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Teacher Librarian Ning - Second Life - LM_NET

Hope you are all having a good summer. I went to NECC and had a great time. Social Networking and Second Life were bit topics.

I am just wondering how really useful they are at this point? I have been on this ning for several months, BUT, LM_NET still has the better discussions. I have tried to get on Second Life, created an account but since it needs a software download I can't really use it at this time (computer issues school and at home).

For those using all three "tools" the ning, second life and LM_NET, what are the strengths and weaknesses of each?

Debbie

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Hi Debbie -
I haven't used Second Life but it is a big topic of discussion at the university library where I currently work (will be a teacher-librarian at a K-8 school starting this August). I know Second Life has library - but I haven't seen *how* it works - can you "check out" an E-book?

You Tube has clips of second life - I think San Jose State has set it up for their Library school info.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-9zt3Sd7oc

Personally, I have a "wait and see" attitude with it. It does cost money and run by a private corporation. I've only seen these You tube clips which talks about the program but I haven't seen how it *actually* works for online learning. Maybe they covered that at your conference?

Sheila
I think they're all a bit different, Debbie. We are just at the beginning of using these new tools pedagogically and I believe what is important here is that we begin to understand them ourselves. For me, these are now playgrounds, sandboxes. I am considering ways to use Twitter and SecondLife and I am following those discussions in several Nings, including Library 2.0 and Classroom 2.0. I have made so many new friends in the last several months.

For my students, wikis, blogs, and forums are now integral tools for learning. Wikis are the best tools we've found for collaborative writing and for developing synthesis. Blogs work well to inspire reflection and discussion, and their transparency works well as we monitor student progress together. I am working to get teachers to get a sense of social networking as learning communities.

As for where the discussion is "better," that too is different. This space is possibly more tuned into using new tools. I think we are hearing some new and exciting voices here and I love to see how they represent themselves visually. I suspect we are seeing several young leaders emerge here. That excites me!

At this point in my career, I can skip the nitty-gritty questions most of the time. My involvement in LM_NET is important to me. It allows me to mentor and to keep up with breaking news.

I couldn't say which discussion is "better."
Debbie,
I would love to consider myelf adapt at using the tools, but I am really just in the experimental stages. I know about each one and have practiced with some, but I think the applications of each may not be obvious at first. As we become more expert with them, we can begin to see new and better ways of utilizing each tool to its best advantage. Would it suffice to say that just learning to use new tools is sufficient reason to forge ahead? Like you, I still read LM_NET for the great ideas and discussion topics found there. But if I don't participate in tools like this ning or Second Life, I may miss something valuable. Since I am working in an elementary school, Second Life is not as much a priority because my students are too young to use it. But perhaps somewhere down the road, I might use it for a staff development. I am thinking that collectively we school librarians can come up with some great applications for all the new tools. So, I challenge those of us out there to suggest ways that these tools can be used on the job and at home. How about it?
I find LM_Net just so voluminous-but then again, it does help me know what the current concerns and hot topics are to the profession. Second Life is still a challenge to me, and I haven't quite grasped the vision of it being useful, though I haven't totally bailed yet. Our state association (SCASL) has arranged to offer a conference session via SL, and I have

agreed to facilitate it --egads!! I am discovering in SL that the key to finding it useful is joining groups. Once you join groups there, you get "invited" to join in on activities, some social by nature, and some actually informative. Last night I stumbled (literally) into a bloggers cafe, and learned that I had met two of the six people there in person at NECC. So I'm beginning to see how it adds a dimension to my own professional development, but its still early. I very much a "newbie" in SL, and my avatar's name is Bentley Noel, should anyone want to befriend me. As for NING, again, it’s about joining up with groups with like interests. One of the things I like about Ning is the RSS feeds, so they come to my aggregator instead of me having to visit the various Ning networks I belong too. I only branch out to the Ning site when I see a thread, and want to read it from the beginning to the most current post. And that is what I LIKE MOST about Ning. Ning allows for like-minded people to have threaded conversations, and you can look back easily on what the initial post was, and how the responses spurred a thread. I hope that makes sense. Ning is about understanding 2.0 and making it relative to you. LM-Net, while having a healthy popular presence, is still very 1.0. That doesn't mean anything is wrong with it. But reflect on your LM_Net use, and I'm sure you can count more posts that are NOT relevant to your situation than ones that do. And while that does happen to a degree in the NING too, NING has attempted to make groups that feed your needs rather than inundate you with information irrelevant to your needs. At least that is how I understand it. I a enjoying my presence on ing right now, as it seems most of the particiapnts understand 2.0 are are expressly trying to learn through the use of the Ning.
i joined SL after the Atlanta NECC....and i've gotten fairly involved with it (ISTE, DEN, etc.)...professionally i do some library work with the Caledon Oxbridge University as a newbie mentor....socially, i live in a Victorian Steampunk city where i own a steampunk factory, metal treehouse, a welsh chapel & graveyard, and a memorial park & tourelle dedicated to The meteorite that fell in 1795 in England. i see it as the future of distance learning but i have to admit, it's for people who have the luxury of time to practice with it... it as the learning curve is very sharp.

on ISTE Island

My Factory...another view of it whilst taking a Stained glass Air baloon ride with my factory in the background - Full Size Pic

Edward Topham Memorial Park

Dewi Sant Memorial Welsh Chapel, Graveyard & Parsonage Tower with Wee Telescope

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