldwide exchange of information and its exciting potential for productivity and creativity. It’s truly in the spirit of Web 2.0 – everybody with online access is a potential creator and contributor. The website appeals to the sense of importance of everybody’s work – from doodles on a napkin to a video posted online. It illustrates the vast possibilities for accelerating production and creativity once legal hassles are reduced among creators who are eager to share. This approach worked for me. I tried to get on board and attach CC licensing to my own online work before I even attempted my homework!

Technology on the Slopes March 6, 2010

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Last weekend I went skiing at resorts in the Salt Lake City area. It was last year on this visit that I “took the plunge” into learning how to text on the primitive phone I used at the time. This year I returned triumphant iPhone in hand. I greatly enjoyed listening to inspiring music while skiing. I was able to send and receive texts and calls up there. And on one occasion when my partner called (and I was just about to take an oxygen break), I was able to take the call, snap a picture of myself in that very moment, and send it to him during the call.

Here are a couple of shots I took on the trip.

That’s my friend Ralph on the left.

And that’s me – still on one piece.