Web 2.0

This blog is an exploration of web 2.0 technologies, and how they can be used in a library setting.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Final reflection

It was great to be able to learn about so many new technologies. I feel that if I had taken another similar course I would have learned a lot about one technology, but would not have gone as in depth on each technology that I was able to in this course. It was great to interact with other students, and the blogs made that much easier. I also think it was a great way to highlight blogging features.

I was pretty nervous about creating a blog. It was something that I have never done. Mostly I was worried that I would have enough to say, but the course was laid out in a way that guided me through the posts. After 12 blogs I feel confident enough to blog on my own. Creating a blog was the first thing that intimidated me. Prior to this class I was very determined that I would never sign up for twitter. Had it not been for this class I probably would never have signed up for it. I'm glad that this class challenged me to try things that I otherwise would not have done.

The biggest frustration that I had was the speed that we were expected to pick up the new technologies. I don't like to move on from something until I have completely finished what I was working on before. It was hard for me to keep going, even though I didn't feel that I completely understood the previous technology. One thing that I really want to do is go back and spend more time on each technology. I feel that I dislike some technologies not because I do not like how they work or what they can do, but because I have not had enough time to use them. Podcasting is one that I need to go back and explore further. I think it could have some great uses, but I really didn't like using it. Twitter is another technology that I may give another try. One of the most frustrating moments of this course for me was when I received an e-mail that my twitter account had been hacked. I was really mad at the time so I just closed my account. Maybe I will go back and try twitter out again.

Interacting with classmates through the weekly discussions and blog comments was a great way for us to communicate in a web based course, and it allowed us to exchange ideas. Lisa mentioned copyright issues a few times in her blog make it known, this was an issue that I had never really thought of. But I can see how it would be a major problem. Discussing the weekly discussion questions helped me to better understand the discussion question. Many times I found through the discussions that the problems that I was facing were also problems others in the class were also dealing with and I found this really reassuring. One thing that I looked forward to every posting was the links and websites that others would include in their blogs. It was great to see new websites that relate to the technology. One of my favourite new sites that I found was from Crystal Budgell's blog on multimedia sharing, the site she demonstrated was smilebox.

I currently am not in a position to implement any of the technologies that we learned into a library or school, but it has given me ideas for the future. I know a librarian in a small town that has been struggling with her library website for a while. She needs the website to be easy to update, but also easy to create. The web development software that she is aware of is either too expensive, too hard to figure out, or does not do what she needs it to do. I am going to suggest to her that she uses a blog as their website. It's really easy to create and update, and it's free. Right now the best thing that I can do is to continue to follow the blogs that I have started following for this class. I am hoping that by regularly following these blogs I will continue to get updated on new technology that can be applied to a library and ways that existing technologies can benefit libraries.

Overall the course taught me a lot. I have to say that my favourite technology that I learned was multimedia sharing and mashups. This was a technology that I had no previous experience with, learning about it was the highlight of this course. This is definitely the technology that I want to go back to and learn more about of all that I have learned. I think that both personally and professionally it could be a really useful technology to use.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What's Next?

There are so many great web 2.0 technologies, and lots of ways that the technologies can be used in schools and libraries. If I had to choose one to incorporate into a school or library I think I would choose to introduce blogging. Many people are already familiar with the technology, since there are many blogs on the internet. Blogging has many uses in a school and library. Blogging is also great because it can be used by academic, public, and school libraries, and by teachers. Many academic libraries have taken advantage of blogging technology as a way of communicating with students. Public libraries can also take advantage of blogging. Like academic libraries, public libraries can use it as a way to update library users on new products, services or events. Public libraries can also take advantage of blogging technology to build their website, this is a way to create a website that is easily updated. Schools can use blogging technology as a way for teachers to connect with each other, to update parents and the community about what is going on at the school, or teachers can integrate blogging into the classroom to make it more interactive. Blog without a library gives a comprehensive list of academic, public and school libraries that take advantage of blogging technology.

Introducing adults to new technologies can be tricky. That is why I think a good place to begin is with blogging technology. Most people read blogs, so they are somewhat used to the technology. Before you introduce a new technology I think it's important to know the technology fairly well, be comfortable using it, try it out to see if it works for you, and to make sure that it is a technology that you yourself will use. I feel that this class has introduced me to blogging technology, and I would be comfortable introducing it to others. Not everyone will be open to using the technology, which is fine. I think the important thing is to introduce them to new ways of doing things and how they can be used, and let them decide if it is something they would want to use. There's no point pressuring people into using something. I think when you are teaching the new technology you should give a demonstration then let people have a lot of time to play with it while you're around to answer any questions. I know that I learn best when I do things myself, rather than just watch somebody do it. I think people will be more likely to use the technology if they become familiar with it. Also I think it's important for them to know that if they have any questions to ask.

The great thing about blogging is that there are just a few skills that need to be learned to blog successfully. If you know how to create a post, edit it, comment on others posts, and add links then you are able to take full advantage of blogging technology. Another nice feature with blogging is that posts do not have to be formal, so some mistakes are ok (McIntyre, Alison; Nicolle, Janette). I think this makes blogs less formidable than other web 2.0 technologies that require users to know a lot of features for it to work well, or that are less forgiving. I think this is why blogging is such a great place to start for introducing web 2.0 technologies into a library.

I think if you can get people familiar with the technology they will be more likely to use it on a regular basis. To keep the momentum going I think it's important to find new ways to use the technology. For schools and libraries I think it's important to get as many people interested in the blog as possible. Libraries can showcase their blog page and how its information would help patrons. I think if patrons use the technology and are excited about it, staff at the library will be more eager to update it and keep it going. For schools, getting parents involved is a great motivation for teachers to continue to use blogging technology. If it is used by the school as a way for children to collaborate and parents use the technology to keep up with what their children are doing I think that teachers would be more willing to keep it going. If teachers know that parents regularly visit the blogs their children work on I think they are more likely to continue to use the technology.

I think if teachers can get used to using one technology, and enjoy using it then they would be more open to new technologies. I think that all of the web 2.0 technologies that I have learned and discussed would improve how teachers teach their students. Ideally, it would be nice if they took advantage of all the web 2.0 technologies available to them. I think before you get to that point though you need to build up their confidence with one technology, since all of them at once would be way too overwhelming. Slowly build upon their knowledge, and introduce new technology as they become more confident with the previous one. I also think that if you introduce technologies that link together then they will be more likely to learn a new one. If they can use the new technology in conjunction with one they already know I think it will make them more confident.

Children have different challenges when introducing web 2.0 technologies. They often embrace and enjoy new technology but many web 2.0 technologies are blocked on school computers. The nice thing about blogs is that they can be very interactive and open for many people to view and comment on, such as my blog on blogger. But you can also create closed blogs that you have to be invited to in order to comment or view anything, such as mysite. I think that a website is less likely to be blocked by a school if it can be closed. Or if it is already blocked, I think that a school would be less hesitant to unblock it knowing that it is closed. Being able to benefit from the interactivity of a web 2.0 technology, while still having it closed to others is a feature that is not very common with web 2.0 technologies. I think that if you can introduce this technology and show that the students are safe and it is benefitting their education, then schools may be more open to other web 2.0 technologies and unblocking them for schools use. Internet blocking is even more of a problem if students do not have access to a computer at home (Gustafson, Chris). In order for the technology to have a positive impact on students, all of the students need to be able to access the technology. It may be a good idea to introduce blogs just for fun, instead of using it in an assignment at first, to see what kind of access students have to the technology and how they respond to its introduction.

I think that blogs are a good web 2.0 technology to begin with to introduce. They are collaborative, but can also be closed. I think that it would be easier to "sell" schools on their educational impact above other web 2.0 technologies like social networking or video/photo sharing. Blogs are also relatively easy to set up and use, and there is no cost for the school/teacher/library to set one up.

Blogging in the Library. By: Gustafson, Chris. Library Media Connection, Nov/Dec2008, Vol. 27 Issue 3, p56-57, 2p.

Biblioblogging: blogs for library communication. By: McIntyre, Alison; Nicolle, Janette. Electronic Library, 2008, Vol. 26 Issue 5, p683-694, 12p.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blogs and RSS

I think that everyone is very familiar with the concept of blogging. Blogs are websites that the writer updates, the posts appear in chronological order, with the top being the most recent. Users can comment on blog posts (about.com). My problem is what is an RSS? And how is it different from a podcast? Like podcasts, RSS feeders send the information to the user. The difference is that RSS feeders allow a user to view website updates without visiting the website, saving time checking websites that may not be updated regularly (Software garden). I have been using RSS during this course and I didn't even notice. On the homepage for my blogger account it allowed me to sign in blogs whose posts would display directly to my homepage. Each day I would only have to log into my blogger account to view the blogs I wanted to read. I expected following blogs or websites via RSS to be difficult, but it was so easy that I didn't even know I was using the technology.

The blogs that I chose to follow for entertainment were lol cats, lamebook, flickr blog, the blogs that I followed that relate to the class are ilibrarian, info-mational, and infodoodads. I found following the blogs really enjoyable, even the ones I read for professional development. I found ilibrarian to be especially relevant to the course. They had great blog posts on twitter, social networking, social bookmarking, and a lot of other topics we discussed in this course. Just today there was a post for adding multimedia to your blog. Following the blogs was really easy, especially with my RSS reader, it made it so that I could browse the blogs and if something interesting caught my eye I would read it. This course made me realize that most of the websites I visit on a regular basis for entertainment are blogs.

Schools can use blogs in a lot of different ways. Teachers can use it for themselves for professional development by following blogs they can learn from, to share lesson plans or teaching activities, or like I have been doing with this blog, try to educate people on new technologies or explore issues with teaching. The teacher can incorporate blogs into the classroom by posting information for the class or their parents on the blog, interact with the class on readings, books, or other classroom topics. Teachers can also use blogs as a way to display students art, stories, create a newsletter, or other projects. Blogs can also be used as a way of pointing students to websites that may be helpful for them. Students can create blogs of their own and use it to write and submit class assignments, complete journal entries, showcase work they are proud of, or discuss what was learned in class (Richardson, pg. 38).

As librarians we may have to assist teachers with starting up a blog. The first thing is to make sure that blogs can be accessed via the internet and are not sites that are blocked by a filter. Teachers need to be open to incorporating the technology into their classrooms, if the teacher is not open to the technology then it will not be used to its full potential. Teacher librarians should be available to offer help to teachers who need help with their blogs, and should be proficient with the technology before they suggest that others use it (Gustafson, Chris).

Libraries can use blogs for many of the same uses. Librarians can use blogs to communicate with coworkers and keep them up to date. Blogs can also be used to communicate to users of the library. Through a blog libraries can tell about upcoming events, new books, services and resources, or changes that may be occurring (McIntyre, Alison; Nicolle, Janette). A public library in Time, Norway began blogging about building their new library as a way to get the public interested and gain support (the blog is in Norwegian, but it's kind of cool to look at the picture and plans of their new library). Plans, and press comments were posted on the blog to keep people up to date on the progress of the new building. This also allows people to comment on the building process (Lund, Vidar).

For smaller libraries using a blog instead of a website can be a good way to make sure that content is regularly updated, and it does not require as much knowledge of technology as the maintenance of a website. Not only is it easy to update but it allows users to give feedback to the library and makes the site more interactive. Libraries that use blogging software to create their websites don't have to make it look like a blog, there are many ways to customize the site so that it looks prefessional, especially with the use of wordpress. One library that has used wordpress to create their website is Troy public library. The use of blogging software to create and maintain a library webpage is a good idea for any library, but libraries in rural areas stand to benefit the most. Often small rural libraries do not have the kind of tech support that libraries in urban areas have. Blogs allow small libraries to have a polished up to date website without needing extensive technological knowledge (Farkas, Meredith).

Richardson, Will. Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms.

Blogging in the Library. Gustafson, Chris. Library Media Connection, Nov/Dec2008, Vol. 27 Issue 3, p56-57, 2p.

Biblioblogging: blogs for library communication. McIntyre, Alison; Nicolle, Janette. Electronic Library, 2008, Vol. 26 Issue 5, p683-694, 12p.

Planning a new library with the aid of blogging. Lund, Vidar. Scandinavian Public Library Quarterly, 2009, Vol. 42 Issue 2, p24-24, 1p.

Our New Website Is a Blog. By: Farkas, Meredith. American Libraries, Oct2008, Vol. 39 Issue 9, p45-45, 1p.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Twitter seems to have appeared out of nowhere. I had not even heard of it, then all of a sudden that's all that I heard people talking about.

Twitter is a messaging service that allows users to write short messages from several different platforms. Users can then read and respond to other users' messages (about twitter).

Twitter searches allow users to search twitter for messages on a certain subject area. This commoncraft video shows how this feature can be useful to twitter users.

Setting up my own twitter account was very easy. In just a few steps I had my own account. One thing that I didn't like is that people would follow me and then try to send me spam. This is one aspect of twitter that I really don't like. What I found the most difficult was finding people I knew on twitter. No matter how I went about trying to find friends of mine that I knew were on twitter, I could not find them. Apparently a year of library school has not given me the skills to search twitter. While searching for my friends was very difficult, searching for celebrities was really easy.

I find that that is my main use for twitter, to follow celebrities and friends. I don't really enjoy updating my status since I never feel like I have anything worth updating, but I find it interesting to follow friends and celebrities. I think that libraries need to capitalize on the fact that people are willing and interested in following others. Many libraries have twitter pages they use to reach out to users of the library. Circulation blog provides a comprehensive list of American libraries that use twitter. Edmonton public library has a twitter page, which they use to update people about events, and communicate with users.

Libraries can use twitter to promote events, or to make people aware of new books and resources at their library. The great thing about twitter is that libraries do not have to work alone, they can work together to promote mutual events. Libraries' use of twitter does not have to be limited to communicating with library users, it can also be used for librarians' professional development. Librarians could benefit from following other libraries/librarians, book sellers and publishers or other members of the community. Twitter allows for new ideas to spread easily and quick communication between members (Page, Benedicte).

Sonja Cole provides 20 ways for a library to use twitter:

1. Ask for recommended books, products, or services.

2. Ask for help or advice about a topic of professional interest.

3. Recommend a book, product, or service other librarians would be interested in.
4. Write a book list one tweet at a time, or link to a book list on the web.

5. Tweet about a useful resource on the web, a particular blog post, video, or web site.

6. Provide a daily tip like a word of the day, book of the day, random trivia, useful fact, or helpful resource.
7. Share new studies of interest to other professionals.
8. Celebrate timely events. Recognize author birthdays, Banned Books Week, and other events that affect your patrons.

9. Tweet about your library's web site, blog, and/or podcast. Add a new tweet to let your followers know when you make updates.

10. Link to a book trailer or video booktalk you create.

11. Start a Twitter book club, and tweet your reactions to the book as you read.

12. Invite followers to an event (online or offline). Events can include library programs, book signings, talks, meetings, your online book club, webchat, etc.

13. Link to photos of your library and events.

14. Retweet someone else's post that you found interesting.

15. Say thanks when someone retweets you or mentions you in their tweets.

16. Participate in #FollowFriday by recommending others people might want to follow.

17. Answer someone else's general question, and reply to those who ask you a direct question @your_Library.

18. Schedule to meet fellow librarians at a conference, or organize a professional tweet-up in your area.

19. Make a personal connection with other librarians by sharing your favorite new book, video of the day, quote of the day, blog post, etc.

20. Ask others for their favorite posts, and reply with comments on their picks.

Schools can use twitter in much the same way as libraries, they can communicate to parents, students and community members about the school. School librarians can use twitter to update students about new books, or make recommendations for books to read (Summers, Laura L.). Twitter can also function as a staffroom, linking staff together and allowing them to collaborate. It also allows them to share ideas and get feedback quickly. Since twitter is global teachers can look outside their region and see what others are doing in and out of their country. Choose people to follow that you can really learn from, twitter allows you to follow people that can help with professional development. Though twitter can be a great aid to teaching and professional development of staff in schools there may be problems with Internet filters so not all people can take advantage of the benefits twitter offers (Nine reasons to twitter in schools). One way to benefit from twitter without having to navigate around an Internet blocker and without some of the potential risks it poses to young students is by using youth twitter instead. Like twitter students can post 140 character messages, however, it is done in a permission only environment (Richardson, pg. 88). Youth twitter is definitely not as user friendly as twitter. I find the advertisements really distracting. I don't know if this is the main site or if you search and it brings you to a site more similar to twitter. When I tried searching it just brought up more sponsored sites. I think in theory this site is good, but twitter is much more user friendly.

Libraries enter the Twitterverse. By: Page, Benedicte. Bookseller, 6/19/2009, Issue 5387, p6-6, 1/3p.

20 Ways for Librarians To Use Twitter. By: Cole, Sonja. Library Journal, 6/15/2009, Vol. 134 Issue 11, p25-25, 1/3p.

THE VALUE 0F SOCIAL SOFTWARE IN SCHOOL LIBRARY. By: Summers, Laura L. Knowledge Quest, Mar/Apr2009, Vol. 37 Issue 4, p48-50, 3p.

Blogs, wikis, podcasts and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Will Richardson.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Social Networking

Social networking has become a huge phenomena, over 42 000 000 people in the US use facebook alone (istrategylab). Many websites and blogs have been created based on social networking sites. One of these websites is lamebook. This site allows people to "bust" their friends who have posted things on facebook that are lame. Sites like this highlight that facebook and other social networking sites are open to the public and people need to remember that when they post to their accounts.

I have been using social networking sites for quite a while. I have been a member of facebook since 2006, and before that I used hi5, myspace and nexopia. I quit hi5 because very few of my friends were on the site. Nexopia I quit because I was starting to feel really old being on there, and it was beginning to feel more like a dating service. I never really gave myspace a try, so I thought for the purposes of this blog I would go back and explore my myspace page. I have not used the service in about four years, and had completely forgot my password. Luckily, it was easy for them to e-mail my password to me. One thing that I noticed as I was logging in is the main page has a feature to help find people with certain characteristics in a certain area. I don't really like this because it makes it feel like a dating service. Once I logged on the one thing I noticed first is that they now allow you to customize your myspace homepage. I really like that aspect of it and I wish that was something that facebook would adopt. I don't find myspace's format to be as intuitive as facebooks. I find it really hard to find stuff on their site, and the advertising on the side is distracting. This could just be because I am used to facebooks format, but I don't find myspace very easy to use. Myspace has most of the same features as facebook such as messaging, chatting, video/photo uploads, status updates and much more. The only thing that really distinguishes the two is the format in which they present these features. For me, facebook is more user friendly. The thing that I like most about facebook is their privacy settings, I like that I can regulate who gets to see my profile.

I use facebook mainly as a way to stay connected to friends and family, and as a way to store and share my photos. Facebook is making it increasingly easier to stay in touch with friends and family. The website started out as a site for college students, but it has grown a lot from there. The fastest growing demographic for the site is now 35-54 year olds, with a growth rate of 276%. The next fastest growing demographic is people aged 55+, with a growth rate of 194%. While these demographics have the highest growth rates, the largest demographic is still college students, who make up 41% of the users on facebook (istrategylabs). These changing demographics mean that I am able to connect with more people that I know, but libraries can also reach a wider audience as well.

Edmonton Public Library has a facebook page. On it they post events, contests, new books, photos and videos. The facebook page is another way for the library to reach out to people where they are, and update followers. Social networking can also be used to connect people and allow them to discuss books or assignments. This can be done through the creation of a group on facebook or through facebook chat (Stewart, Paulette).

It may be a good idea for librarians to have a facebook page as well that they mention to students so if they have a reference question they can ask this way as well. The problem is that you don't want to appear pushy, allow the students to come and befriend you (Connell, Ruth Sara). Social networking sites and their encouragement by public libraries also offer the library an opportunity to teach teens about safe online use and interactions (Denise Agosto, June Abbas).

Schools can take advantage of the facebook aplication shelfari to encourage reading. Unlike a lot of facebook applications, the shelfari application links its users to the shelfari website and the users of that website. So even if someone does not have a facebook account, they can still benefit and communicate through the shelfari website. This application is great because it allows users to share books that they have read and rate and review them (Paulette Stewart). Students are already using social networking sites, the ability to bring learning to them in an environment they enjoy could be very beneficial. Though the use of social networking sites in schools could be a great addition there are several problems with its use. I have already discussed that there is a false sense of privacy when people use a social networking site, but there are also problems with schools allowing social networking sites because they use a lot of bandwidth, not to mention that hackers may use social networking sites as a means of infecting computers with viruses. Many schools use internet filters, so using social networking sites may not even be an option if they cannot be accessed. Children are now starting to build relationships online, and the meaning of friend is begininng to change. The problem is that it is hard to build meaningful relationships online (Doug Fodeman, Marje Monroe).

Though social networking sites hold a lot of potential for educators they have many problems too. I think that before they are used in a school/library setting people should be educated about problems that can arise when the sites are used improperly.

FACEBOOK AND VIRTUAL LITERATURE CIRCLE PARTNERSHIP IN BUILDING A COMMUNITY OF READERS.Full Text Available By: Stewart, Paulette. Knowledge Quest, Mar/Apr2009, Vol. 37 Issue 4, p28-33, 6p.

Academic Libraries, Facebook and MySpace, and Student Outreach: A Survey of Student Opinion.Citation Only Available By: Connell, Ruth Sara. portal: Libraries & the Academy, Jan2009, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p25-36, 12p.

TEENS AND Social NETWORKING: HOW PUBLIC LIBRARIES ARE RESPONDING TO THE LATEST ONLINE TREND.Full Text Available By: Agosto, Denise E.; Abbas, June. Public Libraries, May/Jun2009, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p32-37, 6p.

Facebook: A School Librarian's Tool for Building a Community of Readers
Paulette Stewart. International Association of School Librarianship. Selected Papers from the ... Annual Conference. Brantford: 2008. p. 1 (17 pages).

the impact of Facebook on our students
Doug Fodeman, Marje Monroe. Teacher Librarian. Seattle: Jun 2009. Vol. 36, Iss. 5; p. 36 (5 pages).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Multimedia Sharing

Before I begin to explore the topic of multimedia sharing I need to know two things :
1. what is multimedia sharing and how is it different from photo/video sharing?
2. what are mashup sites?

According to Participatory Media Guidebook "multimedia sharing sites facilitate the storage, sharing, and sometimes creation of audio, images/photos, and video." Based on this definition, a multimedia sharing site is similar to a photo/video sharing site since it can do both these things, however, it also allows you to create and blend audio, images, and video. I guess if you think about what a mashup site is it is self-explanatory. It is a site that combines web features. Web 2.0 Directory: eConsultant gives a list of sites that combine services from other websites. These sites combine sites like delicious, google, yahoo, social networking and many others.

To try out multimedia sharing I thought I would use animoto. I have never even heard of it before and had no idea what to expect. The site allows you to create a slideshow of your photos and add music. It was so much fun! I could have sat and created short videos of all my photos. It made it so much fun to look at them again. It was so easy to use, you could pull photos straight from facebook or other sites that allow you to store photos. You can add your own music or music they provide to your video. I liked that they used bands I had never heard of before, I'm sure that it is good promotion for these bands and the site allows you to buy the music that you add to your video if you want, which is another nice feature. After you're done creating the video you can share it on youtube, facebook, or post it to a blog like I have done. Teachers can apply to create unlimited videos. This site is a fun way to get students to create videos, and it is so easy to use. It allows them to be really creative. The site provides case studies that show what some schools have done with animoto. One class created an anti-bullying video, while others have used it for end of year projects or to supplement the lesson. I watched the anti-bullying video that is on the site as an example of what can be done with animoto and it is very good for a fourth grade class. I think it goes to show you that if children enjoy what they are doing then they can create something that's really great. Mine is not quite as cool as theirs, but it was really fun to make.

Another multimedia sharing site is voicethread. Voicethread is interesting because it allows someone to upload an image, document, or video then others can comment through many means including video, audio, and typing. Because it offers users the ability to interact in advanced and basic ways, anyone can participate. Voicethread would be great for educators of university and grade school students. Teachers can use voicethread to have students illustrate, upload and narrate their own stories, or post illustrations and have each student create a narrative and see how they differ. Professors can post videos, documents or images and students can discuss. This allows discussions to occur that are more interactive, and is especially handy for web courses. Both animoto and voicethread blew me away. They were a lot of fun to use and were both two sites I had never heard of before. Both of them have a lot of potential for use in schools.

A multimedia sharing site that I came across is Cozimo. Cozimo allows you to upload a video, photo, or document and then lets others comment. Commenting can be done through messaging and markup of the image. People are able to draw directly on the image, then add text explaining why they have marked that image. This commenting does not have to be done alone, review sessions can be held, and everyone can comment together. Cozimo means that people can discuss ideas from all over and do not have to be together to edit something. Cozimo would be a great way for students working on an assignment that is visual to collaborate and edit, though since it allows documents to be uploaded and marked it would be useful for almost any group project. A review session is a nice feature because people are able to get together from wherever they are, which is always an issue with group work.

Multimedia sharing provides many useful tools for schools and libraries. Schools can use multimedia sharing sites for collaboration on schoolwork, or as a creative way to make videos of school functions, for the curriculum, or for fun. Libraries can use the sites as a fun way to introduce people to what's new in the library, or as a way for colleagues to collaborate much easier.

Multimedia sharing is still pretty new so there is not a lot of literature or guidance on the topic for schools and libraries. The best thing for them to do is learn about specific sites, play with them and try to think of ways to implement them. A lot of the multimedia sites give ideas for what it can be used for and this is a good starting point for schools and libraries.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Imagine not only being able to access huge amounts of information, but also be able to edit and add to these pages. Wikis allow users to work collaboratively to edit information on a web page.

Last year I took a class for school that required us to create a wiki. Prior to that I thought that wikipedia was a site with lots of awesome information, but did not realize that wiki was a technology. Wikis are websites that allow users to edit the information on the page (Lamb, Annette; Johnson, Larry). Since this discovery I have actually been using wiki technology quite a bit. I used it for two of my classes last semester that had group activities. I have always hated group work because I found it impossible to find time for everyone to get together and collaborate. Creating a wiki meant that people could contribute on their own time and when it was convenient for them. I think it made our group work much easier to complete. An aspect of wikis I also like is that they allow you to post comments so you remain interactive with your group even though you may work on the project separately. (I was not able to put a link to my wiki since you have to be invited to participate, but if you would like to view how I used to wiki for school let me know and I will add you). As university students we became aware of the use of wikis to make group work easier. For younger students the teacher may have to create the wiki for the students. The students can then use the wiki for group collaboration, as I have used it, or to collaborate as a class on topics.

Perhaps the best known wiki is wikipedia. It is the fourth most visited website in the world (About wikimedia). Before I even knew about the wiki technology I regularly used wikipedia, though I didn't understand how people could add/change information on the site. Wikipedia, like other wikis, allows its users to create, edit and add to pages. Anybody can change the information on a page, but if it is changed to something incorrect it is changed back very quickly. I once changed some information on a page to see if it would go unnoticed, and within an hour when I checked back it was corrected. Because wikipedia pages are created and maintained by many people it works as a kind of peer review system. Often the information found on wikipedia is of a very high quality. Last year I worked on a reference desk at the university, if students asked me for an overview of a topic and everything that I could find was too in depth I would point them to wikipedia. I wouldn't recommend using it as a reference in a paper since many professors frown upon the use of wikipedia, but using it to get an idea of a topic is fine. Why is using wikipedia in a paper frowned upon? I think the quality of information is better than information found on a random personal web page, at least wikipedia has some sort of a review process.

Besides wikipedia there are many other wiki sites. Wikipedia has many similar pages that are all part of wikimedia. Wikimedia is a not for profit company aimed at dispersing knowledge in many languages all across the world.

Besides wikipedia, wikimedia offers:
wikibooks - provides free textbooks and manuals
wikiversity - offers free learning tools
wiktionary - is a dictionary and thesaurus
wikiquote - is a collection of quotations
wikispecies - is a directory of species
wikinews - is a free content news source
wikisource - provides free course documents
wikimedia commons - provides freely usable media files.

Wikimedia offers free information on a wide range of topics. It is useful for any school teacher or university student. Social studies teachers can take advantage of wikinews to assist their students in learning about current events. Wikispecies is great for biology teachers, and wikimedia commons is great for any teacher looking for resources to supplement a lesson. While the sites offered by wikimedia are helpful for teachers in North America, the goal of wikimedia is to offer free resources to students and teachers in countries that do not have the same resources at their disposal as in North America.

Wikis can be used by libraries to provide information for their users. St. Joseph County Public Library has created a wiki to provide their users with subject guides. Users choose a topic and the library provides helpful links, books, or articles depending on what information the user requires. WikiHow is a great site for teachers as well. It gives teachers ideas for demonstrations for their students and how to do them. For example, physics teachers can create a cartesian diver to demonstrate Newton's third law of motion. Anything that you could ever possibly want to know can be found in there. It is even helpful for everyday things that may occur in a classroom such as getting gum out of hair. Events like these are bound to happen, and wikiHow will tell you what to do.

Wikis can also be used to aid in collaboration between teacher and between teachers and librarians. Teachers can post lesson plans and librarians can view them and see if they can assist the teacher in any way. It is always important for parents to be involved in their childrens education. Teachers can create a wiki for their students to use, but allow parents viewing privileges so they know what is going on in the classroom (School Librarian's Workshop).

The American Association of School Librarians has create the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner. Among these standards are a familiarization with technologies necessary in the workplace, and to give learning a social context. Using a wiki in a classroom fulfills both these standards. Students are being exposed to new technologies and wikis require students to work collaboratively.

It is important for a teacher, school or library to pick a wiki that will work best for them and their students. There are so many wikis out there it is hard to know which one to choose. WikiMatrix is a website that allows you to compare wikis to see which will work best. The list of wikis is very comprehensive, and comparing them is as simple as selecting two wikis then clicking compare.

Wikis do not always have to relay information, they can also be used for fun. Though sites like Uncyclopedia and Wackypedia do not contain useful information, unless the list of lesser known scrabble words counts, but they are fun to view. Getting students to create nonsensical words and wiki posts can be a fun exercise too, it gets them using new technology and their imagination.

Connecting with Wikis. School Librarian's Workshop, Jun/Jul2009, Vol. 29 Issue 6, p22-22, 2/3p

Wikis and Collaborative Inquiry. By: Lamb, Annette; Johnson, Larry. School Library Media Activities Monthly, Apr2009, Vol. 25 Issue 8, p48-51, 4p