Useful Links (weekly)

  • 100 Digital Storytelling Tools for Your Digital Selves + Natives (Part 4) | Ozge Karaoglu’s Blog 

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


Inky Award winners 2009

The Inky Awards were announce this morning. It would have been wonderful to be there (stocktaking however must go on!)  but I am very pleased with  he winners anyway.

These awards are a celebration of the best in Young Adult literature as voted by the YA readers. 

The Golden Inky (for the best Australian title) winner was:




The Silver Inky (for the best international title) winner was:

I really enjoyed both these books and I am glad to see that many YA readers agreed with me. As I am often asked to help our students choose books for their wider reading I was glad to see that my choices can be similar to theirs.

The Muppets do Bohemian Rhapsody

I have been working on our library stocktake most of the day. Having a look on tweetdeck, I saw a reference made to this video by Alain van Heerden.

It is a good way to finish the day and certainly brought a smile to my lips.

Useful Links (weekly)

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

Top Tools for Learning

It is that time of the year again. There are lists popping up everywhere. I started reading this last week and it coincided with some discussions about digital tools in other forums at work.

The Jane Hart has compiled her annual list Top Tools for Learning. It is always interesting to note the changes, what is up and what has gone down The Top 100 Tools For Learning 2009  can be found on this page as a list and also as a slide show. This final list (Nov 15th) has been compiled from the Top 10 Tool Contributions of 278 learning professionals worldwide.

View more documents from Jane Hart.

There have been debates about what should be and what is allowed to be used in schools. Recently one principal was asking about what should teachers be allowed to access whilst they are at work. She was basing her question around reports that many workplaces were banning social networking tools. I am disappointed some of the comments made by some educators, teachers and admin people. Many of those who can’t/don’t see the point are those that are not using these tools. They often have not tried to see what others may be doing and also seem to simply think Facebook or Twitter are all there is. They base their ideas around some of the more sensational news media reports without any or very little actual experience of the tools. I cannot believe that any learning (curriculum) decisions based on such limited and weighted information are going to create 21st century learning experiences in schools.

I find that I use many social networking tools to help me with my everyday work. Many times I have been able to obtain answers to my questions, help with problems and notice about interesting articles, events, etc. via twitter or other online devices. My personal learning network has increased amazingly over the past 18 months and I rely on it as one of the key ways to  keep my professional learning/skills up-to-date. Continue reading

Motivation by Dan Pink. A lesson for schools?

At this time of the school year in Australia, with holidays beckoning, motivation of our students is a hot topic. This is an interesting video of a TEDtalk about motivation. Dan Pink ,when looking at the puzzle that is motivation, starts with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think.  In fact, they are probably counter-productive.

What he basically goes on to say is that the extrinsic motivations (carrot and stick) approach often doesn’t work because they narrow the focus. They work best where there are clear guidelines and a single destination, simple tasks. In a world where creativity is needed you need more intrinsic motivation. So what does this mean for secondary education, where you want students to learn, to create, to analyse and make meaning for themselves, to develop their skills across the board and understand what works best for them.We often hear people talk about the world outside school where our young people will have to be problem-solving adults, where many jobs they will be asked to do are not yet created. What does this mean for schools in light of Dan Pink’s points? I would love to say that we are creating young people who do things because they matter, learn because they are interested in learning,  not just for some extrinsic reward (be it a certificate, gadgets,chocolate or other food forms), that we are, by example,  creating young men who do not ask “what is in it for me” before doing something. I’m not sure we are there yet. Motivation is an interesting concept. Have businesses got motivation wrong, and schools, that are increasing being held to business practices and standards, also?  This is an interesting talk that goes against many traditional thoughts and business and educational practice with regard to motivation.    

Vodpod videos no longer available.




Using Yudu

Whilst looking at more ways for students to share their information with others, I have been investigating Yudu.

It is a free service and it allows the user to upload documents in various formats (Word, Excel, Powerpoint or PDF) to create a more dynamic, magazine style presentation. This way of presenting information looks much more interesting and professional than the static versions and can be embedded into websites or blogs. You can see range of various documents here.

It is very easy to use and there are 3 simple rules clearly indicated:

  1. no adult content
  2. no copyright abuse
  3. no offensive material

To create your publication:

  • Upload your document
  • Create a title
  • Indicate a publication type (book, magazines, brochure, catalogue, newspaper, portfolio,report and other)
  • They then send a link to your email address when your document is ready
  • lastly you can chose to keep it private or public

The teachers have been using DeskTop Author at school to create documents with the page turning etc. but these require a (free) reader to be downloaded and are not able to be embedded into blogs/websites. For the exercise we have planned, if the document can be viewed online with a click rather than having to find something via a link (provided you have the reader) it is a much better option.

Click to launch the full edition in a new window.