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This year I have been studying on line through Swinburne. As part of the course I have to make regular newsgroup contributions. I have decided to use this requirement with my students as well on our Yr 11 Physics Wiki.

What I have asked the students to do in their Nuclear Energy unit is they must make at least three contributions per fortnight to the wiki forum. They are expected to ask at least one question and answer two. I am running the unit over four weeks so the students are then asked to submit their best answer for assessment.

So far about a third of the class has started using the wiki. The question have all been quite sophisticated and the answers have been thorough. I have insisted the students reference their answer from the text or other sources and they are beginning to do this.


If you are looking to use a blog or wiki and the students want avatars these sites have been recommended by the oz-teachers forums:

Went to a great professional development about open source in education.
Open for Education – VITTA PD

Keynote speaker: Pia Waugh

Foundations of Openness

Need to maintain the openness of of digital data. Need to make sure that a student in yr 12 can still open documents they wrote in yr 1.

How does commercial licensing limit the development of technology? It is up to our law makers to make sure laws are reflecting the changes in technology. Look at the copyrighting of DNA!

If we hoard the specialisations, knowledge can be lost. Lock down of data: Video, music, software. Spyware getting in the way of communication. Lowest common denominator is financially support which dumb down the technology.

Pool of knowledge that has enormous potential become inaccessible.

Open source for an Open society. Need to change the thinking of our students – the need for openness.

An open platform gives:

Open Source > Transparency
The issues: if it is proprietary software is held tightly then in is impossible to determine

Open Standards > Sustainability
National archives has to constantly re save data into new formats

Open Government > Participatory

Open Knowledge > Accessible
Are we teaching a product rather than a concept?

Open Market > Supported

Openness > Innovation
Leverage cumulative and global knowledge. Can use existing code to adapt to specific needs. Huge community on the open source environment.

In learning we develop to be more adaptable

The Open Road – Donna Benjamin

Open source enables participation in the ever evolving ICT

Sugar -constructivist computing. – linux based system for teaching.

OLPC around the world. (One Laptop per Child)

Creative collaboration with teachers develops new uses not envisaged by the developers.

OLPC changed the paradigm of what using a PC was to be. This is said to have inspired Netbooks. But these have changed as the governments have taken them up and Microsoft has got there finger in! (this last is my comment not Donna’s)

Free Software for Schools Catalogue

ISTE nets international version of VELs and gives International Standards.

Check out the Cape Town declaration.

Web publishing

Why blog?

Gets the students out there. Employers are more likely to Google a name, if students have a web presence that demonstrates their abilities and adds to their portfolio.

Blogs offer an authentic and rich teaching tool.

Internet Safety – Do you have a Online Publishing Policy specifically?

Google aggregate tool Google reader is a really good reader for RSS. Categorises and then files them away as you read posts.

Chat with Ann McGrath have seen her posts from Oz-teachers
We talked about Intranets and file management she suggested looking at: for file share and collaboration. I have not heard of either so will be investigating these.

Open source office – Mark Richardson
Other than having Open Office on show, this really wasn’t much of a session. Mark did not seem all that familiar with the software and did not really give much insight into it. We were given time to have a play, but it was pretty clear that Mark had not had much experience with it himself.

Marks webpage will be of use though: go to Open Source
Need to investigate jing which allows you to make movies of screen movements to use for teaching how to use.

Other useful software Mark suggested

Camstudio another screen capturing movie tool

debut in the same vain

In a discussion about some o the limitations of Open Office Calc with modelling functions from data Mark suggested gnumeric which I will have to have a close look at.

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Key note speaker: James Farmer
Runs Edublogs and is online community editor at the Age


“We are in need of a revolution in online Teaching and Learning”

Drunk on content so many multiple stimuli with this media.

Examples from develop a suit of technologies based on science which student s must understand to achieve the outcomes of the game.
“Pioneering ways to transform the learning experience” is this true? Do the students already do this at home. Farmer suggests this might be “content aholihism”

Buzz words “Learning environment” – really content environment.
The content is fantastic they make presentations look really good but is this teaching and Learning.
Effective teaching needs authenticity, real experiencing
Farmer suggests we are involved in binge media – obsessed with content.

More conversation and a little less action
Online teaching and learning does not have to be about all of this content.

Community of inquiry (

(see presentation)

Incorporated subversion talking about the online environment, how they shape what we do, much more than we are aware. The environment can actually make or brake an educational software.

Blogs offer the environment that allows them to personalize their space. It is authentic because the students have control of the content, they develop over time which enables the students to develop a history. The students do not need to be able to code. (See The knowledge tree)

Subvert the environment to your own needs, to create authentic personal spaces.


1. Working with multimedia and the VELs
Early years students working with multimedia

Working with multimedia the need to identify that our students are not going to be written language expressionists using a product called 2 simple

2 Publish is about mixing images with text. It offers student the opportunities to create templates were they can create documents with many images and limits the amount they can use.

It has a simple drawing suit that enables students to create a sequence of pictures

2. Its not about you –


Using Wikis in the classroom. Ability to password protect, no address, no surnames etc.
Wiki spaces for teachers is a good starting point. How do you decide whether to have a wiki or blog?
Wikis tend to be more communal were as blogs are a much more personal recount which enable the teacher to comment.


Offer a linear account of events


Audacity (free open source) and Levelator
Uses: Recordings of students on a topic, reflections of their performance in a piece of work. This can result in some very honest assessments of the student’s reflections.

How do you get a decent recording? Use Levelator use a .wav file drop it onto Levelator, creates an output file that improves the amplitude of voice. Good to use when recording students in the classroom.

Other uses: Podplays written by students and developed with sound effects so that the students can create their own plays. Need to be careful that students are aware of copy write. Important to use creative common sites (Creative commons search, CCMixter, Freesounds)

Group activity in which students can write to the same document, which writeboard will allow. This still can be password protected and allows you to follow who makes alterations. It allows comments.

MINDOMO similar to Inspiriration but free. Enables multiple uses to work on a document

Folksonomies: See Digg,
makes cross referencing easy. When links are made, every time the linked word is used the link is repeated.

Developing students ability to analyse. Editing software Studio 10 fairly robust.

3. Web 2.0 and the risks: internet safety in the classroom

Chat: MSN messenger Kids usually 10 chats at once. This is as well as surfing net, on their mobiles and iPods too!
You can’t stop the kids but we have to make it safe. Children with poor self-esteem are more likely to have unknowns people on their chat list.

Who is attracted to the Internet in Mass?
• Children
• Sex offenders
o Paedophiles
o Computer sex offenders – If kids don’t have a friend online they may go to a public chat area. Predators linger here and will ask a kid to go to a private chat area, within 4 minutes they can be exposed. The younger kids (12, 13 and 14 year olds are more likely to remain rather than close it down)
Main access happens at home (89%).

• Pornography – students getting exposed by their phones, child pornography can have a particularly bad effect on a young person.
The access to instant images with phones allows students to instantly image their poor and reckless behaviour.

Do we have a policy about inappropriate content on mobile phones? Need explicit language in such a policy. Images can be directly uploaded to the web from their phones.

Wireless access. Public WiFi is not filtered (McDonald’s use pay by credit card or Telstra prepaid)

Parents need to be aware of how to set up their systems to filter internet content. Private houses set up their houses search for proxy bypass on google. Sites that enable students to get around filters. Funnel sites that change names daily and ISP addresses to avoid schools blocking them.

Next problem: Inappropriate podcasts to circumvent filters can be downloaded and iPod video.

Commercial scams, financial risks, viruses. Educating kids to identify scams. Phishing for credit card details – games that are designed for young students to borrow mum’s credit

Wedsites with mild spelling errors that link to pornographic sites.

Harassment and Bullying
• Cyber bullying
• Email
• Chat Rooms
• Discussion groups
• SMS – pack bullying
• Web pages

If students are getting threatening emails (print), on chats (screen capture), turn history on, so that evidence can be collected. SMS, make photocopies of the messages and the log

Teacher Harassment – creating pages for a teacher that is not theirs and then using inappropriate images or links.

Make you site safe:
Surnames, flirty names, email, mobile or MSN info should not be on you page.