We live in an increasingly visual society. Just take a look at the proliferation of, and near obsession with, digital and mobile phone cameras let alone the over three billion photos on Flickr! We are surrounded by images everywhere in our lives. By studying and discussing photographs with your students, you will help them better understand the complexities of their world.

By incorporating photographic media in your curriculum, you expose your class to artefacts from the past that are authentic and make history come alive. Many collections are coming online and provide educational institutions with free access e.g. State RPicadilly Circusecords. These historic photos fascinate students because they are real.

As David Jakes said, “Visual information is everywhere online, and the importance of being visually literate cannot be overstated. Visual literacy has been identified as an essential literacy by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills; and with the development of the tools and contributory capacity of Web 2.0, it is critical that schools focus on helping students acquire the skills necessary to navigate, evaluate, and to communicate with visual information.”

An suggested activity is to display a historical photo, like the one of Piccadilly Circus. Imagine it displayed on a SMARTBoard and students could come out and circle elements that were of note. This particular photo appears on http://www.histografica.com and has accompanying notes and a Google Map showing its location. The best feature of this website is that you can search for photos by date and location. As yet, there is not much Australian content on the site, but it would still provide a focus for discussing ‘Then and Now’ i.e. have a modern photo of the location and do a Compare / Contrast activity.

To give you more ideas and to start you thinking about questions to be discussed, look at Picture This. For instance, Where do you think it was taken? Who do you think the people in the picture are? What does it look like they are doing? Utilise your technology to zoom in to uncover more detail. For instance, who is this person? What is he doing? What products are being advertised in the area?

“All of us are watchers – of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway – but few of us are observers. Everyone is looking, not many are seeing” (Leschak).

To help children “see”, a wonderful project is being run by Picture Australia, called the Re-Picture Australia project. Further details at www.pictureaustralia.org. Picture Australia is hosted by National Library of Australia which also houses a wonderful collection of photos.


Initially I was a little nervous on receiving Darcy’s tweet informing me I’d been tagged … but on reflection, I decided to honoured my last year’s New Year’s resolution to take on all challenges and think ‘Yes’ before ‘No’. So, here goes:

1. I love stationery … piles of blank pads, sharpened pencils, packets of postits, boxes of pens bring a special feeling of well-being.

2. I loved primary school but disengaged in Year 7 and majored in truancy in Year 11 and 12 and Teacher’s College.

3. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work with a visionary principal at an independent girls’ school in Sydney (1988 – 1998 ) .. she gave me the challenges and opportunities to really develop as an educator.

4. I am torn … I feel like a traitor leaving the public school system and yet, know I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t joined the private school system. Now happy to be working in public schools again!

5. I love my two Border Collies.

6. I am into surf and turf i.e. love my morning beach walks as well as my time up on our 5 acre rural retreat .. life is indeed good!

7. I fractured my ankle in October 2008 and need to get back to being fit and active again … and losing the 3.5 kg I put on while sitting on my backside for 8 weeks!

Passing the baton on to:

Anne BB

Brian Lockwood






Searching the web effectively does present problems for many students. Tag Galaxy provides an engaging, easy-to-use interface which supports the searching process. "frog" search results

Enter a keyword or tag into Tag Galaxy (http://taggalaxy.de/). The example above is the result for ‘frog’. The results are displayed as an interactive, multi-dimensional visualization … each planet represents a group of photos that have the related tag i.e. amphibian, pond, animal, green.

Choosing one of these orbiting planets narrows the search further. When the central globe itself is clicked, the related photos are presented in an amazing fashion. Photos fly in and ’stick’ to the globe, which can be rotated and turned.

When a suitable photo is found you can click on it to zoom in and to access the related Flickr page. Students can then view closely to make observations or download to use in multimedia presentations (provided copyright is appropriate).

Flickr photos relating to frogs

What software do you find most beneficial for your students to use? Click here for a link to a short survey.

Zoomerang provides a free online survey tool which can survey up to 100 people. Very easy to use and publish. The survey will remain active for 10 days. To see it working, complete this survey and then try creating your own.

Results published soon …

The Pics4Learning collection consists of thousands of images that have been donated by students, teachers and amateur photographers. Unlike many Internet sites, permission has been granted for teachers and students to use all of the images donated to the Pics4Learning collection.

Browse by topic, look at the most popular photos or do a search for specific images. Topics include  Animals, Countries, Education, Food, Geography, History, Signs, to name a few. Some of the over 50 topics have numbers in brackets – these refer to sub-topics i.e. Animals has 49 sub-topics which include Marsupials, Bats, Insects, etc.  In the Marsupial section, there are 96 jpg images which can be copied or downloaded and used in multimedia presentations and information reports.

Students can also contribute photos they have taken. An example activity could be setting the students the challenge of taking digital photos around your school of mathematical concepts e.g. acute angles, parallel lines or symmetry. These can then be uploaded to the Pics4Learning site. This activity is not only an authentic learning task to consolidate students mathematical understanding but also a very engaging activity where students would be using a range of ICT knowledge and skills as well as collaborative and decision-making skills.


Introduction to the second year of the Math Connection Project: a Mathematical Problem Solving Workshop between international and public schools around the world. Find the website at http://mathconnections.wikispaces.com/. This collaborative project is designed to provide a place for students and teachers to share their experiences with Mathematics and discover the connection of mathematics study to their own real world experiences. This year’s project is centred about four CHALLENGES which will use a variety of online tools to engage your students’ in exploring and communicating their understanding of Maths within four different strands.

CHALLENGE 1: DATA ANALYSIS November – December

CHALLENGE 2: GEOMETRY January – February



Interested in participating?

The project is open to all elementary and middle school level classrooms from all over the world. Join in for just one time or as many CHALLENGES as they fit into your planning and schedule. Individual, small groups, or whole class examples are welcome. Email Linda at lvnitsche@gmail.com to answer any other questions you might have. 

Project Goals

  • Develop mathematical understanding across the standards of communication, connections, and problem solving.
  • Develop an understanding of the use of mathematics in everyday life.
  • Develop an understanding of the universality of mathematics across the world.
  • Engage students in discussions about mathematics with others across the world.
  • Develop collaborative skills across classes and countries.
  • Creatively communicate new understandings about Mathematics.

Wouldn’t it be great to have some Australian involvement!


Thank you to Vicki Davis for spreading the word!

Since October 2008, The Louvre website (http://www.louvre.fr/llv/commun/home.jsp) features a new host: Dominique-Vivant Denon. The first director of the museum has been brought back to life as an animated character! He has a multitude of stories to tell about the museum and its contents, together with anecdotes from his travels, and he’ll help both children and adults explore the Louvre Web site! He will also entice young and old into his workshop—an Aladdin’s cave of treasures and memories.

When on the Louvre’s home page, click on Dominique’s head (top right-hand corner) and he’ll pop up all over the place to give students some practical information, suggestions for the virtual visit, and facts and figures about the museum. His audio narration will tell  the kind of things people don’t usually tell you about the secret life of the artworks. Visitors will learn the full history of these artworks when you open the description pages. These histories are in a detailed written form.

Dominique’s workshop is full of clickable objects and creates an excellent interactive starting point for students. For instance, click on Dominique’s book: it’s full of amazing stories about the artworks. In the portfolio next to his writing desk, find the list of story-telling objects. There are always lots of things lying around in Dominique’s workshop to experiment with.

The Louvre’s collection covers Western art from the medieval period to 1848, formative works from the civilisations of the ancient world and works of Islamic art. Dominique narrates the history and aspects of some famous artworks which are contained in these collections. The collection is grouped into eight Departments, each shaped and defined by the activities of its curators, collectors and donors. These include Near Eastern Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculptures, Decorative Arts, Paintings and Prints and Drawings.

ARKive, www.arkive.org is a centralised library of films and photographs of the world’s endangered species. Hailed as the digital Noah’s Ark, it has won numerous conservation, education and communication awards since its launch by Sir David Attenborough in 2003, and has now profiled over 2,500 of the world’s endangered species, using over 3,000 movie clips and 18,000 photos – all freely available for schools.

Multimedia resources are organised in categories and alphabetical groups e.g. Threatened Species –> Mammals –> W –> Western gorilla. In this section there are 19 images and 11 videos of the endangered gorilla as well as information relating to its biology, habitat, threats and conservation. There is also a facility to view larger images which would be ideal for displaying on a SMARTBoard.

ARKive is an initiative of Wildscreen (www.wildscreen.org.uk), a UK-based educational charity working globally to promote the public appreciation of biodiversity and the conservation of the natural world, through the power of wildlife imagery.

Making use of the stunning imagery available at the award-winning ARKive website, ARKive Education, www.arkiveeducation.org provides downloadable, ready to use modules on a wide range of curriculum topics, suitable for geography, biology, environmental education and citizenship lessons.

Resources are organised in age groups (5-7, 7-11, 11-14, etc) and subjects (Science, Geography and Other). There is a mixture of PowerPoint and pdf files containing activities and information. For example, an 11-14 years Geography resource called Adaptations: Investigate the world of animal and plant adaptations, using camels, snow leopards and even palm trees as engaging multimedia examples. Use the question and answer video clips to test your students. There is also an online games section which has a few simple activities relating to animals and the environment.

In April 2008, at Google’s UK headquarters in London, Sir David Attenborough launched ARKive’s new layer on Google Earth. Sir David said, “Google has come together with Wildscreen, who have this unique distillation of images of the natural world, so that any one of us can go to a particular area on the globe and see what lives there. Google can take you to parts of the world where you can actually see a flock of flamingos and know whether they are there, or whether they are on the way out.” To download your free copy of Google Earth and view the ARKive layer visit http://earth.google.com. The ARKive layer can be found in the Global Awareness Folder in the layers panel.

Goldrush search results

Searchme (www.searchme.com) is a search engine that returns your results as images of the web pages rather than text. Like any other search engine, you enter your search keywords. As shown in the above example of Australian Goldrush, the search results appear as a screenshot of the web site’s home page instead of like Google’s link and text-based description.

This search engine can be effectively utilised on a SMARTBoard. Each of the search results can be paged through without actually visiting the site. When you find a page you want, you can tap or click on it to enter the website. You can also save the pages in a “stack”. A stack is a way to save your favourite pages in one tidy folder that you can visit again and again.


The Paralympics are being held in Beijing from September 6 to 17, 2008. The official website is at http://en.paralympic.beijing2008.cn/index.shtml. The International Paralympic Committee website contains a huge resource of information about paralympics, classifications, past and future games as well as current Beijing updates http://www.paralympic.org/release/Main_Sections_Menu/Paralympic_Games/Beijing_2008/.

The Australian Paralympic committee website has an excellent photo gallery and information on Australian Paralympians.  Wikipedia also has a good section, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Summer_Paralympics with lots of facts and figures i.e. emblems, themes, events, etc.

Why not have your students send a hero message to one of our Australian athletes? Go to http://hero.telstra.com/paralympics/. Students can write the message to an individual athlete or to a whole team. Simply click on the “Send an online message” button. Students need to enter a name and email address – you could set up a gmail address for your class i.e. 3GWPS@gmail.com. The message should contain a maximum of 160 characters. It could be drafted and edited on a wordprocessor prior to sending and then copied and pasted into the Message area.

If you want to get creative, students can also send a video message. Video file has a maximum size of 5 Mb. File types accepted are .avi, .mpg, .mov and 3gp. These short videos could be recorded on a digital camera and saved to be uploaded. Students could combine dance, drama and music or use computer graphics to create a short animation.

Messages, both text and video are shown in a gallery on the Hero site.

If you like any of our ideas …

... or have some of your own that you would like to share, why not get involved by clicking Comment link under the post. Subscribe to Stepping Stones - a free newsletter for educators For your free copy, send an email to subscribe@stepuptraining.com.au or visit www.stepuptraining.com.au and fill in your email address.

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