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.

A sharing culture – CC video

I have been to a number of professional development sessions lately. The subject of engaging our students is a hot topic and has  been discussed in a number of educational forums. What I find is amazing, in all the workshops, conferences, etc. I attend, is how willing many of my colleagues are willing to share. Since being on-line, over the past couple of years, colleagues from all around the world have been sharing with me. When people share, offer suggestions/help and comment on your efforts/thoughts it is so affirming. If we feel like this then surely students would also enjoy this aspect of learning. This spirit of collaboration and support would also be appreciated by our students. They would be engaged if they were sharing and collaborating with more than just the teacher (and maybe their class). In fact they are when they have had opportunities to exhibit/present their ideas.

However we all know just how often in schools sharing is sharply limited for teachers, let alone students. A teacher I was working with is so keen to share and collaborate with teachers, not just in our school, but other teachers or schools. She has just started to see the potential but there is a long way to go before many others understand the power of such collaboration. I believe it will change, although I sometimes worry about how long it is taking to even get a toehold in some quarters.

I have been talking about Creative Commons licenses to students for 2 years. They “get it” but teachers are slower. It is odd because many teachers do not understand copyright and often have to be reminded that, just because you are using something in a school, you cannot simply copy things in their entirety or en masse. You would think that they would have been right onto CC but not so.

This is another video that explains the idea behind the creation of “Creative Commons“. I like this one because it is very inclusive in its outlook, not limited to subject/topic, culture, etc.

The Creative Commons video, “A Shared Culture,” makes a strong case for sharing content and empowering people to share their voices and perspectives on the global stage. I like how this video recommends that we should be thinking about building a sense of community as well as sharing content. I would love to throw out the challenge to colleagues at my school and have everyone think about at least one thing they could share, “out there in the digital world”, each term. Easy?!

Print-on-demand books: now in store

Print-on-demand has the potential to be one of the most important developments in the growth of the digital world by aiding accessibility of books to the public. Soon a book will never be out of print with what’s been described as the ATM for books. The A&R store in Bourke St., Melbourne, is the only one with this option but 50 more such machines will be installed throughtout Australia and NZ. I really like the notion that the ideas, words, etc. in out-of-print, or hard-to-get, books are now readily available.

I also love the feel of the physical book, the smell of the pages, the look of the cover, the sheer tactile nature of (hardback) books. (Yes, I try to by hardback books whenever I can!) I would always choose to by the physical book for these reasons but I can see that the opportunity, to read the words of the many out-of-print manuscripts, is a step forward. Burning the physical book will no longer be enough to stop the communication between author and reader. Many Australian readers like to buy books and/or go to the local library to borrow the physical book, but here is another option that has merit.

read more | digg story

It’s (CBCA) Book Week

I like this video on the importance of literacy. It’s appropriate as we start Book Week. Another example of a commercial venture we can use in our libraries.