School’s out Friday

Yes, it is Saturday now back in Melbourne, but I’m in Denver, Colorado right now and it’s still Friday here!

Pixar have been flooding the social networks with advertising for Toy Story 3. This mosaic video is a nice way to get the message out. They don’t have to work so hard to get my attention on this one. I loved the first two and will definitely be lining up for number three. I remember taking my daughter to see the first Toy Story movie and having to take her back for a second viewing, all because I wanted to laugh and empathise with characters that had as much appeal and relevance for adults as they did for children. Belonging, friendship and tolerance – all important life lessons that were the messages imparted from this film. Hmmnn…makes me think it might just make a good film as text study.

I had a lovely dinner with the ever helpful Sue Waters and finally got to meet Frances, (@developit on Twitter) along with other Twitter folk. This is the first time I’ve attended an ISTE Conference and tomorrow is Edubloggercon. To be honest with you, the scale of this conference intimidates me. Apparently over 18,000 people attend. I can’t even begin to imagine what that looks like. How do you find anyone you know? There is a Blogger’s Cafe, so I suppose that will act as a magnet attracting like souls. No doubt it’s going to be a very interesting and, hopefully, enlightening experience. I’ll do my best to get a couple of blog posts out if I can while I’m here.

If you’re back home in Australia, rug up in your winter woollies. T-shirt weather here  – 34 degrees celcius tomorrow!

Enjoy your weekend. : )

MICDS – Reinventing the Media Centre

Today I presented at MICDS, St. Louis. It was a half day session for Teacher Librarians about how we can reinvent the Media Centre (what we’d call the Library in Australia). The outline for the session was this;

Working as a Teacher-Librarian has always had its challenges, but today, maybe more that ever, there is a need to respond to the changing nature of the world we are living in. Communication mediums have changed; this represents opportunities for Teacher-Librarians to rethink their role in their school and rethink the traditional library, both the space and delivery of information.

Resources supporting the session are embedded in pages on my Wiki. There are five pages there that you are welcome to explore;

How do you become a change agent in your school?

How can we deliver information using new tools?

What is the future of books in a digital age?

Library Spaces -how are they changing?

Forming a Personal Learning Network for Professional Learning.

There was a lot of lively discussion amongst the participants; some agreement, some disagreement. All healthy discourse as we try to grapple with the changing nature of the job and what being a Teacher-librarian looks like today. I’ve tried to include plenty of links and embedded content so that you can read and ponder for yourself some of the issues and discussion around the topics.

Elizabeth Helfant and Patrick Woessner have been wonderful hosts at MICDS. Tonight, Elizabeth accompanied myself, Dean Groom and Andrew Churches into the city centre of St. Louis. Andrew and I took the funny little bubble elevator up to the top of the famous St. Louis Gateway Arch and took in a wonderful view.

My body clock still hasn’t adjusted to time over here. I keep waking up at 3.00am and toss and turn until I finally give up and just get up! Hoping to sleep well tonight and get ready to fly out of St. Louis tomorrow headed for Denver and the ISTE Conference.

Thanks once again to Elizabeth for being such an obliging host and inviting me to present at the MICDS Summer Teacher Institute. I’ve enjoyed seeing your beautiful school and having the opportunity to share some thinking with you, Patrick, Amy, Al, Dean and Andrew.

Onto Denver!

School’s out Friday

If you live in a soccer charged household like I do, then you’ll be immersed in World Cup fever right now. And that means you’ll be dealing with the unceasing drone of the the Vuvuzela, an instrument I’d never heard of until last week. The above video, a parody of a scene from the movie Der Untergang (there are plenty of these of YouTube for all sorts of circumstances –it’s a meme that has gained something of a cult following) raised a smile from me, largely because I find the noise a constant distraction as I try to watch the games.It’s like having a swarm of bees in your lounge room.

Busy weekend ahead as I prepare to leave for the United States on Tuesday. I’ll be presenting to Teacher-Librarians in Missouri next Thursday and then heading to the ISTE Conference in Denver where I’ll be presenting the following Wednesday.  Lots to do before I get on that plane, and I have a wedding to attend tomorrow! It’ll be head down on Sunday, after my son’s soccer match -a game to be enjoyed. Haven’t sighted a Vuvuzela at one of those matches yet!

Enjoy your weekend, whatever comes your way. : )

Teaching the teachers – the words of Mark Pesce

If you’re an educator today, and you aren’t reading the words of futurist Mark Pesce, then you ought to rectify that immediately. He presented at a conference in Wollongong today (I know not whom for, but it definitely was connected to education) and I’m sure he made an impact. He made an impact on me, and I didn’t see him deliver the presentation. I read it on his blog, the human network – what happens after we’re all connected? The great thing about Mark Pesce is that he values sharing his thinking and makes it easily accessible. If you want to learn from him, you can. You just need to make the effort to read.

His presentation today was entitled, Helicopter Lessons, his thesis about childhood development and hyperconnectivity. There are lessons here for teachers. Many of them. Lessons we ought to be taking heed of. Mark expressed something I feel about the opportunities being presented to us now with the onset of the proposed Australian Curriculum. (yes people, that is what they are calling it now, forget that National Curriculum terminology. Get with the program!) Here’s what Mark said (but he needs to catch up with the change in name too : ));

We’re very lucky, because just at this moment in time, the Commonwealth has gifted us with the best reason we’re ever likely to receive – the National Curriculum.  Now that every student, everywhere across Australia, is meant to be covering the same materials, we have every reason to connect together – student to student, teacher to teacher, school to school, state to state.  The National Curriculum is thought of as a mandate, but it’s really the architecture of a network.  It describes how we all should connect together around a body of knowledge.  If we know that we should be teaching calculus or Mandarin or the Eureka Stockade rebellion, we have an opportunity to connect together, pool our knowledge and our ignorance, and work together.  We can use our hyperconnectivity to hyperempower our ability to work toward understanding.

This could be a gift, if we can move our teaching community to an understanding that shared knowledge is a very powerful tool. It’s a huge shift for some in the teaching profession, who are too frightened to load their resources into a single site learning management system, let alone share with a community of teacher learners nationwide. But it’s something worth working towards. Hopefully the communities of teacher learners that are forming in networks like Twitter can be the connective and cognitive glue that starts this process moving forward. Wouldn’t it be great if an organisation like DEEWR actually sat up and noticed what is happening at the grassroots level already and supported and encouraged communities of practice like this? Now there’s a revolutionary idea. Someone should run with that one. : )

Make sure you read Mark’s essay. He touches on so much more than the sampling I have shared here. I find his words resonate for days and help me to formulate my own thinking. I’m sure you’ll benefit from the reading.

School’s out Friday

I saw this video featured on a morning television show this week. I’d seen it quite awhile ago, and was very happy to be reminded of it. It’s one of those videos that always raises a smile, particularly for those of us of the female persuasion. Dealing with a man cold can be hard work. And that can be trifling compared with the hurty knee mentioned in the latter part of this sketch!!

We’re feeling the winter weather here in Melbourne at the moment. Our temporary library at school is cosy warm and is a bit of a magnet for the students in their breaks. We’ve heard a few sniffles around the place as winter colds take hold. I’ll be heading for a season change shortly; in eleven days I’ll be heading to St. Louis and Denver in the United States. Got a lot to do before then; better get cracking this weekend. Thank goodness it’s a long weekend here in the majority of Australian States. We’re celebrating the Queen’s Birthday, Constitutional Monarchy that we are!

Hope your weekend treats you well – rug up if you’re in the colder climes. : )

Teaching students (and teachers!) how to search for Creative Commons images and music

I ran a session recently with our Year 7 students about ethical use of images and music from the Web and the need for them to understand Creative Commons licenses. Our Head of Year 7 understands the need for us to be informing our students about ethical use of the Internet and we’d discussed the fact that a session like this was necessary for our students. It’s great when you work with people who support what you’re doing and understand this knowledge is important to impart.

I made reference to this session at a conference I was presenting at in Perth last week. I was talking about Cloud Computing, but a participant’s question at the end of the session referred to what I’d done with the Year 7 students. She wanted to know how you search images on Google that are licensed Creative Commons. The entire room seemed to not know how to do this. It made me think. Just how is it that we expect students to be using the web ethically, when there would be, potentially, the majority of their teachers who have no idea how to do so also?

So, here’s how you do it. First step would be visiting the Google Web Search help page where they explain in detail what it is you can find when you use the Advanced Search options. You can follow this link, or read what I’ve copied from the site (I hope this constitutes fair use -at least I’ve let you know where it’s from!);

Find all types of reusable content using the Advanced Search page

The usage rights filter on the Advanced Search page shows you pages that are either labeled with a Creative Commons license or labeled as being in the public domain. Here are the different usage rights options available:

  • Free to use or share
    Your results will only include pages that are either labeled as public domain or carry a license that allows you to copy or redistribute its content, as long as the content remains unchanged.
  • Free to use, share, or modify
    Your results will only include pages that are labeled with a license that allows you to copy, modify, or redistribute in ways specified in the license.
  • If you want content for commercial use, be sure to select the appropriate option containing the term commercially.

Find reusable images using Advanced Image Search

If you’re looking for reusable images, use the Advanced Image Search page. In addition to images labeled as being under the Creative Commons license or in the public domain, the usage rights filter on this page also shows you images labeled with the GNU Free Documentation license.

In the Usage Rights drop-down, select one of the following options:

  • Labeled for reuse
    Your results will only include images labeled with a license that allows you to copy and/or modify the image in ways specified in the license.
  • Labeled for commercial reuse
    Your results will only include images labeled with a license that allows you to copy the image for commercial purposes, in ways specified in the license.
  • Labeled for reuse with modification
    Your results will only include images labeled with a license that allows you to copy and modify the image in ways specified in the license.
  • Labeled for commercial reuse with modification
    Your results will only include images labeled with a license that allows you to copy the image for commercial purposes and modify it in ways specified in the license.

If you find images with the wrong usage rights in the search results, let us know by reporting them in the help forum.

Before reusing content that you’ve found, you should verify that its license is legitimate and check the exact terms of reuse stated in the license. For example, most licenses require that you give credit to the image creator when reusing an image. Google has no way of knowing whether the license is legitimate, so we aren’t making any representation that the content is actually or lawfully licensed.

I direct my students to select Usage rights – return images that are – labelled for commercial reuse. This screenshot shows you what I mean;

It was a wake up call for the Year 7 students, most of whom admitted to using Google Image Search but paying no heed to copyright issues.

Of course, we had to preface the talk with a discussion about just what Creative Commons was and what the different licenses represented;

Creative Commons licences


You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give credit the way you request.

Share Alike
Share Alike

Share Alike
You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.


You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work — and derivative works based upon it — but for non-commercial purposes only.

NoDerivative Works
NoDerivative Works

No Derivative Works
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.

We also explored other sites that allow you to search for images that are in the Creative Commons. These included Morguefile, Compfight, and Flickr itself. We also looked at sites that provide free music in the Creative Commons. These included Jamendo, CC Mixter, opsound, Dmusic and Soundclick.

(A twitter link tonight led me to a site for free stock photo images – Veezzle)

Hopefully, the session had an impact on the way they go about using images and music from the Web. For Australian educators, the Smartcopying website provides an excellent port of call for reading about copyright, and understanding what you can do in schools with text, images and music.

Really, I should be running sessions like this across the school. Something to put on the list for Semester Two!

School’s out Friday

If you haven’t yet come across this I’m sure you’ll find it amusing. This is the students and faculty from the University of Washington’s Information School and their ‘Librarians do Gaga‘ effort. I’m sure Lady Gaga would approve!

I love the line, ‘Don’t forget the databases’. Hopefully our databases will no longer be overlooked now that we have them available for searching within our library catalogue. We have moved over to a new system this year and it enables Federated Searching. This means that any site that is Z39.50 compliant can have their information fed though our library catalogue. Search results come up with whatever selections you have chosen. For example, you could select the search areas of Toorak College database, World Book Encylopedia, Facts on File databases and EDNA resources. Your search return would concurrently  list results from each of these resources.  When you visit a result you leap directly into the database. Brilliant. No longer is there a need for students to leave our library OPAC for a database search. We demonstrated it to our staff last night and could hear their favourable reaction to the search results that appeared on the screen. Next step is getting our students familiar with the system. Hopefully we will see greater use of the databases we subscribe to as a result. Let’s face it, they are great resources and ensure authoritative search returns, but they cost a bomb and need to justify their purchase.

Correction and report writing this weekend. Yippee! Hopefully some time will be available for a bit of light relief too!

Enjoy whatever comes your way. : )