Useful Links (Weekly)

Imagination is intelligence having fun by shareski, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  shareski 

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

New tables for our library

We saw these advertised in a weekend newspaper magazine a few months ago. They were not too expensive so we thought we would buy a couple for the library. With our new chairs we thought it might make the area more interesting. Available from  Form.Function.Style: design online they are called a “bookworm cardboard stool”. although they are cardboard but are very strong and you  can sit on them although we have not made this known to the boys.

Yesterday they finally arrived. The came flat and it took about 2/3 minutes to put them up. They have been a real talking point

Tricider – more than just a polling tool

I came across this very recently and only looked at it more closely after work today.

Tricider  is a very simple tool. It is easy to use, but also seems very versatile. The other good thing is that you do not need to register to use it. Teachers could easily use this with students to:

  •  take a poll
  • challenge students to brainstorm ideas for projects
  •  to create a debate/discussion on a topic
  •  or to assist when working on group projects

 All you need to do is create a question and then add some options. The next step is to share it with others, in my case students, by sending the link by email, Twitter, or Facebook. .

They can add extra options, propose solutions, provide arguments for an idea or add various pros and cons of each option. At the end they vote for the best idea. This makes the whole process of polling much more open, social and interactive.

There is a how-to video here and although the sound is not great, you can follow the directions via the screen shots.

This could also be used by staff groups to make decisions, without having to have another meeting, by proposing ideas, evaluating them and then voting for them. (without the need of being in the same room)

Note: The responses are not moderated, but it seems as though originator can delete them if required to.

Useful Links (Weekly)

  • Technology in Schools Faces Questions on Value – NYTimes.com A long article that discusses the benefits of using technology in the classroom. “In a nutshell: schools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning. Advocates for giving schools a major technological upgrade say digital devices let students learn at their own pace, teach skills needed in a modern economy and hold the attention of a generation weaned on gadgets. Some backers of this idea say standardized tests, the most widely used measure of student performance, don’t capture the breadth of skills that computers can help develop. But they also concede that for now there is no better way to gauge the educational value of expensive technology investments. “   

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Some sites for learning about environmental issues

We are celebrating our environment next week and our year 8 students are one week into researching global issues in Geography. I was pleased to find and use these sites when helping prepare students for their research.

The site of the United Nations Environment Program has an interactive map that displays 100+ examples of environmental change from around the world. You can choose to use the side index to find sites under lists with headings such as country, theme, biodiversity and protected, deserts & drylands, pollution etc.

There are icons/placemarks on the map that offer close-up views of the land with a story about the environmental change at that location. It indicates the major theme and other related themes for the site.

An example using the map: By clicking on the placemark for Wyperfield National Park, Australia you went to a page that had two close-up images of the site and some brief but reasonably detailed information about the environmental changes taking place there. The major theme for Wyperfield was Ecosystems and the related themes were Biodiversity & Protected areas, Extreme Events and Grasslands. 

This would be a good place for students to start their research into an environmental issue as there is enough information to pique their interest and clues about where to go onto next.

Another good site is Global Warming Facts and Our Future from the National Academy of Sciences. It’s a very engaging and extensive site, and includes audio support for the text. This assists some of our international students as well as those who are need extra learning support as the vocabulary may be a bit challenging.

Finally from one of my favourites, National Geographic, there is the  Global Warming Effects Map.

Useful Links (Weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

National Year of Reading – website launch

Yesterday I went to the official launch for the National Year of Reading website. The National Year oif Reading is a great initiative and one that was supported by the recommendations that came from the  Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into School Libraries and Teacher-librarians in 21st Century Australia (May 2011).

The event was held at Bialik College (Hawthorn). We began by using various spaces in their spacious new library. The hosts were very gracious and the guest speakers were great ambassadors. Alison Lester, author of ‘Are We There Yet?‘  the book chosen for the NYR 2012, worked with some budding young writers and Hazel Edwards, author of the picture book classic ‘There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake’, had story time with a group of wonderful (and very small/young)  students. Thanks

After these sessions, and a group photo, we moved into the theatre to hear from William McInnes, patron for NYR 2012, who spoke about reading to students and guests who came from all sections of the library community.  He was a very amusing speaker and he also agreed to many interviews and photo shoots.  

Also included in the day  was an announcement by Mary Delahunty of the winners of the Adult Learners’ Week short story writing competition. Some of the writers were also present on the day and I had a chance to speak to them and their love of writing and reading was very evident. You can find the winners and their stories here.

The National Year of Reading gives all of us some great opportunities to celebrate reading and most of us don’t need much of an excuse to do that. Have a look at the site for ideas, events and projects. There are many things on the site already and more will be added.

Thank you to the Sue McKerracher and the NYR 2012 team for the organising such a great day of celebration and fun, and also David Feighan and his staff at Bialik College for hosting this event especially in their new BER school library.

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