Creative Commons and Schools

Thanks to Karen in her blog K-12 Open Ed I found a post about Creative Commons. I am making a library page for our staff and students about using Creative Commons in a classroom context. Karen often reflects on issues related to open education and many can relate to those of us in education anywhere in the world. She reported that The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has published a new report that includes a chapter called “Creative Commons and Open Content: What K-12 Schools Need to Know.” It is an interesting and concise discussion of the relevant issues. It is worth a look if you are involved in education and use web content.

Promoting reading to teens

I really like this promotion video that I came across in a library blog set up for teenagers about a summer reading program. I don’t know how many signed up for the “Metamorphosis Summer Reading Club for teens ages 13 and up” but it was certainly catchy. TeenPoints.org is also a great site for advertising books/reading and other library “stuff” to teenagers.

Cuil – a search engine to rival Google?

Ok, it’s very early days but it’s interesting that, after I thought that Google had conquered the world, new search engines are coming into being and they offer good/interesting alternatives. I have discussed, in this blog, some of the visual alternatives and today I found out about Cuil, not visual but with some good features.

Launched today, Cuil is a new search engine, created by a team of people, some of whom once worked for Google, with the goal of searching the entire Internet in a way that gets the most relevant results. Continue reading

Copyright – YouTube and TeacherTube

Here I go again, trying to explain about copyright responsibilities to teachers. Always, when I mention copyright to teachers, a glazed look comes into their eyes. Although I try to put copyright as simply as I can, many answer “but it’s for teaching” when they want to make a copy of something that is under copyright regulations. Recently the AISV has sent schools some guidelines (Smartcopying site – NEALS) on copyright and YouTube and TeacherTube use in schools. Continue reading

100 Unbelievably Useful Reference sites

Having a break from the “big” picture questions, I have been searching on the web for various pieces of information and I stumbled across this site. There are so many reference sites, do we need any more? Probably not but I discovered this fascinating site. I found myself scrolling through 100 Unbelievably Useful Reference Sites You’ve Never Heard Of from Teaching tips.com.

This site offers us an eclectic collection of dictionaries, professional teaching and library resources, fun sites, databases, sites about health, “homework help”, search engines, consumer research, etc. So when you are “investigating” some of these sites, and some of those I looked at were quite absorbing, remember you are doing research, not “just playing” or, heaven forbid, having fun!

To quote the authors, “we’ve compiled just 100 of our favorites, for teachers, students, hypochondriacs, procrastinators, bookworms, sports nuts and more.”

Tim Winton reading from “Breath”

Tim Winton's Breath
Tim Winton’s Breath

The Herald Sun had a piece “In Winton’s voice” on June 22nd. The article was short but it did provide some useful extras. You can listen to Tim Winton reading 3 extracts from the novel as well as watch a short video trailer for it. The passages are good examples of Winton’s descriptive prose. The book trailer is very evocative and gives a real sense of place.

Blogging and Teachers

Blogging readiness
Blogging readiness

After the “Technology Day” today the thing I would like all teachers to do would be to start, and maintain, a blog. There are several reasons to do this but there are 2 major ones.The first reason is for them to understand what others are discussing, debating, thinking about and that gives anyone a better understanding of a wider world, rather than just the school they work in, and the second reason is to slow down and think/reflect on what they understand, have worked through, done, would like to do/continue. Today’s world is one where you can become very busy, just “doing”, without stopping to think about the how, or indeed why. Time spent reflecting on what we are doing should be important to all educators.

How would I like them to begin? I put up the CommonCraft video, Blogging in Plain English, on a wiki, for the staff at today’s session. These are such good resources for those who have not yet started investigating Web2.0 technologies and many are available on TeacherTube.

I would encourage all of them to spend time reading the blogs of others. There are plenty of blogs out there, more coming on line every minute, or so it seems. To get a feel for what they want their blog to say and how they may want to communicate their ideas, they need to see what is out there and what works for them. Once you have spent time reading through blogs, you will know which ones appeal/interest you and you get different perspectives on areas that interest you. You can then feel more comfortable creating your own blog. You than can also feel more self assured in using blogs with classes and in student learning.

Creating a blog is easy, creating a “good” blog is more difficult. The input is important and the design and what you add also increases the readability and usefulness of the blog. However again, no-one has to feel alone. There are many places to go for advice and help, be it adding images, video, audio, widgets, links, etc. In 2006, CoolCat Teacher Blog had “10 habits of blogger’s that win” and another interesting blog post is Dean Shareski’s Student and teacher blogging  that succeeds . There are many more entries on blogs about blogging.

So how can I get them to have a digital place? How can I encourage them to realise that the collaboration and social networking will not make their lives more difficult? That they can be stimulated and encouraged by what they read and share? That their teaching experiences can be made much the richer from using Web2.0? I don’t know yet but I will keep on trying.

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