Thursday, October 30, 2008

Week 9, Thing 23

#23 Is this really the end? Or just the beginning ...

Wow! Congratulations!! You’ve reached the 23rd thing. Be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for completing the program. At the start we asked you to choose a prize – if you haven’t told the OwhataGeek team already, be sure you do now – you’ll get it in December.

But before you do you need to do one more blog entry.

For your last and final exercise for this program please reflect on your learning journey and post a few thoughts. Here are some questions to prompt you if you're drawing a blank:
  • What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
  • How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
  • Were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
  • What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
  • What other Web 2.0 tools do you know about that we didn’t cover that you want other staff to know about?

In closing, on behalf of the O!What a Geek team and the Think Tank, I want to thank each and every one of you for joining us on this journey. We hope that you have not only learned some new things that you can use in your job but also had some fun along the way. We have been impressed by your willingness to undertake all the tasks and how many of the OPL Geeks love their jobs. If you have time, take a look at some other blogs in the Geek Blogs and read some entries. You might be surprised at what you learn.

Now to end on a fun note, take a look at some bad web 2.0 names (this came from ALA Direct for October 29, 2008).

Congratulations again,

Deirdre Routt aka Rapunzel 2.0

Week 9, Thing 22

#22 Media and Book Downloads (or "You are almost done!")

We have some fun and easy ways to provide our customers with materials in a variety of downloadable formats. These are materials they can access from home and use in different ways.

Overdrive provides us with both downloadable eBooks and audio books. The eBooks can be viewed on a computer or transferred to a handheld reader such as a PDA (personal Digital Assistant). They are viewed using Adobe or MobiPocket software, which can also be downloaded from the Overdrive site. The audio books are downloaded using the Overdrive console and can be played on the computer or transferred to a MP3 player. Some can be burned to a CD for permanent use. Most of these titles are listed in our catalog but the Overdrive site is separate from the catalog.

We also have downloadable movies and TV series from MyLibraryDV. These you view on your computer and need to download the MyLibraryDV player which is where the movies and TV series are accessed. The titles are listed in our catalog – the link in the catalog takes you the main MyLibraryDV screen.

Downloadable eBooks and audiobooks just for kids are available from TumbleBooks. These fun books can be accessed through the Omaha Public Library’s Kid’s page – they don’t need any additional download.

Discovery Resources:
OverDrive (these are from SamePage. If you can't get these to work they can be found on SamePage, Staff Learning, eBook & Audiobook (OverDrive) Training)


Discovery Exercise:
1. Choose one of the downloadable materials above, OverDrive, MyLibraryDV or TumbleBooks and try using it. It would be best to choose one you have not used. Try downloading and using the materials.

2. Blog about what you chose and why. Other questions do consider: did it work? Was it easy or was it frustrating to use? Are these good materials to offer at a library? Why or why not? Do you feel comfortable assisting patrons in using this format?

You are almost done, continue on to Week 9, Thing 23

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Week 9, Thing 21

#21 Podcasts, Smodcasts!
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 podcasts can be delivered automatically through RSS (remember week 4?)

Podcasts take many forms, from short 1-10 minutes commentaries (like the ones used in the original Learning 2.0 program) to much longer in person interviews or panel group discussions. There’s a podcast out there for just about every interest area and the best part about this technology is that you don’t need an iPod or a MP3 player to use it. 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.

There are podcasts of radio shows, sports casts, lectures, television or Internet shows and on and on. 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 you 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 Bloglines account as well, so that when new casts become available you’ll be automatically notified of their existence.

Discovery Resources:

  • To find out more about podcasts start with Wikipedia article on Podcasts
  • iTunes Podcast information – from what is a podcast to how to find and use them on iTunes
  • There are many, many podcast directories and finding tools out there. Here are just three of the more popular ones that, unlike iTunes, don't require a software download:
    o MyYahoo audio

What? You want to learn how to be a podcaster too? (Optional Resources for those who want to learn create podcasts)

Discovery Exercise:
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 Bloglines account.

3. Create a blog post about your discovery process. Did you find anything useful here? How could podcasts be used in the library?

Continue on to Week 9 , Thing 22

Monday, October 27, 2008

Week 9, Thing 20

#20 You too can YouTube

Note: You'll need headphones for this exercise

Online video hosting sites have continued to expand allowing users easily to upload and share videos on the web. Among all the web 2.0 players in this area, YouTube has been one of the main players since its launch in November 2005. YouTube not only allows users to upload their own video content easily, but also embed clips into their own sites easily.

Do some searching around YouTube and see what the site has to offer. You'll find everything from Kool-Aid commercials and the Theme Song to the Monkees to library dominoes, how to use a Self-Check machine and an ad from Kiplinger’s about Research Librarians. Of course, like any free site you’ll also find a lot not worth watching too. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore and see for yourself what the site has to offer. :)

Discovery Exercise:
1. Explore YouTube & find a video worth adding as an entry in your blog.
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?

Other popular video hosting sites:

NOTE: Videos, like music downloads, are bandwidth hogs. It is recommended that you complete this exercise during light internet usage times.

Continue on to Week 9, thing 21

Monday, October 20, 2008

Week 8, Thing 19

#19 Discovering web 2.0 tools
Throughout the course of this Learning 2.0 program we’ve explored just a small sampling of these 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.

If you attended the NLA/NEMA conference keynote lecture on Thursday, October 16 by Annette Lamb you received a whirlwind tour of many web 2.0 tools and their applications in libraries. If you missed it or wish to review it, here is link to the presentation: Recipes for Success. This is a great resource to dip into and explore parts of as time allows.

Web applications, like many other web 2.0 tools, have been growing fast. It is still hard to tell how they are widely accepted and used. Most businesses are not going to stop using various “office suites” of products for word processing, spreadsheets and databases. However, it is clear that there are increasing numbers of new collaborative, social networking and information tools and they're not going to go away (at least anytime soon).

For this discovery exercise, you’ll select ONE site from the lists on Web 2.0 Awards or Lambs’ Recipes for Success and explore 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.

Discovery Exercise:
1. Select any site/tool from the lists on Web 2.0 Awards or Recipes for Success. Explore the site you selected.
2. 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?

Web 2.0 – with so much to explore, just start with ONE. :)

Week 8, Thing 18

#18 Web-based Apps: They're not just for desktops
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. Some experts speculate that this emerging trend may mean the death to Microsoft Office and other software-based productivity tools, while others think web-based applications have their place, but not in the office. But no matter which side of the office suite platform you side with, on this both sides seem to agree; web-based apps have their place.

One major benefit of 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. You are also freed up from carrying a data disc or flash drive around. A further bonus is that they easily 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 Zoho Writer and Google Docs (formerly known as Writely), 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.

For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at web-based word processing tools such as Zoho Writer or Google Docs, create a simple document and then document your discoveries in your blog. If you're up to the challenge, you might even export your document as an HTML file or publish it to your blog. With web-based applications, the possibilities are endless.

Discovery Resources:
A short list of web-based productivity applications – Note: Helene Blowers authored this list in 2006 using ZohoWriter and exported it as HTML.

Discovery Exercise:
1. Create a free account for yourself in Zoho Writer or Google Docs
2. Explore the site and create a few test documents.
3. Try out Zoho Writer’s or Google Docs features and create a blog post about your discoveries.

Optional: If you're up for the challenge, see if you can write something in a web-based word processor and then use it to post to your blog.

BTW: Here’s a document (viewable as a webpage) Helene Blowers mocked up in Zoho about some of the features she found beneficial.

Continue on to Week 8, Thing 19

Friday, October 10, 2008

Week 7, Thing 17

#17 Playing around with PBWiki

"Sandbox" is the term that wikis often use to describe the area of the website that should be used for pure play. For this discovery and exploration exercise, Helene Blowers at PLCMC set up a whole Learning 2.0 Favorites wiki* that’s for nothing but play!

For this “explore-and-play-with-wikis” exercise, you are asked to add an entry or two to the PBwiki Learning 2.0 wiki. The theme of this wiki is simply “Favorites” : Favorite books, favorite vacation spots, favorite restaurants, favorite anything …all you need to do is play and add your thoughts. To mark your adventure on this site, you should add your blog to the Favorite Blogs page.

Discovery Resources:

Discovery Exercise:
1. Access the PLCMC Learning 2.0 wiki and create a login account for yourself. At the bottom of the log-in page, in the lower left-hand corner, it says "Password = plcmc". That's the verification code. (Thanks to Sarah W. for this hint!).

2. Add your blog to the Favorite Blogs page. That's how we'll know that you've been there. It’s easy to do if you follow this simple syntax:
[ URL Title of blog]
[ Learning 2.0 ]

With brackets [ ] and just a little typing, you’ve added a link - yup, it’s as easy as that!

* NOTE: The PLCMCLearning Wiki was created using the free version of PBWiki, a tool that lets you create webpages that anyone can edit.
OPTIONAL: Add a favorite or two to a few other pages (Favorite books, favorite vacation spot, etc). And, if you feel up to the challenge, you might even want to create a separate page for book review or short travel essay and link up to that.

3. Create a post in your blog about the experience.