Miffy Farquharson and Bev Novak’s Prezi

Prezi is a zooming presentation application that allows you to show the connection between concepts as you zoom around the canvas. You are able to zoom in to focus on a piece of information, then zoom out to see the bigger picture. The prezi website provides a number of short videos that explain how to use the application.

Teacher librarians Miffy Farquharson and Bev Novak from Mentone Grammer (Mentone, Victoria) presented at the May SLAV conference Creative communication: A conference for library technicians and assistants on the topic ‘Social networking to publicise books’. To illustrate this talk, Miffy and Bev made a prezi. They have kindly allowed Bright Ideas viewers to see their prezi, and it is clear how effective a good prezi can be in conveying information and in capturing an audiences’ attention:

Thankyou Miffy and Bev, your prezi is fantastic. For those of us just starting to play with this application, your prezi shows us what is possible.

Pecha-Kucha in the classroom

Pecha-Kucha is a presentation format. In a nutshell, it is 20 slides x 20 seconds per slide = 6 minutes 40 seconds of concise presenting. RopyDavits does a brilliant job of describing how the time restrictions can be liberating as the presenter needs to harness their language to be precise and concise. In the classroom, the student will need to consider many different factors to make a worthy presentation, and they are going to have to practice! Have a look at RopyDavits’s YouTube video for some great ideas to having Pecha-Kucha in the classroom

Pecha-Kucha in the classroom


It is time to start thinking about Libraryhack, the amazing competition to create mashups and applications open to individuals or teams. This would be a fantastic competition for media students, or any students to partake in that show an interest in creating mashups and apps.

Competitors use data from participating libraries. These libraries include State Library of Victoria (SLV), State Library of South Australia, State Library of Queensland, State Library of Tasmania, State Library of Western Australia, State Library of New South Wales, National Library of Australia, and the National Library of New Zealand/Digital NZ. Datasets will be available from the Australian Government data repository, the New Zealand Government data repository, and through Digital NZ.

The ideas competition in now running.

The ideas competition runs from 8th February – 30th April 2011. The winning prize is $1000 for the best idea for a mashup or app.  All entries in this category must suggest using at least one dataset or content from at least one dataset, from one of the participating libraries. The datalists below are provided by Libraryhack to inspire entries in the ideas competition. SLV’s datasets are listed first. As the datasets become available a link will appear in the list.

Libraryhack - data

The Libraryhack competition will be held in May.

There will be mashup and hack events held across Australia. Check the Libraryhack website, or follow Libraryhack on twitter for venues near you. In Victoria, SLV is hosting ‘Libraryhack’:

When: Fri 20 – Sat 21 May, 10.30am – 5.30pm
Where: State Library of Victoria, Experimedia.
Tickets: Free, bookings required
Bookings: http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/event/libraryhack 

You will be able to access SLV’s library collection content and data in order to remix and create a new application, digital story, image, or other new content. These can then be entered into the libraryhack competition. Reminders will be posted closer to the event.

If you are unsure what a mashup, hack, or app looks like, check out the resources offered on the Libraryhack site.


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. litcirclesyear7@gmail.com.

* 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: litcirclesyear7+1@gmail.com; student 2’s email address would be: litcirclesyear7+2@gmail.com; student 3’s email address would be litcirclesyear7+3@gmail.com, 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.


I’ve been checking out Xtranormal for a long time now and think it’s a great way to introduce scripting, digital storytelling and film making to students.

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As the website says, “if you can type, you can make movies…”

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By selecting a collection and then characters, begin typing and away you go. Being able to select camera angles is a bonus.

As the website says

Xtranormal.com is a web-site powered by Xtranormal’s text-to-movie™ platform—a web-based application used to create short 3D animated movies from simple text-based movie-scripts. The characters in the movie speak the dialogue in the script, and react to performance triggers—icons that are dropped directly into the script, just like smileys in IM/chat. Movies can be shared through e-mail, blogs and online video sharing and social networking sites such as YouTube™, MySpace™ and Facebook™.

Xtranormal has its own YouTube channel and you can get updates from their Twitter account. Xtranormal could be a terrific way for students to interpret historical events or to present an assignment.

I’m thinking of using it for library orientation and as a fun way to introduce professional learning to teachers.

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.


Have you had students creating videos as part of their learning? Looking for a safe site for students to upload their videos? KidsTube may be helpful. KidsTube is a “monitored video sharing (site) for kids”.

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As a site designed for children, all video content is monitored by a team to ensure suitability for the intended audience.

The about page explains more:

KidsTube.com is a monitored video sharing website designed for kids. All user-generated content on KidsTube is monitored by our staff to ensure a family-friendly experience for users of all ages. At KidsTube, our members are encouraged to explore their creativity and share their ideas with other kids from all over the world.

How did KidsTube.com begin?

KidsTube.com was started out of concern for BJ & Laurie’s son Ezra. Ezra began showing interest in playing guitar and was going to other popular video-sharing sites to find guitar instructional videos. The Crocker’s quickly found out that these other sites were a breeding ground for profanity, negativity, and just outright mean-spirited conversations between members. There were several discussions about a kid-friendly video site where kids were free to upload their own videos, converse with other members about their videos, and most importantly, be encouraged to use their imaginations, and learn valuable technical skills with video cameras, computers, and more.

Is KidsTube.com Safe for my Child?

The staff at KidsTube.com consists of parents and grandparents and our main goal in creating KidsTube.com was to provide a safe place for kids to be creative online. Our staff is constantly monitoring video submissions, user comments, personal messages between members, and any other user-generated content displayed on KidsTube. This creates a safe, positive environment where kids can feel free to be creative, share their ideas, and get positive feedback from other members. We encourage our members to always respect each other when leaving comments and that constructive criticism is fine, but negative comments will not be permitted.

KidsTube could be a site worth investigating if you would like your students to publish and share their work with others within a monitored environment.


Recently, The Nerdy Teacher Nick Provenzano posted an article on Fotobabble on his excellent blog.

Further uses include narrated postcards for Geography, commenting on photos for History, quick book reviews, commenting on art works – the uses are endless!

Fotobabbles can be embedded into blogs, wikis and other websites and shortly there will be the option of creating slideshows.

Students can use their own photos or those from copyright free or Creative Commons websites and then record a narration. Fotobabbles may be kept private, just remember to ensure the privacy box is ticked and click ‘save’. As with most social media sites, there is a way of reporting objectionable content, but there is no way of ensuring students don’t find any, unless you investigate first and supervise use.

Using Fotobabble in class could be a good introduction to Creative Commons and the moral and legal use of images.


Prezi is a very interesting presentation tool. This Prezi by Adam Somlai Fischer explains more:

Finished Prezis can be embedded into websites, accessed online via a URL or can even be saved to use offline. This can be a godsend if you are delivering a presentation and don’t want to have to rely on internet access.

The great news this week is that Prezi has released educational accounts. Previously all prezis had to be public. Now schools have the chance for students to use Prezi, but only share their presentation with selected people.  Prezi EDUEnjoy is free.

Although a little tricky to begin with, watching the Prezi tutorial videos and spending an hour or so just playing with Prezi will really pay off. There are free accounts as well as ones that do cost due to extra features.

Thanks to Dianne McKenzie (@dimac4) and Glenys Lowden (@glenyslowden) for the heads up on Prezi.