PLN registrations are now open

Registrations are now open for the next round of the Personal Learning Network, an online course run by the State Library of Victoria and SLAV. The course is the perfect introduction for teachers or school library staff looking to connect with other educators and discover some great free teaching & learning tools.
Computer Toddler
The PLN is delivered entirely online, meaning that participants can work through the course materials at any time. Over seven units you will explore tools to help you stay organised, discover useful resources, and explore issues like digital citizenship. You’ll also get started with blogging and learn about the range of free professional learning resources available online. Weekly webinars will also give you the chance to meet other participants and explore the themes of the course in more depth. The course is $115 ($105 for SLAV members) and commences on March 12. You can find more information or book online here.

The PLN is now in its fourth year, and this year marks a new and exciting time with the shortening of the PLN course and the introduction of several short courses. Alongside the PLN course there will also be an Advanced PLN running over four units in July, and the Research Toolkit will return in October 2013. We’ll keep you posted about these courses here on Bright Ideas, but if you’d like to register your interest in any of these courses then email pln@slv.vic.gov.au

For details of how to stay up to date with all of the news from the course and to connect with the #vicpln community make sure you have a look at our PLN page. We look forward to seeing you in the course and online.

PLN short course builds your research toolkit

The next round of the Victorian Personal Learning Network has been announced, with the first ever Victorian PLN short course kicking off on November 12 and running for 4 units. The Research Toolkit course will explore reliable online resources, effective search techniques and tools for organisation and referencing.

The online course is self paced and will feature webinars with research experts. It’s a great way for teachers and library staff to brush up on their skills and keep up to date with new tools and techniques. Research Toolkit is also a good refresher for previous participants in the Victorian PLN course looking to reinforce and further develop many of their own research skills.

Image of research guide on census

State Library of Victoria Research Guides

Research Toolkit is a partnership between the State Library of Victoria and the School Library Association of Victoria. The course costs $85 per person, but group discounts are available for teams of six or more. For more information visit the State Library of Victoria website, or email learning@slv.vic.gov.au

Victorian PLN webinar recordings

The current Victorian PLN course is now winding down as participants begin reflecting on their course through digital stories and catching up on any units that they may have missed during the term.

Over the 12 units of the course participants have discovered great web tools, written blogs, explored curly issues like digital citizenship and discovered the wonderful community of educators that exists online. You can connect with the participants and the wider VicPLN community at the Facebook group, which now has close to 200 members.

A major feature of the course were the regular web conferences which covered a range of topics. You can access the recordings below. The sessions were:

Getting started with your PLN and blogging

Organising information online (Twitter, Blogging, IGoogle)

Integrating technology into schools (featuring Tony Richards)

Online databases and search skills (featuring Andrew McConville from the State Library of Victoria)

Gaming in Education (featuring Paul Callaghan)

PLN wrap up and final reflection

All of the recordings will open in Blackboard Collaborate (or Elluminate). For help getting started with this web conferencing tool, have a look at the web conferencing guide on the Victorian PLN blog.

We love learning – feature blog

Classroom teacher Nicole McMahon at St Luke the Evangelist School in Blackburn has developed a blog for her Prep class.

It would be great to make connections with others through our blog. In the Prep Classroom, we have commenced a blog sharing our learning in the classroom.

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At the moment it is in its very beginning phase but the goal is to have children using this class blog as a tool to reflect on their learning – not quite an individual PLN but rather a class learning network to make connections with the outside world. Being that the children are 5 or 6 years old, the content of our blog reflects this in its colour and creativity.

Nicole has set up blogging guidelines for her students and parents to ensure safety and respect for every student and parent. What a great space Nicole has created for sharing the work and learning of students. A bright and inviting space that showcases and celebrates learning. Congratulations Nicole!

Edublogs awards 2010

Many of you will be pleased to know that the nominations are now open for the 2010 Edublogs awards.

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  • Nominations: Close Friday 3 December
  • Voting: Ends Tuesday 14 December
  • Award Ceremony: Wednesday 15 December

Categories are:

  • Best individual blog
  • Best individual tweeter
  • Best group blog
  • Best new blog
  • Best class blog
  • Best student blog
  • Best resource sharing blog
  • Most influential blog post
  • Most influential tweet / series of tweets / tweet based discussion
  • Best teacher blog
  • Best librarian / library blog
  • Best school administrator blog
  • Best educational tech support blog
  • Best elearning / corporate education blog
  • Best educational use of audio
  • Best educational use of video / visual
  • Best educational wiki
  • Best educational podcast
  • Best educational webinar series
  • Best educational use of a social network
  • Best educational use of a virtual world
  • Best use of a PLN
  • Lifetime achievement

The Edublogs staff explain on their blog how the process works.

This blog was fortunate enough to receive “First runner up” in the best librarian/library blog section and it was very exciting. So act now and nominate your colleagues, friends and sites that you find inspiring (however, you cannot nominate your own sites.)

Penny Bentley’s blog

Penny Bentley began blogging earlier this year. Like a duck taking to water, Penny has found blogging an excellent way of sharing, learning and reflecting. She explains the process:

Earlier this year I signed up for a 12 week, online professional development program. As a teacher of secondary maths and science I have an interest in finding new ways to engage and motivate students. Well, the VicPLN program was eye opening, challenging and arguably the best PD I have ever done.

I used to consider social media, like Facebook, to be a waste of time. Something my kids use instead of doing more important things, like homework. Well, things have changed. I am a blogger, I use twitter, Facebook and many other applications on the web. My blog, CLOUD9 started out as an online record of my journey through the VicPLN program. I blogged about my reading, new discoveries, frustrations and thoughts about classroom applications. I was able to display media such as images, slide shows, video and audio. CLOUD 9 started to feel like my personal place on the web.

Screen shot 2010-10-29 at 8.35.03 PM

One of the best features of blogging is the authentic audience. Every time I made a post there was feedback, support and encouragement. I started to develop confidence in my ability to use technology, to create amazing things and to put myself out there in cyberspace. By the end of the program I was hooked, I could see the enormous potential for student engagement.

So, my desire to blog didn’t end with the PD. For a while the web felt like a lonely place, I missed my daily feedback and interaction.  There was a need to rethink the purpose of CLOUD9. It was important for me to enjoy blogging, to provide information that is educational and useful to teachers, to make smaller but more frequent posts and to have feedback. I decided to continue blogging about useful web tools, games, virtual excursions and any other application that may be useful in the classroom. CLOUD9 will provide bite sized professional development for teachers, with a taste of maths and science.

An unexpected outcome of blogging is that now I have a record of my 2010 professional development. I am beginning to view my blog as a digital portfolio of skills and achievements; it’s like an alternative to the dusty filing cabinet.

If you’ve been thinking about starting your own blog, Penny is an excellent example to follow. Well done Penny!

Feature blog – Bev Novak’s NovaNews

Former Head of Library at The King David School, Bev Novak has been developing an interesting blog. Bev uses her blog as a forum for writing about, processing and sharing her learning with other educators. Bev generously shares her learning journey on her blog and here, for readers of Bright Ideas. I recently read that a tweet that said that “all teachers should blog”. Bev’s blog shows what can be achieved in a short amount of time and if you have not yet started your own blog, Bev’s newly found enthusiasm for blogging may well set you on your way!

Just on six months ago, I had absolutely no idea what a blog was, had never read one and certainly had no idea how to create one.  Life changed dramatically though  when I decided to enrol in the VicPLN program being run by SLAV in conjunction with SLV.  That first evening of peeking at the program content is forever seared into my memory.  The list of tasks to be completed was daunting to say the least!  But my heart froze when I realized that the very first task involved creating a blog.   “A what?!” I thought!!  A blog, I calmly said to myself.  Skimming down the tasks posed for that first week, I realized I had no choice.  Every task listed for the week involved writing a response on my blog.   “Ugh!!!  What have I gotten myself into?!”  was the next thought that passed through my mind.

 

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Deciding that the best advice I could follow was that which I always give to nervous looking kids about to sit a test or exam, I took three deep breaths and began following the instructions set down.   It was, I recollect, a very long Saturday night!

 

But I did it! That feeling of seeing my words floating out into cyberspace really was fantastic.  An incredible sense of achievement and success, unlike any I had experienced in a long time, flooded through me!  While I admit that the early stages of creating the blog were akin to writing on a wall in Chinese without knowing if the paper was upside down or inside out, a certain familiarity soon set in.  The ‘dashboard’ and I soon became friends.   Because I was working in the warm comfy environs of the VicPLN, I often experienced the warm fuzzy feelings of others lending a hand, helping me figure out the seemingly impossible.   And of course, the warm guidance and encouragement of our wonderful mentor – Judith Way – was there, every step of the way.

 

It has only been at the completion of the VicPLN that I started to look back and consider the process I had worked through.  It was indeed a journey, a journey that had a recognizable path in which my blog moved from being a spot to record what I had read, played with and discovered over the previous week, to that of a personal storage spot for links and information I had gathered.   Along the way, as I recognized I had an audience, I accepted that I could also use my blog as a place to showcase my own achievements using a range of presentation tools to which I had been exposed through the program. The final stage of my journey has been understanding that blogging is a dynamic process, one in which readers can comment on the content of a blog or indeed on the comments posted by others, a process which, by its very nature, enables the interaction of people with similar interests to connect and share with each other.  In turn, for me, this has been a fantastic way to expland my Personal Learning Network.

 

Today, I am totally hooked on blogging.  Reading the blogs of others which incorporate thoughts, ideas and knowledge, has become an addictive occupation for me.  So too has the writing my own blog.  Feedback received in the form of comments on my blog or email or Twitter exchanges received over the week, feed my enthusiasm.   Sharing insights gleaned from various readings, experiences and knowledge acquired from a vast range of sources is currently the thrust of my blog.   Where it may head in the future however, I do not yet know.  But to know that I contribute to the growth of others in the same way that others contribute to my growth leaves me with a warm afterglow.  To those of you out there who’ve not yet discovered the blogosphere, I encourage you to spend the time exploring.  Come join the amazing journey.  While you have much to contribute you also have a great deal to learn.  And, after all, aren’t we all lifelong learners?

Thanks Bev for your unbridled enthusiasm for blogging and learning and for spreading the word via Bright Ideas!

Sharing eLearning at MESC

Lynn Swannell, a Librarian at Mount Eliza Secondary College has developed a very useful eLearning wiki.
MESC wiki
Lynn explains how the wiki came about:
I created this ‘Sharing eLearning at MESC’ wiki with two things in mind – teaching myself how to use Wikispaces and creating a Web2.0 sharing space for staff at Mount Eliza Secondary College.
In April 2010 I signed up to complete the 12-week SLAV ‘Personal Learning Network Program’ and during this time I have discovered (and rediscovered) a huge range of Web2.0 online tools that I wanted to share.  In the past I have emailed teachers and saved them to my Delicious account for future reference but I was looking for an easier way to make them more accessible and share them with teachers.
Since starting the program I have not only expanded my own personal learning network via my own blog (Lynn’s PLN) and reading other  blogs, nings and twitter but also gathered together some fantastic resources recommended  via these methods.  Bright Ideas is one of my favourite blogs and I’m thrilled to have been asked by Judith to contribute.  After reading about the Echuca eLearning Wiki created by Maryna Badenhorst (Bright Ideas 24 May 2010) and then learning about Wikis during week four of the program, I was inspired to create my own wiki using Wikispaces for Educators.
As you can see I have tried to group the resources into various categories and created a page for each.  The ‘Areas of Learning Links’ only has a few links at this stage but I hope to expand on it as more teachers create their own blogs, nings, wikis for their classes.  I have also added a few subject specific resources to the page.  ‘Digital Citizenship’ is an area which our school is exploring at the present and this page has been of great use recently.  The page on ‘Presentation Tools’ is one that is going to be neverending as more students and staff look for alternatives to PowerPoint – I particularly like animoto at the moment.
Our school motto is ‘Protect Nurture Grow’  which is what I hope will happen with this wiki as I launch it to staff this term and encourage them all to share in eLearning.
It is so pleasing to read that Lynn has been inspired by Maryna’s wiki featured on Bright Ideas. It is lovely to know that all staff are encouraged to share eLearning together with Lynn.

ISTE learning

Recently The Journal revealed a new and exciting site for professional learning for educators worldwide. ISTE Launches Professional Development Site for Ed Tech at Annual Conference explains how:

At its annual conference this week in Denver, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) launched ISTE Learning, its own professional development Web site for the entire spectrum of education technology. The organization has designed ISTE Learning to serve as both a extensive resource for education professionals’ technology-related needs and interests and an online meeting place for exchanging ideas, sharing best practices, and finding answers.

According to ISTE, the goal of the new site is to help educators incorporate all facets of education technology into their students’ learning environments, specifically by showing them the myriad of ways that students themselves already use popular technology.

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ISTE learning encompasses

  • The Commons “Anytime, anywhere professional learning with bite-sized video, articles, and audio.”
  • Learning Labs “Hands-on, self-paced learning embedded in the NETS for application in the classroom.
  • ISTE cafe “Stop for a latte, stay for the learning community and participate in a vibrant PLN.”
  • ISTE U “Develop and grow your professional learning e-Portfolio.”

Certainly well worth a look!

Mooroopna Secondary College Library

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:

By Rachel Fidock
I am proud to be a member of Mooroopna Secondary Collegeís Library staff consisting of three Teacher-Librarians (myself (Rachel Fidock), Leonie Dyason, and Ruth OíBree) 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 ñ 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:
Library website:

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  HYPERLINK “https://fuse.education.vic.gov.au/secondary/pages/Default.aspx” 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.
HYPERLINK “https://fuse.education.vic.gov.au/secondary/pages/Default.aspx”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 one of our packages, have a look at HYPERLINK “http://celebratechange.global2.vic.edu.au/2010/03/21/leonie-dyasons-fuse-presentation/comment-page-1/” \l “comment-20″Leonie Dyasonís 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.
HYPERLINK “http://libmsc.global2.vic.edu.au/”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 Premierís 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 HYPERLINK “http://www.flickr.com/”Flickr, and although we were putting them together using Windows Movie Maker, Julie Jenkins has started using  HYPERLINK “http://animoto.com/” Animoto to really bring the novel to life. You can view the book trailer Julie created for Swerve on our HYPERLINK “http://libmsc.global2.vic.edu.au/”  review blog now.
Google Earth and HYPERLINK “http://www.googlelittrips.com/GoogleLit/Home.html”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 by Phillip Gwynne). 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 studentís virtual space.
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:
Library website

Library website

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:
Mooroopna 2
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:
Mooroopna 3
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.
Thanks to Rachel for sharing all of the amazing things she and the other members of the MSC library team have developed. There is just so much to inspire and many ideas for readers.