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Monday, 25 August 2008


Banned Books Week will take place from September 27th to October 4th. The ALA has compiled a list of the  most frequently banned books of 2007. Upon perusal I was surprised that some of the titles being disputed are not new titles at all. 

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression has put together a nice little package  for  libraries.



This is certainly worth checking out. Upon execution of a brief scroll down my heart was warmed to see many of our tried and trues on the list, offering confirmation that we are on track and not alone in the digital learning universe.


Newscred is a better way to read the news, offering 3 columns of aggregated feeds, allowing readers access to the news from the world's leading newspapers and established blogs. This service encourages readers to vote on which articles and news sources they think are credible or not. The credibility trends and analysis are easily available with the click of a button.

This may prove to be a powerful tool for teaching web fluency units on evaluating web content as well as those of us whose work focuses on worldwide current events. What perfect timing for those in search of innovative tools for curriculum support during sy08/09.

Why Use NewsCred?

1) Read all the world's breaking news from quality newspapers and blogs.

2) Personalize your newspaper by selecting your favorite sources for each category.

3) Vote and learn which articles, journalists and news sources are credible and which ones aren't.

Take our 90-second Tour!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Ode to MacBook Pro with Web Apps on the Side

Several months ago I forced myself into a very abrupt change in which I abandoned the year old lap running Windows for a 4 year old mac Powerbook G4. I am not saying the transition was without pain and certain frustrations, but it was well worth it. A historically steadfast proponent of Windows platforms, my conversion is now complete and I need not look back!

Christmas has come early this year, and brought with it a new MacBook Pro which arrived today. Yes I must admit it, I feel like a kid in a candy shop. Thanks George and Fernando! And yes,  I know everyone else has had one for ages, but it will impact my work on many levels that I intend on savouring every minute of it!

The  MacBook will play a vital role in my new job by providing the flexibility and power needed to run with our intended project work, as well as serve as a portal to my expanding virtual office. I have only just begun to play with this silver wonder, but as the song goes- Love is in the Air.   iMovie and Garage Band are first on the agenda which will help us get started on  joint video projects this year in Secondary.

Upon reflection, it is interesting how google docs and web.2.0 apps have changed the way I work. As it stands I don't feel at all phazed about not having the Windows or Mac office suites installed at present. I can manage quite well without them, whereas in the past I would have considered any computer without one or the other fairly useless. I have to wonder if this sublime shift has occured for our students in the same way.  With our upcoming push towards igoogle and google apps, Google is about to become a very important part of their lives, if it is not already.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


Freepath is a must try for anyone running a Windows platform. Imagine being able to combine anything from the web within a presentation thereby eliminating the need for external links. Those of us who are Mac users will need to wait or borrow a PC.

Freepath plays anything on the web... ...with your favorite music, videos, photos and documents.

Finally, an easy way to tell your story. Just drag and drop your favorite stuff into Freepath's playlist — no need to convert files, upload videos or embed links. Just like that, your digital life became bigger and better! Best of all, it's FREE.

Free Download

Take the 90 second tour

Share ANYTHING in your library with ANYONE in the world. You can even exchange playlists with friends, family, classmates, colleagues and others you connect with at myFreepath.

Freepath Download

Virtual Worlds

I had never realised there were so many virtual worlds out there. I have a Second Life account and have looked at second Life for Teens, my children play Club Penguin, and my students introduced me to several other virtual spaces for kids. I came across this video in the Hey Jude Blog-illuminating!


I am working on what I hope will be a series of bookmarks for the LRC Library. My hope is that these simple page markers will serve a greater purpose. I am using them to advertise reading and reflect activities across school year. The initial models are 3 in total: one a cartoonish intro to our LRC staff with a reminder to ask questions, two a visual of some of our exciting new fiction books, and three some cute flickr images of reading with a written message. On the backs of each of these sets of bookmarks students and teachers will find a listing of some of the new books coming in to the library. Hopefully in this way not only will their curiosity be triggered through written prompts and book titles, but they will also receive the much needed visual stimulus of pictures today's students love.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Cyber Safety Fair Use and Free E-Books

Upon searching for further information on copright and fair use I came across WOWIO which is a website offering free e-books. It is searchable by catagories and it publishes a top ten listing in each catagory.

There are many excellent sites out there which attempt to teach people cyber safety. One of the best I have found in my recent trawls through the web is This site contains a comprehensive listing of information fluency videos each with supporting resources. If you are looking for ways to engage and keep students focussed on internet safety, this is a good place to start!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Time Off and New Directions

I have took a great deal of time off from technology after the NECC Conference. It had gotten to the point where I was almost afraid to turn on a computer as I knew I would be locked in for hours upon doing so.

Now however as the new school year approaches I find myself easing back into things as I spend an increasing amount of time considering my plans and new initiatives.

One of these initiatives is Lunch on the Lawn at the LRC which I am very tempted to label as LOL (laugh out loud, Lots of love/luck ). Yes it may be intentionally funny if I get any student comedians and yes it may also provoke a few unsolicited laughs at times, plus we will probably require all the luck we can get to make this work, but the clincher is that LOL is an acronym from a language all students write on a daily basis.

Anyway All Acronyms Aside(this is where the alliteration ends) I am hoping to begin live streaming of the LOL in January, which will serve two very important purposes both related to accessibility. Students can tune in from anywhere around campus and footage can be recorded and accessed at other times, both of which will become crucial as the the rainy season hits again in April and the Lawn becomes a large puddle.

I envision using USTREAM for this very purpose. In July I created a show called Live at the LRC which I have done nothing with since but can anticipate becoming an important part of our weekly broadcast.