Saturday, January 19, 2008

Flickr and creative commons photos

The above photo is from

I have just been learning how to automatically post photos from Flickr to my blog. Have just set this up, and its so easy! I have had to log in to my google account to give permission (1 easy click from flickr), then choose a template for my photos.

I'm still working out the copyright aspect. Which photos are under a "creative commons" licence and which aren't? Which ones can I use, and how should I attribute them. What about if a photo is called "public" and has a "blog this" button above it, but says "all rights reserved"? Will let you know how I get on.

OK, hope you didn't mind the wait.
I found that I need to go into advanced search and choose to search on copyright commons images only.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Friday, January 18, 2008


What should I read next? What are some great YA fantasy books? I've read all the Alex Rider books, what else is good?
Join LibraryThing, and you'll be connected with thousands of book lovers and all their ideas.
You start off by cataloguing your own books online. This is easy and fast, and much cleverer than it appears. Under its bonnet, LibraryThing uses the power of z39.50 searching to interrogate the world's major library catalogues and find professionally catalogued details of the book you are referring to.

Once you've catalogued a few books the fun begins. You can check out who else has catalogued similar books, browse their collections and see what you might like to read next. Say you had a very specific interest in vampire books that none of your friends understood. All of a sudden, on LibraryThing you can find a group of like-minded people, check out their collections, add your book review to theirs, and form or join a group on the topic.

One popular group is the "50 book challenge". Members aim to read 50 books in a year, and post information on what they have read so far and what they think of it. Other people comment on their choices and make suggestions about what they might like to read next. There are some great conversations going on on this group.
Other popular groups include Children's Fiction, and Read YA Lit, which choses one book a month to have a discussion about. March's book is The Giver by Lois Lowry. They also have great "group talk" discussions about a wide variety of other topics.
LibraryThing is very popular with librarians. In fact, the group Librarians who LibraryThing is the most popular, with 3655 members.

Or, you could just use LibraryThing’s powerful search system to find recommended books. Look up Eragon by Christopher Paolini, for example, and LibraryThing will show you the most popular books that people with Eragon also have in their library. Click on more recommendations for specifics. This type of search can pull up interesting results, as its not limited to any genre or type of book, just to popularity by lots of Eragon readers. People with Eregon also seem to buy Inkspell by Cornelia Funke, and Magyk by Angie Sage. The recommendations work best with popular books – have a look at the top of a book’s entry to see how many members have this book (5,332 for Eragon).

Here's a good link to an article about LibraryThing.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Creating Readers Using the Web

OK, introductory ideas for the presentation:

1. Introduction "what is literacy in the 21st Century?" Does it/how does it differ or develop from 20th Century literacy.

Quickly jot down your ideas, and share them with the person next to you.
Discuss in group.
We'll come back to these.

2. Questions for group to gauge level of knowledge and involvement in web 2.0:

Who reads blogs?
Who has commented on a blog?
Who has a RSS feed or blog aggregator?
Who has their own blog?


Watches u-tube etc videos?
Watches u-tube or other (eg teacher tube, ted) videos for educational purposes?

Uses social bookmarking tool like delicious?
Flickr account?
Bebo, Facebook or MySpace Account?

Talk about four Cs:


3. Create Readers blog

What is a blog?

History of Create Readers blog. Dylan Owen's idea. Need to be looked at as National Library blog. Issues for institutions, eg schools. Comment moderation, use of own names, copyright, etc. Refer to Courtney' Johnston's post on this topic here.

Discuss experience signing up as advisory editor. Mention decision to vet comments before publication. Choosing name for myself. Trepidation at first blog entry to the world. Using editing page to add blog. Adding links. Drafts and rewrites. Thrill of getting comments - eg What book got you hooked comments. Makes blog real conversation. Google analytics, seeing how many, where are reading the blog. Profiles. Tags - how to do these, what terms should be tags. Issue re adding cover photos, agreement with some publishers. Subsequent discussion on nzlibs listserv

Activity - Go through process of adding comments to blog entry. Get people with laptops to add a comment, any comment to create readers. Need to be able to add comments so people can see them.

Some other book related blogs. Look at list on create readers.

4. Library thing

Look at how it works, how to join up, add books, and in particular, look at what else other people who like similar books are reading. Mention how Library Thing does this - only mentions 3? of same author's books, often has books from quite different genre on list, because they are liked by so many people who liked your book. Disadvantages - not so good on NZ books, limited on Australian. Some books have different titles in different countries eg Captain UnderPants, the Golden Compass, Born to Run. Look at z39.50 power behind Library Thing books, using largest traditional library catalogues in the world, eg Library of Congress and British Library to get book information from. Look at potential as readers advisory tool - ie if you liked this book you might like... Good for teachers own PD, finding good read alouds - what is a book as good as xxx? School exercise getting students to catalogue their favourite books and write book reviews, and find new books to read? (Books do need to be available here).

Activity - have a box of NL books, get interested people to add a few books (or choose their favourites) and see what other people who are reading these books might like. Books will need to be grouped by age or type, and international enough.

5. Goodreads

Look at potential of this for forming a book discussion group. Mention social networking sites like Bebo, Facebook, Myspace. Ask participants how much kids they know are using these types of sites. Look at a couple of examples of book groups.

6. wikis for book groups

What is a wiki? How does this differ from a blog?

Look at examples of this, how people are using wikis to share their book group information.
Mention Year 1 teachers doing this.

Activity - start your own wiki. Give out instructions for those with laptops that can follow. Go through process for those that don't.

Look at:

Places you can create a wiki
Issues to consider - private/public, names used
Look and feel
Organisation of wiki pages
Tutorials on creating wikis
Getting people sharing information

More important to think about what information goes in, how it is organised, used and shared, than technical stuff like how to create and edit. That's the easy bit!

7. Book discussion groups, collaborative projects
English Online Book BackChat
Technospud Projects

8. Podcasts
Importance of oral literacy as a basis for reading and writing
Look at Allanah Ks wiki
Life 'Round Here

How would you use these tools?

Finish - come back to original question
Show podcast Pay Attention
What is literacy in the 21st century? What do you want to do to harness these tools, and student's enthusiasm? How could this work at your school? What's 1 thing you want to go back to school and do now?

Learning@School 08 Conference

Have just heard that my presentation proposal for the Learning@School 08 conference in Rotorua on February 19-21 has been accepted. Now I just have to prepare it. The presentation is on (quickly looks at notes) Creating Readers using the Web.

The blurb I used was:
Are you a book person or a computer person? Why not have it all! In this interactive workshop we will look at how you can use some of the new social networking Web 2.0 tools to create readers at your school. This is surprisingly easy, fun and free, and you'll have students interacting, discussing books, and even READING them like never before. We'll look at the presenter's experience in contributing to the new National Library "Create Readers" blog; at online reading communities such as LibraryThing, goodreads and ReaderGirlz; and at how you can engage your readers with the cunning use of ICT. Participants will also learn how to create their own own book-sharing wiki.
Now I just have to put this together. No worries!

I'll be in a room with wireless access, and participants will be invited to bring their own laptops and join in.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Definitions of 21st Century literacy

These ideas, from David Warlick, Judy O'Connell and Darren Draper follow on from my previous blog entry, Reading in the 21st Century

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn"
Alvin Toffler

"For the first time in history our job as educators is to prepare our students for a future that we cannot clearly describe. ... The best thing we can be teaching our children today is how to teach themselves." David Warlick

This concept, of course is being keenly taken up in NZ schools, especially with work around Information Literacy, Inquiry Learning, and constructivism.

David Warlick further discusses 21st century literacies, in this introduction to his presentation Literacy and Learning in the 21st Century:

"Being literate in this future will certainly involve the ability to read, write, and work with numbers. However, the concept of literacy in the 21st century will be far richer and more comprehensive than the 3 Rs of the one room school house. ... our notions of literacy must expand to address a rapidly changing information landscape where information is networked, digital, and overwhelming.

Being a reader today means being able to "find the information; decode it; critically evaluate it; and organise it into personal digital libraries."

David concludes his presentation with a statement that I've been thinking about a lot. Here it is...
"Stop integrating technology, and instead redefine literacy and integrate that"

Judy O'Connell is an Australian educator and information professional, who blogs as HeyJude. She has created a great slideshow on this topic: "Literacy Remixed in a Web 2.0 World"

Judy refers to Thomas Friedman's book The World is Flat, quoting a flat world as "a global, web-enabled playing field that allows multiple forms of collaboration, the sharing of knowledge and work, without regard to distance or geography, and soon even language."

This flat world means that our kids need new communications skill. Not just reading and writing, but reading words, images, sounds, video, interaction simultaneously. To learn new literacies about collaborating and networking, and to create, contribute, collaborate and connect.

This podcast, Pay Attention, was created by Darren Draper of Jordan District Schools, and referred to in Judy's slideshow. It takes the concept of our 21st century students and digital learning further. The podcast draws ideas from several leaders in the field of educational technology, namely Karl Fisch, Howard Gardner, Marc Prensky, Willard Daggett, David Warlick, and Ian Jukes. The statistics are from the USA, but if they don't apply to our students here yet, they will soon. Its well worth watching.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Free Rice

Just a thought. This site could be great as a warm-up for students before reading or writing.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

List of educational blogs

Here's a great list of educational blogs. Some of them I know, some I have never heard of.

From NZ, I recognise Derek Wenmoth's Blog on the list, and there's Hey Jude from an Australian Librarian. Others I recognise as leading blogs from North America. The page states that only blogs with a technorati ranking of 50 or more have been included.

Using Powerpoint effectively

Here's some great ideas, that look obvious when you see them, but that aren't necessarily anything like what we actually do...

These are slides from a presentation about how to do presentations.
You can also go here, to hear the oral delivery of the presentation along with seeing the slides.

I found them from this blog posting, from this blog "Do I dare disturb the universe" from Scott Elias, an educator.

Here are some of the ideas:
  • Don't write down everything you're going to say. YOU are the presentation, not powerpoint.
  • Don't use slides as a prompter or a handout generator
  • Don't use lots of bullet points and talk to them. "It is more difficult to process information if it is coming at you in the written and spoken form at the same time."
  • Do use images, and talk to them - not clipart, but copyright commons licenced images, eg from flickr
  • 10-20-30 (from Kawasaki)
    • 10 slides, 20 minutes, all text used 30 points or more
  • Can use diagrammes/graphs etc and talk to them. Easier than reading text and listening.
  • People can't concentrate for more than 18 minutes. Have a "commercial break" regularly. Needs to be related to subject.
  • Get people to be involved - eg "get them writing to get them thinking" starting off with quick jot down of what they want to get out of the session, and stopping for discussion as you go. Ask a question; poll the group; think-jot-pair-share; quick writes
From David Jakes,

Examples of Web 2.0 tools: The Big 5

What does this mean for education and kids? Will this change the landscape of the classroom and the learning that takes place there? How do classrooms become more permeable?

Part A: Understrating a framework for learning with technology

1. The technology supports a fundamental literacy that the school believes in
2. The technology adds value to the learning process | it takes learning to a place that could not be achieved unless the technology had been included.
3. The use of technology is framed within a sound instructional pedagogy.
4. There is assessment data that enables the evaluation of the learning, and of the application of technology, if possible.

Within the context of this framework, it is my belief that the following skills must be developed in students.

Student Skills

  • Connect
  • Create
  • Communicate
  • Collaborate

Part B: Developing a Personal Learning Network-that's our focus. Educators must live it first, see the benefits, and this can then translate into classroom practice.

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See also

David Jakes' Digital Storytelling wiki

David Jakes' Blog The Strength of Weak Ties