Google Earth and Google Lit Trips:Google Earth provides a tool for students to present oral presentations on their novels (where appropriate (i.e. aspects of the book can be highlighted by Google Earth)). We have low VELS levels in Speaking and Listening, possibly because students are not at ease giving oral presentations (often the way they are assessed for Speaking and Listening). Google Earth helps students to divert the attention from themselves. For example, they can show the class a trip they create that follows the journey taken by the main character in the novel (e.g. Swerve Google Lit Trip Presentation).There are options to add images (creative commons-licensed images from Flickr), or show pictures that are already on Google Earth. There are so many options in Google Earth that students can make it as in-depth as they wish. The best part is they can record their voice over their journey so they have another option of meeting the requirements of Speaking and Listening. I have put together a guide to using Google Earth for the English staff that highlights how a Google Lit Trip can be used as an alternate assessment item for students to meet the requirements of VELS levels in Speaking and Listening, and created a Google Lit Trip on the novel Swerve as an example of its use.We are now in the Ultranet training stage and are looking for ways the Library services, particularly our website, can become part of the student’s virtual space.
Teacher librarian Rachel Fidock, has been involved in an exciting library program at Mooroopna Secondary College. There has been a lot of work put into development of social media and Rachel explains more:
I am proud to be a member of Mooroopna Secondary College’s Library staff consisting of three Teacher-Librarians (myself, Leonie Dyason, and Ruth O’Bree) and one Library Technician (Julie Jenkins). In a supportive, professional environment I am able to embrace one of the most important roles of a teacher-librarian – providing knowledge of ICT tools that will enhance teaching and learning and provide our students with the ICT skills of multi-literacy, adaptability, discovery, and social networking required in the 21st Century. By incorporating popular Web 2.0 tools in the delivery of library resources, we also increase the level of student interest in the library, their learning, and the building of their knowledge. Programs such as the Personal Learning Network for Victorian Schools (which three of our staff are undertaking), and other professional development opportunities by SLAV, are perfect for this. Not only can I learn about Web 2.0, I am also able to collaborate with like-minded educators.I began working for MSC in 2007. I have been involved in many exciting library developments. Below are some of these:The library website confirms the importance of the library in the school community by giving it a virtual identity. The website provides many resources for staff and students, including search engine tips, subject weblinks, the library catalogue, and research help.Subject weblinks: These are created to assist students in their research. The page informs students where to find resources in the library shelves and online, and how to cite an internet page. Most internet sites come from FUSE, and those that do not are suggested to FUSE. The weblinks pages are created in collaboration with teachers. I inform the teacher of the benefits of the weblinks page (i.e. a weblinks page aids in research, provides age appropriate and reliable sites, and is useful for struggling students), and wait for their approval of a draft before it is published on the library website. We inform students of their existence and remind teachers that this resource is available for future assignment topics.FUSE packages:￼With the growth of FUSE our subject weblinks are also improving. We have created some resource packages using FUSE which include the subject weblinks page, a note-taking help sheet, a bibliography help sheet, and the assignment cover sheet. Creating resource packages in FUSE allows student access to these resources from home (for those who have the internet), whereas the library website is only accessible via the school intranet. To view all of our packages, have a look at Leonie Dyason’s FUSE presentation. Again, these packages are created in collaboration with the classroom teacher. The students are given the code to the resource package so they can use it for quick information retrieval.MSC Library Reviews blog:￼This review blog was created to encourage the school community to discuss and share literature experiences and to make a connection between the library and the wider school community. As well as reviews and tips to writing good reviews, there are book trailers created by our library staff, links to the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge, favourite review sites, author links, and a place for visitors to recommend improvements to the blog and library.I have advertised the existence of the blog via the daily student bulletin, with requests for any reviews, put notices and reviews in the school newsletter, informally discussed the blog with students, and have signs in the library encouraging contributions to the blog. I am also in the process of putting the subject weblinks on the blog, as another access point for students, with the added bonus that the students have to look at the blog to get to the weblinks. Currently, we are encouraging students to write blog reviews for us and will regularly review our processes and the success of the blog in reaching students.Book trailers: When I first saw a book trailer I thought that it was such a fantastic way to entice students to read. A book trailer provides the visual stimulation to encourage the further exploration of the storyline. For poor or reluctant readers, it can create the images needed to bring the story to life. We started creating book trailers to show in the library. We can show them on our IWB but think a more central, looping screen might be better. We also decided the review blog is the perfect location to show these trailers. We use only creative commons-licensed pictures on Flickr, and although we were putting them together using Windows Movie Maker, Julie Jenkins has started using Animoto to really bring the novel to life. You can view the book trailer Julie created for Swerve on our review blog now.
(If the embedded video is taking too long to load, click this link to access the animoto instead.)
Focussing on the way the Powerful Learning Practice program has impacted on learning and teaching at Mooroopna Secondary College, Adrian is now in a new position as Head of Mathematics at McGuire College.
Although not all of us can be a part of the PLP, the animoto is useful in identifying how some schools have changed with the times, and unfortunately, some have not.
Mooroopna Secondary College teacher librarian, Leading Teacher and eLearning Coordinator Leonie Dyason is part of Will Richardson’s PLP project. PLP is Powerful Learning Practice, an international program developed by Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach in the US. Mooroopna Secondary College was fortunate to be nominated to receive sponsorship from the State Library of Victoria and the School Library Association of Victoria (following the Victorian School Libraries Learning with Web 2.0 program) to have a team involved in the PLP program.
Leonie explains how she organised her team once Mooroopna had been accepted into the project. ‘Our Assistant Principals were both very supportive. I then selected my team of 5. I wanted some young teachers with me, some risk takers, and not necessarily all Web 2.0 savvy.’
Leonie says, ‘Our team members consisted of Adrian who is a Physics & Maths Teacher (he did the SLAV Web 2.0 program last year with our library team), Deanne, who is an Indonesian and English Teacher and who is Daily Organiser this year. Kirsten is a Science & Maths Teacher as well as being the Maths/Science Leading Teacher. She is also an INTEL master trainer. Katie is a SOSE & English teacher and me, a teacher librarian.’
Leonie explains, ‘All four regularly attend my eLearning Cafe where I have been teaching Web 2.0 and Internet skills for 3 years now as part of my Leading Teacher role of eLearning Coordinator. Adrian often presents here too – he started with podcasting.’
She continues, ‘We have all achieved different things so far, but mostly it is great teacher training – a good boost knowing you are on the right track, and good to be alerted to new stuff via the PLP before it becomes mainstream. We have learnt lots of skills, looked at the new digital blooms, better ways to connect students not only to the school, but also to the world. We have learnt lots and lots. Some of the examples of what we have achieved are:
- I have set up the PD blog that can be anywhere anytime learning for teachers – to keep them ahead hopefully, but at least abreast of what their students are doing out of school hours. It will alert them to the eCafe topics, and have other incidental learning on the sidebars. I have also set up the usual literature blog with the English staff, however I intend to grow that to be reviews on everything – a writing I have done spasmodically or verbally all my career, but now it is there with others adding their reviews and everything tagged for the staff and students to use as sorting for genre, etc. I have a link on the Library Website on our intranet to both these blogs.
- Adrian has set up his wiki/NING for the Year 12 Physics students in the state – much more ambitious than me – and has on board textbook writers and professors from all over.
- Deanne has set up the skeleton for a cultural assignment in a wiki. She has set it up to be a collaborative piece. Her demo to the staff started at least 3 wikis that night.
- Katie and Kirsten are still experimenting with what they will use as their platform, however Katie is going to do the VCE novels and have RSS on the site to alert students to, and Kirsten is going to do something with podcasts and biology.’
Physics teacher Adrian Camm explains about his Web 2.0 developments. ‘I have created a virtual learning community (VLC) for Unit 3 & 4 Physics that will link all students across Victoria to experienced educators, members of the Australian Institute of Physics and textbook authors from both Nelson and Heinemann publishers. It will provide students with tremendous learning opportunities anytime, anywhere. Students (and educators if they wish to be a part) will have access to a password-protected learning environment, where they can ask for help with questions, chat about careers in physics and have concepts explained to them in great detail. The best part is it’s free!’
Adrian continues, ‘If you and your students are interested in joining, click this link and fill out the invitation located on the left-hand side of the page. Follow all of the instructions and within 24 hours, you will have access to the Physics Ning.’
Adrian continues, ‘Why should you and your students be a part of the VLC?
By using a 21st century context students will see relevance
By removing geographic boundaries. Brings the world into the classroom
Takes students out into the world
Creates opportunities for students to interact with each other, with teachers and with knowledgeable adults in an authentic learning environment with authentic learning experiences.
Leonie Dyason says, ‘At the start of this school year we had three professional learning days, and our PLP had a 1.5 hour slot to talk about PLP. Adrian, Deanne and myself presented our projects to the staff as outlined above. We also presented on a blog of Web 2.0 skills for MSC staff’s professional learning which we will probably all contribute to directly or indirectly. We launched this to the staff on the second day and asked them to go off and use the blog and go to one of the links there “CogDogRoo” from Alan Levine and learn 2 things. We have 17 Australian hits so far, so someone besides me is visiting it!’
Congratulations to Leonie, Adrian, Deanne, Katie and Kirsten on an absolutely brilliant job; you are an inspiration! Thanks also for taking the time to share your knowledge.