Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Introduction to Blogs- Week #2

Watch this video – Episode 1
Listen to this podcast: Week 2

What is a blog? Here is a great definition taken from the Southwest branch’s Blog. I love their definition and I am a subscriber to their blog. Examples of other blogs at OCLS include: Library Leader, Orange Slices, the Southwest Library and Techno Teens Live

Why would or should you blog? Blogging can be used to share information about any topic or any thing. Some folks post in a style very similar to a personal diary, others post for business reasons. Campaign managers will surely use blogging as a method to get the “word” out for the upcoming presidential elections. Regardless of the reason, our patrons are blogging and they may come to you for help.

What should I know about blogs? Blogging is a great way to share insight and information, but you have to be careful. Blogging has been cited as the source of information used to make admission decisions to various colleges and universities. The potential students posted information that painted them in an unflattering light. Or they posted the actual pictures that showed them in the unflattering light!!!! Either way, the point is, people are reading your stuff. Last year, I found that one of our students was posting too much personal information on her Myspace account. In a school of over 2000 students, it took me 3 days to identify her, without using the yearbook or any other source of student information. She was shocked that we were reading HER myspace account. Maybe she forgot that it was on the INTERNET!! Once you post your thoughts and ideas to the Internet, they are no longer private; the entire world can read it. Here is another example from the recent news. Be a smart blogger!

eXplore – Create your own blog and introduce yourself. Tell us as much as you feel comfortable with. You can be anonymous, but don’t be afraid to be real. If you are working with a group or team, every member of the team has to do this activity in order to be considered a course participant.

To get started, we first need to create a Google Account. To create your account, click the Google link below and enter your work email address. Create a password (use a familiar password)and make sure that you enter the green security text in to the text window. When you are done, click the I Accept, Create My Account button. Google is going to send you an email to verify your account. Open the email when you receive it and click the verify link - a Thank You window will appear. Your log in user name to access your blog will be your work email address. Now we are ready to create our blogs! (note: this process changed recently and is relatively new)

Google Link

Now, Let’s go to Blogspot and create your blog in 3 Easy Steps. Three. Easy. Steps. Remember you must register the your blog so I can keep track of your progress. The registration link is below.

1. Click the orange arrow and create an account. It’s free.
2. Create a name for your blog. This can be a silly name, an anonymous name or your own name. Whatever you want to do.
3. Create a background template for your blog. This is very similar to choosing the look of a Powerpoint presentation.

Now that we are done with the three easy steps, click the orange arrow and start posting. If you need some starter ideas, check the Share area below. When you are done, click the orange Publish button. Tada!!! You are now a blogger!

One more step, and this is an important one. Once you have completed your first post, you need to send me the blog address. This is how you are going to register for the course and it is how I will keep track of who is participating. It is the only way I will know who to send the MP3 player to, especially if you choose to blog anonymously! To register your blog, copy your blog URL (for example http://xyz.blogspot.com), click the link below, enter your name and paste your blog URL in the provided space. Hit Submit and you will come right back here.

Blog Registration

Disclaimer, Warning, Danger, Legal Notice, etc: if you skip this step, I will not honor your claim for an MP3 player later.

ShareThe eXplore activity takes care of sharing for this week. Don’t know what to write in your blog? Think about these topics: How was the process of creating your blog? Scary? Frustrating? Easy? Can you see a use for blogs inside the Library? How about blogging for a patron audience? Comments are the fuel that blogs run on. Feel free to comment on your colleagues blogs.

Adventure – visit Technorati and search out other library related blogs. Share your discoveries in your own blog. Remember, this is an optional activity.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Welcome to OCLS Learn 2.0 - Week #1

Watch this video: New Technology (plug in your headphones or speakers)
Listen to this podcast: Week 1

This course is all about SELF:

    Sharing and Collaborating


      Lifelong Learning and

      Fun in the workplace
    Sharing and Collaborating - Sharing and collaborating are a large, LARGE component of this course. Why? Because none of us work alone. I am sitting here at my desk typing this, but Jim Elder is working on the graphics, Emily Wallace is looking for interesting weblinks, Rashal McElderry is our podcaster, and Chris Zabriskie is the person that makes the A/V magic happen. We have all collaborated to make this project happen. Technology is the key to opening up our collaboration circles. By broadening the circle, we can tap into more talent and skill, which makes work easier and the end results better. Without the team that helped with this project, you would have been reading this in a very flat, plain, boring email message. Please feel free to connect with someone at your location and work through this course together. Form a team, a study group, a lunch group, however it works for you is great!

    Exploration - Trying new things is what makes life exciting. Don’t be afraid to try any part of this course, even if it doesn’t work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Trying is the important part. Remember how you learned to ride a bike? Remember how many times you fell? You were determined and committed and you kept trying!! That’s what we need here.

    Fun – Our work is serious by its nature, having fun at work should be a mandatory requirement, like taking a lunch break. In an article titled “Humor and Fun in the Workplace” (weblink to article source) Mary Rau-Foster mentions Southwest Airlines:

    “SouthWest Airlines has departed from the typical approach to passenger service and has been rewarded for it. The flight attendants were named number one among the flight attendants of all the airlines.” “…In addition, they are encouraged to use humor in their customer service — which the passengers seem to appreciate (this one in particular.) Does the playfulness of the attendants impact their credibility with the passengers? Apparently not, as evidenced by the laughter and positive comments that follows some humorous remarks by the attendants.”

    If you have ever flown SWA, you know that they are a “different” airline. In a recent flight from Buffalo to Orlando, I was asked to sing the Mickey Mouse theme song for first-to-board privileges. I honestly didn’t know all of the words, but the gate guy rehearsed with me and I pulled it off. Lucky for me, Simon wasn’t in the crowd! Should you have patrons sing out their Dewey decimal requests? I don’t know what is right for you, but I know that if our patrons see us enjoying our work, they will be drawn to us, and more likely to visit.

    Lifelong Learning (yes I know, when spelling “SELF” the “F” should be after “L” but it doesn’t flow as well that way here) Lifelong learning means that the dog is never too old to learn new tricks. I hope that all of you are ready to learn a few new tricks. Exploration, experience and learning are all parts of lifelong learning and growth. Think of yourself as a knowledge pirate, exploring new worlds and seas, only without the plundering and killing part.

    This course will be taught asynchronously, meaning that I will present learning information on a regular interval and you can stop by and use the materials when you like. This type of learning gives you the power to learn when it is best for you. As we all know, life has a great way of changing our best plans. Asynchronous learning gives you flexibility to deal with the issues and learn when you want. Remember the Burger King commercial – “Have it your way”?? You have the power to learn anytime you want. Can you feel the power??!!

    eXplore7.5 Habits activity – View the presentation and create your own learning goals. (a direct link to download the learning contract is on the link list on the upper right side of this page)

    Share – Take a moment and post a comment to this blog about your experience with blogging, even if this is your first time. You can also share your expectations for this course. To leave a comment, click the word “comments” at the bottom of this page. When you click, a text box will open; enter your comments into the box. In the Choose Your Identity field, feel free to be anonymous or click the other button and use your own name. You don’t need to create a Google/Blogger account at this time. When you are finished, click the “Publish Your Comment” button and you are done.

    Adventure –We will have our first Adventure activity next week.