Tag Archives: interactive

What am I hoping to achieve by encouraging my students to use social media?

What am I hoping to achieve with social media and my interest group, Writing Interest Group (WIG), formerly known as Competition Writing?

Why am I insisting so much on the students’ participation in the comments section of the Facebook Group or the blog, Unicorn Express?

The screen capture below gives a clue. I had shared on Facebook Jason’s blog post (sonnet).

I want the blog to be a publishing platform for student writing. I want students to write for a real audience – both their peers as well as anyone outside the school and even in other countries.

I want students to know their work is being read and appreciated, and that other students will take the time to tell them so, or to leave constructive comments.

My aim is connected learning, interaction and reflection after writing.

I love the fact that former MHS students are still part of the Facebook group and read current students’ work, and even more when they come in to say something about it. That connection beyond the classroom, beyond the year level, the school – that’s what I want for our students.

How do you think Jason Li feels when he reads what Hanford, a former MHS/WIG student, says in the comment section of the Facebook group:

I stay to get the opportunity to read things like that poem!

Using Thinglink to curate aspects of evil #heartsofdarkness

Some of our year 10 English students are pondering on the theme of evil. They are unpacking ‘Hearts of Darkness’.

I’m going to show them how to use Thinglink to create an interactive image which contains links to different places on the web which they’ve chosen to portray their picture of evil or darkness.

Thinglink has so many possibilities. After you sign up there really are no limits with what you can do with it. You can even collaborate on one which is a cool idea for small group activities in class.

Kevin Hodgson is a hero of mine who has shared many examples of his prolific creativity online. His collection of Thinglink examples is a good start when thinking about possibilities.

For example, something as simple as an annotated Book Shelfie, as Kevin has done here:

When I thought about helping the year 10 students create a Thinglink for their curated collection of online resources around the theme of evil, it occurred to me that they  might want to start their research in a Google Doc which has very recently added the ability to research within the document. After you open the Google Doc you click on Tools and then select Research. A side-bar will open up on the right and from here you are able to research from the Web, or select images, dictionary definitions, Google Scholar, quotes, tables and anything from your own Google Drive. There is even an option to filter results by usage rights which is exactly what we should be teaching students – ethical use of online material. What’s brilliant is that everything you add is automatically cited in a footnote. You even get 3 options for citation format!

 Here’s my example for what the doc might look like for ‘evil’.  What do you think of these two applications? I think there’s a lot of room for imaginative uses, don’t you?

I’ve been collecting online resources for ‘Hearts of Darkness (humanity’s capacity for evil’) in a Pinterest board. Of course, you now need a Pinterest account to view this collection.

London Unfurled iPad app – beautiful example of creative options


Here’s a wonderful example of the creative potential of iPad apps. Matteo Pericoli has created a guide to London through pen and ink sketches.

In 2009 Matteo Pericoli (author of the bestselling iconic book Manhattan Unfurled) made an intensive twenty-mile journey along the River Thames, from Hammersmith Bridge to the Millennium Dome and back again. Over two years later, he finished the most astonishing document of his journey, London Unfurled: two thirty-seven-foot-long freehand pen-and-ink drawings. (Read more here.)

I love the option to select a section of the illustration and send it as a postcard. Of course the interactivity is always a winner; students will be more engaged navigating their iPad app, zooming in to what interests them, tapping on something to find more information. Much more engaging than just listening or reading a print book.

Who said the iPad is just for consumption? I can imagine students creating their own apps, can’t you? This is the kind of project which highlights possibilities for individual interpretation which I’m excited about. It’s the direction I’m interested in pursuing with students and teachers once we introduce iPads to the school (very soon I hope!) I’m interested in how students and teachers can use apps in a transformative way, not just using technology to do things in the same way we did them before.

(Read another review here.)

Digitisation of text saves dying books

You see, lovers of real, hold-in-the-hand books, digitisation of text isn’t all evil. It saves lives.
I recommend you read the entire post by Maria Popova and browse the books. Yes, they’re Spanish but the experience is self explanatory.

Amplify’d from www.brainpickings.org

PICKED: Interactive Quixote

By Maria Popova


The digitization of text has been a topic of increasing cultural concern in recent year and may often feel like fighting windmills as some of humanity’s greatest literary artifacts crumble under the unforgiving effects of time, tucked away in the world’s disjointed libraries. Now, Biblioteca Nacional de España, The National Library of Spain, offers an ambitious vision for what the afterlife of dying books could hold. Quijote Interactivo is an impressive interactive digitization of the original edition of Miguel de Cervantes’ cult 1605-1615 novel, Don Quixote. Though the site is entirely in Spanish, the sleek interface, rich multimedia galleries and charmingly appropriate sound design make it a joy to explore whatever your linguistic nativity.

See more at www.brainpickings.org

Teaching up a storm

Pomme de Granada

Originally uploaded by The Department

Wes Fryer compares good teaching to good cooking. He talks about ‘recipes’ being modified in a Web 2.0 context to suit specific needs and situations. His six main ingredients for powerful teaching and learning are del.icio.us social bookmarks, Flickr photo sharing, VoiceThread digital storytelling, collaborative writing tools, websites for phone recording as well as SMS polling, and videoconferencing. How do these tools and applications differ from traditional 19th century teaching and learning? Replacing a one-way direction from teacher to student, where the teacher is the expert and the student a passive receptacle, these ingredients enable active and interactive learning.

I’m interested to find out more about the websites for phone recording and SMS polling. Are Australian teachers doing this?