Google Lit Trips with Camilla Elliott

SLAV Professional Development Coordinator, Head of Library & Information Services, Mount Lilydale Mercy College and thoughtful blogger Camilla Elliott, presented this excellent session at the recent SLAV Seeing Things Differently conference:

Last Friday I presented a session at the SLAV Seeing Things Differently Conference on using Google Earth in the classroom, with a particular emphasis on the Google LitTripsof Jerome Burg.  A wiki containing links and video resources assembled for the session is on my Linking for Learning wiki.

Camillas google earth

With so many resources available for Google Earth,  a bit of sorting is required. This collection of specific resources will help anyone getting started.

Google LitTrips uses the Google Earth application to bring a story to life.  It facilitates a level of interactivity with the text that suits the visual learner particularly but also enables a team approach that provides shared opportunities for learning.  Jerome Burg has put an immense amount of work into Google LitTrips since I first blogged about it in August 2007.  Under Google LitTrips Tips he has  added comprehensive instructions for use in the classroom that can be applied to any use of Google Earth across geography, history, science …. it’s endless.

On the resources wiki is a link to Tom Barrett’s 24 interesting ways to use Google Earth in the Classroom slide presentation which is full of ideas.   Thomas Cooper is also there taking a social justice perspective with his Expeditions LitTrips site which is part of his Outdoor Culture and Technology course.  So many different ways of using and engaging tool to learn and create perspective.

Jerome Burg needs a word of thanks for putting his years of experience as an English teacher into this project.  The instructions and lesson support he offers makes all the difference to the use of Google Earth in the classroom.   Use the free version of GE or purchase Google Pro with added features and flexibility for using on a school network.

Thank you to Camilla for sharing your wonderful and innovative work.

Web 2.0 Guru

The Web 2.0 Guru wiki is worth a visit. With the top 10 Web 2.0 tools for classes listed as well as all tools broken down into categories, this is a handy site.

Top 10 Web 2.0 Must Haves for Every 21st Century Classroom

  1. Class Blogs – WordPress or Blogger
  2. Class Wiki or Website – Wikispaces, Wetpaint, Webnode, Wix, Glogster WikiMatrix – compare and contrast
  3. Virtual or a Cloud Office – Docs, Google Docs, Zoho, Thinkfree
  4. Online Classroom Environments/Networks/Forums – Ning, Neetz, Lefora Backchannels – tinychat, backnoise, coveritlive
  5. Audio Channel – Podcasts or recordings – evoca,podbean, gabcast, gcast, odeo
  6. Teacher Tube create a free account for uploading demonstrations
  7. Private Videocast or TV Channel – Ustream Mogulus., Youcastr
  8. Online Assessment tools – Thatquiz. , rubrics – Tech4Learning
  9. Online Grade book –Engrade
  10. Online storage – file storage – Adrive , 4shared, Flickr for pics,

 Web 2.0 categories include:

  • Animation
  • Assessment and Evaluation
  • Blogging
  • Charts and Spreadsheets
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Conversion Tools
  • Celebration of Success – Award and Certificate Makers
  • Desktop Publishing
  • Dictionaries/Glossaries/Data
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Disposable Email Accounts for Site Registration
  •  Ebooks or Audio Books
  • Games for Education
  • Virtual Games in Education
  • Global Connections in the Classroom
  • Keyboarding
  • Mobile Tools
  • Multimedia
  • Networking and Online Communities
  • Note Taking, Concept Mapping and Flow Chart Tools
  • Online Interactive Classroom Environments
  • Personalized Web Browser Pages
  • Podcasting
  • Polls/Surveys
  • Presentations
  • Professional Networks
  • Research
  • RSS Aggregators
  • Search Engines
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Storage – online storage and for files
  • Studying and Help
  • Text <>Speech
  • The “Tubes”
  • Virtual Field Trips
  • Virtual Worlds in Education
  • Vodcasting – Video Broadcasting
  • Web Design
  • Webinars
  • WebQuests
  • Wikis
  • Word Processing

Each category has many tools listed and a brief spiel about each one’s strengths or differences. A good place to find the right tool for the job!

Web tools 4 u 2 use

WebTools4u2use is an excellent wiki created by American ‘school library media specialists (teacher librarians) for school library media specialists’.


Listing a host of web 2.0 tools by category, the wiki has a few innovative features such as:

  • Five to test drive (the best five tools in each category)
  • More to explore (further tools in each category)
  • Ideas for using the tools in the library
  • Tutorials – how to use the tools
  • More information on how some schools are using the tools.
Meet the tools
Meet the tools

 This wiki is both an attractive and user friendly resource that takes the hard work out of selecting the best web 2.o tools for school libraries.

A big thank you to Helen Boelens for forwarding this site.

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!

Web 2.0: Cool tools for schools

Web 2.0 Cool tools for schools is a terrific wiki that groups Web 2.0 tools into categories such as:

  • videos
  • slideshows
  • presentations
  • widgets
  • research
  • image
  • audio
  • mapping
  • drawing
  • organising
  • music
  • writing and more.

Most of the tools have examples or tutorials as well as a short comment about the individual site.

So if you have a task in mind, check this wiki out and you are sure to find the right tool for the job! Thanks to Jennifer Frisardi for the link.

Feature wiki – Buckley Park College

Buckley Park College Librarian and Web 2.0 whizkid Leslie Sharples helped with the introduction of wikis to College staff in the first week of the school year. Pauline Kossis, the Assessment and Reporting Coordinator and Senior Accounting Teacher immediately grabbed the idea of using a wiki with her class and ran with it.

Accounting homepage
Accounting homepage

Pauline explains how her wiki came about. ‘I became excited with the thought that wikis could combine all of the features I was looking for as a teacher and for my students to access information and share their knowledge.’

Course content
Course content

She continues,’ Previously I was setting dates and times to be online so I could assist students with their exercises, but this was solely one on one and other students were not privy to the information. While my wiki is a starting point for students to access resources, links and classroom activities 24-7, they can collaboratively explore the various topics covered in Accounting 3.  I have just finished inviting my class in and eventually, there will be an inclusion of more resources, eg. vokis to highlight key concepts covered, current articles, PowerPoint presentations, as well as questionnaires to rate their learning experiences(ie.what went well and what topics could be explained further).’


Pauline says, ‘Students will provide some of the work that will be displayed on the site also e.g. Chapter summaries (these will be used for revision). The same process will be duplicated with all my other classes.’

Leslie Sharples says that Pauline’s wiki is making a real difference to her students. Well done to Leslie for introducing wikis to the staff and to Pauline for her excellent ideas and commitment to developing exciting educational learning for her students.


Snap is a tool that can be used if you have a blog, wiki or other webpage. Snap takes your links and automatically adds visual snap shots of them for your readers.

Snap shots home
Snap shots home

Accounts are free and easy to set up. There are only a couple of steps:

Set up page
Set up page
  • choose the colour for your theme
  • add a logo if you have one
  • select the language you want
  • register
  • copy the code automatically generated to your webpage.

The easiest way to add the Snap code to a WordPress page (including Edublogs and Globalteacher) was to:

  • copy the code given
  • go to widgets
  • add ‘text’
  • save
  • edit ‘text’ and paste the code
  • save.

All of the links, whether they be within posts or not, now appear with a snap shot once a mouse is hovered over it. Snap is a tool that is quick and easy to use and add visual appeal to blogs, wikis and websites. It adds visual information for users as they can see what the website belonging to the link looks like before they decide to visit it.

Snap shots are already used by eBay, Amazon, Google, Flickr, photobucket and Wikipedia. If you decide you don’t want to see Snaps on Bright Ideas, just click the Options icon in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot and opt-out.

Please note that you can also customise the advertising away from what Snap has selected by going to ‘Snap Shares’ within the Snap site and adding your own blog, wiki, etc. URL. And if you have a lot of links on your page, like Bright Ideas, you may find that Snap takes up too much room.


edmodo is a communication platform specifically designed for students and teachers. Being designed specifically for this audience, privacy of students was a main concern for developers.  

My Edmodo Homepage

My edmodo Homepage (no link as page is private)

As the edmodo blog states:

  • ‘What is edmodo? edmodo is a private microblogging platform that teachers and students can use to send notes, links, files, alerts, assignments, and events to each other.
  • How does it work? Teachers sign up for accounts, and then create groups. Each group has a unique code which is distributed by the teacher to the class. Students then sign up (no email address required) and join the group using the code.
  • What is the locker? All users can add any post or reply to their locker. After posts have been added to a user’s locker, they can be organized and filtered using tags. Posts can also be sent directly to a user’s own locker.
  • What are the edmodo and supportgroups? During the initial stages of edmodo, when a teacher signs up they are automatically added to the edmodo and support groups in order to give all early-adopters a chance to connect and report bugs.’

edmodo has the facility for teachers to upload assignments and also for students to click on the ‘turn in assignment’ button which uploads their responses. Teachers can even send their assessment and feedback to students via edmodo. edmodo developers are keen to hear from users about this idea and how it has worked (or not worked well) with classes.

edmodo also provides comprehensive ‘how to’ documents in the form of a wiki. There are currently four guides; a how to for teachers, a how to for students, posting to edmodo and uploading an avatar. A how to use edmodo video can be accessed here.

edmodo seems to be a very interesting and potentially valuable tool for classroom teachers and students. A bonus is that students do not need an email address to use edmodo.

Feature wiki – Preston Girls’ Secondary College

On their arrival at Preston Girls’ Secondary College earlier this year, teacher librarians Judith Way and Reina Phung grappled to get a handle on the curriculum requirements of the college. Job-sharing the 1.0 position, with no support staff, Judith and Reina found it difficult to find the time to meet with subject coordinators to ask for their input. Aware of the few audio visual resources and a collection that needed updating, they decided to set up a ‘Curriculum Audit’ wiki.

Not a link, just a screenshot of one of the pages from the wiki

Not a link, just a screenshot of one of the pages from the wiki

It was decided that the wiki was to be kept private, for the use and eyes of the  school staff only. Staff were emailed an introduction and request to contribute to the wiki. The email contained a word document attachment that included detailed instructions and screenshots on how to contribute to the wiki. Staff were then asked to contribute their thoughts on a number of questions:

  1. Do you need library resources for this topic/subject?
  2. What type of resources do you need? Please be explicit.
  3. Are you happy with the resources the library already has?
  4. What resources would you liked to be purchased or discovered?
  5. Do you have research skills embedded into the topic?
  6. Would you like to work with us to embed research skills into the topic?
  7. If you’d like help, when can we meet? Please nominate a time/date.
  8. How else can we help you in the teaching and learning process?

Some staff not only responded quickly and in some detail, but were enthused about the possibilities of wikis. One teacher, Les Kyle, proceeded to quickly create her own extremely detailed wiki for her VCAL class; the whole curriculum, topics and links to resources (with some contributions from Judith and Reina). This wiki was kept private within Preston Girls’ (using an email to the students’ email address inviting them to join the wiki) as full student names appeared on the wiki and discussions between teacher and students took place. Judith and Reina were proud to think that their Curriculum Audit wiki was the catalyst for Les’s fabulous wiki.

However, many staff did not know what a wiki was, and some had trouble even logging on. The ideal situation would have been an introductory session during a Curriculum Day for those interested/needing guidance. However as all Curriculum Days had been allocated to specific topics (Literacy), Judith and Reina continued to work one-to-one with interested teachers. Judith and Reina believe that something like the SLAV Web 2.0 course for teachers would be terrific, as they often felt that the majority of the teaching staff would benefit from the introduction to the Web 2.0 tools out there that can enhance teaching and learning.

The idea that wikis were the ideal tool for student/student and student/teacher (and teacher/teacher) collaboration was introduced to teachers. That students projects could be completed in teams, and the teacher automatically alerted by email to when contributions had been added. Students taking full responsibility for their own learning becomes apparent when those with access to the wiki can see (and also have email alerts) who has contributed what to the wiki. The way discussions and comments are structured means that students have to think about their responses, rather than perhaps plagiarise by cutting and pasting.

The bonus was that discussions about wikis and blogs now regularly take place and teachers who have not yet made a contribution to the wiki promise to do so when the VCE classes finish. The new ICT Coordinator has begun his own blog. And the teachers who contributed to the wiki will have the best resourced subjects in the school!

The only problem that Judith and Reina found was that the initial wiki grew so large that it had to be split into two; years 7-10 and years 11-12.

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.