CMap tools

CMap tools is a free Web 2.0 tool that helps users create, navigate, share and critique concept/mind maps. The Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) have developed this program and encourage users involved in education to download to as many computers as they wish (for free).  A university affiliated research institute, IHMC is a not for profit organisation administered by Florida University System and is affiliated with several Florida universities.

CMap tools home
CMap tools home

Concept or mind maps have been popular for a while now, and being able to work collaboratively on them is a bonus. The ability to access the saved maps of others is a terrific teaching and learning tool. Students can critique completed maps and understand what is required of a great map before they begin.

Information on the IHMC website says:

  • IHMC faculty and staff collaborate extensively with industry and government to develop science and technology that can be enabling with respect to society’s broader goals. IHMC researchers receive funding (current funding in force exceeds $22,000,000) from a wide range of government and private sources. IHMC research partners have included: DARPA, NSF, NASA, Army, Navy, Air Force, NIMA, NIH, DOT, IDEO, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, Fujitsu, Procter & Gamble, Boeing, Lockheed, SAIC, and IBM among others.

Sounds impressive. You do have to download the program, which takes about 50 minutes. That is a problem for schools, but if your IT people can download it to a server and install an icon on desktops, that solves a few problems.

HTC library

HTC library

When trying to find maps that have been uploaded by other users, rather than use the ‘Shared CMaps in Places’, it is easier to go to ‘tools’ then ‘search’ and type in what you are looking for. Refine your search by selecting ‘Select resource types to return’ and click on concept maps. Otherwise a list of other resources will appear.

Some people may remember the program entitled Inspiration that came on CD Rom. CMap tools seems to be the Web 2.0 version of that. Why don’t you have a play and when you feel confident, give it a go with your students? There are a number of Youtube videos to show you how to use CMap tools, Creating concepts and propositionsIntroduction to the views window  and Adding resources are just a few. They are great visual aids to assist you (and your students) when starting to use CMap tools.

Please submit comments if you do use CMap tools.

Feature blog – Paisley Senior Campus, Bayside Secondary College

Zlata Matskarofski, teacher librarian at the Paisley Senior Campus of Bayside Secondary College has agreed to share her journey of developing and marketing a blog for staff and students. She describes both how and why their blog was developed. 

‘The primary purpose of the Paisley Library Blog is for both students and teachers to be able to post Book reviews, which then may be read and shared by other students and teachers,’ explains Zlata.   

Paisley's blog

Paisley

 She continues, ‘The ultimate aim of the blog is to create an interest in literature and promote wider reading.   We hope that students will be inspired by other readers through the personal reviews, suggestions and recommendations they post.  Essentially, the blog provides a platform and opportunity for students to share their reading experiences, as well as gain from other readers’ experiences.

‘We introduced the Paisley Library Blog to the staff through a Powerpoint presentation at a staff meeting, highlighting that it may be of particular interest to English and English Literature teachers.  Our presentation outlined the aim and purpose of the blog, as well as the process involved to get started.  The blog has been placed on the school network and is easily accessible to all staff and students.’

Zlata says, ‘The initial setting up of the blog posed its own challenges, which were gradually overcome as we became familiar with the way it was organised and laid out.  Persistence and perseverance paid off. The Paisley Library Blog is the fruit of the SLAV Web 2.0 course, which I found to be an excellent introduction to the various Web 2.0 tools available.’

Congratulations to Zlata for developing the blog and the English and English literature teachers for using it with their classes. Well done!

International School Library Month

Rick Mulholland, the International School Library Month Coordinator (IASL) has asked all school library staff to submit any events and activities to celebrate ISLM. Please see the ISLM Projects page.

ISLM
ISLM

Here is a message from him:

Here’s a snip from the page about how to submit your information:

Send in your submissions for “What people are doing for ISLM 2008” by email to the IASL Web Manager, Karen Bonanno.

  • Email subject line is ISLM activities.
  • Include in your email message the following information:
    Country, Name, Title of your position, School or organisation, Brief outline of the ISLM activity, and a Web link, if appropriate.
  • If sending images to accompany your report on ISLM activities please send them as .jpg or .gif. Keep them as small as possible, example 240 x 180 dimensions, as large files will slow down the display of the web page.
  • Please note: Submissions received after 31 October 2008 may not be included on the ISLM “What people are doing for ISLM 2008” web pages.

Look forward to hearing about your ISLM activities. Rick.

Diigo

Diigo (pronounced Deego) is a Web 2.0 tool that lets users bookmark, highlight  and add sticky notes to web pages. You can add and share (or not share if you don’t want to) annotations and get recommendations from other users. You are able to publish easily from Diigo to your blog or email and all references will automatically appear. That’s a huge bonus in this day of plagiarism. Diigo even call their tools ‘the best companion for online research’ and that’s a big call. Is it warranted?

Diigo

Diigo

The Diigo blog states ‘We are happy to announce the release of Diigo Educator Accounts, a suite of features that makes it incredibly easy for teachers to get their entire class of students or their peers started on collaborative research using Diigo’s powerful web annotation and social bookmarking technology.’ You do have to apply to Diigo for an educator account upgrade and it can take up to 48 hours for them to process your application (you have to fill out how/why you want to use Diigo in your school).

Diigo has to be downloaded to your toolbar, but it is a very quick process. Diigo says, ‘Once approved for a Diigo Educator Account:

  • A teacher can create student accounts for an entire class with just a few clicks (and student email addresses are optional for account creation)
  • Students of the same class are automatically set up as a Diigo group so they can start using all the benefits that a Diigo group provides, such as group bookmarks and annotations, and group forums.
  • To protect the privacy of students, student accounts have special settings which only allow their teachers and classmates to contact them and access their personal profile information.
  • Ads presented to student account users are limited to education-related sponsors.’

Sounds like it’s worth a look and a trial with a class. Anything that helps students research and acknowledge sources is worth pursuing. Have a look at the video that explains how Diigo works: How to use Diigo. And thanks to John Pearce of Salty Solutions for this guide to Diigo.

Furl – social bookmarking tool

If you like del.icio.us, then you’ll also like Furl. It is a social bookmarking site that allows you to save and archive webpages, rather than just the URL. So if a webpage has changed, you still have access to the version you saved. You can also carry out full text searches of your bookmarks via your archive; you don’t need to click into the webpage that you had previously saved.

Furl page

Furl page

If you use Firefox as a search engine, you are able to add a Furl icon to your Firefox toolbar. Once you have logged into Furl in the morning, any webpage that you come across during the day can be quickly saved to Furl by clicking the Furl icon and adding a few details. It’s that easy!

Instructions to add Furl to your Firefox toolbar:

  • 1. After installing the extension, go to the [View] menu and select [Toolbars].
  • 2. Choose [Customize…].
  • 3. Scroll down until you see the two Furl buttons, drag them to your toolbar,
  • 4. Click the [Done] button.
  • 5. You’re now ready to start Furling

Furl calls tags ‘topics’. You can also add comments, rate the website using a star rating and add your own keywords for easy searching.

You can also subscribe to RSS feeds, such as the Bright ideas one, so you don’t have to check back to see when a post has been added.

Feature wiki – Ballarat High School

Deborah Marshall is a teacher-librarian at Ballarat High School. She has developed an excellent wiki in conjunction with classroom teacher Samantha Gooding. Deborah and Samantha both attended the SLAV conference early this year which featured Will Richardson. Deborah says, ‘We were inspired enough by him that we wanted to put his ideas into action. In Term 2 our Library team completed the SLAV Web 2.0 training (which was great!) and this gave me the added confidence to dive in and have a go.’
Homepage

Homepage

She continues, ‘I initiated the wiki and invited the classroom teacher in as a co-administrator – and as a collaborative tool it has been wonderful. We can both add to the wiki without having to physically be together – but the history page allows us to keep track of developments. Given that the wiki was to be based on a brand new unit of work, Graphic novels, we felt the wiki would be a useful way of tracking our progress.’
Lesson plans

Lesson plans

Deborah explains how she and Samantha have ‘spread the word’. ‘Recently we presented the wiki at an English Learning Area meeting to demonstrate the possibilities for our colleagues – this was our first “marketing” effort.’

Graphic novel summary

Graphic novel summary

Deborah describes the process, ‘As this was a first effort with a wiki neither the teacher nor I were overly adventurous: we decided to start with a wiki that we could control and that was meant more for staff than students – a curriculum record, in a sense. Our aim was then to invite other teaching staff along so they could add to the wiki if they wished (eg. the Year 9 teachers and the English Learning Area teachers – as both these groups could make use of this wiki in the future). We hope that this presentation will encourage wiki use by other English teachers in the school. It is certainly something that my Library colleagues and I hope to pursue.’

Mind map assessment

Mind map assessment

Deborah explains, ‘Our Library team will be presenting to the whole staff next Term on our Web 2.0 training, as we were a Professional Learning Team for this activity and all PLTs at school are presenting their learnings to our colleagues. We have decided to create a wiki for this presentation and this wiki will have links to our Graphic novel wiki and Library blogs etc. We are hoping that this presentation and wiki will encourage other teaching staff to come on board with the Library next year and create more wikis for curriculum development and resourcing. Some of our other Library team members are beginning to create wikis for this purpose.

 

 

 

Mind map rubric

Mind map rubric

Thank you to Deborah and Samantha for their terrific work, for sharing their learning with us and with their staff. Well done.            

Working Together 2 Make a Difference Program

Jenny Luca, the Head of Information Services at Toorak College in Mt. Eliza is part of an inspiring project that aims to change lives for the better.  Jenny writes, ‘Angela and Laura Stockman from New York State and I are working together to make a difference. We have created a ning site to encourage people to join us to collaborate to raise funds for worthy causes in the lead up to the festive season. Here is a link to a blog post I wrote about it.

Working together 2 make a difference

Working together 2 make a difference

‘We would love to see Australian educators join the ning site and help their students to see the difference that can be made when we pool our efforts and set out to do something good for others. Angela sent out the message below to people in her network in the United States. It explains the project and its motivation very well so I thought I would replicate it here. I hope you will consider showing this to your staff and joining the effort.’

Angela Stockman writes, ‘Last year my daughter Laura began an online service project called Twenty Five Days to Make a Difference.  Her premise was to promote service work by doing small things to make a difference throughout the year in her community. Blogging about them was her way of encouraging others to join her. To date, nearly forty thousand people have visited her blog, and hundreds of individuals, schools, and teachers have supported her work and begun their own projects as well. We’ve learned that blogging inspires our eleven year old to give back to her own community while forming safe and rewarding relationships online. We’ve also learned that the web is a powerful place for kids to do authentic and meaningful work when they are monitored by responsible adults.

25 days to make a difference

25 days to make a difference

‘This year, Laura is joining forces with Victorian teacher librarian Jenny Luca to launch a global effort. Jenny is a member of an international PLP community led by Will Richardson  and Sheryl Nussbaum Beach.  Jenny approached Laura last year and asked her to Skype into her Melbourne classroom so that her students could collaborate with Laura. Our friendship has grown from here.

Working Together 2 Make a Difference is an online community administered by Jenny and myself. Teachers and students from all over the world are invited to join this space and share what they are doing to make a difference in their own communities. Doing so will enable teachers and kids to network with others around the globe, support each other’s service efforts, and witness what happens when everyone works together “to make a difference.” Those who join will have tremendous opportunity to teach their students about internet safety, powerful ways to use the web, how a ning works, and what it means to make a difference locally and globally.

‘Please consider inviting your teachers and students to join us, and invite anyone else who might be interested in doing so. Feel free to contact me for more information or with any questions that you might have! Thanks. Angela.’

Feature blog – Fict.it.ious – Sacred Heart College Geelong

Maree Macdonald and Heather Carlin of Sacred Heart College in Geelong have created a wonderful blog called Fict.it.ious.

Fict.it.ious home

Fict.it.ious home

Maree says, ‘We have always recorded every book read by every staff member (believe  it or not!) giving an abstract, reading level, score out of 10 and a  critical comment.  So, when it came to setting up a blog for book reviews, the process was relatively easy – we only used those books that scored 8.5 or above.  We launched the Blog during Book Week this year, promising prizes to any students who left a comment or recommended a book for review – not a great response, but the next target will be teachers.’

She continues, ‘Humanities is, at the moment, studying Medieval History, and one of their activities is to read a book about the period and review it.  Perfect!  So, at the moment we’re putting a good selection on the blog and we’ll email the site to the Humanities teachers.  We also plan to put our High Interest/Low Ability books on, with a tag to Learning Enhancement so the books are easy to find.  Our Literature Circle books are also going on, so the students involved will be able to comment on their books online.’

Maree and Heather have set up links to reviews by genre, with clever titles such as: 3 hanky reads, Action aplenty, Girl meets vampire, Good sports, Horror!, Love and other adventures, Medieval mayhem, Mysterious ways, Nail Biters, Out of the past, Out of this world, Private lives and Side-splitters

The page below can be found under the Girl meets vampire genre link.

Girl meets vampire page

Girl meets vampire page

Maree and Heather also put together a brilliantly designed Book Week page, which outlined activities and competitions for the week, enthusing students to join and celebrate Book Week. Maree says, ‘We used the site for Book Week as well, creating a page outlining all the activities running throughout the week.
Book Week

Book Week

‘We also plan to make up some posters and bookmarks (maybe using the image generators we learned about in the Web 2.0 program!) promoting the site to students and staff alike and, of course introduce it to staff at the first available staff meeting.  We have decided to  purchase glow in the dark wristbands promoting the site and will be distributing them to Literature Circles students and students who review books on the blog.’

‘We see lots of potential for the blog.  The great thing about these web 2.0 tools is that they can be unpredictable and lead you in directions that you never envisaged.  I would love to see students reviewing their books via podcasts on the blog, or maybe writing a collaborative novel!  Who knows?’

As Maree says, ‘Libraries and Web 2.0 are a marriage made in Heaven!’

Please see photos of Sacred Heart College’s fantastic Beijing Olympics display in our Picture Gallery page as well as photos of the terrific library layout and design. Congratulations to Maree, Heather and all of the library staff at Sacred Heart College Geelong!

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?’ 

Twitter
Twitter

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.

ning2

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.