Many teachers are seeking new and engaging ways for students to work online. In 2010, Innovation and Next Practice at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development funded a range of cultural institutions to produce innovating Web 2.0 resources for use in Victorian schools – these would then be hosted on the FUSE portal on the DEECD website: https://fuse.education.vic.gov.au/
These projects . . . provide venues for authentic work in a range of modalities . . .
These projects reflect the diverse interests and strengths of the groups that produced them. They provide venues for authentic work in a range of modalities, and many of them allow this work to be shared with other students, the school community or even the world at large. Many of the projects provide a capacity for students to store their work ‘in the cloud’ meaning it can be accessed and shared from anywhere. This article will outline the sites and some of their features.
A site for commemoration and remembrance, featuring a virtual poppy field, where site users can plant a poppy with an attached message. The site offers a choice of short messages, or students can write their own.
15 Second Place
Students create fifteen second short films that aim to capture a theme or mood, rather than a narrative. These films are tagged to the location they were shot, allowing for them to be accessed by location, as well as theme. An iPhone app allows direct shooting and uploading of films, as well as map integration.
A positive view of the environment, stressing direct actions students can take to help the animals featured on the site. Each animal is also showcased in great detail, including distribution, habitat, keeper interviews, videos, and other facts.
This site addresses issues of Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org.au/
and its effects on the creative arts through visual media. Users can upload their own artworks to the site, or download and remix art by others. The site encourages engagement with the artwork and the issues of intellectual property behind the Creative Commons concept.
Another site addressing Creative Commons issues, this time through the medium of music. Site users can download, mash up and remix samples from the site, before re-uploading them to share with the community. Guides provided support both the musical aspect of the site, and the issues around copyright and sharing.
Inside a Dog
The popular youth literature website has had a major redevelopment, adding many Web 2.0 features. In addition to a news blog and monthly writer-in-residence, registered users may now post reviews, comment on blogs, and join or create book clubs on any topic. These book clubs are ideal for use in the classroom or library, as the creator of the club sets the security level.
This site supports students in producing short digital histories – multimedia presentations on any topic of their choice. Support is provided for choosing a subject, conducting oral history interviews, curator interviews, and creating and uploading a presentation.
Merspi VCE Advantage
These videos are designed to support VCE students in the ‘invisible curriculum’ – the ideas and concepts that fall between the gaps of individual subject disciplines. Videos cover topics including research skills, navigating the VCAA website, tackling the English exam, and more.
One Place, Many Stories
This site provides ways for students to link history and place. Teachers can upload historical maps, allowing students to develop an understanding of change over time in a location (for example, their neighbourhood). Students can also write short stories that are pinned to a map, allowing them to contribute their own content to an understanding of the past of their spaces.
Page to Stage
This site guides students through creating a complete theatrical experience, from first brainstorming to opening night. Interviews with stage professionals including production managers, costumers and lighting designers, join interactive tools and an online folio space to make this a rich resource for assisting with a production.
Phat Poetry aims to make poetry more engaging and immediate for Middle School students. Find audio recordings and video mashups of both traditional and modern poetry, along with guides and tools for students to upload their own creations to share.
A social networking simulation game for primary aged students, POSTi helps equip students for dealing with social and emotional situations online. Students follow a developing storyline, while guided questions demonstrate some of the pitfalls of online social spaces.
Music sharing and creation site RIP Music provides tools and tips for creating music and sharing online, along with music samples in a range of styles. Tutorials cover downloading, uploading, remixing using several popular software packages, and ethical issues around sharing online.
Music is an integral part of many cultures. This site aims to connect the two. Students can mix and remix traditional instrument samples from a wide range of cultures using the in-browser mixing tool, while background information explains the instruments used and their cultural significance.
The Model Citizen
This site covers four distinct areas of citizenship – global citizenship, Australian citizenship, digital citizenship and active citizenship. Extensive resources support teaching and learning in each of these four areas, and the site provides upload space for students to share posters they have produced expressing their ideas of citizenship.
Tomorrow Sport encourages Primary and Secondary students to connect with maths and IT through sport. Divide your class into teams and compete in weekly sports-related challenges designed to demonstrate maths and IT skills. Run a ladder inside your school, or join the wider community competition.
Help your students learn about and connect with other countries. Explore details of foreign nations, complete assignments and games and earn stamps on your passport. Students can work individually or collaborate with others at your school or beyond. Upload your own content including images and other resources.
Host a film festival in your own school with this resource. Included are demonstrations, tutorials and support for every stage from shooting films to promoting your event, as well as upload space to store the completed films.
Virtual History Centre
Visit a 3D virtual world recreation of the Point Nepean quarantine station, reproduced in detail from the original plans. Explore the buildings and complete in-world quests to learn more about the site and its location, including original artefacts. Teacher notes support student work in this unique environment.
WE SOLVE it!
A research skills site for primary aged students, WE SOLVE it! follows the established inquiry model used in the book Open the Door to Inquiry. Students select an item of interest, and then decide on the questions that they want to answer about it before following the research process step by step through the site to find their answers.
A resource for older students who are transitioning to the workforce, Work Right presents information on workplace rights and responsibilities in an entertaining and accessible manner. As well as the site, there is an app for iPad and iPhone available that offers another way of accessing the useful information on this site.
Heath Graham is the Learning Programs Officer - Online Education at the State Library of Victoria.
03 8664 7549