Professional Learning Resource Round Up

As we all respond to the directives and guidelines in relation to COVID – 19 our association is working hard to ensure we are doing all we can to support our members.

With some schools needing to close for indefinite periods of time there may be a need for your school library staff to indicate ways they are exploring professional learning during a period of school closure or changed operations.

To assist, we have created this post, listing a range of professional learning opportunities made available to members.

A range of presentations from past Professional Learning Events can be accessed via the SLAV Member Login page HERE.

Over the past two years we have created podcasts of all of our Reading Forum events as well recording a selection of presentations given at our major conferences. These podcasts are available to anyone online and can be accessed HERE.

Synergy is our online, research based, journal. The most recent edition of the journal is closed to members only but all other editions of the journal are made freely available in light of the Associations interest in being collegiate and supportive of the wider professional community. We encourage you to explore the wealth of information from current and past editions HERE. 

Digital issues of our publication – FYI – can be accessed HERE. 

As a SLAV member, you also have access to resources from the International Association of School Librarianship through our partner membership status. There are some wonderful resources to be accessed on the IASL website and we encourage you to find time to explore them. Login details are available on our Member Login page.

Finally, a word on our 2020 Professional Learning Calendar. As we advised in our most recent newsletter we are doing all we can to ensure we are keeping our members and presenters safe, and are responding to guidelines and directives accordingly.

Events – cancellations and postponements

Our March 23 conference has been cancelled.

The IB workshop to be held in conjunction with DATTA Vic at Kardinia College on April 16 has been cancelled.

Our May Masterclass in conjunction with LMERC – Powering Learning: Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives has been moved to September 4.

Our May 29 Conference – School Libraries: Powering Primary has been moved to September 14.

The National Education Summit on August 28 and 29 at MCEC, a strand of which we are a partner in providing, has been postponed to a later date yet to be announced.

All other Reading Forums, Workshops and Masterclasses

The remainder of our program are events that are to be held in school venues. At present we are continuing to plan and offer these events on the understanding that a decision will be made a month to two weeks out from each as to whether they are to go ahead. As it is very difficult to know exactly where we will be in two months’ time this approach is hopefully the best response in unknown times.

If you have any queries about this, please contact the SLAV office on 0477 439 593 or email slav@slav.org.au

We encourage all members to stay in touch with each other in these challenging times. Our branch structure is an excellent source of local support.  We encourage you to reach out and offer collegiate advice wherever you can and to ask if you need help or assistance. Our social media platforms can also be a source of connection. Please do reach out, we are open to assisting you in any way we can.

Mindmap integration in Google Docs

thinking Many schools, including my own, use Google Apps for Education (GAFE).  As such, I was interested to discover the new partnership between one of my favourite mindmapping tools Mindmeister and GAFE.  With the new MindMeister add-on, (accessible via the add-on tab within a Google Doc) users can turn any bullet-point list into a MindMeister mindmap and automatically inserts it into their document. The mindmap adopts the exact hierarchical structure used in the list and adds a visually appealing graphic to the document.  It’s free and doesn’t require a MindMeister account.  The map created is not editable so students need to do the thinking and planning before they convert it to a mindmap.  Nothing lost however, as they can always delete and re-do if they need more details.  As we are basically visual learners, this is a useful, easily accessible learning support tool. There are many, many online, collaborative mindmapping tools available.  A couple of other favourites are:

  • Bubble .us – ‘Freemium’ model also with full access but limit of 3 maps.  Good collaborative interface.
  • Wisemapping – Free, open source, collaborative and able to be embedded into websites.
  • iThoughts – very popular IOS tool for iPad and iPhone

Comments and suggestions for other recommended options are welcome.

Online assemblies using Blackboard Collaborate

Scott Duncan from Cranbourne East Primary School recently spoke at TeachMeet Melbourne at the State Library of Victoria. His school has begun using Blackboard Collaborate to run online assemblies. This post, which originally appeared on his blog, details the process.

Cranbourne East Primary School shares a site and facilities with the local secondary college. Given the size of our school population and available facilities, we found we didn’t have a large enough space to accommodate a whole school assembly. We looked into alternative methods of delivery and began broadcasting assemblies using web conferencing.

We run sessions using Blackboard Collaborate, previously known as Elluminate, and publish them through our school website. Parents and members of the community who subscribe to our school website receive an e-mail notification when the session becomes available.

Every seven days (our school works on a 7 day rotating timetable cycle) I create a session and post the link on the school website. I also develop and upload PowerPoint slides and a recording of the National Anthem.

Our principal and school captains host the assembly and co-moderate the session. We meet about 15 minutes prior to the session and run through the agenda and slides.

Our online assemblies generally include:

  • A technical run through (audio setup, using the mic etc…) and reminders about acceptable use of Blackboard Collaborate for new users and parents at home
  • Welcome to country led by our school captains
  • The National Anthem – words appear on slides and we use the multimedia function to send out the music
  • Sign of the week – AUSLAN is our LOTE and each week our AUSLAN teacher uses the video tool to demonstrate a new sign for the week
  • Principal’s report – we cross to the Principals office where our principal uses slides, video and/or audio tools to present his report
  • Student performances are broadcast using audio and video tools
  • Shining Star Awards – the award co-ordinator creates slides which I include in the overall presentation, school captains read out winners’ names (we only publish first names due to cybersafety and privacy) and students collect their awards from the office at the end of the day
  • Mathletics update – the numeracy co-ordinator uses audio tools to present an update on students’ mathletics achievements
  • House Points – our house captains read out weekly results and scores appear on slides
  • Any other teacher announcements – staff use the ‘raise hand’ tool to indicate they have something to share and use the microphone tool to talk
  • Assembly recordings are published to our school website for those who miss the ‘live’ session.

Since we began using web conferencing, staff are considering ways to they can use the software with students. Parents who can’t come to assemblies can now participate from home, watch recordings and see students’ awards and presentations . The online assembly program has also helped students develop speaking and listening skills.

I hope to expand the program and involve more students, train more teachers as moderators and investigate ways we can involve people from the broader community.

You can see Scott’s presentation at TeachMeet Melbourne here.

Image credit: T.P. Bennett, (1915) Assembly in hall [picture], State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection

Learnist: visual literacy in action

You may be familiar with the addictive pinboard site, Pinterest. Now comes Learnist, which takes many visual clues from Pinterest, builds on similar organisational principles, and adds a whole range of functionality.

Image of learnist homepage

Still in beta, Learnist is designed around the idea of collecting resources on topics or themes and presenting them in a visually appealing and social format. Resources such as videos, images and links aren’t just collections in Learnist: they are arranged in step-by-step lessons or processes, so you can work your way through the information or tasks and tick them off as you go. It’s not only for formal education, but has an Education category and we anticipate it’ll be perfect for quick online learning projects, introducing students to new concepts, or for digital storytelling.

You can share resources and collections uploaded by other teachers or librarians, and add your own. (At this early stage, the ability to curate  collections isn’t provided for all users, but it will be.)

Here’s an introduction to Learnist from its creators:

Request an invitation, have a play, and let us know what you think.

Reflection: screencasting for your iPad

The Reflection app has been available for the Mac for a while and is now also available on Windows. The app allows you to display the screen of your IOS device (iPad, iPod or iPhone) on your computer, meaning you can easily switch to your device during presentations or record screencasts.

To establish a connection and share your screen your computer must be on the same network as your IOS device, but our initial impressions are that it is reasonably easy to establish a good connection. We had a play with the trial version of the app, which is fully functional but limited to 10 minute sessions. Have a look at our first impressions and quick guide to getting started below (2.26).

Pinterest: beyond the buzz

You may have heard of Pinterest, the new social media platform that is taking the web by storm. Pinterest is like a virtual pinboard, where you share images you like either gathered from the web (like a shared bookmark) or uploaded from your own collection. Users can create boards on any theme and these are also tagged in categories, so you can browse through History or Technology, for example, and re-pin other people’s favourites to your own pin boards. You can follow other people’s boards and you can also integrate it with your facebook or Twitter accounts.

 

Image of Pinterest Education category

A Pin it! bookmarklet to add to your browser makes it easy to grab web content.

The joy of Pinterest is its visual nature – you can’t save text-only content, only material with images attached (even if it’s a web page with lots of text and only one image). That makes it perfect for gathering items together like a scrapbook.

Interestingly, most data so far indicates that the vast majority of its users are women. That’s not surprising, as many of the early users did use it as a scrapbook, so that some of the most glorious image collections are in themes like historical fashion and home decor – including drool-worthy bookshelves and libraries (there are also a lot of recipes).

Image of Pinterest board

But dig a little deeper – if you can – and you’ll soon recognise Pinterest’s value as an image repository, link sharing community, and easy-to-use site for students or classes to quickly assemble project materials on a huge range of topics.

Under the Education category you’ll find teaching materials and classroom activities gathered together by educators all over the world, and in other categories you and your students can find everything from historic photos of Victorian London or World War 1, to images of shoes worn in 1770 or wildlife or botanical drawings.

These “pins” can be shared on social media or embedded in blogs or websites.

 

Image of Pinterest pin

Pinterest is deceptively simple and dangerously addictive. Beware.

Poetry mash up: Leanne Hampson

The Resourcehound

Leanne Hampson (aka The Resourcehound) from Brauer Secondary College recently completed the PLN program and is experimenting with web tools in her library and classroom. Her guest post today talks about how to create poetry mash ups with students.

Recently I was studying poetry with my year 9 English class, mainly focussing on analysing particular poems. Most students seem to find it difficult to create their own poetry and I certainly find it very difficult to assess (poetry is such a personal thing, don’t you think?). Then I happened across a Bright Ideas post about the Phat Poetry site and although I couldn’t seem to get the mash up function to work (more investigation required!), it was the spark I needed.

One thing I have discovered is that while students can use some computer programs well, they needed a lot of guidance and suggestions on how they might present their mash ups. Whenever I promote a particular web tool or program I like to demonstrate it to the students as well (the old, ‘and I expect yours to be much better than mine…’). This meant creating some mash ups of my own. This was quite addictive and I spent far too long on my ‘demos’ when I should have been writing reports…oh well.

Students used two texts with a similar theme but they could choose these themselves. I recommended they select song lyrics they felt strongly about and then we went to the library and searched the poetry collection for something that matched. Then students had to take lines from each text, find images and music to match the feel and atmosphere and then decide on a program to create their mash up. I recommended to students that they use either Photostory, Animoto, Movie Maker or Glogster. All of these have the capacity to combine text, images and sound together. I made examples in Photostory, Animoto and Glogster to show them.

Some issues we had were that Animoto tended to ‘eat’ their internet quota pretty quickly and its ability to add text is limited. But it does come out looking absolutely smashing! Glogster is also simple to create but I did struggle with how to let students share their work. I think this was because I was unfamiliar with the new Edu Glogster though, rather than a limitation of the site. Photostory was very straightforward and was probably the most successful of the three. We worked together to solve issues and had a great time in class looking at everyone’s work.

Overall the students were very engaged. They loved using their computers and the final products were impressive. It is amazing how effective the new texts were. One student used poetry written by her grandmother and even the ‘I hate poetry’ boys got enthused. I also used Rubistar to create an assessment rubric for the task (if you’d like a copy, contact me via my blog, The Resourcehound, or Twitter, @LHampso).

Here is an example I made using Animoto. It features ‘Been Caught Stealing’ by Jane’s Addiction and the poem ‘Stealing’ by Carol Ann Duffy.

PLN reflection: Catherine Morton

This year’s Personal Learning Network (PLN) program recently ended with over 150 people taking part. In the next few weeks Bright Ideas will feature guest posts from PLN alumni with the first being from Catherine Morton from Whitefriars College.

This year l completed the Personal Learning Network (PLN).

In May I wrote my first blog post…

“I’ve recently returned to teaching after working in the wonderful public library world. In my new position as a teacher librarian in a secondary college, l’m interested in exploring and learning the Web 2.0 world and am excited about the potential applications in my work with students and teachers. I’m feeling a little hesitant as l’m sure there’ll be challenges along the way. I’ve had some already. So the opportunity to learn from you all and my colleagues, who are well along the Web 2.0 road, will help my travels. Look forward to meeting you along the way”.

But by my last post in November…

“To think l’ve completed the PLN and about to post my digital story! It’s a great sense of satisfaction and achievement. It’s interesting that the frustrations, the enormity of the workload and the feeling of being overwhelmed have faded into the background.

I chose Animoto as it’s relatively easy to use and l’m quite happy with the results. There are some features that could be improved, however it’s a tool that l would use with students. The PLN program has been just like travelling, being introduced to new places and people, experiencing things for the first time and all of the emotions associated with travelling. The music l selected is titled ‘Flying’ by Mike Strickland, which l feel is quite a reflective piece and also a very appropriate title. Not that it was always a smooth flight as l weathered storms, heavy rain and grey days, along with sunshine and blue sky!

It’s been a year of so many learnings. Thanks to the PLN support team at the SLV. Your guidance, encouragement and support have been greatly appreciated. Thanks to the wider PLN community for your generosity in sharing knowledge and supporting my journey. There are improved outcomes for both me as a teacher and the students. I’ll always continue to travel.”

Some of my reflections on the PLN – I’ve gained more confidence with Web 2.0 tools, and have used some of these tools, both in the library and in my teaching. Now l feel l’m one step ahead of the students. I used the SLV ergo website to teach research skills to Learning Support students. I’ve benefited professionally by joining Twitter. I’ve also benefited personally from the PLN as I’m setting up a blog for my upcoming overseas trip! My goal is to continue to explore, learn and assist with educating students and colleagues in using these tools. If we have the ability to locate information, we can find anything.

The PLN program will be running again in 2013. For further information email learning@slv.vic.gov.au

Timeline generators

Tiki toki timeline generator

There are many online timeline generators that students can use to present their work. Three good examples are Tiki Toki, Timeglider and Timetoast.

Tiki Toki

Tiki Toki is a visually impressive application that uses text and images. You can have more than one timeline on the same page and collaborate with different people on the same timeline. This example uses Tiki Toki to show the history of democracy in the Middle East.

Timeglider

Timeglider doesn’t use images but lets you build more complex timelines, including more detail, references and events with different levels of importance based on text size . You can zoom in to see events as they happened hour by hour or zoom out to see centuries pass by. Here is an example of a Timeglider timeline created on World War I.

Timetoast

Timetoast is simply designed but does have the advantage of offering a dynamic layout or a plain text version that appears in a table, offering students a different way to view their work. Here is a Timetoast example showing the history of atomic structure.

Miffy Farquharson and Bev Novak’s Prezi

Prezi is a zooming presentation application that allows you to show the connection between concepts as you zoom around the canvas. You are able to zoom in to focus on a piece of information, then zoom out to see the bigger picture. The prezi website provides a number of short videos that explain how to use the application.

Teacher librarians Miffy Farquharson and Bev Novak from Mentone Grammer (Mentone, Victoria) presented at the May SLAV conference Creative communication: A conference for library technicians and assistants on the topic ‘Social networking to publicise books’. To illustrate this talk, Miffy and Bev made a prezi. They have kindly allowed Bright Ideas viewers to see their prezi, and it is clear how effective a good prezi can be in conveying information and in capturing an audiences’ attention:

Thankyou Miffy and Bev, your prezi is fantastic. For those of us just starting to play with this application, your prezi shows us what is possible.