Feature wiki – Casey Grammar School

Casey Grammar School Head of Secondary School Teaching and Learning and teacher librarian Julie Squires has developed a very useful wiki for her year 11 English class.

Wiki homepage
Wiki homepage
Julie explains, ‘Although I created the wiki specifically for my class, I made it public so that any English teacher and/or student can use it. I am introducing my students to the wiki slowly; they need to complete their VCE profiles via the wiki and I want them to get used to doing homework online. I want the students to take responsibility for their own learning. I am encouraging them to use tools such as Essay map and bubbl.us to plan their essays online. Students can contribute to the ‘Reading/responding resource bank’ so that others can see what their classmates are doing. I really hope it becomes a collaborative effort between them as often students don’t realise what their classmates are writing and thinking. It’s not cool to share too much in class, so hopefully this way they can experience the power of learning collaboratively.’
Useful online resources

Useful online resources

Julie continues, ‘And by giving them links to useful resources, like Glogster and Ergo, I am helping them find resources they would not necessarily come across themselves.’

Congratulations to Julie for her great ideas, creativity and for sharing her wonderful wiki with us. Julie really is a leader in her field! If you have a moment, check out her ning, a place for Victorian teacher librarians to meet and share.

Schoolyard Blitz @ Mooroolbark College

Last year Mooroolbark College teachers Jodie Tilley and Pennie White developed a wonderful WebQuest. This WebQuest was an award winner in the Education Channel (now Connect) and SLAV WebQuests and Beyond 2008 competition.  

Schoolyard Blitz! home
Schoolyard Blitz! home

Jodie explains how the WebQuest came about. ‘The Yarra Valley eLearning Community implemented a 1:2 laptop program for year 7 and 8 in seven schools including Mooroolbark College and was running PD to support the curriculum development needed. I am a maths teacher at Mooroolbark College. I attended a professional development session run by Pennie White on Student Collaborative Projects with an emphasis on WebQuests. Pennie White was a Development Manager for the Yarra Valley eLearning Community and was based at Mooroolbark College at the time. During this session, I became interested in using WebQuests with my class but was pretty disappointed at the lack of Maths WebQuests available. Pennie and I decided to work together to make a Maths WebQuest and this is how ‘Schoolyard Blitz’ was created. Having Pennie as an eLearning Coach in my school enabled this great project to get off the ground. Without the joint expertise and time invested this innovative curriculum would not have come about.’

Task page

Jodie says, ‘I was interested in finding a creative way to teach measurement to my Year 7 students. After brainstorming together we decided that students could design an outdoor area of the school. Pennie thought that Google Sketch-up would be the ideal 3D modelling program that students could use to do this. The best thing about this quality program is that it’s free and comes with video tutorials. This meant that we as teachers did not have to fully know how to use the program ourselves!’

Process page

Process page

Jodie continues, ‘The WebQuest itself presents a scenario to students where they work in teams of three or four to design an outdoor space of the school with a budget of 100,000. Students worked as architects, accountants, designers and computer model creators on this four-week assignment. Students had to measure the dimensions of the physical space. They had to create a scaled drawing on graph paper and develop their design for the space. They had to use the Internet (with a hotlist provided by the WebQuest) to cost the equipment, furniture and materials needed.’  

Assessment page

Evaluation page

Jodie explains, ‘They then used Google Sketch-up to create a virtual 3D model of their design. They had to present their submission using PowerPoint to the rest of the class. I ran this WebQuest with my year seven class with great success. The students were highly motivated and were even seen working on this in their lunchtimes.’

Jodie has also provided a list of VELS Standards addressed in the WebQuest:

  • Strand: Discipline Based – Domain: Mathematics – Dimensions: Number, Measurement, Space and Working Mathematically
  • Strand: Interdisciplinary Learning – Domain: Information and Communication Technology – Dimension: ICT for Creating
  • Strand: Physical, Personal and Social Learning – Domain: Interpersonal Development – Dimension: working and learning in teams

Well done to Jodie and Pennie for creating such an interesting and engaging WebQuest and for winning a Smartboard in the Education Channel (now Connect) and SLAV WebQuests and Beyond 2008 competition. Hopefully this will inspire Victorian educators to submit their Web 2.0 projects to the Connect and SLAV Web 2.0 2009 competition.

Feature wiki – Pascoe Vale Primary School

Margo Edgar of Pascoe Vale Primary School has worked on creating e-books with year five and year six this term. The project was to create photo stories of the solar system, which are now accessible through Margo’s wiki.

Margo Edgar's wiki featuring e-books

Margo Edgar's wiki

Margo explains the process the students went through. ‘The students were given the following instructions:

  • Your task is to collaborate with your group to create a presentation that communicates your understanding and explains a process that happens in our Solar System, or the answer to a question about our Solar System.
  • They could be created using Photostory (free download from Microsoft), Voicethread or other options as negotiated. (All but one group chose to use Photostory).

‘Presentations had to include:

  • Drawings and/or diagrams
  • Drawings needed to sequentially show the process that was being explained

‘Written text that follows an explanation text structure (this had been taught previously). They were expected to include an introduction, body sections that followed a logical sequence and explained step by step and a conclusion.’

Margo continues, ‘The students were expected to research their chosen topic (process/question) and then used Inspiration to flow chart the plan for their text (this was following on from previous work we had completed on planning and writing texts).

‘Once they completed their drawings the students scanned or photographed them, then imported them into the groups chosen program and added their text to create the final product. Each group was given the task of evaluating another group’s completed product and reporting back to the class on their evaluation.’ All presentations were then uploaded to TeacherTube for sharing with the wider world.

‘Whilst I have not specifically completed the SLAV Web 2.0 course – I have trained myself in the use of a lot of Web 2.0 tools over the last few years and explored ways to use them in the classroom.’

Thank you to Margo for not only sharing her success with using Photostory and TeacherTube, but for sharing her wiki as well. From the finished products, it is evident that students found the task engaging. Well done Margo.

CMap tools

CMap tools is a free Web 2.0 tool that helps users create, navigate, share and critique concept/mind maps. The Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) have developed this program and encourage users involved in education to download to as many computers as they wish (for free).  A university affiliated research institute, IHMC is a not for profit organisation administered by Florida University System and is affiliated with several Florida universities.

CMap tools home
CMap tools home

Concept or mind maps have been popular for a while now, and being able to work collaboratively on them is a bonus. The ability to access the saved maps of others is a terrific teaching and learning tool. Students can critique completed maps and understand what is required of a great map before they begin.

Information on the IHMC website says:

  • IHMC faculty and staff collaborate extensively with industry and government to develop science and technology that can be enabling with respect to society’s broader goals. IHMC researchers receive funding (current funding in force exceeds $22,000,000) from a wide range of government and private sources. IHMC research partners have included: DARPA, NSF, NASA, Army, Navy, Air Force, NIMA, NIH, DOT, IDEO, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, Fujitsu, Procter & Gamble, Boeing, Lockheed, SAIC, and IBM among others.

Sounds impressive. You do have to download the program, which takes about 50 minutes. That is a problem for schools, but if your IT people can download it to a server and install an icon on desktops, that solves a few problems.

HTC library

HTC library

When trying to find maps that have been uploaded by other users, rather than use the ‘Shared CMaps in Places’, it is easier to go to ‘tools’ then ‘search’ and type in what you are looking for. Refine your search by selecting ‘Select resource types to return’ and click on concept maps. Otherwise a list of other resources will appear.

Some people may remember the program entitled Inspiration that came on CD Rom. CMap tools seems to be the Web 2.0 version of that. Why don’t you have a play and when you feel confident, give it a go with your students? There are a number of Youtube videos to show you how to use CMap tools, Creating concepts and propositionsIntroduction to the views window  and Adding resources are just a few. They are great visual aids to assist you (and your students) when starting to use CMap tools.

Please submit comments if you do use CMap tools.

Why use Bright ideas?

As most of you probably know, the School Library Association of Victoria recently offered members a professional development opportunity to complete the ’23 things’ of Web 2.0. The program was a roaring success and SLAV would like to use this blog for library staff to share and support each other in the use of Web 2.0 in schools.

The use of new media has fostered a shift from the dominance of independent study to more collaborative and interactive learning, and Web 2.0 applications are collaborative in nature.

This is reflected in the expectations of VELS where we are looking at students using ICT as a major element of their learning environment, working with others in a collaborative way, creating new knowledge and sharing it with others and with a real audience.

An engaging medium – our students are using it – it’s the information and communication environment in which they operate – and we need to be more than just familiar with this environment.

As Dr Ross Todd says, ‘It’s not about libraries: it’s about learning.’