Tag Archives: websites

Have you learned to share?


Photo courtesy of Eliselovesprada on Flickr

Marie Salinger just shared with me an excellent blog post written by Andrew Douch, No learning for unauthorised persons.   Andrew expresses his disappointment in the fact that many teachers are reluctant to share what they create for their students’ learning. I recommend that you read the entire post.

In my comment following Andrew’s post, I mention that my role as teacher librarian automatically puts me in the position of finding and sharing resources, and that I don’t see why I shouldn’t share outside my school, or even outside my country. Since forming a personal learning network on Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Diigo and similar networking platforms, I’ve realised that what I share with others is a drop in the ocean compared with what I receive. If only all teachers would experience this.

My blogs and wikis are also a way of sharing ideas, resources and discussions which would otherwise only be shared with a couple of colleagues or not at all. It seems that blog authors find all manner of things useful and edifying, and write about these. I’ll often share resources this way, or even re-post from someone else’s blog if I think it’s worth passing on and giving my two cents worth.

More problematic is the sharing of material which I’ve read in a hard-copy publication. Currently, I’m reading the current edition of Fiction Focus: New titles for teenagers published by Curriculum Materials Information Services, WestOne Services, Department of Education and Training, Western Australia. It’s a teacher librarian’s treasured resource, providing excellent critical reviews of adolescent fiction, as well as reviews of resources of professional interest to teachers. I’m also reading the Centre for Youth Literature Newsletter published by the State Library of Victoria.

It’s frustrating for me to read these excellent resources and not share them online. What may normally occur is that we read them and take out ideas and resources for our own practice, or at best, email a few teachers if we think there is something of interest for them.

So what’s problematic? Well, it’s common practice to re-post online content written by someone else because you can give a synopsis and hyperlink to the actual resource; you don’t have to do more than give a quick summary of the original post since the reader can go directly to the source for more detailed information.

Not so in this instance. I would really like to feature some of the articles in these publications, but how much should I say? I don’t want to overload my readers, and I can’t presume they will obtain the hardcopy publications. I’m not sure if the publishers will consider my efforts a breach of copyright.

For example, there’s an excellent special feature in Fiction Focus, Wow websites – book inspired web wonders, which links to Young Adult fiction websites which

use high quality art and web design to create spaces and interfaces that reflect the character of the fiction that they represent,


spaces for young readers to do what they have always done: play, discuss and imagine…

I applaud the promotion of such websites because I’ve realised that reading becomes an experience when adolescent readers become involved in the art, interactive activities and games, author blog and videos. Providing such websites increases the chances of hooking young people into reading fiction.


Here are the links to author websites provided by this article:

P.B.Kerr’s site, Quertyuiop

Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series

Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series

Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series

Charlie Higson’s Young Bond series

Robert Muchamore’s Cherub series

For Picture Book authors, there are links to the following websites:

Shaun Tan

Matt Ottley

Chris Priestley’s Tales of Terror   Gothic feel site

Darren Shan

The Bad Tuesdays

Scott Westerfeld’s new Steampunk-inspired website

The selected works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen

The CMIS Fiction Focus blog include more extensive links to more blogs and websites of young adult authors and illustrators.

Fiction Focus also has an excellent article on Steampunk,

a sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction. At the core of steampunk is the notion of altered history (often Victorian and London-Victorian at that) combined with technology that is historically impossible, and therefore all the more intriguing.

There are great links included, so you can see my dilemma – I’d like to share all these wonderful resources with people, but I really think they should subscribe to the magazine, or even, the magazine should go online. CMIS has also given us a taste of Steampunk in their blog which is worth adding to your RSS feed reader, but I can’t resist including all the Steampunk blog links given here as well.

Brass Goggles

The Steampunk Home

The Clockwork Century

Steampod (podcasts)

Antipodean Steampunk Adventures  with an Australian slant

The Antipodean League of Temporal Voyagers

Do read the Fiction Focus blog post about Steampunk.

And guess what? From May 2010, the Centre for Youth Literature Newsletter will be going online. Yes!


How far will an author go?

How far will an author go to fuel a readership?

Will he go as far as to don a soft-toy unicorn head to get people to read his book?

Well, John Green will and has. He and his brother, Hank, have created an internet video gameshow which he explains here:

Okay, so here’s how this works. First, play the video. Then, click on the answer you think is right, and it will lead you to a series of more questions and answers about my books. (That is, unless you have somehow turned off youtube annotations, in which case it won’t work at all. But it should work.)


And in case you’re thinking this is just a cheap trick, a quick trick to boost book sales, think again, and look first at the many, many hours John invests developing a relationship with fans. Writing his blog, for one.

Updated every single day except for Saturdays and Sundays and some other days, John’s blog frequently explores the following issues: Conjoined Twins, place in literature; Dental surgery, discomfort of; Suveys, benefit of as procrastination tool; Tennis, getting beaten by wife in; Young adult literature, purpose and definition of; Books, enjoyment of; and Writing, perks and drawbacks of.

Creating one Vlogbrothers video after another with his brother, Hank. How’s that for devotion. And it works. As I’ve previously mentioned in another post, John has a phenomenal readership and fan base. But apart from that, he writes well. Really, really well. And apart from his unashamed nerdiness and quirky sense of humour, John has a way with honesty. Here’s a recent blog post which gives you an idea of what I mean. The post is called ‘A book reader’s apologies’. John says he’s written hundreds of book reviews in Booklist Magazine, but after reading a blog post by Shannon Hale – book evaluation vs self-evaluation – which asserts

that contemporary reviewers often place way too much emphasis on whether they “like” a book–as if the only thing a book can do is be likable

made him rethink his convictions in a couple of his book reviews. This is what I like about John; he’s not afraid to be up front with his readers. This is, as far as I’m aware, a relatively new phenomenon (if you can call it a phenomenon). Firstly, authors ‘showing their face’ to readers outside of their books (and book signings or public appearances) – online, and using blogs, videos and the such. I’m really enjoying this. Take, for instance, James Roy’s blog, or Scott Westerfeld’s blog, or that of Justine Larbalestier. These are not people just talking books, these are just people -who write books – talking!

Yes, strange and wonderful things are happening in the name of fiction. What about the Digi-novel? The  Digi-novel combines book, movie and website.

Anthony Zuiker, creator of the “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” U.S. television series, is releasing what he calls a “digi-novel” combining all three media — and giving a jolt to traditional book publishing.

“Just doing one thing great is not going to sustain business,” he said. “The future of business in terms of entertainment will have to be the convergence of different mediums. So we did that — publishing, movies and a website”.

 Is convergence of different media the way of the future? What do you think? Is the relationship between authors and their readers changing for good?

This post also appears at Fiction is like a box of chocolates.

Life is One Big Top Ten 2008

I’m up for a challenge, especially one which allows me to reflect on my learning for this year as we near the end of 2008. Paul C. of Quoteflections has set a challenge to share a top ten list for 2008. It’s a great idea because it makes you think about and evaluate your findings for the year. Now that I’ve stopped to think, I realise that this year has jet-propelled me into a whole new way of learning and connecting. In May I started my blog, slowly connecting to many other bloggers through reading and commenting. This year I have also joined, as part of my school team, the Powerful Learning Practice cohort led by Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. I’m only beginning to realise the depth and breadth of the  experiences within this learning network.

I would have no hesitation in saying that my most powerful ‘lesson’ this year has been that people are our most valuable resource, and so I’ve chosen as my Top Ten 2008 List:

Links to sites that demonstrate that we are better through sharing.


1.  Histografica: Picture the past

This site allows you to find and share historical photos of places around the world. You could discover photos of your old hometown or places you’ve been to. It’s a site that develops its archives as people share their photos. Only a few countries have been represented so far, but I’m sure the collection will grow.

2.  LIFE’s photo archive on view Google. Read about it here.

It’s one of the most magnificent photo archives of the past century and it’s now available on Google. It’s the Life magazine collection, some 10 million images altogether, and after the deal between Google and the keepers of the Life archive, a vast chunk is now at Google Image Search.

3. Phrasr allows you to create a visual phrase. The words in your phrase are matched with flickr images which you can choose for your picture phrase. The sharing part is the archive you can browse, and you can share your own visual phrases.

Here is my blog post about Phrasr.

4.  Flickr tools

Mentalaxis has a comprehensive list of flickr tools so that you can creatively share your photos. For example, Travelr lets you display your flickr photos geographically on a world map.

5.  280 slides

As it says on the website, create beautiful presentations, access them from anywhere, and share them with the world. With 280 Slides, there’s no software to download and nothing to pay for – and when you’re done building your presentation you can share it any way you like.

6.  Capzles

Capzles is a new way to combine videos, photos and mp3s into rich, multimedia storytelling. Read about it in my blog post.

7.   A picture’s worth  is a wonderful site where people are encouraged to write about the meaning or story behind a personal photograph. As the site says, “A Picture’s Worth” provides a haven for people to truly “show and tell”.

You can read more about it in my blog post.

8.  Larry Ferlazzo’s websites of the day

This is not a tool or website, but I’ve included Larry’s blog because I believe people are the best source of information and sharing on the web. Larry was nominated as a finalist in the Best Resource-Sharing Blogs category of the Edublogs Awards in 2007 and again this year, and here he shares a list of education blogs that generously share resources and links.

A list of resource-sharing blogs nominated for the Edublogs award 2008 is definitely worth a look.

9.  Us Now is a film project about the power of mass collaboration, government and the internet. Have a look at the ‘Your videos’ page, still in its early stages. Here’s a video called ‘Video republic’:


Read Clay Shirky’s  transcript of this clip.

10. I wrote a post about YouTube Symphony Orchestra a little while ago. This will be the first ever collaborative online orchestra.

We invite musicians from around the world to audition for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. Your video entries will be combined into the first ever collaborative virtual performance, and the world will select the best of you to perform at New York City’s Carnegie Hall in April 2009.

This one tops the list for me. It’s collaborative, it’s global, it’s a celebration of talent, it’s inviting the world to make music together.

As suggested by Paul, I’ve tagged the following esteemed bloggers:

Marie Salinger at Just in time; Sue Tapp at And another thing; Allanah King at Life’s not a race to be first finished; Jenny Luca at Lucacept; and Rhonda Powling at Rhondda’s reflections: wandering around the web.