Category Archives: web2.0

Tech Talk Tuesday: Google Maps and Apps

When: Tuesday, November 6th 4-5pm, Melbourne, Australia time gmt+11

About this session:

  1. Learn how to create active google maps and add pins which feature images, videos, hyperlinks etc. See skippy, a year 10 student’s google map
  2. How to embed them on to an online space so that they are still live and editable.
  3. Discuss some classroom and personal applications
  4. Walk through some other collaborative google apps including Document and Presentation

Come along with your questions, your curiousity and experiences and share in the conversations. Here is the link to the recording of this session.

Are there any questions that you might have? Have you used google maps in the classroom? How have you used them? What could you share? Please add as a comment below.

A whole lotta technology going on!

People ask how technology can be integrated into the classroom – especially with the little ones. So, often it is just thinking outside the square and making the most of teachable moments!

Each week, I have grade prep/one for one lesson of technology. Our classmates in Boston, USA, are reading a book called Australia’s Amazing Animals. Their teacher, Mrs Leo, alerted me to this fact. Through her suggestion, the grade prep/ones were each to draw one of the Australian animals featured. These would then be shared with her class across the globe. Although students hand drew the images, here is some of the incidental technology used to achieve this:-

    • Should students hand draw or use an iPad app to sketch the animal? If the iPad, how can a class set of 8 be shared with 18 students?
    • If, iPad, which app? On the morning of the class, a tweet went out to Gail Lovely, an expert in using technology, including iPads and apps, with the early years for suggested apps. Response came back almost immediately – DrawCast,  Doodle BuddyArt Set (which is not free) and Explain Everything Gail attached by email her fabulous quick sketches in Doodle Buddy and  and DrawCast.
    • Due to restricted access, the timeline and the need to download some of those apps, I decided to get students to use pencils and paper for drawing rather than an iPad app. Students will then see their hard copy converted to a digital image format. They learnt about scanning and bringing the real world into digital format. I also demonstrated taking a photo of their drawings with the iPad and we checked out the quality.
    • As I was asking what were the student favourite Australian animals, I suddenly thought of twitter. Immediately a tweet went out asking followers to share their favourite native animal with the prep/ones. Within minutes there were responses which then created another teachable moment with the youngsters and helped build their global knowledge and understanding. This could have formed the basis for a whole lesson in itself and probably still will.

  • As there is a also  song attached to the story of the Amazing Australian Animals. As there is no piano or guitar in the prep/one classroom, I remembered the synthesiser app on my iPad. Out it came and the students were able to sing the song to my ‘raw’ accompaniment.

Despite all these wonderful interruptions, students completed their drawings in that lesson. One girl took her brolga sheet home to finish as she wanted to complete two drawings. The collage compiling all their animals appears above. It was created using MS Collage Maker. In summary this lesson use such a lot of technology even though the final student outcome was a hand drawing – email, twitter, apps, software etc

Can you work out which animals the kids have drawn?  What is your favourite animal? We would love to know. Please add in a comment below.

Have you ever sat down and thought about all the wonderful technology that you might have used both deliberately and incidentally in a classroom? Isn’t it great when it is so immersed, it is just used for powerful learning!

Why should I use diigo or similar bookmarking tools?

Bookmarking and efiling is essential in this ‘age of information’. I use diigo to file favourite sites using tags for easy retrieval. Before delicious and diigo, I added my most commonly used websites to favourites, but those favourites could only be retrieved from that computer. Now I use diigo because:-

  1. I can bookmark interesting sites for easy, quick retrieval
  2. Keeps me organised. As I am attending the ISTE conference at San Diego for the first time I am feeling overwhelmed about attending a conference that has 22,000 attendees and a multitude of presenters, so as I see interesting recommended sites and links, I am bookmarking them to diigo with an ‘iste’ tag. These include the conference program, the ning, social activities, interesting blog posts with tips on getting the best out of ISTE,  things to do in San Diego, transport sites etc. To retrieve all these, I simply search for ISTE in my tags and the list comes up.
  3. Availalbe 24/7 and anywhere that I may be. My bookmarks and curated sites are saved in the clouds, so I just need internet access to find the bookmarks
  4. Special interest groups can be formed in diigo – eg educators, global education conference,  digital citizenship etc. Many other people with similar interests,  are discovering some great sites related to  topics of interest to me and I can tap into their collective knowledge/research. Students in the Flat Classroom projects use diigo to share discoveries with their global groups.
  5. Notes, highlights etc can be made on bookmarked sites.
  6. Coolcatteacher (Vicki Davis) and other educators use diigo to post to their blogs. See eLearning and Global Competencies
There are many more ways to use diigo and a quick online search will bring up more. How do you curate or bookmark sites? What tools do you use?

Learning with Librarians

Some web2.0 tools that are being suggested for librarians to use at a workshop being conducted tomorrow.

  1. Wordle – creating word clouds
  2. Blogs – Global2 for Victorian school teachers in government and Catholic schools
  3. diigo for bookmarking
  4. twitter for searching and networking
  5. Scoopit for curating
  6. skype for videoconferencing
  7. and for brainstorming
  8. booktrailers
  9. qr codes

Further resources

  1. Best Librarian Blogs nominated for the Edublogs awards eg lucacept and another one to visit regularly is heyjude
  2. Library 2.0 and check out the wonderful recent recordings for sessions for the online conference
  3. The best lists on technology use by Larry Ferazzo
  4. Long live libraries for life long learning
  5. Curation for Teenage Librarians
  6. SBPS Library 4 Lifelong Learning Weblinks-Virtual Library 24/7
  7. Long live libraries for lifelong learners
  8. These are a few of my favourite things
  9. Parents-Partners in Teaching and Learning
  10. Latest Happenings at Sandy Beach Public School Library

What tools or resources would you suggest for librarians to use?

Adding a table to wikispaces

Wikispaces has been my wiki of choice as I find it user friendly. One of my dear friends has asked me how to insert a table into wikispaces. The table feature is a bit tricky. So, here is how it is done! Follow the prompts on the images below.

Where to find add table

Saving the table

Hope this helps those who may have difficulty with table insertion.

Engaging students with 5 web2.0 tools in 40 mins

This year I teach Information Technology an elective subject at year 9/10 level. In this group are a high percentage  of our school’s disengaged students. We usually survive a single lesson of 50 mins without too much drama, but I also have them for a ‘double’ class and this often proves too much for all of us.

At the recent ICTEV In Touch conference, I sat through a fast paced, action packed session called  web2.0 for the Classroom 40 tools in 40 minutes.  Starting to wonder how I could keep my full class engaged for 100 minutes I decided to use some of those tools and some from the recent Google Gathering with the class. How it would work:-

  1. 5o minutes working on spreadsheets – drawing up a budget for the upcoming school Presentation Ball
  2. 50 minutes of ‘timed’ use of 5 technology tools

Requirments: individual access to computers, external speakers attached to my laptop, a blog post with links provided to each of the sites.

The second part of the lesson:-

  1. Used kukucklock with a variety of sounds to indicate when times was up.
  2. Google squared (6 mins) Find google squared, search for Prime Ministers, describe what you can see, search for another topic you are currently studying. Discussed google labs
  3. Google timelines (6 mins) Search for Oprah Winfrey, search for another notorious sports person or actress/actor
  4. Find the google question of the day. (3 mins)
  5. Explore the global lunchbox project. Discover what students around the world are eating (5 mins)
  6. Goto sketchfu, register and draw the lunch that you will have today. Grab the code and add to a blog post. Include a text description of your lunch. (10 mins)

What worked well?

  • the timed structure of the  lesson with kukuklock
  • a variety of short, simple, snappy tasks to keep them focussed at all times, allowing little opportunity for boredom
  • the google applications worked reasonably well and exposed students to a different  format search results
  • the lunch box project was engaging and caused a lot of discussion
  • sketchfu was the winner though. Students spent more than the allocated 10 minutes this tool, and were highly engaged. Here is a great student sketchfu example of their lunch by skippy.
Constraints: Google squared did not always work well depending on the key words.

Highlight of the day: Two of my most disengaged students who become extremely restless in the final 15 mins of a double, actually stayed into their lunch hour to ensure they embedded their sketchfu file into their blogs! Students want to work with it again next week.

Challenge: How could sketchfu be used and adapted in other subject areas? – an engaging tool

A recent tweet, alerted me to the existence of Always looking for a new tool to try towards the end of a year 9/10 Information Technology double class, I introduced this tool to these students (note that this group has disengaged students amongst it, a mix of literacy and numeracy skills). This concept was inspired by Debbie Nicole (of Dubai) and her Embers of the World presentation at a recent eT@lking webinar.

Lesson Approach:

  1. Class instructions on my class blog post
  2. Students opened post, clicked on url to diagramly and were instructed to build a tower using any of its features
  3. Set an online timer (projected via data projector onto wall) for 10 minutes
  4. Saved their tower as a jpg image
  5. Each student then wrote a blog post, providing a link to the tool,  their image and a description of their tower in three words.

Reflections on activity

Next time

  • time limit was too short
  • would ask them to add themselves (via a clip art) to the tower and note with interest where and how they put themselves onto the tower.
  • At no stage were students given any instructions on how to use the tool
  • Any questions from the class were answered by other students
  • Students were fully engaged
  •  a time limit worked well (but was too short)
  • 10 mins was too short a time, should have been 15 – 20 mins
  • software has a limited variety of clip art and shapes
Advantages of software
  • free and online
  • suitable for all ages
  • simple drag and drop features
  • no registration required
  • students of all ages can use without giving emails, usernames, passwords etc
  • enables conversion to jpg etc
  • easily shared online using twitter, facebook etc
  • a variety of shapes, clip art etc to complete diagrams of all types
  • Some students independently started another diagram
Application to other subjects:-
  • Great for use in maths – variety of shapes etc
  • Useful for design stage in IT or technology  subjects
  • All subject areas – create unique and effective images
  •  visual data
Some student samples:- skippy, hailey, tom 
Have you used What is your opinion? How would you use it or how did you use it? Do you have any samples of students work completed with it?

Top 10 Web2.0 Tools

The oz- teachers mailing list has a current discussion thread on the top ICT tools used in education. First, as I am a great fan of eLearning here is a list of my current top 10 web 2.0 tools. Please note that they are not in any particular ranking order.

  1. Wordle – word cloud creator used for effective images, summaries, introductions to key concepts, reflections etc.
  2. Blogs – teacher blog, class blog, student blogs
  3. Skype – videoconferencing, teaching virtual students using video, chat, screen sharing, sending files etc
  4. Wikis – I like wikispaces Senior students develop their digital portfolios on a wiki, used for global projects etc
  5. wallwisher – sticky notes on a wall, collaborative, user friendly, students do not require a logon, just the link Used for brainstorming, reflections, collaboration,  introductions etc
  6. Voicethread – online podcasting, collaborative, userfriendly, enables images, editing at any time etc
  7. Google applications – document, sheet, sites, maps etc
  8. – simplistic mind mapping, collaborative, user friendly
  9. Dropbox –  storage in the clouds, easy sharing
  10. Elluminate – web conferencing Powerful tool for Professional Development and Classroom use with students

What are your favourite online tools? What would you change or what would you add?

MS Powerpoint gets (be)Funky

Do you want to?

  • add engaging effect can be given to headers, images that contain text etc.
  • add effectiveness to blog posts and other online sites
  • put something together very quickly
  • stimulate creativity

Then combine user friendly MS Powerpoint with befunky.

See some examples, that were quickly put together to add impact to blog posts. Can you tell which are originals and which are the ‘befunked’ version?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


  1. Add text to MS Powerpoint slide
  2. Add any images
  3. Add a colour background, goto Design>background colours>bacground styles>format background>gradient fill>preset colours
  4. Goto Save As>look for Save As Type>choose jpg file interchange format.

How to use befunky (the free version)

  1. Register for befunky, activate email, logo
  2. Choose “start creating now” and “upload now”
  3. Upload your MS Powerpoint image file
  4. Choose to edit, apply art and photo effects, graphics, shapes, text, speech bubbles, add frames/borders etc

Have you used MS Powerpoint images in creative ways? If so, how? Have you used befunky? What do you use to create a quick engaging image together?

    What happens when Delicious turns sour?

    sour delicious

    A special Tech Talk Tuesday session discussed the unknown future of delicious. Several tools were shared and thanks to @scottduncan and @mrpbps (John Pearce) for sharing their delicious accounts and diigo accounts. Here is the link to the recording.

    Alternative bookmarking sites that participants currently used

    People wanted to discuss:-

    • What is social bookmarking?
    • What can we do with our delicious accounts now?
    • Would like to see examples and make comparisons
    • Does anyone know how to export to diigo?
    • What is the difference between an educators’ account and a normal one?
    • How can we keep diverse?
    • Discuss the diigo let
    • Does google have a bookmarking tool?

    what is social bookmarking

    advs of social bookmarking

    Here are some intersting links and a video:-

    1. delicious wont be shut down says Yahoo
    2. transition of delicious to diigo frequently asked questions
    3. Migrating from delicious to diigo!
    4. Mac and IPhone-friendly Alternatives to Delicious from @teachtechie

    Using posterous in the classroom and lesson plans using posterous