Sunday, 30 December 2012

Module 8: Managing your flow of information on the Internet

RSS Feeds

Because Google Reader is integrated into the Google Suite, we suggest users concentrate on that product. You can find it under "more" when logged in to any core Google product.

I have never used RSS feeds but having seen the You Tube videos in this module I intend trying them out. Google reader features such as setting alerts seem really powerful... 

WOW.... Love this
I have set up READER with my favourite news feeds. It even lets me add people's blogs....

How might I use them in a classroom

I found this on the Brisbane Grammar website:

  1. I would encourage students to collect and organise feeds using their own folder system
  2. If we are starting a new topic, ask them to create feeds to those topics.
  3. Help students set-up feeds about things that interest them...

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Module 7: Building On-line communities

Social Bookmarking

Here's an idea. Have students set up bookmarks and tag them with the relevant KLA. When they share their bookmarks with their peers,  the whole class gets access to everyone else's research and discoveries.

Delicious is a great product but it doesn't integrate with Google Apps accounts so to use with students they would have to register and give their details on-line.  See  discussion here of 'open' vs 'closed'. So I looked for a social bookmarking product that:

  1. Integrated with Google Apps
  2. Was OK for use by students under 13.
I found


It lets you tag and share with others.
Once you install it, go to That places a shortcut on your Chrome browser Bookmark bar. When you click it, it instantly adds the site you are in to Flavosuarus.

Building Communities

I really enjoyed reading the Blogs of others. Here is an example of comments I have left behind.

And here is a second contribution.

Other communities where I contribute include:

  1. Inquiry-Based Learning
  2. Innovator Grant
  3. School Intranet communities

Module 6: Exploring photos and videos on the web

As a Chromebook user, the ability to store, access, edit and publish photos and video on the web are of particular interest. With a Chromebook, the web is all I have.

Picasa is fully integrated into Google Apps. That means staff and students open a new tab, type in Picasa in the browser and are taken straight to signed in as themselves. Here are some neat features about Picasa that are not so intuitive to discover.

1. You can upload photos by sending them via email. The subject determines the album the photos go to. See here for details.
2. You can embed an album to a Google site.

If you combine 1 and 2, you can have a embedded album changing in real time as users send photos to it. We are thinking of doing this on the TCEO Intranet page. When members of the Executive Leadership Team  go out to schools, we encourage them to "look for something good", take the photo on their iphone and send in to the album we have mounted on our intranet page.

Because I am on  a Chromebook, I won't discuss Picasa as a desktop app. But for PC users, having the desktop and web versions is ideal.

Had a quick play with the creative kit. The fact that Blogger allows you to insert a pic direct from one's web album is a real bonus.  See example below.

Videos on the Web

  1. Animoto. Please be aware that this application requires registration on-line. You can’t login with your Google account. But it does have a special deal for education where teachers get an account for free and create up up to 50 students for the 6 month trial. Feel free to explore as part of this experience but do not encourage students to embark on this registration process. Also, it is one of the Web 2 tools that insists “You must be 13 years of age or older to be a User of the Services.”
  2. I can’t find any web 2 tools that allow the user to create/edit video if the user is under 13. WeVideo allows under 13s to use it with parent consent. Click here for a summary of applications and parent consent. Feel free to add to this list. Therefore, the recommendation is use WeVideo as your web-based editor (with students). Capture video using your ipad, iphone, digital camera, laptop webcam etc.  Movie-maker Live or iMovie are great products for Video editing on the desktop.  Once done, upload to Google Drive. This can be embedded in Blogs and sites.
  3. The same is true of Voice Capture software.
You Tube
As a teacher, have a look at You Tube as a Video Editor. It is not for use by students under 13. It lets you upload video, top and tail, add a signature, blur out faces, converts voice to text on the fly, and calls on a set of third party products to edit your videos. If you are Chromebook user without Apple software or Movie Maker Live available at a desktop level, having a Web tool that provides all of this is exciting.

Module 5 - Creating and Communicating Online

Has anyone else had trouble inserting multiple iages in a blog? It is impossible to insert images where you want in a blog. Or is it because I have numbering?  That is frustrating. I was trying to insert the Creately digram and it kept putting it at the top of the page. It refuses to move under


This is a creative alternative to Powerpoint. It made me think of fractals and the Madelebrot set.
Prezi lets you go deeper and deeper into an image and create entire worlds of content in a word or picture that starts off the size of a pinhead.... You need to try it to know what I mean. Here's one I created to outline the ICT vision for the diocese. It was a presentation for our Executive Leadership Team.

As good as Prezi is, one needs an account and for students, they must be over 12 and they have to self-register. It is therefore something a teachers should not be guiding their students to do.

Glogster EDU
Looks brilliant. Loved the example where the student had used Glogster to parody Shakespeare. Found that I could log in as a student or teacher using my Google account but once in I couldn't get Glogster to work. ( I have used it before but not the educational version). It would not let me load a template to get started. (Could have been because I was on the Chromebook OR because the site was down).


1.Google Draw
Here is the same mindmap done in Google Draw. I haven't added colour or anything fancy.
Pros: It let me embed hyperlinks. It is integrated into Google apps. No need to register with a third party. All diagrams are stored in Docs. You can collaborate on diagrams. Worth mastering because it allows so much more than mindmapping alone.
Cons: Not as pretty out of the box or as easy. But not a big deal to colour the boxes. I lose the embedded hyperlinks when I insert into this blog. (The hyperlink is preserved when I insert a drawing in a Google doc direct from the Google doc.)

2. Creately
    Pros: Integrated with Google. Staff and students have access via Google account. That means they can share a diagram and collaborate on the same diagram. It lets you hyperlink to other Creately diagrams but not to external sites or links (It says it can, but I couldn't). Maybe that is a feature that comes with a paid account.

    Cons: Not as simple as More options means more complexity.


Pros: No need to sign in. I made this, captured it and inserted it in about 2 minutes.

Cons:  To collaborate, you need to make an account. It is not integrated with Google account. Please do not encourage students to give their details to a third party.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Module 4 - POD casts and VOD

Vodcasts and Podcasts fascinate me because I am committed to giving students a voice and believe in the student as a creator paradigm. A prep student can go out with an ipad and take videos of living things or non-living things with commentary long before they can write or type the same.

Click here to see a series of Vodcasts I have created to help teachers deal with the transition to Google Apps.

I use a Chromebook and it doesn't have a Voice recorder like a Windows machine so you have to find an app from the App store. I haven't done that. My tendancy is to use my iPhone to record voice then send the files by email. You can then embed this in a Google site as explained here.

My reflections on module 4

In Activity 4, I  followed the Teachers TV link and discovered these other links

Each took you to a world of resources...

Creative Education
This link for example, is 3490 resources in 350 scrolling pages. Here was just one of the resources.
This was a brilliant demonstration of multiple intelligences and how we need to teach in a way that touches multiple learning styles.  

Again, thousands of links to rich resources, mostly vodcasts. I found myself looking through this section.
I followed the Maths link to a whole series of videos that showed classroom practice in teaching 100s of Maths concepts. 

(P.s - this blog post and all the sites visited, images captured and experiences explored were done using a Chromeboook tethered to my phone for internet access. )

Friday, 19 October 2012

Module 3 - Google Docs

How can I use Google Docs in my classroom? Let me count the ways.

I use Google docs extensively. it has completely transformed the way I do my role. So much of the work I do is in teams and it is rare that any document has a single author. It is also rare that contributors work from the same location. My team is spread all around the diocese. A google doc is the perfect collaboration tool.

How would I use it in the classsroom?

Unit Planning
We used to always plan in teams. I would attept to write units not just in teams that span across the school but across the diocese.

Compiling assessment ... eg. in Maths. I used to teach in a very big school. We had cohorts of 400 students in each year level. There were 15 year 9 maths classes and lots of teachers. Start with a blank doc shared to all members in the maths team. Break the document up with sub headings, one for each type of concept we intend testing in the term. Invite teachers in the team to contribute questions as the unit unfolds. Use this document at team meetings to ensure all team members are "on the same page" and to generate conversations about where people are at. When  it comes time to compile the test, the person given that task can cut and paste from this document. The "test" can then be available to the team for "comment".

Pre-unit Task
Say to students.....
"This week we are learning about...."
"I have left this shared document with each of you as editors".
"For the next 5 nights of homework, scour the web and see what you can find as resources for this unit". "Leave a link to what you find on this page".

Pre and Post testing
Use a Google form to pre-test and post test a unit.

Check for understanding/Assess "for" learning
Use a Google form to see where the class is at (Assessment of learning)

Criteria Sheet/ Assessment "as" learning
Write a criteria sheet where every "standards descriptor" hyper-links to exemplars so students can see what that standard looks like. The challenge is to have exemplars that come from a different topic or context but demonstrate the same achievement.

We have been learning about surface area. I have shared this Google doc with all of you as editors. You are required to write 1 question that revises what we learned in class today. If everyone contributes 1, we will have 20. You have 10 minutes. There is only one rule: you cannot repeat a question someone else has submitted.

Once 20 questions have been submitted, please make a copy and write your answers.

Daily Blog
- What did I learn today?
- What parts did I find most difficult?
- What did I understand best?

Students hand in drafts as Google documents. Using the comment function, give students feedback.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Module 2: Blogging - It's all about having a voice

In the context of the classroom, its worth asking the question "What is a Blog? How is it different to a Wiki, an announcements page, a web page or just comments on a web page?"

A webpage. Read only. The author is the only creator. Visitors to the page consume the content.

A wiki.  When a web page has multiple authors, multiple creators, it becomes a wiki. Normally Wiki's have other features such as the ability to see previous versions. It is read/write.

A blog. Read/write. Only the owner can post new topics. Visitors can leave comments but the owner (generally) can moderate these and choose what is published. A blog is fundamentally one person's voice with the facility to make public any comments others make about that voice.

The Google Apps Suite
This suite gives you the tools to explore Blogging, Wikis and Web pages.

A Google Site. You can use this Google App to create a Wiki (many authors) or a Web page (read only) or an "announcements page". An announcements page allows editors to start new comment threads or respond to existing comments. Because a visitor can create a new thread, it isn't really a Blog.
Blogger ( allows staff and students to Blog using their google account for access. When you first go to Blogger on your school domain, teachers/students are hit with this page below. They need to choose "Blogger Profile" and not "Google+ Profile". 

Google + will not be turned on for school domains. It has an age restriction 13+. Click here for a detailed guide for setting up student blogs.

There are two good reasons teachers may want to use Blogger.
  1. It allows the site owner to control all posts and visitors can only comment. The site owner controls the agenda. This is not the case with Google sites. With a Google sites page, to comment, a user has to have edit rights and when they have edit rights, they can change content created by the owner.
  2. Google provides amazing analytics on blogs. Here is a sample.

A Google Doc. This is an on-line document. It can be permissioned as read only (A Web page) OR you can have multiple authors (a Wiki). When you need multiple, concurrent authors in real time,  nothing beats a Google Doc.

Making a blog