ImageCodr: Easy Attribution for Flickr CC Photos

Correctly citing an image with a Creative Commons licence can be a tricky task for both educators and their students. ImageCodr is a website that aims to help by providing a generator that will construct attributions for Flickr Creative Commons photos that can be embedded into blogs and websites.

Simply paste in the url of the Flickr image and click Submit

To use ImageCodr, simply copy the URL of the desired Flickr photo and click on the Get Code! tab. Drop the URL into box and Submit. There is also an option to install a shortcut in your menu bar which will automatically attribute any Flickr photo you are viewing. You are provided with a preview and some information about the CC licence as well as the image code with proper attribution.

Here is an example of a Flickr image attributed with ImageCodr. Too easy!


Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians

School library guru Dr Joyce Valenza has written an inspiring post entitled A Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians. Covering our responsibilities to students regarding:

  • reading
  • information landscape
  • communication and publishing and storytelling
  • collection development
  • facilities, your physical space
  • access, equity, advocacy
  • audience and collaboration
  • copyright, copyleft and information ethics
  • new technology tools
  • professional development and professionalism
  • teaching and learning and reference
  • into the future (acknowledging the best of the past)

this is a must read, must react, must reflect post. Thanks to Helen Boelens for directing me to this post.

Songsmith: create your own songs

This free new trial Microsoft download is attempting to take on Apple’s excellent Garageband, and is a great way for students to create copyright free music quickly and easily. This download is a trial and enables users a total of six hours use, plenty of time to create lots of songs and identify if it is worth purchasing.

Microsoft explains:

Get your first taste of songwriting.

Songsmith Note Character

Ever sing in the car? Maybe in the shower? You know who you are. Admit it, you like to sing, and you like music. Ever thought of writing your own music? Most people never get a chance to try… but we want to give everyone a piece of the songwriting experience, so we’ve developed Songsmith, an application that lets you create a complete song just by singing! Are we going to turn you into an award-winning songwriter overnight? Of course not. But Songsmith will give you a way to create something authentically musical and authentically yours, even if you don’t know the first thing about chords or music theory.

It’s as simple as clicking “record”.

Songsmith Note Character

Just open up Songsmith, choose from one of thirty different musical styles, and press record. Sing whatever you like – a birthday song for Mom, a love song for that special someone (they’ll be impressed that you wrote a song for them!), or maybe just try playing with your favorite pop songs. As soon as you press “stop”, Songsmith will generate musical accompaniment to match your voice, and play back your song for you. It’s that simple.

Songsmith is for musicians too.

Songsmith Note Character

For songwriters, is Songsmith going to replace the craft of songwriting? Never. Could it be a super-useful “intelligent scratchpad” for exploring new melodies and ideas? Definitely. If you’re a songwriter, you’ve probably had the experience of coming up with a melody and finding the nearest object with a “record” button on it just to get your idea down. Imagine that first quick experience also letting you explore chord progressions, styles, even basic arrangement ideas. Then of course you’d work with other tools, other people, your instruments, and your own musical intuition to really develop a song. But Songsmith can be a great tool that lets you quickly explore new ideas in places where you couldn’t before (on the go, on the bus, in the airport, etc.). And Songsmith works great with instrumental input too!

Make it your song.

Songsmith Note Character

Of course, Songsmith’s ideas might not be exactly what you want for your song. It’s music after all, and there’s no single right answer. So Songsmith not only comes up with music for your song, but puts you in the driver’s seat by letting you customize the chords and arrangement for your song, even if you’ve never heard of “chords” before. Move the “happy” and “jazzy” sliders around to get the chords you want. Lock the chords you like and let Songsmith change the ones you don’t. Set up your own custom band. Make it your song!

What can I do with the songs I make?

Songsmith Note Character

Save your songs as audio files to send to your friends and family or post online at social networking sites. Share your Songsmith files with your friends so they can put their ideas into your songs. Even create music videos!

Rich instrument sounds make all the difference.

Songsmith Note Character

We’ve partnered with one of the industry’s finest digital instrument producers –Garritan – and one of the leading developers of computer synthesizers – Plogue– to provide rich instrumentation for your song. These instruments are the real deal, and you can judge for yourself over at our music page. Change the instruments as much as you like, and if you want even more professional sounds, Songsmith will help you buy additional instruments from Garritan.

A tool really worth investigating as creating copyright free music for presentations is a big issue for schools to address. Songsmith can help you. A nice way to teach digital citizenship as well.

Digital Citizenship wiki

A very useful resource is the Digital Citizenship wiki, which caters for students in grades 1-12. The wiki explains more:

This is a resource for grade level teachers to prepare students to use technology appropriately and being mindful of the citizenship skills they already possess. Come back often as this WIKI will be continually updated.

Digital citizenship wiki

There are links to topics such as cyberbullying, plagiarism and copyright as well as links to relevant videos. A very useful site which will be added to over time.

‘Cheaper’ books, but at what cost?

Both The Age and The Australian are reporting today on the Productivity Commission‘s decision to advise the Federal Government to implement it’s recommendations in yesterday’s report.

Publishers fight cheap books

Jason Steger

July 15, 2009


"We won't have Australian authors if we don't have Australian publishers,'' says writer Peter Temple.
“We won’t have Australian authors if we don’t have Australian publishers,” says writer Peter Temple.

BOOKS could be cheaper in Australia if the Federal Government implements recommendations in a report issued yesterday by the Productivity Commission.

But it faces a hostile campaign from the bulk of the book industry, which says the commission’s report is flawed and will damage publishers, printers, smaller booksellers, authors and Australia’s cultural wellbeing.

The commission urged the Government to scrap territorial copyright protection for writers and publishers to put Australian book prices more in line with those in the US and Britain.

In its final report on the parallel importation of books, it recommended the lifting of all restrictions after a three-year adjustment period; the rejigging of financial assistance to the book industry; a new survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics; and a review of the brave new world after five years.

It said the current legislation, under which Australian publishers have 30 days to publish editions of books published overseas or face competing editions, stopped booksellers from importing “cheaper or better-value-for-money editions”.

The recommendations were welcomed by Dymocks boss Don Grover, the driving force behind the Coalition for Cheaper Books. However, he told The Age a three-year delay would cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars, “and that’s unreasonable”.

Opponents of the change said they would turn their attention to lobbying. The majority of the 560 submissions received by the commission, including those from state and territory governments, opposed the lifting of restrictions.

Scribe publisher Henry Rosenbloom, who has funded much of his local publishing by acquiring rights to overseas titles, said there was no guarantee of cheaper books. “It’s crazy to recommend policies now that will lead to the destruction of significant parts of Australian publishing, book selling, writing and printing that are dependent on exchange rates and the behaviour of booksellers.”

Penguin chief executive Gabrielle Coyne warned that if the Government adopted the recommendations, it represented a “move away from evidence-based policy”.

Authors such as Tim Winton, Richard Flanagan, Kate Grenville and Morris Gleitzman have spoken out strongly against any change to territorial copyright. Yesterday crime writer Peter Temple added his voice. “We won’t have Australian authors if we don’t have Australian publishers,” he said. “If you think Australian publishing is important, if you want them to take risks on authors, backlists, bringing on talent, then you care more about product than simply profit. If you think it’s important they stay in business, you don’t do this to them.”

The Printing Industries Association of Australia claimed the recommendations put at risk hundreds of jobs. PIA policy manager Hagop Tchamkertenian told The Agethat Maryborough “would be devastated. One in four workers depends on the book printing industry.”

Michael Heyward, publisher at Text, pointed out the irony of the commission recommending changes to benefit the consumer but advocating a review of the grant system that could mean higher taxes.


The Australian report focuses on job losses:

 Cheap books will cost ‘at least 500 jobs’

July 15, 2009

Article from:  Australian Associated Press

A PROPOSAL to lift copyright restrictions on books may deliver cheaper prices but at a cost of more than 500 jobs, a union says.

A Productivity Commission report yesterday called for an end to century-old laws that limit the importation of cheaper books from overseas.

Supporters say consumers are overcharged $200 million a year because of the restrictions and that dumping them will boost competition and cut prices.

But there is no guarantee this will happen, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said.

What is more certain is the direct loss of 500 jobs within the publishing and printing industry, the union’s print division secretary Steve Walsh said.

Other estimates put the figure at 3000.

“In this economic climate, where every job is precious, it would be terrible news for our valuable print industry,” Mr Walsh said.

“It would allow books printed overseas a major advantage over Australian suppliers.”

Many local authors believe scrapping the laws will strip them of income.

Writer Tim Winton used his acceptance speech for his Miles Franklin award in June to defend the legislation as it stands.

Mr Walsh said: “If retailers … are so concerned for access to cheaper books, they should revise their profit margins rather than asking printers to lose business in pursuit of books printed cheaply overseas.”

It will be more than interesting to see (especially in these economic times) if the Federal Government acts on the advice of the Productivity Commission.

Libraries become the hip place to be

Interesting article in Sunday’s Age (the print headline was “Just quietly, libraries have become the place to be”, happily the online version is not so hung up with the ‘shush’ stereotype) on the growing popularity of libraries, including school and public libraries:

Libraries become the hip place to be


As exams approach, students cram at the State Library in Melbourne, but attendance at libraries is increasing in general. Photo: Pat Scala

John Elder

June 14, 2009

BOOK sales might be on the slide around the world, but borrowing from the local library is surging – and that’s the story whether you live in New York, London or . . . Korumburra in West Gippsland.

Victorian municipalities are following the global trend, with some libraries becoming as crowded as clubs.

On average, West Gippsland regional libraries have a third more members than they did a year ago.

The City of Port Philip boasts an 11,000 jump in membership, from about 61,000 to 72,000.

But the most dramatic surge of library patronage has occurred in the central business district, with the State Library recording more than 400,000 extra visitors in the past recorded year – with 1,147,000 visitors in 2007 compared with 1,570,000 in 2008.

A spokesman for the State Library, Matthew van Hasselt, was “reluctant to give just one reason for the gain, but I think the increasing numbers of people now living in the CBD are a factor”.

Apparently, inner-city residents don’t account for the astonishing but low-profile success of the obscurely located City Library. Set up five years ago as a joint initiative between the City of Melbourne and the Centre of Adult Education in Flinders Lane, the City Library had a record 70,000 visitors last month – 15,000 more than in May last year.

Says Barry McGuren, library services co-ordinator, City of Melbourne: “Last year, about 60,000 a month was the maximum. Why the leap? I think people are only now starting to find we exist as a library … and 75 per cent of those people aren’t city residents. They’re mostly commuting workers, students or visitors from the country. We also have between 3000 and 5000 homeless people who regularly use our services.”

The City Library has become so popular – with up to 3000 visitors in an hour during lunchtime – that the State Government recently co-funded an extension of weekend opening hours. “We used to close on Saturday at 1pm, now we’re open until 5pm. We’ll be opening on Sundays from August.”

Since late last year, various media bodies including The New York Times, The Denver Post and Bangor Daily News, have been pondering if the leap in library use is linked to global economic woes. Indeed, where many businesses are under threat, libraries are a growth industry such that the City of Melbourne is planning to open three new libraries in the next 10 years – in Carlton, Docklands and Southbank.

Says Barry McGuren: “We do get a lot of unemployed people coming into use the computers to look for jobs or work on their CVs, but I wouldn’t think the GFC (global financial crisis) has played a great role yet. We’ve seen a steady increase at our East and North Melbourne libraries … and I’d say that’s more about the fact that the population of Melbourne is growing.”

Online resources are having an undeniable impact on library popularity, and also how libraries are organised. This shift is most apparent in our schools.

Mary Manning, executive officer of the School Library Association of Victoria, says that most non-fiction and reference materials are accessed online in the school system, while bookshelves are laden with more fiction books than encyclopedias.

“We’re more likely to subscribe to an online encyclopedia than have a set of volumes on the shelves. It’s made learning much more proactive . . . and students feel much more excited using online resources. It also means they can easily communicate and workshop their ideas with fellow students at school, but also with students on the other side of the world. They’re not longer writing for the teacher, but for themselves.”

Ms Manning says it is now routine for students to be taught about intellectual property and copyright to avoid plagiarism issues.


Picsearch is an interesting way to search for images (including clip art) on the web. It has three features that make it unique.

The first feature is that it has a ‘Family Friendly’ filter that is supposed to filter out any offensive images, which has to be a relief for educators. (Not exactly sure what their definition of offensive means, as what offends one person may not offend another. Suffice to say that if Picsearch’s claims are true, then it should be safe for all schools to use.) Picsearch claims that it is impossible for their filters to be bypassed, but also offer the service that if an offensive is discovered, send them the relevant details and they will block the site. As with any resource you use, before you unleash it on your students, if you have any doubts, have a play around with Picsearch yourself to see if you are happy with it.

The second feature is that ‘It has a relevancy unrivalled on the web due to its patent-pending indexing algorithms’.

The third feature is the ease of which images can be attributed. As Picsearch’s FAQs page says,

  • Picsearch downloads the original images only to create thumbnail images. Afterwards the original images are removed. Thus, users can only view the thumbnails when searching for a specific image. The thumbnails are accompanied by references to the original page it was indexed from. This enables the users to visit the original page and obtain the appropriate permissions to use the image.

This goes some way to relieving the copyright issues facing schools and teaches students to attribute their sources.

Thanks to Chris Smith of Shambles for the alert on Picsearch.

Feature wiki – Samaritan Catholic College, Preston

Lynda Santolin, ILC Co-ordinator at Preston’s Samaritan Catholic College has spent time since completing the SLAV Web 2.0 course earlier this year developing numerous tools for teaching and learning. She has also led a staff PD introducing them to the world of blogs and wikis.

A Book Club blog, Staff Book blog, site, Rollyo account and online image generators have all been tools that Lynda has introduced. But she feels her greatest success was with wikis. ‘I created a wiki for staff to use. I think it has great potential for staff in faculties, or across campuses or even across schools, to share resources and planning. I also set up the  Shared Stories Anthology wiki – which is run across 8 schools – the school coordinators compile student writing/visual arts pieces on a theme and publish and ‘book launch’ it each year. The wiki has enabled us to share:

  • Planning
  • Practicalities and pitfalls
  • Logistics
  • Launch details
  • Post-launch’
Shared stories anthology wiki

Shared stories anthology wiki

Lynda has developed a further two wikis for teaching and learning; Year 7 Ancient history and Year 8 Middle Ages. ‘In each of those, I had an information focus, but then something interactive – ‘test yourself’ type of thing. Our team put those websites together, I made the wikis, and the kids were engrossed with them and said they had ‘fun’. One example is this one interactive game to dress a knight for battle by answering a few


Middle Ages

Middle Ages

She continues, ‘I also had a discussion forum, where I tried to ask ‘thinking’ questions, for example, Would you have liked to have lived in Ancient Times? Why/why not? (Their responses were really interesting and often funny ‘No, because I wouldn’t be able to play computer games’). The discussion posts where each student needed to be members of the wikispace to respond. And from memory, they had to reply to an invitational email to do that. That was a lot of work and effort!’

Ancient history wiki

Ancient history wiki

Lynda explains she is ‘finding wikis – (it is free and the educational membership is advertisement-free) – easier to handle than blogs. Blogs are hard to do if you are trying to give many people a voice (page). I wouldn’t do it again as a blog, but I’d try wikis.’ 

Lynda has been very happy with as she feels that it has great guides and support for teachers. She recommends using wikis over blogs as they are easy to use. She suggests:

‘Before using wikis with students:

  • Have a ‘play’ by creating your own personal/professional wiki. Learn.
  • Wikispaces = great help/tutorials (see above)
  • Know about Netsafety, Copyright and other cyber issues
  • Show students: examples/models
  • Use old technology – pen & paper! – to plan
  • Plan your ‘discussion’ to encourage higher order thinking and metacognition’

Lynda also suggests that: Students need to know practicalities, pitfalls. For example:

  • Uploading content/feedback comments is NOT ‘chat’ – stay focused
  • Never reveal your or another person’s entire name, contact details, school
  • The wiki/blog does not replace homework (can’t be an excuse not to do homework!)’

Lynda also addressed other issues such as Netsafety, Copyright and other cyber issues. She says to ‘familiarise yourself with Working with the Web and to have dialogue with the Assistant Principal and other relevant co-coordinators/staff.’

Overall, Lynda has had great success with the wiki, but explains that the ‘practicalities and pitfalls of wikis and blogs include:

  • Being time-consuming, so has to be suited to the educational project – worthwhile/rewarding
  • It gets less tricky as you get more proficient – there is light at the end of the tunnel!
  • You still have to constantly monitor it and moderate comments (all sent to your email inbox)
  • Suggest: set a start and end date for the wiki
  • It’s easier to create the wiki with another person – solo is hard but still possible…
  • Take small steps and start small!’

Lynda says that the SLAV Web 2.0 course gave her ‘the skills, knowledge and experience to participate in the Web 2.0 world, and I love the multi-literacies, communities, collaboration and peering.’

Thanks to Lynda for sharing her thoughts and hard work and congratulations on the success of all your Web 2.0 tools, particularly the wiki.


Graphic novel lovers of the world unite! MahShelf is a social network that allows users not only to create their own graphic novel library, but also to publish their own graphic novels to the site.

MahShelf home
MahShelf home

It is heartening to see that MahShelf has a strict copyright policy, which is designed to protect authors, illustrators and creators. Uploaded books can be designated as private, shared with a few or shared with all members.

MahShelf provides all books uploaded with an external reader that allows books to be embedded into other websites, such as blogs. Members can subscribe to the bookshelves of others, add comments and add friends. There is also unlimited storage space for users.

Books with mature content are meant to be set as ‘not suitable for everyone’. Before members can access these titles, a warning message and a request for confirmation appears on the screen. Not all ‘mature’ books or images have been set to ‘not suitable for everyone’, so it’s best to have a look at MahShelf yourself before you recommend it to students. As with YouTube, there will always be people who upload questionable content.

Designed by three Finnish students, and still in its early stages, MahShelf needs a lot more content development. MahShelf is a great idea and hopefully it will be applicable to students interested in and/or studying graphic novels.