Wednesday, April 29, 2009

ICTEV 2009 Conference

As I have just been to an ICTEV meeting I thought it was timely to put out a reminder about our state conference, "ICT for Tomorrow's Learning". This will be held at Melbourne Grammar, on Saturday May 30th. This will be ICTEV's 30th conference and the theme is weaving ICT into all areas of education. Check out the website and have a look at the conference program and details!


I met with a representative from StudyTech, a company that works with school to improve their ICT network and technical challenges.
"For Studytech, education is not a branch or a sideline, but the focus of our entire business. StudyTech exists to respond to the needs of students, educators and the wider education community with the understanding that reliable results, useful innovation and fixed costs translate into exciting outcomes for the end user...the teacher AND student.Having spent years working in the school system, we understand the school culture, its needs, including the inherent frustrations and joys! "
I would recommend having a look at their website. They have been involved in some fascinating projects and the implentation of a MOE (Managed Operating Environment) could a solution for many schools.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Scratch Day - May 16th

I have mentioned Scratch in previous posts, so I thought it important to acknowledge Scratch Day on May 16th:

"Meet, share, and learn with Boston-area Scratchers at Scratch Day MIT!

Participate in hands-on workshops, exhibit your favorite Scratch projects, and share ideas with members of the MIT Scratch Team. We'll be organizing sessions on getting started with Scratch, integrating Scratch into classrooms, controlling Scratch with sensors, and more. Scratchers of all ages and levels of experience are welcome!

Online registration is now available at"

From the Scratch Website

Find out where events are being held all over the world, click here.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Google SketchUp - Project Spectrum

I decided to write this post about the application, Google SketchUp. This is a 3D graphics creator that is a free download. SketchUp is related to Google Earth and you able to see 3D sketches of famous buildings as well as creating your own. SketchUp can be used in upper primary (elementary) and all through seconday school.

The main reason for this post is to inform you all about Project Spectrum. It is a project to provide people with Austism an avenue for creativity. The educators section provides plenty of information. This is from the site:

"Project Spectrum was created to give people with autism the opportunity to express their creativity and develop a life skill using Google SketchUp 3D modeling software.
The idea for Project Spectrum originated when we began getting phone calls and emails from users telling us about how much kids on the autism spectrum were enjoying SketchUp. As the calls kept coming in, we learned that people with autism tend to be visually and spatially gifted—that, in fact, they think in pictures. When people with these gifts get their hands on powerful, easy-to-use 3D design software like SketchUp, sparks tend to fly."

My (current) favourite gadget - part 2

I purchased a "Flip" camera to trial in the classroom. Well, I am very happy with it indeed. It takes up to 60 minutes of great quality video and is extremely easy to use. When you have finished filming, just press a button and the USB connection flips out. Once connected to the computer, the software gives you plenty of options, such as saving the selected video to file or editing the footage.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The 50th Post!

I thought the best way to celebrate the 50th post for ICT Tim's Blog was to include a piece of work created using ICT by one of my students. Enjoy...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Anthony Lawrence - Animator

Today we had an incursion from a famous Australian animator, Anthony Lawrence, to talk about his work to our grade 3/4 students. He showed the students the many elements in creating backgrounds, the staging of the animation and puppet creation. It was an inspiring presentation and the children are now keen to create their own. You can have a look at a range of his animations on his website in the Animation Gallery.

Here is one of his first animations, "Looking for Horses" 2002 (Direction/Photography/Animation by Anthony Lawrence Written by Chrissie McMahon Awarded Special Distinction 2002 Annecy International Animation Festival):

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A slight change!

Don't worry, there is nothing wrong with your screen. I have slightly changed the  colour scheme of the blog as a celebration towards post number 50. Let me know what you think...

...and for those who have never seen my blog before, it used to be kind of green.

My (current) favourite gadget - Part 1

I am absolutely loving my wireless laptop modem.

As a Victorian State School teacher, a lot of websites are blocked by our education department. I do not necessarily disagree with that, however it is useful to be able to show clips from Youtube and using Google images (both one of many blocked sites). Having a wireless modem for my laptop has been fantastic, as I can access anything on the Internet that would normally be blocked. We are doing a unit that has an animation aspect to it this term and was able to show some of the amazing animations from Aniboom, a website that is blocked by the department.

Also, I have been very impressed with the speed. I normally use ADSL at home and thought wireless would be a lot less slower, however I hardly notice the difference. A good indication of speed is watching a video at a video sharing site (see list of links in right hand column).

Note: Altough the image is of an Optus modem (which I use), I do not promote any particular ISP it is just I have all my other connections with the one company - and thus a better deal.

Scratch Success

I introduced 'Scratch' today with my grade 3/4 students and decided the best way to begin was to let them explore the website and see what other children have created. They were to look at least five 'Scratch' creations and evaluate them:

What was it about?

What could you do with it?

What did you think of it?

Well, they were really into it and had a great time looking at the great range and variety of creations on the website. They are now all really keen to learn how to use the program.

There are some great resources and 'how to' videos in the support section of the website, but here is a great video to introduce programming with 'Scratch':

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Scratch Update

In a previous post, I introduced the free programming language for students called "Scratch". This free download was created by Mitch Resnick, from the MIT Media Lab. As I am about to introduce this to my students, I have included this video about the program:

I will be posting about how my students go...stay tuned!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Web Browsers

I am trialling a new web browser, Opera, and am very impressed with it so far. I was using Mozilla Firefox, but for some strange reason it does not work with my Optus wireless modem on my laptop. Although I have no major problems with Internet Explorer, I have found that other browsers work better when creating blogs and viewing videos. So if you are using Opera or another web browser leave a comment on what you think.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Brainstorming Tool -

If you want free brainstorming or mindmapping tool then take a look at It is free to use and if you register you can upload share your maps. Here is just a brief example:

The Hat

As term two is about to begin (for Victorian teachers anyway) I have found this free download call The Hat. It is a fun way for selecting partners for activities or for choosing individual children for particular classroom roles. I might use it for randomly seating students at the beginning of the term.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another photo sharing website

Found BubbleShare, another convenient way to share your photos. Here are some pics from my holiday to Adelaide as an example.

BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Useful application - hott notes

Hott Notes is a great application for putting virtual sticky notes on your desktop. It is completely free and I use it a great deal - I do tend forget things!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Although on holiday...

If you want a different (and fun) way to share your holiday pictures, visit Slide - I used it to create this montage of images from my trip to Apollo Bay.

Positive opinions on video games and children

I found this article (Games 'valuable learning tool') in "The Age" (a popular Melbourne newspaper), April 9th 2009. I certainly agree that video games, in moderation of course, can be beneficial to children. With new platforms, like the Wii, there are more opportunities for interaction amongst young users. The article is based on the research by Don and Patricia Edgar, who are authorities on children's media, education and social trends. Their discussion paper, "Television, Digital Media and children’s learning" is a fascinating read! They wrote the paper by invitation from the VCAA (The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority) about the potential of media technology to improve children’s learning.

...and then there is this:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Technology News

"THE Federal Government has announced the "largest infrastructure decision in Australia's history" after deciding not to award the national broadband network contract to a company.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the Government would lead the development of a national fibre-to-the-home broadband network up to "100 times faster than what many people use now".

The ambitious project will take up to eight years, cost $43 billion, create tens of thousands of jobs and will see fibre-optic cable laid out to individual houses.

The fibre-optic network, providing speeds of up to 100 megabits per second, will cover 90 per cent of Australians, while the rest will have access to a mix of wireless and satellite connections."

text courtesy


Sunday, April 5, 2009

One year to go...

In 365 days it will be the opening of ACEC2010. To celebrate I have found a video with a range of clips from the movie 2010, an adaptation of the Arthur C. Clarke book. For entertainment purposes only...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pivot Animation - Save as a movie file

As previously mentioned I use Pivot Animation with my students - a great introduction to animation skills. Here are some useful tips...

Save your Pivot animation as a movie file:
  • When you go to save the animation there will be options down the bottom - choose the "Save as type" option and then choose the "Gif" option. Save the file.
  • You can now edit and put together your animations using Movie Maker

Insert a background:

  • Choose the "file" option from the top left. Now choose the "load background" option. If you want to use more than one background - save each seperate a animation as a gif file and then put them all together using Movie Maker or other video editing software.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hole in the wall project

Speaking at LIFT 2007, Sugata Mitra talks about his Hole in the Wall project. Young kids in this project figured out how to use a PC on their own -- and then taught other kids. He asks, what else can children teach themselves?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

ACEC2010 - Social Activities

As part of my role on the organising committee for the National Conference (ACEC2010) is organising social activities for the participants. I have created a blog, Melbourne ACEC2010, to promote social ideas around Melbourne.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Ultranet

Here in Victoria the schools are taking on a new ICT initiative, the Ultranet program. From the Victorian Government Website:

"The Ultranet is a student centred electronic learning environment that supports high quality learning and teaching, connects students, teachers and parents and enables efficient knowledge transfer. It will establish a schools environment for the future that improves the educational outcomes of all Victorians."

The question is, are schools ready? This diagram is also from that website.

Would love to hear from schools in Victoria about their thoughts and experiences.

Fantastic Animation Website

Hi all, as you may have guessed - I have a real passion for animation and especially the learning in ICT that it promotes. Please take the time to check out this website, StopMotionAnimation, and make sure you click on the "links" option - a brilliant resource! Also, please checkout the "handbook" link, once again some fabulous resources there too!