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INTERACT-The Journal 10.3

INTERACT-The Journal 10.3

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Published by malcomb
Interact-The Journal Issue 10.3
Interact-The Journal Issue 10.3

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Published by: malcomb on May 30, 2009
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M    B   
INFORMATION FOR THE COMPUTER CLASSROOMInterActive Books has been an independent supplier of support materials to computer classrooms in Australia andNew Zealand since 1995 ABN 91 976 732 427T/F 03 9754 6543www.computercoordinator.com.au7 Osborne Ave, Belgrave Heights, Victoria, 3160INTERACT - The Journal6 issues published each yearFebruary, April, June, August, October, DecemberEditor: Malcom Brown, M.EdIllustration: Paul Francis ADVERTISING Advertising material is accepted as inserts only.CONTRIBUTIONSRelevant contributions are welcome, but no fee is paid forany article published. Text to be submitted in soft copy.Contributions acknowledged.SUBSCRIPTIONS5 issues $39.95; 10 issues $69.95;15 issues $89.95;Expert Plus $99.95Second and subsequent copies to the same address at half price.PERSONAL ORDERS ARE WELCOMEISSN 1445-6737
News Topics
Comic Sansis no longer funny
In 1995 Microsoft released the font Comic Sans originally designed forcomic book style talk bubbles containing informational help text. Since thenthe typeface has been used in countless contexts from restaurant signageto school assignments to medical information. These widespread abuses of printed type threaten to erode the very foundations upon which centuries of typographic history are built, according to
Complaints about the font pop up everywhere and jokes abound. “ComicSans walks in to a bar and the bartender says. ‘We don’t serve your type.’”The Ban Comic Sans movement is ten years old and has a mission to eradicate the font and the ‘evilof typographical ignorance’. Despite all efforts, the font is still widespread - even making appearancesin Disney movies.
Newspaperson the way out
There is much discussion these days about how long newspapers can survive. Overseas newspapersare shutting down like banks while others are drastically cutting staff. It is inevitable that muchof what is written in the newspaper warns of such dire predictions and how misleading they couldbe - but of course they would say that as most of the columns would have been written by a journalistwho have some self-interest in ensuring that the newspaper remains in circulation. A circulatingnewspaper is sure to remain, but it is more likely to be in digital format rather than the hard copy
that often stains the ngers and clogs the recycled bin on Monday night. It is still claimed that 40%
of the public read a newspaper at least once a week. One senses though that this readership is not somuch reading news, but rather seeking easy access to reference material(TV guide), activity (crypticcrossword), and opinion (Letters to the editor, and their favourite opiner).
Microsoft Ofce 10
leaked (or is that tested?)
The next generation of Microsoft Ofce, currently in technical pre
-view, has leaked to the web with technical details and screenshots.Weighing in at over 1.4GB for the 32-bit version, it is most certainly
the “chunkiest” version of Ofce to be leaked to date. The 64-bitversion at technical preview stage is over 1.7GB in size, conrming
both versions will obviously be provided on DVD.
Wolfram|Alphacomputational knowledge engine.
W|A promises to more than linking countless websites to a searchterm or phrase. What separates W|A from everything else - includingGoogle - is an ability to interpret complex questions in everydaylanguage and answer those questions by consulting disparate piecesof information. It is designed to interpret data from unrelatedsources and has enough natural language capacity to judge a range
of articles and come back with the best answer. The edgling site is
biased towards the sciences but its ability to infer conclusions fromdata is where the potential lies. The engine sources are vetted byhumans and this is what puts it into a different league from Googleor Wikipedia. Overall, Wolfram/Alpha reads like an encyclopedia. It’s handy at times, but the bigquestion is whether the search engine can break out and display more populous information. Thepresentation is great but the many searches I entered came back with ‘I don’t know what to do withthis’. This was very disappointing.
LiveScribe Pen
The Livescribe Pulse Smartpen recordsand linkes to audio what was written via asmall infrared camera behind the nib. Thepen only works with specially designednotepads. Each page is covered intiny dots that act like a graph, recordingeach pen stroke to an internal 1gb or 2gb memory, to be uploaded as text to acomputer 
Kindle DX
The newKindle DX,Amazon’snewest andmost impres-sive entry intothe electronicpaper arena, was launched last month.
This is nally a seriously good wireless A4
size reading device with a crisp screen and
sufcient storage capacity that can hold up to
3,500 books and periodicals. Books can bedelivered within 60 seconds and the batteryhas a long battery life allowing for readingfor days. It also has a text to speech featureand includes a native pdf reader. Usersneed to order from the Amazon Kindle DXready library - but there are over 275,000titles ready for download. The Kindle DX ispricey and can only be preordered in the US(even the earlier Kindle is still not availablein Australia) but the improved technologydoes appear to be spelling the end of thepaper age. Although the voicing componentmay need some improvement as apparentlythe voice of the Kindle mispronounces twoimportant words that show up often in thepages of newspapers: “Barack” (the devicerhymes it with “black”) and “Obama” (soundslike “Alabama”)
The Prensky File
It was Marc Prensky who rst coined the term ‘digital native’ - the
term that refers to people born in the last 25 years. And the term todescribe people who were born before much of the digital technologycame into being is: digital immigrant. And like many immigrants,we love the new country but still cling to some of the old ways from back‘home’. Like wanting to print things to edit them with a pen, and read ahard copy of book rather than an ebook. According to Prensky, digital natives such as today’s high school gradu-ates have typically spent fewer than 5000 hours readingBut they have also spent around:
• 10,000 hours playing video games• 10,000 hours on mobile phones• 20,000 hours watching TV, and• have seen more than 500,000
advertisements As a group they have downloaded 2 bil-lion ring tones a month, 2 billion songsper month, 6 billion text messages eachday and sent 250 000 emails and instant messages. So it is no wonderstudents aren’t too excited when we tell them to open their text booksand get out their pens when they are more familiar with keyboards andcomputer screens.
Are all Young People Digital Natives?
This is a good question and it is worth reminding ourselves that no, notall students are digital natives. While we identify digital natives as ageneration ‘born digital,’ not all youth are digital natives. Digital natives
share a common global culture that is dened not by age, strictly, butby certain attributes and experiences. These are in part dened by their
experience growing up immersed in the digital technology, and theimpact of this upon how they interact with information technologies,information itself, one another, and other people and institutions. Thosewho were not ‘born digital’ can be just as connected, if not more so, thantheir younger counterparts. And not everyone born since, say, 1982,happens to be a digital native.
Can anyone become a Digital Native?
While today’s children are born digital, many of them are making theirparents ‘native’. No matter what age we are it is possible to become a‘digital native’ by living simultaneously on and off line with the help of technological aids such as BlackBerrys or social-networking sites likeMySpace that give us a full time on-line presenceOne of the digital native’s primary traits is an extensive on-line persona.Identity is expressed through both off-line and on-line media. And there’snot much of a distinction in the digital native’s mind between these two.Digital natives pick photographs for their on-line personas on social-networking sites with the same care with which they pick their clotheseach morning. They go on line to reveal rather than conceal themselves. And it’s the extent to which they reveal themselves online that bothers the‘immigrants’, most of whom would never think of publishing their phonenumbers or home addresses on the Internet. Even the digital native willacknowledge the danger their openness may pose in attracting predators,they are nowhere near as aware of the transference of data sent about
them across companies. Native or not, nobody reads the ne print. The
amount that somebody is going to be able to know about somebody borntoday, 30 years from now, is immense. And, because storage is plentifuland cheap and the information never decays,those records are unlikely to disappear.
But keeping children off line would stie the
creativity that is springing up all over theWeb. In amateur videos on YouTube and inblogs there is a type of ‘semiotic democracy’emerging. This means that with all the Digital tools available anyone witha digital camera can make their own content.So to make effective judgements about the digital world we need to engagewith that world and understand how young people behave in it. Forinstance, it is unlikely that any digital native commencing some research
on a topic would rst step in to a library. Students, of course would rst
type their topic into Google, scroll down to the references in Wikipedia,read the entry, and then follow the links to learn more. And digital natives do eventually become creators of on-line content,rather than simply consumers. Shooting and posting a video, or writinga comment on a message board is a way of reaching out to an audience
that potentially numbers in the millions. They will nd that it is quite an
impactful medium and an active form of democratic participation.
The top
 5 ICT tools
 to take in to anyclassroom
Free onlinesurveymaker fora variety of purposes
This man hascreated a new ‘an-swer engine’ - theWofram|Alpha.Do you have anyquestions?
Marc Prenskyis a speaker, writer, consultant, and game designerin the areas of education and learning. He is the author of DigitalGame-Based Learning (McGraw-Hill, 2001), founder and CEO of Games2train, a game-based learning company, and founder of TheDigital Multiplier, an organisation dedicated to eliminating the digitaldivide in learning worldwide. He is also the creator of the sites
. More of his writings can befound at
“Raised on MTV, video games, e-mail, theWeb and instant messaging, Digital Nativeshave developed cognitive thinking patternsthat differ from previous generations.”
Mr Stephen Wolfram
 Vol 10, No. 3, June 2009
Ways to use Twitter in the Classroom
The micro blogging Web 2.0 application known as Twitter is still in it infancy and teachersare wondering if it offers any value to the classroom. While this new technology is stillmaturing, try these activities.1 Ask for anyone in your network to tell you something about their location - this could belocation for a geography lesson, temperature for a science survey, an interesting historical fact,their opinion on anything.2. Go to
and type in a keyword and see the results ‘waterfall’ down. Thenuse
to see where the tweeter is from. Pick up their userID and paste it in
to twittermap to nd the location.
3. Use
to read some funny supposed tweets by historical charactersas if they were tweeting at the time of an important event. eg Thomas Edison tweeting forinspiration, Alexander the Tweet strives to be better. (Note the site is not moderated and canbe inappropriate for Primary students.) Students could then Tweet a dialogue between twohistorical characters observing an historical event.4. Select a genre (Fairy tale, crime, adventure) and tweet it to the network as a story starterthen ask members of the network to continue the story via Twitter. Follow the responses via
Select the best story line and rework it as a class.5. Set up a new Twitter account with the new account being the name of the topic or open ques-tion. Members of the network then respond by replying to @topic. The responses can be collatedand saved at
.6. Set up a new Twitter account for your class - you will possibly want to ‘protect’ your updates.Invite parents to ‘follow’ you, and they can see what the class are up to from any computer(home, work, internet cafe...) at any time of the day or night. They might even tweet back nowand again!
7. Put up a tweet asking people to give you their location. Class rst estimates distance from
school, then use an atlas to gauge distance. Then using Google Earth - place mark where they
are and nd out distances.
8. Give children individually the twitter 140 characters rule - they have to write story introduc-tion, character description or whole story within this limitation. Results can then be posted ontotwitter or via blogs.9. How do adult opinions differ from the views of the class? Use a twitter poll to collect andgraph opinions about a controversial issue. You can set up a Twitter poll at
10. Use Twitter to send out a word and have your network give the students synonym andother meanings. Or have classrooms connect during writing workshops. Then have the studentshelp each other create Wordle clouds of a word and the words that are synonyms, antonyms,and examples to foster stronger and more descriptive writing. The Wordle clouds become helpposters during writing for the rest of the year.11. Find someone in another class, school, country who is interested in the same topic. Follow
each other on Twitter, share information, resources and ideas. Help each other nd answers or
even suggest questions.12. Based on a novel or short story and after a study of point of view and character develop-ment students can become a character and create a twitter account eg. @janeeyre, @rochester.Students could also use their study of that character to create conversations around key eventsin the plot. Would be even more interesting to focus on events and situations that are omitted
from the text, but referred to, so the students are creating their own ction based on their
knowledge of the writer, the time period, and the characters.13. Ask your Twitter network to comment on local or national issues for a class or whole schoolassembly, such as “What does ‘water’ mean to them?” The class would then able to talk about
how world climate differences can inuence such a commodity. Ask the network to comment on
the issue being discussed and ensure they provide where their location.
14. Upload videos from mobile phones when on excursions or a eld trip using
15. It is surprising how many experts are on Twitter - NASA representatives are well known fortheir twittering and responding to queries.16. While they work on assignments, stimulate your students to tweet and reply about things
they learning, difculties they are facing, tips they want to share, great resources they have
found. In this way, Twitter replaces the students logbook.
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(incl 2 copies with each issue plus 10 of the best back copies)
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InterActive Books7 Osborne Ave, Belgrave Heights, Vic, 3160www.computercoordinator.com.auABN: 91 976 732 427
MethodologyWeb 2.0
“The Americans have need of the telephone,but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.”
Sir William Henry Preece (15 February 
1834 - 6 November 1913) was a Welsh 
electrical engineer and inventor. Preece relied on experiments and physical reasoning in his 
life’s work. Preece was knighted in 1899 
“Times are hard. Sister breastfeedinghomeless guy. I’m SO outta here”
Tweet describing The Grapes of Wrath within 
the prescribed 140 characters.
“So far, Twitter is like hanging out in thespeakers’ lounge. Meaningless chatter fromsmart people.”
“Twitter’s like passing notes in high school.(‘Social studies is SOOO boring!’)”
Twittering in theLibrary
1. Let your patrons know what new booksarrive at your library by Twittering theinformation.2. Keep followers current on all the eventsoccurring at the library.3. Use PollDaddy to ask your patrons fortheir opinions or get feedback on what’shappening at the library.4. Keep up with other librarians so you canshare ideas and projects and learn fromeach other.
5. Allow patrons to sign up to be notied
when requested material is available.6. Tweet past due notices to patrons as agentle reminder that they are late.7. Announce news and events meant for
specic groups such as teens, children, or
book groups.8. Announce closing time. Let patrons knowwhen the library is about to close.
World’s top Twitterholics:1. Ashton Kutcher (aplusk)2. Ellen DeGeneres (TheEllenShow)3. CNN Breaking News (cnnbrk)
4. Britney Spears (britneyspears)
5. Barack Obama (BarackObama)- twitterholic.com
Desks are in rows pointed to the front of the room.
Junior tables are scattered around in the centre of the
classroom leaving a large mat area. Very few tables around the walls of the classroom.
 Very little is on the walls
Teachers stands at the front of the room.
Computer is usually covered.
Desks are in rows pointed to the front of the room.
Junior tables are scattered around in the centre of the
classroom leaving a large mat area.Small tables, cupboards, cubby holes are placed around
the walls of the room - mainly used for storage.Some of the children’s work is on the walls, and very little
of it is published writing.Teacher stands at the front of the class and does some
moving around the desks, teacher desk at the front,maybe to the side of the room.Students may use the internet for very broad internet
searches but teacher is not comfortable with them beingon the net.
Desks are in groups.
Junior Tables are scattered around in the centre of the
classroom leaving a mat area.There may be some small tables, cupboards, cubby
holes around the walls of the room designating specic
areas of the classroom.
A lot of well presented work is hanging. A signicant
amount of it is WordProcessed.The Teacher works with groups and moves around the
desks and tables, desk is at the side of the room.The ‘Computer Centre’ has been set up, children use
it for Wordprocessing and most days for Reading andMaths.Keyboarding and computer skills are being formally
taught.Internet is being used more for games and research.
Levels of TeacherICT Integration
Desks maybe swapped for tables.
Very little mat area, enough for at least ¾ of the class
to sit in. Teacher will be using a projector and laptop or IWB frequently for teaching.Tables around the edge of the room have learning
centre activities.
The room is full of children’s nished work that is both
computer presented and hand done.The teacher works with groups and moves around
the tables. The students also freely move around theclassroom from task to task.The teacher’s desk is not obvious in the room.
Children are rotating through the computer centre or 
are at laptops around the room all through the day,following management boards and timetables working
on specic tasks. They experiment with other digital
equipment such as cameras, iPods, etcInternet research skills are well developed.
Classroom is divided up into Learning Centres with
large tables holding resource material. There is barelyany mat area, enough for a small group of children.Projector/IWB is being used all day by teacher andstudents.The room is full of mixed media published work.
There are several computers scattered around the
classroom, other digital equipment such as iPods,tablets, midi keyboards, game consoles and cameras
are freely and condently used.
Teacher and children move freely around the room.
The teacher is an informal practitioner who involves
students in the planning of programmes and tasks.Students are highly independent, self managing and
are able to make choices themselves about what andhow they are going to do things.Students learn the skills as they are needed. The
teacher is able to recognise when a skill needs to betaught.Students are able to work collaboratively and
co-operatively with others.Internet skills are highly developed.
- Jacqui Sharp, ICT Consultant, www.jsharp.co.nzEducation observers identify different levels of ICT integration in theclassroom by teachers. Jacqui Sharp has adapted from Cuban, L. (2001).“Oversold and underused. Computers in the classroom.” by HarvardUniversity Press, the following features for each level of integration.
The Five ICT ‘things’ that I wouldn’t walkin to a classroom without ....
St Andrew’sCathedral School
 Anglican day school for boys and girlsfrom Kindergarten to Year 12 located inSydney’s CBDSite by: Raw Ideas, SydneyThis school’s website leaves now doubt what the vision and missionof the school is about and at the same time provides a clear sourceof current information. The site is updated with daily events - theyappear on the home page so there is no need for digging around- and the key information that the school needs to promote ishighlighted so that visitor’s eyes are drawn directly to the relevantsection. The menu is simple and has no extensive submenus of options to wade through.The images load quickly and appear to be of local students, parents,community members and staff. The images aren’t the posed‘grip and grin’ presentation type that seems to often plague localnewspapers - they are in situ and directly related to the content.While the site is clearly created by a third party, it is obvious that
the school knew what it wanted to achieve and ensured that this was reected in the nal product.
 Apollo ParkwaysPrimary School
 Victorian Government Primary SchoolDesign: Andrew MilneConstruction: Andrew Milne and Melinda Anderson A clever home page with the menu links represented asrollovers within a jigsaw. However, very slow to load, andeach page was similarly frustrating - not the best experiencefor quick access. Even when returning to the home page, thedelay in download was excruciating. Many photos on the sitealso do not appear to be set to load for quick web access.Nevertheless, the pages hold essential information such asbooklists, notices, current dates, order forms and similar. Notsure why the most recent annual report on the site is from2006? There are a few other references to 2008 which makethe site appear to be not the main current source of informa-tion for the school community.While the site appears to have grown in stages and without a plan and is clearly a home-grown site
it does seem to reect the ICT hands-on approach of this school.
Bilambil PublicSchool
Bilambil Public School is located close toTweed Heads on the border of New SouthWales and Queensland. The site has wonmany awardsSite by: UnknownBilambil looks like a fun place! The website home page is jolly,colourful and very inviting. This school has taken the attitude thattheir website is for displaying kids’ work and proudly they do. Italso seems to be a great source of resources for teachers anywhereas many of the curriculum links on the study topics section takesus to external teacher curriculum guides. And this highlights theconfusion with the site - is it for parents? students? the schoolcommunity? IT technicians? the education community? the world?
Seems to be for everyone - which I suppose is ne if it wasn’t a pri
-mary school website. In which case a visitor wandering past
would expect to be looking at information related to the school, not the universe. Anyway, expectations aside, the site has a wealth of information and ideas that other educators coulduse - even if it was posted more than 10 years ago in some cases..
Calwell PrimarySchool
Government primary school in the ACT.Opened in 1989.Site by: DET, ACT template A world record here! The website with the longest single drop downmenu ever seen - 22 menu items to select from! Some are off the
bottom of the monitor and difcult to access. Nevertheless, the siteis fairly current and clearly identies when the last update was
made - the update date need not mean much, but at least the userknows someone at the school still has the site’s password to thehost server! While they are there they should update last year’sclassroom information. Another nice touch is that the classroompages are password protected and so only authorised parents andstaff can view whatever is behind the links.The pages have been templated and users can easily move around as the navigation menu is avail-
able at every point. Couldn’t nd any current newsletters or updates (maybe its part of the 22 menu
drop down list) but all of the essential information appears to be there on the site.1. An attitude of “Together, we learn fromeach other” which was the motto of the school Iworked at for ten years before my retirement.It doesn’t matter if it is teacher-student;student-teacher; teacher-teacher; parent-teacher – whatever combination might occurin the school community. We can all learnfrom each other because throughout life we aresometimes teachers and sometimes learners.2. A belief that ICT is a tool of the trade notthe product of a process. You choose theappropriate tool for the task and learning touse it should be just-in-time not just-in-case. Age is not a barrier to learning at a level that
meets your needs and the learning is innitely
easier if there is a critical mass of workinghardware and software at the point of neednot in a computer lab on the other side of theschool.3. The writings of Jamie McKenzieat
;Doug Johnson’sBlue Skunk Blog
;Joyce Valenza’sNeverendingsearch blog at
and The Virtual Staffroom of Chris Betcherat
. Each a master,each a mentor.4. Access to OZTL_NET; Oz-teachers andLM_NET – the best professional learningdelivered to my home all day every day. Eachmessage is proof that print and digital formatscan exist in harmony.5. Acknowledgement and understanding bythe powers-that-be that if students are to beresponsible users of the Internet and harnessits power and potential then they need to beable to use themand a head-in-the-sand block-everythingattitude is foolish and foolhardy. Politicians,principals and parents need to know that a
qualied teacher librarian is the best person
to help the students use the World Wide Web
effectively and efciently and therefore should
staff, resource and fund their school librariesappropriately.Barbara BraxtonTeacher LibrarianCooma, NSW
This issue of Interacthas a some newfeatures that I am sure will interest our readership. One feature is the Review page,this time focussing on school websites. Four sites were chosen at random and reviewedfor usability, uniformity, information sharingcapability and presentation. The schoolwebsite is the digital face to the schoolcommunity and beyond, and so should beas much representative of the school andits ethos as the school principal, the school
ofce and the newsletter. The four short re
-views in this issue point to the sort of featuresthat a school website should consider.This issue also invited a prominent teacher 
librarian to identify the ve ICT ‘things’ that
she has learnt are necessary whenever entering a classroom. Barbara is a regular 
contributor to online and ofine forums and
her writings and presentations are alwaysvalued. Her top 5 list makes very interestingreading - and are not the normal piecesof hardware or software that most peopleprobably think are necessary.We have also reprinted a hierarchy of features describing levels of ICT integrationin a class as collated by Jacqui Sharp, anICT consultant from the Auckland area of New Zealand. Her table of features is looselybased on Larry Cuban’s ideas of teacher integration.
And nally, a reminder to subscribe to your 
freeInteract eTipsat our webpage
. If you arenot receiving your weekly free eTips, thenplease register at the webpage.A great Term II to you all and looking forwardto hearing from you sometime soon.
Quotes found on Teacher’s EmailSignatures
“I really didn’t realise the librarians were, youknow, such a dangerous group ... They aresubversive. You think they’re just sitting at thedesk, all quiet and everything. They’re likeplotting the revolution, man. I wouldn’t messwith them.”
Michael Moore 
.“The tragedy of life is to assume what is, mustbe!”“A library is not a luxury but one of thenecessities of life.”
Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) 
“Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, butupon error also. “
Carl Jung 
“Success, wisdom, balance”“I don’t want to be part of your revolutionunless I can read”
(with apologies to Eleanor Roosevelt) 

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