QR codes and MANTLE conference

Workshop 1:

QR codes – those now-ubiquitous, distinctive, square barcodes – are on advertising posters, business cards and websites. For last year’s MANTLE conference, I made use of a QR code phone app, I-nigma, from iTunes. Apart from a few tests, I haven’t really done very much with this aspect of technology. But the possibilities may be endless!

I have created QR codes for the websites I am referencing in my MANTLE talks this week. For example:

QRCodeBooked Inn blog

Blue

GoldQuest

QRCode
GoldQuest blog

Blue

Penrith PS Library wiki

QRCode
Penrith PS Library wiki

Blue

Penrth PS rappers and bloggers

QRCode
Penrith PS rappers & bloggers

Blue

PhotoPeach

QRCode
My PhotoPeach profile page

Blue

QRCode
PMBW TL professional learning group

QRCode
QR codes Kaywa generator

QRCode
NSW DEC CLIC raps and book raps

Blue

Endangered animals

QRCode
Stage 3’s Endangered animals: beyond the rainforest

Blue

Workshop 2: This workshop will look at how to make book trailers and their use in engaging students in literacy and reading activities. Applications used to make trailers will be looked at and discussed, also how they can be used as a resource in a school library and in classrooms and how they can help promote literacy and reading. Ways to engage students in these resources to augment their learning experiences will be modeled and discussed.

* Brainstorming (using Circle Time) – consider audience, theme, length, 30 images
* Storyboarding (using a book rap template) – small groups
* Will you use photos (“Creative Commons”), drawings, cutouts, puppets, toys, claymation, or actors in dress-up box clothing?
* Upload – to Photo Peach or other Web 2.0 facility – Flickr slideshow, PowerPoint/Keynote, podcast/Youtube, IWB Notebook software?
* Edit, adjust timing to the selected music
* Share with wider community – monitor incoming public comments regularly, or close them off.

* Rap resources (NSW DEC) for making digital stories and book trailers

* Bear and Chook PowerPoints

* Flickr slideshow repositories – and with captions added or Explore Creative Commons

* Commercial book trailers on Youtube, eg:


In the lion book trailerJames Foley

* This year’s CBCA Book Week theme is: “Read across the universe”. A starting point?

Further reading (articles by Ian McLean):

* ‘iInquire… iLearn… iCreate… iShare: Stage 1 students create digital stories’ in Scan 30(2) May 2011, pp 4-5.
Stage 1 students narrate how they inquire, learn, create and share with ICT and Web 2.0 to produce online Photo Peach slideshows at Penrith Public School. View the article online HERE.

* ‘Have blog, will storyboard!’ in info@aslansw Issue #2, May 2010, pp 5-8.
Stage 2 students at Penrith Public School created storyboards and PowerPoint digital stories as resources to support Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 students working on the Bear and Chook books rap, which ran during the subsequent term.

* ‘Circle time: maximising opportunities for talking and listening at Penrith Public School’ in Scan 26(4) November 2007, pp 4-7.
Circle Time is a structured framework for social and emotional learning which promotes a positive class ethos. Moving from class teacher back into the school library, I incorporated Circle Time and information skills into a range of collaborative literacy and ICT activities, including book raps.

UPDATE to Workshop 2:
During the above presentation, members of the audience suggested a few possible captions, in keeping with Book Week’s “Read Across the Universe” theme, and my intention was to get the Stage 3 students, back at school, to complete the brainstorming of the rest of the captions during Book Week. As the events of that week overwhelmed us, I filed away the groups’ A3 planning sheets, but dug them out again this week – and was thrilled with their results. A reminder to those on iPads: the latest version of Flash is required, so you’ll need to use a regular computer to see Photo Peach slideshows.

As promised, here is the finished slideshow:


Read across the universe by 5/6E

and an additional set of bookish/SF images that got the students’ conversations going:


Book Week 2013

By the way, we found “Robot jokes” during a Google search:
boyslife.org/about-scouts/merit-badge-resources/robotics/19223/robot-jokes/

and we were surprised to find that there are interactive “Yoda speech generator” sites (it started out as a joke that there might be one – and there were several!), such as:
www.yodaspeak.co.uk/

More puppets! It’s an obsession!

Puppets 1

Bargain basement animal puppets at $3 each from The Reject Shop, Penrith Plaza. Not sure why the Dalmatian has a yellow nose. I originally rejected these four puppets as my least favourites, but at just $3 each they made a hard bargain to pass up.

Puppets 2

More cute animal puppets, this time from the online Sunshine Markets, Queensland. The parcel arrived today! These were an irresistible Internet find: crocodile, leopard and (what the online catalogue called) “the Big Good Wolf”. Really? With those eyes?

Guided Inquiry – ongoing thoughts

On nswtl listserv this week, some teacher librarians raised the question of “Creative Commons” sections of photo gallery sites, such as Flickr and Google Images, and how they are usually blocked to our students by the DEC firewall because there’s simply no way to police the images and ensure that students won’t be exposed to unsavoury images during a lesson. I’d already been milling some ideas in my head and thought I’d transfer them to here as well.

It’s important to keep child protection in mind with ICT. Parents will not tolerate students discovering inappropriate digital images during lesson time, and an open search through Creative Commons may well bring that situation to a head. And too often. My interpretation of “responsible downloading” of images in the K-6 environment is: I use Flickr and Google Image sites with K-6 students to model the search on the IWB, or to a small group clustered around a monitor screen, and we search under my teacher-level username and password. Preferably, I test the searches beforehand.

Even then, I once had a class of Stage 1s discover, during an innocent (and pre-tested) image search on “cats”, an unexpected photograph of a startled cat pencil-sharper, with a pencil in its bottom. It caused great hilarity on the day, but it was a reminder that even a well-rehearsed search can go wrong – because new images are added to Flickr and Google Images every minute of the day. And my search-gone-wrong could have been so much worse.

Guided Inquiry (ie. Ross J Todd & Carol Kuhlthau) would say that any assignment which leaves students no option but to breach copyright is a poorly developed assignment in the first place. Not too much deep knowledge will be evident in a student’s supposedly-original production that features only cut ‘n’ paste text from websites and/or stolen, uncredited images from Google. The situation really isn’t that different since hideous “projects on cardboard” were invented way back in the 60s? (Earlier?) In those days, students used to cut images out of the school’s encyclopedias – and then photocopiers were invented and suddenly students were able to colour over b/w images they stole and somehow make it all better.

If the research question is designed correctly, it can’t be answered by stock text and images. The researched material also needs to be marked and approved by the teacher before final products are created, by which time any plagiarism opportunities should have been eliminated or made redundant (or avoided in the first place).

The students who tend to use the Internet responsibly aren’t likely to plagiarise unless their assignments stymie them into doing so. I’m deep into Guided Inquiry with Stages 2 and 3 at the moment and, as their storyboards and oral presentations take shape, there won’t be anyone feeling the need to steal other people’s information. If anyone does decide they need a particular existing image, then we’ll do a modelled search and find the right one in Creative Commons – under my username and password.

It’s hard going, but it’s working! Guided Inquiry Endangered animals (Stage 3 science & technology).

iInquire… iLearn… iCreate… iShare

#242

A good news story in an attempt to counterbalance all the negative dragon-lady news articles (Sydney Morning Herald; The Age) today:

In the current “Scan”:
“iInquire… iLearn… iCreate… iShare: Stage 1 students create digital stories” in Scan 30(2) May 2011, pp 4-5.
Stage 1 students narrate how they inquire, learn, create and share with ICT and Web 2.0 to produce online Photo Peach slideshows at Penrith Public School.

Many thanks to “Scan” editor Cath Keane. It looks great! Our students are going to be thrilled! And I look terrible in a twin-set & pearls anyway.

UPDATE: This afternoon, I returned to the library briefly after a staff meeting – and there was an urgent email telling me that ABC 702 radio commentator, Richard Glover, was seeking listeners to phone in and explain why they broke a stereotype. This segment was in response to the aforementioned newspaper articles about angry dragon-lady librarians in horn-rimmed glasses, cardigans, pearls and hair in buns. The suggestion was that I ring in myself, to explain that I broke that stereotype. I was sure I’d missed my chance, due to the meeting, but I did ring in and was put to air a few minutes later.

The call ended rather abruptly – no goodbye and thanks – so they must have only been after very brief sound bytes, like the ones I heard them playing while I was awaiting my turn. I wasn’t sure if they were wanted me for something meatier. I only hope I made some sense; it was all so fast. 15 seconds of fame, if that.

The new era of “sound byte” reporting, solidly with us these past few years, is certainly one of our biggest hurdles in getting a complex message (such as the points raised by the recent Parliamentary Enquiry) across – in any media.

Cool Creative Commons!

I’m really getting the hang of converting students’ collaborative Keynote presentations into video podcasts – and I’m *really* loving adding “Creative Commons” music as soundtracks!

I started to investigate “Creative Commons” sites last year, and found a few pieces of music that would have worked (the Stage 2 students wanted copyright free music that you could cha cha or belly dance to, and we did find one example of each!) but it all seemed too tricky last year, so our PowerPoints stayed mute. However, the ccmixter.org website is well laid out and it is quite simple to search for “Creative Commons” music by theme, musician or style. (I’ve found “scary”, “happy” and “circus” style pieces via the search engine – but beware of possible unsavoury lyrics. Stick with instrumentals only, unless you’ve previewed all the songs you will “listen to” with students). The site tells you the exact wording to place in the credits of the video podcast, movie or whatever media. After you’ve uploaded the podcast, you can relay the URL to ccmixter.org and they’ll add the online link to their searchable database.

So, just in time for Book Week, you might like to use my students’ “Mr Chicken” book trailer, and/or our “Across the Story Bridge” video podcast, and/or a revamped (from two Flickr slideshows) “Bear & Chook Adventures”. Click HERE!

Penrith PS podcasts

According to feedback, these video podcasts may require installing the latest version of Quicktime or, at least, clicking that you agree to MIME being associated with Quicktime on your computer. I’ve had the video podcasts working on Mac and PC, and they look really great on an interactive whiteboard (IWB). One teacher colleague had an earlier version of Quicktime on her IWB to enable her to run Kid Pix, and the podcasts did refuse to run on her machine.

Meanwhile, Happy Book Week!

Elusive Antarctica

With the emptying and storage of our school’s library contents, I’ve only been able to hold back minimal thematic resources to cover us for the next seven months (or so?). Added to that is the fact that the library’s now-invaluable interactive whiteboard (IWB) is in storage, too, and only a few of the classrooms I visit have their own.

The Stage 3 students are studying Antarctica in HSIE (Human Society & Its Environment) and we’ve been keen to revisit an interactive website we found two years ago, but numerous TaLe and Google searches weren’t revealing the one we wanted. I know I had the URL on the C-drive of my library computer, but that is packed away too. The clickable pages, which were motivating enough on small computer screens, would have been very exciting as IWB learning objects.

Last night I found the website! It was, of course, Discovering Antarctica, a UK site.

The most popular page, last time, had been What (not) to wear, an opportunity to dress an Antarctic scientist in appropriate clothing for his unique working environment. I can’t wait to see how it looks on the classroom IWBs.
What (not) to wear

Keyword research with Google Wonder Wheel

The Google Wonder Wheel is a research tool that helps students narrow down their search results. It can lead to better, more efficient access to websites that will provide them with background information on their specific topic. It is an excellent scaffold to promote and support thinking skills and the quest for deep knowledge. The video on Youtube is by Karen Bonnano of schoollibrarymanagement.com. Thanks Karen!

ClustrMaps!

On Friday, I added a “ClustrMap” to the blog, ie. the little rectangular graphic of the world map. This “free” widget (on the right, below my avatar pic), automatically tracks visitors to the blog site and gives a cumulative tally. Little red dots appear to represent “hits”, and will grow larger every ten visitors. (It’s free in that, if you want a wider range of services, you can upgrade with $$$. But the free version, despite tossing in a few advertisements deemed relevant to my readers, seems to be informative enough – and a fun diversion.)

By clicking on the map, you are taken to a larger version. To see the breakdown of “Country totals”, click on that hyperlink. So far, the figures show mostly Australian hits, but there have been visitors from seventeen other countries! 102 unique visitors over the weekend.

Of course, me being red/green colourblind, red dots on green landforms aren’t terribly helpful (for me), but if I really concentrate I can eventually notice a difference.

It will be interesting as the little red dots continue growing across Europe, the Pacific islands and the USA mainland, as Internet surfers the world over encounter the blog page through Google searches, etc. I know from my other blog, over at Blogger, upon which I have a “Sitemeter”, that these days many visitors seem to find my sites via a Google Images search, and this has been a changing trend in the past year. Either Google Images is more efficient than it used to be, or simply more people are using it to surf the ‘Net. Of course, that’s not to say they find what they’re looking for once they arrive. One of the mysteries of the Internet!

ClustrMaps is a great reminder that the Web 2.0 world is always watching!