When Web2.0 Meets Reading2.0

I think my brain is about to explode!

Today was the third 7 hour, all day workshop that I’ve attended over the past four days – have to make the most of my NECC experience!

A plethora of web2.0 tools were presented enthusiastically as a way of teaching various (and varied) reading skills across the grades. From phonic awareness, to vocabulary, to comprehension, to talking and listening – all apects of reading instruction were comprehensively covered.

Linking assessment  was always stressed and ways and examples were demonstrated. The importance of always ensuring that the use of a tool is based on its relevance to the learning task and outcomes, was also constantly reinforced.

Ideas and examples of teachers and classes using these tools in a variety of ways was really helpful to visualise the use of web2.0 in the reading classroom:


  • Using simple voice recordings (and using Vocaroo to embed on blog or wiki) for multiple purposes – such as identifying rhyming words, syllabification,fluency, reading out loud, oral instructions, books onto a podcast for listening to whenever you like (family members can record books for class to listen to).
  • Making simple word/vocabulary alphabets for class topics and units or basic English words for ESL students using Yodio – where you add voice to digital photos.
  • ClassTools.net have lots of games that you can adapt to your class’s needs. There’s a random name picker – try matching rhyming words or homophones or opposites.
  • Some great hands on and practical examples of using Voicethread were also shown to help students develop fluency when reading, to develop critical thinking and responses.
I got a lot of great ideas from this session and it made me realise that even though I know and use most of these tools already, there are any number of new ways of using them with kids in the classroom. It wasn’t the tools that were new – it was the ideas of other teachers that really inspired me this time.
I would also like to explore in my classroom the kids being the ones who are making these resources. In the examples shown today it was mostly the teacher who made the resources for the kids to use. In my classroom I think I would like my students to make the resources as a demonstration of their proficiency in many areas of reading.
Thanks so much to Elizabeth and Shawndra for your work and dedication shown throughout this session – lots of work to be done back in the classroom!


8 Things Using Video


A frenetic paced session where Hall Davidson from Discovery Education  illustrated the many ways that students could demonstrate their learning using video.

I must admit that I haven’t used video as much as I should in my classroom – all of those cords and missing bits and pieces that went with the school video recorder – but it’s just getting easier and easier with video capable cameras and phones – and the FLIP cameras we have now.

Using the tools readily available in classrooms, Hall took us step by step through the technical aspects (usually just click, copy, paste) of the programs and apps he was using.

He shared how easily students were able to control and manage the videoing of their learning and he shared quite a few very interesting and fun projects to try.

Sessions such as this act as a springboard for ideas for teachers who then are able to pass on the excitement, tools and opportunities for their students to use.

Keeping the videos in the hands of the students must remain a priority – to ensure that it’s the students driving their own learning.

I’d hate to be the one in control of the video – that would be taking all of the powerful learning, organizing, planning, rehearsing, delegating and negotiating fun away the people who need to be demonstrating these very skills.

BOSS – Can I book our FLIP video cameras for ALL of next term?? Please???




Angela Maiers writes one of my favourite web sites, full of interesting and practical ideas to get kids, and teachers, talking about thinking and learning.

She presented this morning, as part of the NECC Unplugged sessions, on Literacy in a 21st century world. Along side her were Ben Grey, and David Warlick so it really was a session not to be missed!

Ben Grey encouraged us to talk about Literacy and the need to see literacy not as a set of skills to be learnt, but as a learning skill that will enable us to learn what we need to know in order to learn. Ben stressed communication was the context and students needed working skills to enable them to learn from people who know.

Angela used the Luke and Freebody model of reading as her 21st century framework for learning, and likened reading to driving a car, where readers are in charge of all simultaneous processes at the same time, rather than just using one skill at a time in a step-by-step fashion (as reading has been taught in the past).

This really resonated with me and quite a few pieces of the literacy puzzle seemed to slip into place during this session. NSW schools have used the Luke and Freebody model in reading for many years so I was quite familiar with the model itself. However, the difference is in looking at all areas of literacy and how this model provides a framework for the many different aspects (and even types) of literacy that we use and teach today in our classrooms.

Lots more here to think about and work on.

Thanks Angela, Ben and David award to you as the biggest AHA moment at NECC09!



iPods in Education


I attended a number of sessions around using the iPod touch and iPhone in classrooms and across schools.

Everyone in the sessions seemed to have one and wanted to know how they can use them in class. Our students have these in their pockets and as teachers, we need to show how they can be best used.

Some teachers are using these devices already and are willing to share their experiences and speak of the way their students are using them in class.

The number and quality of education apps was not great at the start so teachers were adapting other apps to use within the class, while quite a number of enterprising teachers have begun writing their own apps to use in the classroom.

A database of apps will be published through the Classroom2.0 ning at the end of July. This database will allow teachers to easily and quickly scan lists of apps that are good to use with students.

Great fun was had in a session when a group of unlikely musicians were called from the audience to join in playing various instruments in a jam session using a music app.

I think that this sort of experience (ie linking to real world – off phone) is the way that I would like to move towards – being able to extend my students experiences through using the iPh

one rather than just doing the same things with a new technology. I think the iPhone adds to the opportunities I can provide within the classroom – by bringing in any number of instruments to play and experiment with.

All this thinking is hypothetical at the moment because mobile phones are banned in NSW schools at the moment. Might have to get my hands on some iPod Touches though!




Shuffling along!


Standing in line for a coffee,

Tired, and feeling brain dead.

On a break from an all day workshop

Something  great happened instead!


“Thank you for wearing our T-shirts,”

the Pearson people say.

“Have an ipod with best wishes,

and we hope you have a good day!”


We couldn’t believe our extreme good luck

But this we have to say:

“Thanks so much to Pearson Ed

and their T-shirts we wore today!”


Writing in the 21st Century @ NECC09

Kathleen Blake Yancey wrote this great piece about writing in the 21st century, so I was not going to miss this session!

How is literacy different now – not just the tools.


Cramped definition of writing – what does writing look like today?

Writing is happening in new and exciting ways

Historical context – 

  •       Personal + response
  •       Discipline & punishment – punitive
  •       Cartoon + humour
  •       Protest – graffiti, posters
  •       As a process different types of writing
  •       Writing model is made linear ( in learning institutions)
  •       Digitised – publishing opportunities
  •       Connecting + visuals (colours, images impact on writing)
  •       New & exciting ways to connect – part of the process – which medium and why??
  •       Now not just the computer or screen BUT web2.0


WRITING TODAY IN SCHOOLS – activities to try

1.    Blogging from school to the world

  •       Discussion board
  •       Answering about book
  •       Different criteria – not words but response to others (respect, regard for others)

2.    Becoming Jane Austen

  •       Character/ persona of someone you study
  •       Relationships with others, thoughts

3.    Information Ecology

  •       Owned by others, gated, bureaucracy
  •       New model = online
  •       Answer a question using only blogs
  •       Map the journey
  •       How do we decide what is trustworthy and what is not?
  •       Academic, mainstream & alternative sources
  •       Need to be explicit so students can be explicit
  •       Time Magazine top 25 list of blogs

4.    Blogging as Learning in Action

  •       Where do we see poetry in the culture – how is it poetic?
  •       Blog of unnecessary quotation marks
  •       Signs – changing over time and the assumptions they make




  •       Need to de-construct
  •       “out in the culture” & blog about it to share with others
  •       embrace learning together – participation
  •       tool set (blogs, wikis, twitter) to control – which tool to use when to connect to others???





  •       experts and lay people composing knowledge
  •       citizen knowledge – available to participate in science projects –
  •       built into the model of scientific data gathering
  •       citizens journalists composing news
  •       “I” reporters
  •       started as a result of crisies
  •       when people are helping each other there is greater trustworthiness
  •       history is being made before our eyes – primary sources
  •       now people are reporting why
  •       citizens composing power
  •       eg Iran – twitter, blogs
  •       blog is a tool that connects to other tools





Google Workshop for Educators @ NECC

Spent all day Sunday at the Google Workshop for Educators here at NECC, where the Google suite of apps and Apps were explored and explained. I can see that I will have to make the time to explore and play further.

The day was really hands on and active, with opportunities aplenty to try out, ask for help, share ideas, set up accounts and play with the applications.

The huge size of the group meant that there were educators of all experiences and teaching levels – who were able to share what they were doing or ask questions for clarification that really helped everyone get the most out of the session.

I had already heard (and seen on their blogs) lots of really exciting ways to use Google apps from Tom Barrett and Ollie Bray so I was hoping to get some more info on how to use the apps I knew of and the many others that I knew were available.

I wasn’t disappointed with the day – I learnt about many cool apps and features that I will use with my kids back in class. Here are some of the ones I like most:

·      Google Search (!!!!!!! Yes I know its basic – but wait just see!) Click “Show Options” and then Wonder Wheel – a basic visualiser of the search results. Timeline – another option which puts all the search results in a timeline (obviously!) great for disasters, geography.

·      Google Books – I’d like to play with this one a bit more, waiting for some ideas on what to do with this!

·      Google Forms  interesting tool that I think the kids  could use as well as the teacher – they could make their own revision quizzes, own tests, and surveys too  😉


The session was supported with lots of online info, presentations, videos etc so that we can explore further in our own time. Check out the swag of goodies given out – gotta love a freebie 😉








Hmmmmm now to see how many of these great apps are not blocked by the department when I get back to school!   ;-(



Edubloggercon @ NECC09

Washington DC, is a big place – the buildings are big, the roads are big, the sidewalks are big, but the Washington Convention Centre is bigger than big!

It takes up 3 blocks and is over 4 storeys tall. It’s spacious, well planned and state of the art! I can’t imagine it full of people, but have been led to believe it will be by Monday when the NECC conference begins for real.

I am here early on Saturday morning to take part in Edubloggercon, described as a fringe event to NECC proper. It’s an “unconference” organized and attended by bloggers and Classroom2.0 participants.

First up is a “Web2.0  Smackdown!” led by the pumped and exuberant CoolCatTeacher herself, Vicki Davis! The smackdown is a bit like a UK TeachMeet on uppers! Its fast, very fast – each presenter has 3 minutes to share a web2.0 tool that they use with their class. Much cheering, clapping and woo-ooing goes on – it’s loud and fun!

Here are the apps that caught my imagination on the day:

QR reader – scan and read mobile barcodes (QR-Codes)

Take pic of bar code – taken to web page, domain or website OR ON YOUR PHONE

Launch the picture – email to yourself

Take photo of the code


Google – Similar searches

Go to – More, even more, labs

“similar searches” – eg similar images search

pick an image that I am looking for – click Similar images – just like the image I picked


Images –Comp fight + Flickr storm

Look for related tags, related photos and can custo

mise even further options to customise, refine searches

flickr search tool

Searches text

Flickr stream of pictures for students to use = keep images on a tray = one URL to  link to all of the photos


Cover It Live – Live Blogging tool that allows you to broadcast live commentary to your readers.

Everything that is typed into the event is kept

Back stream, Chatroom,

Use in classroom for reflective pieces = panel function



Fur.ly allows you to create one URL from a bunch of links. Just enter your desirable choices, and fur.ly will do the rest (Slideshow navigation look & feel).

A series of web pages like a tour for kids to follow.

Start at one page and move through the linked pages.




Takes any sort of document and turns it into an online book.

Turns pages like a book

Embed codes – to add to wiki/blog etc



Twoogle provides an easy way to search Twitter and Google simultaneously, from the same site, displaying its results side by side.

Type in something and get google result and twitter result on same page


Tag Galaxy

Visualization tool. Browse through Flickr photos in 3D with this flash application.

Type in tag, brings in photos onto a globe

Generate conversations within the classroom



Reverse image search engine.

Search engine for images

Tracing images and where they have come from

Egs of photo hopping



An online application that lets you display, edit, print and play back music notation with professional quality, right in your web browser. 

Play the music

Collaborate with others

Use with Jam studio – put in chords – links, backing tracks, instruments, kids can add own voice, raps etc




Whew!! heaps there to investigate over the next little while!

Have you used any of these applications with your class? Please, let me know what you’ve done  – thanks


PS – Here is the live stream that happened during the event:

Coveritlive – Edubloggercon We2.0 Smackdown

Thanks Kristin Hokanson

And Jim Gates pointed out that I

“… missed one. The wolfram Alpha/Google extension for firefox. When you search Google it automatically searches WolframAlpha to show both ersults. An amazing search engine, that Wolfram Alpha.

Screenshot: http://twitpic.com/8kfna
Extension: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/12006

Thanks Jim and Kristin – now we are up to date!