Reading is not dead – or teenagers still reading

With the Term 2 school holidays now upon us, we have had a lot of English teachers bringing their classes into the library so the boys can borrow a book for holiday reading. Many of our boys like reading although not always novels. They have to read a something in a narrative format so many borrow biographies. All sorts of biographies are popular but sporting biographies are the “best sellers”. This year we can hardly keep up with the demand for basketball biographies, followed by the soccer biographies and finally AFL ones.  Basketball has not been very popular for a few years but interest in the NBA has really been evident across all year levels so far in 2013. Most students are quite happy to read, in whatever format they can get the item, although a few prefer hard copy and others love the e-books.

Our borrowing records and student comments prove time and time again that reading is not dead. All we need to do is to find the right interest/subject at the appropriate level and most are happy to read. They love sitting in the armchairs , feet up on the ottomans, especially when it is cold outside. We have teachers who read with their students and many parents who also read. It is always interesting when a student tells me that he is borrowing a book for himself and another for his mother or father. I love the fact that they are supporting each others reading.

I recently came across a post on the PewResearchCenter site that contained a great interactive graph. The data compared 2011 and 2012 data about American Reading habits. I do not think that an Australian survey would be all that different and it certainly ties in with what I witness here. The data shows that teenage readers (16-17) are reading more than they did the previous year.

Reading habits-2011-2012-All_books.-whole-jpg

Reading in “all formats” is up from the previous year. The darker column is 2012 data.  Continue reading


Pinterest for our teachers

If you want something for collecting and organizing the things that inspire you visually, Pinterest is a great option. It is useful and I love some of the visuals I see in my home feed.

It is the end of the school term and we are all tired especially after report writing. At the technology workshop, yesterday after class,  I presented Pinterest to some of my colleagues. I thought it would be an interesting (and fun) tool to learn about at this time of the year.

I like the following infographic and it illustrated some of the points I was making plus I pulled if from my own Pinterest account

Please include attribution to with this graphic.

16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest

I shared the following points about Pinterest.

Pinterest is a visual social bookmarking site. It is set up as an online pinboard, but unlike other social bookmarking sites, such as Diigo and Delicious, the content shared on Pinterest is driven entirely by visuals. To put anything on Pinterest, an image has to be involved.

You can share images you find online, or you can directly upload images onto Pinterest. Using the Pin It button, you can share directly in your browser from any web page. You can also share your pins on Twitter and Facebook. I use it in conjunction with my Diigo account and I have also started putting information about any commercially available images into my Pinterest description to distinguish it from CC licensed material.

Pinterest has its own terminology like every other social media site. Continue reading

Creative Commons – teaching teachers

I sometimes forget that the terms/language I use may not be understood by other teachers. I have been talking to students for quite  a few years but did not really stop to think, or ask, whether or not the teachers were really listening as well. We have a page explaining CC and listing place to find CC resources on our website (and a copy on a wiki). The CC site and the  CC Australia site is are good resources. We show students how to find CC images even when using Google as well and the CC search page.  The last blog post I wrote about CC was last year after I talked about a tool  that you can use when choosing a license for work that you have created.

Today I was asked to explain what “Creative Commons” means by a colleague. After I explained it I thought that I had better put up a few more visuals to assist everyone in trying to understand the concept.

I have a few posters but I like this one as a starting point. It is very simple and so a good place to start.

Useful links

Teaching is not Rocket Science by shareski, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  shareski 

Re-using old books and creating amazing art works

It’s Friday. As the school day ends I have been looking around pinterest and the wider web community for images. I am always looking for interesting views of books and/or libraries and I was very pleased that I came across a 2012 post by Pinar (@mymodernmetArtist), 5,000 Books Pour Out of a Building in Spain – My Modern Metropoli

The post offers some photos and explanation about how she did it as well as a video of the amazing sculptures by Spanish-based artist Alicia Martin. The Biografias (translated as Biographies) project used 5,000 books in each of three site-specific sculptures, all based in historic buildings in Madrid. You can see how the sculture works in the video below.

I also came across the following site this week that had some great artisitic uses for old books. I am not sure if I could actually bring myself to cut and re-use the books in some of these ways but I am impressed by what these artists did.

Re-Use of Books = Art is from the Inspiration Green site . There are some great photographs in here showing how artists have re-used old books to create some amazing art, including some more by Alicia Martin and the very creepy image by Waldo Lee (Walee)

Waldo Lee, aka WALEE

So some more images to add to Pinterest board.

GeoGuessr and GeoSettr

This week I have been playing around with the addictive puzzle game GeoGuessr and then the related GeoSettr. It is simple to use , free and tests your knowledge of geography and your powers of observation.

To explain it very simply, you go to the site and try to guess your location using Google Maps and Street View technologies. The closer your guess is to the actual location, the more points you score.


GeoGuessr uses Google Maps so when you enter the site, you find are (virtually) placed in different locations from somewhere in the world. You can look around and then put a pin on the world map to guess where you are.

  • Click and drag to look around you. Click the arrows to move forward or back, zoom in and out and move around just like you would normally in Google maps street view, in order to get a better idea what you’re looking at. So “walk” left or  right or turn around or look up and down to fully explore the surroundings you find yourself.
  • Once you think you know where you are, use the mouse scroll wheel to zoom in on the map in the upper-right corner to place your position on a world map
  • Click on the map to place your pin.
  • Finally click  “make guess” to lock in your location.
  • You then get the actual location identified and you are told how close your guess was (along with the points you scored). You then click onto the next location.

You can take your time as your score is determined by how far away from the actual location your guess was with no time limit.

Students can explore the world in a very engaging way. It would be a good tool for group activities within a class, with members of the group working together and negotiating to find the locations.

It is a great tool to use with students in this form but you can now customize your own version using GeoSettr.

My Setting page-opt

I created one of my own using 5 places in Victoria.


Once I got the the end it gave me the URL I can use to find it again. The whole address needs to be copied and then pasted into the address field. It does not seem to work when you insert it as a link behind a word or image.

My Setting page-script

We are going to use GeoGuessr with the Geography students at the end of term as an extension activity. They will then use GeoSettr to create their own geo-quizzes and share them with the rest of their class.

It is certainly an addictive pastime.

Useful links

Curation of Information by gcouros, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  gcouros