Feature blog – Monivae College

Nicola Crawford and Maree Bell from Monivae College Library & Information Centre have developed a strong Web 2.0 presence in their school. Nicola explains how this came about.

The WILD Library

 Since completing the SLAV Web 2.0 course last year, we became inspired by all the terrific resources out on the World Wide Web. We wanted to share some of these with the rest of our school community, so we created  ‘The WILD Library’   which is the blog of the Monivae College Library and Information Centre. The WILD Library contains lots of Web 2.0 Resources, plus “Good Library Stuff” such as authors, reviews, book requests, competitions and links to other useful information and resources. Students have begun to make contributions to the blog, but as yet it is early days. 

'The Wild Library'

'The Wild Library'

 From little acorns…big trees certainly grow!! From a single Library oriented blog, we now have a nest of blogs to disseminate information to the different areas of the school community.  The WILD Library acts as the primary blog, and from this there are links to all the other Monivae blogs. Some of these are more advanced than others, but all are a work in progress. 

Exciting English

Exciting English

If you have a wander around the various blogs, you will see that the different Domains utilize them in different ways. Some use them as “go to” points when they begin a new topic. For example, “Super SOSE”, “Sensational Science” and “Fortes in Fide” (the Religion @ Monivae Blog) carry web lists for particular projects.  These are used as starting points, or depending upon the scope of the topic can act to limit students to a particular selection of sites. 

Sensational Science

Sensational Science

The “Exciting English” blog has evolved differently. It has pages containing information and resources for teachers. This site is only in its infancy, eventually the aim is to provide resources for all the literature studied at the different year levels in the College. 

Bathurst Island blog

Bathurst Island blog

The Bathurst Island Blog” is run by my colleague Maree Bell. The aim of this blog is to provide information to students and parents about the 2009 Mission Experience to Bathurst Island. During the trip later in the year, it will be used as a travelogue of their adventures. 

Ultimately, our aim is that the Monivae Blogs be the first port of call for staff and students when they are looking for resources or information from the World Wide Web. To date, this is probably quite optimistic, but we continue to encourage people to use and contribute to the blogs.

  When we first dipped our toe into blogging, we never expected that it would blossom into such a wide ranging affair. We now have ten blogs at various stages of development, and we still have plans for others. We have just created an ICT Committee Wiki and our next project is a class blog in collaboration with one of our LOTE teachers.

Ten blogs ranging across a wide range of curriculum areas is certainly a major achievement. Well done to Nicola, Maree and all the staff involved!


LiveMocha is a free language learning website.


With interactive lessons and games, and a huge list of languages to learn, LiveMocha could be useful for LOTE teachers or anyone wanting to learn another language. You can learn at your own pace and even communicate with native language speakers through the site.

From the LiveMocha blog:

About Livemocha

Livemocha is a Seattle-based company that is redefining language learning by combining dynamic online courses in 22 languages with the world’s largest community of native language speakers. Since launching in September 2007, Livemocha has grown to over 3 million members in less than 20 months, a clear indication of the demand for an engaging, collaborative approach to language learning. There are currently over 375 million people wanting to learn a language worldwide, and the market is currently estimated to be $50 billion, fueled by rapid globalization, immigration and travel.

Thanks to Dr Ross Todd for the link to LiveMocha.

Google Translate

Here is a handy tool for LOTE teachers and anyone else wanting to communicate in languages other than English. Google Translate can do three great things:

  1. Enter a phrase in your selected language for search in another language
  2. Add a widget to your webpage to allow it to be translated instantly by readers in other languages
  3. Create content in other languages

Languages supported are:



Google Translate seems like it could be very useful, however you may need a Google account to use it.


Archivd is a collaborative research tool that enables users to “automatically extract images, videos, phone numbers, emails, mailing addresses, prices. Group pages by project and subject. Search the full text of every page and custom field. Research with and get feedback from your coworkers.”


It provides a central space for people with common interests, be they colleagues or not, to save, comment on and extract information from web pages, quickly and easily. Students working in groups on research projects could use this tool and as Archivd is available in English, French and Spanish, it could be useful for LOTE teachers and classes.

 FAQs explain more and here is a video demonstration of how Archivd can be used:


The people from Archivd have also provided an example of a saved search:

Example page
Example page

There is a trial version of Archivd for anyone who wants to test it out without signing up. Archivd is free, but also has premium services that do cost.


Issuu is an online magazine publishing/hosting service where you can publish your own magazines or read ones developed by other Issuu users.

Issuu homepage
Issuu homepage

Here is an example of what Issuu offers readers, and the thought that school libraries could publish their handbooks and library guides through Issuu. Imagine how many trees we could save:

There are magazines covering approximately 20 languages, so Issuu could be great for LOTE classes. As with any resource, check first that what you plan to use is suitable for your students.

The Issuu website provides the following information:

Issuu makes your publications look good

Issuu turns your documents into beautiful online publications. Publish to an audience of millions and get your message across to anyone, anywhere. It only takes a minute and it’s free.

Features and benefits

  • Upload your documents and we turn them into professional online publications.
  • Enjoy the best reading experience online (fullscreen with crisp vector graphics).
  • Explore a living library with the web’s most interesting publications.
  • Post/embed your publications anywhere online (Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, etc.)
  • Get a high rank on Google and receive detailed statistics about your readers.
  • Create a custom viewer design and integrate your publications on your website.
  • Issuu is definitely worth investigating. It could be great for budding writers as well as publishing school anthologies or perhaps library guides and documentation. Issuu also takes your documents and turns them into PDFs ready for publishing on the Issuu website.


    Looking for a fantastic free animation development site? Scratch just might be what you are after! Developed by a team at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Scratch is designed to be used by educators.

    Scratch homepage
    Scratch homepage

    According to the Scratch website

    Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.

    Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create and share Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. Scratch is available free of charge: go to Download.

    As Scratch is aimed primarily at children (8-16 years), there is a raft of information for educators:

     Scratch is designed with learning and education in mind.

    As young people create projects in Scratch, they learn many of the 21st century skills that will be critical to success in the future: thinking creatively, communicating clearly, analyzing systematically, using technologies fluently, collaborating effectively, designing iteratively, learning continuously.

    Scratch can used in many different settings: schools, museums, community centers, and homes. It is intended especially for 8- to 16-year-olds, but younger children can work on Scratch projects with their parents or older siblings, and college students use Scratch in some introductory computer science classes.

    There are a variety of resources that can be helpful in introducing Scratch.

    See Scratch Videos for videos on how to use and to introduce Scratch

    The Getting Started Guide offers a step-by-step introduction to Scratch

    Scratch Cards offer a fun way to learn Scratch code you can use in projects

    The Scratch 1.3 Reference Guide is a manual that explains the Scratch software

    The Translation page lists resources in Spanish and many other languages

    Different people get started with Scratch in different ways. Some like to tinker with various blocks to see what they do. Others like to experiment with the sample projects that come with Scratch, and then make changes to the scripts. As an initial activity, we often encourage people to create a project using the letters in their name.

    To learn more about the educational ideas underlying Scratch, please see:

    One-Page Handouts
    Learning with Scratch | Creating with Scratch | Programming with Scratch

    Programming Concepts in Scratch 1.3

    Scratch education case study from the National Center for Women and Information Technology

    Scratch and 21st Century Skills

    Sowing the Seeds for a More Creative Society

    Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age

    Technological Fluency

    Learning by Designing

    Research papers about Scratch

    Scratch Educator Online Forums

    Visit the Educators forum to discuss ideas with other educators using Scratch

    New! Visit the Scratch Classroom 2.0 wiki

    As you can see, Scratch has excellent resources for educators and as Scratch is available in many languages, LOTE classes are well catered for. The terms and conditions  of Scratch explain that the site is open to any age and users are encouraged to flag inappropriate content.

    The best part about Scratch is that you and your students can download the program for free, without even registering on the Scratch website. That means that your students can keep all animations completely private if you wish and only upload the animations to the Scratch website if they really want to share their work with the world.

    Stay tuned for another animation tool shortly.


    Sribd is an interesting resource for would-be authors; indeed anyone who is interested in seeking an audience for their work should consider signing up to Scribd.

    Scribd is a site where all kinds of documents can be uploaded and shared with either the general public or selected people through assigning them to groups (ideal for schools as these documents are accessible only to those invited to the group). Writers can receive feedback from readers and threaded discussions are available to both readers and writers, so Scribd makes it is easy for students to collaborate with others.

    Documents uploaded to Scribd can be converted to a file called ‘ipaper’. ipaper files can then be easily embedded into blogs or websites; rather like the way YouTube videos can be embedded.

    Scribd supports a number of document types such as

    • Adobe PDF (.pdf)
    • Adobe PostScript (.ps)
    • Microsoft Word (.doc/ .docx)
    • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt/.pps/.pptx)
    • Microsoft Excel (.xls/.xlsx)
    • OpenOffice Text Document (.odt, .sxw)
    • OpenOffice Presentation Document (.odp, .sxi)
    • OpenOffice Spreadsheet (.ods, .sxc)
    • All OpenDocument formats
    • Plain text (.txt)
    • Rich text format (.rtf)

    so any or all of these document types can be uploaded. Tags and categories can be assigned to uploaded documents, and folders can be used to keep documents organised.

    Scribd has an extensive FAQ sheet, which is sure to answer any questions that you have and several that you haven’t thought of!

    As well as providing an instant audience for writers, there is a vast library of documents for members to read and review if they wish. Once any documents that are deemed to be open or available to the general public, they become searchable in Google and other search engines. Scribd also supports numerous languages, so LOTE classes are well catered for.

    Just a note of caution, there may be some documents on Scribd that are inappropriate for school age students. As with any Web 2.0 site that the general public has access to, there are items that as educators, we would rather our students not see. You can flag any documents as inappropriate if you are concerned.

    Scribd is an excellent resource for English classes, especially where students wish to seek feedback from an audience other than their teacher.