Week 13: Program Evaluation

Congratulations and thank you for participating in our 21 Things for 21st Century Parents program!

We would love your feedback about the program and your experience. 

Click here to complete a quick evaluation. 

Week 12: Library 2.0

Over the past few months, you have familiarized yourself with many Web 2.0 applications:  Flickr, podcasts, RSS feeds, social networking sites, and, of course, blogs.  What do these applications have in common?  They encourage user interaction with the program and other users, they require user input, and they're constantly changing and updating.  Remember the video from Week 1, which illustrates how Web 2.0 has changed how we create and access information?  Watch it again to see if the terms and applications featured in it are more familiar to you now:



What is Library 2.0?  It’s a term that describes a new way of delivering information to users.  The above description of Web 2.0 also applies to Library 2.0:  a focus on user interaction and contribution, an ability to change as necessary, as well as ease-of-use.  Libraries want to make information and materials easy for users to find and use, both online and in the  library building, and also want patrons to have the best possible experience with the library.   A café, pleasant seating areas, movie screenings, and digital screens that display upcoming and ongoing events are just a few of the ways that Darien Library applies Library 2.0 ideas to the physical library space.

Have you noticed any Web/Library 2.0 applications on the Darien Library website?     

You can see Library 2.0 in action on the Darien Library website in our blogs, Twitter account, YouTube account, and Flickr account.  And those are just a few of the ways we get information to you!   We also want to hear what you think and like, so every blog post and item record offers you the chance to leave a comment, give a book a star rating, or write a review.  At the bottom of each item's page, there's a Community Reviews section and a link to "Write a Review."

THING 19:  Write a review of a book, DVD, or audiobook you’ve recently read or listened to in Darien Library's catalog.

 E-books and e-readers are another way libraries are improving information delivery.  If you’re curious about e-readers, the Darien Library has Kindles, a Kindle DX (the reader with a larger screen), and a Nook available for you to check out and experiment with.  Our tech ninja, Judy, has written a post on our e-readers, which is a fast introduction to what’s available and policies, check it out here.  

Now that you’re Web 2.0 savvy, the internet is your oyster!  We hope you, and your kids, feel more comfortable using the internet for work and play.  There are endless ways to personalize and improve your web experience and the ones we have introduced here are just a few of your many, many options.  Keep exploring and learning!


THING 20: Tag some of your favorite materials in the Darien Library catalog.

THING 21: Star some of your favorite materials in the Darien Library catalog.



Week 11: Work and Play Online

You scheduled a dentist appointment at the same time as your son's soccer practice? Forgot to remind your husband that school conferences are tonight?  How many times has this happened to you?

Even with all of the technnology surrounding us, it seems harder and harder to keep all of our busy schedules straight. The kitchen calendar on the wall, the palm pilot, the day planner,  none of them seem to do the trick anymore. You may use the calendar function on your cell phone, or on your work computer, but how can you get it all in one place, where the whole family can keep track of it? Never fear, there are lots of online tools to keep everything organized! These are a few of the best.


Google Calendar is a great place to start.  Google Calendar is not only a great tool for your work life, but can be used for families as well. You can set up a calendar for each member of the family, and have it all linked to one place. You'll get reminders of upcoming events, and can share the calendar with anyone you want.  Got a 'smart phone'? You can synch google calendar to your phone and keep your calendar with you wherever you go! Google now includes Tasks so you can also create your own to-do list. Watch this video to get started.


Remember the Milk is another fun tool. You can set up your account to receive reminders in your email box, via text message, SMS, IM's. It allows you to set up lists, and can also be linked to Google Calendar.



BackPack is a site that would allow you to treat your family like a business! Share information, documents and discussions all in one place.


Is your desk filled with little yellow sticky notes like mine is?  You might find MyStickies to be useful then! You can overlay a virtual sticky note on a website to come back to it later! Very cool and very easy.

We have already introduced you to some productivity tools like RSS and igoogle that allow you to streamline your news and information into one place. There are even more sites out there to help, but we don't want to overwhelm you. If you'd like to explore more, check out LifeHacker, or this article, Free Web Tools for more suggestions. in Week 7: Collaboration's lesson, we introduced you to some tools like ZOHO and GoogleDocs. You can take a moment to review some of those tools as well.


Thing 17: Try out a new online productivity tool to help streamline your family's busy life.


Now, it's time to play!

Playing games online is not just for the kids! It's a great way to relieve stress and free your mind of everyday worries. Most adults spend most of their computer gaming time playing solitaire; but there are many other great brainbuilding games to play online, like Soduku, word searches or crossword puzzles.  Here are some links:


In 2003, adults spent 9 BILLION hours playing solitaire online. Computer geek Luis von Ahn (inventor of the Captcha) was inspired by this figure to create Games With Purpose (GWAP) - a site that combines game playing with creating useful information about images tom improve search results (creating metadata). Have fun playing games and know that you are helping the Internet be a better place!


Many of the classic arcade games from the 70's and 80's are available to play online! Who could forget playing Pacman, Aestoriods or Donkey Kong?  Re-live your childhood and some of those great arcade games online. Here are a few links to get you started.


Thing 18: Explore some online games for fun! Are there any games you can share with your child? 

In your blog posts for this week, here are some thoughts that may help you get some writing going:

  • Did you find a tool that has use for your family at home or for you at work? Which would you recommend to others?
  • Have you been using any of the tools from previous lessons? Which ones?
  • Which games did you play? Did you play any with your kids? 
  • How are you handling the balance of time with your real life and your virtual life? Are you spending more time on the computer than usual? How do you feel about that?
  • Did you notice the advertising? Do your kids notice the ads? Do you think your child would know the difference between clicking on an ad or clicking on a game button?

Week 10: Social Networking

This week we're talking about social networks. You've heard the terms before, "friending," "adding," and "posting on your wall." We are going to start with the basics and the first thing we want to do is understand exactly what social networks are. Watch this short video to get an idea of how they work:


Kids and teens have always (and will always) explore their identity. It is part of growing up. Technology now allows kids to explore their identity in a whole new way - increasingly through online social networks. They play with their visual identity through photos and avatars, they negotiate friendships in both physical and virtual worlds, and their online social networks are important to their social status. Some of your kids may already be on these social networks and many will be in the near future. Generally, MySpace and Facebook are the two most popular social networks out there, but we'll focus on Facebook for the first part of this lesson followed by more online communities centered around specific area of interest & styles. 

facebook logoFacebook has more than 400 million active users.  The average user has 130 friends, sends 8 friend requests per month, and spends more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook. That is a LOT of people and a LOT of time. Facebook can now be accessed though mobile devices and statistics show that people who use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice more active on Facebook than non-mobile users. Who is on their phone all the time? Chances are, your teenager is. Is your teen on facebook? It is clearly a powerful tool, but there are lots of horror stories out there. How can you feel safe about your child engaging in this online network? That's easy - learn about it and engage in it yourself!

Facebook claims that it provides users with tools to control the information they share and with whom they choose to share it. They also say members have the ability to share and restrict information based on specific friends or friend lists.  However, under Facebook Policies they disclaimed that all the content posted by any Facebook user is legally own by Facebook.  Here is a video that explains some of these settings, limitations and how to help you and your family be safe while social networking! If you don’t have Facebook and would like to register, this is a short video showing you how.

On the surface, this general social network is connecting *millions* of people every day, but it can also be a great tool for students to use. It presents students with choices about using technology in new and creative ways. For a biography research assignment, perhaps your child could create a facebook page for their historical figure. Even as a purely social activitiy, it is an opportunity for students to be learning about digital citizenship, which is becoming increasingly important.

Facebook Resources for Parents:

7 Things You Should Know About Facebook (pdf)

Facebookforparents.org (sign up for their free newsletter published 3 times each year)

Facebook for Parents on Common Sense Media

How to: Keep Your Facebook Updates Private

Protecting Reputations Online

Social Networks and Kids; how young is too young?


Now, here is where it gets fun! 2 tween girls working on computer

MySpace and Facebook aren't the only social network by any means! There are social networks centered around subjects of interests and appear inmany different ways. What is the important part of idenitfying a social networking site is if it provides you the ability to 'friend' others and share! 

For Kids - Club Penguin, Habbo Hotel, Webkinz, Whyville

Job/Career - LinkedIn is the most popular site for professional networking (sharing your resume, finding other professionals in your field, etc.). Here is some info about LinkedIn, how people use it and why it works.

Music - Pandora, blip.fm, last.fm

Photos - Flickr (you all studied this in Week 8)

Twitter is enomously popular with adults, but studies are showing that teens and kids are not being drawn to this wildly successful social site in the same way that adults are. Twitter is easy to use and more and more people and businesses are using it. Did you know Darien Library is on twitter along with other local groups like AllAboutDarien, FairfieldCountyChild, Darien News, Darien Toy Box and even some local moms!

Videos - YouTube was discussed in Week 9

Thing 15: Join at least one online social network and add a few friends to your network.

It doesn't have to be Facebook, but click here for step-by-step instructions on setting up a new account. Watch this video on privacy settings or read this article about personalizing your settings.

Thing 16: Write a blog post about your experience.

  • What Online Community did you choose? What do you like most about it?
  • How have you used this Community? How do you see yourself using it in the future?
  • Are your kids using social networks? Have you talked with them about online identities?
Thanks to Flickr user kjarrett for the photo available to use with a Creative Commons license!

Week 9: Watch and Listen (Videos and Podcasts)

Videosscreenshot of youtube navigation menu

By now most of us are probably familiar with YouTube videos. With the advent of YouTube, everyone can be a star of the online community. YouTube is one of many sites that let you watch and upload videos for free. You can search for clips from your favorite tv show, favorite music videos from the 80s, famous political speeches and almost anything else you can imagine or dream up! To understand where Youtube comes from, how it works and why it is so powerful, watch this video (on Youtube!) of a talk that Professer Michael Wesch gave to the Library of Congress, An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube.

There are millions of Youtube contributors and it is generally a self-policing site, but if you’re concerned about security, you should know that your children can run into questionable content. There are many other sites, that allow sharing of videos including Vimeo, Totlol, TeacherTube, and Hulu. Some of these offer safer content alternatives for viewing for young children. There are lots of resources about online safety, specifically about video-networking like this pdf from wiredsafety.org and surfnetkids.com. Google now owns YouTube and has posted some safety tips for parents in partnership with Common Sense Media.

The uses for these sites are endless! This can be a great tool for teachers and classrooms, as well as parents.  You can upload videos of your own to share with family and friends. If you have family that is far away, and Grandpa would like to watch your daughter at her dance recital, or see Junior hit a homerun, you can create privacy screenings so that only your family and friends can log in and see the videos you’ve posted.  Sites like Speekabos are great for the younger set; featuring digital storytelling, and there is a feature where you can also create and upload your own digital stories.

Thing 13:  Explore YouTube and some of the other video sharing sites and find a video to embed in your blog. Can you think of some ways that you can use these sites to communicate with friends and relatives or for educational purposes? Can you see how it is considered a web 2.0 tool?



Here are Instructions on how to embed video into a Blogger blog   -----  Here are instructions for embedding video in a Wordpress blog



Podcasts are kind of like radio shows, but available in digital format. They are non-musical audio or video broadcasts that can be subscribed to using RSS or commonly accessed through free audio sharing software like iTunes. Podcasts vary in length. They can be short (many clock in under 10 minutes) or long (some may be an hour or more), but there is a podcast out there for almost every interest imaginable! Did you know that right here at Darien Library, the teens create and publish their own podcasts each month! We're going to focus on audio podcasts in this lesson.

Thing 14: Explore audio podcasts and subscribe to one. Write about it in your blog.

There are a couple of different ways you can do this Thing. You can download iTunes (free) for either Mac or Windows and search for podcasts in their directory and then use iTunes to subscribe to one that interests you. That's a pretty easy way! Here is an instructional guide on how to use iTunes to subscribe to a podcast.

 You don't need to download special software to subscribe to podcasts though. You can use the RSS aggregators that you chose in Week 4: Keeping Up. You simply look for the RSS feed icon and follow the directions! The trick is finding a good podcasts to listen to. To get you started, here are a few directories (like an interactive White Pages) that you can search for topics that might interest you:

There are so many podcasts to choose from. There are some that share stories for kids like StoryNory, some are educational like Grammar Girl, some are for learning languages like the Learn Spanish - Survival Guide! Search for something you are interested in. What about knitting? Or animals?

You can listen to podcasts on your computer (speakers or headphones will definitely make it sound better), or if you download the MP3 file, you can listen to podcasts on an MP3 device. The most popular one the kids use is the iPod, but any MP3 Player will do the trick!

EXTRA CREDIT: Make your own podcast!

Do an Internet search for "podcast tutorial" and find out how easy it is to make one! Accodring to GCast, it is so easy your grandma could do it!" If you have a computer, microphone and the internet, you can make a podcast! If you do, please make sure to send it to us. We'd LOVE to listen and share it!

Good luck on this week's lesson. As always, if you have any troubles, please contact your mentor and make sure to post about your lessons on your blog! There are only 3 weeks left in the course so there is still plenty of time to catch up if you've fallen behind!


Thanks to Flickr user .michael.newman. for the photo - used with permission under the Creative Commons license!

Week 8 - Photosharing

As parents I'm sure you have an abundance of photos from countless sports games, birthday parties, vacations, and other joyous times spent with your children. If you have yet to become a Facebook member and haven't spent time searching through online albums of your "friends," then you are in for a virtual treat with this week's topic!

Photo sharing websites have made creating digital photo albums and sharing pictures with family, friends, and members of other online communities a breeze. Whether for personal or professional use, such websites allow their members and the public to enjoy the beauty of photography.

Flickr, the most well known of all photo sharing websites, is considered an online photo management and sharing application. A basic Flickr account is free, which makes it a practical alternative to other websites such as Snapfish or Kodak Gallery.If you have never visited Flickr, try browsing through the Darien Library's very  own photostream.                                                                                                    (photo courtesy of Flickr user George E. Norkus)

Take a tour of Flickr and learn about some of its functions and offerings.

Some of the unique qualities that have distinguished Flickr among other photo sharing options are as follows:


Tags - Names and keywords that you create to describe photos

Assigning tags makes photos easier to locate on Flickr. For instance, if you've visited New York with your kids recently you may want to assign tags like "empire state building" or "statue of liberty" to some of your shots. **It is important to remember that phrases or multiple words are placed "in quotes" to keep terms together.

Flickr keeps a list of the All Time Most Popular Tags. Click on the baby tag and view the results.

To read more about using tags on Flickr, click here.


Groups - social networking on Flickr

Groups allow users to connect with other members through common interests and passions. It's simple for users to create their own groups if not already available through Flickr, and groups can either be public or private.

Here is a search for Parent Groups on Flickr. View all the groups that appeared using the search term parent.


Creative Commons

What is Creative Commons and how is it beneficial to you as a parent?

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that makes it easy for the public to use creative works without violating the laws of copyright. This allows creators to change their copyright terms from "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved." This makes work free and easy to use and share, as long as one complies with the specified conditions within the Creative Commons licenses.

 This short video clip, starring Jack and Meg White of the White Stripes, explains the origin and the benefits of using Creative Commons.

Flickr provides a section of users who have decided to offer their photos under a Creative Commons license. This makes certain works available for your use, as long as you adhere to the designated licenses. Read about the various licenses available through Flickr: Creative Commons, and search the photos that have listed such licenses.

Thing 13 - Explore Flickr and Creative Commons. Can you think of how these licenses may be useful to you as a parent? Blog about how they may aid or protect your children.

It is also important to be aware of the photos you post online, especially with regards to your children. Flickr makes it easy to control who you share photos with by setting privacy and safety levels. Much like educating kids about using "words they are proud of," parents should also discuss the relevance of this phrase for online photos.

The success of Flickr has prompted the establishment of other photo-sharing websites such as Picasa Web Albums created by Google and Photobucket. You can browse some of these websites without the hassle of setting up an account.

Thing 14 - Use an image from Creative Commons in your blog post. Don't forget to give credit!

Week 7: Collaboration

The phenomenon of Wikipedia has led to the development of other collaboration tools online. As Google searchers, I am sure you have come across Wikipedia entries with almost all of your findings. If not, check out this Wikipedia entry for Web 2.0. Wikipedia is an open-source encyclopedia found online that allows members to contribute and edit content. A brief overview of Wikipedia is provided in this video created by the North Carolina State University Libraries.


There are many additional Web 2.0 tools, as well as web-based applications available that allow users to share information and collaborate on various projects online. As a parent you may find these tools extremely helpful in your daily lives. Do you belong to a parent group or social committee? These tools can easily streamline your communication and participation with all social groups and group members. Goodbye email attachments and thumb drives! Members have the ability to contribute information virtually, and retrieve everyone's work with a few simple clicks. Here are a few of the common collaboration tools that we will explore this week.

Google Docs

Google Docs is a free web-based resource created by Google to offer users the ability to save documents, worksheets, and presentations safely and securely. Your work can be uploaded easily to Google Docs, shared and edited by users who have access to your account. To see how easy it is to have friends or colleagues contribute content, view this humorous video entitled Google Docs: A Love Letter.

Thing 11: Create your own Google Docs account and begin to upload a document you have created. Now try editing the document. Do you find it easy to add/edit information to your document? Would this tool be a useful and practical way of sharing information with colleagues and friends? Blog about your discoveries and how you can use collaboration tools effectively.

Zoho Office

Zoho provides web-based applications designed for business, productivity and collaboration purposes. Gone are the times when one had to spend money and time learning the ins and outs of many different types of software for their own personal or business needs. Zoho provides a variety of low cost applications on their website, eliminating the need for constant upgrades and maintenance. Here is more of what Zoho Office can offer its users.

Read more about Zoho on the New York Times Bits Blog.


Dropbox is another very popular file-sharing program that alows users to sync their files online over multiple technologies. This software may come in handy as the total number of devices in your life continues to grow. Mashable provides a list of ways to use Dropbox that might be unexpected.


Wikipedia, which was mentioned at the top of this post, is probably the world's most popular wiki.

A wiki is a website that allows users to easily add, edit, and delete content - essentially pooling their knowledge together. The term comes from the Hawaiian phrase, "wiki wiki," which refers to something fast.

Wikis are being used today in many venues both professionally and personally. Did you know that your child may be using wikis in their classroom? Some of the reasons wikis are an asset to you as a 21st Century Parent are as follows:

  • Members can add, edit, and delete content on the website
  • Creators can make wikis private or public
  • Wikis are easy to use and there is no need for members to know HTML, a fancy markup language for web pages

There are many different formats in which you can create a wiki. Here are some of the major players for educational purposes.

Find out the benefits of using PBworks in a classroom or library.


Another popular wiki service, Wikispaces  claims to be the easiest to use. The Library has even utilized Wikispaces for children's programs.


Thing 12 - Learn more about wikis and how students and teachers are using them. Read the below articles and visit some of the listed wikis. Blog about your findings. Do you think wikis can be an asset to teaching and learning? 

TeachersFirst: Wiki Walk-Through - What is a wiki and how they can be used in the classroom.

Darien Patch - Article about the increase of technology in the classroom.

Darien Parent Wiki - This wiki was created to provide parents with information on the core content areas for grades K-5.

Teaching with Thinking and Technology - This wiki explores the uses of wikis in education. 

Week 6: Communication

boy sending first email on laptopWeb 2.0 tools can make communicating across time and space a breeze! This week we are going to look at some of the newer communication tools.

Do you remember when email was new and exciting?  It would revolutionize the world! Want to send a letter to your cousin in Germany? Just click! No hassle, no hidden fees. In time, you could even attatch photos and insert links. Email was once 'cutting-edge' and has now taken a back seat to other means of communication. The tools we will briefly explore this week are:

  • Chat (online conversation between two or more parties)
  • IM (Instant Messaging, text-based conversation)
  • Video Chat (chatting online through use of video)
  • SMS (Text Messaging on mobile devices)
  • Gaming & Virtual Worlds

These are all quick and easy ways to connect with your kids on the go, but make sure you have the right plans to avoid surprise charges! Since these are the preferred methods of communicating for most teens, it is important to make sure you are familiar with them as well.

There are many ways of chatting online now. For young people, the days of the anyonymous chat rooms are long gone. Instead, kids can use Instant Messaging, set up private chat rooms for their group of friends using sites like tinychat, chat through their email (Google Chat) and even within social networks like Facebook.
    compilation of chat service logos

IM (Instant Messaging):
There are many different providers of IM services. The most popular are:
*AOL Instant Messenger (download free application & web-based, account is free)
*Google Talk (web-based application built into GMail, account is free)
*Yahoo! Messenger (download free application, account is free)

These applications are fantastic for allowing you to live-chat with others who have accounts with the same providers.

 Here is a great overview of how Instant Messaging works.

Some university professors are using these chat services to create a 'backchannel' and chat allows students to discuss lectures in real-time without actually saying a word in the classroom. Another popular backchannel is Twitter, a micro-blogging site that will be covered in Week 10's lesson.

      Chatting is no longer limited to just text.  To connect with family out of town, free video chat services like Skype are wonderful.  



Virtual worlds and online games are abundant, growing, and slowly merging into each other as sites incorporate the social elements of online communication with the activity of playing games. Choose carefully what is approriate for your child's age and your pocketbook!

For younger kids Club Penguin, ToonTown and Webkinz still rule the market for moderated, safe online communities for kids while sites like Teen Second Life, Habbo Hotel and Runescape have the Teen virtual market cornered. XBox and other gamling platforms have taken playing games from one-on-one to global communities! The TeenAngels are an extreme and organized example of how teens are good at self-moderating. If you show them right from wrong, they will often choose right.


With all online communications, please make sure to talk with your child, no matter how old, about online behavior. Review safety precautions with your children, including:
   1. Never give out personal information, such as your real name, age, location, phone number, or school.
   2. Never share your password with anyone except your parents and legal guardians. Someone else might use your password and pretend to be you, or give out your personal information or do something that may get you into trouble.
   3. Tell your parents and legal guardians if someone says or does something on the Internet that makes you uncomfortable, or if someone asks you for personal information.
   4. Choose a username that does not reflect your real identity. Avoid names that are in any way suggestive, even if they seem innocent to you. (Parents, sound like familiar advice?)

Remember parents, you are in charge and can set rules and guidelines with your children's internet use. Read more about:

Internet Safety:
Chat Room Safety
GetNetWise, Chat
Microsoft Online Safety

Communicating through technology has gotten more sophisticated, but if you apply the same rules and guidelines online that you would if were sending your child to the mall alone, they will have an enjoyable and safe experience. Remember that there is no 100% fool-proof way to shield anyone from offensive or questionable content online, but you can establish an open conversation with your child about what your behavioral expectations are.

Now, finally, we come to...

THING 10: Choose one form of chat or text to try and write a blog post about it.

Tell us what you think of Instant Messaging; Do you like it? What concerns do you have using a tool like Instant Messaging? Does your child use it? What about the faculty at his/her school? Have you ever used it while performing a transaction shopping online? Try chatting with your child in another room then talk about how it was different. How did you feel about the speed?

If you're nervous and not sure where or who to start with, you can IM the Darien Librarians! You can contact the Knowledge and Learning Services Librarians through the Contact Us page OR you can IM us in the Children's Library on AIM! Our handle is "DeweyDarienKids" and we're happy to talk books, programs or answer any questions you may have! 


Photos by Flickr Users: afsilva, kmakice, BdWayDiva1

Week 5: Social Bookmarking

Raise your hand if you've ever been frustrated because you can't remember the name of that interesting/useful website and it's only bookmarked on your home computer and you're at work (or vice versa)? 

Well, social bookmarking is here to save the day.  Social bookmarking sites allow you to save webpages you like to one bookmarking website, so you can access them from more than one computer or place.  Convenient! 

What is social bookmarking?  And what can you do with it?

With social bookmarking, you can search your bookmarks from any computer or mobile device just by logging onto your social bookmarking account (different sites are outlined below). 

The "social" aspect refers to the interaction between users of bookmarking sites.  You can label, or "tag", your bookmarks to organize them the way you want, like "Investment Info" or "Cool Games for Kids".  You'll be able to see sites that other people have tagged with the same label, and they can see sites you've bookmarked or tagged*.  This helps you save time by introducing new sites on topics in which you are interested.  

 Diigo:  Bookmarking, highlighting, and notation made easy

Diigo is a website that allows you to collect other websites and information and store them for access from anywhere.  It's compatible with iPhones, iPads, and Droid phones, so you can find (and re-find) what you've saved.  You're can highlight information on a certain page and view your highlights, or notes, even when you visit the page from other computers or web devices!  Pretty cool.

This video shows you how to use Diigo and its tools.

Diigo V5: Collect and Highlight, Then Remember! from diigobuzz on Vimeo.

 Which leads us to...

Thing 9:  Create a Diigo account and bookmark 3 websites you like or use frequently

After creating an account, at the upper right corner of the Diigo website, click on Tools to download the Diigo toolbar or Diigolet: The Diigo toolbar will display all of the Diigo tools whenever you're signed in to your account.  If you don't want a permanent toolbar, the Diigolet doesn't need to be downloaded, just drag the Diigolet button to the top of the browser window as shown on their page and click it--a temporary toolbar will appear.

If you're feeling ambitious, try highlighting or adding a sticky note to a page.  Play around with the tools Diigo offers, there are no mistakes!

*You can adjust your privacy options in "Account Settings" in the drop-down menu under your sign-in name at the top of the page. 

 Some other bookmarking sites:


One of the most popular bookmarking sites is Delicious, which is very similar to Diigo.  If you have a Gmail account, Google has Google Bookmarks.  There are also some social bookmarking sites that are "amped up."  On these sites, you can vote for your favorite articles that have been bookmarked by other people that day. Examples of these are Digg, and Reddit.  These are fun to look through if you like to see what people online are talking about right now.  Some of the articles are quirky or about topics you might not necessarily gravitate towards, but that's what makes it so interesting!

Week 4: Blogs

This week is all about BLOGS.  "Blog" kind of sounds like a monster that lurks in the woods or maybe something you'd find clogging your drain, but is much less sinister, and gross, and very present in our daily, 21st-century lives.

First, watch the video below that explains, "What is a Blog?"

Thing 7:  Create your own blog. 

Nothing to stress about, it's easy and fun.  The blog you create this week will be the main way that you communicate with us and the rest of the class throughout this program.  You will use your blog to post your "Thing" assignments and to post your thoughts and opinions about what you are learning. 

There are several different websites that allow you to create you own blog (for free!).  The two most common are Wordpress and Blogger.  Click on either one to get started. 

Whether you choose Wordpress or Blogger, you will be asked you to create a username and choose a password, as well as enter some personal information, such as your full name and a valid email address.  Follow the directions to setup your blog.  (FYI: you may choose to keep your blog after this program is complete, but that is entirely up to you.  You can always delete your blog once the 21 Things program has concluded.)

Once you have done the basic setup and have activated your blog (you may be asked to check your email and follow a link to "activate" your new blog), you are ready to start blogging!  This is a good time to simply play around with the different features that Wordpress or Blogger offer.  Click here to view a quick video on how to start posting blogs on Wordpress.

So what should you blog about?  How about a quick introduction about yourself and/or why you choose to take the 21 Things course?  You can also blog about blogging: What are your thoughts about this method of communication?  Do you think you'd be interested in keeping a blog at the end of this course?  Are there some blogs that you read often and want to share?  

You might discover that you really enjoy blogging!  Some parent bloggers share funny stories or tips for other parents (check out The Modern Housewife or Dooce, a "mommy blog", with an edge and great photos.) Other moms and dads keep a blog to share information and pictures for their extended family (like The Masson Family Blog.)  You can control the privacy settings of your blog and choose to share it with the whole world- or just a select few family member and friends. 

For Blogger privacy settings, click here : For Wordpress privacy settings, click here

Did you know that even kids blog?  Tavi (aka, the Style Rookie), is a 13-year-old fashion blogger who has been featured in Vogue!  A local Darien boy who is a huge fan of the Percy Jackson books keeps a blog about all things Rick Riordan-related.   For older children and teens, blogging can be a wonderful tool for strengthening writing skills.  Young bloggers are also learning how to produce and edit multimedia content- a crucial skill in the digital age.

Thing 8: Email us the link to your blog (you can send it to us at childrenslibrary@darienlibrary.org).  You can also share your blog with the rest of the class.  You can do this by making a comment on this blog and posting you blog's URL.  Watch this quick tutorial to see how.

Your blog will be how you will keep track of your "things" for the duration of the course. Please make sure to mark each entry with the Thing # and subject so that we can keep track of your progress.

If you already keep a blog, check out the settings and layouts of the the other provider to compare and contrast or challenge yourself to add new features like visitor counts or email subscriptions.

Your posts are the place for you to reflect and provide insight into what you've learned. Post your thoughts about what worked (or didn't) from the lesson, how you could see it being used in your family, and share your surprises or obstacles. We'll frequently offer you some discussion questions to get your started, but you are not limited to answering them! Ladies and gentlemen, start your blogging!






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