Web Two Telegraph – A Collaborative Web 2.0 Environment

Archive for the ‘Web 2.0 Resources’ Category

Using slideshare for MS Powerpoint presentations online

Posted by murcha on April 12, 2008

My students and I still enjoy using powerpoint as we all have confidence in its use, it can produce great results and is user friendly.

Slideshare is a web2.0 tool which is also userfriendly and will convert MS Powerpoint presentations to be embedded into blogs and wikis, for online collaboration or use. However, if you are an educationalist, check that the site is not blocked at your institution or at the school you wish to share with.

The following instructions for using this tool are based on my experiences with uploading powerpoint to slideshare.


  • Goto www.slideshare.net and register>activate your email>Signin
  • prepare MS Powerpoint presentation
  • text needs to be a large size, especially the headings. Headings should be approx 66 points and other text 48points or greater
  • images need to be resized to keep the file size small. My experience, indicates resizing to 380 x 170 up to 500 x 233 and must be jpg
  • insert the image into the slide. It will be quite small>grab the corner handles and resize to fill the slide or appropriate area
  • When finished, test and edit, if necessary
  • Save as filetype ms ppt 2003-2007 as slideshare does not recognize yet, the latest office edition.
  • goto upload>browse and select files>select powerpoint>open. Insert a heading, appropriate tags and choose the appropriate privacy settings>publish
  • After a period of time, the slideshare is ready. Goto ‘my slideshares’>double click on appropriate selection>goto rhs of screen>choose embed (wordpress) if working with wordpress, or if edublogs use, choose the ’embed in your blog’ option>select all>copy code and embed in your blog or wiki.
  • Options for editing and deleting exist



Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Inserting Images, Web 2.0 Resources | 4 Comments »

What is a Wiki?

Posted by murcha on February 18, 2008

Several of my dear blogging friends at LeEnchanteur, (whom I have sadly neglected but will get back to, I promise!!) and soul food cafe and the wildgarden, have asked me what a wiki is, and I am sure many of you out there do not know either, so I shall write a post re wikis.


To me, wikis can be used for various purposes:-

  • a resource bank and storage area
  • a web page for a school or business
  • an interactive and collaborative tool where either selected persons or everyone can add to, delete, edit etc
  • and many more, dependent only on the imagination of the user

I started with wikis about 6 months ago and now play an important role in my web2.0 life now, including my teaching application.

The following is a definition from the largest and best known wiki of them all:- wikipedia. A wiki is software that allows users to create, edit, and link web pages easily. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites.

sample of one of my wikis

Above is a screenshot of one of my wikis that I use for filing all my resources.It is constantly updated and open for all to view but not to edit. It has a vast collection of links, blogs, urls and documentation for the web 2.0 journey I am sharing with my students. They can be accessed by clicking on the links. It is easy to embed videos, podcasts and other web2.0 html. They can be used interactively and collaboratively. A discussion site is present and the history tab allows you to see any editing.

I am also a member of various other educational wikis eg eduwikius, Women of the Web etc My classes have been part of collaborative wikis between other countries. Students have created a talking voki (computer animated ID) and introduced themselves to a school in NZ and in Las Vegas. Teachers in both countries had administrative rights and could add to the wiki or delete as necessary. Time is always a factor and they are still work in progress. I love this wiki of Graham Wegners shared with a school in Alaska. It shows the power of a wiki for collaboration.

Currently, our students are working on 1001 flat tales project at an elementary level (grade 3 and 4) and at the middle school level (years6 and 7). Four schools from USA, two from Canada and two from Australia are involved. Students will each be given a page or space of their own where they will start to put up a little about themselves and start writing their stories. Their partner in another country will comment on their ideas, storylines, accuracy, sentence construction, word fluency, conventions and mechanics etc over a period of time using the 6 traits to effective writing.

Wikis can be closed to public viewing or open with permission for all to edit, add to and delete (this is how wikipedia came about) or may be viewed but not edited unless permission by the space manager is given.
Some of the most popular wiki tools are:

  • Wikispaces – easy to use, great backup service, free to educationalists (make sure you register for the free version if you are in education as it is ad free as well)
  • Wetpaint Our school cluster uses wetpaint as its wiki tool as do other individual members of our school staff. If wetpaint will come to my post and place a comment on it, (which they have done twice)  they deserve 10+ out of 10. They have reminded me that their wikis are free and their educational wikis are advertisement free. Due to their personal interest, I am certain that their support service would be great. Checkout their wikisineducation site. And further,  if you find you like a Wetpaint wiki in the classroom, you can be featured at http://wikisineducation.wetpaint.com/page/What+the+Bloggers+are+Saying
  • pbwiki

Other examples of wikis are

http://aquaculturepda.wikispaces.com/ I love this one by DS Waters – lots of resources and tutorials for web2.0
Wikibooks is a Wikimedia community for creating a free library of educational textbooks that anyone can edit. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Web 2.0 Classrooms, Web 2.0 Resources | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »


Posted by murcha on January 17, 2008

Twitter is one of the fastest growing uses of the internet. It is the equivalent of a one minute blog completed in 140 characters. In the short time that I have used it, my knowledge of web 2.0 has been on another steep learning curve due to the virtual teamwork involved.  I will outline how to use twitter in its basic format. There is much more but that can wait for another time.

twitter home page

Register with twitter and activate the resultant email. (Some people have several twitter names.)

Search for people who you know are in twitter and click follow. Add as many as you can and return to the home screen.  Tweets by  people you are following should show up on the screen.


Key in what you are doing at the moment and press update. Just keep on tweeting until someone replies or simply watch everyone else’s tweets.

Click on an avatar, go to next window and a direct message link will show up on the RHS side bar. Key in a direct message to that person and it is then kept private from the general tweeters and goes directly to their email account.

To add more interesting people, click on one avatar and look at who they follow. Choose some of these people to follow. Some of the experienced users will take a very caring and sharing approach if they know you are a newbie. Many will suggest some good people to follow. If you join in, people will want to follow you.

A person can be removed or blocked from your list if the need arises. Click on their avatar and look for the links.

140 characters is the limit to a tweet.

Uses in education

Twitter is a powerful social networking tool and this is where I see its greatest benefit. I started with 3 people to follow and one week later have 89 and 58 following me. Some of the most popular tweeters state that 150 is a good number and may not wish to follow more. However, unless they are selective, you can still follow their comments and learn.

A blog in a minute.

Quick communication and feedback tool.

Follow sites like edtechtalk and be informed when their live shows are on. (Highly recommended.)

Possibility for classroom uses.

There is so much more to twitter but give it a try. However, careful, it can be very addictive.

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Social networking, Web 2.0 Resources | Tagged: | 2 Comments »


Posted by murcha on January 10, 2008

Using Vokis
School holidays are always a welcome relief from the pressure of lesson plans, assessment, general adiminstration and report writing. It can be a time to catch up with some genuine web 2.0 research, establish social networks and explore some of the improvements to existing web 2.0 software and discover new applications.
One software that I revisited,  was the rather ‘kitchy’ voki website at www.voki.com These little computer animated vodcasts allow you to customize your own personal ID, add your voice or use a computer generated voice to communicate online or via a mobile phone. Students love using these and even the shyest don’t mind talking into the microphone.

See examples of student vokis used on a collaborative project at http://anzaconnection.wikispaces.com/Introductions Be patient as it will take a while to load!

Steps in using vokis

First register for the website with a user name and password. If a student ensure they use an unidentifiable user name and if they are under the age of 13, let them access your voki logon as many vokis can be created under one user name.
You must activate your account from the email you have directed registration towards. (do not forget or you will not be able to save your vokis.)
Return to voki website and login. Click create a new voki.


(If you have already created a voki choose use existing scene to keep your voki consistent. Choose one of your existing examples. (The audio message only is changed.)
Choose your face, clothing, glasses, backgrounds and even an audio player style by clicking on the approprate icon and build your little voki. The illustrated voki above  allows messages to be shared by clicking on the little notepad icon in the bottom right hand corner (just above the player) If the cube in the lefthand corner is selected, it will choose a random character for you.
When satisfied with your voki, it is time to “give it a voice”.

Create a voki 

Choose from telephone, T or microphone. We use the microphone (making sure you allow access) and press the record button. Wait until you see the little wheel going around and it actually says ‘recording’ and start talking. A written script ensures that the audio flows smoothly. When finished, click done. If student is too shy or recording does not work, choose the T which allows text to be keyed in and an accent chosen for the mechanical voice.

Replay your message and when satisfied, click done. Save to your hard drive. You are then returned to your startup window, so that you can now find the code required for your site. I choose the small dimensions, agree to conditions and then copy the code that appears. This code can then be used to embed into a wiki, blog or webpage for collaborative use by pasting it in the usual manner.Some voki characters allow you to add messages. This opens up further educational value. Eg discussions between students or teacher/student on an initial statement made by the original voki.
Some possible classroom uses
·  introductory  purposes between students from other schools or countries with class member vokis all embedded in a table on a wiki.
· Allow questions to be posed and answered between classes.
· To introduce a topic in an interesting manner on their wiki, blog or web page
· If a character allows insert message, then a discussion can take place on the one voki between students.

If you use vokis or wish to use them, please add a comment and let us know how you use them.

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Audio Visual, Web 2.0 Resources | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

My top 10 Web 2.0 sites for 2007

Posted by murcha on December 29, 2007

Being an absolute beginner at web 2.0 until June, 2007, I am going to reflect on the 10 web 2.0 sites that I have enjoyed using most this year. I am following the lead of my friend Chrissy, Teaching Sagitarrian who helped start me on this amazing journey. See her favourite 5 web 2.0 in the classroom.

Mine are as follows but not necessarily in order of popularity:-

  1. http://del.icio.us.com this was where I started
  2. www.bubbl.us used widely for brainstorming
  3. blogs at www.wordpress.com with a lot of help and encouragement from Heather Blakey and Jess of technolote
  4. www.wikispaces.com used for classroom use and also for summarizing my ejourneys with the students.
  5. docs.google.com for online sharing of documents and spreadsheets with classes in other countries.
  6. www.skype.com – videoconferencing with powerful learning applications, used with NZ and Korea
  7. www.voki.com for fun, user protected podcast applications
  8. www.podomatic.com for hosting our student podcasts
  9. www.teachertube.com for hosting our videos
  10. www.surveymonkey.com for easily created online surveys

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Web 2.0 Classrooms, Web 2.0 Resources | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Feeding a web2.0 appetite

Posted by murcha on December 23, 2007

Looking forward to each new day of the wonderful advent calendar of Heather’s at the following address:- http://www.dailywriting.net/Wild%20Gardeners%20eLearning/Advent2007.htm, many people may wonder how they can keep up with all the new entries from their favourite blog authors, news headlines or podcasts.

Web 2.0 has provided another wonderful feature in the form of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that’s easier than checking them manually. RSS content can be read using software called an “RSS reader”, “feed reader” or an “aggregator“. A subscribscription is made to a feed by entering the feed’s link into the reader or by clicking an RSS icon in a browser that initiates the subscription process. The reader checks the user’s subscribed feeds regularly for new content, downloading any updates that it finds. You will know if your favourite blog allows RSS as it has a small orange module with 3 white curved lines and RSS written above it.

Some possible readers include the following:-

My reader of choice is google.reader.com Time has not permitted me to use iGoogle fully yet but as I subscribe to some yahoo groups, myahoo will allow me similar functions.
If wishing to use google reader, become a member and click on the link add subscription on the left hand side. In the resultant window, enter the web address you want to subscribe to and hey presto, you will be notified when new entries become available.

In yahoo, click on the link to my yahoo on the opening window. Just click to add the module and follow the instructions on the page. Just choose where to display the module on your page and you’ve got an RSS newsreader in just a few simple clicks.

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Web 2.0 Classrooms, Web 2.0 Resources | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Producing online movies

Posted by murcha on December 19, 2007

Some year 8 girls were given the challenge to produce a short movie on Christmas in Australia through the eyes of a child. They independently interviewed students from prep through to grade 5 and asked these students what they wanted for Christmas or what Christmas meant to them. A cheaper, simple desktop microphone was used to record their voices directly into the software, audacity. (a free download software). After some editing, the interviews were converted into an mp3 file. (A codec needs to be downloaded from the audacity site, otherwise it will be a wav file which is far too large for online use.)

The audacity window

audacity toolbar

Photos of Christmas crafts, activities, lights and decorations around school and Hawkesdale were then taken. After careful selection, photos were imported into MS Photostory. Effects were added, and the mp3 interview file imported. The story was then made into a movie for playback on the computer.

To enable music to also play in the background, we had to use a more professional software package, called Vegas Movie Studio by Sony. This allows a number of sound tracks to be added and easier insertion of text, for headers and credit rolls. The internet was searched for “free mp3 Christmas songs” and a large number of sites were located. However, our service provider had blocked many of our first choice, so we used a couple from sites that we could access. A right click on the link to the mp3 file, allowed us to save that song into our folders and then import into Movie Studio.

Once titles, extra sound tracks and the photostory movie were imported, an mpg movie was created (in PAL format for Australian screens) and saved again on our hard drive. To allow online use, it was saved again but this time as an email (wmv version at 512 kps). Having already registered with teacher tube, it was uploaded onto teachertube following their very simple instructions.

Hints for speaking with a microphone:

Some of our student voices are not recorded well. A teaching friend has since given us these hints:-
if students hold the microphone just below their chin and put their fist on
their chest, the sound seems to work better for recording. No air flow into the
microphone and more even volume from person to person.

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Audio Visual, Web 2.0 Classrooms, Web 2.0 Resources | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Skype that Call!!

Posted by murcha on December 17, 2007

Skype has opened up a whole new world – both cyber and international worlds. Skype is VOiP (Voice over internet protocol) which allows (to put very simply) two computers to ring each other like a telephone. Such calls are then free, except for the cost of the download time.

We have two sons who live in London and skype allows us to keep in constant contact with them, either by speaking to each other, text chatting or by videoconferencing. Living in a rural community, our neighbourhood telephone lines went out of order recently and as there is no mobile phone service in our area, we were able to put credit on our skype account and ring landline telephone numbers. This allowed us to have some communication with the outside world.

Skype is wonderful and has huge potential in the educational field. It allows us to ring teachers in other countries, to share lesson plans and ideas, and to work collaboratively on setting up wikis. However, the best use for our school has been that of videoconferencing with a school in Korea. Last week, we spent five days trialling the use and impact of skype. First, we had students from each country ask impromptu questions . The second time, we had already worked out the type of questions to ask eg what are your school hours, typical foods, subjects studied, weather, where we live etc. By the fifth day we really used the technology.

One of our boys had found a blue tongued lizard. He brought it into our library and put it up against our Blue tongue lizardssmall web camera. The Korean students could actually see his little blue tongue going in and out. The Korean students then took their camera to the window and we could see their beautiful snow clad school yard right down to a man sweeping the snow away with a wooden broom. We were about to go swimming though, because our temperature was 35 deg.

They had asked us about our sports. Having worked out the potential of the camera, a year 9 boy leapt from his seat to go and get a cricket bat, ball and stumps. Our library was converted into a cricket field with demonstrations of bowling and batting displayed in front of the web camera. It was then time to bring in a meat pie because no matter how we verbally described it, they could not grasp what it was. Vegemite soon followed and with that all sorts of questions and impromptu conversations flowed. Students forgot their shyness about their language skills and we started to really learn from each other. Korean students then showed us their wonderful mobile phones and features. Finally we compared uniforms but the bell went and we had to continue on to our other subject areas.

Surely this is powerful learning!!!! Students are activating their own education and wishing to research further and learn more about each other. As a result, short videos have been added to teachertube to show what Korean students have for lunch and a brief visual tour of the school. Our students made a canteen video to show them what we can purchase for lunch.

To use skpye, you need to

  • download the software which is free,Using skype with grade 6 students
  • register with a user name and password. There are no telephone numbers, but instead a user name. You can search for other people’s usernames and add them as contacts. To ring, you simply highlight the appropriate name and press the green phone button.
  • a web camera for videoconferencing.
  • A desktop microphone gives better quality audio and headphones ensure some privacy.

Download powergramo and the conversation can be recorded. We have produced a podcast at (http://murch.podOmatic.com/rss2.xml or search for using skype – Australia and Korea students at www.podomatic.com), on our first skype session with Korea and Gail Casey, the English teacher in Korea captured it on video at their end. See it at http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=d1cef75ffbe159c1f322) Still photos can also be taken whilst in the video conference. They are automatically saved in my pictures.

Skype is only on staff laptops as security could be a real issue. Our library has an interactive whiteboard for class presentations, but a datashow would suffice. There are other providers of VOiP. Conference calls can also be set up but the video will only work between two callers. Sound can be a problem at times and calls can tend to drop out but despite this overall it works wonders. So skype that call!!

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Audio Visual, Web 2.0 Classrooms, Web 2.0 Resources | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Digital Storytelling

Posted by murcha on December 16, 2007

If “a picture paints 1000 words”, how many million words would a video, combined with sound, transitions, voiceovers and text paint???? Perhaps I could pose that question of my students. Speaking of which, one of the most used and popular software programs on our school system after MS Word and MS Powerpoint, is MS Photostory which is a free download for legal owners of Windows XP. This amazing program allows a professional finish to video and multimedia production, with a minimum of effort. Students will always choose this software if they need to complete a digital story in a short amount of time. Some of the best stories come from students who have poorer literacy skills but are quite happy to talk and tell you all about their story.

Students can tell their stories digitally by inserting still images, text, voice and background music. Open photostory 3, choose begin a new story >next>import pictures. Up to 300 pictures can be imported. (Personally, I recommend resizing the photos if they are large and of type bmp to keep the completed product to a manageable size.)

Stories have included the best times of their lives, individual achievements, school camps, class photos, their own backyard etc. Sample movies using the majority of Photostory features can be viewed at http://www.backyard.globalstudent.org.au
A tutorial guide on using MS Photostory 3

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Web 2.0 Classrooms, Web 2.0 Resources | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Movie(ing) Christmas along.

Posted by murcha on December 10, 2007

I really like the idea of putting up a stand alone Christmas blog. When Heather suggested it to me and discovering that there was a template for Christmas, my head went into 5th gear to try and work out what could be done. Half of our years 7-9 students have gone on a week long bike ride, so the rest of the year levels are split into three groups and rotated around the remaining staff.

I had my first group this afternoon. After showing them the bare Christmas template at www.christmas2us.wordpress.com, the group discussed what could be done to improve the site and the of content that might go in it. They were all set to task to create some different products to add to the blog. Fortunately, the year7s already had completed work on “Christmas through the 5 senses” (I smell, I see, I taste, I hear, I feel). Students come up with some amazing work, so they were challenged to convert their word processed documents into a mutli media or movie format.

After much thought and discussion and due to the time restraints placed upon us, most students cut and pasted their text into MS Powerpoint and added clip art or photos for improved visual impact. Powerpoint slides were then saved as jpg rather than powerpoint presentation. This converted each slide into a picture which could then be imported into MS Photostory. Students love using Photostory. It is so easy to use, allows photo editing, panning, transitions, text addition and is a free download if MS Office is purchased. It gives such a professional outcome with the minimum of effort and time. It can be saved into so many different formats for either output on the computer, email, mp4 players or playback on appropriate mobile phones.

As students completed their photostory, we did a search for free Christmas song mp3 files and many sites came up. Students chose an appropriate one for their story, right clicked on the link and saved target as into their folder. This allowed them to insert that music into one of the final slides of MS Photostory. The movie was tested and then saved for use on their hard drive. It was then converted into email format and uploaded into teachertube. (Youtube is banned in our schools in Victoria). A code then allows that movie to be embedded into the blog or wiki of your choice. Some of the older students are working on movies and some just love to write. When complete these will be added to the blog.

School is such a hive of activity. Christmas trees are going up in the classrooms, decorations are being made and craftwork completed.Upon wandering down the corridor, I noticed and read with delight the Christmas musings of the grade 2s. Their work was proudly displayed on the wall outside their classroom. So a separate page has been added for their writings on the blog. It is called Christmas musings. Out of the mouths of babes……..!!!!

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