Splash: multimedia resources, games and online events from the ABC

Splash is a new educational initiative developed in partnership between the Australian Broadcasting Commission and Education Services Australia. The site includes a large library of media clips, audio, games and activities for teachers and students mapped against the Australian Curriculum.

The multimedia library provides access to the ABC’s impressive archive, including age-appropriate notes and questions. There is also information for parents, including a brief guide to the Australian Curriculum. All resources are free and can be accessed from any device.

In addition to resources, Splash is also the hub for live national events facilitated through online conferencing, connecting students to experts and each other.

This brief introductory video provides background to the project and highlights key resources.

New Libguides from the State Library of Victoria

Librarians at the State Library of Victoria answer complex reference questions for patrons everyday, whether it be onsite, via email or on the phone.

After years of experience with the questions people bring to the collection, reference librarians have developed over forty library guides looking at specific research topics.

The guides are aimed as a one-stop shop for subjects like bushfires in Victoria, court cases in Australiaearly Australian census records and more.

Each libguide gives background information on the topic and the Library’s holdings, key resources and related web links.

Recently published guides include:

And if you’re wondering what a reference librarian at the State Library does when they get an inquiry, here’s a video about the process.

Create Customised Resource Collections with Gooru

Gooru is a search engine you won’t want to miss if you are a Science, Math or Social Sciences teacher. It is free to use and allows teachers to create customised ‘play-lists’ of resources for their students. Gooru’s library of resources is extensive, vetted by learning professionals and includes videos, games, interactive items, texts and quizzes.
Once registered, creating your own ‘play-list’ or ‘Collection’ is an easy search, drag and drop process. Teachers will also appreciate professional touches such as the ability to include key vocabulary and learning objectives in the collection overview, and being able to add voice narration to direct students or highlight points within the collection.
The collaborative nature of the site allows teachers to use and adapt collections that other professionals have created and shared. Initially, any collections you create will default to a private setting, but once the quality of the content has been checked by the site’s experts (they are stringent about inappropriate content), Gooru encourages users to share; it is part of the growing OER (Open Education Resources) movement.

Students need to register to access collections and resources too, but are not able to create content or edit unless collaborator status is shared with them.

Perhaps the most appealing feature of all is Gooru’s ‘smart quizzes’. Students can test their understanding as they learn via enriched quizzes that can offer hints and explanations during the process. Once a quiz is taken, students receive feedback, including suggestions for further resources to enhance their understanding if needed.

Gooru is currently in beta so feedback and suggestions are welcome as they further improve the site. The website promises:

Our machine learning experts are working hard to develop and improve our algorithms and performance and deliver a truly personalized and adaptive learning experience.

Sounds like things will even get better.

 

My Place in History

Recently I was introduced to this new program for Australian Primary Schools.

Screen shot 2010-11-10 at 4.20.25 PM

My Place in History, a new educational programme for Australian upper primary schools, is a web-based programme designed to teach students about the concepts of change and diversity – of backgrounds, in family structures, and the many economic, political and social circumstances in both our distant and more recent history that have contributed to who we are today and how we all came to be living in Australia.

Family history experts, Ancestry.com, created this resource to encourage understanding of family and social history from an early age by utilising the very latest in online technology and historical information. My Place in History has been designed for teachers by teachers and is tailored to each state’s individual curriculum.  A collection of specially designed online resources and activities have been developed to make learning about history and their family’s role within this both educational and engaging.

My Place in History

Students will explore their own personal family history, creating family trees online, whilst learning about the key drivers of change within society during the lives of their ancestors – wherever they came from – and how these changes impacted their own identity, as well as that of their family and society more generally.

Over the course of the programme students will look back over two generations of their own family and how society changed during the lives of their older family members and ancestors.

Unit 1: Change through History

Students will learn about significant changes that have occurred over time in transport, communication, manufacturing, housing, leisure, food, technology, purchasing, and medicine.

Unit 2: My Society through History

Students will develop an understanding of history as it applies to their community. The initial focus is on the school; the subsequent focus is on a section of a nearby community.

Unit 3: My Family History

Students will research and understand a minimum of two generations of their own family through the use of oral history and interactive resources.

The website also provides fun, educational games for students and an opportunity for teachers to privately upload and store their own digital resources free of charge.

My Place in History looks like a great resource for the ubiquitous family tree project.

Feature blog – Glenys Lowden’s year 7 History blog

Lowther Hall AGS’s Head of Library Glenys Lowden has kindly agreed to share information on the development of her year 7 History blog.

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Glenys explains why there was a need for such a resource:

I have set up a Year 7 History blog for my class this year.  The main aim is to disseminate information to them through this source, have discussion when appropriate for tasks and include media content.

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It is great to see that Glenys is reinforcing students set tasks through the blog along with a range of resources. Looking at the number of comments from students, using the blog seems to be a popular way to learn. Another excellent resource from Glenys.

BBC’s Bitesize

The BBC have numerous websites that are useful for teachers and students. Their Bitesize collection focuses on Key Stage 1 (Prep, years 1 and 2) – numeracy and literacy, with Science games and quizzes, Key Stage 2 (years 3, 4, 5 and 6) – English, Maths and Science and Key Stage 3 (years 7, 8 and 9) – English, Maths and Science. The sites include games for students and lesson plans and worksheets for teachers.

BBC bitesize

KS2 Bitesize includes resources for:

  • Spelling
  • Microorganisms
  • Grids
  • Fractions
  • Changing state
  • Argument
  • Probability
  • Light and dark
  • Planning

KS3 Bitesize includes resources for:

  • Reading, writing, speaking and listening
  • Shakespeare scenes and play summaries
  • Number, algebra, handling data, measures, shapes and space
  • Living things, energy and forces, chemicals, Earth and space.

Another excellent tool from a reputable source.

Feature blog – Whitefriars College – Tania Sheko’s year 7 English blog

Thanks to Whitefriars College teacher librarian Tania Sheko for sharing another of her virtual creations. This time, Tania has developed a blog to support her year 7 English class. Tania explains:

http://englishwfc.wordpress.com/ is basically something I started to support the year 7 English class I teach collaboratively with an English teacher at my school. I decided to document the progress of our journey through this class because I’d read other teachers’ blogs and found them to be helpful and inspiring. I wanted to include what worked and what didn’t work and why. I think it’s important to be honest so that readers can benefit from your experience. I include resources and links, student work, videos used and created, in the hope that a teacher may find something they could use – an idea, a word of caution, recommendations or advice. I also include a short list of my favourite English teachers’ blogs. These have been a wonderful, rich resource for me.

 english@wfc

I also find that making myself record what we do in class is a worthwhile discipline. Nothing is forgotten or wasted, and I can look back to review what we’ve done, as well as clearly see the path we’ve taken and how far the students have come.

 Thanks again Tania for your contribution to the world of Web 2.0 and for sharing your efforts with the readers of Bright Ideas.

SparkleBox

* January 7, 2010. The following statement regarding Sparklebox was released by the Kent (UK) County Council on the 5th of January:

Kent Statement re the blocking of Sparklebox 

It has been bought to Kent County Council’s attention that many Local Authorities are blocking a teaching resource website: www.sparklebox.co.uk.  Although this website is popular with schools, CEOP has issued a statement supporting both this action and the following statement from South West Grid for Learning: 

 “It is understood that a person who is on the record as an owner and director of Sparklebox Teacher Resources Limited (which appears to claim ownership of the SparkleBox web site and children’s learning materials) is a registered sex offender who has recently admitted a second offence, is on remand in prison and is awaiting sentence in January.”

For this reason we feel it right to block the site centrally until more information is available and review whether this site should be blocked permanently after consulting schools and other sources.

Failure to block this site may place Schools or Kent County Council in a difficult position regarding duty of care. Should staff wish to continue using the website there is nothing to stop its use from home. We invite discussion from staff who may be concerned about this decision to discuss this on the e-Safety Blog (please note that this blog is moderated so your comment may not appear immediately).

Also, a statement from the UK’s Child Expoitation and Online Protection Centre:

Following queries into the website sparklebox.co.uk over the past couple of months, CEOP have investigated the website and its management. It should be noted that Sparklebox’s primary aim is to provide resources for schools (in particular teachers) but that there are opportunities for pictures of young people to be sent in and be published online and that until recently there was a live blog. Sparklebox state that all staff have been through relevant checks however CEOP can support the recent SWGfL statement released this week, an extract of which is below:

 “It is understood that a person who is on the record as an owner and director of Sparklebox Teacher Resources Limited (which appears to claim ownership of the SparkleBox web site and children’s learning materials) is a registered sex offender who has recently admitted a second offence, is on remand in prison and is awaiting sentence in January.”

 CEOP are also aware that a number of RBC’s and Local Authorities have blocked sparklebox.co.uk until they are satisfied that suitable safeguarding arrangements are in place. CEOP supports this stance and would recommend that any schools who choose to overrule their central filtering lists give due consideration to a website specific school risk analysis and risk management plan.

Please use Sparklebox at your own discretion as I am not sure if it has been widely blocked here in Australia or not.

 

 

SparkleBox is a UK site that provides free teaching resources for Early Years Foundation (kinder – prep) and Key Stage 1 (years 1 and 2). All resources are applicable to Australian classrooms. 

Homepage
Homepage

With topics such as:

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Everyday life
  • Living things
  • Ourselves
  • Weather and seasons
  • Places
  • The past
  • Festivals and celebrations
  • Art and design
  • Physical education
  • LOTE

there are lots of resources to choose from.

Key Stage 2 resources (years 3-6) are also available. This site also provides signs, displays, certificates and awards that can simply be  printed out and used immediately. 

An excellent resource for all Primary school and Early Childhood teachers.

FUSE – Find, Use, Share, Education

Victoria’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has released stage one of their new website. FUSE; Find, Use and Share quality Education resources is set to be revolutionary for teachers by the time it is complete by early 2010. Even now, it has many features both for Victorian DEECD employed teachers and others outside of this system. Teachers can log in using their Edumail details to access extra content and features.

FUSE homepage

FUSE homepage

FUSE is the one place to get everything you need for teaching and learning. It also provides the ability to save, bookmark and package items for later access. So if you are looking for items such as URLs, documents and videos for teaching a unit of work, they can be found, saved and packaged for easy access at a later date. Teachers can also rate and comment on resources.

FUSE has been developed in conjunction with organisations such as the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the State Library of Victoria, Scienceworks and Museum Victoria

Innovation and Next Practice Branch Assistant General Manager Katrina Reynen at the release of FUSE

Innovation and Next Practice Branch Assistant General Manager Katrina Reynen at the release of FUSE

Teachers are ecouraged to upload to FUSE. Documents, URLs, videos and more are accepted in all types of formats.

FUSE is the total online planning tool that will be the virtual library inside the Ultranet, once the Ultranet is released. Teachers can begin using this fabulous tool now with the confidence that it will be a major part of the Ultranet.

Bright Ideas has already uploaded a document, a URL and a video to FUSE to share with other teachers.

Feature wiki – Preston Girls’ Secondary College

On their arrival at Preston Girls’ Secondary College earlier this year, teacher librarians Judith Way and Reina Phung grappled to get a handle on the curriculum requirements of the college. Job-sharing the 1.0 position, with no support staff, Judith and Reina found it difficult to find the time to meet with subject coordinators to ask for their input. Aware of the few audio visual resources and a collection that needed updating, they decided to set up a ‘Curriculum Audit’ wiki.

Not a link, just a screenshot of one of the pages from the wiki

Not a link, just a screenshot of one of the pages from the wiki

It was decided that the wiki was to be kept private, for the use and eyes of the  school staff only. Staff were emailed an introduction and request to contribute to the wiki. The email contained a word document attachment that included detailed instructions and screenshots on how to contribute to the wiki. Staff were then asked to contribute their thoughts on a number of questions:

  1. Do you need library resources for this topic/subject?
  2. What type of resources do you need? Please be explicit.
  3. Are you happy with the resources the library already has?
  4. What resources would you liked to be purchased or discovered?
  5. Do you have research skills embedded into the topic?
  6. Would you like to work with us to embed research skills into the topic?
  7. If you’d like help, when can we meet? Please nominate a time/date.
  8. How else can we help you in the teaching and learning process?

Some staff not only responded quickly and in some detail, but were enthused about the possibilities of wikis. One teacher, Les Kyle, proceeded to quickly create her own extremely detailed wiki for her VCAL class; the whole curriculum, topics and links to resources (with some contributions from Judith and Reina). This wiki was kept private within Preston Girls’ (using an email to the students’ email address inviting them to join the wiki) as full student names appeared on the wiki and discussions between teacher and students took place. Judith and Reina were proud to think that their Curriculum Audit wiki was the catalyst for Les’s fabulous wiki.

However, many staff did not know what a wiki was, and some had trouble even logging on. The ideal situation would have been an introductory session during a Curriculum Day for those interested/needing guidance. However as all Curriculum Days had been allocated to specific topics (Literacy), Judith and Reina continued to work one-to-one with interested teachers. Judith and Reina believe that something like the SLAV Web 2.0 course for teachers would be terrific, as they often felt that the majority of the teaching staff would benefit from the introduction to the Web 2.0 tools out there that can enhance teaching and learning.

The idea that wikis were the ideal tool for student/student and student/teacher (and teacher/teacher) collaboration was introduced to teachers. That students projects could be completed in teams, and the teacher automatically alerted by email to when contributions had been added. Students taking full responsibility for their own learning becomes apparent when those with access to the wiki can see (and also have email alerts) who has contributed what to the wiki. The way discussions and comments are structured means that students have to think about their responses, rather than perhaps plagiarise by cutting and pasting.

The bonus was that discussions about wikis and blogs now regularly take place and teachers who have not yet made a contribution to the wiki promise to do so when the VCE classes finish. The new ICT Coordinator has begun his own blog. And the teachers who contributed to the wiki will have the best resourced subjects in the school!

The only problem that Judith and Reina found was that the initial wiki grew so large that it had to be split into two; years 7-10 and years 11-12.