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Have you had a tough time getting Web 2.0 tools on the agenda at your school? No matter what you try, those in power aren’t listening? Then why not try the idea of ‘one to one professional learning’. The idea here is that you chip away at people until they give in to the power of Web 2.0 - one by one.

One to one professional learning can be held during spare periods so that staff do not feel that this is ‘just one more thing to deal with after school’. By teaching one person at a time, the sessions are casual and fun, without the need to monitor large groups who need their hands held. And one of the philosophies behind the program is that the person you teach goes on to teach another person that particular tool. This takes the strain off library staff and empowers learners to teach and reinforce their learnings. This survey  may help you to introduce the topic to staff via a group email. Good luck!

Online surveys

There are some useful free survey tools available on the internet. They include Google forms and SurveyMonkey.

Google forms can be accessed through Google Docs. Once in the docs account, just click on ‘new’ and select ‘form’. Questions can be added and edited quite easily and users can select from a number of different question options such as multiple choice, text box and so on. Once  the survey is finished being written, users are given a link to email or embed into a website. Here is an example of a survey  created with Google. Responses are then automatically recorded by Google docs for analysis at a later stage.

SurveyMonkey comes complete with themes and supports the use of any language. It is easy to write questions and SurveyMonkey gives guidance and options about type of questions as well as having the option of a spellchecker. Once the questions have been written and the survey is ready to be sent, users are given the option of a URL or having a survey pop up on their web page. If the URL option is selected, then the URL can then be added to a blog or wiki as a link or the URL can be emailed to contacts.

SurveyMonkey home
SurveyMonkey home
Data collection from survey responses can be limited by date or number of respondents. Survey results can be viewed in real time and converted to charts and graphs. There is a limit of ten questions for the free account, however that can be overcome by splitting surveys into two parts.
SurveyMonkey does have a premium service and there is at least one school in Victoria that subscribes to it. As they survey all students in relation to Principles of Learning and Teaching and SurveyMonkey does complex analysis for them, they see the investment of US$200 p.a. as a good investment. SurveyMonkey is infinitely more attractive than Google Forms. Here is an example  of what can be achieved in minutes with  a free SurveyMonkey account.
SurveyMonkey is an extremely useful and usable tool and their surveys have a more attractive and professional look than Google forms.

For anyone who showed an interest in using video games for educational learning, there seems to be a plethora of information around about libraries, schools and gaming. You may have to refer to one or more of these sites to get gaming on your school agenda. Here is a selection of those sites.

 The American Library Association has a website named ‘The Librarian’s Guide to Gaming’, which is ‘an online toolkit for building gaming @ your library. There is a lot of information on the site which includes ‘tools and resources’, ‘best practice’ and ‘evaluation’.

American Library Association Gaming Toolkit

American Library Association Gaming Toolkit

 Helen Boelens recently let IASL members know about some more video game research that was being carried out. She says, “The research is being carried out by a researcher at the CLU (Centrum Leermiddelen Studie Utrecht - Centre for educational tools Utrecht), together with Kennisnet, which is a Dutch national foundation which supports the use of ICT in education in the Netherlands. The CLU is affiliated with the University of Utrecht, a university which has a strong faculty of education. The study which is being carried is about the effect of serious gaming on young people of upper secondary school age (16 years of age and older) and how these games can be used as educational tools, as part of their education. This research is presently taking place. A final report will be published when the research has been completed.”

 Some other discussions about using computer games in schools include Computer games explore social issuesby Kara Platoni. “Students have to win PeaceMaker, a simulation of the Middle East peace process, twice — once while playing as the Israeli prime minister and once as the Palestinian president.”

Patricia Edgar (the founding Director of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation) and Don Edgar have written a paper on the topic of Television, Digital Media and Children’s Learning for the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority which promotes the use of all types of media in learning and teaching.

School change and video gamesby Mark Wagner, Ph.D. looks at school change through video games.

Learning to game and gaming to learn: videogames in education is a wiki with a lot of links to research that has focused on the relationship between video games and school learning.

 Videogames as learning enginesby David Warlick is another presentation that looks at the correlation between video games and learning.

 And don’t forget the State Library of Victoria is offering a chance to find out what gaming is all about at an evening of interactive play and mini-tournaments. Discover a range of video games and consoles, and meet game experts from Dissecta. It will be held on Tuesday 7 April (school holidays for Victoria) from 6-7.30pm at the State Library, in Experimedia. The session is free, but bookings are required. Please click this link to book in.

This week is Reading Week on Teachers’ TV. There is a range of programs on good practice, libraries and reading aloud and all stages of schooling are catered for.

Reading Week at Teachers' TV

Hopefully there will be something to inspire everyone.

Saturday’s Age published a very interesting and thoughtful article by Suzy Freeman-Greene entitled The Write Stuff on the subject of teaching handwriting.

Illustrated by Luisa La Rocca

She has some very interesting thoughts such as  

Florey, an American author, believes handwriting is in crisis. It’s often illegible, she told ABC radio, and in some US schools, kids are being taught something known as “keyboarding”. Studies have shown that kids master reading more easily when they write some of the words at the same time. There is, she says, a direct connection from brain to hand. But beyond fourth or fifth grade, US schools pay little attention to the quality of handwriting.

 After hearing Florey, I’m mighty glad that Victorian prep students are straining over their giraffes and monkeys (though I’m not sure what they’re doing at secondary schools). But you have to wonder what this penmanship will be used for, other than filling out forms and signing credit-card receipts. Will the next generation write in diaries? (Who needs to when you can record every moment on the web?) If they no longer send love letters, will they save those heartfelt emails and flirty texts for posterity?

 Handwriting began as a specialised enterprise. (Think of those medieval monks bent over illuminated manuscripts.) And maybe it will again become a rarefied activity, closer to calligraphy than a daily necessity. Today, a handwritten letter already has a rare, intimate quality.

When you pause to think about what we actually do use handwriting for today it is a sobering thought that it may well become a lost art.

Casey Grammar School Head of Secondary School Teaching and Learning and teacher librarian Julie Squires has developed a very useful wiki for her year 11 English class.

Wiki homepage
Wiki homepage
Julie explains, ‘Although I created the wiki specifically for my class, I made it public so that any English teacher and/or student can use it. I am introducing my students to the wiki slowly; they need to complete their VCE profiles via the wiki and I want them to get used to doing homework online. I want the students to take responsibility for their own learning. I am encouraging them to use tools such as Essay map and bubbl.us to plan their essays online. Students can contribute to the ‘Reading/responding resource bank’ so that others can see what their classmates are doing. I really hope it becomes a collaborative effort between them as often students don’t realise what their classmates are writing and thinking. It’s not cool to share too much in class, so hopefully this way they can experience the power of learning collaboratively.’
Useful online resources

Useful online resources

Julie continues, ‘And by giving them links to useful resources, like Glogster and Ergo, I am helping them find resources they would not necessarily come across themselves.’

Congratulations to Julie for her great ideas, creativity and for sharing her wonderful wiki with us. Julie really is a leader in her field! If you have a moment, check out her ning, a place for Victorian teacher librarians to meet and share.

Essay map

Essay map is an intuitive online essay planner for students.



Students do not to have sign up for an account or register an email address. They simply enter their first name and topic and away they go.


Students can move between screens as their ideas develop and become clearer.



They only downside is that essay maps cannot be saved. However, they can be printed out before exiting.

Review of map

Review of map

Thanks to Julie Squires of Casey Grammar School and Lynda Santolin of Parade College for the tip off about Essay Map.

Press play

After pondering the future of libraries, including school libraries for a while now and thinking about 21st Century Learning after hearing Professor Stephen Heppell speak at the State Library of Victoria in November 2008, it’s probably time to address the concept of gaming in schools, libraries and school libraries.

Are you still reading? You haven’t fainted? Great! Library staff of all makes and models have always been exellent at managing change and the takeup of Web 2.0 over the past year or so has proven that to be true.

Gaming in schools does seem to inspire strong reactions in some people, however the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s Knowledge Bank: Next Generation team are currently leading action research with selected teachers in Victoria to identify potential technologies that may support learning and teaching. This project is supported by The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, The Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (Multimedia Victoria) and The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

In term 2, 2009, these technologies include gaming consoles such as Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360. Being a DEECD project, there are strict guidelines and record keeping so all research can be validated. This is a major step for the DEECD in acknowledging the educational potential of gaming and backing up ideas with action research. Bright ideas will keep you up to date with developments and outcomes of the project.

Some of you may have heard Derek Robertson speak when he was in Australia in November 2008. Derek heads up the Consolarium, which is a part of Learning and Teaching Scotland. The Consolarium highlights the positive outcomes of using gaming in schools and gives excellent examples of particular games and how they have been used by teachers. The Consolarium blog has been in action since September 2007, which seems like a long time in the world of technology. Derek has lots of examples on the Consolarium blog of excellent uses of games in schools.

In late 2008, an Australian study focussing on interactive entertainment was published. Some remarkable statistics were uncovered such as:

  • 88% of households own a device for playing games
  • The average game player is 30 years old
  • Female gamers made up 46% of the gaming population.

If these facts have raised your interest about the possibilities of using games in an educational context, the good people of the State Library of Victoria are offering a chance to find out what gaming is all about at an evening of interactive play and mini-tournaments. Discover a range of video games and consoles, and meet game experts from Dissecta. It will be held on Tuesday 7 April (school holidays so no worries about going out on a school night) from 6-7.30pm at the State Library, in Experimedia. The session is free, but bookings are required. Please click this link to book in.

Hope to see you there!

The future of the library

With the Internet and a computer you can visit any library in the world. So will virtual libraries replace the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ library? Could digital screens replace the book? So asked Radio National during a recent broadcast.

Radio National has now given interested people access to the podcast where the discussion focuses on ‘The future of the library’. First broadcast on Thursday 26th March, guests included Lea Giles-Peters, who is the Queensland State Librarian; Bob Stein from The Institute of the Book, online writing and publishing and Hamilton Wilson, the Managing Director of Wilson Architects.


Looking for an online brainstorming tool? bubbl.us could be the answer.

The bubbl.us website says you can:

  • Create colorful mind maps online
  • Share and work with friends
  • Embed your mind map in your blog or website
  • Email and print your mind map
  • Save your mind map as an image
  • bubbl.us is ideal for student collaboration and as the mind maps can be simply saved, printed or embedded into blogs, etc. students can include their brainstorming and planning in their assignment submission.

    An encouraging comment from a teacher via the bubbl.us blog:

               Ben Davis describes how Bubbl.us helped his students to network.

    Typically I have trouble getting them to get excited about word webs. However, they were VERY excited about doing this. The guys loved how the bubbles exploded when you deleted them, and the girls loved the colors. However, the thing they seemed most interested in was the fact that they could network.”

    Julie Squires of Casey Grammar also uses bubbl.us. with her VCE students (thanks Julie for alerting Bright Ideas to bubbl.us) and her use of it and other tools will be featured shortly.

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