Creating a Google Survey with GoogleDocs


I just created this little walkthrough for staff and I thought I would also share it here too.

I find Google docs easy to use and the results always look impressive.

Creating a Google Survey


1. Sign into gmail. (If you don’t have one…shame on you! Click on the link to create an account)


2. Once signed select documents from the menu








3. Then select create new









4. Then select form










5. Select a theme.







6.  Create your questions. You can choose a variety of response formats



Google docs also auto saves



7. When completed look towards the bottom of the screen to view the published form.




10. Use this link when emailing out to your DL list








Now just sit back and wait for GoogleDocs to collate all the responses for you.


Creative Minds No #3


N0 #3 Roald Dahl






Courtesy @Hugok

I came across the Roald Dahl website celebrating 50 years since the release of James and the Giant Peach. This got me thinking about the magical world of Roald Dahl.

Many have tried their hands at writing childrens’ books, what may look easy is indeed a complex genre to get right. Roald Dahl’s stories are a favourite with his intended audience and his peers, and is often referred to as being  ‘one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th Century’.

I think his greatest strength, and thus his greatest appeal, lies with his ability to write absolutely from a child’s point of view. Welcome to Dahl World where:

  • Nearly all grownups are, at best, boring or (more likely) evil. Being a standard grownup means telling you what to do and insisting on order and discipline (for grownup convenience). The only good grownups are the ones like Willy Wonka who know that having fun and exploring are the things that life is all about.
  • Bad people get what they deserve, often in suitably gory ways. Overweight people in particular, are guaranteed a delightful demise tailor-made for the greedy.
  • Conforming to a Disney ideal of beauty doesn’t give you a “get out of jail free” card. In “Revolting Rhymes” the notorious housebreaker and vandal Goldilocks gets eaten, as she should be. On the other hand, some villains do look suitably villainous, such as the Child Catcher in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, who was the scariest thing ever when I was young.
  • Dirt is good and bodily functions are hilarious, as seen with the BFG’s wind problem. Flatulence is always funny and scabs, pus etc. are described in the language of the true connoisseur.

Dahl’s stories are deeply (and often brutally) moral, but never preachy. They have a great balance between the real world and the magical which makes them engagingly believable and fantastical at the same time. As texts they are so beautifully written that film adaptations have never captured even a fraction of their true essence.

It is rare for an author’s work to be considered “timeless” so soon after that person’s death but it is obvious to even the most casual reader that there is something that sets Dahl apart from other twentieth century children’s writers (let alone his adult fiction which deserves a completely separate post). He was a creative giant in an area of literature that many intellectual pygmies have tried, and failed, to master.

What are your feelings around Roald Dahl and his creativity?

Do you have a favourite children’s author?

Creative Minds No #2


Creative people No #2 Buckminster Fuller.

“There is no energy crisis, only a crisis of ignorance.”








Image courtesy @Flickcc

I’m not sure how I came across Fuller but he has always intrigued me and as time goes onI think he was pretty amazing. He worked across multiple fields and was probably one of the first global environmentalists. I am quite biased but I think he is quite visionary and a truly original mind.

Why I have chosen him.

Born in 1895 Buckminster Fuller lived in a time that you could call pretty different to what the 21st Century looks like particularly in terms of the technological advancements and with the rapid emergence of the world wide web in recent years.  However Buckminster had a pretty amazing insight into the future technology and a great philosophy to underpin it.

One of the things that have always intrigued me about Buckminster is in regard to the development of technology. He believed in progress, particularly that of a technological kind. He was of the belief that humanity would always progress and with technology playing a key part. Therefore he believed that humans should not halt the advancement of technology but think the reverse, in that we need to ensure that this is done in an ethical and environmentally friendly way.

He coined the term Ephemeralization, which is the  ability of technological advancement to do “more and more with less and less until eventually you can do everything with nothing” As time goes on I am seeing his vision becoming pretty much the norm in many cases. For example, within the genre of music, the means to store musical data has shrunk in size, from the gramophone through the record and CD to its current incarnation on a mp3 player.

The move towards digital film watched through downloads suggests that cinema may be going the same way. Fuller had wide ranging interests, not only did he have a huge range of ecological interests, but also translated his ideas into real prototypes, especially the Dymaxion car which was not only years ahead of its time in technological terms, but also looked completely bonkers.







Image courtesy @ Flickcc

I guess it may be easy to be a “futurologist”, it’s the  getting it right that is the  only tricky bit. In his thinking about environmentalism years before such ideas became common currency,  and in his many other interests, “Bucky” as he is affectionately known, has proved time and time again his visionary genius.

Links you might find interesting

The Buckminster Institute

Buckminster On Wikipedia

Everything I know-Buckminster Fuller 1975


Creative Minds


Creative Minds

Source: Photo @ Flickcc Creative Minds

As the PLPconnectU project moves along, our PLP Creativity Team has created a Blog thanks to Mel Cashen who is leading the project.

This got me thinking about ways I could contribute on a regular basis whilst also reflecting and musing on what it means to be creative.

So…every week I will write a small post on creative people past and present, from the more obvious through to the less well known and more obscure. (I am interested in the more obscure) I hope that the posts will generate some discussion and hopefully some more suggestions as to who to add to the list.

Remember all musings are my own and I am merely attempting to get my own creative mind flowing…

So here goes my first Creative Minds post

Creative Minds Number #1 – Abba

The Swedish pop group Abba came to the world’s attention when they won the European Song Contest in 1974. Formed in 1972 and up until their break up in 1983 they wrote and had numerous hits in counties all over the world, selling well over 375 million records during their career and still selling well today.

Whether it was creating a song in upbeat disco like “Dancing Queen” to writing about more down beat issues in  “The Winner Takes it All”  they created pop songs that were very much uniquely their own. Musically they drew not only on pop music that had gone before, but also on folk and classical music. Their songs are catchy enough to be loved by all ages, and also sophisticated enough to bear many repeated listens. (On my behalf!)

For me, they are a truly great and creative pop group. They made, what I think would be hard, seem effortless and so much fun. Their creativity still entertains generations today and as their stage shows and films  demonstrate, they have provided creative inspiration for many who have come after.

Source: Photo @ Flickcc Waterloo

What do you think about Abba being the first of my Creative Minds?

Do you have any suggestions of creative people I could add to my list?

Digital Portfolios


Digitial Portfolios.

I have been thinking  about the upcoming 3 way conferences that our school will conduct on the first day back of term 3. I am looking forward to my students sharing their achievements, reflections and goals with their parents and families.

This got me thinking about the portfolios the students use in class.  We have copies for display in the classroom and they include students goals, reflections and work that has been chosen by the student to share with family and others.

This year is also the first year I am attempting to create digital portfolios. As I work in Victoria, these portfolios are  saved on their Ultranet Express Space. They include goals for each term, a record of how they have achieved these goals and any reflections on the learning.

So this got me thinking…if we use digitial portfolios do we need another portfolio for the classroom?

I see the portfolios as a place for students to share and reflect on their learning. It’s also an opportunity and a place to keep hold of drafts and changes made along the way as we reflect on the learning journey.

We also have a class blog that we visit daily. This blog is used to share our work with parents, families and anyone else who happens to come across it. We use the blog to reflect on our learning daily by posting comments. I have also just started to get the students to start to write their own blog posts.

The class blog is a collective way to show parents of our  learning and achievements and we visit the blog daily. Our cluster map isn’t very high but we like looking at it every morning.

This blog is  used to share our work with parents, families and anyone else who happens to come across it. We also use the blog to reflect on our learning.

As part of reflecting and sharing our learning we have:

A class blog

Student blogs (in the process of establishing)

& Digital Portfolios

I have found some wonderful blogs that discuss portfolios .

Dr Helen Barrett Blog on e-portfolios.

Peter Paapas‘ thoughts on the reflective student and teacher.

Langwitches extensive post on Digital Portfolios.

What do you use in the classroom to reflect on the learning journey?

What are your thoughts on portfolios?








The House of Blogs, after Jean-Baptiste 


Time to reflect that little bit more…


Time to reflect that little bit more.

Two undertakings I am currently involved with that are pushing my thinking are a Masters Degree and being part of PLP project. Suddenly I am immersed in reading blogs, books, academic articles, peer reviewed articles (have only just learnt what this really means!) and participating in a powerful Ning as I am lucky to be part of a project called PLP Connect U. A project run in conjunction with the Department of Education and Powerful Learning Practice. Both of these projects are helping me to reflect that little bit more, read a bit more, dig a bit deeper, share my thoughts a bit more, start to make connections with others and start to collaborate!

It’s a scary thought (for me) to stop lurking as I have heard others say and actually get my musings out there. I am finding the PLP Ning an ideal place for this. It is a supportive members-only community that serves as a ‘gateway for collaboration and discovery’. The Ning has coaches who facilitate participation by starting and responding to discussions, asking questions that get you to probe that bit deeper. I am a member of the creativity team and I am already enjoying the discussions, the facilitating from our coach Brenda Sherry and some pretty thought provoking blogs such as Kynan Robinson post on creativity. And we have only just started!

Image: Wonderferret

It’s time to stop dipping my toes in the shallow end and time to reflect and think a little more deeply.


Time to stop lurking and start participating just a little bit more.

Have you participated in anything recently that has pushed your thinking in new ways?

What do you read as part of your own Professional development?        




I came across the program Audacity last year and I love using it in the classroom.

Audacity is an audio editor that can be used on Windows or Mac, it is so easy to use  and it’s free.

About Audacity

Audacity is a free,-to-use and multilingual audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:

  • Record live audio.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
  • And more! See the complete list of features.

Some ways that I have used Audacity in the classroom

  1. Make a recording of children reading. I have found this to be a great assessment tool. I record children at various points in the year and they love hearing how their reading has improved. Also great idea to use this to add to their Ultranet Portfolio. (if in Vict)
  2. Record any musical compositions to share with others and parents. Make a CD to share with parents on special calendar days like Education week.
  3. Create podcasts to go with projects or anything you like. My class have been doing this with our Inquiry Unit. We have then uploaded to the class wiki and blog. Another great way to share with parents or at assembly too
  4. Record voices to add to a powerpoint
  5. Record your own voice to make a MP3 for children to listen to in Guided or Rainbow reading. Becomes very easy to build up a range of resources and the kids love listening to their teacher.

How do you use Audacity in the classroom?

Also visit the excellent blog Tip of the Iceberg for a great post and more ideas on using Audacity in the classroom.



I am a bit late to an exciting project called PLPConnectU. This project  is sponsored by the Victorian Education Department DEECD and is a fantastic opportunity to work with some amazing educators on a long term professional development that incorporates 21st century .  This project is run by two educators that I admire  Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach.


I was also lucky enough to hear Will Richardson speak in Bendigo.  We were asked to discuss with our group one of five questions.


What about the world and society has changed since you went to school?

What about students has changed since you went to school?

What about schools has changed since you went to school?

What should school 2.0 look like to accommodate learners of the 21st century?

It generated some great discussions where our group said that in fact education hasn’t really changed  since the Industrial Revolution and needs to catch up quickly or flip itself.  Will Richardson spoke of a delivering a curriculum that is not content driven and one that is taken back from the politicians.

Inspiring words indeed.

I also had my first go at Back Channeling using Teach Meet. This is great way to keep the discussion going while listening to Will Richardson speak.

The learning  doesn’t end there. There will be 5 elleuminate sessions and lots of discussion and collaborating on Twitter, the PLPConnectU wiki and on the Ning.

I am looking forward to the project and working with some great educators.

What does 21st Century learning look to you?

How do you incorporate Technology into your classroom?


Image: ‘OrangeGlow‘




With over 50 million blogs out there it could be assumed that everyone knows how to read a blog and  how to interact by making a comment.  Being new to blogging myself I often find myself promoting  the  benefits to colleagues however this can seem like a daunting task with so many blogs out there.

Where do you start? ‘What are some good blogs to read’ and ‘How do you make a comment?

I tend to read educational blogs and for me they are usually blogs that are reflective of practice and pedagogy or blogs that share resources.

Blogs are archived in order of the last post so they tend to be laid out in a last in first out style. Depending on the theme the blogger has chosen the widgets such as the calendar, cluster maps or the archive usually appear in the columns  to the side with the main posts appearing in the middle column.

Don’t be put off by thinking it will take a long time to stay on top of all that reading.  Most blogs I tend to read have short posts or share great resources and ideas with many reader comments generated. It really doesn’t take a lot of time to keep up with the blogs you like to read.

Blogging is a great way to stay up to date,  share ideas,  reflect and collaborative with others. There is a supportive and friendly community out there and it is great for increasing your learning network. Commenting on a blog is a great way to express or clarify your thoughts, reflect on a post, challenge an idea or expand on a post by adding more links or resources. It’s a great way to get the conversation going.

Below are a few blogs that I like to read.






What EdSaid







Integrating Technology In The Primary Classroom



Technoscience For Teachers



The Magic Of Learning


What blogs do you read?

Do you have a particular favourite?

Do you tend to make comments?

Social Bookmarking


Social Bookmarking

Increasingly I have found that  a lot of the educational research and reading I do is now done online. In the past I would have saved any web sites that I found interesting to my computer using bookmarks. However the more reading I did the more difficult it became to manage these bookmarks and find what I needed.

I would end up in a big bookmark mess.

That is until I discovered Social Bookmarking.

So what’s it all about?

‘Social bookmarking is the practice of saving bookmarks to a public Web site and “tagging” them with keywords. Bookmarking, on the other hand, is the practice of saving the address of a Web site you onto your computer’

Bookmarks appear in dated order and the tags will help you to find the bookmarks you want.

For me the real strength of social bookmarking is that it changes the way you organise your work. Users can easily make connections with other individuals, join groups and create groups in just about any topic.

Some social bookmarking sites are listed below.

Delicious Google Bookmarks

Diigo PosterousDigg Zotera

When you sign up you have the option to can add the toolbar to your browser which makes adding bookmarks easy to do. You can also create a profile to share with others what your interests are and add an avatar.

I found using social bookmarking easy to use and it doesn’t take too long at all to start building up your library, join groups and start connecting with others. Happy social bookmarking everyone.

Image attribution: heyjudegallery: Flickr