Wiki for maths learning

Whitefriars College teacher librarian Karen Kearney has developed a resourceful wiki to support Maths learning and teaching.

Wiki Maths

Our WFC Learning Together Wiki was set up to support learning for those students in the Learning Support program. We hoped that it would encourage, engage and motivate them to contribute and learn from one another. The literacy parts of the Wiki have been working very well with lots of interaction between the students and teachers. Just recently, we have turned our attention to seeing how we can use the Wiki as part of the Maths Learning Support program.

Helen Sapardanis, the Maths Learning Support teacher, has devised several posters full of practical hints to help our students study for their maths tests, take notes within their maths classes, and to encourage them to think much more positively about maths. Our students have access to these posters at any time.

The Maths percentages task was another thought provoking task devised by Helen. A blank template for this can be found on the Wiki. Students were asked to consider, and write, the processes they were required to take in order to convert percentages into decimals, and percentages into fractions. We have placed one student response on the Wiki as an example.

I have created several Maths quizzes using Hot Potatoes, and there is also a link on the Wiki to these quizzes for the boys to do if they finish their work early. More will be added as they are created. I am hoping that the boys will gradually compile their own quizzes for me to add.

Helen and I really wanted to get the students thinking about the processes they had used to arrive at their answers, and so we decided to start a “How Do I Do It?” section. Helen would devise a maths question, relating to the teaching that she had been doing that day, and it was placed on the Wiki. Students would be required to think through the steps they should use, and then write them, step by step, in the discussion box. Putting their steps into words is not an easy task for many of the students and we’ve been really pleased by the understandings that they have shown.

When we were just starting to place maths equations on the Wiki it occurred to me that the writing of equations was not the simple task I had imagined. My first attempts had me writing “x squared” for instance. Very frustrating when that wasn’t what students were used to seeing! I ended up writing each equation in Microsoft Word, taking a screen grab, converting the equation into a .jpg then loading that onto the Wiki. Fortunately I soon discovered that one of the languages supported by Wikispaces is Latex, and the writing of maths equations became quite simple. Maths Tutorials Parts 1 and 2 proved to be very helpful.

Our aim is for the wiki to be a vibrant, interactive space, where the boys are happy to contribute their ideas and knowledge, and are proud of their contributions. We have been very happy with how our “Wiki Maths” has been progressing and Helen and I will continue to develop it more next year.

What a terrific example of how teachers can use their own area of expertise to work together to improve learning and teaching! Well done Karen and Helen. Very impressive.

Clairvaux Library wiki

Clairvaux Catholic Primary School teacher librarian Pam Niewman has shown what a fantastic educator she is by developing this brilliant wiki in a very short space of time.

Screen shot 2010-10-30 at 6.52.30 AM

Pam explains

The wiki is the backbone of my teaching at the moment and it develops along with our needs. It’s very primary orientated and by no means complete  – it even gets some things deleted/changed at times. However, like a tap dripping slowly, Web 2.0 is filtering throughout our school . . .

We are still continuing small steps at a time.

The wiki is gradually becoming a very useful tool and something that the children are beginning to refer to and use on a regular basis. I often use it as a teaching tool in my lessons from Prep to Year 6. The children have a link to it on our MyClasses page and the staff have a link on their desktop.

The use of the wiki and various web 2.0 tools is beginning to filter throughout the school – in addition to work done in library classes, we’re up to about 90 children now who have engaged in some form of after hours activities as either creators or responders. I’ve had many emails – some requiring advice, some informing me of what they have done or sending me links, and some just communicating about things they are enjoying.

As more children are beginning to show an interest in displaying their work on the wiki I have decided to set up a Student Work page in addition to incorporating their work into other appropriate pages.

Recently some Book Week activities created some learning opportunities.

  • Children began emailing to be the first to answer a question a day about a shortlisted book. This question became hotly discussed as children tried to be the first online with the correct answer. (Side effect – Use of email improved particularly with younger children)
  • Wallwishers which I set up to discuss the Book Week theme and related activities created interest with the Seniors, who then began creating their own. These were posted on MyClasses and the wiki and the discussions began . . . and then more …and more . . .  They added videos and websites  (Side effect – online mentoring, classroom teachers added comments, good questions had to be developed)
  • Some children who saw my Book Week ToonDoo cartoon tried some out for themselves and emailed their link to me.
  • A few children found a link to Picasso Head on the wiki (via Schumann the Shoeman activities) and tried it out.
  • Book Trailers – Two Year 4 boys created a book trailer for visiting author Justin D’Ath. A number of children who saw this on the wiki now want to try creating their own.
  • Screen shot 2010-10-30 at 6.53.37 AM
  • A year 4 girl wrote and published on the wiki an excellent biography of Justin D’Ath, based on a talk he gave to her class during Book Week.
  • Some children have begun adding book reviews.
  • During their Inquiry unit, two year 6 boys made a web page to make people aware of the plight of the children in the Pakistan floods. A link to this was put on the wiki.
  • As a spin off from these activities, I now have lots of evidence for assessment and report writing.

There is a growing awareness and some curiosity now amongst the staff about Web 2.0 and I have been asked to do some PD and share ideas with the staff next year. As well, I have the opportunity to further develop both my own and the children’s web 2.0 skills next year in my teaching. I think the wiki will develop according to the paths we take and the tools we explore.

My goals for next year are to continue learning about Web 2.0 so that I can provide opportunities to embed the use of appropriate Web 2.0 tools in the learning and teaching of students and staff in our school.

Pam points out that she is by no means an expert (I think she is) and that she is experimenting with the development and use of the wiki. I think she’s done a brilliant job and I am sure the wiki will continue to grow and evolve over time. Please take the opportunity to browse through Pam’s wiki. It is truly amazing what she has accomplished in a couple of terms.

Jersey Boys wiki @ Whitefriars

Whitefriars College teacher librarian Karen Kearney has developed another rocking wiki for her VCE Theatre Studies group. Karen explains:
I was very pleased to see that Jersey Boys: the Story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons had been included on the VCE Theatre Studies playlist for 2010.  It is a music theatre piece which examines themes of honour, love, betrayal and loyalty and looks at the lives of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons from the 1950s to more recent times.
Wiki homepage

Wiki homepage

It is a show with an interesting structure too.  Tommy DeVito says in the play: “You ask four guys, you get four different answers”.  So the writers, Elice and Brickman, decided to write the show to allow each of the four main characters to tell the story from his own perspective, as the group forms and rises in popularity, before personal problems cause conflict between the group members.  Each character takes a turn at narrating to the audience.
Screen shot 2010-07-28 at 4.25.48 PM
When looking at a theatre performance, it is important that students examine the ways in which the creative team has contributed to the production as a whole.  The wiki I have developed to support Jersey Boys, has kept that in mind and I have gathered videos, podcasts and interviews with a variety of creative team members.   For example, the set designer, Klara Ziegerova, has a professional site with some great photos of Jersey Boys sets.  Interviews with her explain that she found inspiration in photographs by George Tice.  After scouring the internet, I was able to locate these photos and a link is provided from the Backdrop Projections page.  Examining these photos, and the Jersey Boys sets, students can clearly see how the designer has adapted elements from the photos to the set design.
Screen shot 2010-07-28 at 4.24.16 PM
By viewing many of the links provided, I also hope that students will begin to appreciate how much research needs to be done by the creative team before they could begin their own part in the show.  Those responsible for set design, multimedia projections, choreography, music direction and costumes, have all needed to research different elements in order to design something suitable for a stage production yet that remained faithful to The Four Seasons, New Jersey, and the era being portrayed.
Screen shot 2010-07-28 at 4.29.44 PM
I have collected newspaper articles and videos about the Australian production of Jersey Boys.  There are many videos available on the internet, especially on Youtube, and sorting through them allowed me to locate several pivotal scenes, and scenes where I could highlight examples of lighting, costuming or multimedia which had been used.  Reviews are very important as they give some insight into the storyline, and will often comment on various creative parts of the production.  In the case of Jersey Boys, the pop art multimedia projections were often mentioned.  The images we see in Jersey Boys are reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art.  Examination of Lichtenstein’s work leads to a deeper understanding of how, and why, they have been used in Jersey Boys.
Wiki statistics have indicated that visitors are mostly from Australia, but also from USA, Great Britain and Canada, all countries which currently have a production of Jersey Boys.  The most frequently visited pages include Pop Art images, the promotional DVD, articles and reviews, costume design and set design.
I hope the Wiki will encourage students to take a critical look behind the scenes of Jersey Boys and really try to understand why different creative decisions have been made.  The more students understand about the background of the piece they are studying, the more they will appreciate the show itself.
Thanks Karen for again sharing your fantastic work! The students must really appreciate your wiki to assist them with their studies.

Sharing eLearning at MESC

Lynn Swannell, a Librarian at Mount Eliza Secondary College has developed a very useful eLearning wiki.
MESC wiki
Lynn explains how the wiki came about:
I created this ‘Sharing eLearning at MESC’ wiki with two things in mind – teaching myself how to use Wikispaces and creating a Web2.0 sharing space for staff at Mount Eliza Secondary College.
In April 2010 I signed up to complete the 12-week SLAV ‘Personal Learning Network Program’ and during this time I have discovered (and rediscovered) a huge range of Web2.0 online tools that I wanted to share.  In the past I have emailed teachers and saved them to my Delicious account for future reference but I was looking for an easier way to make them more accessible and share them with teachers.
Since starting the program I have not only expanded my own personal learning network via my own blog (Lynn’s PLN) and reading other  blogs, nings and twitter but also gathered together some fantastic resources recommended  via these methods.  Bright Ideas is one of my favourite blogs and I’m thrilled to have been asked by Judith to contribute.  After reading about the Echuca eLearning Wiki created by Maryna Badenhorst (Bright Ideas 24 May 2010) and then learning about Wikis during week four of the program, I was inspired to create my own wiki using Wikispaces for Educators.
As you can see I have tried to group the resources into various categories and created a page for each.  The ‘Areas of Learning Links’ only has a few links at this stage but I hope to expand on it as more teachers create their own blogs, nings, wikis for their classes.  I have also added a few subject specific resources to the page.  ‘Digital Citizenship’ is an area which our school is exploring at the present and this page has been of great use recently.  The page on ‘Presentation Tools’ is one that is going to be neverending as more students and staff look for alternatives to PowerPoint – I particularly like animoto at the moment.
Our school motto is ‘Protect Nurture Grow’  which is what I hope will happen with this wiki as I launch it to staff this term and encourage them all to share in eLearning.
It is so pleasing to read that Lynn has been inspired by Maryna’s wiki featured on Bright Ideas. It is lovely to know that all staff are encouraged to share eLearning together with Lynn.

Feature wiki – OLMC reading wiki

Our Lady of Mercy College, Heidelberg teacher librarian Michael Jongen and Head of Library Tricia Sweeney recently developed a reading wiki for their students.

olmc reading wiki

Michael explains:

As well as our information wiki (Wikidlinks), we also set up a reading wiki . We intend to use these pages to communicate and engage with students and teachers. We have created a new front page for the library on the School Intranet. It goes something like this….

Welcome to Wikidreading You can share your comments and ideas about reading and see what others have to say. In 2009, reading at olmc reached greater heights – more borrowing, more reviews and more discussion. Make sure you are part of this in 2010.

olmc reading wiki mr j

Our core service is information and reading and we think we have it covered in this simple format. With the new school year just starting we will promote these pages through our Years 7 and 8 reading programmes.

olmc reading wiki new

As you can see students have been contributing reviews already and the ‘New books’ page is a great idea. Michael’s page of reviews is detailed and students can see for themselves that he enjoys reading and is a terrific reading role model. Another job well done Michael!

Guitar Hero World Tour at Preston Girls’ Secondary College

To help engage and enhance student interaction at the VCAL level (alternative year 11 and 12), Preston Girls’ Secondary College teachers Les Kyle and Judith Way have developed wiki that houses a unit of work based on the wildly popular Guitar Hero video game.


While the main foci of the unit are literacy and numeracy, Les and Judith hope other skills will come out of the program. The program will begin in term 1, 2010. Les and Judith explain:

Introducing literacy and numeracy at senior years is always difficult. It always needs to be embedded into types of work the students find interesting and what better way to get the students’ attention by using Guitar Hero as a starting point.

Upon forming their ‘bands’, students will be blogging about imagined tours, CD releases, booking and travelling to venues around the world and so on. Numeracy skills come into play when deciding who much to pay roadies, how much tickets will cost and how the money will be split between the band. Students will need to be aware of their audience when blogging and develop a convincing history of their band.

Other skills such as cooperation and collaboration, problem solving, researching and investigating, mapping and creativity. Students will also be learning how to use web 2.0 tools such as Big Huge Labs to create posters, tickets and CD covers. Voki or other sites will be used to develop avatars and students may film their ‘concerts’ to upload to teachertube.

We hope that this unit of work will grab the students’ imagination and keep them actively involved for the entire time.

(With thanks to staff at Perth and Kinross Schools in Scotland for the seed that developed into this wiki.)

Hopefully the students enjoy their numeracy and literacy lessons! It will be interesting to hear how it all goes.

Feature wiki – Our Lady of Mercy College Heidelberg – information wiki

Our Lady of Mercy College, Heidelberg, teacher librarian Michael Jongen was inspired to introduce social media tools into the school library after hearing Will Richardson at a School Library Association of Victoria professional development day in 2009. Michael explains:

I work at OLMC Library as a teacher librarian. As part of my Professional Learning Plan for 2009 I was asked by Tricia Sweeney, Head of Library, to look at Web 2.0 and its applications in teaching and learning.

In March 2009 I attended a SLAV conference entitled Perspectives on Learning featuring Will Richardsonfrom the United States.  Will is a leading educator in the understanding and implementation of Web 2.0 strategies in schools. He argues that

‘Learning in the 21st century is all about networks and the connections we can make to other learners and teachers both in our communities and around the globe. But being literate in this new learning environment requires more than knowing how to read and write, it requires us to edit, publish, collaborate, create and connect in the process of building our own personal learning spaces’

Inspired by Will I decided to blog and work with the teachers at my school and make them aware of Web 2.0 and its potential for learning.  I started a Library Web 2.0 Wiki page on the School Portal where I explored some of the issues, tools and personalities raised by him in his keynote address and in his featured workshop. I feel that my role has been to inform, collaborate and apply, and I looked at practical examples of how social media can be incorporated into assessment or used for communication.

OLMC wiki

Tricia and I had another discussion and we decided to set up an information wiki. With the new school year just starting we will promote the wiki through our Years 7 and 8 reading programmes.

The appraisal of my year’s self learning project was on using Web 2.0 in the classroom and it was agreed that my goal in 2010 is to work in the classroom with teachers and students more often by using practical web 2.0 applications in assessment and presentation.

It is wonderful to hear that the SLAV conference held less than a year ago has had such a positive and practical impact on Michael and Our Lady of Mercy College teachers and students. Congratulations and well done Michael. Thank you to Tricia for supporting his endeavours to introduce social media to the school.

The OLMC information wiki is the first of the resources that Michael has developed that Bright Ideas will feature. I’m sure we’ll all look forward to experiencing his other efforts.

Feature wiki – Castlemaine Secondary College

Castlemaine Secondary College teacher librarian Judith Hansen and her colleagues have developed a wide ranging wiki to use with students. Judith explains the evolution of the wiki:

We, the Library Team at Castlemaine Secondary College comprise 6 folks over 2 Campuses ( Junior and Senior): Andrea (Teacher Librarian), Junior Campus FT: Russell (Library Technician) Junior Campus 0.9: Kathryn (Teacher Librarian) across campuses 0.3: Elizabeth (Teacher Librarian), Senior Campus 0.4: Debra (Library Technician) Senior Campus 0.9 and myself (Teacher Librarian) Junior Campus 0.2 and Senior Campus 0.6. Andrea, Russell, Debra and I completed the SLAV Web 2 in 2008.

Castlemaine Secondary College Library Team embraced the SLAV Web 2.0 PD in 2008. Web 2.0….the words and number had been scratching around in our team subconscious for some time. Each of us had some knowledge. The online PD enabled us to explore the realm together. We met every Tuesday after school and worked solidly for an hour or so. It was fun! It was Team bonding! It led to further experiences eg. a travel blog by Debra, a wiki by Judith and a demo blog from Andrea, Kathryn, Debra (back) Judith, Russell, Andrea. We have another Team member Elizabeth, who has always had a handle on IT stuff. She came back from leave and works on the Library Intranet which will begin operating across the 2 Castlemaine Secondary College campuses in 2010.

We work very well as a team and whatever emerges from the Library has been a Team effort in that we ensure that we encourage each other in our tasks and endeavours, our focus being the school community and its educational needs and aspirations.



Our wiki came about as our school has a special time for students to explore subjects of interest: teachers offer activities, I offered a Library Club. So a page has been created for this group with full edit rights. Apart from the Word Doc.Plan the page has been created by the students.

The Ultranet Looms: An Ultranet Coach Approaches: Appears!

  • First thought: a blog
  • Second thought: after conferring with Rob the Ultranet coach was that a wiki would best suit the aims of the endeavour.
  • The endeavour: to create: a space where the library, it’s activities and resources could be showcased: provide opportunities eg. editing online, adding images etc. for staff and students to develop confidence in skills via a safe space eg. the wiki’s page save component allows for editing mistakes that can be easily rectified, and to build on the emerging Web 2.0 skills of the Library Team.

Pride, Respect, Responsibility and Post-it-notes.

  • The core values of Castlemaine Secondary College are Pride, Respect, Responsibility. Together they form the value core of the wiki.
  • A disclaimer was also included.
  • Ideas formed as the potential for communication via the wiki became understood.. ideas bubbled up at odd times so the pad of post-it-notes became a handy tool for quick jottings that were then slapped into the log book. The Library team worked on some skills together eg. developing the original competition page where we each had to develop and upload a voki. We needed to develop the confidence to play and to nut out knew skills.

Marketing the site…it takes time and commitment.

  • Email out to all staff with a blurb about the wiki and a the link to the site,(not just once.)This resulted in 1 new page, Nick from Music Industry saw the potential for his subject, developed the Music Industry page which excitingly has a class course component. Hopefully the wiki will develop as a forum for the delivery of the curriculum.
  • Screen shots of the Home Page on display in the Library.
  • Campaign! Verbal face to face communication from Library Team to staff and students. Talk about it at every opportunity.
  • Wiki showcased at every opportunity eg. Library orientation lessons, Community/Teacher Interviews (interviews were held in the Senior Library), when the Library computers were set at the Wiki Home page and visitors waiting for interviews were encouraged to explore the wiki, this also happened when the Senior Library hosted staff morning teas and attended English DLG meetings.
  • Redirection! The Library Request Book was moved from the Front Desk of the Library to the Request Page on the wiki. Individuals and groups were encouraged with help to make requests via the wiki.
  • Have a competition page, which links to the front work desk i.e. the answer box is placed there advertising the competition, so students ask for directions to the wiki and enter the competition and hopefully explore the site a bit more.
  • Share the exciting the number of different countries that have visited the site, student input, such as the Library Club and of course that other educators have expressed interest and encouragement.
  • See our vokis on the Library Competition Page.
Library Club

Library Club

I must say it was wonderful one Friday to have our School Principal show me the white board in her office where brainstorming had been taking place: some of the great things that are happening in our school and to have her point to the Library Wiki!!
Giving things up….all those items you’ve worked so hard to create..but they have to go…the wiki evolves!

  • The Request Page was originally created as a table that was filled in by the requester but it was a bit unwieldy so a much simpler form of logging the request is now in place. It also allows for some play in the editing whilst continuing to communicate the information to the Library Team.
  • A group of Year 12’s were very interested in having a Year 12 page but it didn’t get past the heading and a couple of sites.. not enough time, it closed.
  • I originally created a monthly audio introduction to the wiki on the Home Page. As the wiki evolved and chores increased eg. uploading the monthly new acquisitions the audio introductions were discontinued. However I have had fun using the skill to create audios of poems for eg. a guess the poet competition.

What next?

  • Have students and staff take on more responsibilities eg. Library Club to record Library news, and have eg. English staff utilise the site as a place to submit assessment tasks such as text reviews, a component of the task being to successfully upload the piece of work onto the wiki.
  • To create a Studies of Asia page, with a travel blog and links and space for the school community to share queries and knowledge of our neighbours.

Cherio and feedback
So far we haven’t had any notes left on the pages, so this is an area that we haven’t really explored yet…maybe you would like to leave something for us to play with!
Castlemaine Secondary College Library Team.

Well done to the Castlemaine SC library team!  It’s great to know that students are really getting involved with the development of the wiki and that the Principal has acknowledged your great work on it.

Feature wiki – gaming4learning @ PGSC

Preston Girls’ Secondary College teacher librarian Judith Way was recently one teacher selected by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development‘s KnowledgeBank: Next Generation branch to trial gaming in schools. Judith explains:

In term 2, 2009 (April-June) selected schools in the Australian state of Victoria are trialling videogames as learning tools. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s Knowledge Bank: Next Generation team are currently leading action research with selected teachers in Victoria to identify potential technologies that may support learning and teaching. This project is supported by The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, The Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (Multimedia Victoria) and The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

In term 2, 2009, these technologies include gaming consoles such as Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 are being trialled in approximately twenty schools. Being a DEECD project, there are strict guidelines and record keeping so all research can be validated. This is a major step for the government’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in acknowledging the educational potential of gaming and backing up ideas with action research. The DEECD will be formulating department policy in regards to gaming once the research has been completed. Schools were emailed in March 2009 to indicate their interest in the project and apply to become part of the trial. The DEECD were offering grants of A$4000 per school to cover the costs of replacement teachers, consoles and software.

Fortunately, I was one of the teachers selected to participate in the trial.

Students in the trial are in either year 8 or year 9.

* My gaming research question is:

Is it possible that games such as My Word Coach on Nintendo DS can improve literacy skills?

What is the curriculum focus of your teaching for this action research?

  • (Identify VELS domains and levels or VCE/VCAL/VET subject areas)

• develop an understanding of their strengths and potential
• develop skills of goal setting and time and resource management
• increasingly manage their own learning and growth by monitoring their
learning, and setting and reflecting on their learning goals
• recognise and enact learning principles within and beyond the school
• prepare for lifelong learning.

• understanding that design, creativity and technology leads to innovation

develop new thinking and learning skills that produce creative and
innovative insights
• develop more productive ways of working and solving problems individually
and collaboratively
• express themselves in contemporary and socially relevant ways
• communicate locally and globally to solve problems and to share
• understand the implications of the use of ICT and their social and ethical
responsibilities as users of ICT.

It is also expected that the project will address the National Literacy Standards.

  • Which PoLT principles will you use to support your pedagogical practices? (please list only those relevant to your research question)

1.4 ensures each student experiences success through structured support, the valuing of effort, and recognition of their work.
2.1 encourages and supports students to take responsibility for their learning
2.2 uses strategies that build skills of productive collaboration.
3.1 uses strategies that are flexible and responsive to the values, needs and interests of individual students
3.2 uses a range of strategies that support the different ways of thinking and learning
3.3 builds on students’ prior experiences, knowledge and skills
3.4 capitalises on students’ experience of a technology rich world.
4.1 plans sequences to promote sustained learning that builds over time and emphasises connections between ideas
4.5 uses strategies to develop investigating and problem solving skills
4.6 uses strategies to foster imagination and creativity.
5.1 designs assessment practices that reflect the full range of learning program objectives
5.2 ensures that students receive frequent constructive feedback that supports further learning
5.3 makes assessment criteria explicit
5.4 uses assessment practices that encourage reflection and self assessment
5.5 uses evidence from assessment to inform planning and teaching.
6.1 supports students to engage with contemporary knowledge and practice
6.3 uses technologies in ways that reflect professional and community practices.
5. How will you evaluate and document your action research?

The students selected to participate that are in the Literacy program will be given the TORC test before the program begins. The group will be given the TORC test again at the end of the program to ascertain results.

Students will also be asked about their engagement and attitudes to literacy now that gaming is used as a learning tool.

Documentation could take the form of a report or blog posts. Debriefing sessions could be held in Elluminate. 



A ‘Decoding’ Literacy group was selected to participate in the trial. Out of the five students in the group, four are in year 8, one in year 9. TORC test results at the end of 2008 place these students at either grade 2 or grade 3 level for literacy.

Before the trial began, students were surveyed about their attitude and understanding of gaming.

  1. 60% played video games at home while 40% did not. (The 40% who did not said they didn’t enjoy/not interested in playing video games.)
  2. 80% of students owned a console.
  • 80% of these owned a Nintendo DS
  • 60% owned a Playstation 3
  • 20% owned an XBoX
  1. All students agreed that they did sometimes play video games; 20% played daily, 40% played a few times a week while the remaining 40% played a few times a year.
  2. Students playing video games said they felt:
  • Happy (20%)
  • Full of fun (40%)
  • Challenged (60%)
  • Focused (40%)
  • Relaxed (40%)
  • Learning (20%)

while students said they did not feel ‘stressed’ or ‘unahppy’ while playing video games.

5. Students mostly agreed that they played video games with others.

  • 40% played with siblings
  • 40% played with parents
  • 40% played with friends
  • 20% played online with friends
  • 20% played alone
  • Students said did not play online with stranger

6. All students thought that video games could be used in schools for both learning and fun. However when quizzed on this, students could not think what they could actually learn, apart from how to use the game.

7. 80% of students thought they would like to use video games at school to learn and 20% (1 student) did not.


This trial was extremely worthwhile. Although each and every student did not increase their TORC test result, there were other gains to be had. The students felt that they learned a lot of new words during the term.

Both Anne Clark (teacher aide), the students and I agreed that the students formed quite a powerful bond with each other during the term that hadn’t been there before. This increased their connectedness to school. They said that they felt closer to each other and they believed it was because of the trial. They felt quite special to have been chosen to participate in the trial. I noticed an improvement in their relationship with me as their teacher librarian. Each student was particularly pleasant and polite and would go out of their way to speak to me in the library or in the quadrangle.

Each student mentioned that the trial was fun and that they enjoyed learning in a different way. Attendance and punctuality improved as well.

Anne Clark noted that students were very engaged and proud of their success when their ‘Expression Potential’ went up a range. Students were very happy during the lessons and were sad at the end of the term to know that they would be going back to the ‘regular’ Literacy classes.

One student ran to the class every day, so excited about using the DS as a learning tool!

At the end of the trial, students were surveyed again, this time about what their favourite part of the trial, gaming and how they felt about school.

  1. 80% of students thought their favourite part of the trial was ‘fun’. 80% said ‘exciting’, 40% said ‘different’, 100% thought is was ‘learning in a different way’, 60% ‘felt privileged’ as no other group had use of the DS and 40% said love of video games.
  2. 100% of students said they learned new words, 80% said they learned more words, 60% said they learned how to spell and 60% said they learned interesting words.
  3. All students said they made more of an effort to come to school during the trial.
  4. All students said they made more of an effort to be on time to school/Literacy class during the trial.
  5. 75% of students said they feel more connected to school now.
  6. All students said that they feel more connected to their Literacy group now.

This response from students is very encouraging in relation to their connectedness to school and each other.

I believe that the four things I set out to investigate have been proven to be effective:

  1. Overall students’ Literacy achievement increased.
  2. Students all agreed that they were more engaged in their Literacy tasks during the trial.
  3. Overall students’ attendance was better and students said they made more of an effort to come to school during the trial.
  • Students’ punctuality improved as the term progressed.
  • Results

     You can see on the results page how students improved academic achievement, punctuality and attendance. Students also said that they were much more engaged than in regular Literacy classes.

    This was an interesting project that really engaged the students when learning. 

    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!