Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Into the West

I can now say that I have blogged. This is just one take away from this Learning 2.0 Experience that I never thought I would do. I have known for a long time that I learn best when I am able to take the time to sit and write about something. This experience has given me just that excuse. This program has also enabled me to gain a passing knowledge of some of today’s key web tools. Before this I was not all that inclined towards technology. I was, and in many way still am, intimidated by it, but through this experience and through other classes I am coming to recognize that technology and the ability to use it and adapt to it are essential tools for librarians. As a fan of science fiction, I always admired the system designers, hackers, scientists, and other tech savvy characters of this world, but I never felt like I could be one of them. I know that I have a long way to go from a tea drinking, Jane Austen worshiping, history and science fiction enthusiast to a tech savvy librarian, but this brief introduction to web 2.0 has motivated me to not settle for my current level of knowledge. I want to keep learning and growing until I can hack Skynet, track an anomaly through subspace, or write in code.

I found many of the Learning  2.0 Modules to be nice mixture of creative and organizational tools. I have to say that exploring Flickr was one of my favorite exercises. I liked being able to create tags and sentimental descriptions for my pictures. I also was very interested in the RSS Feed applications. I have been able to use it to learn new words courtesy of word a day calendars, I have been able to read poetry and quotes all courtesy of my RSS Feed; however it has also proven infinitely useful for enabling me to stay current on recent developments in the LIS World. Pod casts were an interesting exploration. I had actually never heard of such a thing until I found it here. I am glad that something like this is offered s away for people to put their thoughts and investigations out there for others to find. Podcasts remind me of the golden age of radio because they are a medium for learning that encourages you to listen, which is something that we are not as apt to do these days.

I also really appreciated being able to read my classmate’s thoughts on the assignments and on life in general. I am often a take things as they are kind of person, but the thoughts of my classmates and peers encouraged me to look deeper into each application and really evaluate it for pros and cons. I know I shouldn’t be surprised that learning in a community is often more engaging than learning by oneself, but it was nice to be able to discover this for what feels like the hundredth time. On a related by slightly tangential note,  It might be interesting if you were able to create a section on your website that hosted current blogs for students so that we can more easily find each other in the great digital realm.

So in closing, I am excited to continue my journey Into the West. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Bright White Cave of Possibilities.

Today I did some spelunking in the bright white cave (ironic allusion to Plato intended) of web tools, and it really is astounding how many ways there are to endeavor. The tools available and their applications range from business, to personal, to networking, to social, to life management, to collaboration, to shortcuts, and so on. There are so many applications and tools that help you do the same kinds of things. It really is a pick and choose environment. You can decide what would benefit you and suddenly you can use it…
Since I enjoy writing, I thought that I would check out Whiteboard. Whiteboard, like Google Docs, allows a person to work on documents, share them, co edit, group edit, whatever to their hearts content. I thought that the interface was easy to use and that the options were excellent. You can name any single document; you can assign any single document a password so that it can only be accessed by those who have that password which would be useful in large businesses where not every memo is all eyes material. In the write and then drag to delete world of Word, it is easy to eradicate previous drafts, but when one wants access to them they are typically gone. The history of the process of creation is gone.

For example, I was working on a poem and there were several versions of it as I couldn’t decide which I liked best. I had to keep copying and pasting into new documents every time I changed something for fear that I would like the old way better, but not remember what it had been. With White board you can save these drafts and create new ones with relative ease. Text Expander, a tool which allows you to type in a code and get a predetermined selection of text instantly is an interesting idea. I would be afraid that with the rest of the codes I have to remember that I would forget the code for making my “whatever I wanted to type and type often” appear. Then I would end up typing it anyway.  Write is another interesting tool that allows for tracking the progress of several people’s writing. This could be useful in a newspaper or other kind of writing +deadline+ editor setting. Technorati, a blog searching tool, was an interesting tool. I am constantly having issues finding blogs that are exactly what I started out looking for. 

GOOGLE SITES IS FANTASTIC! I am involved in a club on campus, and I can think of so many great uses for this tool. I wanted to create a library catalog/database for the club’s library, but I wasn’t sure how to make it something that the members would use. Now that I found Google sites I can imagine a really great library homepage linked to from the club’s current pages. Google makes it very easy to get everything you need into your site, including great design tools like templates for different types of pages.
Google’s translation tool is also immensely helpful. I have been able to use it to translate articles for my research.  This tool is very simple to use and gives a great side by side display that allows you to see the two versions side by side, line to line.
Google Books Search is nice tool for trying to find information within a larger book. For example: On my Pathfinder assignment for LIS 518 I was able to read encyclopedia articles about my subject from whole books without having to scroll forever.
Google Calendar was easy to use. I like how you are able to edit your events, including built in alerts and reminders. It has some nice sharing options; however make public is scary with its “this will make your life available to a Google search”. With that being said, Here is the link to my week.....