Monday, September 2, 2013

Unholy Trinity by Denis Ryan

Read the excerpt from the novel below.  It was challenging and confronting, but something I felt compelled to read to better understand the suffering of the people involved and how this situation could possibly occur.  I give it 5/5 stars.

Purchase here: Allen & Unwin

One policeman's desperate and moving account of his decades-long struggle to bring a depraved paedophile priest to justice - only to find himself obstructed by the Catholic Church and betrayed by his own police force.

Monsignor John Day died in 1978. He was arguably Australia's most prolific paedophile. His victims are counted in the hundreds. Yet when Day died, he was feted by Bishop Ronald Mulkearns as having 'faithfully fulfilled his ministry in God's name'.

The Church had been well aware of Day's activities. For years his crimes had been overlooked and tacitly endorsed. Unbelievably, Day had committed his terrible crimes with the knowledge and protection of senior members of the Victoria Police as well as the Clerk of the Courts, the most senior officer of the court in Mildura in the 1960s and '70s. Together the three men cast a shadow over the city that remains today.

Read Across the Universe

Book Week is over for another year.  It was a busy week for the library, but well worth it.  The displays this year in the library have dramatically improved due to the increase in library staff.  The extra set of hands and more time has resulted in better, bigger displays.

We held a dress up day, staff odyssey (drinks and nibbles in the library), hosted Alice Pung, Robert Newton, The Flying Bookworm, Robert Hillman and a library conference run by SCIS focusing on RDA, as well as quizzes and activities in the library each day.

A European Vacation

Is there anything more delightful than learning a language (French) and then travelling to the country of that tongue?  Yes.  Being able to use the language.
I recently journeyed to France with mother and sister in tow, after studying French for near a year, the most I could manage conversationally was "je peux avoir un cafe" to which most would reply in English "anything with your coffee?"
I quickly learnt that my stumbling around the language with a French tutor in Northcote was a far cry from the rapid fire conversational language and I quickly succumbed to fingering through my translation dictionary.
Regardless the holiday was flipping amazing.  In Paris we visited the museums and galleries.   A highlight being Le Louvre and Versailles.  Just Incredible.
We travelled on to Italy.  Visiting Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre and Rome.  My highlights were basking in the sun in Monterosso and eating in Rome.  Actually eating everywhere.  We completed the holiday with three nights in Barcelona.  Which was not enough.  I didn't get a real feel for the city or the country and needed more exploring.
It was wonderful to have a three week Summer break in the middle of Winter.  I might even do it again next year!
P.S I took a Kindle on holidays with me.  It was fantastic. If you don't already have a Kindle. Get one.  they are worth every cent.  I managed to read the whole "Tomorrow when the war began series" books 1-7 by John Marsden as well as the follow on Ellie Linton Chronicles series books 1-3.  The battery lasts for months and they are a simple, efficient, wonderful travelling companion.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Digital footprints

I read a book a few weeks ago that has changed my thinking.
It's called Cry Blue Murder and it's by Kim Kane and Marion Roberts.
The book is written in email form, interspersed with occasional police reports, witness statements and newspaper articles.  The story follows the disappearance and murder of two young Melbourne girls and whilst reading the book one becomes increasingly uncomfortable about the safety of one of the girls who is sending emails to another person whom she met via a Facebook group.  

The issues that are raised are so relevant to society today; the impact of one's digital footprint can be both positive and negative, bordering on dangerous, if too much private information is shared.  After reading the book I felt motivated to do something and subsequently prepared and taught a lesson to all Year 6-10 students.  The presentation covered digital footprints, sharing online, keeping private details private and ensuring protection with strong passwords.  By following other teacher librarians on Twitter I had access to a blog post by Jenny Luca and the e-smart website had terrific information, as well as my never fail; youtube.

I used the following clips to illustrate the need for young people to be aware of what they share online, take control of their digital footprint,  ensure they have an excellent online reputation and protect it all with a strong password.

Dave the mind reader:

TED talk - electronic tattoos

Protecting reputations online in Plain English

Secure passwords in Plain English

Jenny Luca's blog is always interesting and worth a look:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Unit 7: VICPLN

The following link will take you to a screencast demonstrating how to create a Note in Evernote:


I used JING as I already had an account and found the program easy to use and efficient.

To create my final reflection I used a combination of screenshots taken and edited using SKITCH and ANIMOTO.  I have included a few notes below reflecting on the course.


What are the key things you learned during the course?

  • Evernote
Were there any highlights?

  • Finding some excellent resources on digital footprints (particularly from Jenny Luca's blog)
  • Becoming more active on Twitter
How did you feel during the course – did it change  from trepidation to frustration to joy or vice versa? Or something else completely?

  • I felt comfortable in my capabilities and deepened my knowledge.  
How would you describe the course to someone else? Would you encourage them to do it?
Did anything slow or stop your progress?

  • I would describe this course as easy to follow, enjoyable and thorough.  I would recommend this to someone who is starting out with, or has just dipped their toes in, to the wide world of information literacy and the myriad tools that are part of the experience.  
  • I missed a few of the blackboard collaborative sessions due to after work meetings and commitments.  However, I could easily catch these up in my own time.
Make your own slideshow at Animoto.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Unit 6:VIC PLN

Assessing my digital fluency:
I had good digital literacy prior to starting this course.  I use a variety of tools well and have experienced others and selected particular ones for their efficiency, ease and improvement in organisation, management and teaching.  My digital literacy is developing, I think I operate well in digital spaces, however I could replace some methods with digital tools.  For instance (dare I say it) I love my paper diary.  I have tried to convert, but I just keep going back.  I love calendars up on the wall and I still use a scrapbook to cut and paste recipes I like into.  The photos I do have (I dont take many) are in albums and I cant remember where the memory card is to put them on an external hard drive and back up somewhere.  Some habits are just too hard to break!
I found this blog post interesting.  I often find when I try to engage students in school curricula through the use of digital tools, that they regularly engage with outside of the classroom,  the results once achieved using traditional methods are not achieved with the digital tools.  Students dont take it seriously and dont want school curriculum to interfere with their social media.

School are institutions designed to support young people in being successful citizens in society.  This means a curriculum that supports current trends and information.  Therefore schools have a responsibility to prepare students with skills, like the appropriate use of Facebook, to ensure they have every opportunity for success.  

Educators have the ability to act as role models for responsible usage of digital tools.  I dont think this means being Facebook friends (people need a break from their work), however demonstrating through Edmodo, or a Twitter account how to behave online is important.  It depends on how the educator uses the social media and if they are comfortable with being professional in their own behaviour.  It is similar to an AFL player who is a role model in the community.  Teachers who are online, are also role models.

What are the characteristics of an effective learner?
  • High level of organisation
  • Inquisitive
  • Resilient
  • Problem solver
  • Motivated
  • There are a range of digital tools to support these characteristics.  Edmodo, Diigo, Twitter, Google, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest,  The list is endless.
I find it difficult to predict how technology will change the way we learn in the future.  It is an infinite question.  I can only offer a comparison to the change that has occurred through each decade of the last 100 years and say it's going to be HUGE.

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.