Embedding videos on your school site

The video player that I have used to embed the book trailers on this site is called VPFactory.    When Vodpod closed I was really upset, as I loved their embeddable widget and missed it from Heart.  However, this site is free and much better, I think, as you can make customised players which allow people to choose the video they want.  Using and uploading the videos is free and very easy.  I have made customised players for different book genres on my new school website, for instance.  I am not being sponsored for this by the way, just thought you would all like to know about a fabulous new tool for promoting reading!

Pinterest – collecting books online

Whilst I am at home during the summer holidays, I have been taking the time to update and increase my Pinterest lists of books.  These boards can be seen by clicking the button to the right of the screen.  I like Pinterest, for the following reasons.  It is visual, and therefore looks accessible and interesting on page for young adults.  It allows for one or two line reviews under each book for everyone who joins this free site.  You can repin the posts easily onto boards of your own, thus allowing students to make up their own reading boards.  There is also a really easy bookmarklet for your browser to make pinning simple. But best of all, in the spirit of this site, all of the boards are collaborations between many school librarians, so that our collective knowledge is pooled.  If you feel that you would like to be a collaborator in any of these boards (which then add themselves to your set of boards), then just follow me and send me a message asking to be added as collaborator.

Write Path International

It’s the time of year to sign up to the amazing collaborative storywriting experience that is WritePath: http://writepath.ning.com/  This innovative event first took place in 2008, the brainchild of then school librarian (now consultant) Bev Humphrey.  Last year 56 schools took part from all over the world, and it was an amazing interactive blogging experience.  Everyone who takes part is amazed at how enthused the students are about writing and creating stories.  If you haven’t taken part yet then head over to the website to find out more and to sign up.  You can be anywhere in the world – the further the better!  Hope to see you on there this year!

Lighting the Future Conference

Did you manage to get to the Lighting the Future joint SLG/SLA/YLG Conference at Windsor this weekend?  If, like me, you weren’t able to attend, you can see all the tweets and get a flavour of what went on.  John Iona collected all the conference tweets under the hashtag #LTF12 using a free programme called Storify.  Many thanks to John for curating them for us all.  http://storify.com/Cilipslg/lighting-the-future  You can also see presentations and blog posts about the Conference here:http://www.lightingthefuture.org.uk/presentations.php

Brush up your Web 2 skills!

Have you ever felt that you would love to do some of the ‘whizzy’ things you see featured on Heart, like the interactive library guide featured below, but you have no idea where to start?  Then this course, 23 things, is for you.  You can work at your own pace, and it is based around trying one new library related Web 2 tool a week.  Register on the page, and you will soon be creating your own ‘whizzy’ content.  Enjoy!

iPads in schools

Moorside Community Technology College in County Durham have been using iPads for a year in all areas of the curriculum.  Jeff Wilson, ICT Director and Gem Horth, Learning Centre Coordinator gave a presentation to the Librarians in Durham Schools (LIDS) group on the initiatives being used with iPads.  The Learning Centre is using iPads during after-school clubs and iPads are also being used in research lessons alongside print based resources.  Included in the presentation was a video blog made by the Headteacher showing the different uses of technology within the school.

Heads Blog – New Technologies

Have you got involved in WritePath yet?

WritePath is a fantastic way for your students to be involved in collaborative storytelling with other students all around the world!  There are primary, secondary and even poetry days.  If your students love videostorytelling, they can even do that.  I have been involved in previous years, and thoroughly recommend it.  Have a read about what the founder of this amazing project, Bev Humphrey, has to say, and then contact her and join in!  Love to see you all there.

The Write Path, which launched in 2008, aims to bring together schools from around the world to work on writing and video projects online. We are now looking for schools to take part in the Autumn term.

The Write Path is very much my baby; I’m Bev Humphrey, a former school librarian, now a literacy consultant. Originally I wanted to find a way to celebrate International School Libraries Day in October. At the time I was working with a group of boys who loved technology and we had already been Skyping with students overseas around World Book Day as well as exploring other uses of online sites to encourage them to read and write for pleasure. My best friend, who is a school librarian in Stockport suggested that we organise a writing project between our 2 schools and a colleague who had moved to Beijing. The idea snowballed until we had pupils from 15 global schools taking part and five children’s authors who wrote the first paragraph of a story each for the young people to continue. 

The project has now grown to include more than 60 schools and last year’s event took place over the course of two weeks. I’m hoping that this autumn’s online event will be even bigger and will run over 3 weeks. Schools that participate work on the introductory paragraphs to six stories a day, or the six first stanzas of poems, on National Poetry Day. The starters are posted on a blog on the Write Path ning (collaborative website) and the continuations are posted as comments. As schools join throughout the day, they are given an hour to complete the next paragraphs or stanzas, with just two or three pupils generally working on each of the stories or poems – although some schools have involved entire classes, or even the entire school. 

Each paragraph has a word count of 250 to 350 words. They go off on wonderful tangents and last year we had pirates, zombies and giant Gummie Bears as characters! The school that takes part at the end of the day has the hardest job, to complete the story and tie up all the loose ends; they get two hours to work on the endings. We also have at least one video story running for schools to contribute to, often started by author Tommy Donbavand.

The students that take part  Year 7 and Year 8 in secondary schools, but we run a couple of primary school days during the project as well. The boys and girls seem to get a big kick out of the fact that the project is all accomplished online – after all they live in a constantly switched on, collaborative world and they enjoy getting online recognition and appreciate the fact that they are writing for a worldwide audience. We  produce books at the end of the Write Path and the young people love being published authors, with an end product to show parents etc. 

There are also now video-chats happening between schools that pupils can get involved with, and which they love; talking to the school that preceded or followed them writing the story online.

As for schools, Ofsted likes the project because it ticks the box of engaging with global communities and it has been helpful for colleagues who are trying for an International School award. I am constantly online and able to help with any glitches that occur, for some staff this is the first time they have used these new medias so the project provides valuable CPD. At the time of writing we have nearly 40 schools signed up for this year and many more will come online as the schools go back this week. If you are interested in participating please apply to join the ning then sign up on this page:


There is a fee for getting involved of £50 per school, which supports the technical costs of the project. Hope to ‘see’ you there!