SLAV Connects is a blog by the School Libraries Association of Victoria (SLAV), formerly named Bright Ideas when a collaboration between SLAV and the State Library of Victoria (SLV). Its aim is to share news from the Association and to encourage teacher librarians, librarians, school library staff, educators and all interested persons to actively engage with the school libraries, to share tools and experiences; to network on a global scale; and to embrace dynamic teaching and learning opportunities.
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.
AudioPal is a free website that enables you to easily add audio to your blog or website.
Users can record and use their own voice on their website, or select from numerous voices available on AudioPal. If you select to use a pre-recorded voice, you simply type in the text of what you want your visitors to hear. If you want to hear you own voice, you can record via microphone or upload an audio file. (US users can dial a US phone number and record audio via the telephone.)
You are then emailed a code to that lets you access a widget that can be embedded into your site. There is an example in the right hand side of this blog. (For edublogs or globalteacher, select “other” and “embed” to get the correct code to embed.) Here is an example:
AudioPal also has speaking characters, similar to Vokis.
Buckley Park College Librarian and Web 2.0 whizkid Leslie Sharples helped with the introduction of wikis to College staff in the first week of the school year. Pauline Kossis, the Assessment and Reporting Coordinator and Senior Accounting Teacher immediately grabbed the idea of using a wiki with her class and ran with it.
Pauline explains how her wiki came about. ‘I became excited with the thought that wikis could combine all of the features I was looking for as a teacher and for my students to access information and share their knowledge.’
She continues,’ Previously I was setting dates and times to be online so I could assist students with their exercises, but this was solely one on one and other students were not privy to the information. While my wiki is a starting point for students to access resources, links and classroom activities 24-7, they can collaboratively explore the various topics covered in Accounting 3. I have just finished inviting my class in and eventually, there will be an inclusion of more resources, eg. vokis to highlight key concepts covered, current articles, PowerPoint presentations, as well as questionnaires to rate their learning experiences(ie.what went well and what topics could be explained further).’
Pauline says, ‘Students will provide some of the work that will be displayed on the site also e.g. Chapter summaries (these will be used for revision). The same process will be duplicated with all my other classes.’
Leslie Sharples says that Pauline’s wiki is making a real difference to her students. Well done to Leslie for introducing wikis to the staff and to Pauline for her excellent ideas and commitment to developing exciting educational learning for her students.
At the end of 2008, Julie Squires and Mark Phillips from Casey Grammar School were awarded the then Education Channel’s (now Connect) ‘Webquest of the Year Award’ for their Webquest “Earth 2.0 Headquarters – Is it possible to create a completely sustainable planet?”
Earth 2.0: is it possible to create a completely sustainable planet?
Julie, then teacher librarian and Mark, then Head of Humanities decided to collaborate on a project that the year 10s could undertake. Julie explains, ‘I was really motivated to have a go at entering the then Education Channel/SLAV Webquest of the Year Competition (now Connect/SLAV). Although time was short, we got our page together and had a number of students ‘test drive’ and critique the site.’ The students suggested that Julie and Mark add more games and make it ‘more fun’.’
The Webquest has a lot of links, mostly devised by Julie and Mark. These include a wiki, several vokis, trading cards and a blog.
Earth 2.0 wiki
After taking the students ideas into consideration, Julie and Mark completed the site and entered it into the competition. The rest is history! Julie and Mark created their Webquest using the Pageflakes Web 2.0 resource. Congratulations to Julie and Mark for creating a vibrant and engaging piece of work for their students. Their recognition by winning the 2008 Webquest and Beyond! Competition was richly deserved.
Voki is a resource that enables users to create a talking avatar, a fun way to jazz up (dare I say pimp?) your blog.
There are lots of avatar types to choose from; people, animals, anime characters and so on. Once you have chosen your avatar, you can change the colour of its hair, its lips, select glasses and so on. You can also select the type of background; holidays, travel, outdoors, sports, nightlife or insert a background from your own picture collection. Voices and accents can be selected if you decide to type your message in via the computer keyboard. Otherwise you can record your own voice via mobile phone or microphone. The Bright Ideas voki took about five minutes to create, have a look here and also at the one on the sidebar.)
Sue Waters has created a post explaining how to add the voki to Edublogs, WordPress or Global teacher. Following her instructions, adding the voki was simple and took about two minutes. Helen Otway also lists interesting ways you can use vokis in the classroom (please note the terms and conditions of Voki; students must be over the age of 13 to sign up for an account):
Students can create avatars that are similar in looks or personalities and record a message that tells about themselves.
Students can exchange these avatars with e-pals either within their own setting or anywhere in the world.
Students can generate questions to ask their avatar e-pals.
ESL (English as a Second Language) students can use the speaking avatars to practice and listen to their speech. They may use the computerised voice first then record their own voice when they feel more comfortable. Writing, reading and pronunciation are all practised.
Students can create an avatar that resembles a character from a story, add a setting and give it speech. The speech could be from the story or a creative point of view (POV) from the character on an event.
Vokis can be a fun way to communicate and the advantage is that students can maintain their anonymity when publishing to the world.