Global Teacher - WEB 3.0 Community and Research Project

Archive for May, 2008

Vivacious Vokis

Posted by jah63 on 25th May 2008

Judy Harrington
Get a Voki now!

Our students at Horsham West have learnt to make these vokis which you can find on our home page. Check Ms Harrington, Mr Weir and Ms Koenig’s to see just what a fabulous time the kids have had. When they made these Vokis student’s recorded their own voices as well as typing text. This was a painless way to enhance speaking and listening skills. We are also using Vokis to create a character for early Australian History. e.g Captain Cook.  Another way that Vokis can be used is as a part of creating characters for fiction.

Posted in Visual Art | 1 Comment »

Top 100 web 2.0 tools for learning

Posted by brittgow on 21st May 2008

I’ve been trying out some of the top 100 tools for learning and thought you might like to see what they are all about. One of the fun ones is “Comic Life”, which lets you create funky comics from photos. Although it is not free, I think you can do a similar kind of thing with word - add speech and thought bubbles to photos. Try it out!


Posted in Web 2.0 | 1 Comment »

Digital Story Telling - stories create a storm at Mt Waverley

Posted by china on 19th May 2008

picture2.jpgDigital stories are ‘mini-movies’ that combine the age-old art of storytelling with the use of modern technology. They are created using a collection of images, voice, music and sometimes sound effects. They’re constructed easily on a computer and anyone who has a story to tell will be able to create these movies in a highly engaging process that merges story and creativity to make it come alive.

It originated in the US over ten years ago, leading to the establishment of the Centre for Digital Storytelling (CDS) [] at Berkley University in California. The Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne (ACMI) was trained by the CDS as Australia’s centre for excellence and has been developing digital storytelling as a major content production and exhibition program for the general community.

Our first introduction to the world of DST was through ‘Coach’ Carole McCulloch who is an eLearning Consultant and the moderator for the Digital Storytelling Network in Australia at:

Carole’s passion for Digital Stories led us to ACMI where we completed our training using Mac’s. We became DST disciples! Using the principles, we trained our staff using Microsoft Photo Story 3. Our students followed and they have taken to the technical side of the software like ducks to water!

The ‘Wow’ Factor!
Digital Story Telling has created a revolution at our school! A rich tapestry of stories has emerged about the lives of our students. We have learnt so much more about these kids – about what is happening in their lives and what is important to them. These children have real stories to tell – how often do we give them the voice to tell their stories?

The power of DST cannot be underestimated. We have been delighted by the student engagement and the noticeable improvement in literacy. Many boys who are normally reluctant to speak in front of an audience have produced some amazing pieces of work. One boy, who has a speech impediment, recorded his voice over and over again until it was word perfect – no stuttering, no hesitancy, no urging from the teacher.

Other boys who live for recess, lunchtime and home time and hate writing with a passion, have been knocking at the door during their breaks, begging to be allowed in to finish their scripts. Phrases such as these below, have become almost the ‘norm’ to our Year 4 boys.
‘I love my family and the world wouldn’t be the same without them.’
‘Just a little dot in the ocean, but what a beautiful country it is.’
‘From the most exquisite sunsets, to the amazing hand-woven batik…..’

Digital Story Telling has been a fantastic way of engaging our boys in Literacy. Our students – from those with special needs, to our most ‘gifted’ have been motivated to produce high quality work. Rich and deep learning has taken place.

‘Movie Night’
Once the students complete their stories, we hold a ‘movie’ night. We are blown away by the number of families who come to see their budding Steven/Stephanie Spielbergs make their directorial debuts. There is literally standing room only!

Boxes of tissues are provided free of charge! I’ll never forget the sight of one father as tears rolled down his face. He was watching the story his son had carefully and lovingly created about how much he adored his dad and how proud he felt to be his son.

You never know what impact a story can have!

Digital Story Telling and VELS
Digital Storytelling involves students in a highly engaging process which authentically integrates all three VELS domains. It inspires deep, relevant, interactive learning for all students and their needs, backgrounds, perspectives and interests are reflected. Learning connects strongly with communities and practice beyond the classroom (POLT!!).

The procedure of making a digital story involves creative and critical thinking, inquiry, multimodal literacy, writing, discussion, design, production, reflection, presentation and integrated use of ICT. It gives students opportunities to enhance the expression of their own stories, thoughts and ideas in creative and engaging ways, connecting learning across a broad range of learning situations.

The role and place of storytelling and listening is central to this program. The software and technology don’t become important tools until the script has been completed. Learning occurs most successfully at point of need and understanding and proficiency with the technology tools will follow naturally.

Digital stories can be used in the following ways:
• Preserving community and personal histories
• Engaging, inspiring and motivating all learners
• Creating ePortfolios
• Celebrating achievements or events
• Presenting factual information e.g. ‘The Great Wall of China’; ‘The Life Cycle of a Butterfly’
• Demonstrating different genres of writing
• To provide an explanation for a particular maths concept
• Creating visual learning materials for the autistic or learning disabled
• Creating learning materials
• Assessment and reporting

What you need!
• a ’story’
• some form of script
• images to tell the story - anything that can be photographed or scanned
• music or sound effects if required. Photo Story has the benefit of customisable music to suit the mood of the story (lots of fun!!). Copyright and royalty free music is available from the web. Try:
• a storyboard or some form of plan to combine the above elements
• a computer with Windows XP
• software – Photo Story 3, Windows Media Player 11, Movie Maker (these are free downloads)
• adjustable headsets with microphones that have volume control on the cord are best.

• Brainstorm! The story is most powerful if it is personal. Students list ideas on paper or use mind mapping software while considering their images and music. These need to be used to enhance the story.
• Collect the images. The script will often write itself if you have photos ready to look at.
• Students begin first draft. This should be about 100 - 150 words. The narrative is perhaps the most important aspect. Certainly the most powerful are those capturing a story that has personal significance to the storyteller. The greatest difficulty is getting the students to write with a ‘personal voice’ rather than as a recount. ‘Ever since I can remember, I have always dreamed of getting a cat’ as opposed to ‘This is my cat Sam and I got him last year’.
• The story circle is very important! This gives the opportunity to listen to others, reinforces fluency and expression, a chance to practise before the voice recording and a chance for the students to offer positive feed back to one another. Use it with a group of 6 to 8 students at a time.

“As we are made of water, bone and biochemistry, we are made of stories. The students who share their stories in our circles recognize a metamorphosis of sorts, a changing, that makes them feel differently about their lives, their identities”.
- Joe Lambert, Director
Centre for Digital Storytelling

? Self-edit and then conference with teacher.
? Practise reading the drafts aloud to help eliminate wordiness and to get the pace and expression right.
? Manipulate images.
? Record voiceover.
? Add royalty-free music and/or create and record own music.
? Export finished digital story using Windows Media Player.
? Save finished product onto DVD, CD, blog, and intranet.

The Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling (

The point of the story - point of view
Dramatic Question
Emotional content
Gift of Voice
Sound track

The ‘Digital Storytelling Cookbook’ by Joe Lambert presents the Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling in greater detail and forms the basis for approaching digital storytelling in the classroom.

I believe that DST is a wonderful way for students to become truly engaged in ‘real’ literacy activities. Our own students have shown a heightened use of language, not only showing evidence of an increased awareness of ‘audience’ but they use the technical vocabulary as if they were Steven Spielberg himself. This is from 8 and 9 year olds!

View examples of Digital Stories.
Australian stories at ACMI:

Posted in Digital Stories, Leeanne King | 5 Comments »

The ePlanks Podcast - on a cyberwave near you!

Posted by Jess on 18th May 2008

This is a cross-post with technoLOTEapril 21 001

The ePlanks podcast is up and running! We have 4 episodes all ready to go for your listening pleasure. ePlanks is a project that I (Jess McCulloch) am working on with Anne Mirtschin. We are trying to lay the ePlanks of the virtual classroom and a Web 2.0 school. We’ve been a bit busy lately with my little iPod and it’s voice recorder -which has become my favourite piece of technology lately!

Episode 1 - We talk to Virginia as she begins her journey as a blogger. We ask her what she thinks of the whole Web 2.0 thing. She’s feeling a bit left behind, but that’s ok - never fear, Jess and Anne are here!

Episode 2 - We found Sandy Phillips from the Victorian Department of Education’s Education Channel and so we sat her down and asked her how Global Teacher got started, which is the blogging campus we have set up many of our students and teachers with for their blogs.

Episode 3 - We (myself, Anne and our greatly treasured librarian, Faye) had a little chat amongst ourselves in the car about blogging as we drove back to Hawkesdale from Melbourne. melbtohdalemap2

We chatted about how we started, some fears and just jumping in and trying it.

Episode 4 - As part of our ePlanks project, Anne and I decided to go and visit Coburg Senior High School, who are not just talking the talk of a 21st century school, but also walking the walk. You will have to listen in for more details of this pretty amazing school.

We are planning many more episodes for ePlanks, so keep an ear open - we are on the cyberwaves!

Click on the player here to listen to our episodes, go straight to our podomatic site, or you can subscribe through iTunes.

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Blogging, Jess McCulloch, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment »

Laying the ePlanks of a Web 2.0 School

Posted by Jess on 17th May 2008

This is a cross-post with technoLOTE

eplankssmall Anne Mirtschin and I were lucky enough to this year be granted Teacher Professional Leave to develop a project we have called ‘ePlanks - Laying the Foundations of a Web 2.0 School.’ Our aim with this project is to get as many staff using various Web 2.0 tools (such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networks and social bookmarking sites) as possible to extend their teaching in a way that suits them.

We have outlined several stages that we think would be important when encouraging staff to jump into the Web 2.0 world. Our eplanks are:

Plank 1 - Understanding what the Web 2.0 World is / means and why you would use it
Plank 2 - CyberSafety
Plank 3 - Digital Media and Copyright
Plank 4 - Creating Your Own Online Space / Creating Online Student Spaces - Blogs and Wikis
Plank 5 - Adding Your Voice / Adding Student Voices- Podcasting
Plank 6 - Joining Networks and Making Connections
Plank 7 - No Walls on this Classroom - mLearning

Plank 8 - Keeping the Learning Going - Web 2.0 PD for Busy Teachers

You can find more details about these steps on the ePlanks wiki.

As part of this project we went to see Will Richardson speak at the SLAV conference on Monday 12th May. Will is a world-renowned leader in the field of Web 2.0 in schools and it was great to hear him speak. The main message I took away from his session was that Web 2.0 is not about the tools, it is about the powerful connections that can be made with those tools. These connections then lead to really powerful learning experiences for our students. These connections can make it possible for you to bring someone into your classroom who knows more about what you are trying to teach than you do - whoever they are and whatever age they are. Comments left on a blog can lead to further conversation and the discovery of more information about what you are trying to teach for example.

Here are the points Anne noted from what Will Richardson said:

  • Students have so many different ways of connecting and learning outside school
  • The more we block (online websites), the less safe we leave our kids
  • We can be so ’scared’ that we do not allow them to do anything.
  • Schools need to prepare students to be ‘googled’ and ‘googled well’
  • Social networking is not all bad. It can be extremely positive. Meg Cabot is a good role model for a fine example of use of myspace.
  • Clarence Fisher does not moderate but teaches students what to do in particular contexts.
  • Students need to learn on demand - they will not be trained or retrained once out in the workforce but they will need to do it independently
  • It is important that we teach students how to use and create hypertexted environments.
  • Students need to build connections to links and need to be  ‘findable’ in order to collaborate
  • Connection is the real power - it gives an authentic audience. Students need to connect with people in many different ways.
  • Need to change personal learning practise and prepare them for the future.
  • Teachers are more important than ever before -
  • Students need teachers as
  • role models
  • for guidance
  • support
  • wisdom
  • their personal experience

    These are all really important points for us to remember as we progress with our project. I especially like that it has been pointed out that teachers are more important than ever before. Hopefully this will motivate some teachers to take a few more risks and at least get up to their knees in the river/ocean that is the world of Web 2.0.

    Look out for plenty more posts about laying the ePlanks - and the ePlanks podcast!

    Technorati Tags: ,,

  • Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Jess McCulloch, Web 2.0 | No Comments »


    Posted by dregan2 on 15th May 2008

    Working closely alongside Murch with grade 4/5 I.T. We decided that the students needed custom avatars to individualise their blogs, and show everyone how fantastic and creative they are. The students were given a 15×15 cm square to measure and rule. The idea was to work within those boundaries to allow the completed avatar to still have as much detail as possible when reduced to a thumbnail (tiny) size. The students were also encouraged to use tissue paper collage create a background for their personal image. The other option was for the student to draw the image with a hand drawn background behind the figure. The completed images were photographed digitally at high resolution and then reduced.

    Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

    “Animoto” -

    Posted by brittgow on 14th May 2008

    “Animoto” is another tool for uploading images and adding audio - this time with a range of tunes to create funky short videos. You can create 30 second videos and choose a music style to match, or register as an educator and have three months unlimited use.
    Here’s one I did with my Year 9 Off Campus Program. On Tuesday 6th May, 21 students travelled to Mailor’s Flat to assist in a revegetation project to save the critically endangered Orange Bellied Parrot. There are less than two hundred individual birds left in the wild and they are endemic to south-eastern Australia, migrating from Tasmania to the Victorian and South Australian coast each winter. Part of the program to build numbers of these pretty birds is a revegetation program to provide roosting and feeding plants, which will increase their chances of survival. Students were able to separate seedlings of woolly tea tree and messmate plants and re-pot 3,000 plants.Takes a little while to load, but worth the wait!

    Posted in Uncategorized, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment »

    Relaxing in Horsham

    Posted by heatherblakey on 12th May 2008

    Horsham Drawing

    Judy and Kristy

    While I was working in Horsham and the Wimmera I did have a little time to relax. Judy and Kristy, from Horsham West Primary took me to the local coffee shop that provides paper and crayons and I sipped hot chocolate and drew them. It is all a part of showing just how easy it is to publish and celebrate fun times.

    Afterwards I discovered a gypsy clothing store and enjoyed some retail therapy. And they call this work!

    Posted in Learning about Blogs | 3 Comments »

    Hi from the Wimmera

    Posted by skoenig on 6th May 2008

    Hi everyone,

    I’m a new member to this Global Teacher blog. Enjoying a professional learning day at Horsham West P.S, at the moment we are extending our skills with blogging. Thanks to Heather for travelling up here for the day! Worthwhile. Everything in education is looking very exciting at the moment. We’re loving it.

    Thanks for reading, S Koenig

    Posted in Learning about Blogs | 13 Comments »

    Flickr basics 2

    Posted by dregan2 on 5th May 2008

    Pollen (c) author, 2008

    Ok, so now the image is on your first page when  You is clicked. Actually click the image and you will be sent to the page that only the single image is on. Like this:


    If you run your mouse/cursor over the title above the image a beige ‘bar’ will come up. If you click the ‘bar’ you can change and save the new title right there. (marked by a red ‘one’ in the image above). If you dont change the title Flickr assumes it will just be called whatever you titled it on your computer and leave it as such.

    • The red ‘Two’ on the image is the photo’s personal toolbar.

    • The ‘Three’ is a link to your own personal photostream.

    • ‘Four’ is a link to where ever else you have the image stored within Flickr.

    • ‘Five’ is much the same as four but it shows what ‘Group Pools’ the image has been sent to. (more about these functions later).


    Underneith the photo the image the ^above^ can be seen. The first red marker near the top is the description of the image.  If you scroll your mouse  cursor  near the bottom of your photograph another ‘beige bar’ appears. Click in here to add your description. It could be about the image, or  what you were trying to achieve or nothing, it is entirely up to you. Then: save.

    Across to the right ^^ above^^ you can see the Add a Tag link. Push this, and you will be prompted to add ‘tags’ to the image, via a pop up box. The tags need to be separated by commas or if the tag is multiple words then enclose them in quotation marks. Ie (on the tag list above) I would have typed : Sx70, 600, Polaroid, Jetty, Bollard, Warrnambool, “‘Roid Week 08″ in a single line, not indvidually. The tags will be picked up by search engines like Google Image Search, so if you would not like that occurring, don’t tag the image.

    Under the Tag link there is the Photo Stats which tells you a lot about what activity has been happening on your page.  For example: The ’Jetty’ image has been  ‘favorited’ by three people, and It has been viewed individually by various individuals 31 times. These viewers are not listed, only the people who add it as a favorite or those who leave a comment are. If you click the listing that tells you how many people have favorited your picture, a new page opens up telling you who they are.

    Under Photo Stats there is the Edit / Replace link that allows you to upload a better version of the image without losing all of the information, comments and statistics. This option is very useful especially if you are handy with Adobe Photoshop. It also allows you to edit all of the title, tags, and description information while you are uploading the new improved version.

    Now we get to my favorite part, Comments and Contacts. If you look ^^above^^ there is four comments, one is from a contact friend of mine in Singapore. Mela de Gypsie would have seen my images pop up in her Contacts photo page. The Contacts link is found on the toolbar directly below the Flickr logo on any of your pages. If you click this link it takes you to a page where thumbnail images of your Contacts (or friends) photos can be found. Click any of these and it takes you directly to the image displayed, within their photostream.

    How I add a contact to my list? Once you have clicked the Contacts link to the thumbnail page, you will see your avatar, (all Flickr members have a simple avatar as a default, this can be changed later in your profile) with a list of contact related options available, including ‘Invite’ and ‘Find your friends’. Flickr allows you to group your contacts into three main areas, Friends and Family, Friends, and Contacts, (there is also a Block List link).  Click the Find your Friends link. Which will open this page:


    You have two options: Use an existing address book, which in this case is Yahoo, Gmail or Windows Live Hotmail. Or try and find people who are already on Flickr. The latter option only works if you know their username. The former checks your Yahoo, Gmail or Live Hotmail address book for email addresses of friends who may be Flickr users. Follow the easy links with either option.  Flickr will send them notification  (via Flickrmail) that you have added them as a contact and gives them the option to add you to their contact list as well. If you find someone within a group that you might want to add as a contact, simply roll your curser over their avatar. The thumbnail will appear larger with an arrow (drop box) beside it, click the arrow  and a series of options will drop down including ‘add …….. as a contact’, click and follow the links. If you click the avatar itself it will take you directly to the persons photostream.

    OK, this is getting to be a massive blog entry (sorry) but we have one more little thing to cover before I log off tonight, Groups.

    Click Groups on the toolbar below the Flickr logo. You will be taken to a page similar to  this:


    Now as a Flickr newbie you will have no groups under your avatar. Click the Search for a Group link (as underlined). Or if you prefer the Find a Group search bar on the right. Find a Group uses a keyword search and will show you all the groups that have that word in their title or description. For example: if I wish to find a group that showcase images of dogs I would type: Dogs  into the bar and click search. There is currently 14,738 groups about dogs on Flickr! Including Dog Days, Dog Expressions, Hot Dogs, LOL Dogs, and Dog Tired, just to name a few. 

    My point here is that no matter what you have photographed, there will be a group on Flickr that would love to have your image(s) added to their group pool. But you have to join a group to be able to place your images in the pool. I’m going to use ‘Dog Expressions’ as my group example.


    Notice the Group has an Avatar, and a Group Photo Pool, where all its members post their images. To join simply click the Join this group? link. Dog Expressions opens a new page that outlines the rules of the group, what sort of images they allow and so forth. At the bottom of the rules large pink type clearly states “If you agree to these rules, you can join this group“ under that statement there is a button that says ‘OK JOIN’  or a link that says “No thanks, take me back to the Dog Expressions homepage.”  I agreed with the rules so I clicked the button.  I was again taken to the Group Homepage, but this time there was no ‘Join this group?’ link. I am now a member and I can post the photos of my dogs little face to the group. There is no limit to the number of groups you can join.

    Ok now, to add your image to a Group Pool we have to go back to our album. Click You on the toolbar directly below the Flickr logo. This will go directly to your photostream. Now click on the image that you wish to add to a group pool. This will go directly to the image’s own page.


    Under the title there is a group of buttons for different functions, all to do with the image displayed. Click the second button from the left Send to Group. This will cause a drop box list of all the groups you are a member of to open up. It displays only their avatars and names. Simply click the Group you wish to send the image to. The following will appear:



    Click OK, and the group will show up under the; This photo also belongs to: list.

    Next blog will cover: Leaving coments on photos and in forums, and basic organising.

    Posted in Visual Art | No Comments »