The Big Bang – Briefly

Science can be amazing. There are many inspiring stories and so many ways to tell them. This video story is about The Big Bang – Briefly.

We made this video about the Big Bang because the theory is important and amazing, but often misunderstood.
This video was produced without any funding from any outside sources. It was put together with donated creative time from a group with a desire to further public cognition of science.

There are many comments about the video onYouTube. I am amazed at how animated some people get, especially about this area in science. However this is a nice explanation.


Useful Links (weekly)

  • STOCKXPERT – Royalty free stock photography community Royalty free stock photography community 

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

Visual Effects: 100 Years of Inspiration

A YouTube video was brought to my attention this afternoon. I have been helping students with folios and photos over the past few weeks and so it was quite apt.

The video is called Visual Effects: 100 Years of Inspiration.

It is a collection of clips and making-of footage from notable visual effects films of the past century. It is very appropriate for classroom use and is a good introduction to media/film or studio arts.

Did you guess the films that the clips came from? I must be a movie buff because I guessed most of them. It is an amazing array and the time span is really so short and the changes have been so immense. However, the ingenuity of the human mind always seems o be able to come up with new and alternative ideas. Many of our students in the visual arts areas have wonderful imaginations and often have wonderful ideas and then have to think up alternatives that will fit their budget and the schools resources.

1900 – The Enchanted Drawing
1903 – The Great Train Robbery
1923 – The Ten Commandments (Silent)
1927 – Sunrise
1933 – King Kong
1939 – The Wizard of Oz
1940 – The Thief of Bagdad
1954 – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
1956 – Forbidden Planet
1963 – Jason and the Argonauts
1964 – Mary Poppins
1977 – Star Wars
1982 – Tron
1985 – Back to the Future
1988 – Who Framed Roger Rabbit
1989 – The Abyss
1991 – Terminator 2: Judgement Day
1992 – The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
1993 – Jurassic Park
2004 – Spider-Man 2
2005 – King Kong
2006 – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
2007 – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
2007 – The Golden Compass
2008 – The Spiderwick Chronicles
2008 – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Writing for Young People – Morris Gleitzman and John Boyne

The Writer’s Festival is currently on in Melbourne. There are many wonderful writers for Australia and overseas talking broadly on the field of writing.

I have heard Morris Gleitzman  speak on a number of occasions. He is always very eloquent and very sure of his ideas and reasons for writing his novels. I have always appreciated how much care he take to write interesting and empathetic stories for young people. He does not write down to them or pander to those that think novels must be “safe”. He has written about ideas and situations that have interested and concerned him, with the belief that his interests will also be shared by others.  The novels Then and Once were controversial in that they were about how some young people survived in WWII. Some criticised the stories as being too “real” and said that is told too much about some of the awful things that happened to young people. He has been asked about these books before and one interview is on the WriteAway site.

In the ABC’s Book Show  there is a discussion involving Morris and John Boyne, who wrote the award winning Boy in the stripped pyjamas. Both these authors have explored a real situation (WWII), one that many young people have unfortunately had to endure, in a sensitive and sensible way.

The topic for discussion was “How young is too young to read about the Holocaust?” Is there a danger of oversimplifying complex events or downplaying the true horror of Nazism by writing about history in this way?

This is an interesting discussion and one that our students would enjoy listening to as well. I work in a school and the students are very aware of what is happening in the world around them and has happened in the world in earlier times. They are interested in discussing these events and putting forward their ideas as they attempt to understand life.

The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas has gone on to be a very successful movie and that has brought more of our students into the library to borrow the book, with much less controversy. I ask myself why is it more acceptable/less threatening for young people to watch a movie than it is to read the written word ie the book?.

In a recent blog post author Nicola Morgan wrote about writing for teenagers. It is a very interesting post where she tries to put down her ideas about writing for this audience. There are some interesting comments where others have not agreed with her suggested guidelines but I think they have a lot of merit. I would love to get opinions from some of our student readers/writers.

DeeperWeb plugin – a useful searching tool

DeeperWebI was playing with a new search engine tool tonight. It is called DeeperWeb Search. It has been around since May but I only came across it recently. It is free and very easy to use. I have again been into classes to discuss how to best search he web and I am always interested in tools that might help students get the most relevant information.

DeeperWeb is an innovative search engine plugin and an essential Firefox addon for Google. Start using us immediately at or download a free search plugin and Firefox addons

This new tool can help Google users to find required information by allowing them to navigate through large numbers of web search results by employing Tag Cloud techniques (called DeeperCloud).

TagCloud techniques for improving search results include the following tabs:


 Tags: that allow you to add (or exclude) a keyword from the original query. Tag Cloud suggests keywords relevant to the search query.

  • Phrases: Offer other (meaningful) phrases hidden beneath the pile of search results thus allowing you to amend the search query by clicking on the relevant phrase. You can both adding or exclude a phrase from the search.
  • Sites: If you clicking on one of the sites in the Tag Cloud it will bring all relevant results from only that selected source.
  • Zones: Zones can help to narrow down and focus on specific domains such as .org, .edu or country specific suffixes.
  • I tried looking up “Cystic Fibrosis” and found it was ver useful have the different options available to narrow down my searching.



    In addition to the above, DeeperWeb’s Topic-Mapping technologies help to reduce the sheer amount of information found by a search by helping to narrow down or refine the search by searching via topic and type (e.g. articles, videos, podcasts, slides, etc.). In the very easy to follow tutorial hey are called “Zoomies” and they act like mini search engines.



    The options for searching include:

    • Answers: Selected resources of “questions and answers”, support discussions and social forums. providing search results to a realm of questions and answers.
    •  Blog: Offers current articles in the Blogosphere relevant to the search query.
    • Metrics: Good if you are searching for relevant results with facts, statistics, percentages, market share, data, tables and graphs.
    • Wikipedia: Provides users immediate access to relevant Wikipedia results.  
    • Resources: For current (and relevant) articles, business articles, recent white papers, research studies or magazine articles.
    • News: Latest relevant news articles 

    It is certainly worth having a look and I think it will be another tool I will be recommending to some of the students I work with.

    Useful Links (weekly)

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

    The new Alice film and more digital storytelling

    Tim Burton’s films are always a bit different. His next film is to be Alice in Wonderland. (See article in the DailyMail Online) He has released a video clip to give us a taste. With johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen, Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar and Stephen Fry as the Cat, it has a great cast as well as a director with more imagination than most. The trailer looks good but will he be able to do justice to the well-known and loved children’s book? Will his updated version change the story too much?

    I believe that this film will add to the discussion about storytelling, as well as visual representions of the written word.

    That some of our teachers are starting to allow for a wider range of storytelling in he curriculum is a good thing. It has allowed the curriculum o be more inclusive and enables the visually aware students to showcase their talents. Digital storytelling is still not widely accepted by all teachers, for various reasons. There are numerous ways to introduce digital storytelling into the classroom. Writing and telling stories using digital media brings up a host of questions that relate to narrative and structure, how you approach a lesson and manoeuvre around any technical problems. The later being the biggest factor in teachers not trying this option.

    The blog The Digital Narrative: find your story with new media offers a wealth of ideas. The post on teaching methods is great for teachers who want to get started and are looking for ideas. A lot of tools are list with a comment about each. The link to how you might use Animoto was very good.

    One simple approach to starting would be to consider creating digital images of words, then using these to build a story. A good introduction to this idea would be to explore 6 or 10 word written stories with students first. This would teach the students about economy of language, and would help them to develop a more complete narrative within these restrictions. Flickr has a group for images of single words and the site, Six Word Stories ( offers a collection of short short stories consisting of just six words. It was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s famous challenge) would also be interesting for students to “play” with words. Brevity being the key element in this instance. Another Flickr group 09picture stories might also offer teachers and students a good starting point for digital storytelling. In fact there are many fantastic Flickr groups that could be used for inspiration.

    I also like Moodstream. This is a tool that graphically shows students how you can put together ideas, images and sounds to create something more than the sum of the parts, but simpler than a longer film. I wrote a bit of a “how-to” in a post last year.

    I am still working on encouraging teachers to give the various options a try and it is great when the students and staff have success.