Great Wikis for Teacher Librarians

I am always excited when I come across collectons of incredibly useful links, especially when many of those have been tried and tested by other teachers, TLs and educators. I also feel humbled by the generosity of those who create and share their knowledge so freely with others.

Below are some great wikis that I’ve discovered, with a wealth of information that you could lose yourself in for hours – or days if you’re lucky enough to have the time!! You could even sign up to some of these wikis and add extra websites that you’ve discovered – after all, that’s why these sites have been created as wikis, rather than websites.

Joyce Valenza –  Copyright Friendly Images & Sounds Wiki

Joyce Valenza – Library Learning Tools Smackdown

Joyce Valenza – TeacherLibrarian Wiki

Joyce Valenza – School Library Websites

Joyce Valenza –  AASL Conference Wiki

Joyce Valenza – Web 2.0 Meets Standards for 21st Century Learners

Joyce Valenza –  Information Fluency Wiki

Joyce Valenza –  New Tools Workshop Wiki

Donna Baumbach – WebTools4u2Use Wiki

Buffy Hamilton – Cool Web 2.0 Tools for Librarians

Buffy Hamilton – YA Lit 2.0 Wiki

Anita Beaman & Amy Oberts – Reading 2.0 Wiki

Nancy Pearl – Book Lust Wiki

ISTE – Digital Citizenship Wiki

Camilla Elliott – Personal Learning Network Wiki

Collette Cassinelli – VoiceThread 4 Education Wiki

Ransomtech –  Digital Footprint

Cool Tools for Schools Wiki

Charles Leadbeatter says in his YouTube video We Think that “mass innovation comes from communities – it’s like a bird’s nest where everyone leaves their piece….In the past you were what you owned, now you are what you share.”

That’s the beauty of Web 2.0 – everyone sharing, everyone collaborating and working together to create knowledge communities.

Downloading and Converting Videos

Have you ever done a presentation where you have an embedded link in a PPT to a YouTube video, you click to play the video, then you have trouble getting back to your PPT?  Or have you found the perfect video to show for a lesson, only to find that the network can’t connect when you want to show it, or the video won’t play?

 What you need is to actually download the video, then embed it into your PPT.  This is not all that straightforward however, especially when some videos are particularly large in size, so you need to compress the video or reduce its size before using it.  Click here for Mashable’s list of 23  different ways to download YouTube videos – just check first the copyright details on the videos before you download them.

One of the easiest ways I’ve found for downloading videos is to use ZAMZAR, an online file conversion site, free for files up to 100MB. Not only will it convert video files for you, but also music files, images and documents.   Watch a video from the Zamzar website showing some of their great features.  I usually choose to convert  videos to avi format, but all of the following formats are avaialbale:

Output formats: 3gp, 3g2, avi, gvi, iphone, ipod, wmv,  flv, mov, m4v, mp4, mpg,  ogg, rm, rmvb, vob


If, on the other hand, you don’t want to use an online conversion site, you can download Any Video Converter, a free open source software program, and convert your videos using that instead:

“Any Video Converter Freeware- the Free Video Converter – is the most renowned free video converter for converting video files between various formats, with fast converting speed and excellent video quality. This powerful free video converter application makes video conversion quick and easy.

This FREE video converter software can clip any segments and optionally merge and sort them to make a creative movie. And even more, Any Video Converter Freeware can crop frame size to remove any unwanted area in the frame just like a pair of smart scissors.” (from the website)

Input formats:  avi, asf, mov, rm, rmvb, flv, mkv, mpg, 3gp, m4v, vob, YouTube videos


Output formats:  avi, mp4, wmv, swf, flv, mkv, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, mpg (PAL or NTSC), mp3, wma, ogg, aac, wave, m4a

Main screen of Any Video Converter Freeware


Science Videos


If you’re looking for science videos for teachers or students at your school, you could try Online School’s 100 Coolest Science Videos on YouTube, a list which covers Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Astronomy,Psychology, Genetics, Geology and Experiments. While this is only one person’s interpretation of what is a ‘cool’ video, it is a starting place.

The ABC website and Steve Spangler’s Science website both have a series of science videos from TV programs (not categorised), Dagger Biology has a series of animations to illustrate biochemical concepts, and Science Video Resources is a science teacher’s blog with links to excellent videos. also has a Science video collection under the topics of:

  • Chemical and material behaviour >
  • Energy, electricity and forces >
  • Environment, Earth and the universe >
  • Forces and motion >
  • Organisms, behaviour and health >
  • Evolution >
  • How science works >
  • also has a collection of Science videos, but it’s harder to find specific videos here as they are only categorised under the topic of ‘Science’.

    If you need more academic science videos for senior teachers and students, try DNATube, a scientific video site with the aim of making complex scientific concepts easier to understand.  According to the site editor  “As graduate students, we know that it is difficult to understand biological mechanisms by reading plain text, and we know that a picture says more than a thousand words. We believe the video-based explanations of biological concepts will remove the barriers in front of those desiring to enhance their scientific knowledge” (DNATube)  To find the best quality videos, you will need to check first, as the site has a mixture of high quality and poorer quality videos (see YouTube for the TestTube Crowd) Categories with featured videos include: Experiments, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Organic, Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Astrophysics, Geophysics and Archaeology, in addition to lectures, seminars and tutorials.

    If you want to get really academic, you can try the YouTube EDU Science video site, which is a compilation of science videos from different universities (see my post from April this year)

    ScienceHack Logo

    One of the best sites I’ve found for finding science videos is a search engine called ScienceHack. The website claims that “every science video on ScienceHack is screened by a scientist to verify its accuracy and quality”, so it would seem that this should be a good search engine to use.  A tag cloud lists possible categories to select from, while under each category each of the different titles is listed. I did notice that some of the videos have been removed, so once again, check first before recommending a title to your students.