Sunday, November 22, 2009


This has been an amazing journey. I don't see this as the end, but only the very beginning of so many things to explore! To understand something properly, we need to constantly keep in touch with it and there are so many areas on which I want to revise and expand my knowledge. With the exception of virtual worlds (I don't have enough time to keep up with the real world!), I can see myself using all the Web 2.0 applications we have covered in this course in some form or other.

Thank you for a well presented and informative introduction into the interactive world of Web 2.0!


#22 Ebooks and #23 Audiobooks

I love reading and I love books - my house is overflowing with them. I think the appeal lies as much in the physical nature of the book as it does in the story. For this reason I can't get overexcited about these concepts. I am more of a visual than an aural learner - I'm ashamed to say my listening skills are quite lacking! I couldn't see myself concentrating for long periods on an audiobook, although I can see how they could be used to enhance listening skills in the classroom. And what a wonderful tool for the visually impaired. Not a new concept by any means, 'talking books' have been around for as long as I care to remember, but the quality and range now available with current technology has opened up a new world for audiobook users. Also a great tool for study, especially for anyone permanently attached to their ipod/mp3 player as most students are these days!

As for ebooks, there is no doubt this has opened up the world of literature to many who would otherwise probably never pick up a book. With the current generation at school being obsessed with anything "computerised" I can see ebooks being very useful and let's face it, anything that gets kids reading is a plus! But the idea of reading a book on a screen has no appeal to me, and to print out the pages really defeats the purpose! So I'll stick with my paperbacks and curl up in a comfy spot and get back to my latest adventure!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

#21 Online Video

It's dangerous sending me to YouTube ... once there I could spend hours immersed in comedy skits and funny animal videos - one leads to another then another etc...

I do like the TeacherTube option for our industry. The problem with YouTube is not just the type of videos you might accidentally stumble across, but also the comments people make under them!
I have really enjoyed the Common Craft videos on TeacherTube used throughout this course. They are very simple and to the point, but get the message across in an interesting format. I have also found lots of useful videos for the classroom including the Dewy Decimal System explained by monkeys and an explanation of order of operations using a mnemonic (Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally) which caught my attention for obvious reasons.

The one I've chosen to include here however is from YouTube. It is Adam Hill's irreverant but very catchy version of our national anthem as performed at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

Hope it works!


#20 Podcasts

Podcasts are great. I have occasionally used them to catch up on news or something I missed on the radio. But I really had no idea just how must there is available out there! I found many interesting podcasts, particularly in IT, Science and Education. I added several RSS feeds to my Google Reader (time to clean that up already!).
This one has many sessions quite relevant to this course:
Also, for anyone studying a language there's heaps of podcasts which could be used as additional learning or review material.


#19 Rollyos

Took me a while to find the advantages of this tool, but once I started experimenting it made a lot more sense.
I created a searchroll for book shopping and added all my favourite online bookstores. I could use this regularly in the library for finding particular books to buy, using only approved suppliers.

I am finding the site a quite unreliable in that it usually takes two or three attempts to actually connect. Have not had this with any of the other web 2 applications.


Friday, November 20, 2009

#18 Wikis

I would love to have time to explore what other people are doing with Wikis, especially in Primary Schools. I can see them as a great collaborative learning tool in the classroom, encouraging kids to explore what others have created or discovered as well as contributing with their own knowledge and research. It is good to know there is plenty of scope for security and privacy.

In my areas of admin and library I can also see many possibilities. Even simple things like meetings and special event organisation could be made simple with wikis, with staff being able to contribute to agendas, invitation lists etc without the need to collate data from many emails. I think I might start off with a school library 'wish list' where students can add requests for particular titles, genres, authors etc and then follow up with a book review wiki ......


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

#17 Organise yourself with Delicious

Yet another great tool that almost everyone would find useful. With two part-time jobs plus casual work, I use several different computers most weeks and having access to my favourite or most commonly used websites wherever I am will be great.
Classifying them with tags is very useful, although I quickly learnt to be specific with the tags, otherwise I could end up with countless sites for one classification. eg education or photography.
I can see lots of uses for this in all areas of education, particularly primary, where you want to steer students to a particular group of websites.
Nice one.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

#16 Stay informed! ~ Subscribe to some blogs

I have been having a lovely time searching for blogs and sites with RSS feeds that interest me. I can see my Reader becoming a little overcrowded very shortly!

A couple of quick google searches on 'rss feeds education' and 'rss feeds environment' (a topic we are passionate about at our school) returned a great range of options. I quickly found a couple of particular interest - Science Alert and Friends of the Environment. Two very interesting Australian sites with rss feed options.

Love it. I often find a good site and then it gets lost amongst my favourites list when another topic takes my interest. This way I'll get constant 'reminders'.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

#15 RSS

Excellent. I love the idea of having a "summary" of updates to my favourite or most visited sites all there on the one page to quickly browse through for an idea of what's happening - whether it's the world of news in general, a specialty topic (sport, education, weather ....) or just the latest posting from an interesting personal blog.

So quick and easy to set up once you know what it's all about - and those video tutorials are so clear and to the point.

I can certainly see some uses for RSS feeds in education, mainly (without putting in too much thought into it at this late hour of the night!) in keeping up to date with latest curriculum changes (one ofthe recommendations was the Board of Studies feed); new resources; special needs; technological developments ... the list is probably endless!

One thought that just occurred is that it would be a great way to keep the school community informed of school website updates - rather than relying on students/parents/staff to check the website regularly. Must give that one some more thought.

I'm sure there are many, many ways this tool could be used in the education industry.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

#14 Facebook

I have to admit I am no stranger to Facebook. I have used it now for two or so years. Initially it was quite exciting getting in touch with long lost friends and work colleagues from another lifetime. Now it's more a quick check every few days for personal messages and to take my turn in my scrabble games! (I'm a board game junkie who's never had many people interested in playing real life games!). I am so over seeing who hates who and how much they had to drink last night ... not to mention how they scored in some obscure quiz about what colour eyes the person they are going to marry has!

Thankfully Facebook has plenty of options when it comes to privacy settings and choosing what you can and can't see from others or publish about yourself. Left unedited, it leaves one open to all sorts of nasties including cyberbullying, defamation, invasion of privacy etc. One thing that hugely concerns me, not just with Facebook but any social networking and in fact the internet in general, is the freedom to post information and pictures of anyone, anywhere without their consent. I have been quite upset in the past when other people have uploaded (and tagged) photos of me and especially my children. I even feel quite voyeuristic (is that even a word?) myself when I've looked at photos that my friends have uploaded - even though that has been the intention of the posting. Also the fact that you can read entire "conversations" between other people bothers me in some ways, although everyone is aware when they chose this method of communication that it is all there for everyone to see.

With the right settings I do think Facebook is a fun and useful application. Being able to join groups of likeminded people with common interests, or keep up to date with an upcoming event, or staying in touch with friends and relatives you would otherwise have little or no contact with (I have some relatives travelling overseas and it's great to be able to see where they are and what they are up to) - these are all great benefits of an application that is quick, simple and best of all free!

It is certainly a great communication tool, putting people in touch all over the world, be it for fun, friendship, education or promotion. Certainly beneficial for secondary and higher educational institutions, but like MySpace, way too 'dangerous' for the primary aged. They just don't have the experience and the skill to handle it responsibly.


#13 MySpace

I have been aware of MySpace for a number of years and even created an account a few years back simply to stay in touch with one particular friend. I have never been a big fan of MySpace - the layout is just not to my taste, but I do appreciate the attraction for those looking to reconnect or make new 'friends'.

I can see why a library or school would benefit from a presence on MySpace - especially at secondary level. It's just another tool that could be used to connect with students (especially teenagers/young adults) on a level and platform that they are familiar and comfortable with.

Certainly would not recommend for primary level - but for that matter most schools would have sites such as these blocked (or so I would hope).


Sunday, November 8, 2009


Originally uploaded by sal299
Well, that didn't work, so I'll try again!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

#12 Flickr

As you'll see by my post below, I'm loving Flickr! I have explored it before, just from an amateur photographer's point of view, but hadn't ventured as far as registering and checking out the extra features. I haven't had a chance to play with the edit tools yet, but can see how useful and timesaving that might be! Important to remember to keep photo sizes limited though, or you would quickly use up the 100Mb limit.

I very quickly uploaded a couple of my own photos for the exercise. This was quick and painless and so easy to add tags, descriptions etc.

This is (hopefully - if this works) Monty, our pet rabbit, being very austere! Yes he is a big bunny!!

As with all of these wonderful Web 2.0 applications, Flickr is another to add to the 'must explore further' basket!


Yellow home

Yellow home
Originally uploaded by Köttbullekvist
I have been lost for hours enjoying the delights of flikr! There are countless talented photographers out there.
I love this photo because it reminds me of a place where I stayed in Sweden too many years ago .... VERY happy memories :-)
Next I will try uploading a photo or two of my own.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

#11 LibraryThing

Oooh this one's great! Love the idea of being able to catalogue my home library so simply and graphically. (Yeah, like that's going to happen - bit like those boxes of photos I'm always going to sort out!). But what a great idea.

I can definitely see some uses for this in the education industry. Even simple ideas like showcasing new library acquisitions on the webpage! And being able to read such a variety of reviews - well i think that's a good thing!!

So quick and easy to set up. I had quickly added fifteen of my favourite books, complete with cover images. My biggest concern is the limit of 200 titles for the free account - that means I either have to be selective, or fork out for the upgrade. Still, it's pretty good value if it proves as useful as it seems.

Another one to add to the "look into further" list!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

#10 Image Generators

Sal's Stuff

Oh dear, another fun toy to play with! It was so quick and easy to create this logo using Cool Text.
Cool Text: Logo and Graphics Generator

There are so many of these image generators and lots of them are free and very simple to use.

They are also lots of fun! This cute photo was "created" using the Mirrorizer tool at

If only there was more time to play ....

#9 Virtually Online

Hmmm... I think I need a heck of a lot more time to explore virtual reality before I feel qualified to comment. (Unfortunately time is that precious commodity that none of us are rich in!). I had a good look around Second Life, watched the videos, read some reviews, I even signed up thinking it would all make more sense if I actually tried it out - but alas, I'm still bamboozled!

I am having trouble seeing the advantages in education -with facilities such as video-conferencing, online content, email and instant messaging to cater for distance education, why the need for virtual world learning? Is it just to keep up with the 'in thing' and interact with students in their fantasy world because that's where they appear to 'live' these days?

There is of course scope for limitless imagination and creativity, and the world is certainly opened up for all to explore. Like I said, I need much more time to discover what is there and how it can be used. There is no doubt that a technological, hands-on approach to learning is the way of the future.

Exit Reality seems to me just another high tech toy, but I'm obviously missing something there too. As for World of Warcraft - well the name of that is enough to scare me! I have never quite embraced the whole 'role-playing' game stuff. All a bit sci-fi for me. Again the exercise of imagination and creativity has its advantages, but too many seem to be oblivious to the real world vs virtual world boundaries. Step out onto the lawn and feel the grass between your toes people!!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

#8 iGoogle

Now this is a tool for me! Having all those commonly used sites and features customisable on my homepage really appeals to me. I had heard of iGoogle but not explored it before - I'm hooked already. News, weather, sports, quotes of the day, the odd quick game or two, facebook updates, maps, google docs .... and some of the fun gadgets I'll be having fun with! Not to mention the most used of all ... google search right there at the top ready to go! I like the tabs down the side which a quick click leads to lots of relevant sites to further explore.

One gadget I would use regularly at work, along with Google docs, is a Thesaurus search. I'm often stuck for the right word and having a quick search utility right there on the home page is great.

As for working at Google ... yes please! If the videos are to be believed, working in IT in a casual relaxed atmosphere full of happy workmates ... I can see myself there!

Thanks for introduction to iGoogle ... I'm off to delve a little deeper!


#7 Google Book Search

An interesting Google feature this one. Certainly a wonderful tool for sourcing any type of book imaginable, but in my experience by no means comprehensive. A random selection from my bookshelves revealed varying results, which probably says more about my taste in reading matter than the effectiveness of Google Books!

As a tool for education, I would say it's invaluable. To be able to source a range of books with options of previews, reviews, full text in the case of out of copyright books and the added bonus of being able to locate the book in a store or library, all from the one site makes it a winner.

Is Google the new Microsoft? Far more learned people than me have many an opinion on what I see as a rhetorical question. But one thought springs to mind... no one these days ever says "do an internet search" or "type it into a search engine" ... what we hear is "Google it!". And with the list of added features growing all the time there is no doubt Google holds a well deserved monopoly.

I've always been quite a fan and defender of Microsoft - their products are top rate market leaders in my humble opinion. They have set the benchmark for many products which companies like Google have then adapted and refaced (don't shoot me!). The big difference? Cost! These products are now available to everyone for the small inconvenience of a few ads. I'm not complaining!


#6 Google Maps

Another application I have used many times for necessities but never taken the time to explore for fun. Today I thought I'd locate a couple of the hotels I stayed at during an overseas trip 23 years (gulp!) ago. Oh the memories - such happy days - if only I'd appreciated them more at the time. And goodness me, did I really walk home alone through London's Hyde Park after an evening performance at the Royal Albert Hall? How am I still alive today to relive the folly??

Google Maps is an excellent feature that has so many uses, and I'm sorry Gregory's, but I doubt that old street directory of mine will ever be replaced (but hey, it was great in its day!).

Thanks for the memories!


#5 Google Docs

Funny how I've always been aware of all these added features of Google, but only ever take the time to investigate them when an urgent need arises, as has been the case previously with Google Maps, Calendar, Picasa and SketchUp.

So now I've had a play with Google Docs I can see some great uses. Can't wait to introduce my high school aged sons to this feature so they can no longer use the "I forgot to save it to my usb" line when working on assignments at school or home!

I had a bit of fun creating some new business cards for school and a daily planner/to do list for myself. This I thought I could share with my boss at work .. but had second thoughts on that ... way too dangerous if she's able to add jobs willy-nilly to my list of things to do! The template feature is great - although I hope I can figure out a way to weed out all the foreign language ones.

Anyway, I'm keen to investigate further so I'll be off...


#4 What is Web 2.0?

There's no denying that each generation feels that they have seen more changes in the world and how we live than any previous generation. The invention of the wheel, the engine, the telephone, the internet, the legendary sliced bread ..... an endless list of developments that have contributed positively to comfort and lifestyle.

Then comes Web 2.0 - "the second generation of web development and web design that facilitates information sharing and collaboration on the World Wide Web". What does this mean? To me, it means the internet is no longer just an information source that contains websites created by those in the know. We no longer need to have a degree in information technology, or pay someone who does, to share our knowledge or our life with the world. This is a simplistic view, but a crude summary of how I see Web 2.0.

We no longer have to leave the comfort of our homes to shop, bank, transact with government agencies, "meet" people, learn... who needs a library, a street directory, a travel agent, a car yard, a photo store, a newspaper, a bottle shop (oh no, wait, we still need one of those!!). But where do we go to meet people ... a bar? a nightclub? bingo? ... no, apparently we "go" to rsvp, or myspace, or facebook - virtual worlds where the selection is endless and everyone is suddenly td&h with a gsoh (which apparently means tall, dark and handsome with a good sense of humour).

So, does Web 2.0 fall into the 'positive contribution' category? Well there are certainly benefits - timesaving, less travel, no crowds. But what of SOCIAL SKILLS?? Trying to converse with todays teenagers .. (sorry, i have just typed a whole paragraph about the conversational skills and eye contact with teenagers and then deleted it because I was sounding ancient!). Suffice to say that whilst Web 2.0 is opening up a whole new world to all of us, there is no doubt that face to face interaction is a dying art. Then again, global interaction is another matter - with chatrooms and social networking removing the barriers of distance, our world is conversing like never before - maybe there is hope for world peace after all!

As the the concept of Education 2.0, I can see many benefits, especially living in a low soci0-economic rural area where the costs and distance are a formidable barrier to many considering higher education. However again, the social impact of such a revolution will make for an interesting change in acceptable communication styles.

Here endeth the rant!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

#3 Let us know!

Task number 3 was to register the blog.
This I have done via the online form. It seems some are having trouble at this point, so I will wait and see what the next couple of days brings.
Will Sal's Stuff appear in the Participants Blog List????
Stay tuned ....

Task #2 Create a blog

So, having created my first blog, I then read the rest of the instructions!
My first post was supposed to have the task number or name in the title.
Oh dear ... off to a great start!

Off and running ...

Hello and welcome to Sal's Stuff!
This is my introduction to blogging, courtesy of How 2 of Web 2.0 - an online course on all the new and nifty things we can use the internet for these days.
Hopefully, I can think of something interesting to say now and then!
Meanwhile... on with the reading ...
'Til next time