18 December 2006

And the winner is...

Take a look at the list of winners in the 2006 Edublog Awards
Or to cut straight to the chase go to Hey Jude

Well done Judy!

14 December 2006

The Blended Librarian

Ever wondered why you are so tired all the time? Well, someone has found a name for the job we teacher librarians do and it explains everything:

"A blended librarian is one who combines traditional library and information technology skills with instructional design and technology skills and knowledge of collections of instructional resources and current trends in developing and distributing instructional resources. The blended librarian uses this combination, along with a heightened emphasis on pedagogy, to collaborate with faculty, information technologists, and instructional technologists/designers on the design of information literacy that is tightly integrated into the individual instructor’s courses and with broader programmatic curricular goals." http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlproftools/collaboration.htm

Find out more about Blended Librarianship and join this community at The Blended Librarian website. Expect a day or so delay for approval, and then explore what is on offer.

To hear the founders, John Shank and Steven Bell, download this Learning Times Green Room Podcast. The Green Room people made the mistake on an earlier podcast of commenting that librarians may be redundant soon. John and Steven beg to differ.

08 December 2006

Marco Torres

Yesterday I was fortunate to ‘experience’ Marco Torres. What an inspirational afternoon – those who have attended his sessions this week are sure to agree. He made his work appear so easy – however, this man obviously has enormous energy and talent.

+ What did I take away -

1. Good pedagogy underlies and is implicit in his work
2. in practical terms -

+ We have Three options
  • Complain
  • Quit
  • Innovate
+ Focus on ‘yes but’ group – they provide the best opportunities to innovate
+ Essential question is critical (this links to our 2006 AGQTP project at St Michael’s: higher order questioning)
+ Remember Einstein’s quote, ‘Don’t ask a question if you can look up’ [= ‘Google it’!]
+ When planning – always ask ‘Does the project have wings?’ – is there a wider audience outside the classroom?
+ Students don’t use technology, they do technology
+ Music is very important : Music is the ugly stepchild in multimedia : so - Find the musicians in the school and use them in multimedia projects
+ Be resourceful: Too many schools have many resources, but are not resourceful; Many schools have limited resources, and are resourceful
+ Creativity is the key - Remember the red paper clip – http://oneredpaperclip.blogspot.com/
+ Connect to the family
+ Connect to the community

Today my head is spinning – where to begin, and begin I will. It could be easy to be overcome by the quality of his projects, however, creativity with few resources is possible. There is no question students are motivated by technology, we all have supporting evidence - My experience with students and movie making has been exciting. I believe the real key is getting the pedagogy right – having the essential question.

If you have been one of the fortunate people to have Marco in your classroom/school this week – please share. We can all benefit from your experience. In the meantime -
1. Visit his website http://homepage.mac.com/torres21 .
2. Open sfett to view inspirational student produced movies.
3. Open flickschool for tips on getting started.

Wiki ideas for the classroom

So how do I use wikis with my classes?

Go no further for the answers!

Wiki Ideas for the classroom provides a flash tutorial outlining all the benefits of wiki, and all the practical considerations for good learning and teaching.

Not only are the learning and design issues covered, but the tutorial also provides information for consideration of safety, spelling, copyright and more.

Some suggestions include: a study guide; vocab list; organizational 'epicenter' for your student's learning on a topic (see the Aristotle experiment); collabortive research projects; an “everything I needed to know I learned in Ms.Teachername’s class” wiki where students add their own observations of ways the class knowledge has spilled over into the “real world”; A travelogue from a field trip or NON-field trip that the class would have liked to take as a culmination of a unit of study; and more....

For more information you may also go to Mark Wagner "Wikis while you Work: an Introduction to Wikis in education".

The tutorial is designed to support WikiSpaces which we promote on this blog.

06 December 2006

Travelling with Delicious ...

This week is Transition week for Year 10s at Delany.

One of their sessions is an introduction to Delicious, and the creation of their own 'digital bookshelves' for their coming 2 years in the senior school.

We took the time to explain that when the new Intranet comes, they will be able to link their delicious accounts into their Intranet resources and have the best of both worlds.

Delicious has networking, but no chat or other contact between users, so it can be difficult to identify network members. We have asked students to precede their chosen username with DC and end with their year level. So DCsweetpie11 and DCalistair12 would be easy to identify as our students. They seem happy enough with this.

I think Marion College has also set up Year 10 with delicious accounts too.

Any other schools introducing Web 2.0 tools to their senior students?


04 December 2006

Podcasting book talks!

A great idea from Michele Velthuizen Middle School Librarian American School of The Hague

"I recently started encouraging our middle school students to create video podcasts about their favorite books since peer recommendations sometimes work better than my own booktalks!

I set up my computer (a Mac Book Pro which has a built-in camera and microphone) in our reading room and have students come in during lunch break to create their recordings. They rehearse for a minute, then they record themselves using QuickTimePro which has a movie recording feature that is very easy to use. I then upload the podcast onto our library web page within minutes.

I've used these podcasts when classes come in to check out books and update their reading cards.

Click on this link http://fc.ash.nl/~mvelthuizen/, then click on "Watch a video podcast" on the main screen to see some samples.

To follow up from Marita's post on graphic novels, you might like to check out iFanboy.com.

The iFanboy.com Comic Book Podcast is a weekly talk show discussing the best in current comic book releases.

Ron, Conor and Josh will share what they loved and hated about the week's comics. With a deep, sometimes scary knowledge of the depths and intricacies of pop culture and the geek lifestyle, the conversations can spin off in many directions. While comics, graphic novels and trade paperbacks are the center of the iFanboy universe, the discussion often covers the video games, movies and TV shows which will capture the fancy of your regular comic book reader.

Something different for older students.

28 November 2006

Getting Graphic

I started a new discussion at Read On today asking people to share student’s current favourite reads, with a view to starting some recommended lists for various age groups. Please join in when you get the chance – it will be interesting to compare notes.

When answering my own question first thoughts were about our comic collection, maybe because this was discussed on OZTL last night. Here is a bit of what I posted to that discussion, plus some local additions to the literature:

At Patrician Brothers our graphic novels are a big hit across the board. Like certain series books (Harry Potter, Deltora Quest, Alex Rider, Darren Shan) they have an appeal to reluctant and avid readers alike. In this sense they are a real boon in our efforts to develop a reading culture. Whilst many boys read books as well, some are having their first (and maybe only) positive reading experience with comics.

Earlier in the year I was travelling home on the train from our athletics carnival with the boys and was chatting with one of our very avid Year 8 readers. He was reading a graphic novel and said to me that it was actually taking him longer to read than a novel (and he is a very fast reader). We had an interesting conversation about why that might be. I don't think we should undervalue the visual.

Favourite links to resources on this topic:

Secret Origin of Good Readers
Free book download. Check down the page for the 2006 version. Plenty of quotes,links, annotated reviews, information for librarians and teaching activities.

The "Decline" of Reading in America, Poverty and Access to Books, and theuse of Comics in Encouraging Reading by Stephen Krashen, Teachers CollegeRecord, February, 2005 (More in Krashen's book The Power of Reading - search here for local publication details)

Di Laycock of Barker College has published an article and completed an action research project on graphic novels, adding a much needed Australian flavour to this field:

Developing a Graphic Novel Collection, Synergy, Vol.3, Num.2 (PDF)

Getting graphic with guys: Using graphic novels to engage boys in school reading From this page choose IBSC 2005/06 Action Research Project from the menu on the left.

Okay, I know you don't have time for all this reading. Maybe in the holidays?

Search the Biblioblogosphere and Beyond

It's worth taking a look at LibWorm to find the latest items of interest in librarianship - join LibWorm and create your own reading list, collect your favourite feeds, or just collect clippings. Choose from Feed Categories or Subjects. Nice one!

Of course, this also had to come along from Google! Go take a look!

24 November 2006

Web2.0 & Primary Students

I wish to share an ICT initiative from St Michael’s, Baulkham Hills, and I hope we receive some responses to guide our future planning!

A colleague and I attended an Introduction to Podcasting course and as a result our Year threes and a class of year 4s have been introduced to podcasting this term …by two novices! They have been our second ‘group’ of learners to embrace Web2.0.

Audacity [free download] is the program we are using for creating the audio file, then using Lame [free download] to convert the files to MP3. We are yet to load the files to the web. Our students have been highly motivated by the opportunity to publish their research and understandings using podcasting. This is the positive aspect of the tool, combined with the students demonstrating some prior knowledge and understanding of audio - In year 3 we were able to add some ‘zing’ to the important [dry!] topic of Recycling!

Evidence from this exercise has informed us of the possibilities of podcasting with younger students. We have the opportunity to combine this with evidence gathered from our St Michael’s AGQTP project. Both projects indicate high levels of student motivation when they engage in a social networking environment. We used www.think.com as the tool for social networking in our AGQTP project. In that project, we were able to gather data not only related to our research question, but on many other areas including the social and ethical use of computers. For example: we elected to use the online tool Think.com as a secure environment for our research project. Several discussions were held with the students regarding social and ethical behaviours in the Web2.0 environment. Despite this, we had evidence of inappropriate comments from [unexpected!] students towards others. Think.com was therefore a scaffold, a secure and controlled environment - valuable discussion ensured, thus scaffolding primary students into the Web2.0 environment.

Moving into 2007, I foresee a wider use of these two environments at St Michael’s.
Radio WillowWeb scaffolds students, and I believe this is a model worth replicating as we enhance student learning. Think.com has the facility to upload multimedia files [i.e. podcasts], thus providing a secure environment to develop our students’ ethical use of the Web2.0 environment.

Please comment and give us encouragement to keep developing ‘authentic’ Web2.0 educational pedagogy in our large primary school…with all its associated issues relating to access to hardware etc etc!

19 November 2006

Read On! - An update from Marita

At last Thursday’s Network/PD Day we neglected to give the group an update on our readers’ advisory initiative, launched at an after school meeting on 9th November. The “plan” (in its most flexible sense) is to start with course materials provided by the good people at NoveList (part of our EBSCO database suite) and develop our own local context support materials.

Readers’ advisory is that part of our role where we assist students to discover reading which matches their wants. Like the reference interview, it is a specialised interaction and a good opportunity to practice one of our great potential strengths: the human touch. Stephen Abram in Waiting for your cat to bark – Competing with Google and its Ilk, Part 3 suggests the following summary of where opportunity lies for libraries:
Librarians aren’t just about search; we’re about improving the quality of the question. End users are about “find and discover.” We need to be clear on that. If we focus on search, we are focusing on Google’s best game. If we focus on the question, the human touch, and overall customer experience, then we will not only survive, we’ll thrive.
And, of course, in schools readers’ advising skills have relevance for teacher librarians, library assistants and classroom teachers.

RA-101 Lite
The course materials provided are based on sound principles developed from research and practice. However, most examples are about adult users and the references used are not Australian. Thus the need for local content.

RA-101, full version, was a joint project of EBSCO’s NoveList and the St. Louis Public Library, Minnesota. It grew out of a manual called Talking With Readers: A Workbook for Readers’ Advisory, by Duncan Smith and Suzanne Mahmoodi, Ipswich, Mass.: Ebsco, 2000, which is available from NoveList as a PDF file for subscribers. (Readers’ Advisory tab.)

Talking With Readers was developed using action research, but that is another (very interesting) story!

Thanks to Frances Manning we have a wiki space and a good name for our context building exercise. When you go to Read-On! Click on “Manage Space” to see who has joined (about five so far). Contact a member and and ask them to send you an invitation to join. (Also done from Manage Space by a member). The space is evolving and contributions are eagerly awaited.

Finally another quote from Stephen Abrams' article:
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Let’s be clear – that’s too long term – we need to do something now.

Introducing our next super contributor!

Welcome to our newest contributor, Marita Thomson, who has been 'blasting the cyberwaves' for what seems like 'forever'! Marita is busy exploring all sorts of digital and web tools in her work at Patrician Brothers.
There's Marita, bottom left, with some of the other attendees at the IWB 2006 conference. I'll leave it to her 'showcase' her initiatives. Let me just say - they are ALL worthwhile.

Smart Learning is just one of these...and there are more. Don't you just love how easy it is to learn from each other?

15 November 2006

Welcome to our Newest Contributor!

One way or another, there's been a lot going on in some of our school libraries that needs to be shared with with others. Collaboration and the social networking power of Web 2.0 means ....... you guessed it - time for this blog to develop and more in to a newer phase.

Patricia Lee from St Michael's has joined me as a co-contributor (read 'blog team member'), so that she can share directly some of the things that are happening at her school as well as explore the world of 'professional' blogging.

Watch this space for Patricia's contributions........................

Are you keen to explore the world of 'professional' blogging too? I would welcome a couple of other keen and regular bloggers to our Weekly Update.

Lets make this blog a great place to share discoveries as well as initiatives and achievements in our schools.

Virtual Bookshelf - the 'shelfari' possibilities.....

I spotted this, and thought that this new Web 2.0 tool provides a great virtual tool, to create a great virtual display, and provide the option for virtual sharing of books.

I can see a virtual display like this sitting quite nicely as part of a library web site, library wiki, CeNet, or just a classroom blog.

Imagine the possibilities for promoting reading - premier's reading challenge? or anything really.........

Seems like a cool tool. Can't wait to see who gives Shelfari first go!

08 November 2006

We're Wondering - questions from Year 3

Have you got computers and library books handy? Looking for an information hunt to help kids in another school. Then why not dive right into the questions being asked by the 'minilegends' from Glenelg school in SA.

Al Upton visited us at Parramatta recently, and met some of our teachers. Al works hard exploring learning opportunities using technology.

So visit "We're Wondering" podcasts, listen to the kids questions (divide them up for your own kids perhaps) and get the kids to write a comment back with an answer to one of the questions. Al explains how he did these podcasts (easy tools) and how he made them accessible using box.net, the free online storage solution, which we promoted recently.

We're Wondering Podcasts

It would be great if a couple of classes could reply to the children soon! Or perhaps you have some lunchtime library users who would enjoy this challenge.

07 November 2006

Book Plates - from My Home Library

Anne Fine welcomes readers to My Home Library with the following words:

Every day, we get messages from people who've just been told about us, or have stumbled upon The Home Library by accident. image by Polly Dunbar advertising the bookplates Schools, families and libraries all over the world: they're all delighted with our bookplates. Some of you are even making requests for different wordings that will suit you better. We're working on these as fast as we can, so keep checking.

For new visitors, let me assure you our bookplates can be used any way you like (except for commercial purposes). Some people print onto sticky labels; others print on paper, then use scissors and glue. (Don't forget you can always print out the black and white plates on coloured paper. Some look remarkably different against a fresh background.)

Everyone needs a Home Library. Make sure that yours keeps growing. Don't forget that books furnish the mind, and unfurnished minds are EMPTY and TIRESOME.

You will find black and white, as well as coloured book plates, in all shapes and sizes. There are lots of other good links too, including bookmarks, book reviews, tips & tricks, and more.

So dip in and enjoy!

06 November 2006

Squirl: A site for collectors

If you like organising your things, and maybe even cataloguing things....if you like Library Thing, and if you are a collector of things, then Squirl might be the place for you.

Just this weekend I have been musing over my vast CD music collection, and thinking that a Library Thing approach to my CDs and even my vintage collectibles wouldn't be such a bad idea!

So being alerted to Squirl seemed timely and 'kinda fun!' Now I just want to see how many of my Library Thing friends make the jump! You have the option of creating a public or private collection, and a number of templates are provided. Squirl also incorporates the option of organising your book collection too - good if you want to keep things that you organise within the same management space.

02 November 2006

For anyone who didn't notice - let me bring to your attention the small icon on this top right hand of this blog.

Box.net is a Web 2.0 'sanity' box! as it provides you with a free 1 gb of storage space online. There are many other great features. Click on the icon on the right, and get yourself free online storage!

30 October 2006

Eclectic Bunch of Links I meant to share....

Educational Hotlinks for New Teachers
These websites have been chosen for their quality and special relevance for new teachers.
Though this is not Australian, it provides some useful material.


Select the continent/location. Click on any country on the chosen continent map to get the links to ten current news headlines for that country. Click on the headline link to reach the article. Try this... zoom in on the map and click on a city to get news specific to that area of the selected

Philosophy from YouTube
Monty Python - International Philosophy

For those who know their philosophers, check them out on YouTube

(not sure about this, but you might like to add your school library?)

School-Libraries.Net is the largest directory of school library and available on the net. It has recently changed hosts and is now hosted by StandardCatalogs.com, a service to the library community offered by the H. W. Wilson Company.

Now we need your help:

1. Please visit School-Libraries.net

2. We are not strong in the international libraries listed. We would like to add more countries and many libraries from each country. If you would like to list your library, or school, please send us the information requested at School-Libraries.net. The more listings we
have the more useful the site will become.

Check the website for more information.

20 October 2006

K12 Online 2006 - Unleashing the Potential

The K12 Online Conference opened with a Fireside chat on Monday 16, to be followed by a Keynote to launch the two weeks of presentations on Monday 23 October.

You will find details of the two-week program by looking at the K12 Online Conference Agenda.

All the sessions of the conference will be available for download, which is genuinel global! There were over 70 propposals submitted for the conference, though only 36 were chosen at the end.

It is the first online learning conference in the world which will use the the following Web 2.0 tools throughout:

  • K12 Online Conference Hitchhikr — A page where you can read blog entries posome links that may be useful to you:
  • K12 Online Conference Blog Tagger — This tool will help you generate Technorati tags for your blogs that will make it much easier for you to have your blogs accessible to other conference attendees.
  • My Keynote Wiki — Here you can register yourself to the wiki page and generate your own conference notebooks for taking notes during the various presentations and conversations. Through this wiki page, your notes will be available to others — and visa-versa.
Here are some other links that may be useful:

Now back to the Conference ........................

Derailing Education: Taking Sidetrips for Learning

Derailing Education: Taking Sidetrips for Learning

October 16th, 2006

David Warlick
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Presentation Title

Derailing Education: Taking Sidetrips for Learning

David Warlick is a 30 year educator, author, blogger, and Web 2.0 programmer. Since 1981, he has been using information and communication technologies to help people learn, young and old. When his school could not afford any software for it’s computers, he taught himself to program and wrote award-winning instructional games, before computers could even display in color. His blog postings are read around the world, and his free online web tools are accessed millions of times a week. At heart, David Warlick is a teacher, with a contagious passion and enthusiasm for helping people discover a brand new world of teaching and learning.
David blogs at http://2cents.davidwarlick.com/
and podcasts at http://connectlearning.davidwarlick.com./

Download the Presentation and take a listen

Bookmark the Conference Website, and take advantage of this wonderful digital learning opportunity.

17 October 2006

Celebrating School Libraries

School libraries - almost every school has some form of a school library. To paraphrase a quote by American novelist Shelby Foote, a school is just a group of classrooms gathered around a library. Now we need to turn the attention to something that is rarely done for school libraries. It is something that many teacher-librarians find difficult to do - we need to promote ourselves - we need to celebrate!

We can celebrate our programs by showcasing students' projects in a number of ways, including displays in the library or office display cabinet and publishing written work in the school newsletter or on a website. Why not approach the local newspaper to have students' work published in the weekend paper? What about the local media showcasing the actual unit in action?

But the best way to celebrate school libraries is on the fourth Monday in October. International School Library Day was proclaimed in 1999 by then International Association of School Librarianship president Dr. Blanche Woolls and reaffirmed last year by the current International Association of School Librarianship president, Peter Genco.

International School Library Day is an opportunity for school libraries to showcase their role in the promotion of reading and literacy skills as well as information literacy skills, which help to provide the foundations for lifelong learning. School libraries matter and make a difference!

International School Library Day provides the school community an opportunity to celebrate the importance of the school library. It is a day where teachers, students, parents, administrators and of course teacher-librarians stand up and show the public that school libraries matter.

On Monday October 23, 2006, school communities around the world will be celebrating the eighth International School Library Day with the theme of "Reading. Knowing. Doing".

Tell us about your activities!

If you have any events or activities for International School Library Day, please use this form to provide information to IASL. Your activities and projects will then be listed in this International School Library Day section of School Libraries Online. Not only will this help to publicise your activities, but it will also help colleagues in other places who are looking for ideas for this special day.

Rick Mulholland

International School Library Day Coordinator, International Association of
School Librarianship.

28 September 2006

WOW! How much fun was our PARADE!

News from Frances Manning....
Students at Holy Family Primary had a great afternoon looking at the creative talents on show at our BOOK WEEK parade for the theme "BOOK NOW".

The *Parade* had a novel TWIST!

Students decorated not themselves, but a bag!............a bag that holds all the things they*ll need for the adventure they've *BOOKED INTO* when they picked up a particular book from home or the Library.

Bags were decorated at home or at school. There were 'adventure bags' decorated with all sorts of characters and settings. Some children had included in their bags the things they would need on their adventure (into a particular book/story), others had decorated the outside of their bags with all sorts of things stuck on or drawn. It was a fantastic effort from everyone.

Special thanks goes to Mrs S our 'MC', and all the Year 6 Judges who sure had a tough job. Thanks also goes to the helpers in Year 6 who gave out the participation certificates and prize lollies.

Our 'Special Guest' The Cat In The Hat' had a great time leading each class & he is looking forward to the next Library 'event'.

It really was a great afternoon, and all those bags will look fantastic decorating the Library & Classes!

25 September 2006

NASA Space Place

Podcasts: Space Place To Go!

No time to think about the wonders of the universe, much less how to explain them in a simple way to your students? Sign up for the new Space Place Podcast. Listen when you have time. In each Podcast, a NASA scientist answers fascinating questions about space and Earth science, with a little technology thrown in.

Could you fly through a gas giant?
Why do planets orbit the sun?
What causes the beautiful northern lights?

Go to http://spaceplace.jpl.nasa.gov/en/educators/podcast/ to subscribe. Or you can listen now on your computer or read the transcripts. Best of all, you can listen while you go for a walk, looking up at the beautiful night sky and thinking about all that is out there, known and unknown.

NASA Space Place is an excellent source for lots of other things too, as the image above shows. Explore and see what you can find to support your student's learning.

20 September 2006

Blogging - its elementary! Grab a bargain!

Take a look at this great Webquest designed using Bernie Dodge’s Quest Garden.

Anne Davis designed this Webquest to introduce elementary students to blogging.

Its intention is to get teachers and students thinking about using blogging to develop literacies in the elementary school. The goal is to use blogs to engage students in thinking and blogging about their learning and what it means to them.

Topics for the blogging posts are pulled from the classroom curriculum. Anne Davis will use a focus on the Six Traits of Writing and Blooms Taxonomy as students blog/write to learn and apply what they are studying in their class curriculum. The Webquest provides strong pedagogical directions for the teacher as well a clear pathway for students to use.

While we have some great blogs being used by teachers in australian schools, both primary and secondary, having a Webquest handy will help new teachers interested in blogging.

Introduce your class to blogging with Blogging - It's Elementary.

Read about QuestGarden and how it is developing. Until October 1 educators can join QuestGarden for free.

19 September 2006

Online Conference Submissions Open

A brief update on the K12 Online Conference that will be running next month.

"First, the proposal process is now open. It’s an online form that shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to complete (assuming your proposal is prepped.) Please try to keep your proposals to 250 words or less, and remember that the deadline for submissions is September 30. We’ve already had dozens of ideas thrown our way, so make sure to get your proposal in right away.

Second, we’ve welcomed Wes Freyer as our fourth and final convener. To reiterate, there are four strands each with its own organizer. Wes will be doing the “Overcoming Obstacles” strand, Sheryl will be co-ordinating the “Basic and Advanced Training” sessions, Darren has the “Week in the Classroom” part and I’ll be overseeing the “Professional Development” strand.

Third, we have a blog that will be ready to go in the next day or so. There, you’ll find a FAQ, all the details, and news and updates as the event gets closer. I’ll post an update as soon as it’s worth looking at.

And last but not least, David Warlick has graciously agreed to do the conference keynote on how to attend an online conference. Again, more on that coming on the blog."

Spread the word!!!

18 September 2006

Wikis for Everyone!!

What makes Wikispaces different from other wikis?

Wikispaces is easy to use for everyone, not just technical users. It provides a simple interface, a visual page editor, and a focus on community collaboration. Find out more on this brief tour complete with audio. It's worth a watch and listen just to find out about Wiki! Take a look at the Wikispaces blog as well.

Wikispaces is available worldwide to teachers, students, and educators. Wikispaces provides a great public tool for students, teachers, school communities, sports clubs, hobby groups etc..... Web 2.0 tool that is not constrained by website or intranet setups. Better still, it allows global collaboration, or classroom collaboration - you choose.
  • "[My students] created a place to post projects and assignments and invited each other to their wikispace. Then, they created links to the websites that their fellow students had created to help them study/ review/ complete the project. They are used to copying notes for one another -- but now they can collaborate on notes! The results are astonishing!" Check out the Coolcatteacher blog for more information.

  •
"Over 10,000 educational wikis later have been created, we've heard countless stories of excited students and empowered teachers. They've told us about their collaborative essays, group study guides, online lesson plans, and classroom notice boards coming alive on Wikispaces.

Now we're taking the next step - we want to give away 100,000 free K-12 Plus wikis. That includes all the features and benefits that normally cost $50/year - for free. No fine print, no usage limits, no advertising, no catches."

A few months ago, Wikispaces also added the ability to customize your theme and wikitext stylesheet. In addition to changing the color scheme and logo, all spaces have a number of existing themes they can choose from. Plus-level spaces can create new themes using HTML and a few special Wikispaces tags. Lots of members took advantage of the custom themes to make changes to their navigation section, the location of their menus, or the page headings. Some created a totally new look for their space. Here is a showcase for some of the creative changes people have made.

Wikispaces also has an embedded media function. This means you can now paste in the HTML from any web service and it will show up on your wikispaces page. You get the media and applications you want, with the simplicity of Wikispaces' WYSIWYG editor.

Some examples of services you might want to embed include YouTube, Google, and Yahoo videos, Google and AirSet calendars, Odeo podcasts, and of course there are many many more.

If you are tech-savvy or have tech-savvy students - don't wait to get into Wikispaces!

If you're a teacher,
visit the signup page to try a wiki. You'll be up and running in under 30 seconds.

13 September 2006

Amazon unbox goes live!

AV Librarians...what do you think? I think it's an important moment to mark, as we begin the shift toward less DVD and CD releases and more online, download-style models.... I'll be interested in the first reviews of his product.

From Tame the Web: Libraries and Technology

12 September 2006

Just One More Book! podcasts

"The Just One More Book! podcast is a thrice-weekly audio-on-demand broadcast in which we discuss the children's books we love and why we love them.

Episodes range in length from 5 to 12 minutes and can beplayed directly from our web page or downloaded to an ipod for listening on the go. Each episode is an informal discussion of one of our family's favourite children's books. Occasionally, the episodes
feature interviews with authors, literacy related discussions or audio reviews submitted by our listeners.

Our audience is growing and the response from both listeners and authors has been

You can listen to the reviews by double clicking the play buttons (">" ) on the "Listen Now"


Thanks from Andrea

www.JustOneMoreBook.com A podcast about the children's books we love and why we love them

Australian Study: Impact of School Libraries

Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement: a Review of the Research: Report for the Australian School Library Association, by Michele Lonsdale

Australian Council for Educational Research

The review focuses on studies conducted since 1990, which show that school libraries can have a positive impact on student achievement-whether such achievement is measured in terms of reading scores, literacy or learning more generally-in the following key ways:

  • a strong library program that is adequately staffed, resourced and funded can lead to higher student achievement regardless of the socioeconomic or educational levels of the adults in the community;
  • a strong computer network connecting the library's resources to the classroom and laboratories has an impact on student achievement;
  • the quality of the collection has an impact on student learning;
  • test scores are higher when there is higher usage of the school library;
  • collaborative relationships between classroom teachers and school librarians have a significant impact on learning, particularly in relation to the planning of instructional units, resource collection development, and the provision of professional development for teachers;
  • a print-rich environment leads to more reading, and free voluntary reading is the best predictor of comprehension, vocabulary growth, spelling and grammatical ability, and writing style;
  • integrating information literacy into the curriculum can improve students' mastery of both content and information seeking skills; and that
  • libraries can make a positive difference to students' self-esteem, confidence, independence and sense of responsibility in regard to their own learning.

Source: http://www.asla.org.au/research/summary.htm

Available for loan from the CEO Library. Contact Erika, Lisa or Deborah by on 9840 5735 or 9840 5737 to borrow.

10 September 2006

ISBN - You're not alone...

Just for something different, take a look at what the ISBN Tool can do. More than anything it shows you how databases are connected through Z39.50 and OpenURL - i.e. information can be gathered and shared.

The ISBN Links Generator will generate various links keyed by an ISBN. The list of links includes:
  • Google "Look Inside"
  • Amazon "Search Inside"
  • Amazon.co.uk sales page (with affiliate code)
  • Amazon Web Service Item Info
  • OU Library catalogue lookup
  • OCLC Audience Level
  • Alternative ISBNs (OCLC xISBN)
  • Alternative ISBNs (Library Thing thingISBN)
  • Compare xISBN and thingISBN
  • ISBN Book Info (isbn.org.uk)
  • ISBN Book Info (isbn.org.uk)(XML)
  • A (not quite working) web service
  • ISBNdb.com (full record)
  • ISBNdb.com (XML Info)
  • Open WorldCat Info
  • Open WorldCat Info (book details)
  • Open WorldCat Info (book editions)
  • O'Relly Safari
  • O'Relly Safari (OU proxied)

Give it a go. You might even find a 'novel' use for ISBN Tool?

06 September 2006

What is your worst fear?

What is your worst fear about a loss of what you currently value in learning and teaching because of emerging technologies?

When AlanNovember posted this question for comment, he attracted 45 comments. Take a read of the responses. What would our responses be? What would our teacher's responses be?

Understanding the 'fear' factor will help us work more effectively to support our teachers and hence our learners. Add a comment if you like!

05 September 2006

The Blogging School

Today I was lucky to be involved in some vigorous discussion with some school staff about the value of blogging, and how we might go about getting teachers to embrace blogging.

This podcast from Tim Tyson on The Blogging School comes from November Learning Podcasts. Tim says:

"Historically, community dissatisfaction with school communication has remained unchanged despite Mabry's best efforts. However, in one year, with the advent of blogging, that level of dissatisfaction has been cut in half. School and community communication is but part of this story. Blogging can also be leveraged to maximize student engagement and academic achievement as well as student collaboration with peers and professionals around the world".

I recommend listening to this. You can find the podcast here.

WiFi learning

The next time you stop to think about learning and teaching directions, make sure you spare a thought for our youngsters.....who are encountering teachers from a very different era! Enjoy!

Rough First Day

02 September 2006

K-12 Online 2006 Conference

Announcing the first annual "K12 Online 2006" convention for teachers, administrators and educators around the world interested in the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice.

This year's conference is scheduled to be held over two weeks, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30- Nov. 3 with the theme "Unleashing the Potential."

There will be four "conference strands"-- two each week. Two presentations will be published in each strand each day, Monday - Friday, so four new presentations will be available each day over the course of the two-weeks. Each presentation will be given in podcast or screencast format and released via the conference blog and archived for posterity.


Week 1
Strand A: A Week In The Classroom
These presentations will focus on the practical pedagogical uses of online social tools (Web 2.0) giving concrete examples of how teachers are using the tools in their classes. They will also show how teachers plan for using these tools in the delivery of their curricular objectives.

Strand B: Basic/Advanced Training (one of each per day)
Basic training is "how to" information on tool use in an educational setting, especially for newcomers.
Advanced training is for teachers who have already started using Web 2.0 tools in their classes and are looking for: (a) advanced technology training (eg. how to write your own blog template or hack existing ones), (b) new tools they can make use of in their classes, (c) teaching ideas on how to mash tools together to create "something new," (d) a pedagogical understanding of how technologies such as Weblogs, wikis, podcasts, social bookmarking sites, RSS feeds and others can deepen learning and increase student achievement, or (e) use of assessment tools to measure the effectiveness of Read/Write Web technologies in their personal practice and with their students.

Week 2
Strand A: Personal Professional Development
Tips, ideas and resources on how to orchestrate your own professional development online; the tools that support Professional Learning Environments (PLEs); how to create opportunities to bring these technologies to the larger school community; how to effectively incorporate the tools into your personal or professional practice; or how to create a supportive, reflective virtual professional community around school-based goals.

Strand B: Overcoming Obstacles
Tips, ideas and resources on how to deal with issues like: lack of access to tools/computers, filtering, parental/district concerns for online safety, and other IT concerns while trying to focus on best practice in the use of Web 2.0 tools.

For organization purposes, each strand is overseen by a conference convener who will assist and coordinate presenters in their strand. The first presentation in each strand will kick off with a keynote by a well known educator who has distinguished his/herself and is knowledgeable in the context of each topic. This year's conveners and keynote presenters are:

A Week In The Classroom
Convener: Darren Kuropatwa
Keynote: Bud Hunt

Bud Hunt teaches high school language arts and journalism at Olde Columbine High School in Longmont, Colorado. He is a teacher-consultant with and the Tech Liaison for the Colorado State University Writing Project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project, a group working to improve the teaching of writing in schools via regular and meaningful professional development. Bud is also the co-editor of the New Voices column of English Journal, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English. A consumer of copious amounts of New Media, Bud blogs and podcasts about his practice and larger educational issues at http://www.budtheteacher.com.

Basic/Advanced Training
Convener: Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
Keynote: TBA

Personal Professional Development
Convener: Will Richardson
Keynote: Ewan McIntosh

Ewan McIntosh is an educational technologist and teacher of French and German. Based in the Edinburgh area of Scotland he frequently works around the UK and Europe, leading student and teacher workshops and conferences. He is an experienced workshop facilitator in the area of Web 2.0 technologies in education across stages and curricular areas. Ewan blogs at http://edu.blogs.com

Overcoming Obstacles
Convener: TBA
Keynote: Anne Davis

Anne is known for seeing the educational possibilities in the use of weblogs with students in classrooms, having implemented wonderful ideas and weblog projects with students and teachers in K-12 classrooms and at the university level. She currently works at Georgia State University in the Instructional Technology Center in the College of Education as an Information Systems Training Specialist. Her weblog, EduBlog Insights is a co-winner of the Best Teacher Blog in the second international Edublog Awards, a web based event that recognizes the many diverse and imaginative ways in which weblogs are being used within education.

We'd like to invite you to submit a proposal to present at the conference. If you have something you'd like to share with the community, both people who are new to blogs and/or experienced bloggers please email the appropriate conference convener above with your ideas. The deadline to submit a proposal (just the proposal, not the finished product) is September 30, 2006. One of us will contact you to finalize the date of your presentation. Your presentation may be delivered in any web-based medium (including but not limited to...podcasts, PowerPoint files, blogs, websites, wikis, screencasts, etc.) and must be emailed to your assigned conference convener one week before it goes live, (see above strands) so that it can be uploaded to the server.

The conference organizers are:
Darren Kuropatwa

Darren Kuropatwa is currently Department Head of Mathematics at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is known internationally for his ability to weave the use of online social tools meaningfully and concretely into his pedagogical practice and for "child safe" blogging practices. He has more than 20 years experience in both formal and informal education and 13 years experience in team building and leadership training. Darren has been facilitating workshops for educators in groups of 4 to 300 for the last 10 years. Darren's professional blog is called A Difference (http://adifference.blogspot.com).

Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach

Sheryl is a technology/education consultant for the National Education Association (NEA), the Center for Teaching Quality, SRI International, the Virginia Community College System, the Virginia Department of Education, the Miami-Dade Public Schools, the Alabama Best Practices Center and adjunct instructor in the School of Education at The College of William and Mary. She has had several journal articles and book chapters published, been featured on public broadcasting television and radio shows, and is a regular presenter at local, state, and national conferences speaking on topics of homelessness, teacher leadership, virtual community building, and 21st Century learning initiatives. Sheryl blogs at 21st Century Collaborative (http://21stcenturylearning.typepad.com/blog/).

Will Richardson

Will Richardson is known internationally for his work with educators and students to understand and implement instructional technologies and, more specifically, the tools of the Read/Write Web into their schools, classrooms and communities. A public school educator for 22 years, WillÂ’s own Weblog (Weblogg-ed.com) is a primary resource for the creation and implementation of Weblog technologies on the K-12 level and is a leading voice for school reform in the context of the fundamental changes these new technologies are bringing to all aspects of life. Will is the critically acclaimed authour of the best-selling book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Tools for Classrooms (March 2006, Corwin Press).

Conference Tags: k12online, K12online06

If you have any questions about any part of this, email one of the following:
Darren Kuropatwa
Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach
Will Richardson

I will post information about registration as soon as it becomes available.

29 August 2006

Reading Cafe Launched by Sue

Susan H has been working hard at her College! Here's her report.

Reading Cafe launched.

Each fortnight our Library becomes a hive of reading activity as students from years 7-10 share book titles, reading experiences, read, eat their lunch & have a drink & sweet treat provided by the library.

The gains in literacy, confidence and having a good time are already evident within most English classes & certainly in fiction borrowing in the library generally.

The CEO Literacy Book Week Grant 2006 will certainly further add to our fiction collection, as most members of the Reading Cafe have provided wish lists of book titles.

We also hope to be able to get visiting Authors such as Catherine Jinks, Stephen Herrick and Morris Gleitzman to speak to the students at lunch.

Booksellers such as Bloomin' Books Kate and Jenny from Megalong Books at Leura are coming to speak to the students.

Short book reviews are going to be published from the Cafe on the school intranet.

The photos show the students catching a bit of the reading pleasure, even an artistic Year 12 student has got involved by designing Thelma, our Reading Cafe Mascot.

Online guide to "primary sources"

You might like to consider this on-line guide to primary sources (materials from or directly related to the past).

It is free for libraries, schools and educators world wide and links to more than 100,000 sources at national archives, libraries, universities and government web sites.

It has an alphabetical subject index
http://www.awesomestories.com/fast_find/index.shtml of more than 325 pages, including listings of video clips,

You just have to request a free membership using this form.

Internet and Information Skills

This year we have had two professional development days for Parramatta Diocese teachers and teacher librarians, presented by James Herring of Charles Sturt University on the topic Enabling Curriculum through Information Literacy and ICT.

Here is some information about James own book:
The Internet and Information Skills: A guide for teachers and school librarians

As a result of recent developments in teaching and learning, teachers and educators are being encouraged through their training to use ICT to develop more innovative teaching methods, and students are frequently required to use electronic information resources as part of their assignments.

Networked internet access is now the norm in both primary and secondary schools, and is available not only in the school library but in computer suites and classrooms. Increasingly both teachers and school librarians recognize that information literacy is a key skill needed by today's pupils, who are tomorrow's workers in the knowledge economy. Thus the need for students to become effective information users is paramount.

This new book provides teachers and school librarians with the ability to exploit the internet effectively both as a learning and a teaching resource; in particular to improve their skills in accessing the most relevant parts of the internet to improve their teaching and provide suitable information sources to aid students' learning. It offers valuable insights into information literacy skills and provides help with, and examples of, the most effective ways of teaching information skills to students.

Available at the CEO Library. Contact Erika or Lisa on 9840 5737 or 9840 5735 to borrow a copy.

22 August 2006

Queensland's Online Literature Festival will run on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for three weeks, August 28 - September 14, 2006.

Many Australian children's authors and illustrators will be available to chat online with students.
Authors include RL Stine (Goosebumps Series), James Moloney, Nick Earls, David J Smith (overseas author)...with more authors to be advertised shortly.....

Registration is now open!!!

Please note: They now have a waiting list facility, if a session is full. Put yourself on the waiting list, in case a school cancels. If a chat is found to be popular (waiting lists have more than three schools on) then they may be able to contact the authors to offer extra sessions, to those on the waiting list.

21 August 2006

Learning at the British Library

The British Library's new Learning website is devoted to promoting the wonders of the book, and to opening up the mysterious and magical qualities of the Library's collection.

Virtual visitors can browse a treasure trove of fascinating texts and images: from medieval banquet menus to ancient Iranian myths, from 18th century ship's logs to Russian Constructivist book covers, from Victorian freak show posters to WWII maps.

There are over a thousand texts on the site, as well as wonderful audio recordings from the Sound archive, and a range of multimedia elements. The site is divided into six themed sections, making navigation easy and enjoyable. In launching the new website, the Learning team aims to bring the British Library's world renowned collection to a wider audience, and to inspire learners of all ages. The material provides myriad opportunities for personalised learning, individual research projects and classroom activity

Peter Scott's Library Blog

14 August 2006

Plagiarism Seminar

This seminar is intended for teachers and teacher librarians who wish to develop further understanding of the issues in preparation for the NSW Board of Studies Program HSC - All My Own Work.

The Keynote session will be presented by Dr Joy McGregor from Charles Sturt University, whose research into 'plagiarism' makes a significant contribution to our overall understanding.
The program includes the following topics and speakers in this order:
  • Working with others (Judy O'Connell, CEO)
  • Acknowledging sources (Di Laycock, Barker)
  • Scholarship principles and practices (Colleen Foley, DET)
  • Copyright (Debbie Leatham, Kings School)
  • Plagiarism (June Wall, Riverview).
Organised by the Australian School Library Association. Flyer and registration form is available here.

13 August 2006


Thanks to Halina Levenets, Teacher Librarian at St Bernadette's School for finding and sharing this blog with us.

This blog is for school children to celebrate literature in 2006 in a different manner. We will look at a number of titles that have been shortlisted by the Children's Book Council of Australia, and the children will record their thoughts on the books we share.

Perhaps some of your students would like to add some comments to this blog?

10 August 2006

Learning Technology Forum

Wednesday and Thursday this week saw Learning Technology teachers from primary and secondary schools in the Parramatta Diocese gather for a two-day forum.

The presentations from this forum will be made available via podcast - and I hope provide the links for you when they are available .

The forum was opened by Kevin Jones, and as Head of Curriculum he was able to provide some clear insights to 'set the scene'.

Kevin focussed on the beliefs that underpin/enable/epitomise 21st century learning, and the approaches that will enable (if not ensure) quality 21st century learning. Some of the key points were about the beliefs that must drive our understanding and the staffroom approaches that help us be more effective.

The Beliefs
Learning in the 21st century is about

  • student “centredness”.
  • Student ownership
  • Student choices
  • Student responsibility

The Approach
Collaborative work practices (staffroom approaches) will help us meet the learning needs of our students.

These practices must include use of technology that enhances collaborative work practices for:

  • Programming Organisation of assessment
  • Marking to standards
  • Evaluation
  • Cross-curricular approaches

As Kevin explained, "Our approaches and practices have to reflect our beliefs about individualised learning". "We need to think about our own approach" "We need to think about what our current practices indicate about our beliefs about learning".

Then we will engage more effectively in how to use the tools.

I followed with a presentation on Engaging the google generation through Web 2.0. For this session I drew from the article of the same title published in SCAN, Vol 25 No 3 August 2006.

09 August 2006

International School Library Day

The International School Library Day committee invites you to
consider participating in activities to celebrate this globlal celebration of school

Visit the International School Library Day 2006 webpage here.

Time is running out to sign up for the Bookmark Project. This is a worldwide project involving students creating a bookmark which will be sent to another school on or before October 23. Deadline for matching will be September 8. After that day, no further schools will be matched. Sign up now. More information is available here.

Don't forget to share what you are planning for International School Library Day with others. You can submit your ideas at here. Your submissions will be available for others to view soon!

Don't wait, share your ideas now.

Rick Mulholland
Teacher-librarian (Surrey, BC, Canada)
International School Library Day Coordinator (IASL)

07 August 2006

Enabling Curriculum - Learning at Emmaus

Today we have a group of teachers and teacher librarians gathered for the day to work with James Herring on Information Literacy and ICT.

Participants have brought a range of experiences and expertise to contribute to the discussions today. I am blogging this event during the first session after lunch - Advanced searching and search engine design.

Participants are exploring advanced searching techniques in Google after discussion of options and possibilities when searching the web for learning materials. Try using Google to do a domain search of the BBC site. Google provides a powerful search tool to use for site searches. Don't forget, it is possible to search for specific file formats such as word or powerpoint.

Try this in the Advanced search:

Type in year 7 discovering democracy. Now go to the Domain box and type in det.nsw.edu.au (note that you don't need www). Now click Google Search. You will see year 7 discovering democracy site:det.nsw.edu.au so Google is searching for your information only in that site and nowhere else. This demonstrates the way that complex sites can be searched using the power of Google.

James explains that Google is now the most popular and most used search engine across the world, but we shold not always restrict our searches to Google, even using advanced searching. After exploring Google, participants then worked with a range of other metasearch engines, learning about the variations, and discovering the particular features of visual search engines such as Kartoo , a visual meta search engine. Participants also explored Clusty and Mooter.

Developing advanced searching techniques and understanding the myriad of ways to search for information is a vital part of our skillset. We need to share this information with our teachers and each other.

Thank you to Sharon and Emmaus staff for hosting a lovely day!

04 August 2006

Educaton au Seminar - changes in learning

Friday 4 August I am attending a seminar hosted by Educationau. I was spotted when I arrived looking for a powerpoint for my tablet PC, so that I could blog the event. I was provided with a 3M wireless card for computer, and away I went.

The whole seminar is interactive and being published in various ways on the web.

The ideas are not new. But for the group that we have here today it is a strong opportunity to share and discuss, and after listening to key speakers take time to reflect on the directions we are going with our Web 2.0 technologies.

Collect the podcasts here.

Go to Technoratic and search the tag "eduaueventaug06" to see what is written.

Go to these blogs...
Learning with the Fang
Al Upton and the miniLegends

RSS blog is available here.

02 August 2006

IFLA Section - School Libraries and Media Centers

From the School Libraries section of the International Federation of Library Associations:

The IFLA Section School Libraries and Media Centers recently added a school library advocacy kit to its webpages. You can find the document here: http://www.ifla.org/VII/s11/pubs/s11_AdvocacyKit.html

In the document you will find links to resources you can use to promote school libraries with you
institution, association, or (educational) authorities. The advocacy kit supports the Ifla/Unesco School Library Manifesto and the Ifla/Unesco School Library Guidelines. This document is only a start.

Take a little time to read through the site, and in particular take note of International Research Links and other important statements.

The Alexandria Proclamation on Information Literacy may be accessed here.