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Name: Carolyn Foote
Website: Not So Distant Future www.futura.edublogs.org
Educational Institution: Westlake High School, Eanes ISD, Austin, Texas; district librarian Eanes ISD
Teaching Environment: 9-12
Web 2.0 Focus: Wikis and blogs are the web tools I've found myself using most naturally and most often, and of course sites like del.icio.us are part of my daily routine as I try to gather resources for our teachers. But I'm also fascinated by the use of Skype, with the use of digital video, and with community building tools like Ning.com. And as a librarian, RSS tools are useful for me personally as a way to keep up with what is new, and are becoming important tools for teachers to use with students in helping them learn to become information gatherers, themselves.
Description:
I've used wikis with classes to compile notes across class periods, with creative writing classes, and with teachers on campus to create book lists for professional development. In my role as district librarian, I've also used a wiki to create an editable "help" site for our new library automation software that all the librarians in the district can contribute their tips or questions to, and I also created one for professional development workshops I've done for our district on various web 2.0 tools. Our elementary librarians have used them for book discussions of award books as well. Wikis are becoming a real collaborative workhorse in our district.
Blogging has also become a personally important tool for my professional practice. I began writing a blog to share good websites with teachers but the longer I wrote it, the more it became a place for me to share excellent writing from other bloggers, share ideas for how we can make schools more authentic learning environments for students, or reflect on things I was learning. We also started a student blog for the library where we can share handy webtools or tips with students.
As a part of that, using Bloglines and Pageflakes to gather lists of blogs for my daily reading has been a big part of my professional growth.
In fact, so many of these web tools, in addition to being so useful in schools and in the library, have made me more aware of what I write, publish, photograph, or organize, because all of them are public. It feels like I am a student once again, honing my skills and trying to present my work in the best possible light. What a great model for our students when we as educators are doing OUR best work.
Teaching and Learning: What's different about a wiki than a website is that you have the ability to garner contributions from so many other professionals. So if I am designing a pathfinder for a class, I can have teachers add sites. If students are working on a research project, they can help one another share links. Blogging also creates a more interactive interface for our library, because I can share ideas or books or websites of interest, and get responses or input from teachers, students, other librarians, and other education professionals. So it expands my ability to share and support my staff, because I learn so much from my own network.
Preferred Applications: Edublogs, pbwiki, Skype
Mentor(s) and Hero(es): Will Richardson definitely helped me get started; and my son helped me recognize how important so many of these tools are to students(though he may not have realized it.)
Favorite Web 2.0 Applications Right Now: Skype, Fllickr, Twitter, Ning, Slideshare, and an under-recognized site, Tumblr