Twitter – a quick communication tool

Twitter is a ‘micro-blogging’ tool that lets you send and receive short messages. Tweets, or messages, contain no more than 140 characters including punctuation and spaces, so messages have to be short and sweet. The information you send in your message is meant to answer the question, ‘What are you doing?’ 


You can invite contacts to join Twitter and you can decide who can read your updates. Your updates can be displayed on your Twitter homepage, sent via email, instant messaging, RSS, (SMS but this is currently only available in USA, Canada, UK and India) and to Facebook pages. You can also set Twitter to ‘quiet time’ when you don’t want to be interrupted, or you’re just sick of being able to be contacted all of the time.

Twitter could be a useful tool for colleagues working together in different locations, or for students collaborating on projects.  Other applications such as authoring tools, mashups, search engines and voice to Twitter (Twitterfone) have been developed to complement Twitter. However, not all of the applications have been devised by the people behind Twitter. The Twitter Blog is a useful tool that lists a range of Twitter applications. The blog keeps up to date with what’s hot and it also provides a dictionary of ‘Twitter lingo’.

Ning – create your own social network

Forget MySpace and Facebook! You can now create your own social network. Whether it be for staff communication or professional development purposes, or for student learning, Ning can provide you with all the tools you need to crate your own social network.

Have a look at the Ning for the Educators’ Guide to Innovation.


As with any Web 2.0 tool, the privacy of both students and staff need to be addressed before entering full names, photos and other information. Please note that users of Ning need to be over 13 years of age. As of July 2010, Ning will be charging for most nings, but there is said to be a sponsored deal for schools in the pipeline.

WebQuests and Beyond! Award 2008

For all of you wonderful library people who have been inspiring staff and students with your Web 2.0 blogs, wikis, podcasts and other tools, have you considered entering the WebQuests and Beyond! Award 2008?

WebQuests and Beyond! 2008 Awards information

WebQuests and Beyond! 2008 Awards information

In 2008, the School Library Association of Victoria and the Victorian Education Channel have expanded their WebQuest of the Year Award to incorporate Web 2.0 tools due to the enormous potential they can provide to teaching and learning.

School teams are invited to present a sequence of learning that utilises a range of online resources, allows students to work in teams and  allows opportunities for online communication or collaboration. All Victorian teachers are encouraged to participate, but please remember it must be a team submission.

Entries close Wednesday 15th October. Interactive whiteboards to be won! Entries with a ‘Studies of Asia’ focus are eligible for an extra prize provided by the Victorian Studies of Asia program. For an application form, click here and for more details, contact  Good luck!

Search me!

Have you seen this new search engine called Search me? Although it is still being developed, you can select what type of search you want (in this case, the search was for George Clooney.) The offering to select from was: movies, US news, motorcycles, politicians or you can ‘search all’. Your results are then shown as a number of thumbnails (although somewhat larger). To enter the site you like the look of, just click on the ‘thumbnail’.

It would be interesting to do a side by side comparison search with Google and Search me and take note of the difference in results.

International School Library Month October 2008: Literacy and Learning at Your School Library

International School Library Month

International School Library Month occurs in October.  The theme for 2008 is ‘Literacy and Learning at your School Library’.  Check out more details here.  

What does it involve? The ISLM Bookmark Project involved matched schools making homemade bookmarks  that reflects the International School Library Month theme. Your bookmarks will be sent on to your matched school and you will receive bookmarks from that school in return.

What do you have to do?  If you would like to become involved in this project, you will need to send the following information to the ISLD coordinator, Amanda Curtis.

  • your school’s name
  • your school’s location (city, state/province/country)
  • the grade/age level of the students to be involved
  • the number of students involved (this is very important to ensure you are matched to a school of similar size)
  • the contact information (name and email address – include a contact email where you can be reached during any school holidays)

Every few weeks until early September, a new list of schools will be sent to the participating schools to choose a match. Matching takes place on a regular basis and it is vital that you provide contact information during your respective school holidays. All contact regarding this project should be directed to Amanda Curtis.

You can also obtain a poster to promote ISLM, thanks to the International Association of School Librarianship. ISLM 2008 Tabloid

Why use Bright ideas?

As most of you probably know, the School Library Association of Victoria recently offered members a professional development opportunity to complete the ’23 things’ of Web 2.0. The program was a roaring success and SLAV would like to use this blog for library staff to share and support each other in the use of Web 2.0 in schools.

The use of new media has fostered a shift from the dominance of independent study to more collaborative and interactive learning, and Web 2.0 applications are collaborative in nature.

This is reflected in the expectations of VELS where we are looking at students using ICT as a major element of their learning environment, working with others in a collaborative way, creating new knowledge and sharing it with others and with a real audience.

An engaging medium – our students are using it – it’s the information and communication environment in which they operate – and we need to be more than just familiar with this environment.

As Dr Ross Todd says, ‘It’s not about libraries: it’s about learning.’