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.