19 December 2007

Christmas Wishes to Everyone!

Special Christmas greetings to all the readers of Bibliosphere News.

We wish you a safe, happy and Holy Christmas and trust that 2008 is a good year for you and your school library.

This is also the last post for this blog..which started in May 2006 as a way to connect with Teacher Librarians in the Parramatta Diocese. The audience of the blog grew; others joined me in writing items of interest or reporting on events and happenings; and we acquired a world-wide audience. That's the magic of the Web 2.0 world!!

We've enjoyed writing, and we've enjoyed your company. Thank you.

As our system of schools will no longer have a specialist Education Officer dedicated to supporting school libraries in 2008 and beyond, Bibliosphere News is now officially closed!

I will continue to write and comment on all things Library and Web 2.0 on my own professional blog at Heyjude.

I would like to particularly thank Marita Thomson, Jan Radford and Lisa Nash who each helped contribute to Bibliosphere News in 2007 - they are true Library 2.0 librarians! Keep the passion girls!

May the peace of the new-born Christ empower and inspire all that you do in 2008.


27 November 2007

Leading Learning Through the School Library

Ross Todd presented this full day seminar, Leading learning through the school library: Part 11: Transforming information into deep knowledge and did not disappoint. Syba Signs has done a great job of facilitating leading edge events over the last year. Long may they continue.

For the full story go to CISSL where you can link through to Guided Inquiry, and get details of Carol Kuhlthau's new book. But here are a few of the thoughts from the day that stayed with me. Apologies if I am miss quoting Ross here, but there are some lines that I know I can't have got wrong as he repeated them so often:

Have a vision for your library. What can you see? Practice stems from vision.

Position yourself in the knowledge commons.

Do not be accomplices to mediocrity.

Engage with disciplinary knowledge.

Do not water rocks.

At the end of the day Teacher Librarian Lee Fitzgerald of Loreto Kirribilli gave an excellent overview of Guided Inquiry as practiced in her school this year. Practice is the proof of the pudding and the place to really learn about this process for us all. For a taste of this see the article Guided Inquiry the KISS Way in aisNSW Teacher librarian Newsletter, Term 4, 2007

Finally, those promised pics.

Standards for the 21st Century Learner

Ross Todd referred to this document at last week's Syba Signs Seminar Leading Learning Through the School Library Part II. Launched last month by the American Association of School Librarians, Standards for the 21st Century Learner starts with nine common beliefs:
  • Reading is a window to the world.
  • Inquiry provides a framework for learning.
  • Ethical behavior in the use of information must be taught.
  • Technology skills are crucial for future employment needs.
  • Equitable access is a key component for education.
  • The definition of information literacy has become more complex as resources and technologies have changed.
  • The continuing expansion of information demands that all individuals acquire the thinking skills that will enable them to learn on their own.
  • Learning has a social context.
  • School libraries are essential to the development of learning skills.

You can download an eight page colour version of the Standards (link above). Well worth reading.

And whilst looking for a link to Ross I came across this fabulous School Library Journal cover and article: Ross to the Rescue! about the quest to renew school libraries. It is by SLJ's Editor in Chief Brian Kenney from April, 2006.

19 November 2007

Life After powerpoint – 50 Ways

Participate in the free K12 Online Conference

If you are weary of seeing student tasks presented in PowerPoint then I am with you. This is not to say that kids aren't pretty good at using the software. I have seen lots of student engagement working on PPT presentations, plenty of scope for peer learning and real experience of design principles - usually implicit. But there are plenty of other fun ways of presenting in our Web 2.0 world and Alan Levine has tried 50 of them.

Linked to another K12Online07 presentation, Alan has had a go at telling the same story in 50 different ways and the result, Dominoe 50 Ways, is a ready made menu for you to sample. If you prefer to start another way you could go a classified list of names and descriptions of the Story Tools. This also has a few examples of each. For a more guided narrative experience take yourself (and maybe a friend) through Alan's workshop 50 Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story.

Now, all tools are not created equal, but part of the learning is about finding the right one for your purpose. Explore and enjoy, and try letting some kids lose with this list. Below is my own first attempt at using Animoto:

16 November 2007

This blog's reading level is...

cash advance

Now this may rank with those surveys you do in magazines that you claim not to buy, or it might be based on an authentic readability formula, but it is lots of fun regardless. And particularly because this blog is apparently awesome ...or just very difficult to read.

Find it here. It also works on Livejournal, Facebook, Myspace profiles and most websites, apparently. I saw it at bookboy, which is a nice blog to follow.

12 November 2007

Voices around the world

Sometimes it is interesting to know how we find stuff.
Judy posted in HeyJude about an mp3 creator and mentioned the sound was better in Voki. So I checked out Voki. There, in the bottom right corner was the image below, referring to the September task. Well I just HAD to go there, didn't I! And then I found the other tasks. So, thank you Judy!

Voices around the world is a class project from students at Dundee High School in Scotland. Each month they set a different project, using different Web 2.0 appplications. I loved the national anthems last month, and the month before they used Voki to record messages to hear each other's languages.
Have a look - It brought a smile to my face and although it is a HS project, the contributors are from Grade 1 up.
This time they are using Onetruemedia to create a slideshow.

Have fun! Let us know if you contribute.

Jan, who will be back at Delany next Monday!

31 October 2007

A Mirror to Practice - K12Online2007

Participate in the free K12 Online Conference

Well, the K12 Online Conference has finished for another year, and I didn't get very involved for all the usual reasons/excuses. But all is not lost if you have the slightest clue how to use iTunes - yes, it is on your computer so just open it. Then go to the store and search for k12online07. This will take you straight to the download page for both audio and video podcasts from the conference. I recommend subscribing to both if you use an mp3 player as you can sample the sessions that look promising via audio and later watch presentations which are of special interest.

The K12 Online 2007 Blog will provide you with information about each session. Browse the categories on the sidebar or search for what you are seeking. You can bypass iTunes by listening/viewing straight from the blog, and check out any related links.

My first recommendation is NZer Derek Wenmoth's keynote Holding a Mirror to Professional Practice. Derek is a teacher educator and gives a fine presentation about his research into the connection between teacher beliefs, intentions and professional practice in the use of ICT. They have some interesting programs going which are worth hearing about, but the absolute best thing is their EPS - Educational Positioning System. This is a free to use online tool which takes you through a series of reflections on your teaching practice with ICT.

The result is a map of various elements - beliefs about teaching, use of ICT, relative success in achieving outcomes and obstacles to practice. My map is below, along with my hastily written reflection. In fact I think my practice looks better in the map than it really is, but it was completing the EPS that alerted me to many of the flaws in what I was doing. These included fairly tenuous links between technology used and outcomes, and a sad lack of opportunity for students to really be creative (represented by those stunted yellow shrubs). I completely mucked up the questions about infrastructure impediments so have no rocky passages in my river of practice.

I learned a lot from this and will go back to it when I think I have worked on some of the issues. But do watch Derek's presentation. It is well done, moves along at pace and will explain much better than I have about the EPS.

21 October 2007

Travelling Librarian

Hyperactive Parramatta Diocese TL (and Bibliosphere News contributor) Jan Radford from Delany College, has not been content to develop a range of traditional and Web 2.0 services in her library. Now she has become the virtual librarian, for a few weeks anyway, as she visits the world, and a good few school libraries along the way.

You can follow Jan's progress via blog - Delany Library News - or listen to her voice messages on the Library Home Page. Make sure you check out Library Thing (I've linked to the cover view), Delicious, the Book Club Blog and other great things going on at Delany Library.

16 October 2007

New Imagery for Schools and Schooling: ACEL 2007

I was lucky enough to attend this Australian Council for Educational Leaders Conference in Sydney last week with several colleagues from my school, and also met up with a bunch of Teacher Librarians from other Sydney schools. It was a most stimulating event with a few items seeming to resonate from multiple voices amongst presenters.

Perhaps the highlight was the much anticipated dual presentation from Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullen. I think Andy hit the nail on the head when he noted having heard Kevin Rudd the day before pledge a Rudd Government to an agenda of improved literacy as a priority. Now literacy is of course A GOOD THING, but Hargreaves points out that Australia is second only to Finland in literacy, according to latest OECD Pisa results. So why is it that this is always the cry of the politicians and the media?

What is it that any Australian Government should be making a priority in education? My answer would be science (we do fairly well in scientific literacy in Pisa as well, but this doesn't transfer to science graduates), or perhaps technology infrastructure for schools, but presumably these would take a little more work to sell. What would be your educational priority?

Other high points for me included the presentations of Michael Furdyk - an inspiring keynote from a 25 year old Canadian entrepreneur; Peter Senge via video link from Boston; Heidi Hayes Jacobs from the US on curriculum mapping; Andrew Fraser from Parramatta Diocese on innovation in schools; and TLs Di Laycock and Linda Gibson Langford on teacher collaboration and online community building, particularly with reference to their coordination of CAR-TL for ASLA NSW.

To view many of the presentations go to the ACEL 2007 Conference Website.

The Connected Library: A Handbook for Engaging Users

This timely book by Suzette Boyd is a must read for all library staff. Slim enough to be manageable in these days of information overload, I found this book affirmed many of my current practices but more importantly inspired me to reach a bit further. There are first all those things I always meant to do but didn't quite get to and then the more difficult area of taking a few risks. I think what is obvious or correct or a risk will vary from one library to another, but Suzette's book is an excellent place to find your next project.

To be a bit more specific, I like the suggestions for reading programs and promotion and the very good advice on going about improving (or inventing) your web site. But there is also lots to absorb about planning, research into practice, and knowing your stakeholders.

This book is good reading and very manageable. Go on, order it today, or borrow a copy. Your local public library will probably buy it if you ask.

28 September 2007

INKYS shortlists announced 24/9

Here is an ideal Term 4 promotion -
Ideal because there are only 6 books at the tail end of the budget year
Ideal because the books are all very attractive to students - they picked them after all.
Ideal because students get to do it - does not need a lot of input once it is up and running
Ideal because the books appeal across the years
And at last students get to vote for international books as well.....

At Delany the Book Club is promoting the INKYS and they have a jar - register your vote online and also in the Library jar. How else will we know what our readers liked?

14 September 2007

New resources @ TLRU

The Design Way : intentional change in an unpredictable world : foundations and fundamentals of design competence.
by Harold G. Nelson & Erik Stolterman
Educational Technology Publications (December 2002)
745.401 NEL

Developing the new learning environment : the changing role of the academic librarian.
edited by Phillipa Levy and Sue Roberts
London : Facet Publishing, 2005.
"This key text captures and critically discusses the librarian's changing learning support role in an educational context, providing guidance and practical support. Written by acknowledged experts across a broad range of roles in the new academic environment, it challenges thinking in this area as well as offering practice-based advice." "This book is essential reading for practitioners at every level within the higher education and further education sectors, including information specialists, learning support professionals, academic liaison coordinators and subject specialists, academic service managers and heads of library and information services. It is also a valuable resource for all other professionals involved in the delivery of learning support, and for students of LIS and of education."
Introduction. The challenge for the academic librarian / Philippa Levy and Sue Roberts -- 1. The policy framework: a critical review / Peter Brophy -- 2. Pedagogy in a changing environment / Philippa Levy -- 3. Literacies and learning / Dorothy Williams -- 4. Key issues in the design and delivery of technology-enhanced learning / Allison Littlejohn -- 5. New professional identities and practices for learner support / Sue Roberts -- 6. New academic teams / Sue Roberts, Mark Schofield and Ruth Wilson -- 7. Responding to the e-learning imperative / Susannah Quinsee -- 8. Information literacy education in practice / Judith Peacock -- 9. The inclusion agenda and its impact on practice / Joan Chapman, Gail McFarlane and Stuart Macwilliam -- 10. A kaleidoscope of change: how library management can support the development of new learning environments / Philip Payne -- 11. (E)merging professional identities and practices / Sue Roberts and Philippa Levy.
027.7 DEV

Luke: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist (Paperback)
by Mikeal C. Parsons
Educational Technology Publications (December 2002)
226.406 PAR

10 September 2007

The Inkys! A teenage book choice award

Insideadog website from the State Library of Victoria is a great literature resource for your school or public library - and now the Inkys have just made it even better!

The Inkys are Australia's first teenage choice book award.

There are two awards - the Golden Inky for an Australian book, and the Silver Inky for an International book.

It all starts with the longlist - 10 Australian books and 10 International. Then the panel of 6 judges will whittle it down to a shortlist of 3 Australian and 3 international books.

Information for teachers and teacher librarians is also available.

Don't forget to vote.

03 September 2007

Write-A-Book-In-A-Day - Amazing!

Write-a-Book-in-a-Day is a fundraising initiative of the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre and Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. Write-a-Book-in-a-Day is a one-day writing marathon where sponsored teams will write a children's book in a day, raising funds equally for KSPWC and Children's Hospitals in each Australian State. Additionally a copy of each finished book will be donated to the hospital library.

This fabulous initiative, Write-A-Book-In-A-Day, resulted in incredible collaboration amongst students in Australian schools as they met the challenge to create an imaginative fully illustrated book - all in one day!!

Several schools in the Parramatta Dioese joined the competition this year as their way of celebrating Australia's Book Week.

Take the opportunity to check out the fabulous examples of the work at the Marian College Learning and Resource Centre.

They have made their books available to download and enjoy - you will be amazed at the quality, variety, and completeness of these final products developed totally in one day! Other books from around the country are being added to the

No time?
Then just spend a few minutes looking at and listening to the students Write-a-Book-In-A-Day VoiceThread which you will find at the bottom of the page. Press play and listen to their Voice Thread!!

25 August 2007

Future Teaching Today

Last week over 180 teachers from Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lismore gathered at St Augustine’s Primary School in Coffs Harbour for a ground breaking conference on interactivity in the classroom.

Dr Anne Wenham, Director of Catholic Schools believes, “This conference is the first of its kind and a great testament to the existing skill base in our school. This technology has enormous potential to improve classroom learning and student engagement. We are proud of our staff and feel that these changes will gather momentum.”

The conference used the skills of over 20 teachers employed in local Catholic schools plus two invited keynote speakers, Dr Renata Phelps (Southern Cross University) and Judy O’Connell (Parramatta CEO) both known for their expertise in this area.

Conducted over two days and using classrooms with students present, this conference took on a very different approach to usual professional gatherings. Teachers participated in a variety of workshops on movie making, using Google in classrooms, Learning Objects, school intranet sites, Flash presentations, data projectors, podcasting and how to set up and use blogs and wikis. The classroom focus involved SMART, Promethean and Interwrite boards.

A wiki has been set up for follow up comments and ideas. Evaluations of the two days were extremely positive. Many teachers commented that this was the best professional development they had received. Already teachers are asking about next year’s conference. We would recommend this model of professional development to other school systems. If you are interested in more specific details of the conference please do not hesitate to contact us.

20 August 2007

One Shot World Tour: Australia

"Best read with Vegemite......."

Get a different perspective on Australian literature through this great initiative from a bunch of non-oz bloggers. Along the way you will be taking your own One Shot World Tour of fantastic literature blogs.

Nick Earls by Colleen at Chasing Ray .

11 August 2007

Be Cybersmart: Researching the Internet Wisely

This video comes from a series produced by The Mid-Atlantic Regional Technology in Education Consortium (MAR*TEC) at Temple University in partnership with The CyberSmart!® Education Company. In this video Joyce Valenza (internationally known teacher librarian) provides a great overview of the issues to consider in researching the internet wisely. Show it to students, staff meetings, or parent information sessions.

The purpose of these videos is to introduce the "new literacies" to educators — the challenges of safe, ethical, and effective technology use in support of teaching, learning, and living in the 21st Century. Further videos on Internet Safety, Social & ethical issues, and more are available here.

In2Edu - Education treasure trove!

"I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right." Albert Einstein

The In2Edu site provides an astonishingly comprehensive range of approches and resources for teachers - including fabulous support information literacy learning in schools.

The site features an information literacy programme/model called STEPS, born of a desire to help pupils make sense of and be creative with information. What makes STEPS unique is the range of variations that enable you to adapt it to different curriculum areas and different ages.

All 5000 best education links/favourites/favorites on this site were updated/verified July 2007.

They have developed a full information literacy programme similar to BIG 6/ SAUCE etc. It is supported with a range of downloadable resources and online activities to practise skills. Materials, posters, teaching tools and ideas are available across many curriculum areas. In fact, it takes ages to navigate all the dropdown menus and links to discover the wealth of information available. Rich tasks and deep thinking is included, and Blooms taxonomy underpins the rubrics.

Check out the downloads available, or navigate to the 'rich topic' curriculum choices below.

Discover Information Literacy

21 July 2007

Audio Books @ Delany

I have been buzzing all week after the great input Jan shared at the Literacy Conference at Delany. The information was both very practical and thought provoking.

Jan gave details as to how to set up the system in the Library as well as very sound reasons as to why we should be exploring such systems to improve student outcomes, especially in Literacy areas. The staff at my school have had me quoting Jan every day at every opportunity ALL WEEK! What a great session!

I have since thought about how to take advantage of the concept in a Primary School Library, considering limited budgets and resources. I was thinking of 'taking on' the challenge to conduct a Professional Action Research Project on this topic this term. I'd love to get some input from the collective wisdom of our group. Feel free to give any advice...and as much as possible...!! If there is anyone who would like to join me for a group effort that would be great too!

12 July 2007

Joining the blog

Hi, I am Suzanne Singleton-Brown . I work as a Teacher Librarian for three days at Wakehurst Public School and .3 days at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Primary school. In a week I connect with 500 students through the two schools. Originally I was a Science Teacher ,so changing to being a Teacher-Librarian was an exciting learning experience. My initial experiences were mainly in reorganising both libraries to make them more user friendly. One is housed in a huge space while the other is in a tiny classroom. Both spaces now provide areas for children as they move through their school life, having separate beginning, intermediate and senior reading and research sections. Resources are nearly all computerised and we have experienced three different computer systems Oasis, Alice and Athena. This term I am going onto Client in the State system so my transition from Science Teacher to Librarian has certainly offered me challenges.

30 June 2007

VoiceThreads in the Classroom

I have just been exploring the possibilities of VoiceThread. This website allows you to upload photos and add an oral commentary to a photo. If you don’t wish to record audio you can add text instead. Clear video instructions are given to set up a microphone for both Mac and Windows XP. VoiceThread is free for educators and students.
What a great place to store book reviews for your school!

What for....?

During the week I had a really grounding experience in relation to my use of Web2.0 tools and the reasoning behind it. I thought it would be worth mentioning, as I read with interest the comments earlier in the term about the use of the Bibliosphere Blog. I am also an avid reader of different blogs and articles on the use of Web2.0 tools in education…and how we, as educators need to keep up with the ‘digital natives’.

Here is ‘my story’! I had just finished a lesson with some six year olds where we had made a wiki about animal homes .We put the work in a wiki, to show their parents, all the things they had learnt, (skills & ‘content’). We also discussed how the students could look at that work in the classroom or over the holidays…etc etc. After the lesson I had another student bring me some work on ‘Dragons’ he had done on his own. As a reward, I offered to help him put the work on a special site on the Internet so that his parents could see it (I ran off all the ideas we had listed in the previous lesson with the six year olds.)

He simply said “What for…” & that statement ended up haunting me for the rest of the day!

“What for…” Are we asking these questions BEFORE we enthusiastically ‘embrace’ these tools in the classroom? Don’t get me wrong, I fully support their use and will continue to do so……

But are we being discriminative in our use?
Are we really using the best tool at the time for the intended audience?
Who are we anticipating IS our audience?
Who is meant to be using the social networking sites we construct and how do we set these up so that they ARE exploited to their fullest potential?
Why are we using these tools in particular educational contexts, is there a real purpose in that they will enhance student outcomes?
....Are we starting from the ‘right’ perspective?

I know I have a great looking library blog that has never had a comment, (although our parents do view it as they mention this to me). I also set up, with a Year 6 teacher, a Blog for the class where the intention was simply to give them a forum to have a voice. The Year 6 blog is used all the time. One student even made a comment one Saturday night within minutes of me posting! Do we simply accept that different blogs/Web2.0 developed sites have different purposes and leave it as that?

…..I posted a quote from a blog entry called 'A Problem with Blogs' on our staff blog. I’d like to hear what other TLs think! As TL's we often lead our staff in adopting new technologies, do others experience these moments?

Maybe we could start ‘a conversation……’ about it!

28 June 2007

Medieval helpdesk with English subtitles

I thought I'd introduce myself with this great video. Liblogger is my blog name-I'm Frances Manning a Primary Teacher Librarian. My Blogs are INFOZONE and hfsconversations and I am involved with a few class blog projects. I believe in our job you've got to have a sense of humour....this video really spoke to me! How do others feel about the message?

27 June 2007

Love letter to a favourite book

Whilst searching for a picture book activity on Read Write Think today I made a couple of happy discoveries. The first was an activity which involved making a book which was an artwork in itself and came from Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord's Making Books With Children site. There are several beautiful free projects to run with there as well as books to buy with more ideas.

Susan also has a blog and this is where I read about a project she was involved in earlier this year called Love Letters to Our Favourite Books. The Newburyport Literary Festival ran this last April with an exhibition of hundreds of these love letters, mostly from children and through several local libraries and schools. The idea is to use an A4 or letter sized sheet of paper and present a tribute to a favourite book. Original text, quotes, drawings and all manner of art work can be used. It is feeling and imagination that reign supreme in the final product.

Read more about the project and see examples of the Love Letters in this PDF flyer from the Literary Festival. This is a very elegant activity which could be tailored to a number of celebrations for a wide age range.

25 June 2007

Pandia powersearch not to be missed!

Pandia Powersearch is an extraordinary all-in-one list of search engines and directories.

Search the Web using the search window (with a dropdown set of choices), or select from extensive list of the best Internet search tools found by Pandia. Search for files, images, music, video, online reference, dictionaries, books and more!

Pandia Powersearch is a search service from Pandia Search Central.

"Kill the Vampires"

Reading Matters is one of those events that one always hears the best things about. It is a youth literature conference for professionals and young people organised by the Victorian Centre for Youth Literature. They get an amazing range of YA authors together each year, and this year I heard great things about David Levithan's contribution.

The good news is that there is now a ten minute podcast of Levithan from a panel called "Let's Talk About Sex". He is asking us to vanquish those voices in our heads telling us what our bosses, parents and others might think of the books we put in our libraries. His reflections on the Australian YA literature environment are interesting as is his no nonsense attitude to that last "acceptable prejudice", homophobia. As Read Alert says:

It’s a moving, provocative and inspiring talk about getting the right books to the teens who really need them........ And you need to do more than hear it. You need to copy it, you need to put it on your blog, you need to tell people about it, talk about it, think about it. It has a Creative Commons license, so use it as you will.

Listen and share: David Levithan:Kill the Vampires

It is also worth mentioning a review of Levithan's Boy Meets Boy by Chris Wheat in Viewpoint, Vol 13, No 3, Spring 2005 (links to the journal but not the article). More than a review, this is a heartfelt plea for this book to be in your library.

21 June 2007

New Contributor

My name is Sharon Brennan and I am the teacher librarian at St Augustine’s Primary School in Coffs Harbour, NSW. We have 620 students in 23 classes. Our school is part of the Diocese of Lismore. It is my pleasure to be a contributor to this blog. I began a library blog (Reading Rules) late last year and it is proving popular with our students. I am now encouraging other staff members to begin a blog with their class. I've just tried to link to my blog but have discovered that Safari does not support the formatting and hyperlink buttons on the posting screen. When the link becomes active, you'll know I have logged on using a supported browser.

16 June 2007

Designing the 21st Century Library

Flickr image: ‘deliciouslibrary OMG” by petit hiboux
You can often find great examples of libraries who have already redesigned and reformulated themselves for the digital world. However there is not always a lot written about the processes involved in undertaking this change.

An excellent Australian paper A Prototype 21st Century University Library: a case study of change at the University of New South Wales focuses on the organizational change involved in a library involved in constructing a new future for itself. It has added relevance for our libraries as it focuses on an academic library that needs to support teaching and learning activities much in the same way that we need to.

Building the Ubiquitous Library in the 21st Century from the World Library and Information congress in August 2006 provides a “road map" for information professionals to utilize emerging technologies to “design, develop, integrate, enhance and implement ubiquitous library services and projects in the 21st century”.

Lastly ‘Is todays library the new mall” discusses how emerging technologies and the change in how we think about learning is driving library design that engage library users in more experiential learning environments.

08 June 2007

REFUGEE WEEK 2007 - June 17-23 Theme: The Voices of Young Refugees

In preparation for this special week Jenn Martin (from the aliaREAD list) has put together a junior reading list on Library Thing, as well as adding suggestions from others on the list. A great use of this social network. For lots of other ideas for celebrating see the Refugee Council of Australia

David Goldie's interactive documentary Long Journey, Young Lives is perfect for the theme, as is Médecins Sans Frontières' Virtual Refugee Camp. This is less interactive but combines great photos and relevant text to give a realistic picture of the experience of living in a camp. Then there is Cuc Lam's Suitcase, a 4-5 minute video in a series called National Treasures, telling the story of a refugee couple who came from Vietnam with just one possession - now displayed in Melbourne's Immigration Museum.

For more drop in to Blinkx and find another video or two!

07 June 2007

Video-streaming resources

In addition to YouTube and TeacherTube, there are many other sources of videos from traditional news sources and educational sites. How can you find them all?

Hurray! To the rescue comes Blinkx... a video (and audio) search engine. You can put in your search term and get a list of videos from over 130 sources. You can then select the appropriate ones for your needs and can usually play them without additional software or other technology.

25 May 2007

The Information Literacy Game

I was asked to source some engaging resources for teaching HSC All My Own Work after a recent assault on our Year 11s. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. Your ideas welcome.

The Information Literacy Game is a bright idea you can try online courtesy of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, but better still they offer it for download with tips for customising to your own library or school.

Topics covered include plagiarism, referencing systems, choosing resource formats, search skills and specific local information, like library hours and services. Although the game uses all the same dry information as your typical info lit overview it injects some fun, competition and immediate reinforcement. You can play alone or in a group and actually learn as you go.

This type of material also has potential as a board game, a la trivial pursuit, and The Fletcher Library at the University of Arizona has developed such a game as a precursor to a computer game. Can’t access the game itself but check out this presentation Game On! Developing a Game for Library Instruction (PPT) Even more powerful would be if it was the students who wrote the questions and designed the game. (Although it could be a great one day project for a group of TLs and/or teachers.)

For another excellent resource which concentrates on plagiarism try What is Plagiarism at Indiana University? In spite of the title this is a very portable resource. It is described as a brief quiz and concept lesson by Ted Frick and uses specific examples with source and student work side by side. A great learning tool which reinforces concepts as it goes with immediate feedback. Not fancy but very clear.

Lastly, but in no way a lesser resource, is Alan November's page of resources: Grammar of the Internet. The eight resources here include a short quiz, detailed answers and specific activities which take the quiz items in more depth. It is addressed to teachers and includes specific web resources of interest in learning to evaluate - like hoax pages and those which intentionally mislead. Great material for teacher PD and then selectively for students as appropriate to your audience.

The next step is to road test some of these ideas on our kids (and teachers?) Who’s game?

24 May 2007

Podbean podcasting at Marian College

Thanks to Joan for pointing us to this excellent and easy way to manage and deliver podcasts for our learning environment. Terrific!

What I particularly like about this is that I can grab and embedd the podcast here for you to sample! Even better, it looks as if I can use the same 'container' to deliver a podast collection - a bit like vodpod, which I put onto the ParraCoordinators Conference blog to deliver videos!

17 May 2007

Cool Co-ordinator's Conference Handout!

What is a Blog? What is Web 2.0?

The journey into Web 2.0 is just like this...one step at a time. This is the message that Jamie Wahab and I reiterated at our workshop on blogging and Web 2.0 at the Primary Coordinators Conference.

Hats off to Jamie for a fabulous presentation of work being undertaking at Good Shepherd, and his ongoing enthusiasm for Web 2.0. We put together a blog as a 'digital handout' for those who attended the workshop - but of course it is public, and anyone can access it. You might find the compilation of help to you.

I liked two things. First, we created a delicious account to support the digital handout. Then I created a VodPod to make it easy for people to get the videos related to the topic.

Visit the Parra Co-ordinators Conference Spot, and enjoy.

Caroline Chisholm College

I spent a wonderful day at Caroline Chisholm, to see what Michael Stevenson and other super teachers are doing with Web 2.0 and CeNet for learning, and to talk about how to continue to improve on and extend the blend of Web 2.0 and CeNet.

Overall some absolutely inspiring work by teachers, particularly the Year 7 Visual Literacy unit, Year 8 music, and Year 12 - all using technology tools, online learning, and heaps of creativity. But best of all was the depth of comments from students and their obvious engagement with learning.

16 May 2007

How easy!

All I did was drop a single photo collection from my Flickr account into www.slide.com - and look what I got!

There are lots of other things you can do to to create slideshows online. This was a 30 second job!....but I do use my Flickr account all the time, which is why it was so easy.

12 May 2007

Scholarly vs Popular Journals at YouTube

I like the idea of preparing short videos as explanatory guides. Here is one that we could use. But wouldn't it be better if we could start creating our own, or better still, get the students to create short videos as part of their learning and assessment processes?

Anyway, we need more creative ways to reach out to our learners - don't you think?

05 May 2007

EdTech: Focus on K-12

The cover story of the April/May 2007 issue of EdTech magazine addresses the important issue of cybersaftey.

Other articles discuss the growing popularity of podcasts in education, learning with the use of Web 2.0, and optimal classroom layout for use with one-to-one notebook programmes.

EDTECH: Focus On K-12 - April/May 2007

Also included are teaching ideas for 21st century learning. My favourite comes from Vicki Davis (key leader in the Horizon Project 2007) on Introduction to Wikis. In her 10th-grade class, students make movies and learn online safety through a class wiki.

EDTECH: Focus On K-12 - Lesson Plans II

Archives of previous issues are available also.

02 May 2007

Library Design at Broadgreen

View slideshow
I was really inspired by a school visit in New Zealand. Broadgreen Intermediate in Nelson, hosted an evening cocktail party for the attendees at the recent SLANZA/LIANZA workshop in NewZealand.

The library is inspired by New Zealand art work, on loan from various museums. The Principal, Roger Brodie, has been behind the re-creation of a the new library for the school. The students came up with much of the interior design, and that first year of students is represented by a large photo mural near the circulation desk.

All the books are shelved in 'bins' facing outwards - and the Principal, who has a strong focus on literacy and getting the kids to read - says that circulation of books increased threefold with the new design.

There were lots of interesting design features - but the one that particularly caught my eye were the chairs. There is a Nelson company that takes old furniture and remakes it in the checkered and coloured designs that you see on the library furniture. That's the best part really, and the easiest for anyone to replicate!

Enjoy the photos, and think of what you might do!

01 May 2007

Capturing the vision... in New Zealand!

I was very honoured to have the opportunity to work with my librarian colleagues in New Zealand, and to hear about the many initiatives there, and the particular challenges that they are facing and embracing! I am particularly impressed with the strong relationship with the National Library of New Zealand, and it's extension services to schools.

I am preparing and sharing information from that event with my New Zealand colleagues, located on their PD blog here. Included on that blog is the post Workshop Time that has the information used for the Workshops, and for follow-up afterwards. There may be material there that is useful for you.

I also wanted to share an edited version of the slideshow of the Presentation, as it will give you access to links and videos that I used.

30 April 2007

Carnegie of Carnegies

It is the 70th anniversary of the Carnegie Medal and the 50th of the Kate Greenaway Medal and they are celebrating in style. Last year the public was asked to vote for their favourite winners of the past and a week or so ago the shortlists were published for a final vote coming up.

Meanwhile there is also a living archive of the winners. What a great way to remember Each Peach Pear Plum, Charles Keeping's The Highwayman or Gorilla. If you've been around long enough you are sure to find an old favourite or two in the top ten lists (mine is Alan Garner's The Owl Service).

And don't forget this year's shortlists for the Carnegie and Greenaway.

Now, this could be quite a good way into READiscovering for Book Week 2007. This year's Children's Book Council of Australia Awards Shortlist is also out, as is the more useful Notables. Perhaps we should be trawling through our own children's award favourites. I have strong memories of Ivan Southall's Ash Road which won the year I was in 6th Grade. Southall also won the Carnegie in 1971 with Josh.
The Carnegie/Greenaway site has some images to download (including a bookmark sheet on PDF) if you want to share the joy.

28 April 2007

A vision for digital libraries

Most of us have probably heard about Google’s Digitization project. Here is another from Internet Archive. The Internet Archive aims to provide permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. Founded in 1996 the Archive has been receiving data donations from Alexa Internet and others. In late 1999, the organization started to grow to include more well-rounded collections. Now the Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images and software as well as archived web pages.

The Director of Internet Archive, Brewster Kahle has a vision for digital libraries. In a Chronicle of Higher Education podcast interview titled How digital book collections will change acadame he discusses this vision and the differences between the Internet Archives project and Google’s project, as well as the challenges of copyright in the area of digitisation.

24 April 2007

2020 Vision - what it's all about!

Of course!
This video from Karl Fisch, reminds us of the futures of our students. I thought I would share this, as 2020 Vision is the topic of my NewZealand presentation.

23 April 2007

Why let student's blog?

I'm heading to Nelson, New Zealand this Friday to do a Keynote presentation, plus workshops for LIANZA (Library & Information Association New Zealand Aotearoa) in association with SLANZA (the school library folk), for their 2007 Weekend School on "Technology without Tears".

With a bit of serendipity I was led to this great video from Rachel Boyd
, a teacher in Nelson, New Zealand!! [via Kerrie Smith]

Museum of Modern Betas

I have been busy playing with Twitter these last few days. Those who Ning! also like to Twitter!

The MoMB just crossed the 3000 betas mark (the 3000th application added was the super sharp twittervision)

Twitter: Heyjudeonline

12 April 2007

23 Learning 2.0 Things

Numerous sites have linked to this, but it’s worth highlighting - 23 Learning 2.0 Things. Once you’ve completed the list, you'll be cool!

11 April 2007

Wetpaint enables private messaging!

Wetpaint, the online wiki community builder (that we have previously previewed), has released a major new feature, which is (surprisingly) about social networking (and communicating)! Teachers are finding Wetpaint a good tool to use - so this new enhancement lends itself to adaptation for education.

Wetpaint users can now send private messages to other users. The demand for a private messaging system became overwhelming for Wetpaint, and they’re happy to announce that messages can be sent from one user to another, from one user to many users, and from many users to many users. This is the first wiki of its kind to bring about this level of communication, and further blurs the lines between social networking and wikis. Many features are overlapping from various realms of communication tools, from widgets becoming available on social networks (and WetPaint wikis) to mainstream services incorporating social networking components.

Bringing in private messaging options for Wetpaint users really brings their community aspects full circle.

From: Mashable! - the Social Networking Blog.

If you want to keep in touch with the changes and developments in Web 2.0 tools, or want some of the latest code!, then take out an email feed from Mashable, or add it too your RSS reader. Mashable is the world's largest blog focused exclusively on social networks.

05 April 2007

Online Learning

The motivation of online activities for our primary school students was once again reiterated – two of our year 6 classes have been involved in a competition created by NSW Country Area Program related to their unit of study, Australian Identity. Their enthusiasm was transparent because the activity was real. Whilst the classes did not win, our students remained engaged and excited to see their peers’ movie file and word file online. Participating in simple and straightforward online activities is a useful strategy to involve teachers who have limited access to multiple computers. Their students are motivated, meet success and we all move ahead: “From little things big things grow” [Paul Kelly] –digital immigrants who start ‘small’ and are successful are more likely to engage in the next level of read-write online environments.

School 2.0

04 April 2007

More about Digital Books

Just to keep the options going, here is another interesting service for getting digital audio resources for your school.

Simply Audiobooks has the option to rent, buy, download, and listen! What I particularly liked is the option to collect yourself a FREE download each month.

I grabbed free download of The Art of War, just to test the quality of this service out. I found quite a few relevant resources, though pricing is always a big question.

Managing the copyright labyrinth seems easy with this supplier.

Another interesting article is Downloading Books with iPods, from TechLearning.

02 April 2007

Google Librarian

Have a look at Google Librarian Newsletter. It has useful links to a variety of tips and hints as well as providing product updates, how-tos, and news relevant to the library community. In conjunction with the newsletter Google has now added a Google Librarian blog called Google Librarian Central.

One of the most useful links is to the Google posters available at Google Librarian Tools
The posters portray a variety of information relating to searching. The best part is that Google are allowing the free distribution of these posters.

30 March 2007

Guided Inquiry – Ross Todd in Sydney, March 2007

Syba Signs held its second very successful seminar day this month with Dr Ross Todd attracting a crowd of over 200 (a large number of whom he seemed to know by first name). A good representation was in attendance from Parramatta Diocese TLs and we had a very stimulating day with immediate practical value to our work. We were also stirred by his questioning some of our long practiced mantras. Ross is perhaps the only person who could challenge us this way and live to tell the tale.

For the fuller story go to CISSL – The Center For International Scholarship in School Libraries at Rutgers University, particularly: Guided Inquiry. For some of our impressions of the day see below:

The conference provided us with an opportunity to look, think and question what
we teach in the library. The teaching of information literacy through the information skills process still has a place but it should not be the only way we approach a learning task with our students. This linear approach is not how our students learn and the "getting stuff" fix that it tends to impose is not useful to what Ross would like to see our students take from a research task. He asserts thats deep knowledge and deep understanding can only come when students are fully immersed in the task not simply plagiarising from 'stuff' that they locate during a library lesson. We need to have a lot more than the skills process in our 'bag of teaching tricks' if we want to achieve this outcome. - Joan Denahy

I was really impressed with the way he asked us to embrace the outcomes and
guide our teaching towards them. It is something that I think most primary school teachers do especially when working co-operatively with classroom teachers. Being knowledgeable about the various KLA outcomes and indicators and addressing them while still teaching the information skills gives us credibility as educators and keeps us focused on the learning that the classroom teacher is concerned with while leading the children towards the development of information skills they will need forever especially to become critically literate in a society of multiple literacies. Ross as usual was well prepared and was very concerned with the student as learner and the best ways to enhance that learning. His worksheets provided great ideas for use in the classroom and his overall presentation stimulated me to get back to the library and try out some of his ideas. - Mary Anne Cartwright

I really liked the way Ross challenged us on some of our "holy grail" stuff - the relevance of the information process, for instance. We know that he knows what he is talking about here, so it really gave pause for thought. He also talked about immersing kids in a topic before asking them to find a question, and this was very relevant to some work I was in the middle of at the time: trying to liven up a regular junior research assignment which was looking stale. This links in to LaneClark's idea of taking kids on the fieldtrip first, rather than last. There is also some good stuff on the English Teachers' Association website about "frontloading". The example given is a study of Macbeth* which was preceded by investigating castles, amongst other things, to engage students in the world of the play. All immersion experiences. Another highlight for me was the handout using a spot the difference picture as stimulus for practicing categorising, notetaking and synthesis. - Marita Thomson
I've longed for us to move on and get to how do we get the kids using the info
or even reading the info to get the relevant bits. I've just taken year 12 to the Australian Museum in a sort of immersion process. The boys liked the parts that they knew something about and found the part that was really leading into stuff they are yet to do "Boring" i.e. too hard - not relevant - where's it all fit in etc. So just immersion needs background as well so they can connect later on in some areas, especially at senior level. However I'm now teaching backward which is a new experience and could be a really good way to go for them so I'm not too worried about the "boring" attitude as the lights will go on, I hope, as we use the experience. - Lyndal Dennis

*Gerardu, Viviane; Duggan, Fiona. "Frontloading Macbeth." Activate: the Journal of the ACT Association for the Teaching of English 18, no. 1 (2003): 40-46. – This is available in the members area of English Teachers’ Association , Frontloading Macbeth PDF

STOP PRESS! Syba Signs has invited Ross back in November, so don’t spend all your budget before Term 4.

27 March 2007

Ning - Create your own social network

Have a look at Steve Hargadon’s School 2.0 social network and see a social network in the making.
He’s using Ning, a social network builder, and then look at Bill Drew's very active Library 2.0 network (includes school libraries but not confined to education).

'Library 2.0' got the familiar look of the social networks that our students frequent, with the welcome of our own professional community. Almost all the 700 members are from the USA, but there are people from Sydney and China and almost every part of the globe amongst the membership. Once you join, you automatically have a personal space. Some are personalised, well developed and interactive spaces and others are very basic.

Consider it a sandbox to experience the social network world.

In a Diocese where there is a focus on Web 2.0 technologies, maybe there is a place for us to actually model it with a Library 2.0 community.

And its free!


21 March 2007

Digital (book) Listening! and more...

So you want to introduce or add to the audio-books in your school?
Wondering where to find digital books for use on electronic devices?

Here are locations where you can purchase podcasts and audio-book materials online.

Audible.com is the dominant audiobook and commercial-podcast-content vendor on the WWW. Audible's principal role is to supply audiobooks in MP3 format for users to listen to on their favourite MP3 players, iPods, or desktop media players.

Audio Book Club is an online book club that specializes in audiobooks of all kinds, including downloadable podcast-type books.

Audiobooks Online sells MP3 of classic books - but they are shipped on CD!

Blackstone Audiobooks is unique in that it is an actual producer of audiobook content. Fair amount of crossover with Audible.com. Available for immediate download to your digital media player.

iTunes Music Store - of course!

AudioBooksForFree.com is a place where you can grab audiobooks in MP3 format for absolutely no cost. All books that have expired copyright - but the quality is variable as it is a community operation - bit like Wikipedia.

LibriVox provides free audiobooks from the public domain. There are several options for listening. Another voluntary operation.

Soundbooks : Audiobooks Australia - an Australian resource!

Gutenberg: The Audio Books Project has audio eBooks available for some of the same great literature available in plain text. Listings are divided into two categories: Human-read and computer-generated audio books.

Free Classic Audiobooks in either mp3 format or m4b audio book format for iTunes and the iPod. Some of our audio books are human narrated Librivox recordings and others are narrated using the latest high quality text to speech voices.

There are many more - perhaps you can share your favourite resource!

Wondering about e-Books? Grab this excellent document in pdf format from Educause:
"7 things you should know about E-Books".

19 March 2007

Build Your Own (Google) Search Engine

I’ve had fun putting together 40 teen and children’s book sites to search at once for reviews and author information. My search engine is called Book Review Finder and I have also embedded it on Book Bites. It is open to volunteer contributors if you have sites you think could be added.

The possibilities for using search engine building in "guided research interventions" (to borrow some terminology from Ross Todd – more on that for another post) with students are many. What about having the kids select the sites and then questioning search results to understand how a search engine works?

To experiment click on "Create your own custom search engine" at the bottom of Book Review Finder.

Widgets, blidgets and gadgets

"Where are you going and what do you wish” asked the old moon of Winken Blinken and Nod.

I've been experimenting with Pageflakes, my personalized start page, and came across some fun little widgets. Widgets are mini web applications you can plug into any webpage. One was a little calorie counter from a site called Labpixies. You input your weight, height and age and then the widget will give you your daily calorie allowance. You can then use the widget to track your diet for the day. Labpixies also have a clock with faces that can be customised with a wide range of images such as scenery, soccer balls etc. With Pageflakes I could quite easily insert these widgets. However I was wondering how I could use these widgets in my blog. A conversation with Judy put me on the right track. In blogger templates, add page element, you can copy the HTML script from the widget into the HTML page element and it will be inserted into your blog.

This made me wonder what other useful widgets were out there in wide wonderful web. A quick search found a site called Widgetbox. Widgetbox has hundreds of widgets that you can use searchable by type and subject. Like blogger you need to sign up to widgetbox and it gives you step by step instructions of how to chose and then insert you widgets into your blog or website. Some of the widgets have been thoroughly tested and rated while others have not, so some may work better than others. For example there was a widget for an information request form. I though this would be a useful addition to the library’s Edlib blog. However, while I could insert it succesfuly in my blog the submit button of the request form doesn’t appear to work. So, I'll be continuing my exploration.

Google has a site also called Google gadgets where you can again find a myriad of gadgets that you can plug into your webpage or blog.

So what is the difference between a widget and a gadget? Widgets and gadgets do the same thing but Google has called theirs gadgets. But you ask - "what is a blidget". A blidget is short for "blog widgets" - a quick way to turn your blog's RSS feed into a widget. But blidgets don't just convert RSS to widgets: they also allow you to add photos, post links, images and audio clips. What's more, you can customize the look of the widget to better suit your blog.

Like Winken Blinken and Nod enjoy your sail through the sea of Widgets, Blidgets and Gadgets