Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of informationdata or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. *

Another idea I have gained from a Teachmeet was having students create Infographics  to present their learning.  (Thanks Karis @karisd84). I see Infographics as an extension or adaptation of a few older styles of presentation modes such as posters and Powerpoints., however there is a big point of difference, the thinking required in order to develop an Infographic is quite complex. To break information down in to small packets and to represent it in a succinct and visual manner, requires a large degree of understanding and comprehension as well as creative flair.  This is not a simple task for most students.

Elements of the Information process are explored when processing the information required to make an Infographic.   This screenshot  taken from WA First Steps, list the process.     This week, we will suggest that our students consider creating Infographics as a presentation tool.  It will be interesting to see who choses to give it a go and how they  go.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 6.14.29 PM

In my research about Infographics, I found the following resources which I will use to introduce the idea to students:

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!
* Quoting Doug Newsom and Jim Haynes (2004). Public Relations Writing: Form and Style. p.236

Diary Note: One week into Social bookmarking with students

Last week, I explained that I had set up Diigo and EduClipper for our students (see post here).  Week One is over and they have had a taste and I am happy with the progress in this short time. I started with this short presentation. It was a starting point for discussion. On the day, I found that EduClipper does not play nicely with Internet Explorer, so we stuck with Diigo and I think that was a good thing, reducing the complication of two platforms. I will use EduClipper when I get Chrome installed at school.

I was interested, but not surprised to hear that only one student out of 52 was using any cloud based Bookmarking tool, and that was not a social one. I was pleased to hear the ‘Aaah’ moments when they realised the potential of the tool.Many described how they write URL’s on paper or in their books and were very quick to identify that this was not a wonderful method.  We discussed the importance of annotating and tagging and I left it with them. They had great questions, “Can we embed tags into our blogs?’ ‘Can I use my account when I leave Primary School?’.


We will see how it goes, but I have confidence that we will create a wonderful collection of student sourced resources. I can already see that they are showing signs of reading sites with an eye for curating – developing some critical thinking about the resources. I am happy with that but alwyas on the look out for ways to extend the idea.

Curation – Social Bookmarking with Students

It was serendipitous:

  • I had just written my last post on the value of using tags and cataloguing our resources
  • I attended TeachMeet Melbourne where John Pearce spoke about “Curation It’s Not Just Adults OnlySee his presentation here 
  • I was working with colleagues, planning an upcoming Inquiry Unit with a History focus for Year 5/6.

The planets were aligning.  I must take the opportunity to introduce these students to the value of curating – using Social Bookmarking tools to store, share and evaluate on-line resources.  So I browsed through John’s excellent list of Curation tools :



As I am dealing with students under 13, there appeared to be only a few choices (most have clear restrictions on use by children under 13).  I decided to experiment with Diigo for Educators and Educlipper as each allowed for teachers to create and manage accounts for students.  I was also looking for the ability for the students to comment on saved sites after reviewing them.

EduClipper was immediately appealing – the Pinterest for Education – a highly visual tool, Quite quickly I started clipping (using Tags of course) and then created a few Clipboards, including one with Australian History links.   I added my 52 students fairly easily (actually twice – oops).

I have been a long time user of Diigo for my own purposes and belong to a few groups, so setting up Diigo for Education was simple. Creating classes via a quick .csv upload was easy.


The class teachers can easily join in and collaboration is simple. I populated the collections with a few starter resources, with the intention of having the students extend them in the process of their research.  I hope to use the commenting section to embed some form of student evaulation.  Perhaps a few sentence starters that John recommended.  “I noticed……, This resource assisted me because …., I would recommend this for anyone looking for …….”   We will need to discuss the use of Tags to gain maximum benefit of any of these tools.

The next question is how to make students more aware of the  resources they choose and to be critical users.  The State Library of Victoria’s Ergo site has some useful information and tools for Research skills  and brilliant sources of material for teachers exposing students to primary and secondary resources.  I hope that after introducing the concept of Social Bookmarking, as we progress through to students personal inquiry opportunities, we can embed a pattern of sharing and discernment when it comes to the sources of their information.   Hopefully these tools will make this process visible and straightforward.

Since publishing this post I found a few resources that will assist:

Social Bookmarking with students on Edublogs

Using Social bookmarking with students – Langwitches

Part 1 and Part 2

Have you used these tools with primary age students ?  How do you teach your students to be critical users of on-line resources? 




Glitter Words
[ – *Glitter Words*]
Whilst still on holidays, my mind is now turning towards the new school year.  I will be experiencing a number of changes this year, having taken on a coaching role, as well as continuing my previous work in a slightly reduced role.  I was asked recently how I feel about change, and I responded that I enjoy it – in fact, I get easily bored and thrive on change.  Along with change however does come some challenge.  To change, you must relinquish something, and our tendency is often to avoid that risk.     Risk taking is a trait we often cite as one we want to promote in the children we teach: in order to enable them to be efficient learners, they need to take risks.   So it seems obvious that teachers need to take risks too.   I  am happy to say that I regularly witness teachers who are risk takers and teachers who are willing to expose their learning to their students –  I believe this is a significant change in the past few years.  As a student, I certainly never witnessed it in my teachers.

To embrace the possibilities that the increased access to information and Web 2.0 technologies allow, most teachers must change to a mindset that did not exist in their earlier careers.   Access to the wonders of the internet and the tools we have that connect, collaborate and create mean that we must continue to change our way of thinking – we must accept that our classrooms extend well beyond the constraints of the bricks and mortar that used to limit us.     There are so many wonderful examples of this already happening, but much more needs to be done to match the lives our students are already living beyond our schools.

One thing that concerns me is that there appears to be a divide between those who are open to change and those who are unaware of the opportunities, fearful of the changes, or downright indignant that they are being asked to adapt.   Matt Esterman in his recent blogpost “Mind the Cows”, puts a beautifully positive slant on this :

The paradox of being a teacher is, I think, that on the one hand we are constantly told to keep developing professionally (and personally, as ours is such a personal vocation) and yet at the same time to retain and foster those aspects of our practice that are positive, passionate and/or already effective. We are definitely complex beings if only we had the time to truly map out our own complexity.

I would like to argue that educators can and should do both. To straddle the paradox. To grow and build on knowledge and skills in order to become better whilst at the same time maintain aspects of our professional lives that are of benefit to our students and our colleagues. Part of this is to instil a sense of independence fused to collegiality and collaboration, to feel that we are contributing as an individual to a shared vision alongside others.

The issue is; what needs changing? Or as Matt asks “What sacred cows do you want to push over?”.   Those risks that we take when we make changes are reduced when we have clear purpose and understanding.

Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change – this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.”  Bruce Barton  (from BrainyQuote)


50 years in education

We have been celebrating our school’s 50th anniversary over the past few weeks.  On Sunday, many past students and teachers visited to reminisce and celebrate.  I saw the look of wonder when some wandered through the new environment, noticing the changes and connecting with the things that remain the same.

I wondered “What will school look like in another 50 years?”  “How will the students of today feel when they return in 50 years time?”.

I don’t have the answer to either question, but I do hope for a few things.

I hope that:

  • schools retain the sense of community they currently have and most definitely had in their early years
  • a feeling of belonging is entrenched which is exhibited in the sense of pride of being part of the community even after a period away
  • we continue to focus on the relationships between teachers, students and parents
  • the wonders and potential of technology enhance these relationships
  • the school reflects the changes in the wider community