A Vision for Teacher-librarianship

April 3, 2009

Here’s “21st Century Teacher-librarian”  created in MovieMaker.

This work is submitted as a final assignment for partial credit in my University of Alberta Teacher-Librarianship Distance Learning course: Information Technologies for Learning with Joanne de Groot.

How I chose to illustrate my vision was up to me, with ANIMOTO or another mash-up suggested as a possibility.

At first I thought it would be far too difficult to encapsulate something this highly conceptual using ANIMOTO, so decided to do a MovieMaker video instead. I could narrate what I wanted to say, and I had a lot of learning from my course to convey, plus I couldn’t figure out how to incorporate a reference list or give proper credit using ANIMOTO.  Yet after assembling all the images I needed for my MovieMaker video, I thought that perhaps the images could convey the message on their own, so decided to use ANIMOTO as an experiment.

I copy and pasted the draft script I used to narrate the MovieMaker version to Wordle and was very pleased with the resulting visual synthesis as a word cloud. I included it in both presentations. I also like the image mashup I made using Mosaic Maker from fd’s Flickr Toys.

Getting the right image to illustrate a specific concept turned out to be the hardest part.  I had to choose photos with permission from students and staff, or cleared with creative commons licensing, or for non-commercial educational use.  I e-mailed and Twittered for permission where permission wasn’t clearly granted. I have a stack of permission e-mails and photo release forms that I’m not sure what to do with, or how long I need to keep them- sigh . . .

I’ve decided to add the ANIMOTO version to my school library page and blog  because of it’s 21st century look and feel.  It’s edgier, more engaging, and fun to watch.

I’m not sure which presentation is the most effective. What do you think?

Here are the images and sources list that may have been too blurry to view:








Sources List:

Alberta Learning, Alberta, Canada. (2004). Focus on Inquiry: A Teacher’s Guide to Implementing Inquiry Learning. Retrieved March 12, 2009, from Alberta Education: http://education.alberta.ca/media/313361/focusoninquiry.pdf

American Association of School Librarians. (2007). Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. Retrieved March 29, 2009, from AASL Learning Standards: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_LearningStandards.pdf

Asselin, M., & Doiron, R. (2008, July). Towards a Transformative Pedagogy for School Libraries 2.0. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from School Libraries Worldwide: http://asselindoiron.pbwiki.com/SLW14%3A2+AsselinDoiron

Canadian Association for School Libraries. (2005). techbroche.pdf. Retrieved March 10, 2009, from Canadian Association for School Libraries Website: http://www.cla.ca/casl/techbroche.pdf

CAST: Center for Applied Special Technology. (1999-2008). Retrieved March 12, 2009, from What is Universal Design for Learning?: http://www.cast.org/research/udl/index.html

Davis, V. (2008, January 17). It is about Educational Networking NOT Social Networking . Retrieved March 25, 2009, from Cool Cat Blog: http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2008/01/it-is-about-educational-networking-not.html

Doyle, S., & Trousdell, L. (2007, November 15). The Library is a Mashup. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from Animoto: http://animoto.com/play/5b84f59869b8cbf7c6ab7426548e957e

Gasser, U., & Palfrey, J. (2009, March). Mastering Multitasking. Educational Leadership , pp. 15-19.

King, J. Getting In Deep Online Image From Now On: The Educational Technology Journal. http://www.fno.org/feb06/febcartoon.html.

Literacy with ICT Across the Curriculum. (2004-2008). Retrieved March 12, 2009, from Manitoba Education, Citizenship & Youth: http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/tech/lict/show_me/continuum.html

Mullen, R., & Wedwick, L. (2008, November/December). Avoiding the Digital Abyss: Getting Started in the Classroom with YouTube, Digital Stories, and Blogs. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas , pp. 66-69.

Palfrey, J., & Gasser, U. (2008). Born Digital. New York: Basic Books.

Plair, S. K. (2008, Nov – Dec). Revamping Professional Development for Technology Integration and Fluency. Retrieved March 30, 2009, from Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas: http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ816794&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ816794

Ransom, S. Leaving Digital Footprints that Count Online Image ransomtech>Digital Footprints. http://ransomtech.wikispaces.com/Digital+Footprints

Rossini (Composer). Barber of Seville. On Frequency Orch. Rossini Selections: http://www.freeplaymusic.com.

The International Society for Technology in Education. (2007). The ISTE Technology Standards and Performance Indicators (NETS-S) for Students. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from ISTE: http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/ForStudents/2007Standards/NETS_for_Students_2007_Standards.pdf

The International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). The ISTE Technology Standards and Performance Indicators (NETS-T) for Teachers. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from ISTE: http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/ForTeachers/2008Standards/NETS_T_Standards_Final.pdf

Valenza, J. +. (2009). You know you’re a 21st century librarian if . . . Retrieved March 10, 2009, from Information Fluence: http://informationfluency.wikispaces.com/You+know+you%27re+a+21st+century+librarian+if+.+.+.


Down the Rabbit Hole

December 7, 2008
Down the Rabbit Hole by Stephen and Melanie
AttributionNo Derivative Works
“I felt like I had fallen down the rabbit hole.”
– Darren Kuropatwa in Interview with Margaux Watt, “Up to Speed” November 28, 2008. 

That’s how I feel! I feel like I’ve stumbled into an alternate universe populated with enthusiastic educators engaging students in meaningful learning. Here are a few things I’ve learned in my exploration of the Read/Reflect/Write/Participate Web so far:

  • Blogging isn’t easy! I’ve never written for any audience other than students, colleagues and teachers so learning how to begin a conversation with an online audience is quite a struggle.
  • I’m going to change my mind more often now than ever before. For example, between last week and this week I’ve changed my mind about which tool I should introduce to colleagues first. I might follow Chris Rabeck’s suggestion of November 27 – Awakening Possibilities -” If there is only one thing you do after tonight, make it be that you join Twitter“. I would also  follow Vicki Davis’ suggestion – “The first step is to get connected to other educators and keep up with the latest developments.” She suggests a RSS aggregator is the place to start. (“Time to Grow” by Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay, k12online 08, October 27, 2008) I feel invigorated in my new and expanding professional learning network, and would like my colleagues to share this feeling of “connectiveness”.
  • artwork2My hand-me-down iPod does more than play music – It’s a valuable and powerful Professional Development tool. I’ve turned down offers for rides home because I’m looking forward to listening to a Web 2.0 in Education podcast on my bus-ride home.
  • Keep a notebook handy to write down quotes, inspirations, new ideas and to keep a To Do list – Here are just a few things on my current To Do List:
    • Make an avatar and join Second Life!
    • Try out RuneScape
    • Try out authorSTREAM for for storing, sharing, and presenting PowerPoints
    • Try out Slideshare
    • Learn more about uStream
    • Find out what Moodle is all about
  • People give you a funny look or try to read what you’re writing when you take notes on the bus – Since I’ve started listening to podcasts on my ride to and from school I’ve had to write down a great quote or idea from time to time , which appears to be a great curiosity to the people around me.
  • Be Honest – Don’t misquote, misrepresent, plagiarize or “fudge the truth”. The Web 2.0 world has built-in and authentic accountability measures. Moderators use e-mail notifications and RSS feeds to monitor the content of their wikis and blogs. People are using vanity feeds to monitor what is written about them, and they will keep you accountable.
  • Like Bud Hunt,  I’m Fascinated with the intersection of the private and personal” ( “The Lie of Community: The True Nature of the Network” k12online 08 Audio channel, October 31, 2008) I love Twitter. It’s not only entertaining and lighthearted, it’s helped me network, keep up with what’s new, get inspiration and almost immediate suggestions for my inquiries.
  • I’d rather make mistakes and learn along with my students than lose touch with the reality of their world.
  • There is nothing like the awesome feeling one gets after receiving a comment from someone far away: For example, I took pictures on a field trip to the petroforms in Whiteshell Provincial Park and I posted some of them to Flickr. The next day I noticed my very first RSS feed from my Flickr uploads:

“Hello, I very much like your petriforms from turtle in de snow pictures , and I like to ask permision to use your pictures on a non-profit forum in Holland/Belgium. This forum is about information on turtle/tortoise in general, here is a link www.schildpaddenforum.net (written in Dutch) If you like I can give you credit,
Kind regards
Hans Meijer”

I started an e-mail conversation with Hans Meijer and shared it with the students who were naturally thrilled to learn about this exchange of ideas.

  • “The NeverEndingSearch” is much more than the name of Joyce Valenza’s blog – it’s a way of life. 
down-the-rabbit-hole-magenta1Image by Waking MagentaAttributionNo Derivative Works
And down the Rabbit Hole I Go . . . .

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Blogging Professional Development Pre-requisite: Must be willing to travel the world and back again in your jammies

November 24, 2008

In my last two posts I’ve written about how I very quickly established a personal learning network online (my community of communities) and how I’ve begun to track my favorite bloggers through my RSS aggregator. You can tell by one look at my blogroll on the right that I’m following some very authoritative voices in Web 2.0 and education as well as some fellow Teacher-librarian bloggers that I’ve connected with through various social networking sites.

I listened to almost the entire k-12online08 conference on my iPod on the bus coming to and from school each day over the last 3 weeks with interest and excitement. This truly is an exciting time to be an educator. I get hyped up by the possibilities and strategies employed by teacher librarian power-bloggers like Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog and Joyce Valenza’s Never Ending Search Blog. At Doug Johnson’s suggestion in “Blogging and The School Library Media Specialist” I added myself in fascination to the the growing number of librarians worldwide on the Librarian Bloggers Worldwide site . I get hyped up by reading blogs like Will Richardson’s New MacArthur Study: Must Read for Educators .

Yet I also truly relate to the Comment to that blogpost by Shirley Smith:

Then there are the days when I can’t seem to convince anyone to pay attention–regardless of the latest research.
I would be interested in someone writing–or pointing to– a “vignette” that would describe what a typical day would look like in this new world/education order. Provide a glimpse that could help bridge the gap from fantasy to reality so the regular classroom teacher could see herself “there”.

Back here in my little corner of the world, and south-east corner of my school, how do I connect with those teachers across and down the hall and help re-define best practices for today’s high school learners? As Dennis Richard states in the k12online08 podcast- There’s Something Going on Here You Need to Know About . . . how does one ” break out of The Echo chamber to introduce their work and web 2.0 technology to a much wider diverse circle of educators “?

Another question that I’ve been pondering over the past couple of months is why I’ve never met visionary and experienced web 2.0 practitioner Darren Kuropatwa. He teaches in my school division and even in the same district! I used to teach two blocks away when I was working in one of his high school’s feeder elementary schools. I’ve visited his school on many occasions for Teacher librarian meetings or to get my flu shot. I’m following him on Twitter and have visited many of his blogs while at home in my jammies and with my dog at my feet, but have never seen his name outside the “web 2.0 echo chamber” (except for an article in the Manitoba Teacher Society newsletter last year).

I know from Darren’s “A Difference” blog that he has provided professional development opportunities for teachers in our shared district, division and province. I have a rare and unique opportunity to request a classroom visit and perhaps even capture that “vignette” that would describe what a typical day would look like in this new world/education order” that Shirley Smith commented on. That would be of true interest to my colleagues.

Yet that doesn’t entirely address the situation stated by Will Richardson in his New MacArthur Study:Must Read for Educators post that educators “have to be more willing to support this type of learning rather than prevent it, but as always, we have to understand it for ourselves as well.”

I find myself in a unique situation in my school division, especially as a Teacher-librarian. I was asked to chair the Senior Years Educational Technology Mentors Group this year. This group meets 5 times a year and has one or two representatives from each high school in the division, and my role along with 3 other steering committee members is to help set the agenda. At the suggestion of the mentor’s last session we’re going to be doing a Knowledge Management Session with ICT Mentors next month. That is, we’re going to use a wiki to create a list of who has experience and expertise in different ICT courses offered through the division. I’m going to ask participants to read and reflect upon Will Richardson’s blog post and the related comments to “The Less You Share The Less Power You Have.” The more exposure others have to how powerful the sharing nature of the read/write web can be – the better!

Will Richardson makes some very good suggestions for getting started with blogging with colleagues close to home in his book: Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. He suggests blogging for knowledge management and articulation for staff to communicate internally, archive minutes, collect links and relevant information, store documents and presentations for easy access later on. At the division level educators can share best practices, lesson plans and “learning objects” (pg. 25) . We have the beginnings of such a blog for the senior years educational technology mentors in my school division but as of today only two members have contributed, sigh. Hopefully that will change soon.

How else can I promote the read/reflect/write web in my little corner of the world? Now that I’ve gained a little knowledge and experience in blogging I’m going to watch for opportunities to share. For instance, students took pictures on our recent field trip to the Petroforms in the beautiful Whiteshell provincial park (my new header was taken in that park) and I posted some that don’t identify the participants on Flickr.com. My next contribution will be to create a RSS feed to our school blog. I think it’s a great way to increase student and teacher traffic to the blog and to see how other’s around the world will respond to the photos.

Some of the best professional development comes from in-school sharing and collaboration. That’s where I see myself teaching in the read/reflect/write web – to break out of the “echo chamber” that is web 2.0 and to bridge the chasm between what some may see as fantasy to reality.

Visit here for more on this next week!

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Social Networking Sites and Teaching

November 11, 2008

In his October 4, 2008 blog entitled Facebook – an educational resource? , Doug Johnson writes “Schools DO need to teach safety and privacy with all social networking tools. If we don’t, who will?” If I was still a grade 3-8 classroom teacher I think I would set up a Ning. What a great way to teach safe and appropriate use of social networking for grades 3-8 in a safe, moderated and meaningful setting (students aren’t supposed to be on Facebook until they’re 14 anyway!) Classroom projects and assignments, resources, questions, discussions and reflections could be collected into one advertisement-free Ning.

For younger students I’d start with using the activities and resources from Kids in the Know to teach safe and appropriate internet use for younger students. This is a program supported by The Winnipeg School Division. I’d set up a classroom Twitter community for grade 1 or 2 students. When I was a grade 1 and 2 classroom teacher I would spend countless hours preparing nifty little paper booklets in a variety of motivating styles and shapes to keep the students interest in writing. It would take a lot less time and be even more motivating to students to set up a monitored Twitter network for classroom collections of writings and reflections on the occasional classroom topic or theme using school division e-mail addresses and passwords that the teacher will also know. It would be easy for a teacher to pre-teach expectations, monitor and intervene if inappropriate comments appear. Teachers could also monitor outside activity and teach students about online safety should outsiders choose to follow.

For senior high and adult students – I say let’s get all the social networking sites unblocked and allow students to use them in authentic ways for learning. So what if their private and personal lives intersect with their academic learning now and then? It’s still an engaging way to enhance literacy skills and it’s helped me lighten up and enjoy my journey into Web 2.0 a little more than I would have otherwise.

When I just reviewed my http://twitter.com/mikisew I realized it’s partly a journal of my journey into Web 2.0 over the past several weeks. I then realized that Twitter would be a fabulous tool for students to use as a starter for a journal or reflection journal when they’re working through an inquiry project.

Educational administrators and educators need to embrace social networking tools and capitalize on their popularity and potential for education – not ban them!

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VoiceThread – A Multi-media Sharing Site

November 1, 2008

The Halloween candy jar is almost empty, the lights in the pumpkins are blown out, but my spirits are high after another whirlwind week at work and play. This week I worked with the World Issues teacher to prepare for our Remembrance Day display and presentation, and learned how to use VideoThread at the same time. How good is that?

Please enjoy this 11 minute VoiceThread presentation prepared with help from our World Issues students and teacher for the Remembrance Week display to be held in the library on November 7, 2008.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “VoiceThread – Remembrance Day“, posted with vodpod

In the past two years we’ve held a Remembrance Day Service in the library the day before Remembrance Day, but this year there are no classes on November 10 because it’s a staff professional development day. After discussion with the principal, we decided to create a display in the glass display case, plus provide a multimedia presentation, information on community events and other information related to Remembrance Day and refreshments in the library study space on Friday, November 7.

The presentation includes “The Canadian Soldier”, a poem written and read by Winnipeg Adult Education Centre World Issues student Susanne. Her husband is currently serving overseas. Susanne also contributed a photo of her young son laying a wreath alongside an elderly veteran that is also included in this presentation. Randy, another Adult Ed. student reads “In Flanders Fields”. The presentation also includes video clips and sound clips that I’ve gathered over the years from the Veterans Affairs Canada website to use here and there during the service.

I think adding text comments to cite the source of the images, video and sound clips is very effective, and a good example to students for when they create their own multimedia presentations.

Being able to work on it from any computer in the school or at home was an absolute joy. Students added their narrations at their own convenience, at their own pace and from the workstation of their choice.

I love the way it looks when it’s played right out of the blog! A new “VodPod” beta version application has been added to WordPress.com within the last week or two because before that no videos except YouTube or Google Videos could be embedded.

Promoting the November 7 Remembrance Week presentation in the library is now easy because I will e-mail the link to the VoiceThread as it’s posted on the school blog (read below for more information on this) to all staff with an invitation to book a time to drop by with their students. And . . . I have a feeling that some teachers are going to be interested in creating VoiceThread with their students too, so in a way I’m also promoting the integration of VoiceThread into curriculum!

I applaud the good folks at VoiceThread for making it free to educators. Ed.Voicethread is certainly also reasonably priced and we may just take advantage of it at Adult Ed. soon. I decided to purchase a $2.99 export of the Remembrance Week video so I can activate a “loop” option so it will be playing non-stop throughout the day on Nov. 7. At this time of writing the download I received is not acceptable (only 17 seconds worth of video – what??) but I’ve e-mailed for help with this and hope for a full download in time for the November 7th showing – otherwise I can show it from a wired laptop and projector.

I’ve linked the video to the Adult Ed. school virtual library as well. The first Voicethread I ever saw was on Joyce Valenza’s Springfield High School Virtual Library. I’m already thinking of demonstrations to prepare in Voicethreads to add to my school virtual library. The next one I’m going to do is a demonstration of how to access our Ebscohost magazine and newspaper database.

After some thought I decided to go public with the Remembrance Week VoiceThread and to allow comments, at least for now. Because of the sensitive nature of the video, I added the comment stream to my RSS feed so I can monitor comments closely.

I enjoyed adding a comment to the video produced by Donna Desrochiers about creating VideoThreads using pages created in Comic Life – check out my comment on slide 12 of http://voicethread.com/#q.b2229.i0.k0 . We’ve purchased Comic Life for all the workstations at Adult Ed. and students have been experimenting with it in Seminar for Business classes. The two applications are going to work beautifully together at Adult Ed. as well! See Donna DesRoches’ blog post about how they’ve integrated the two applications while working with a group of grade 2 students in Living Sky School Division in Saskatchewan.

I particularly enjoyed the many comments posted to young Zoe Farrell’s VoiceThread: BOOOOOO Global Warming . This VoiceThread includes comments from experts on the topic and comments from other children. It is a wonderful resource for children studying Global Warming. I did find some vandalism on slide 6 of this VoiceThread which saddened me, and made me think that it’s worth the time to review how to make thoughtful comments on other’s videos with students. There is a very good blog on this topic on Grade 6 teacher, Bill Ferriter’s blog post: Using Voicethread for Collaborative Thought. . . It has links to documents for helping students learn how to make thoughtful comments to other’s videos.

In the blog post: VoiceThreads: Extending the Classroom with Interactive Multimedia Albums by Laila Weir @ Bill Ferriter is quoted as saying:

more students participate more actively in digital discussions than in the classroom. “You don’t have to be the loud one or the popular one,” he points out. When he asked his students about their online involvement, he said they cited the sense of safety: “They can think about their comments beforehand.” They also liked the fact that any Voicethread has multiple conversations going on at once. “In a classroom conversation, there’s generally one strand of conversation going at any one time, and if you’re bored by that particular strand, you’re completely disengaged,”

His comments resonate with me especially when I think about the nature of many of our Adult Ed. students who didn’t do well in their traditional high school settings.

I’ve also taken note of Ferriter’s finding that students reflect and respond to VoiceThread videos more spontaneously than to text articles on a subject. The World Issues teacher and I have decided to test this out by asking the World Issues class to post comments on our moderated school blogsite post: http://blogs.wsd1.org/waec/category/remembrance-week/. This way students do not need to create an account with VoiceThread to leave a comment unless they want to. (I’m also trying to promote the school blogsite.)

Please notice that at the time of this writing that VoiceThread does not embed into our division’s WordPress.org blog. I’ve e-mailed a request to the division educational technology consultant to upload the VoiceThread plugin. He said it looked doable and he would do it sometime this weekend – so by Monday it may also be embedded here – talk about “just in time learning”!

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Wikis, Wikis, Wikis

October 27, 2008

What is the best Web 2.0 tool for a Community Collaborative Collection of Content?

A good example of a collaborative collection of content for libraries is in the Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki. I came across a wonderful idea in this wiki listed under Adult Programs that I’ve already shared with the Art teacher Bold Great Idea for Adult Programs: Altered Book Workshop”. This huge wiki is jammed packed full of good ideas, and I’ll be recommending it to new Teacher-librarians.

I’ve had to endure some pretty severe teasing from my family this weekend about researching wikis. Four out of five were unfamiliar with wikis, other than Wikipedia, although all were quite familiar with blogs. They all think I should get myself a wookie from Star Wars instead.

Yet despite their lower public profile, wikis are prevalent on the web.

For instance author of Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis: a teacher at Westwood Schools in Camilla Georgia has been showing us just how much of an impact simple technologies can have in classrooms. For example, the school wiki: Westwood School wiki has links to class projects and other school events. I like how Vicki has locked the main page and added a link to “Who Can join this Space?” which explains If you’re not a student of Mrs. Davis, please do not ask to join, although this space is publicly viewable it is only editable by the teacher and students at Westwood Schools.”

David Warlick’s The Art & Technique of Wikis http://davidwarlick.com/wiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheArtAndTechniqueOfWikis brought me to a locked wiki: http://monarchlibrary.wikispaces.com/ including pages on school Collaborative Projects.

Joyce Valenza invited school librarians to contribute to this wiki: http://informationfluency.wikispaces.com/You+know+you%27re+a+21st+century+librarian+if+.+.+. which resulted in the well known and inspirational Manifesto for the 21st Century Librarian .

In 2004 David Warlick predicted that new technologies are going to be instrumental in Creating Textbooks of the Future “As information changes and new content is generated, the textbook is constantly updated right before our eyes.” http://www.techlearning.com/shared/printableArticle.php?articleID=20300250 .

I listed myself on the Twitter4teachers wiki under the Library Media Specialist heading – http://twitter4teachers.pbwiki.com/ . This particular wiki list has doubled since I listed myself and I’m now following and being followed by most of the other “library media specialists” listed on this wiki on Twitter now.

In his book, Blogs, Wikis & Podcasts, Will Richardson comments that having students contribute to wikis, including Wikipedia will “Teach concepts of open source software, community collaboration, respect for other people’s ideas, intellectual property and public domain and much more.” (2006, p. 67). I agree that the best way to teach these concepts is by having students create and contribute to wikis in guided learning opportunities.

Terry Freedman’s article on Wikis in Coming of Age: an introduction to the new worldwide web v1-2. (page 83 )lists some good classroom purposes for a wiki:

  • Develop group ideas for a project
  • Create a resource for others
  • Capture ideas for a policy or strategy (for example students could use a wiki to develop a set of protocols about good conduct online)

This made me think that wikis would be a good way to allow students to contribute criteria for an assessment rubric – perhaps by beginning the rubric with a whole group and leave some cells in the rubric empty and ask students to add or edit content until it’s ready for review again by the whole group.

I also thought a good addition to The Winnipeg Adult Eduucation school virtual library would be a Favorite Books Wiki for students, so created a Wikispaces wiki @ http://mikisew.wikispaces.com and linked it to the existing WAEC library website.

As mentioned in the book, Web 2.0 New Tools, New Schools, “Wikispaces is free to educators and removes advertising. Teachers can lock pages and restrict who can receive a login.” (Solomon and Schrum 2007 p. 58)

I was alarmed to see advertisements on the right sidebar so I e-mailed to ask about how to get a Wikispace free and without ads for educators. This is the prompt reply I received: “You can upgrade your education wiki to our free, ad-free, K-12 plan by going to “Manage Space” and “Subscription.” The link is at the bottom of that page. If you want to create any more K-12 education wikis, you should use this link: http://www.wikispaces.com/site/for/teachers

Whoops! I hadn’t scrolled down on the Create a New Account Screen to register for a free K-12 Account. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to rush.

Here’s how it looks now without ads:

After examining the Permissions options, I decided to try the option: “Protected-Everyone can view pages, only members of this space can edit pages”. I’m afraid if I require students to apply for permission to edit the site, they won’t bother, or lose interest by the time they are granted permission. I’m also considering changing to the option: “Public- Everyone – including anonymous visitors – can view and edit pages”. After all, if it works for Wikipedia then it can work for Winnipeg Adult Education Centre! I’ll watch carefully for vandalism or for suggestions that may not be posted from current students.

On the September 9th podcast of Women of the Web 2.0, it was mentioned that Wikispaces had originally only offered 100,000 advertisement-free Wikispaces to K-12 educators, but had offered another 250,000 so I knew it was a time-limited offer. I also knew from the WOW podcast that it was okay to sign up for more than one, so I’ve planned ahead and signed up for seven in total. In the Manifesto for the 21st Century Librarian podcast mentioned above, Joyce Valenza states “every pathfinder you do should be a wiki to support learning in all the learning arenas in your school” and she includes examples of Pathfinder wikis at her school library website. In preparation for my virtual school library renovation, I signed up for just enough Wikispaces to get started. (I didn’t want to take more than that because I want to be fair to others!) When I was at a Winnipeg School Division ICT mentor’s meeting Oct. 23, I learned about Google Custom Search for K-12. It is also free and advertisement free for K-12 educators and allows collaboration just like a wiki, so I may take advantage of that service as well in the future should I need more pathfinders.

A pet wookie would also be nice, but I’m feeling pretty cozy with my seven little Wikispaces for now.

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Video sharing sites

September 27, 2008

Not for the squeamish!

I found this video by searching www.video.google.com and plan to use it after reading  “Christopher, Please Clean Your Room!” by Itah Sadu and watching the Talespinner video with my EAL summer school students. I can just imagine how intrigued the students will be. They may even want to learn more about cockroaches!

YouTube in Today’s World:

On my way to work Friday morning I noticed that YouTube has become a visible part of our popular culture. This anonymous poem was on a “Poetry in Motion” poster on my bus:

Afghanistan Confession 17
I carry a coffin
on my shoulder
into the gut of the transport.
The dead fly.
I send video
from my phone
home to YouTube.

As the bus went past the University of Winnipeg I saw a bus bench advertising “YouOne” which is really just the University marketing to students their University One first year program.

According to Wikipedia, YouTube gets over 100 million views per day. Some videos receive over 1,000,000 views. Adam and Mowers, authors of “YouTube Comes to the Classroom” in the School Library Journal (2007, January) assert that young people not only watch YouTube, they want a voice online. In “An Anthropolitical Introduction To YouTube” Michael Wesch states that 88% of YouTube uploads are new and original, underscoring the assertion that young people want a voice online. He also states that 50% of videos feature 18-24 year olds. This is the predominate age group of my school. I can’t afford to ignore the potential of YouTube and other video sharing sites in my school and library.


Michael Stephens provides some very good ideas for using YouTube in libraries in “Social Video: Videoblogging & YouTube” (Library Technology Reports, Sep/Oct 2007). His suggestions cover the gamet between creating a presence on the web for the library/life in the library to hosting 4 min. storytelling contests.

I have spent many happy hours searching www.video.google.com for educational videos on the video sharing sites such as YouTube, Google Video, Teacher Tube, Yahoo Video and Metacafe. I also have lots of experience facilitating students as they create videos using  MovieMaker, Photostory 3 and iMovie. The students are always way more creative than me. I’m now feeling prepared to facilitate video sharing with students.


As I mentioned in my earlier post, I’m dismayed that this WordPress blog will only show YouTube or Google Videos, but I can link to videos on TeacherTube or other sites like Metacafe. YouTube and Google Video are blocked for student logins at my school. It’s been explained to me that online vidoes use too much bandwidth. We’re supposed to be getting a better networking system soon so I will just have to be patient about that. In the meantime I’ve noticed that Metacafe, TeacherTube and Yahoo Videos are not blocked.

Web 2.0 meets Web 2.0
I created this 28 second video using the web-based Animoto application and sending it directly to YouTube. It features some of my daughters artwork.

I learned that Animoto is not blocked for logins at my school, but it may as well be because uploading of images/files is blocked altogether. This is a travesty. For no cost to the school, students could create wondrous 30 second videos using 12 – 20 of their images and share them with pride. I’ve added it to my growing list of sites/services that our students need to access.

Windows MovieMaker meets Web 2.0
Finally, I created this simple MovieMaker video to highlight some of the other implications I’ve gleaned for teaching and learning with video sharing sites. I hope you enjoy it.