Wiki Walk-Through by Teachers First

Teachers First have put together Wiki Walk-Through to help teachers who are wanting to know about wikis and how to use them in their classrooms. The ‘Wiki ideas appropriate for most subjects and grade levels’ is great for people who know the basics and want to know how to integrate wikis into their classroom teaching and student learning. The site gives some fantastic classroom ideas for maths, science, social studies, language arts, and other subjects. Even if you are an advanced wiki user, this site can give you some new ideas for using the tool in the classroom. I really like the travel brochure idea in the language arts where the wiki is used to ‘advertise’ different literary, historical, and/or cultural locations and time periods, such as ‘Dickens’ London, fourteenth century in Italy in Verona and Mantua ( Romeo and Juliet),  The Oklahoma Territory, The Yukon during the Gold Rush, Ex-patriot Paris in the Twenties,  etc.’ .

Wiki Walk-Through

Maths Maps

Tom Barrett has created Maths Maps using Google Maps. The maps show the location, and the placemarks explain the math activities (placemarks are colour-coded according to year level, from year 1 to year 6). Each location deals with one topic. For example, there are ‘Measures in Madrid’, ‘Shapes in Paris’, ‘Data handling in Nottingham’, and ‘Addition in Adelaide’. What a fantastic way to interest students in math topics.

27 measures activities in Madrid

Maths Maps is a collaborative project that relies on teachers adding to the maps. So, if you let Barrett know the map you are interested in exploring with your class, he will make you an editor of that map. Have a look at the blog page for detailed information:

Maths Maps

Worth watching – Mike Matas: A next-generation digital book

Worth watchingThankyou to Lindy Hathaway for suggesting this Ted Talk video to subscribers of OZTL_NET (volume 87 issue 7).  The video is of Mike Matas, a software developer and co-founder of Push Pop Press, showing the first full-length interactive book for i-Pad (Our Choice by Al Gore) (filmed in March 2011). Have a look and see what you think. The comments below the video on the Ted Talk site are interesting to read. To view a trailer of the digital book Our Choice , click here.


Guest post: Junior M’s blogging and global collaboration, by Michelle Scott

Michelle Scott is a teacher at St. Luke the Evangelist School, Blackburn South, Victoria. Michelle has developed a bright, engaging blog with her junior class called Junior M’s Learning Journey that showcases their learning using web 2.0 technology. The class is also involved in a wonderful exchange activity that is connecting them globally. Michelle explains below:

In 2010 I completed the SLAV Web 2.0 course along with several other teachers at St Luke’s. At this time a blog was started for our two grade 1/2 classes – Junior’s Jig. My level partner Verona maintained the blog with my class chipping in posts every now and then. This year my class Junior M have the very own blog (we signed with blogger after much unsuccessful wrangling with wordpress), Junior M’s Learning Journey. My aim for the blog is to provide the St Luke’s community (parents, families and friends) and a gradually developing group of global friends (through twitter), an insight into the learning Junior M is engaged with most weeks.

Junior M's Learning Journey

Recently, my students made a significant connection with a school in Ontario, Canada with whom we are twitter-friends. After we posted questions on twitter to the Gill_Villeans they asked us if we’d like to host their class mascot, Gill the goldfish, and to add photos etc., of his adventures at St Lukes on their wiki. Their teacher is using this as a platform to further engage her students in writing.

Gill the goldfish goes global

Over the term holidays we will send our class mascot, Ella the echidna, to Canada. Students in Junior are fascinated with the process of receiving a package from overseas and have many ideas for how to host our visitor, which they actively implement.

I feel this process of blogging and commenting on blog posts extends the children, from enriching their thinking both laterally and critically, to exposing them to a world beyond their classroom. This in turn shows them how much in common we have with people around the world.

The understanding of differences and similarities that comes from global collaboration is priceless. Thankyou, Michelle, for sharing your teaching and learning with us. All the best to Ella on her big trip.

’55 interesting ways to support writing in the classroom’

55 interesting ways to support writing in the classroom (and counting) is a compilation created by Tom Barrett, that can be contributed to by whomever. It is a ‘this is brilliant’ Google Doc resource that is flying around Twitter and is being contributed to through crowdsourcing. It is part of Barrett’s ‘Interesting Ways’ series and is definately worth a long look. Literacy is cross-curricular, so remember to share this resource with all.

'55 interesting ways...'

Guest post: Class blog ‘Learning Together’ by Marie Kennedy

Marie Kennedy is a prep teacher at St. Luke the Evangelist School, Blackburn South, Victoria. Marie and her prep students’s class blog, Learning Together, is a wonderful example of how web 2.0 tools can be used to support and extend teaching and learning, and as a way to make connections:

Learning Together

I started my class blog following the SLAV Personal Learning Network PD I was a part of early in 2010, where I had learnt so much about Web 2.0 tools and the many benefits of blogging for Learning and Teaching. I was excited about the potential for local and global collaboration and creating strong links between home and school. I had always used ‘myclasses’ as a way to communicate with parents about what was happening in the classroom however I could see the enormous potential of creating a class blog.

As a Prep teacher I spend a lot of time modelling how to use a blog. Through this modelling the students are learning important protocols and safe behaviours when navigating the online world.  I am responsible for posting photos, writing most of the posts and moderating comments. My students take part by sharing reflections on their learning using tools such as voicethread, wallwisher and videos. I share their writing, reading, maths and art through slideshows. My students also become involved in commenting. I model the process and at this early stage of the year I type their thoughts and ideas. My students are articulating to a global community what they have discovered helping them to consolidate and deepen their understandings. Many visitors to our blog ask interesting questions that extends the students thinking and challenges them to consider new perspectives. These are some of the powerful advantages of blogging.

Learning Together -Science

While we have had success reaching out to the global community one of the challenges of blogging is involving our parent community. My major aim for developing a class blog was to connect with parents and families. To provide a springboard for conversation at home about what is happening at school and how the students are thinking and learning. While some parents do visit and comment I have had limited success with this. As a school we are hoping to provide a parent night on blogging to address this issue.

Learning Together - Better Buddies

Blogging allows for authentic and rich conversation both within and beyond our school community.

Thankyou, Marie, for sharing your fantastic work, and the work of your students. I particularly like how visually appealing Learning Together is, with the images of your students and their work. Your adopted pet Freddie, the spider, is a cute extra on the blog and a good way to create interest in any blog (e.g. name the virtual pet or avatar). Learning Together provides uses of web 2.0 tools that will offer inspiration to many.

Guest post: Inside a Dog with Heath Graham

Inside a DogThe Centre for Youth Literature’s (CYLInside a Dog website was launched last night at the Docklands. Heath Graham, the Learning Programs Officer for Online Education at State Library of Victoria, has kindly outlined what students and educators will be getting from the new Inside a Dog. In Heath’s words, “The old dog has learnt a whole bunch of new tricks”.

The new version of Inside a Dog maintains all of the features of the old site, adding new functionality to help readers to share what they love and discover new books. 

Inside a Dog

The biggest new feature on the site is the addition of member-run book clubs. If you are a fan of a particular author, genre, or series, you can now start your own Inside a Dog book club and find other like-minded readers to share ideas, post reviews, or show off your fan art. Book clubs can be either open membership, allowing any of the site’s users from around the world to join and contribute, or closed, requiring permission from the clubs’ creator to join.

Inside a Dog

Each site member will have their own page, listing reviews they have written, their favourite and recommended books, and the book clubs they are members of. “Star reviewers” will earn privileges, ranging from recognition on the site itself to copies of books to review.

In addition to individual pages for members, each book reviewed on the site will have its own page. Book pages will list all reviews of the book, along with any additional content supplied by publishers, including first chapters, book trailers, and audiobook snippets, and a list of recommendations and related titles.

Recognising the popularity of the site with teachers and librarians, the revamped site has curriculum-linked resources supporting the use of book clubs in the classroom, writing book reviews, and exploring the use of new media in creative responses to literature, as well as information for teachers on copyright and using online resources in the classroom.

Inside a Dog will continue to run a news blog, and the popular Writer in Residence feature, allowing readers to interact and join in a discussion with a new YA author every month. The Inky Awards, yearly reader-voted awards for favourite local and overseas book, and the Inkys Creative Reading Prize will also continue.

In addition to this new version of a favourite website, there have been other changes behind the scenes at the Centre for Youth Literature. Adele Walsh (aka blogger Persnickety Snark), has begun as the new CYL Program Coordinator, following Mike Shuttleworth’s resignation for personal reasons. Lili Wilkinson, herself an award-winning YA author, will also be leaving CYL to commence a creative writing PhD at the University of Melbourne. Both Lili and Mike have made enormous contributions to the Centre’s work, and they are wished the very best for their future endeavours. The Centre’s new status as a Key Organisation for the Australia Council for the Arts kicks off a new era for CYL in 2011. For more information please contact the Centre for Youth Literature on 03-86647262, or

Thankyou to Heath and the CYL team for providing such a fantastic website for readers to use, enjoy, and contribute to.

Animoto: A favourite of 2010

Animoto  changed the way we did things in the library at Mooroopna Secondary College in 2010. We used Animoto to create book trailers from photos, video clips, and music. Using the videos that animoto collated for us, we had a new way to connect to the students, one that far surpassed trying to talk to reluctant readers about a book that we thought they would like. Showing them a book trailer talks to them in ways we never could. Below is an example of a book trailer created by library staff in June 2010, for The Book of Lies by James Maloney:

We have found that many students connect with the book trailer format, as it is in the same vein as a movie trailer. Since using Animoto the library staff have presented book trailers to english literature circle classes to showcase novels (using the IWB). We have connected with authors, some of whom have kindly given us images to use in the book trailers of their books. Furthermore, we have been invited to go into the classrooms to show staff and students how to use this tool. The students, especially, like seeing each others completed Animotos. Currently, a media class is using Animoto to create cybersafety videos.

A question that is often asked is “how do we get our class signed up?”. One option I use is below:

* First sign up in Animoto for Education. This provides you with an education code to get Animoto Plus.

* Create a ‘fake’ account in gmail for your class, e.g.

* Sign yourself up to Animoto using this email address and the education code Animoto would have sent you via email.

Animoto sign-up

* Now, sign-up each of your students using your fake gmail account. To do this, you need to add a  ‘+1’, ‘+2’, ‘+3’ etc. to the email address for each student.  E.g. student 1’s email address would be:; student 2’s email address would be:; student 3’s email address would be, etc.. Don’t forget to include the education code when signing up.

* Don’t forget to write down the email address and password for each of your students.

* The benefit of having them all signed up like this is that each student’s Animoto video will go to the fake gmail account that you control. Therefore, you can monitor their use and assessing their work is made simpler.

I must admit, for large classes this is quite laborious, and if you could it would be easier to have each student sign themselves up using the email address (as above) that you assign them.

 Animoto is enjoyable to use, and at Mooroopna Secondary College we are now seeing students submit reviews for our review blog MSC’s licorice allsorts using this applicaiton (things were quite dry on that front!).

If you have a particularly favourite tool of 2010, please leave a comment and let us know.

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.

Update and final thoughts on Tania Sheko’s Flickr project

You may remember reading about Whitefriars College teacher librarian Tania Sheko‘s collaborative learning project using Flickr. The project has now concluded and a few of the students have shared their thoughts, reflections and ideas about what they loved most about the project.

Tania explains:

As part of the evaluation of this project, I interviewed a few students to get their feedback. You have no idea how long it took me to convert the interviews to film and embed them in this blog. Sorry about background noise!

Thanks to Tania and her students for a number of posts about the project from the beginning right through to the end. Sounds like it was a great success and thanks for sharing.