Tuesday, October 03, 2006

...and so we've come, to the end of the road

The title line is from one of the top slow dance songs during my time in high school, if anyone is wondering why the comma seems out of place. I was trying to represent a dramatic pause in the music. And I now return you to our regular scheduled program...

I'm here, at thing #23. I remember thinking that Staff Day and the end of week 8 felt pretty far away when we started, and there are weeks that I thought it would never end!

My favorite part of Learning 2.0 is the community that grew out of it. Most of the people at my branch were participating, and it gave us a common goal and a common language. I am at one of the regional libraries, so we are pretty big and our departments are pretty compartmentalized. Because we were all doing the same things (and often struggling with the same things), I really felt like I got to connect with and work more closely with people from other departments than I normally do , and that was the best part of it for me. We worked together; we knew who was struggling and who we could go to for help. There was more conversation than usual in the break room during lunch and dinner breaks. Sometimes we were unified in our frustrations, but we were unified.

One of the questions asked of us is, "What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?" The first thing I would say is give us more time. Maybe one thing a week, or maybe have a week off every third week allowing for "catch-up" time. I, personally, did not find some of the things useful or even interesting, so I wonder if there would be a way to have some choice in what things we chose to do. Like maybe have a list of 35 things and we pick 23, so each of us could pick things we were interested in or had heard about or think might come in handy. You could even designate a certain number of mandatory things, if there are some applications that PLCMC is likely to utilize widely in the future. The drawback of picking what you are interested in is that you may lose some of the community and sense that we were all in this together that really was the best part of the program.

I would do other discovery programs in the future, if they were offered. I did learn things, and I enjoyed the overall experience, even if some weeks it was overwhelming. And the incentive was a good motivator.

Of the things we studied and I had never used before, I think I am most likely to use the online word processors. (I am still so impressed that a Zoho Writer staff member sent me a comment to help fix my problem!) I think wikis are here to stay, so I'm sure I will use them again, so it's nice to have already played around a bit with them. And I had used Flickr before, but only to view photos I taken by people I knew. I am hoping to buy a digital camera soon, and I may actually create a Flickr account and post some photos. I may even use RSS, despite my earlier hesitations. I'll remove some of the feeds that I originally subscribed to that were only to fill the requirements, but I have really enjoyed seeing the newest Unshelved every day, and I am currently following a YA author's blog. I may even look for more blogs by writers I like.

Most of the others, I don't know that I will use. I liked Library Thing, but I just don't see you using it. I didn't like and I didn't like Technorati, and I'm not crazy about YouTube, though in that last case, I'm glad I at least know what it is. It will be interesting a year from now to see what I (and the others) have found ourselves using or being asked about.

What I haven't decided is whether or not I will continue to blog. I kind of like the outlet, though I'm not sure that I really want to spend more of my free time in front of a computer. I've thought about writing about J and YA books I'm reading as I read them, and make it like a book reviewer/reader blog, so stayed tuned.

Overall, I think the fact that PLCMC committed to increasing the technical vocabulary and knowledge of its entire staff is a good thing, and I was glad to be a part of it.


Yesterday, I posted about YouTube and videos there. I didn't link to any, because I didn't find any that I both liked enough to share and felt were appropriate for a work environment. Today, I was checking the blog of a young adult author I like (and actually went to school with, though I didn't know him) and he found a google video that is a fake trailer for his Printz-Award winning novel, Looking for Alaska. It's actually pretty true to the book, and it's a good advertisement. I guess this group of kids made the video for an English assignment. Since I didn't link to any yesterday, I'll do it today instead. This will actually take you to his blog post. I wasn't sure how to get the code to put it in my blog, since I found it somewhere other than the google video. I'm guessing it's more entertaining if you've read Looking for Alaska.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I guess that's why they call it YouTube

I stole the title of this post from another PLCMC participant who has written seveal fabulous song parodies about this excersies. Be sure to check them out.

And I had never actually seen Tom Cruise's appearance on Oprah, so I did a search for "Tom Cruise on Oprah" and was able to finally see what all the fuss was about. I had seen parodies, but not the actual footage.

There was a lot there, but as I had been warned, a lot isn't worth watching. I don't know that I would visit this site often, but it's nice to know what exactly it is, and it's a good way to look for big iconic moments that you missed, like Tom Cruise jumping all over Oprah's couch. And who wants to be the only one who hasn't seen that?

Attack of the podcast people!

Podcasts. I've heard the word a lot, and have even listened to a few, though I think they've all been for this program. The speakers on my computer don't work any more (have I mentioned how much of a dinosaur my computer is?) so I can't listen to any at home. I have occasionally found ones I would like to listen to, but it's usually been associated with a hobby or TV show. I think finding podcasts through sites I routinely visit or topics I look up is more desirable than looking for podcasts for the sake of looking for podcasts, but I did a little searching on some podcast directory tools for thing #21.

I started with Yahoo Podcasts and found one about Prison Break (some of the ones I've seen at home and wanted to listen to involve the show) but after about 20 seconds of broadcast I realized it was just a recap of an episode. Then I looked for something library/book related, as suggested, and had no luck with various combinations of "teen" "ya" "books" and "literature." I did find a Harry Potter podcast that looked promising, but it wouldn't play. Then I tried podcastalley. I didn't like what I found, and it tried to have me download something I didn't understand, so I went on to, which I liked the best of the 3. You could choose to search by keyword or podcast name or other search criteria, and you actually got a 1-line description of different podcasts.

From the little snitches I listened to, it seems to me that the trick is to find one that you like or want to listen to, and then subscribe through RSS. The ones I heard bits of just weren't that interesting, but if I found one through hobbies as I was searching for other stuff, I may be able to find a podcast I would want to subscribe to. Of course, I'd have to have working speakers on my computer first.