RSS Feed
  1. New beginnings

    September 2, 2014 by Lynn

    I originally started blogging 4 years ago when completing the State Library of Victoria PLN program which ignited my inquisitiveness about new technologies and how they could be integrated into the classroom (and library).   I continued to blog about my journey with a school-based project ‘PORTIA’ and my ‘ULTRANET’ experiences until 2012.

    The past 18 months has been one of ups and downs for me with many challenges and changes to be overcome – new school administration, relocation of the library to a smaller space, gathering of class resources from around the school (as new ‘learning areas’ were created), overseeing the revamping of an attached old locker bay into a ‘Learning Hub’ (meeting space) with teaching resources, and all completed as the library staffing was also downsized to one (me)!

    So my time lately has been taken up with creating a library space which students want to come into and which is still seen as the ‘hub’ of the school for many staff.  I have spent many hours moving shelves, books, cataloguing and re-cataloguing (with lots still to be done as more resources find their way ‘home’), setting up displays and keeping our online resources running.   I also started a ‘student library monitors’ program for Year 7 and 8 students who help with displays, processing new resources, borrowing, shelving, etc.  They are enthusiastic, keen, love the library and their roles (quick to dob in anyone doing the wrong thing), and also help promote reading at assemblies and with newsletter reports.  Oh and did I say that I also created a new library website (which I need to update already), help with the College magazine, edit a quarterly past students newsletter, set up an online book club ‘Between Covers Book Club’ via Inside a Dog (only last week, so needs more promotion),  facilitate two ‘ClickView’ groups,  manage the school website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, assist with all sorts of ‘odd’ requests which seem to find their way to me, and somehow I’m managing to stay sane through it all!

    At the same time I have tried to keep up with my own personal digital learning and whilst it hasn’t always been ‘hands on’ I have been aware of how much it has changed so quickly – thank goodness for my online connections via Twitter, Facebook and blogs, and my network face-to-face meetings. Seriously it sounds ridiculous when I look back over the past 18months and no wonder the time has flown by!!

    I now have an opportunity to take on a new challenge and get back into the digital learning area at my school as we embark on the introduction of BYOD iPad devices for our Year 7-10 students.  We are also introducing a new lesson planning tool, ‘myEd App’, which will change the way many staff deliver their lessons.  I will be amongst a core group of staff who are embarking on some training this week and shall be coming up with a session for students on copyright.  I’ve been revisiting some earlier work I did within classes and looking at how I can deliver it in a different way via the ‘myEd App’.

    Thank you to Corrie Barclay who has generously shared his knowledge recently, pointed me towards many online resources, and encouraged me to share this journey via my own blog.  So watch out for me on Twitter @swannelllynn, pardon my many questions, queries and thank you all for connecting and sharing your wisdom to people like myself who have ‘followed’ in the background envious at what you are achieving.   It’s going to be a new beginning with #excitingtimes ahead and I just hope I can keep up…oh well after all what are holidays for!

    2014-09-05 15.03.38 2014-09-05 09.20.18 2014-08-18 13.53.46


  2. Ultra Ultranet

    May 22, 2011 by Lynn

    The DEECD Ultranet has taken hold at Mount Eliza Secondary College this term with our Ultranet coach inservicing students and staff each Tuesday afternoon.  As the coach is based in the library over lunchtime it’s been a great opportunity for me to ask questions and improve my understanding of the Ultranet.  I have spent quite alot of time navigating my way around, with very little formal training, and feel quite confident in it’s use now.  Not to say that I know everything there is about this, there are always changes, updates, upgrades and things I never thought possible to be discovered.  It can also be frustrating as I do not have full access to all spaces (Learning Tasks for students) as I am not a teaching staff member.  However, I have been able to create ‘spaces’ in both the Design and Collaborative areas for use by staff and students alike.

    I have mentioned the Portia Design Space before and the new MESC Online Library (transferred from our old Library website) is gaining members as I continue to add and refine pages.  This will hopefully continue to grow as more students are logged on the Ultranet and introduced to the various features.  I am now about to help with the creation of some collaborative class spaces for Year 7 students. 

    This week I was also a guest presenter at an Ultranet workshop on Collaborative Spaces (held at Belvedere Primary School, Seaford on Thursday 19th May) for teachers.  The workshop was an opportunity for participants to find out about some spaces that have been created already and how they are being used.  It was also a great opportunity for me to showcase my work to date and show how education support staff can assist teachers and students within the Ultranet.

    I’m looking forward to attending, and participating in, a workshop on creating Community Spaces next month and getting my teeth into a new project.

  3. The journey continues…

    May 14, 2011 by Lynn

    Term 1 of our PORTIA journey culminated in a successful landing with the parents of our students being most impressed on presentation evening. The students worked well to produce their findings in both a digital and static format with the nine day time frame. During this time they not only had to research their topic (relating to the history of the College and surrounding community) but also learn how to use a new presentation tool (we tried to steer them away from powerpoints) with many using Animoto, Google Sketchup, Window MovieMaker, and similar online tools.

    Term 2 of the journey began last week when the two classes (this PORTIA action research project involves 2 classes of Year 7 students) received their very own netbooks. The allocation of netbooks is a pilot program within PORTIA and we shall be looking at how they can be utilised to provide a differentiated curriculum to these students. Netbooks will be used at both home and school by the students for the rest of this year and our findings will be recorded within the Ultranet design space for the project. We have a planning meeting on Monday night (our dinner meetings can be quite fun and much more rewarding sometimes than those held in a rush at lunchtimes!)

    I am becoming quite proficient in the use of the Ultranet having set up a Collaborative and Design spaces now, as well as experimenting with my own Express Space. There are lots of tips to be found via the Twitter feed #Ultranet and a great bunch of ‘peeps’ to help answer any questions too. I have been asked to co-present at an Ultranet workshop this month on the use of Collaborative Spaces within the Ultranet and will also be attending a workshop on Community Spaces next month (the next step in my Ultranet learning).

    I’m lucky to work with a great team of people who value my knowledge and support my digital learning journey.

    8102 PORTIA

  4. Penguin PD Day

    April 19, 2011 by Lynn

    On Tuesday 29th March I, along with about 150 other people, attended a professional develolpment day hosted by the Penguin Group at The Wheeler Centre in Melbourne. The day was listed as “a fun and informative day full of special guests, books and resources” and certainly lived up to this. The first presenter was Dr Susan La Marca (amongst other things editor of Viewpoint and SLAV’s FYI) who spoke about the units of work that she has created for the Secondary Classroom (also available to us on CD) based on a number of novels currently available. Susan spoke of four books in particular ‘Thai-riffic’ (more on this later, ‘Big River, Little Fish’, ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ and ‘Between Shades of Grey’ – giving us ideas on themes, activities, focus areas and assessment tasks. The CD contains 36 units of work in total and judging by the information given to us on these four the rest should be just as engaging.

    Tony Palmer (author of ‘Break of Day’ and ‘Valley of Blood and Gold’) then chatted about his work as an author, and illustrator prior to this, giving us an insight in his research into background material for his books.

    Cam Salton (Pearson’s English publisher and former teacher himself) spoke about “The Australian Curriculum – what does it mean for you?” – directing us to the ACARA website for updates and for a selection of resources.

    The fourth presenter of the day was Tye Cattanach, who presented two sessions – “Developing a Reading Culture” and “iPads, E-Readers and Electronic Whiteboards – new technolgies for encouring reading”. Tye is the Library Manager at Manor Lakes P-12 Specialist College where they are fortunate to be part of a number of 1:1 new technology trials through the DEECD. She has also been responsible for implementing the use of iPads and other new technologies to encourage reader engagement at her college and she spoke of this in more detail. Book trailers are used extensively and students are encouraged to create and share their own – sites such as ‘Book trailers for all’ and the ‘Center for digital storytelling’ were some of those mentioned. Tye spoke of how the use of iPads as eReaders were a great choice for engaging students as they could be used for text exploration (dictionary, zoom, notes), changing font settings, etc. catered for student abilities, visually exciting and interactive (student engagement), they are also portable bookshelves. (I did speak further with Tye at the end of the day regarding the iPads in more detail where she explained the downloading issues onto the iPads and also some of the sites she uses to source eBooks – I have collated this information together with information from other sources to be put on the ‘Sharing eLearning at MESC’ wiki.

    Oliver Phommavanh (author of ‘Thai-riffic’ mentioned earlier) was our entertaining final presenter of the day. Oliver delighted us all with his stories of growing up as a member of a Thai family in Sydney with many of these antics making it into his first novel. Oliver is not only an author but also a primary school teacher and comedian whose first novel is certainly one to make all students laugh – and me too!

  5. Successful takeoff!

    April 12, 2011 by Lynn

    As I’ve mention previously I’m involved in a Year 7 Action Research Project titled “Portia 7/11” looking at the creation of a differentiated curriculum for Year 7 students. My role within the group (9 staff members) is to look at how online Web2.0 tools and new technologies can be integrated into the classroom. I have created a Design Space on the Ultranet (with a travel/flight theme) for the team (flight crew) to collaborate and share ideas throughout the year (the journey). Last week we had an official launch of this site with Principals and Year 5/6 teachers of our local feeder schools present, together with members of our own staff and our RN Leader. It was a little daunting for me to be speaking in front of this group but luckily Rhonda (first captain) introduced the aims and spoke what we hoped to achieved before I gave them a tour (as navigator) of the space. I’ve used tools such as Voki, Slideshare, Blabberize, One True Media, Animoto, etc. where possible and this has engaged the staff within the team and encouraged them to have a go themselves with their students. It now looks like I will be doing a little PD with the primary schools now on some of these tools hoping to “inspiring the uninspirable” was one quote!

    I am also working with both classes (only 2 classes are involved in the project) through the ROK Reading Program and trying to integrate some of these technologies into the program in order to encourage and engage them. This term we participated in the Accelerated Reader ‘Ashes Reading Challenge’ and also conducted an inter-class challenge over the 6 weeks of the challenge. I emailed the students each week with the points together with a fun video clip that would hopefully keep them on track with their reading. A lot of fun and a great way for me to engage with the students and get to know them better.

    Next term we are going to try making our own book trailers – below is my attempt using the Year 7 class text ‘Boy Overboard’ – I think the students will do better than me.
    Boy Overboard – Book trailer

  6. I’m Reading a Book Too!

    March 18, 2011 by Lynn

    I’ve just had the luxury of a week off school mid-term which I spent in Sydney with some girlfriends. We saw all the sights by walking everywhere, took in a couple of shows, climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, visited the Terracotta Warriors at the NSW Art Gallery and finished it off with a thrilling jet boat ride on the harbour.

    However I did feel a little guilty about leaving my reading classes behind mid-way through their reading challenge competition and promised them a fun email this week instead of me nagging them about their reading. They loved the Julian Smith video clip “I’m reading a book”  so I decided to make my own version by having a photo taken everywhere I went in Sydney with some newly made ‘friends’.  Everyone I asked was most obliging when I explained that the photos were a way to encourage my students to take a book with them everywhere and read whenever they get the chance.  So here it is with thanks to my girlfriends Lyn, Jen and Wendy (who took the photos) and the friends I made along the way in Sydney…


  7. Monday ESCape

    February 28, 2011 by Lynn

    This has been a very busy weekend with  my daughter’s 16th birthday celebrations.  So when looking for events in history  to match her birthday I found HistoryOrb which shows that paper currency (greenbacks) were introduced in US by President Abraham Lincoln; BrainyHistory shows that the Beatles released their first US single ‘Please, Please Me’ in 1963; and NNDB shows that she shares her birthday with James and Oliver Phelps who played the Weasley twins in the Harry Potter movies.  These sites may be useful for students wanting to put together their own timelines and others looking to make a birthday card that bit more special.

  8. Teacher-Librarians vs Librarians Debate

    February 27, 2011 by Lynn

    There has been much debate on OZTL-net this week over Teacher-Librarians vs Librarians being employed in schools.  I will first state that I am employed as a Librarian in a government school and have always corrected those who believed me to be a Teacher-Librarian.  Personally I believe that there is merit for both roles in a school and both have varying degrees of difficulty!   Yes a teacher-librarian is trained in both roles but sometimes the teacher side is the one that often comes to the fore and nowadays is the one that most school administrators are interested in – more bang for their bucks!  Therefore a trained librarian who can perform the management and day-to-day roles required to keep a library running can only be an asset – provided they are employed and paid at the correct level of course.  Surely this debate is no different to the library assistant versus library technician one that many schools, and other libraries, have sometimes confused.  (Again a personal insight in that I originally trained as a library technician and was  employed as such in a school.)  I have long professed the need to differentiate these two roles within the current salary scale and ensure that a library technician is at a higher level.  I have also corrected many people who professed to be library technician (because that’s what the school called the role) when they in fact were not/are not trained as such.  As in the TL vs L debate I acknowledge that the roles are quite different yet complimentary and as such the needs of the library/school are often what dictates.  Discussion and debate over roles should not override the fact that most of us are and have chosen to work in school libraries enjoying what we do best – learning from others and passing on our knowledge where needed.

  9. 2011 A new beginning (or an old one revised!)

    February 14, 2011 by Lynn

    It seems that every year I endeavour to be a bit better organised in order to get off to a seamless start in the library but inevitably something happens, or in my case doesn’t and changes all my plans! Nothing too drastic just things not turned on, broken, not available, not arrived, not done.   Anyway after a few extra days holiday and 3 days of meetings/PD, I spent Friday catching up on catching up, and the weekend trying to get plan ahead and I now have a very, very long list of tasks to complete this week – oh well only  27 days to my long awaited girls weekend in Sydney!!!

    This year I am part of a Professional Learning Team completing an action research project with Year 7 students.  We have developed a number of ideas that we would like to trial with them and they are all based on the theme of a journey.  I had a wonderful time brainstorming ideas with others in the group over the holidays (with lunches and cappuccino of course) and we are now set to start this journey ourselves.  We have called our group ‘PORTIA’ and this acronym comes from the following (based on the Habits of Mind)

    P – Persistance

    O – Organisation

    R – Respect

    T – Teamwork

    I – Independence

    A – Aspiration


    My task is to work with the students during their ROK Reading Program and also to develop and maintain the Ultranet Design Space that we will use as our staff collaboration tool.  I have created a library orientation quiz (treasure hunt style in which they have to match a number, located on a piece of equipment or in an area of the library, and answer a question about it).  I’m excited about how it goes and hope it will be a bit more engaging for the students than me just standing in front of them talking.  

    I also managed to fit in this library display for ‘Library Lovers Day’  Monday 14th February – the hearts on the wall have quotes about libraries/reading/books –  have a great week and love your library!!!

    Library Lovers Day Table 2011Library Lovers Day Wall 2011Library Lovers Day 2011

  10. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

    December 14, 2010 by Lynn

    Well we’re nearly at the end of term (yes I know some of you are well and truly finished but…) and only a few more ‘get-ups’ to go!  I can’t believe that I’ve neglected my blog for yet another month and I think my New Year’s resolution will be to get back on track with my blogging.  It’s been a hectic few weeks as students finish off their classes, orientation days and subject choices.  During this time we’ve also fitted in some library re-arranging, painting, weeding, new signage and office cleaning.  There’s also been work on the Ultranet and a new website in progress, ROK  Awards (our Year 7 reading program), overdue notices, interview panels, assemblies and we still have our usual Year 7 & 8 students each morning and lunchtime to attend to.  We’ve also managed to fit in some fun, with the daily quizzes over our coffee and occasional treats, and organising some Christmas dinners/lunches/catch-ups!   All together an extremely busy 4 weeks to finish off the term.  I’m sure many of you could match me and also up the ante with the many tasks that we endeavour to get finished before officially clsoing the library.

    Enjoy this Christmas message using iphones and ipads (courtesy of a friend on Facebook) and I hope you all have a wonderfully refreshing break no matter how you spend it.

Skip to toolbar