Useful sites (weekly)


Steampunk revisited

I have always read science fiction so over the years that adds up to a lot of books. There have always been sub-genres to this very broad category. I have often been asked to explain the science fiction genre and its history to students.

The sub-genre that has taken off in the last few years is Steampunk. I have really enjoyed the novels in this branch of science fiction. A number of books that can be labelled as “Steampunk” have been around for a while the book that has brought Steampunk to a greater audience in our library is Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series.

The videos below offer a good explanation if you have not investigated Steampunk before.

A video made about machines from a Steampunk Museum exhibition (Oxford) highlighted the beautiful design and craftsmanship in them

We want to create a library display about Steampunk and try to show a lot more students  the books that make up this genre. We approached one of our Visual arts teachers and we will have some Year 7 student work to display later this term as well as our own 2-dimensional images for wall displays and a large screen to put on videos and other digital images.

An interesting article “Steampunk: 20 core titles” to read available in  the Library

Good Reads also has a number of links to Steampunk books and discussion. One is called “Best steam punk books” and here some have included the Monster Blood Tattoo series and Incarceron (Incarceron, #1) by  Catherine Fisher

Steampunk fiction that we have in our library includes:

Books that we decided cross over into the Steampunk genre include:

Classic novels that pre-dated the term “Steampunk”:

Both of these are available on-line as e-books and audio books as well as still being in print.

There are many artists creating very interesting and wonderful works in the genre and many can be found on the sites below.

Keith Thompson (the illustrator for Westerfeld’s Leviathan series) is also well worth a look

Links to sites

  • Links to sites on a post I wrote last year about Steampunk sites are here
  • How to draw steampunk machines“The purpose of this web page is not to teach you how to draw. I will not be going though the technique, perspective, color, line weight, software, or any of the stuff  you can easily surf up. This page is to inform artists who want to draw steampunk machines but don’t quite understand how steam works. The focus is to add enough elements to your drawings, to make your steampunk machines more believable.’
  •  SteamPunk magazine  – The magazine is a publication that is dedicated to promoting steampunk as a culture, more than a sub-category of fiction. It is a journal of fashion, music, misapplied technology and chaos as well as fiction. Back issues can be downloaded as PDFs.
  • Steampunk Home  – Sara Brumfield’s blog about steampunk design. Many ideas of steampunk furniture to decorate your home
  • The Antipodean League of Temporal Voyagers – Australian Steampunk blog
  • Antipodean Steampunk Adventures  – Australian steampunk blog.
  • The Steampunk librarian blog – Librarian blog specialising in all things Steampunk
  • Brass Goggles – A blog that celebrates the lighter side of steampunk
  • Steampod For readers who enjoy podcasts. Appreciate Steampod where you can listen to audio stories and interviews.

Sites for finding material for Reusing or Remixing

I working with a number of year 7 classes on different aspects of the research process. After we looked at search engines and hoax sites we got on to the topic of Creative Commons. I talked about Creative Commons after they started to discuss what they could legally copy and what they could not use. It was a fascinating discussion and they were all very interested and engaged in the conversation about what you can do and what you should do. The bottom line was, however, they are all very happy to use things legally, they just need to know where they can get the appropriate maerial.I have creatd a Creative Commons site on our intranet and put out a couple of pages  to explain the symbols and give links to sites they can use. Below are the sites I have given them.

There is more inormation about Creative Commons licences here

Music and sound

  • CCMixter Creative Commons’ own music site.  It is used for listening to, posting, sampling and remixing music with CC licenses.
  • Freesound A good source of sound effects and background noises the Freesound Project aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, and other sounds. All available for reuse.
  • Jamendo All the music shared at this site is free and licensed under some form of Creative Commons license.
  • Magnatune No paid license is required for people using this music to create new works for noncommercial use
  • Opsound A Creative Commons music archive
  • Pool An ABC-run multimedia site that includes lots of CC-licensed user-generated video, music, art and text, as well as increasing amounts of CC material from the ABC’s own archives. Images,video,music,text
  • SoundSnap Offers CC sound effects and loops
  • SoundTransit An archive of “field recordings” from various locations around the world published under a CC Attribution licence

 Graphics and photos

  • Flickr Searches for CC licensed or public domain photos can be done using the advanced search page of this popular site.
  • OpenPhoto A moderated photo community where you can browse licensed images, within various categories, learn the licensing terms for each one, and download the ones you want along with the CC code to go with it.
  • Picture Australia Australian themed images hosted by the National Library of Australia. Some images are CC licensed.
  • Pool An ABC-run multimedia site that includes lots of CC-licensed user-generated video, music, art and text, as well as increasing amounts of CC material from the ABC’s own archives. Images,video,music,text

Video and Mixed media

  •  A video sharing site, with the aim to provide a home and support to budding artists, hosts video performances licensed under of a variety of different terms. It includes a lot of CC licensed material.
  • Engagemedia An Australian-based site which distributes videos about social justice and environmental issues in the Asia Pacific. All videos are CC licensed.
  • Internet Archive  An extensive internet library, containing materials from the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, and a variety of historical collections. The Internet Archive features open audio, music, texts, images, historical video footage, and more.
  • kitZu This collection of free, school-oriented, copyright-friendly media resources organizes its photos, illustrations, animations,documents and video and audio clips into “kits” related to different themes or curriculum topics.
  • Pool An ABC-run multimedia site that includes lots of CC-licensed user-generated video, music, art and text, as well as increasing amounts of CC material from the ABC’s own archives. Images,video,music,text
  • FilmWikiCC CC wiki listing notable CC licensed films.
  • Wikimedia Commons A CC database of useable media files

HistoryPin – creating digital history

Google Maps allows you to develop a feel for an area and its surroundings when you use their street view options but what if you are interested in the development of an area over time?

We Are What We Do, a social action movement based in the UK (London), created Historypin in partnership with Google may just offer this option.

One of the aims of We Are What We Do was to get people from different generations to spend more time together….old photos are a great way of gathering people together and getting them chatting. So, we decided to create a website where people everywhere could share their old photos and the stories behind them. We wanted people to dig out, scan, upload and pin their photos and stories to a map of the world for everyone to see. We also thought it would be neat if you could compare these old photos with how the world looks today, making the site a bit like a digital time machine.

It has the potential to become the largest user-generated archive of the world’s historical images and stories. Web users are asked to contribute to the site by uploading their archive photographs and geo-tagging them so they will be linked to a specific location. You are encouraged to add the stories behind the photo as well and thus building up a visual history book. So Historypin will enable you to pin your history to the world and see what others have posted about events and stories throughout the passage of time by using the time slider.

We some geography units for our students that are based around how areas have changed over time. They have always loved the comparisons between the historical photos I found for local areas and current photos I went out and took of the same places. This would be a great opportunity for them to do their own research and spend time with their parents and grandparents, talking about old photos in their family and making sure the stories they hear are kept for posterity. They could do the technical work and the older generations relate the stories/history.

I also see the information of use in history classes and our language classes where they also look into the culture of the country.

Getting started

To begin you will need to:

  • collect your own photos and it is recommended that they be outdoor shots.
  • know the location for each photo (the street rather than town or suburb)
  • scan your photos onto a computer

You can register by going to the homepage and clicking on the join button. You will need a Gmail address (you can get one from here) and once you have joined you use will use Google’s Picassa site for sharing photos.

There is a very easy to use (and thorough) how-to on the site here

Useful sites (weekly)


Vodpod videos no longer available.



    I liked the above presentation, especially the E words.

This weeks interesting links are:

  • MyPaint MyPaint is a fast and easy graphics application for digital painters. You work on your canvas with minimum distractions, bringing up the interface only when you need it. Comes with a large brush collection including charcoal and ink to emulate real media.  
  • Search over 57000 videos and 7 million photos  CriticalPast provides thousands of hours of video and millions of still photos drawn largely from U.S. government agency sources. Clips from 1890 to 1990 included.  
  • WeGame, a free Fraps alternative – Record Games, Capture Games, Game Record, and much more!  WeGame lets you record your own video games and capture screen shots. You can even start making your own machinima. 
  • Java island gaming, tropical flash games paradise – Mario games – Sonic games  Java Island Gaming provides many java and flash games. Puzzles and strategy games included.
  • Welcome to is a resource for finding the right book for a child. The site provides reviews and categorisation of many popular book and series titles, organised by genre and by reading levels, starting with babies, young listeners, picture books, early readers and independent and higher level readers. browse by category, age, reading level, gender… Special section on books for boys and the Books Alive is a selection of author interviews.  
  • MAKING A BOOK TRAILER | Gabrielle Wang A blog post about Making a Book Trailer by Gabrielle Wang (Aust YA Author)  
  • Free Online Favicon Generator Tool  This lets you generate a favicon to go in the address bar of your website.  
  • A Bloggers’ Code of Ethics – – Online News Association – Ethics and Credibility  Some great guidelines for bloggers. Useful ideas in relation to the ethical issues with technology. Voluntary but important from the cyber journalist Web site. This site posts a blogging code of ethics, which has become a huge ethical issue since the invention of blogging technology.  
  • iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » iPads in Education  
  • Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.     

    Useful sites (weekly)

    • Educational Software | Teaching with Comics | Bitstrips for Schools   This site offers software that would allow students to create their own comic strips. Not free
    • Here Be Dragons: An Introduction to Critical Thinking  “Here Be Dragons is a free 40 minute video introduction to critical thinking. It is suitable for general audiences and is licensed for free distribution and public display. Most people fully accept paranormal and pseudoscientific claims without critique as they are promoted by the mass media. Here Be Dragons offers a toolbox for recognizing and understanding the dangers of pseudoscience, and appreciation for the reality-based benefits offered by real science.”
    • Blio eReader An e-book reader supposed to launch in 2010. The software should be pc combatible. Offers features such as highlighting and annotating books, texts will be stored virtually so reader’s notations are available anywhere. Will also have read-aloud feature.
    • World eBook Fair  Offers a subscription approach to world e-book library. From their site:  “Our goal is to provide free public access for a month up to 2 Million eBooks. During the rest of the year you may continue to download your selection of about 750,000 PDF eBooks by joining the World Public Library. Annual membership is only $8.95 (US) per year.”
    • iPod Touch Project A great resource about how an Auckland school has trialled the introduction of iPod Touches in the classroom. 
    • Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

    Useful sites (weekly)

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