Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
Recently I was given the fantastic opportunity to show educators Digital NZ and Mix and Mash at the annual ULearn conference in Rotorua.
I have presented these topics before and I am always amazed that there are some teachers who haven’t used Digital NZ before. Amazed and excited actually, because I know that I am about to show them something hugely useful and relevant that they will take away and be able to implement with their classes immediately. At Services to Schools, we discuss the skills students need to follow an inquiry process, like finding information from a variety of sources and in a variety of formats. This lends authenticity and credibility to the information and when using it to make something new, different sources provide multiple perspectives and a deeper layering and understanding of a story. Digital NZ, of course, makes this easy.
We have been very keen to encourage student entries into the Mix and Mash competition as it is such a great outlet for creative use of New Zealand digital content and ties in beautifully to many aspects of the curriculum. To increase confidence in teachers this year, we created Free to Mix; An educator’s guide to reusing digital content where we provide a whole heap of tips and ideas and links that will enable teachers and librarians to help students understand, find and use New Zealand digital content. We discuss copyright and Creative Commons, the best places to find material for reuse, what to do to enter the competition and a whole lot more that will keep a school’s creative remix community buzzing well beyond the six weeks of the competition.
One of the things that the teachers at the ULearn breakout enjoyed seeing was the achievability of some of the entries. When they saw A Grand Mother they realised that you don’t need advanced technical skills when you have a great narrative. Year 12 student Casey Carsel’s entries showed history, heritage and humour and a huge variety of well attributed resources. Our favourite primary school entry from Pt England School embodies the spirit of the competition and just looks like a whole heap of fun. Another entry reflected work that was completed for NCEA credits and also eligible for entry, and others showed learning that started in class and was extended beyond that.
In lots of different ways, the teachers at the session felt positive and empowered and challenged with a variety of actions. One of the participants, a school librarian, was going to create a Digital NZ custom search related to the school wide topic in Term 4 and put it on her library blog. Another participant was going to show the whole staff the digital stories that were entered this year and use them to inspire digital storytelling work in all the classes in his school. One teacher found an image of some students in her school of about 100 years ago; this is going to be a centrepiece in their jubilee work.
Even as I was delivering the workshop, one teacher was uploading links to her Learning Management System. Her students were easily able to find links to Creative Commons, Digital NZ and inspirational digital stories in their own learning environment before she’d even left the room. These things are easy to do for educators but hugely empowering for the students who will learn about the rich resources in New Zealand’s digital collections, who will make their own heritage materials and become an active part of global creative communities.
Did you know that you can now access the School Journal audio material through a self-contained intranet on your school computer network?
The School Journal Listening Post (SJLP) is an intranet which links all the Ministry of Education digital audio material, and can be supplied to primary schools on a single disk in mp3 format. The material includes stories from Ready to Read, Junior Journal, School Journal and School Journal Story Library.
It’s easy for students to use, students just click a graphical link and the selected audio story begins to play. It can be used for reading groups or for individual students with specific needs, and also contains extensive printable tracking sheets for students to keep a record of their reading.
Teachers tell me this is a great way for them to connect readers with amazing audio resources - the SJLP is much easier to organise than sorting through a pile of sixty compact discs, and it means that they can make the most of resources that the school already has.
The service will be updated annually, and pricing is roll-based. More information and an online demo are available here.
Brainshark is a tool for creating, sharing and tracking online and mobile video presentations. With a few clicks you can easily create a narrated video to be shared with anybody.
Brainshark is cloud-based, so you can access and edit your presentations from any computer. You start by uploading the content you want to include. This can be powerpoints, photos, documents, videos and mp3 sound files. You then record a voiceover for your presentation using your phone or the microphone on your computer. Not sure what this might look like?
View the demo or take a tour
You can share your presentation through email or post it on a social networking site like Facebook. It’s also easy to embed it on your website or blog, or even publish a copy of it on YouTube. Once your presentation is out in the world Brainshark lets you track who views it, when they access it and where they are.
A basic account is free and offers unlimited presentations and views. Brainshark Mobile provides apps for smartphone and tablet users that enable them to view presentations, access content and download documents on the go.
The potential for e-learning with Brainshark is very exciting. Librarians and teachers could use it to present material to students, include questions and then track which students have viewed and responded to the material. Students could create narrated videos showcasing library events or reviewing books for your library blog or school website. Viewers will be able to see all the great things you have happening and hear the students’ enthusiasm.
Students can also use Brainshark as a presentation tool for their own work. They can share it with you, their classmates and their families and easily include it in their e-portfolios.
How could you use Brainshark in your library or classroom?
Mix and Mash, the Great NZ Remix and Mashup competition was launched last night and all this year’s amazing categories have been revealed! With Mix & Mash's focus on New Zealand images, data, words, video and music, you and your students have six weeks to compete for prizes by remixing Kiwi digital content into beautiful new works.
Some of the fantastic remix categories that are now open to enter are:
The guide gives you information, activities and ideas to confidently create a remix from material you know you have the rights to reuse. It shows students why copyright and licensing exist, how they work, and how they can apply licences to their own work through simple information, suggestions for activities, and links to more resources. The latest version also has lots of ideas for the categories you are most likely to be interested in. By using it, you and your students will be able to participate in the global remix community while demonstrating creativity and integrity.
This competition is a great way to extend learning in a range of curriculum areas and to teach practical application of 21st Century skills and learning around communication, design, creativity, ICT, information and the very real issues around reusing digital content ethically.
Go to the Mix and Mash website now and find out about the fantastic prizes!
The organisers of the great New Zealand Mix and Mash competition have recently announced that following on from the very successful competition last year, there will be another kicking off in August this year. This competition is a fantastic opportunity for schools to facilitate a highly motivating and purposeful learning experience where New Zealand content of many types is explored and created. Poetry, design, history, media studies, music, storytelling, film, graphics, art and data analysis are just some of the subjects areas and skill sets that participants used last year while participating in and contributing to our cultural heritage. A great set of prizes for each category was, of course, also great motivation. This year, the organisers will be providing a guide for teachers that will support them in helping their students create entries in the categories that will be announced when the competition launches. Mark it in your school calendar, start telling people about it and sign up now to receive updates so you and your students will be fully prepared when August comes around. www.mixandmash.org.nz Esther
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