Blog: Lucacept - intercepting the Web
Twitter name: jennyluca
Skype: jenny.luca1

Hi, my name’s Jenny Luca and I’m Head of Information Services at Toorak College(a 1:1 laptop school) in Melbourne Australia. That means I’m a Teacher-Librarian in charge of running our Library! I also teach Yr 7 English and am a tutor for this group (a pastoral care role).

I first heard the term Web 2.0 a couple of years ago and it took me awhile to get my head around it. I have to say I’ve been excited about the possibilities of the internet since 2002 when I ventured back into a school library after having children. I missed the start of the computing/internet phenonemon when I had my children and was out of teaching for a little while. I started my teaching career in a school library but found the lure of the classroom took me away. It was the Web that brought me back. All of a sudden libraries got interesting again now that we had this amazing resource called the internet. Locating information suddenly got way more interesting.

Two years ago I started exploring digital storytelling and connected these ideas to our literature circle studies. We used Windows Movie Maker and Photo Story 3 to create these. These have been for viewing within the school but late last year an eager group posted theirs on YouTube at their own undertaking. It was so much more meaningful for them when they did this and I could see the way it transformed their attitude to the task. There's a SlideRocket presentation on my blog that has some of the digital stories embedded within it.

Last year I was involved in a project exploring the Read/Write web, and although it introduced me to some of the tools and their applicability to classroom teaching, the tipping point came when I attended a 5 hr workshop run by Will Richardson. I came out of that really excited about what was possible. I started reading Will’s blog and then the blogs of Stephen Abrams and John Connell who I had seen as keynote speakers at conferences I attended. By the end of last year I had a Google reader and was subscribing to an array of blogs. Within a couple of weeks I started to entertain the idea that I could add something to the conversation so started writing my own blog; Lucacept –intercepting the Web on January the 12th 2008. My primary purpose was to share what I was discovering in the hope that it could become a resource for teachers at my school. It's become much more than that; it's been the entry point for me to operate in a networked environment and forge connections I never thought were possible.

I seee Wikis as an easy entry point for people to get switched onto the idea of collaborative learning. We held a Yr 7 inquiry week late last year and I set up a Wiki for the project using Wikispaces. The students were working in groups and created their own pages within the Wiki as a means of recording their progress and reflecting on the task. This led to us as a library changing our static pathfinders to the dynamic environment of Wikis. We now have 30 or so Wikis operational for different subject areas in our school. Some are just for storing and sharing links but others are class based and students have pages within them. We are using PBWiki now as Wikispaces at the time was quite flat and you couldn’t use much colour. There's a Sliderocket presentation on my blog that has screenshots within it showing these wikis.

I had only been writing the blog a short time when I got involved in Project Global Cooling– a global project begun by Clay Burell. The challenge was to raise awareness about issues related to Global warming and to stage a rock concert by April 19th 2008 (this was the challenge for all schools involved in the project). We joined late Feb. and launched it with a Skype hook up involving Clay and a student from Korea and a teacher and student from Hawaii. Our students could see them via webcam and they could ask them questions. It was very powerful and led to 30 students volunteering to give up their time to get the concert organised. It had no space in our curriculum and relied on the intrinsic motivation of the students to attend lunchtime meetings and drive the organisation of the concert. I acted as a guide for them and encouraged them and was supported by other teachers within the school. On April 19th our concert was staged and was broadcast over the net via ustream. We were late entrants but one of two schools who got their concert staged on the designated day. Not even Clay’s students could manage it (theirs was staged on May 16th).

Clay Burell has been an amazing mentor. He helped me set up my network in Twitter. He did a shout out for me that boosted my network from 4 to over 250 overnight! If not for him I wouldn't have been able to forge the connective relationships that are enabled from engaging in conversation via Twitter.

I'm really looking forward to working in this PLP cohort. I think it has enormous possibilities to help move our staff and students into what can be considered a 21st Century learning environment. I'm looking forward to the connections we are going to form and the learning that is going to take shape as a reult of these connections.