23 things

If you weren’t already aware, I work at a school as a librarian. The library is closed for the summer, so now I’m doing far less school-y stuff, so I like that the Academic Technology department has introduced the 23 Things project, because now I can do library/ed tech stuff even during the summer. Basically, each week, for nine weeks, you try at least one of the four things posted (each week has a theme) and then blog about what it was like. All of the “things” are related to trying out ed tech apps, websites, and tools. I’m one week behind the official schedule as far as blogging about my things, but I did do some of them last week.

One cool thing about this project is that it was started by a librarian, so I feel extra awesome and in the know, plus it means non-librarians have a chance to see how cool we all are. Also, I’ve already done a lot of the stuff on the list, which means I should be able to check off nearly all 23 by the end of the summer, not just nine as the challenge requires.

Week one is about getting started blogging, which I did about 11 years ago when I first signed up for a livejournal. There are four things on this list: get started blogging, read ed tech blogs, try an RSS reader, and try microblogging. So right away I go to number 2, find some ed tech websites. This is an excellent idea, as I read mostly things in the field I do academically (children’s literature) and not the one I do professionally (school librarianship), and probably I should occasionally participate in greater school culture and that professional world. I didn’t originally plan on being a school librarian (I thought I’d go public and be a selfless, inspirational librarian in the South Bronx or something, because even those of us who are aware of what social justice actually means still have occasionally lofty, misplaced Freedom Writers dreams), so I didn’t get any training on curriculum or instruction, and so I don’t really know much about education from a professional development standpoint. Everyone in my family is a teacher, and basically everyone I know is as well, so it’s not like I don’t know what’s going on, but ed tech isn’t really what we talk about at dinner and family reunions.

I digress. Last week is when I sort of remembered that I have a Tumblr, so I’m going to call that my microblogging tic on the checklist. I am an avid user and superfan of Twitter, but Tumblr is something I’ve really struggled with. It’s an in-group and a clique and a culture that is really hard to get acquainted with. Learning the jargon and cultural cues and all takes a very long time, and while I have lurked for long enough to mostly know how everything works, I am not really a member yet. I don’t have many people I interact with, so even though I love the groups of people and conversations I follow, which generally center around really hilarious people who are highly intelligent and have what are essentially lofty academic discussions about race, class and gender in totally casual language, I don’t really have an in to participate. I’m working on understanding how you do that, so that will be an ongoing project for me. And Twitter. Always Twitter.

RSS feeds make me crazy, so I’m skipping that one. Anytime I look at one, I have an anxiety attack from the lack of organization and color and design. I like it when blogs that I read have a visual signature that I can recognize, so that I know where I’m reading and what I’m going to get out of it. And ed tech blogs are coming. I’m still looking for the ones I’m going to like best.

Week 2 is about e-books, so again I’m a bit ahead of the curve (the first two tasks are to download free e-books and check them out from your public library). I am no stranger to OverDrive and have checked out e-books and e-audiobooks from my public library. Donesies. However, the iPad tasks really interest me, and I look forward to taking a few moments to trying them out this week. Recently at work I attended an English teacher’s presentation on how she created amazing iBooks for her students to use in some of the units they had, and I was really impressed and excited. What keeps me from doing it is the fact that a) it’s a lot of time, and b) I don’t teach, so it feels like the time would be “wasted.” But I want to teach someday, and it’s a good skill to get the hang of. I’ve now had an iPad for the better part of a year, and I still don’t know what to do with it professionally. It’s basically just my kitchen TV and travel computer. So this will be good for me.

I’m using this blog to keep track of my 23 things, rather than starting a new one (trying to reduce the clutter in my life, both physical and digital), so I’ll be back posting at the end of the week once I try this e-book stuff.

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