Digital Dewey – Pam Niewman’s blog

Clairvaux Catholic Primary School teacher librarian Pam Niewman has developed a bright, attractive and useful blog, Digital Dewey.

Screen shot 2010-10-30 at 8.02.12 AM

Pam explains a little about her blog.

I’m happy to say my quest to learn as much as I can about Web 2.0 has been ongoing. I think I am finally beginning to realise the benefit of networking and collaboration – it took a while. It’s quite funny that you get to know people by their avatar. I will keep looking for these avatars to appear online.

I have no doubt that I will continue to develop my Web 2.0 skills, but I’m also keen now to get others at school enthused and start the process with them. Of course I am already working with the children in this way.

There are challenges ahead – a new Library to be built and developing my role as teacher librarian to suitably meet the needs of children’s learning in the 21st century.

Pam blogs regularly and includes examples of how certain social media tools have been used for learning. She has made several clever ToonDoo cartoons, an animoto and more. If you are looking for tips about resources to use for learning and teaching, Pam’s blog is certainly one to subscribe to.

Out of this world – a Prezi

Heather Stapleton, the Library Technician at St Joseph’s College Geelong has created an excellent Prezi. She explains why she developed the Prezi:

The following Prezi has been created to support the Year 9 English unit on Science Fiction. The boys study The giver in this unit and are also required to read a sci-fi novel of their choice. The latter can be difficult for some of our reluctant readers so I thought I would do a trial run with a Prezi presentation. The boys are familiar with PowerPoint and use it regularly so I wanted to present the book suggestions in a different way and not risk ‘death by PowerPoint’. The book selection caters for a wide range of reading abilities and interests.
Science Fiction is a genre that is very rich and varied. I have loosely grouped the selections in sub-genres but many of the titles crossover. The presentation was done this way to assist the boys and act as a guide for them to find a book of their own choosing.

Best viewing of this Prezi is Fullscreen in manual mode. To achieve this press the play button and once it loads move your cursor over More and click onFullscreen that appears above. Press the arrow keys to move through the presentation at your own pace. To improve the quality of the YouTube book trailers reduce their size by using the scroll button on your mouse. You can also use your mouse to pan and zoom freely within the presentation.

The Maze runner book trailer featured in this presentation is an Animoto creation by Sarah Ehlers. This could be an excellent activity for students.

Thanks Heather for showing readers your excellent Prezi and the motivation behind its development.

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.

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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.

PGSC Reading wiki

A wiki suggesting alternative ways to respond to texts has been developed by Preston Girls’ Secondary College.

PGSC reading wiki 1

The idea behind the wiki is to show both students and teachers creative ways to respond to texts. The wiki includes examples of how students have responded via tools such as:

PGSC  reading wiki glogs

A big thank you to @thenerdyteacher Nick Provenzano for sharing his students’ Prezis on The Great Gatsby. You can view more student responses (including YouTube clips) on his excellent blog.

PGSC reading wiki prezis

Hopefully students will be excited to show teachers and parents their understanding of texts through creating and publishing presentations. Schools could use the presentations on their websites and/or parent information night.

Lowther Hall’s book ning

Thanks once again to the Head of the LRC at Lowther Hall AGS, Glenys Lowden (@glenyslowden) for sharing her forays into the Web 2.0 world. Glenys’s Ning has been developed for year 8s:

The Ning ‘Bookish at Lowther’ aims to provide a place where we can upload information and have discussions about books. The focus is on Year 8 students who will request permission to join the Ning and once given will have their own page. They can change the presentation of their page and all pages are accessible to members of the Ning. As this involves a social network it seemed like a good opportunity to give a presentation to Year 8 on Social Networking. I used to make the presentation. You will find it by searching for ‘Year 8 Social Networking’. Once the Year 8 students have signed up we are going to be using the space to upload Book Trailers. This is an assessment task for each Year 8 class. They have been given a list of criteria etc and process to undertake. This is all a trial this term and I will use this experience to further develop the Ning next year.

Lowther ning 1

You will note that Glenys has embedded other Web 2.0 tools such as Shelfari, YouTube and animoto into the Ning’s homepage.

The Year 8 students are sure to love such a vibrant way of presenting and discussing books. Thanks again Glenys for sharing another job well done!


Masher “lets you easily create a video by mixing together video clips, music tracks, and photos all for FREE!” Masher also has a large library of videos you can select from, or you  can use your own.


There a three steps to Masher:

  1. Mix – select your photos/videos
  2. Mash – add effects and music
  3. Share – post to sites such as Twitter, Facebook  and MySpace.

Masher is similar to animoto, but still a fun and easy way to develop your own funky video.

Glogster EDU and animoto education

Bright Ideas featured Glogster back in March. Now there is designed specifially for schools. From their website comes the following information:

A New World of Educational Innovation Awaits You

Glogster EDU is your original educational resource for innovative and interactive learning. Glogster EDU was conceived to imaginatively, productively, and collaboratively respond to the dynamic educational landscape and exceed the needs of today’s educators and learners. We value the participation of educators and strive to assimilate their contributions to Glogster EDU, Glogster EDU is yours! Educators from all over the world are integrating Glogster EDU’s resourceful platform to make traditional learning more dynamic, more interactive and more in tune with learners today. Most importantly Glogster EDU is FUN for teachers and learners alike!

Why Glogster EDU?

For Educators:

  1. A creative, dynamic, and innovative digital outlet that captures learner’s excitement for online creations, keeps learners engaged in course content, and makes teaching and learning more fun.
  2. A private and safe platform, monitored directly by teachers. Teachers control all the activities of their learners.
  3. A valuable teaching tool that integrates diverse core subjects including math, science, history, art, photography, music and more for individual learner portfolios, unique alternative assessments, and differentiated instructional activities.

For Learners:

  1. A fun, imaginative, and powerful learning experience which fosters independent creative self expression, positive learner-teacher relationships, and teamwork on collaborative class projects.
  2. A vibrant, multi-sensory learning experience which integrates learner’s knowledge and skills into traditionally text-oriented subjects and motivates learner’s desire to explore topics in which they may previously have been less interested.

Glogster now supports videos from SchoolTube!

From now on you can easily search and embed SchoolTube videos directly from your Glogster edit tool!

Animoto was reviewed in May and have also released an education specific application. This information comes from their flyer:

Your classroom will never be the same.


Animoto for Education

Your students are using the Internet to learn already, so engage them on their own turf with Web 2.0 tools like Animoto. Animoto is a web application that turns pictures and text into beautiful video clips with the click of a button.

Use it to create content for your lesson plans, assignments, or course materials – or even have your students create their own educational pieces.

Free All-Access Passes

Teachers and students get free All-Access Passes, giving them unlimited full-length video creations. Check out case studies and apply at:


Post your videos to YouTube, put them on your class’s blog, download them for in-class presentations, email them out to parents, use them to recap a semester or year, and so much more! Welcome to the cutting edge of online educational tools.

Times are changing

Adrian Camm (formerly of Mooroopna Secondary College) and featured here on Bright Ideas in February has created an inspiring animoto video:


(If the embedded video is taking too long to load, click this link to access the animoto instead.)

Focussing on the way the Powerful Learning Practice program has impacted on learning and teaching at Mooroopna Secondary College, Adrian is now in a new position as Head of Mathematics at McGuire College.

Although not all of us can be a part of the PLP, the animoto is useful in identifying how some schools have changed with the times, and unfortunately, some have not.

Feature blog St Martin of Tours – Rosanna

Kim Yeomans of St Martin of Tours Primary School in Rosanna has allowed Bright Ideas to gain insights in to the development of her library blog.

Kim says:

I did the SLAV Web 2.0 course last year and decided this year to set up a blog for our LRC. The LRC already has an active presence on our school intranet but I felt the blog and Web 2.0 tools might let me do a little more. The Library already has a MyClasses page (intranet), but I was looking for other engaging ways to share what we do in the LRC and promote reading.  The Web 2.0 online course offered by SLAV last year introduced me to many new and exciting tools.  Attending the SLAV conference with Will Richardson earlier this year provided the impetus to actually begin our LRC Blog in mid February.


The main aims of our LRC Blog are to

  • Share the activities and learning we do in the LRC
  • Promote books and reading
  • Encourage students to participate in an online community
  • Introduce students to appropriate Web 2.0 tools
  • Develop student understanding of a global classroom

 It has been really encouraging seeing the students embrace the blog and add their comments.  Even our Principal who is on Enrichment Leave is contributing her learning on our blog and adding dots to our ClustrMap!  I have found Slideshare and Animoto are great Web 2.0 tools that enable us to share our work. This term I’ve added to our blog with the New LRC and Websites pages.  I am currently trialing SimplyBox for our website collections (even though it is blocked at school) because it is simple for me to set up and visually easy for the students to use at home. 

Ripper reads - student comments
Ripper reads – student comments

Our LRC Blog is evolving along with my own skills and knowledge and will continue to do so to meet the needs and interests of both the students and our Library program.  It is trial and error seeing what works on our blog, but I’m really enjoying the process!

Congratulations to Kim on inspiring both students and staff to become a part of the Web 2.0 world! Well done Kim.  (Don’t forget that Kim had previously shared some excellent photos of previous Book Week displays that might prove inspirational.)

Feature wiki – The Hamilton and Alexandra College

Margaret Simkin, the Head of Information Services and Head of History at The Hamilton and Alexandra College is happy to share the development of her wiki  with Bright Ideas readers.

Margaret explains:

 This wiki is the result of several years of deliberation about what to do and how to do it in the most sustainable way, while allowing for the fact that we have a small library staff with limited time available for management. Undertaking the SLAV Web 2.0 course provided the idea as it enabled us to work on things together and discuss their potential. Two of us successfully completed the course.

The catalyst came when I attended the SLAV conference where Will Richardson used his wiki as the vehicle for his professional learning delivery. Suddenly the whole picture became clear and the way in which to link it all became obvious. 



The aim was to create a site where staff can go when they want to find out how to do something to enhance their teaching and learning. Working through the best way to set it up in terms of layout and linking pages took some time and is still open to alteration as suggestions arise. Affirmation during this process came from a teacher responding to an email link I had sent about how to create podcasts. She replied: “It would be good to have somewhere to put these links so we could find them when we need them”.

After several months of trial and error the site was ready to introduce to staff last term. We held a special afternoon tea and demonstrated how to find information. Since then visitors have had a look from all over the world, which is very exciting to see.

Google apps

Google apps

To anyone thinking about what to set up and how to do it, I would suggest that you just need to start. As with all things technological, change is continuous and there will be another new thing tomorrow! My preferred option was a wiki as I had used them more often in class than blogs or nings. It is a matter of personal preference and should not be a cause for concern or delay. Just develop your concept and see where it leads. There are many valuable spinoffs, most significantly the fact that cooperative planning and teaching is strengthened by the process.

What's new

What's new

Our next intention is to create something for students to access, most probably a blog!

View more presentations from msimkin.

Congratulations to Margaret and her staff on creating a visually appealing and useful wiki, with lots of Web 2.0 tools embedded such as Animoto and Slideshare. We look forward to featuring your blog!