Games in Education

Games in Education is a brilliant wiki by Adrian Camm (educator, innovator, presenter). As Camm says on the site, “Using gaming as a vehicle for learning is a very powerful idea and one that is under-utilised”. Gaming is possibly under-utilised because many eductors do not know the games that will help students learn and be something that the students are interested in playing. Enter Games in Education. The wiki provides lists of games to suit particular learning areas, such as mathematics, literacy, and global issues. Suggested year levels for each game, how the game relates to the curriculum, and links to further information make this wiki such a great resource. Have a look at the ‘Game Creation Tools’ to get your students creative juices really flowing. Camm also includes current research into gaming and education. You can add to this wiki and if you have any questions Camm provides his contact email on the main page. So, no excuses. Let your students and yourself have some fun, and get gaming.  

Games in Education

Get the DiRT on this

DiRT is the Digital Research Tools wiki. It is designed to collect information on tools and resources for scholars, but many tools suit the needs of the primary and secondary classrooms. DiRT provides a directory of tools organised by activity, such as ‘author an interactive work’, ‘collect data’, ‘create a mashup’, and ‘search visually’.


The team behind DiRT includes academic librarians with expertise in the humanities, science, and business. Most of the tools listed are free, and the editors insist that those that are not free are worth the money. If you are interested in contributing to the wiki, instructions are provided on the front page.

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.

PGSC Reading wiki

A wiki suggesting alternative ways to respond to texts has been developed by Preston Girls’ Secondary College.

PGSC reading wiki 1

The idea behind the wiki is to show both students and teachers creative ways to respond to texts. The wiki includes examples of how students have responded via tools such as:

PGSC  reading wiki glogs

A big thank you to @thenerdyteacher Nick Provenzano for sharing his students’ Prezis on The Great Gatsby. You can view more student responses (including YouTube clips) on his excellent blog.

PGSC reading wiki prezis

Hopefully students will be excited to show teachers and parents their understanding of texts through creating and publishing presentations. Schools could use the presentations on their websites and/or parent information night.

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.