Poetry mash up: Leanne Hampson

The Resourcehound

Leanne Hampson (aka The Resourcehound) from Brauer Secondary College recently completed the PLN program and is experimenting with web tools in her library and classroom. Her guest post today talks about how to create poetry mash ups with students.

Recently I was studying poetry with my year 9 English class, mainly focussing on analysing particular poems. Most students seem to find it difficult to create their own poetry and I certainly find it very difficult to assess (poetry is such a personal thing, don’t you think?). Then I happened across a Bright Ideas post about the Phat Poetry site and although I couldn’t seem to get the mash up function to work (more investigation required!), it was the spark I needed.

One thing I have discovered is that while students can use some computer programs well, they needed a lot of guidance and suggestions on how they might present their mash ups. Whenever I promote a particular web tool or program I like to demonstrate it to the students as well (the old, ‘and I expect yours to be much better than mine…’). This meant creating some mash ups of my own. This was quite addictive and I spent far too long on my ‘demos’ when I should have been writing reports…oh well.

Students used two texts with a similar theme but they could choose these themselves. I recommended they select song lyrics they felt strongly about and then we went to the library and searched the poetry collection for something that matched. Then students had to take lines from each text, find images and music to match the feel and atmosphere and then decide on a program to create their mash up. I recommended to students that they use either Photostory, Animoto, Movie Maker or Glogster. All of these have the capacity to combine text, images and sound together. I made examples in Photostory, Animoto and Glogster to show them.

Some issues we had were that Animoto tended to ‘eat’ their internet quota pretty quickly and its ability to add text is limited. But it does come out looking absolutely smashing! Glogster is also simple to create but I did struggle with how to let students share their work. I think this was because I was unfamiliar with the new Edu Glogster though, rather than a limitation of the site. Photostory was very straightforward and was probably the most successful of the three. We worked together to solve issues and had a great time in class looking at everyone’s work.

Overall the students were very engaged. They loved using their computers and the final products were impressive. It is amazing how effective the new texts were. One student used poetry written by her grandmother and even the ‘I hate poetry’ boys got enthused. I also used Rubistar to create an assessment rubric for the task (if you’d like a copy, contact me via my blog, The Resourcehound, or Twitter, @LHampso).

Here is an example I made using Animoto. It features ‘Been Caught Stealing’ by Jane’s Addiction and the poem ‘Stealing’ by Carol Ann Duffy.

PLN reflection: Catherine Morton

This year’s Personal Learning Network (PLN) program recently ended with over 150 people taking part. In the next few weeks Bright Ideas will feature guest posts from PLN alumni with the first being from Catherine Morton from Whitefriars College.

This year l completed the Personal Learning Network (PLN).

In May I wrote my first blog post…

“I’ve recently returned to teaching after working in the wonderful public library world. In my new position as a teacher librarian in a secondary college, l’m interested in exploring and learning the Web 2.0 world and am excited about the potential applications in my work with students and teachers. I’m feeling a little hesitant as l’m sure there’ll be challenges along the way. I’ve had some already. So the opportunity to learn from you all and my colleagues, who are well along the Web 2.0 road, will help my travels. Look forward to meeting you along the way”.

But by my last post in November…

“To think l’ve completed the PLN and about to post my digital story! It’s a great sense of satisfaction and achievement. It’s interesting that the frustrations, the enormity of the workload and the feeling of being overwhelmed have faded into the background.

I chose Animoto as it’s relatively easy to use and l’m quite happy with the results. There are some features that could be improved, however it’s a tool that l would use with students. The PLN program has been just like travelling, being introduced to new places and people, experiencing things for the first time and all of the emotions associated with travelling. The music l selected is titled ‘Flying’ by Mike Strickland, which l feel is quite a reflective piece and also a very appropriate title. Not that it was always a smooth flight as l weathered storms, heavy rain and grey days, along with sunshine and blue sky!

It’s been a year of so many learnings. Thanks to the PLN support team at the SLV. Your guidance, encouragement and support have been greatly appreciated. Thanks to the wider PLN community for your generosity in sharing knowledge and supporting my journey. There are improved outcomes for both me as a teacher and the students. I’ll always continue to travel.”

Some of my reflections on the PLN – I’ve gained more confidence with Web 2.0 tools, and have used some of these tools, both in the library and in my teaching. Now l feel l’m one step ahead of the students. I used the SLV ergo website to teach research skills to Learning Support students. I’ve benefited professionally by joining Twitter. I’ve also benefited personally from the PLN as I’m setting up a blog for my upcoming overseas trip! My goal is to continue to explore, learn and assist with educating students and colleagues in using these tools. If we have the ability to locate information, we can find anything.

The PLN program will be running again in 2013. For further information email learning@slv.vic.gov.au

Bright ideas at my school: Ria Coffey

Ria Coffey from St Patricks College (SPC) in Ballarat talks about a simple but effective way to support broader staff use of technology and to increase the library’s profile in your school.

As part of our library’s strategy to be “fierce” (Dr.Joyce Valenza), to become experts in e-learning and to suggest tools to help develop information literacy school wide, I send out a weekly email to all staff called ‘SPC Bright Ideas’. It’s modelled on the Bright Ideas blog and talks about online tools and how to use them in the classroom.

I keep it short and consistent in style, it’s emailed at the same time each week and it’s always checked over by the school IT staff.  I get ideas from lots of different sources including Twitter, Bright Ideas and Dr. Joyce Valenza and Buffy Hamilton’s wikis. I also subscribe to a number of weekly feeds that generate heaps of ideas.

Staff at the school have been very receptive, especially those who’ve found an idea relevant to their work and have connected it to their teaching and learning. Ideally, I’d get to more Faculty meetings so I could discuss how and where these ideas could be implemented into curriculum.

All the SPC Bright Ideas are also added to the Library website for reference.

Here’s an example of a recent SPC Bright Idea.

SPC Bright Idea

This week’s SPC Bright Idea focuses on the use of Wall Wisher.  Wall Wisher is an online tool that allows contributions via sticky notes to a collaborative “wall”.  The teacher sets up a page, instructs students to access the URL and then contributions can be made by teacher and student.  (The notes posted by students must be approved by the teacher before they are displayed publicly).  A great tool for brainstorming and discussions, it is accessible at http://www.wallwisher.com/

Here is one my Year 9 class and I did this week:

Wall wisher example

Any more good books, Miss?

Continuing from our previous guest post by Bev Novak: a list of great tools that help students find books to suit them.

A simple but terrific site is What should I read next? Start typing the title or the author of a book you like and select the link that comes up to see heaps of suggested titles to read next. By selecting the little book icon next to the book title, the screen flips to Amazon where it’s possible to read reviews of the book prior to purchasing or searching for the book in your favourite library.

Maybe students would prefer locking into a social networking site such as You are what you read? Find out what others are reading – celebrities, authors, educators or librarians – by creating and sharing a ‘bookprint’ based on your five favourite books. See which books have been listed and liked the most. Search by book titles or people’s names and see others who have similar reading interests as the reader you are browsing. Alternately select a book cover to read more about it and then identify it as one of your favourites.


I also came across whichbook – a tool which allows you to find that elusive book to suit your tastes. Have fun playing with descriptors which help narrow down a book that fits with your taste or mood. Select descriptors such as ‘happy or sad’, ‘funny or serious’, ‘easy or demanding’ , ‘optimistic or bleak’ and then move the indicator tab to reflect how happy or sad you want the book to be, select GO and voila, book recommendations flow onto the screen. Not interested in creating your own book list? No worries! Just select anyone of the catchy categories such as ‘Slapstick’, ‘Short and sweet’, ‘Laugh your pants off’, ‘Weird and wonderful’ to see prepared recommendation lists. You’re bound to find something that tickles your fancy!


Literature Map is another cool way to help put your hands on a next good read. To use, just type in the name of an author you enjoy reading and then watch a bunch of author names spiral onto the screen. The closer the names, the more similar the writers. It’s a great way to prod the memory for ‘like’ authors. And don’t be shy – add authors not already in the database so that the many quality Australian authors get recognized on this great website.

Use these websites and tools to entertain, impress, excite and entice students about the wealth of literature that is just waiting to be read. Answer students’ requests by not only recommending a good book that you’re pretty sure they’ll like, but by teaching them how to use these sites to find the next good book for themselves. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Currently working as a Teacher Librarian at Mentone Grammar, Bev Novak is former Head of Library of two other Independent Schools in Melbourne. You can read more of Bev’s posts about books and reading on BevsBookBlog.

What’s a good book to read, Miss?

This week, a two-part post on encouraging reading, by Bev Novak

How many times have you been asked for a good book recommendation?

I don’t know about you, but often times, I go blank and quickly dive for the nearest computer so that I can trawl through my lengthy book log – the one I started many years ago – to jog my memory of books I’ve read.

But nowadays I find I can respond to that request in a much more exciting way.   There’s a plethora of sites out there that are fun, colourful, appealing and current. Not only do students get a kick out of exploring these sites, but along the way, they can be enticed and inspired to read.

One that immediately springs to mind is BookFlavor which greets you with an array of book covers – lots and lots of them – just waiting to be browsed and explored.


By selecting a book cover, you will be taken to not only a summary, but also a host of reviews of the book – some of which are taken directly from GoodReads.

Know the name of a book?  Type it in and see what appears!   It’s amazing to see the range and number of book covers for the same title.  Don’t find anything enticing?  Just keep pulling the scroll bar down.  The more you scroll down, the more book covers load.

BookFlavor allows  you to search not only by title and author, but also by genre – science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller – you name it they are all there.   Try adding in the search term ‘Young Adult’ ahead of the genre.   You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

If you’re looking for something less flashy though, you may want to try Any new books?.  Simply register your email address, select from an extensive list of genres that interest you and enjoy receiving a list of new book titles emailed to you on a weekly basis.  How cool is that?


We’ll bring you more of Bev’s recommended reading tools later in the week.

Currently working as a Teacher Librarian at Mentone Grammar, Bev Novak is former Head of Library of two other Independent Schools in Melbourne.  You can read more of Bev’s posts about books and reading on BevsBookBlog.

QR codes: Ria Coffey

Guest blogger Ria Coffey, teacher librarian at St Patrick’s College in Ballarat, shares some ideas about using QR codes.

QR codes (abbreviated from Quick Response codes) are a great way to communicate with students and staff.  QR codes are a form of barcode you can link to things like websites and read with your smart phone.

They have become popular because they can transmit a lot of information, including geo-coordinates, urls and text.  You may have seen QR codes in magazine adverts, on a billboard or website.

To create a QR code, use a QR code generator like Kaywa.

Kaywa QR code generator

For example, this is a simple message I made for students at my school.

QR code example

To read the code, download a free application from the iTunes store to your smart phone.  QR codes are free and fun to use and the students love reading the messages.

SLAV conference reflections: Hamish Curry

Hamish Curry, Education Manager at the State Library of Victoria shares his reflections on Monday’s SLAV conference where he presented on how to create with library data.

About 200 library technicians and assistants arrived at Etihad Stadium on Monday 17th October to hear more on SLAV’s theme of  ‘Activate the learning with emerging technologies’.

As always, the SLAV conference engaged us with tools, ideas, resources, and networks. There were a series of great presentations from the likes of Jenny Ashby (Epsom Primary School), Greg Gebhart (Australian Communications and Media Authority), and Camilla Elliott (Mazenod College).

Jenny Ashby took centre stage in the morning to help the audience ‘Activate your 21st Century Mobile Libraries’. There could have been no better example of this than in her great discussion of ways in which QR (Quick Response) codes could be adapted for and embedded in library practices. As her presentation progressed, with QR Codes displayed on the screen, audience members madly lifted their smart-phones into the air to decode and access the content.  My take-away from Jenny’s presentation is how easy it now is to integrate mobile phones into the normal business and learning of the school environment. Some of her great links included:

QR Code generators – Kaywa and Gorillascan

QR Treasure Hunt Generator – Class tools QR treasure hunt generator

After morning tea, Camilla Elliott did an outstanding job filling in for John Pearce, who was a late scratching. With a strong focus on motivating us to learn more about how Google works, Camilla also highlighted some excellent search tools that acted as great educational alternatives to Google, such as Boolify , Sweet Search, and DuckDuckGo.

Greg Gebhart from ACMA woke us all up with some startling realities about young people engaging with social media and various networks online. It was hard not to feel frightened of the online environment and worried about the growing numbers of primary school students participating online without guidance from teachers and parents. Cybersmart provides some useful resources and information to address these concerns, but ultimately it is the challenge of educators and libraries to model and mentor digital citizenship and digital literacy for all students.

The afternoon was a mind-blowing smorgasbord of presentations from Judith Way (Kew High School), Tania Sheko (Whitefriars College), Tony Richards (IT Made Simple), Vincent Trundle (ACMI) and Camilla Elliott. I attended Camilla’s presentation and it was chock-full of great sites and resources around maps. Highlights included NearMap, ScribbleMaps and Google Lit Trips.

My own presentation was titled “I’m a Library Hack!” and aligned with a number of the topics from the other presentations around the use of maps, augmented reality, social media, and library data to help engage and enrich the experiences of teachers and students within the school and online environments. A key focus was the Libraryhack competition run by the National State Libraries of Australasia earlier this year. My presentation is available here.

You can also follow some of the conversation from the day on the Twitter hashtag #slavconf.

PLN: giving us the power

Today, guest blogger Leanne Hampson, aka ‘the resource hound’, from Brauer Secondary College in Warrnambool, reflects on her recent experiences in the 2011 PLN.

The fact that I have been asked to do a guest post for the Bright Ideas Blog is testament to the power of the PLN. I have always been interested in ICT but had never been able to find just the right push, just the right support network or just the right guidance. The PLN has been all that and more. I thought I might share with you some of the successes I have had because of the PLN.

Firstly there is my WordPress  blog ‘theresourcehound’. Here I have focused on blogging about great resources and great tools. A lot of these have been discovered via the Units we have studied or as I have dug my way around the net, followed other people’s suggestions or chased links posted in Twitter and other places. Whilst it doesn’t have a huge following (as yet!) it has been great to use as a way of ‘storing’ these resources, even if just for myself!

Post from the resource hound blog

Then there has been my increase in confidence.  I have tried new things in my classes, usually with great success, even if I haven’t been exactly the expert. Students are quite accepting of ‘I don’t know, let’s work it out together’ and the shift from me having to be the all knowing guru to ‘we’re in this together’ has been liberating.

I have also found the confidence to start passing the knowledge on – this week I begin running my own professional development sessions for interested staff, of whom there are several already. Tonight’s session will begin with ‘Twitter for professional development.’ As a result of the PLN Facebook page (a fantastic support) I have started my own page for the people who come to the PD. It is called Brauer ICT Explorers.

One of the other good things about the PLN has been that I have made connections to things that will continue my journey even after the PLN itself runs its course. I have subscribed to blogs and groups that keep feeding me new things to explore or try.

The PLN has been a big commitment in time and energy. I doubt anyone would dispute that fact! The rewards, though, have been little short of spectacular.

Congratulations to Leanne and all the 2011 PLN participants.

Leanne’s blog, the resource hound, is just what the name implies – a great place to visit for new and interesting resources and practical tips.

Guest Post: BialikTV by David Feighan

David Feighan, director of Libraries and Learning Resources at Bialik College, Hawthorn, Victoria, has been kind enough to do a guest post about BialikTV. BialikTV is a place where the college celebrates learning, reading, and literature.

BialikTV was created in response to the fact that content is becoming more varied, more immediate, and more multimedia. Students are still working with text, but increasingly they are also working with images, sound recordings and audio-visual content. As a result there is a change in how people find information, with YouTube now recognised as the second largest search engine after Google. As a library that thinks about how information creation, distribution and use is changing; we need to understand and be on top of these major trends. What is the role of the library in a post text multimedia world? How do we collect and integrate text and multimedia? What metadata do we use to facilitate access to multimedia content? How do we include the growing amount of multimedia citizen journalist content into our collections? How do we ensure we are using authoritative content? What will a school library collection look like in 5 or 10 years’ time?

BialikTV is also where we celebrate learning, reading and literature at Bialik College. As such it is a platform where we can host and celebrate the student’s work,  for example the book trailers students create. To protect the children’s identity, and to prevent inappropriate comments, no children’s faces are shown, and the ability to comment has been removed from BialikTV.

Further reading:

· http://www.reelseo.com/youtube-search-engine-domination

· http://www.smartinsights.com/search-marketing-alerts/youtube-as-search-engine

· http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2078931/YouTube-Updates-Logoless-Player-HD-Previews-As-Seen-On-Pages

· http://socialtimes.com/youtube-and-the-future-of-citizen-journalism_b15810

Well done to David and the Library staff at Bialik College for creating BialikTV and for using it in such a wonderful way.