animoto for geography

Penleigh and Essendon Grammar teacher librarian Joanna Durst has created a terrific animoto as a guide for her year 7 geography students.

Joanna explains:

I prepared this one to demonstrate how the Year 7 students might make one for their “My favourite destination” unit in Geography. It was lots of fun.

Screen shot 2010-08-12 at 3.09.01 PM

Creating your own digital story or presentation is an excellent way to show students what can be achieved. Nice work Joanna and thanks for sharing.

Book Week @ Strathmore SC

The fantastic library team at Strathmore Secondary College developed some great resources for their Book Week activities. They have kindly agreed to share them here.

Poster competition
Poster competition

Strathmore 2

Wendy Moyle explains:

The first prize winning poster formed the centre piece for our wall and table “bridge themed” display. Exciting bridge footage is displayed on the monitor each recess and lunchtime.

Strathmore 3

The CBC award winning books are displayed on the  “Strathmore SC  Silver Story Bridge”



Screen shot 2010-09-07 at 11.22.10 AM

This time I made  a ToonDoo to print,  and created a poster to promote book Week around the school. . . . and now we can  breath a collective sigh of relief !!

Well done Wendy and the rest of the library staff on creating engaging displays using social and traditional media!

Book Week 2010 @ Whitefriars College

Thanks to Rhondda Powling, Head of Library at Whitefriars College and School Library Association of Victoria President for allowing a parallel post from her blog about the success of their Book Week activities this year.

We tried to do things differently this year. We finally have a large screen for showing digital images, videos, etc. and we bought some digital photo frames. This allowed us to change the emphasis to digital formats.

Book Trailer Competition: Our library technician Dawn created a great competition by gathering together 21 book/film trailers and putting them into a single film using Corel Video Studio. She spent a good deal of time putting in text (and editing the trailers slightly when the titles were a bit too prominent). Our students had to fill out the title of the film, the title of the booked linked to it the author of the book and in what section of the library you would find it (fiction, Non Fiction, picture book, graphic novel. The video file was playing everyday before school and at recess with sound and with the mute button on during class times. Some of the seniors were very taken with the idea and worked on the clips in one of their private study sessions.

Library Treasure Hunt: Another of our staff, Karen Kearney, created a quiz that had the students using their research skills as well as their observation skills. This was a great way for all the year seven students to put into practice the different searching. As part of the personal development classes they were given the chance to take part. They could answer many questions with the appropriate use of the catalogue and information pages linked to the library website. We also had them come up to the library to answer the rest of the questions. The quiz could be done at any time during the week and some of the older boys were very confident they would do well.

Picture puzzles: We created more picture puzzles using the Mosaic maker from Big Huge Labs. Each of the 7 mosaics referred to books at WFC with “bridge”in the title. There was some fun when finding pictures that gave clues to the books. All the clues were designed to link to keywords the notes and/or  subjects linked to the books when you looked up the catalogue. The images were saved onto memory sticks (each with a mosaic number image before it) and then shown using the digital photo frames.
Create myspace graphic with Gickr
Make your own animation

Building a bridge: This activity was held over Wednesday lunchtime. A small but dedicated group of boys undertook to build a bridge using paper, rubber bands, paper clips, straws and string. The bridges had to span 20cms and we tested how much weight they could hold by putting books on them. We had some very interesting attempts at bridges. Some were remarkably strong and held a lot of weight and others just looked interesting.

The Literary Heads competition:

On Friday some of the teaching staff helped us out by being the guinea pigs and wearing the names of various literary characters. They took it all in good spirit and the students loved the incongruity between the staff members and their character label.

The Literary Heads competition: On Friday some of the teaching staff helped us out by being the guinea pigs and wearing the names of various literary characters. They took it all in good spirit and the students loved the incongruity between the staff members and their character label.
avatars myspace with Gickr
Make your own animation

Our students really got into the spirit and a few had favourites, who they tried to help out . It was a lot of fun and the laughs were great to hear. All the students were sorry when the bell rang for period 4.

During lunch times we showed some short television programs. Loosely based around the idea of using media to bridge the gap between our students and literature the viewings included some of the 1960′s Batman episodes (we have quite a few Batman graphic novels and books of the later Batman films). We also had the  first episode of Black Books, the dictionary burning episode of Black Adder, and future screenings will include the original as well as more current Dr Who episodes, some other cartoons and some adaptations of children’s books. Requests have included Round the Twist and Lockie Leonard. Of curse the seniors have asked to see more of Black Adder and the Batman series. We plan to show more book trailers, author sites, and slides of new book covers as well as student work.

As always the boys will have an afternoon tea and be presented with certificates, by the principal, for doing well. They all will be able to choose books as prizes and we will make up book plates to celebrate their achievement. Many more than just the “winners” (those who joined in) will also attend and all will be able to ask their parents to come as well as it is held after school.

What a fabulous week for the students. Well done to all of the staff who worked so hard to make it the success it obviously was.

OLMC on Twitter

Our Lady of Mercy College Heidelberg has a library Twitter account.

We also set up a twitter account which was linked to the facebook page.  This was an attempt to tackle the facebook conundrum directly and to see if, as educators we can communicate through our students’ choice of social media.  After a year of working to inform teachers of the potential of Web 2.0 in learning and assessment, I also wanted to look at my own area and how we could utilise these tools.
Teacher librarian Michael Jongen explains how the need to tweet came about.
At OLMC Library we have been using Twitter to try to engage and communicate with students.  We use it to promote events like Book Week, Readers Cup and new books as well as good web links. Previously it was linked to the OLMC Library Facebook page which meant that I could place links, news etc onto Face Book and it would also be uploaded to Twitter.  Now that we have a closed group Facebook page this can no longer be done and I have to post separately to Twitter.
I feel that the initial enthusiasm shown by students to Twitter has evaporated and that they are back to Facebook which seems to meet their needs.  While I feel it is a great tool for educators I feel it is not so important with the young who seem to be enamoured with Facebook.  I will still use
Twitter to promote but will focus on Facebook.
Interestingly Head of Library Tricia Sweeney and I are using the school’s intranet portal to promote much more.  Filters enable us to target Year levels so we can target our message much more effectively.

It is really worthwhile to give some new communication methods a trial, so well done to the OLMC library team!

Google Lit Trips @ Mooroopna SC

Teacher librarian Rachel Fidock has kindly shared information on how she has been developing Google Lit Trips with her colleagues and students at Mooroopna Secondary College.
Mooroopna 4
Google Earth and Google Lit Trips:
Google Earth provides a tool for students to present oral presentations on their novels (where appropriate (i.e. aspects of the book can be highlighted by Google Earth)). We have low VELS levels in Speaking and Listening, possibly because students are not at ease giving oral presentations (often the way they are assessed for Speaking and Listening). Google Earth helps students to divert the attention from themselves. For example, they can show the class a trip they create that follows the journey taken by the main character in the novel (e.g. Swerve Google Lit Trip Presentation).
There are options to add images (creative commons-licensed images from Flickr), or show pictures that are already on Google Earth. There are so many options in Google Earth that students can make it as in-depth as they wish. The best part is they can record their voice over their journey so they have another option of meeting the requirements of Speaking and Listening. I have put together a guide to using Google Earth for the English staff that highlights how a Google Lit Trip can be used as an alternate assessment item for students to meet the requirements of VELS levels in Speaking and Listening, and created a Google Lit Trip on the novel Swerve as an example of its use.
We are now in the Ultranet training stage and are looking for ways the Library services, particularly our website, can become part of the student’s virtual space.
Rachel has taken the hard work out of learning how to introduce Google Lit Trips to students by providing readers of Bright Ideas with a Guide to Google Earth and Google Lit Trips which includes step by step instructions (including screenshots) for teachers and even assessment rubrics. A brilliant resource for teachers.
The Lit Trip that Rachel has created for Phillip Gwynne’s Swerve is an excellent example of what can be created. Please note that you will need to have Google Earth installed to view Rachel’s fantastic presentation.

OLMC Facebook Fan page update

Bright Ideas featured Our Lady of Mercy College Heidelberg Library’s Facebook Fan page three weeks ago. As most readers would know, Facebook has had some serious fallout due to privacy changes (or more to the point, lack of privacy) and OLMC have changed their approach to Facebook. Teacher librarian Michael Jongen says:

This week following the lead of the Media Teacher I pulled down olmclibrary Facebook page as he had pulled down his media page.

This was because of safety concerns. A speaker on cyber-safety had spoken at the school and demonstrated that identifying a school is a danger to students who ‘fan’ the site.

Both of us have re-established our pages as a group which is invite only and private. The groups name is anonymous in terms of identifying the school. Both of us will need to build up the audience base we had to promote our services and useful links and information. We have used the same branding as the media department.

As a school we have looked at using Facebook for assessment and concluded that wikis and blogs and googlesites were better Web 2.0 tools for providing collaborative and private assessment within and educational context.

It seems clear that with recent Facebook controversies about safety and privacy that if as educators we wish use Face-book to communicate with our students it should only be done as a closed group with strict membership control.

This is a parallel post reproduced with permission from Michael’s blog web 2.0 and other library stuff. Thanks to Michael for taking the time to inform readers of Bright Ideas of the changes and why they were necessary.

Little Big Planet @ McGuire College

Award winning teacher Adrian Camm has been using the Playstation 3 video game Little Big Planet with his classes at McGuire College as a learning tool. Adrian explains:

The aim of this particular project is to engage year 7 and 9 students in game-based learning using the Playstation 3’s multiplayer functionality and the game Little Big Planet. Not only to students have to communicate and collaborate to solve problems within the game, but it then allows for students to be level designers and developers. The game includes an accurate physics engine that allows for exploration of a host of physical and mathematical concepts such as force, momentum, gravity, drift, scale and radius, to name a few. This initiative covers many other VELS domains and includes scope for cross-curricular opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


The project is only really just starting but we envision that students will initially participate in multiplayer game play and then will develop game levels that reinforce or perhaps even expose them to science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts. Students will learn about scientific concepts by exploration, will be engaged in self-directed, non-linear learning and contribute to a vibrant community of Little Big Planet developers and enthusiasts. Other classroom content would encompass game design principles, game play, debriefing to talk about application of game design principles to current levels etc.

It is proposed that this method of teaching science concepts (having the student at the centre) will lead to improved learning outcomes as opposed to the traditional textbook approach. In addition to measuring changes in skill at level design and changes in knowledge of scientific concepts, the evaluation of the project will investigate attitudes and perceptions of using game-based learning in the classroom from a student, parent and teacher perspective.

Adrian is a true innovator and is passionate about using technology to help students attain their very best. Thanks Adrian for sharing this amazing project.

OLMC Facebook Fan Page

Our Lady of Mercy College, Heidelberg teacher librarian Michael Jongen has recently developed a Facebook Fan page for the students. Michael explains:

After a meeting of CLANS (Catholic Network) librarians where we had discussed social networking, I decided to create a facebook fan page for the library.  This is an attempt to engage with the students but we will maintain the page so that is current, informative and fun.  Several of the creative faculties already use facebook fan pages to communicate with students.  We also set up a twitter account which was linked to the facebook page.  This was an attempt to tackle the facebook conundrum directly and to see if, as educators we can communicate through our students’ choice of social media.  After a year of working to inform teachers of the potential of Web 2.0 in learning and assessment, I also wanted to look at my own area and how we could utilise these tools.


Head of Library Tricia Sweeney and I feel that we will use this as our main medium of communication with the girls and as a tool to showcase our web 2.0 projects such as book trailers and book blogs.

Some newspaper reports in April 2010 suggested that teachers should not ‘friend’ students on Facebook. OLMC has addressed these issues in the following way:

Our Facebook page was devised as a fan page.  Several other subject areas use the same approach, this enables students to fan the page rather than have to become a friend of the teacher.  olmclibrary facebook page has three administrators, including Tricia Sweeney as Head of Library.

We have an eSmart committee at the School which Tricia and I both sit on alongside the IT manager and the Vice Principal. We have draft protocols.

Facebook  is a good way to engage and communicate with students. Fan pages can be created in Subject areas and domains e.g. olmclibrary, media, drama and dance pages. It is not recommended that Facebook be used for assessment or assignments.  It is recommended that teachers do not ‘friend’ with students.

At OLMC the message is very strong that teachers should think very wisely about ‘friending’ current students.  Any current Facebook controversy or issue is raised at the weekly staff briefing by the Principal.

An excellent idea by Michael and Tricia to meet the students’ interests by joining Facebook, but also by setting up a number of procedures that ensure that students stay safe online.

Virtual Tour of the Sistine Chapel

How about a virtual excursion (field trip) to the Sistine Chapel? With 360 degree views of the Chapel that includes ceilings and floors, this is a tremendous site for art, history or religious instruction.

Sistine Chapel 1

The Vatican hosts the site and lets the magnificence of the Chapel speak for itself. There are no words or links on the site, only the ability to rotate the view of the Chapel via your mouse.

Sistine Chapel 2

Thanks to the very excellent Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers for passing on this link.

A Backyard Beginning – Hawkesdale P-12

By Tadfish

By Tadfish

The absolutely amazing and multi award winning teacher Anne Mirtschin from Hawkesdale P-12 College has kindly shared information about how her blogging journey with her students began:

Three years ago, a rich picture studies case grant from DEECD required us to use web2.0 tools. A quick request to my computer technician found some information on web2.0 tools including blogging. The article was produced by Heather Blakey of Soul Food Cafe blogging fame. By a strange coincidence, I also received an email to say that a globalteacher and global student campus was being set up, so I immediately enrolled.  As I had no idea what to do with these blogs, I,  in usual form procrastinated.

As luck would have it, our librarian Faye Matters had attended a SLAV PD in Melbourne, heard a lady called Heather Blakey speak and immediately booked her up for a cluster PD session and art workshop at our school, Hawkesdale P12 College.

Heather squeezed in some time to come to my IT class and discuss the possibility of a backyard blog. We were researching volcanic evidence in our area, and backyards seemed a logical beginning as students had lots of interesting things to talk about – and they all love their backyard. The backyard blog began as a class blog. Students wrote about their backyards. I would grab their file out of their folders and post it onto the blog. Imagine our amazement and delight, when after one of the first posts we received several comments!


Your “backyard” is beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with the world.

Lori, California

Thank you so much for sharing your backyard. When we all share like this, it makes our world just a little smaller and better.

She Wolf

These comments acted like magic to my class and me. Somebody was reading our work, we seemed to have a global voice. Later we found out, it was Heather’s wonderful blogisphere who were reading and commenting. However, we were up and blogging. Soon students from years 5 to 10 had individual student blogs. It was hard work, as there was so much to learn  and much of our work was by trial and error– posts, dashboards, tags, categories, widgets, pages etc all had to be learnt. However, Heather created the wonderful  “25 steps to web2.0”. Each day for the 25 days to Christmas, Heather and her blogging friends would add a post each day, illustrating some aspect of blogging.

From humble and unknown beginnings, my globalteacher blog became my class blog, and now features the following:-


Pages include the following

  • About Me – a vital and important page where most visitors will go to seek out validity and nature of the blogger.
  • Current timetable and list of current classes
  • Code of conduct
  • E-safety
  • Past students
  • Resources
  • Global projects

Widgets and sidebar features include the following:-

  • A flikr widget that shows photos added to my online photo album.
  • Time clock
  • Categories etc
  • Various world maps to visualize where virtual visitors are from eg clustrmaps
  • Flagcounter
  • My slideshows (ppt presentations) uploaded to slideshare
  • List of classes taught with student blog links
  • Student blog of the week in 2009 as the school received a box of usb drives as part of a campaign. The usb drives were the weekly prize.
  • Links to resources and global projects

Posts contain hyperlinks where possible. This is an efficient means of directing students to further online pages and adjusts them to appropriate 21st century literacy.

Postscript: Unfortunately, busy time commitments have prevented me from working on the backyard blog so it rests peacefully at the moment, knowing that it has taken us to the globe!

Thanks Anne. What a brilliant start to what has become an amazing Web 2.0 presence at Hawkesdale P-12 College.