Thursday, April 25, 2013

Unit 5: VICPLN

Search the Web

Effectiveness of search engines - Topic of search: Shogunate Japan

I found that Google, Bing and Duck Duck Go returned much the same results when a search on Shogunate Japan was completed.  First results included Wikipedia, Encyclopaedia Britannica and

I liked the Duck Duck Go interface; it was clear and easy to navigate.  I found Bing and Google too busy for students, however a mature user may enjoy the myriad options that Google provides.

InstaGrok was fantastic.   I liked the Key Facts for quick access and the links to Websites, Videos, Images and a Glossary.  I am a visual person and so I liked the Concept Map.

Website Evaluation

Trusted website:
I knew this was a trusted site for the following reasons:
URL - the URL is a .gov site.  This means it is a government site and administered by people employed in government departments.
Author - the people responsible for this website are working for the National Library of Australia.  This gives them credibility as a Library has many resources and are meticulous in their presentation, their aim is to provide resources to World Wide Web and there is no underlying motive for sales.
Advertising - there is no advertising material on the page.  The site is not attempting to make profit through advertisement which gives credibility to the site.
Date - by clicking on the Site News tab the user can see when the latest updates were made and what they were.   This gives the feeling that the site is regularly updated with current resources.
Functionality - It is important for a site to look and feel professional.  If a site does look and feel professional it is easy and efficient to use.  Trove is clear and easy to find information.

I always tag my tweets and my bookmarks and so it felt natural to tag my blog posts.  I do need to spend some time reflecting on my older posts and tagging - or "labelling" as blogger calls it.

I used Pinterest for a while - but felt I was doubling up and Diigoing resources as well.  I used it more when I had my iPad with me, surfing the Net whilst watching TV.  It is a lot of fun to check other pin boards - I did find some cool stuff.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Unit 4: PLN

First evaluation:
1. Twitter will be the focus of my evaluation today.  It is my favourite and possibly, my most consistently used tool on the Internet.  
2. A clear path to the information pages was available through accessing Settings and Help. Deactivation of the account is available through accessing Settings and Settings.  It is in small font, but coloured red, so I did notice it.  In the Help section there was a huge amount of information, it was organised very efficiently and was easy to understand.  I did read some of the information when I signed up, as I was new to social networking and needed to understand how the service worked.  I originally considered making my tweets private, as the idea of my updates being available through search engines did concern me as it is a permanent record.  I put some thought into my decision, but was swayed when I began following other educators I admire and modelling my behaviour on theirs.  I also wanted to be a full participant in Twitter and not try to control, but connect and create with others.
3. If I chose to, there is an option to Download my Twitter Archive.  Accessed via the settings menu, the instructions were clear and easy to follow.
4. My Twitter account can be easily deactivated and reactivated.  30 days after deactivation it will be permanently deleted.  

From my evaluation I would recommend Twitter.  However, I would inform users that Tweets can be found through Search Engines if they leave their account (default setting) on public.  I would also recommend they think about what they would like their angle to be; education, library, social commentating etc.  I think the most successful Twitter users have a really clear focus and create a strong network following like-minded individuals.  The first time I used Twitter I followed anyone I was remotely interested in and posted on a vast array of topics.  I didn't really achieve much through this approach and was sick of trawling through a myriad tweets that didn't have much purpose for me.  I fine tuned and focused on "library" and have found it far more valuable.

Second evaluation:
From the list of services I have used:
Evernote - Toondoo - GoodReads - Wallwisher - Pinterest - ACMI 15 Second Place - Wikispaces - Glogster - Prezi - Weebly - Popplet - Animoto

I have registered for and I get an email that I rarely read and always delete sent to me weekly.  So I will evaluate so that I can better understand how it works and why it might be of benefit to me!
  • Does the service require a login? If so, what information needs to be provided when signing up for an account? is designed to connect to other social media services.  To sign up for Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin accounts can be used.  An email address and password is all that is required (for free accounts).  If you find an article of interest on the Internet and share it via the service automatically updates to all of your social media (if you choose to connect them).  You can create a feed of interesting topics sent via email and appearing on dashboard.
  • Read through the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy of the site (if applicable). Do you see any potential issues for staff or student use?
Children under the age of 13 cannot use the service.  Children between the age of 13 and 18 require parental permission.  When working in school, parents are required to sign permission for their children to utilise the Internet and Web 2.0 tools.  Under 13s would not be able to use this service. reserve all rights to content curated through  This seems fair if the service is used at a basic level; simply scooping articles and posting them.  However where more curation is concerned it differs.  It is a part of using the Internet and its services that we have to understand we stop "owning" our content when we publish it through some online services and that it cannot be deleted (Facebook).

If you sign up for a plan (not free service) there is more information required and more information gained through UserVoice which collects information through your content and activity.

In comparison to the simplicity and clarity of the Twitter Terms of Services was unhelpful and unclear.  I have struggled to understand; the functions and use of the service is complex and the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy continued this theme.  
  • How could you use this tool in your professional learning? Can you see it being useful to someone else in your organisation? Why?
This is a useful tool for keeping abreast of a range of topics and contacts of interest.  I connect it to my Twitter account only, however for colleagues that utilise a range of social media this could be a great service.  I have also included a button on my blog for my followers to Scoop my articles if they choose.
  • Could this tool be used in an educational setting? What tasks might students complete using the tool? How could it change the tasks students are already doing? Where does it fit in the SAMR model of assessment?
Students could use this to connect to topics and people of interest.  Teachers and students could sign up, follow each other and share resources.  Students could use this as a service for connecting to their social media accounts.  Students could be required to use to create a topic, find articles on the Internet and then submit their URL of curated content.  

Student Task: could be used as part of a research assignment.  The topic could be: Shakespeare, nuclear weapons, global warming etc.  Students would be required to complete research on the Internet by selecting articles and sites that are appropriate and then scooping them to use for the research  on their assignment.  If this involved group work students could check each other's social media where content is posted.

Substitution - using is not a direct substitution for a conventional tool. utilises new technology and new concepts and so does not align to traditional methods.
Augmentation - using is not similar to a conventional tool with improvements.
Modification - using allows for significant task redesign.  If research is assigned, traditionally students would be required to find information and then complete task. allows for students completing a research task to search the Internet, search persons of interest and topics of interest in, "scoop" articles and add to a page with annotations and an independent URL.  Students can work with other students sharing via their social media accounts.
Redefinition - New tasks are available through the use of  
  • Were you able to create something useful with the tool? Is it easy to share what you’ve done by either publishing it online or even embedding it into your own site? If so, share what you created by pasting a link into your blog entry or embedding the item.
This is a convenient tool, not entirely efficient or clear in functionality, but purposeful.  I find I use it in that same way as Diigo.  I find things I am interested in and then want to "tag" them for future reference.  I enjoy receiving the email feed of topics I am interested in, particularly library design, as someone else is doing the work for me.  At this stage I am not sure whether I will use it more, I bookmark sites of interest in Diigo and dont have a lot of time to explore any further.  I could showcase this to staff and students, it has scope and allows another option for content curation.  I would like to see my students using a social bookmarking site, or this type of tool, to share content and tag for future reference.